Blog posts written during August 2011

Free Cross Browser Youtube Embed Umbraco Package

Tuesday Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by Max Mumford

We have received a lot from the Umbraco community since we first joined - a free, high quality content management system, quick, thorough and friendly support and a vast number of free packages that can be used to extend Umbraco to do a variety of different things.

However we recently found ourselves in a situation where we needed to build our own functionality for Umbraco in the form of a custom user control - the ability to embed Youtube videos into a page and have it work in all browsers including and newer than Internet Explorer 6. This was something that was not previously available and so in order to give something back to the Umbraco community we have released it as a package that can be downloaded and installed into an Umbraco instance of your own. 

Click here for further information, usuage instructions and a download link

Agency Work Directive or AWR report and DPA update

Friday Friday, August 26, 2011 by Ian Pettman

A preview of the latest report for Agencies to distribute to Hirers and an update to the implications in respect of the Data Protection Act has been published:

AWR liability for specified customer for all their supplied Employees

Data Protection Act, Agency and Hirer working together as required by the AWR

How to have good easy to remember passwords

Thursday Thursday, August 18, 2011 by Ian Pettman

Passwords: How to make an easy to remember secure password.

Passwords are often a bone of contention. In a perfect world we would not need them, or keys to our house, car, chip and pin etc.

We have written elsewhere that for a few pounds (or possibly less) an unscrupulous person with the right knowledge can hire a computer from Amazon (or any other computer cloud provider) which has enough power to crack a 6 or 7 letter password in few minutes. This is a password of the type GzN73i! In other words random characters.

It is true to say that random characters are probably the most difficult for people to remember. What does this mean? Over the past twenty years computing security has evolved to the point where we have difficult to remember passwords which can be easily cracked.

In case we need reminding, the original idea behind a password was it was easy for you to remember and difficult for someone else to crack. Now this cracking can be done in a few minutes by someone with the right skills, access to the interweb and possibly the wrong motives.

We also probably have dire warnings from IT or HR concerning divulging your password - namely taking the "sensible" approach of having it on a "post it" note on the side of the screen.

So how should we go about having memorable passwords that are difficult for the bad guys to guess?

I have a terrible memory, especially for people's names, so when I met a nice lady called Melony (or Mel as she prefers), the thought of a Melon, or indeed a couple of firm ripe Melons, it helps me remember her name. It seems if we can link something to a picture, it becomes that much easier to remember. Mel is very easy to remember.

There was an article recently which offered a solution for passwords: use four unrelated words and just remember a silly picture of them:

Now I don't know why bananas are silly or suggestive, but this was the least suggestive and silly picture I could find.



So my password is BananaHeadLionWorld (possibly with an exclamation mark). Well what a coincidence: this is a theme park near you!  But I've only told you once, and if you have looked and memorised the pictures and for some reason all those mentalist people say this is the best way to memorise a random list. A random list is after all what your password should be. So next time you need to create a password, think of four familiar objects and use their names. You have already memorised your new password.


5th Article on Agency Worker Regulations AWR published

Friday Friday, August 5, 2011 by Ian Pettman

There are now five articles in the series on the Agency worker regulations which are coming into force on Oct 1st. The five articles discuss:

  • The controlling factors that set the limits when a worker becomes enabled to claim parity with substantive employees.
  • The maximum number of weeks that need to be considered for a worker who has a highly irregular work pattern but nevertheless will or will not meet the criteria for parity under the AWR act.
  • How simple a report can we get out of a highly irregular worker which illustrates clearly their status in respect of various and multiple hirers.
  • If a worker is scheduled on a day to day basis for weeks at a time and during this period is subject to a break which leaves the clock running....
  • The act states that if one temporary (more or less full time) contract finishes and another temporary (more or less full time) contract start, the 12 week clock is reset - except...


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