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Encrypted Email: s/mime vs PGP

Get Secure Encrypted Email

There are two options for encrypting email. Which one you choose depends entirely upon what your needs are. Although I can make some suggestions for what works well on Macintosh systems.

S/Mime

This uses a secure certificate and works well for use on a Macintosh. I’ve found good success with using it. If you need to get your secure email on all your devices this is the option to choose. It will work on IOS devices like your iPhone and still do its job.

The cost varies but you have to shell out some dough for it. I found going with SSL.COM was a good choice. The cost was about $45 dollars for two years. Be sure to back up your private keys and keep them secure.

Both people who want to send email have to have the same setup with using S/Mime, the sender has to have the recipiants public key in their keychain to send mail.

To give someone your public key, send a signed message from your registered email address. Then the recipient can return your email with an encrypted message from the get go.

Always keep your private key secure.

PGP

PGP is a good choice for sending secure email if both people have the same setup. The one drawback is if you want to check your secure email on an IOS device, there is no way to decrypt messages on the iPhone with this set up and you will have to access your computer with your private key to read messages.

To give someone your public key, send a signed message from OpenPGP to the recipient and they will add your public key to their keychain. This will allow them to send you secure email that only you can read. And when you reply to them they will be able to read your email to them. This is granted that both people are using PGP.

The cost for OpenPGP is about $25 dollars and will work with the latest versions of MacOS Catalina. You can get it from: https://gpgtools.org

You can also send the PGP public key fingerprint and they can look up your address on the public key server.

Conclusion

Both options are pretty good, PGP takes some setup that is a little more involved and may be for advanced users. Be sure to install the Tools in the Apple Mail client so that you get the features of OpenPGP in your Mail client.

S/Mime is a good choice but requires valid certificates, and you have to renew them every year. If your certificate expires, you won’t be able to read previously sent messages, because they will be encrypted.

PGP works well on the Mac with Apple Mail, but requires a little more work on your part. It’s not difficult to do, you just have to read the screen a little more.

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Blue bored brain Courage Uncategorized

Self Reliance, New beginnings, and old worn out excuses.

Self Reliance

It’s important to be self reliant. It’s also important to have groups of like minded people that work together to help everyone within the group. When people in a group are scattered and not allowed to be with like minded people, it causes a problem in society. There starts to be holes and gaps in life that doesn’t work for everyone.

When someone asks someone in a different group for help, and that group is unwilling to help the other group, then you have a case of discrimination. The question is do we respect differences of individuality and self expression? Maybe within our own groups we accept the small differences, and really there is nothing wrong with being like minded.

To each their own. Groups form. Groups break apart. New groups form and replace the old groups that went away. Voids are bad and can be fatal if not worked to be corrected.

Should there be only one form of uniformity?

If I were to ask you for help, and you didn’t want to help me because I have blue hair, would that be fair? What if everyone had blue hair, and someone else had blonde hair? Would you help them and not yourselves? Or would you only help yourselves and leave the other person to die a horrible death? Would you even care?

The real issue isn’t about what color their hair is. The question is whether you would give a damn? In today’s stoic society, most people don’t give a damn if you walk down the street bleeding to death and die on the sidewalk. It’s not their son or daughter, and to be honest no one gives a shit.

People only help you when it’s in their best interest to help you. When people feel threatened or abused, they go into fight or flight responses. So because no one will help me, and they expect me to pick myself up from my bootstraps, because helping me isn’t in their best interest, and because every-time I try to help myself get better, someone comes along and sabotages my efforts and treats them as worthless. They won’t let me form a group of like minded people that would help me, and they keep me isolated and alone, so that they can ensure my failure. And their success.

Why does it have to be win/lose? Why is it that the situation can not be win / win? do they really have to break someone and put someone down to make themselves feel better? Then the next question is why do they have to put me down to make themselves feel better?

What makes you happy?

If as humans they only measure their success based on how happy they feel, then they can be drug addicts, drunks, and sit as mindless zombies while stoned. That’s the ultimate happiness is how they feel and not having problems to deal with.

My efforts to make life a better place, to be kinder, more understanding, and more loving has been ignored; Maybe I should only help myself and my kind.

Maybe we should stop making old worn out excuses, and start helping everyone equally?

Update:

The point I’m trying to make was made by Darius Foroux in his article “Always be Useful.” You can read his very carefully prepared version here on Medium.

Always Be Useful

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photography Uncategorized

Basics

Good photography is simply the correct measurement of light. There are three ways light is measured by, the ISO, the f-stop, and the shutter speed. Each of these three pieces must be correctly understood to get the best results. If you don’t understand this article, please see the links for better explanations of how each of these functions work.

The first thing to understand is the ISO, this is how we measure the sensitivity to light. Whether it’s film or digital the sensitivity to light is measured by a number, these numbers span from 25 to more than 8000. The lower the number the less sensitive to light, the higher numbers are more sensitive to light.

What does this mean? Simply put an ISO of 100 is about normal for daylight photography, while giving good quality images. The higher the ISO the more noise or film grain will be visible. If your working in low light you may need a higher ISO to get the shot. Most digital cameras do not go lower than 100 ISO, but some will go much higher.

Here are the most common film ISO speeds: 25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800. These are in one stop increments, notice that the numbers double every stop? That’s normal one stop increments. There are also half stop and one third stop increments too, you may see these settings with some digital cameras. Just remember that the higher the number the more sensitive to light and the noise increases too.

The second thing to understand is the f-stop. This controls how much light will be exposed to the film or sensor. Note this only controls how much light will be visible, the shutter speed controls how long the light is seen. The f-stop works in the lens, you can sometimes see it when you look into the lens and press the shutter release button, it opens and closes depending upon what setting you use. Wide open the f-stop may be somewhere as big as f2.8 or as small as f32, it depends upon what your lens can do; you may want to see what settings are available on your camera.

Some common f-stops are as follows going from more light to less light: f2.8, f4.0, f5.6, f8.0, f11, f16, f22, f32. These are full stop increments and there are half stops between each of these numbers. Sometimes half or one third stops are useful to get a more accurate exposure. Remember correct exposure is how accurately we measure the light, more accurate we measure the light the better the quality. The f-stop also controls the depth of field which I will talk about in another post.

The third part of understanding exposure is how long the film or sensor is exposed to light. This is called the shutter speed. Shutter speeds are set by the camera most of the time, values range from a second or more to fractions of a second. Going from slow shutter speeds to fast shutter speeds, common shutter speeds look like this: 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000. Remember there are half stops and one third stops between these numbers to help more accurately measure the light.

Fast shutter speeds stop motion, while slow shutter speeds will cause motion to blur or camera shake that will both cause blurry photographs. If your photographing a fast moving subject you want a shutter speed fast enough to capture the action. For still life you may want a slow shutter speed while the camera is on a tripod, with a small f-stop to get the best depth of field possible.

Measure your light carefully and your results will be best. Understand how your camera measures light and you will be a master in no time.

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photography Uncategorized

Depth Of Field

After thinking carefully about what makes a picture stand out, after being competent to get the right exposure and focus, the most important thing is the depth of field. This will make or break your photographs.

If you study the photographs that are in print, you will find that the best photos are often the one that have more depth of field in the photograph and have been carefully planned to be sharp from foreground to background. What will always ruin your day is images that are only sharp in the middle. It leaves a feeling that you don’t see when looking at objects in real life. Think about how you see objects in real life, that is what makes photographs go from being just ok to great.

Think carefully about your f-stop, even if you have to bump the iso up, you should be shooting at f22 or smaller. The more depth of field you can squeeze into an image, the better it’s going to turn out. Look at the photographs that stand out, look at what they have in common. I think if you study them you will see that DOF is vital to your success. If in doubt try taking a few and experiment with it, it might take two minutes more of your time, but it will be worth the effort.

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photography Uncategorized

The Joy Of Photography:

After twenty-five years of experience in photography, even though there have been many difficulties and learning curves, I seem to have made it through to a milestone.

I have learned to find joy in the process that comes from a mix of both creative and technical skills. The creative parts of photography are the most challenging, simply to keep coming up with new ideas is much more difficult than learning the technical ropes of the trade.

The important thing is to keep the right attitude about it. A creative person that can teach themselves anything, has more opportunity, because they are always looking at it from a fresh perspective.

It’s important to understand both the technical and creative sides to photography, just remember that the technical parts are only there to make the creative dreams come true. Once you start to learn the technical and have it mastered, focus on the creative side of your art. The rewards are worth it.

When you find the right balance between creative and technical in your photography, then the impossible starts to happen.

Wish I could take my images to the next level and make something wonderful. Stay tuned to see what I do next.

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photography Uncategorized

Color Photographs

As you progress in your experience with photography, one of the things you need to think about is color temperature. You have probably seen the setting on your camera that says: “AWB” this stands for Auto White Balance. Which means that the camera will try to set the color temperature for you. This is fine under some circumstances, but not great if your shooting in the shade or with studio lighting, using a flash, or mixed lighting.

In black and white you don’t have to worry about the color temperature because it doesn’t often make a difference. If your working with color it makes a big difference. If your taking more than just a few photos, having the color balance set correctly will save you a lot of time in Photoshop. One way to get the right color balance is to use a white card in the first image then correct the white balance in photoshop and save the setting. Then apply the setting to the other images that were taken in the same session. I can tell you a way that is better.

Set your camera up, use a white card and expose the first image. Be sure to get the exposure right and just where you want it. Load the first image into Lightroom and choose the develop menu. Select the eye drop tool and set the white balance from the white card in your properly exposed image. See the color temperature on the right side? Write that number down, then set the white balance in your camera to that same number. Then every image you expose under this condition will be exposed with the right setting without having to correct a lot in photoshop.

When your finished with your photo shoot, be sure to set the white balance back to “AWB” so it’s ready to go for your next shoot.

The color temperature in Lightroom shows that you have blues on the left of the slider and more yellow on the right of the slider. Your job is to find the right color temperature that looks most natural for your image. Too much blue and it looks cold and unwelcome, especially photographs of people need to be warmer in tone unless your trying to make them look like a villain.

Learn how to see the color temperature in Lightroom and Photoshop, this will add to your abilities in color photography and will enhance the look of your photographs.

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Motivations Uncategorized

Photography At Your Best

They say that in zen you always have to be a beginner. As you progress in photography you will want to keep your beginners mind and always improve your technical abilities. This will keep your photography looking fresh and new, while adding a layer of excitement to your work.

As you grow in your abilities your excitement will continue to grow, with each step that you progress you will find that your enjoyment brought to new heights. Just remember that not everyone will see the picture like you do, what matters is that your happy. Every viewer has a different experience; if you follow your passion and creative drive and it makes you happy then you are on the right track.

I hope to continue to inspire people to create and grow, with the belief that if you keep working towards your goals that you will improve your life and bring others happiness in the process. Set some goals and work your butt off, then give yourself the praise for your hard work. What matters is that you feel good about your success regardless of what praise you receive from others. Always do your best regardless if anyone notices or not. Then your always doing the best for yourself, and your self esteem isn’t tied to anyone else’s opinions. That you will find is the most rewarding in the long run.