Some people still don’t understand the damage that can be done by forwarding unsolicited emails, so I’m afraid I’m getting on my soap box in the interests of minimising the spread of computer viruses by innocent people who don’t realise how this works.

I blogged about this back in December 2008 (click here for original post) and since then I have referred many people to that post to educate them about not spreading virus warnings, hoax emails and chain letters.

The salient points bear repeating:

1. It’s a hoax. It doesn’t matter what the warning or content of the message is, the goal is to get you to pass on the email.
2. Most of the heartwrenching stories about sick children are completely untrue and many have used the names of real charities, resulting in those charities having to dedicate precious resources to dealing with the resulting problems.
3. You actually increase the risk of real viruses getting through to everyone you pass these email messages on to – a real virus will often try to send itself to every email address it encounters on someone’s computer. You send a warning email to me and my email address is then present on all the computers of all the people you passed this email on to. So is yours!
4. Unless you used a private emailing method, when you pass on these emails, it’s likely you’re sharing private email data without permission and that could land you in various kinds of trouble.
5. Some people have bandwidth limits with their ISP and this kind of thing clogs up their email inbox, preventing real and important messages getting through

Click here to read the full post.

If the email has come from someone you know, you may want to suggest they come here and read for themselves why it’s not a good idea to pass these on.  If you do not know the sender, or suspect they did not actually send it themselves, then don’t respond – hit the delete key straight away.

If you would like to do your bit to help educate people, feel free to use this graphic, it has no copyright on, so you can go ahead and put it on your blog or website.  All I ask is that you include the link to the original blog post here:

As I said last time I talked about this – please don’t feel bad if you thought you were doing the right thing by passing on virus warnings, etc.  Everyone has to learn this for themselves as many of these emails are very plausible.  In fact, they are getting increasingly sophisticated and I would urge everyone to really think twice before passing anything on at all.

Old login won't work

There’s something I didn’t make clear in the last post that might be causing some confusion.  If you bought from Graphicus in the past, your old username and password will NOT work on the new site.  Unless you have actually received an email from me with a new username and password, you won’t yet be registered on the new site and you will need to register your details yourself before you can log in and purchase anything.

So if you are trying to login with your old details and can’t understand why you can’t get in, that’s why.

Sorry for any confusion.

PS – I just got back from the Craft, Hobby & Stitch trade show and I have photos and stories to share from the Ranger Education workshop that Lynn and I attended with Suze “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house” Weinberg, Claudine Hellmuth and Tim Holtz.  Too much fun!

New Websites up and running

I have never had a baby, but I’m beginning to get an inkling of what it feels like to give birth.  It’s unbelievable just how much work can go into one computer system and we’re still not quite finished.  Months and months of hard work have gone into our new system and this week just gone feels like I’ve been in labour for about 80 hours!  We’re almost there – the gallery looks a bit bare, but we will be adding to that on an ongoing basis.

So if you want to check out the new look website, head over to and take a look around.

The team have been magnificant – everyone has rallied round to get the jobs done that were needed and no one has complained about any of it.  Carrie has put in extra hours to get products and images loaded, Judith has tracked lots of shop products that have never been on the website before and is working hard to get those uploaded.  Denise and Emma have been getting to grips with the new till in the shop with it’s barcode scanner and touch screen computer.

We have a new trade site over at Elusive Images too, so Lynn has set up trade customers with accounts and helped to set up the home page of Graphicus.  She is also putting her expert knowledge to good use by editing product descriptions and adding extra details such as links to similar products or alternative products.  Most of the team have new computers, so Adrian has spent the last couple of weeks setting those up, installing the new software, setting up backup procedures, checking security and anti-virus, while caring for his mum every weekend and visiting his dad every day.

Val has quietly soldiered on, stocktaking the production department and keeping the presses running while the rest of us crawled around warehouse shelves unearthing obscure discontinued products from five years ago that we didn’t even know we still had.  Good news is we have a clearance section on the website now, so we can add these things as we find them.

We couldn’t have done it without Lesley who was drafted onto the project over a year ago and has battled with spreadsheets and databases until her head exploded.  Her other half David (chef) has been a very  good sport too – volunteering to stay till silly o’clock to help get the stock take done last weekend.

Our old loyalty scheme in the shop has been replaced with a shiny new Stash Point system which applies to both website and telephone mail order and shop sales alike.  The old shop loyalty cards can be used until Mach 31st, but if you have any part filled cards, bring them with you and we will convert them to stash points for you at the till.

It’s all good stuff, but be gentle with the girls, there’s so much to learn that it’s going to take a while for it all to sink in!  Graphicus Guild members should have their newsletter by now and if you want to order, it would be a big help if you could use the website rather than the phone to do it – partly to road test it for us and help iron out any problems, and partly because not all of the team are fully trained on the new system yet, so there are less people able to handle telephone orders right now.

I’ve written a guide to the new site which you can read over on the Graphicus Blog – it’s on it’s own Website Guide page.  Here’s just a summary of the ways the new system will benefit you.

New Features at a Glance

  • Stash Points – earn points while you shop, then use them to get products for free later
  • More accurate – better inventory control means you can see what is in stock
  • Less back orders – you know what is in stock at the time you order so you can make an informed choice
  • Email notification – be the first to know when we receive new stock
  • Find products easier – search by brand, or by department – a lot of thought has gone into the department breakdown to make it easy to find products
  • Better search facility – search starts matching products as soon as you start typing and narrows down the products the more you type
  • Faster ordering – use QuickShop if you know product codes
  • Guild prices visible – log in with your normal username and password to access Guild specials and prices (one less password to remember)
  • New Affiliate scheme – if you have a website or blog, you can link to our site or to specific products and earn commission

If you have any comments or queries about the new site, you can use the contact page on the website to drop us a line (hey, it let’s us know it’s working!).  I know some of our trade customers read the blog too, so please feel free to check out the new too.

If you are a Graphicus Guild member or a trade customer, you should have received an email from us with your website username and password.  A lot of these have bounced back, so you may get a call or letter from us to check your email address.  If you haven’t had an email about the new site, then you will need to register before you can place an order, using the Register button at the top of the page next to Login.

Guild Members, please note – if you register yourself, you won’t be set up as a Guild Member, so call or email us to let us know you have registered and we can switch on the feature that lets you see Guild prices on any special offer items.

I hope you like the new websites, please bear with us during the adjustment period as there is a lot for everyone to learn.  The plan is though that once the dust has settled, the new system makes the whole company function more efficiently, leaving me more time to do creative stuff.  Who knows, this may be the year I finally get round to writing that book or filming that DVD …

Links in blogs – the cheat sheet

Over on the Graphicus and Elusive Images blogs, people are struggling a little with how to put links into a blog comment, so I thought I’d share my cheat’s way to do it.  It’s a cheat for blog owners, so wouldn’t work for those of you who don’t have a blog.  I’m also working on the assumption that you know how to create a blog post with a link in it.

So, there you are reading a blog and you want to leave a comment with a link in it – such as a link to your own blog where you have a challenge entry or something.

Well here’s what you do.  Open a new window (or tab if you prefer) which is usually done by pressing the CTRL key and the letter N, or by clicking on the File menu then clicking on New Window. (CTRL T for a new tab)

In your new window, bring up your own blog and go to the blog entry that you want to link back to.  Copy the address (sometimes called permalink) of that specific blog entry.  The address is the bit at the top of the screen that starts with http:// – you need to copy the whole line which you can do by dragging the mouse over it and then press CTRL C.  The address is now copied into memory.

Now start a new blog post.

Type in the text you want to put as your comment, eg

Click here to see my challenge entry

Drag your mouse over the text that you want to make a link (eg Click here) and press the link button (I’m being deliberately generic here as Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, etc, all have slightly different buttons).  In the window that comes up you have a box to put the link address in (often has http:// already there for you), press CTRL and V and the address you copied earlier will be pasted in.

Press the ok button and your blog entry now has the link in place.

Somewhere in your blog editing mode, you should have an option to view the HTML version of what you are typing – you probably don’t bother much with it unless you know what you’re doing, in which case this whole discussion has probably bored you to tears by now.  Well click on that HTML option and you’ll see your text with some code surrounding the link you just set up.

While in that HTML view, highlight the whole comment including all that code stuff (CTRL plus the letter A, or just drag the mouse over it all) and once again, copy that into memory (CTRL C is the shortcut).

Now the clever bit – switch to the original window where you were about to leave a comment.  Get to the point where you have your box to put your comment in,  press CTRL and V and you will paste in the comment, including the HTML code, that you just copied from your own blog.

Finish the commenting process with any verification and when the comment appears, you have correctly linked to wherever you originally wanted.

You can then go back to your own blog where you composed your comment and simply exit from the window without saving what you’ve typed.  If your blog has an auto save setting, you might find it’s saved a draft for you already.  You can just delete that in your admin/dashboard.

Sounds a bit complicated at first, but follow the steps and you’ll see it’s pretty easy.  With a bit of practice you’ll be whizzing around windows leaving linked comments all over the place!

Go on, try it out, leave me a comment with a link to somewhere interesting!


PS – feel free to link back to this blog post if you are running challenges and want people to include a link in their comments.  The permalink for this specific blog entry is so if you make sure that’s what you link to, your readers will come straight to this entry, not just to the most recent entry on the blog.