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WordPress 4.0.1 – Critical Security Release

Image credit: Andy Fitzsimon

WordPress.org states 4.0.1 is a critical security release for all previous versions.  All sites are strongly encouraged to update.  If you have automatic background updates turned on, your site will automatically be updated in the next few hours.  If you do not have automatic updates turned on, Download WordPress 4.0.1 or login to your WP Backend and go to Dashboard ? Updates and simply click “Update Now”.

WordPress versions 3.9.2 and earlier are affected by a critical cross-site scripting vulnerability, which could enable anonymous users to compromise a site. This was reported by Jouko Pynnonen. This issue does not affect version 4.0, but version 4.0.1 does address these eight security issues:

  • Three cross-site scripting issues that a contributor or author could use to compromise a site. Discovered by Jon Cave, Robert Chapin, and John Blackbournof the WordPress security team.
  • A cross-site request forgery that could be used to trick a user into changing their password.
  • An issue that could lead to a denial of service when passwords are checked. Reported by Javier Nieto Arevalo and Andres Rojas Guerrero.
  • Additional protections for server-side request forgery attacks when WordPress makes HTTP requests. Reported by Ben Bidner (vortfu).
  • An extremely unlikely hash collision could allow a user’s account to be compromised, that also required that they haven’t logged in since 2008 (I wish I were kidding). Reported by David Anderson.
  • WordPress now invalidates the links in a password reset email if the user remembers their password, logs in, and changes their email address. Reported separately by Momen Bassel, Tanoy Bose, and Bojan Slavkovi?.

Why You Should Upgrade to Windows 8.1

Eight Reasons to Consider Upgrading to Windows 8.1

Start Screen

UPDATE: Microsoft has temporarily pulled the 8.1 RT version due to issues some users experienced when installing the update on their tablets and mobile devices.

  1. The Start Button Is Back! One of the most hated Windows 8 changes was the missing start button.  Windows 8.1 brings it back to the taskbar—tap or click to get to Start. If you prefer, you can now go straight to the desktop when you sign in. And use the same background for both your desktop and Start. Plus, see all your apps at a glance in the new all-apps view.  Right +clicking on the Start button brings up a handy menu of power user and system management tools:  Event Viewer, Device Manager, File Manager, Control Panel, Run Command, Search, to name a few.
  2. It Has a Smaller Footprint: If you are already running Windows 8, upgrading to 8.1 will get back 8-15% of storage space
  3. Improved Search: Bing Smart Search gives you results from your PC, your apps, and the web. Results are in a clean, graphic view that lets you do things and launch apps right away. Find a song and start playing it, or find a video and watch it right away.
  4. SkyDrive,Your Files are Always with You: SkyDrive is free online storage that’s built into Windows 8.1. Save documents, photos and other files to SkyDrive automatically, and get to them anytime, from any of your PCs or devices. You can also use SkyDrive to protect your files if something happens to your PC. And you can use SkyDrive to share and collaborate with others, and see your stuff on mobile and non-Windows devices. Microsoft has made SkyDrive the default place to save new documents, and improved things on the back-end to ensure the system sees them as local files in every way that matters (for searches, etc.).
  5. Improved Multitasking: The snap feature is much improved allowing you to resize side-by-side apps to suite your needs. Depending on the size of your screen, you can see up to four apps at once.
  6. Automatic App Updates:  Windows Apps will now update automatically Updates happen in the background, and the Windows Store will stop bugging you with that ever-increasing count of pending updates.
  7. Improved Multi-Monitor Support: Web Designers, Graphic Artists and Photo Editors rejoice! External monitors are a big deal for Windows tablets, since many of them have serious computing power but screens that aren’t exactly what you’d call large. Now in Windows 8.1, users will have more control over how content renders on a second display, giving tablets more flexibility.
  8. Native Facebook App: If you upgrade to Windows 8.1, you’ll be able to run the official Facebook app for Windows, which provides a native experience for PCs.

Windows 8.1 was released October 17, 2013. It took about an hour to update my laptop from Windows 8 to 8.1.  My computer had trouble reconnecting to my router after the upgrade, but a router reboot solved the issue.  Other than that, the upgrade process went smoothly.  Learn more about all the new features here.

 Short Video on how to update to 8.1

 

Precise Placement of Lens Flare Filter in Photoshop

Lens flares can add visual interest to your photographs.  Unfortunately the preview window Photoshop gives you for placing the flare is frustratingly small.  The following short tutorial steps you through precise placement of the lens flare effect on your image.

Step 1

Open your image in Photoshop

Step 2

Open the Info window.  You may have it docked on your workspace, if it is not available go the  “Window” menu and select “Info” or hit the [F8] key.

Step 3

Check that your measurement settings in the Info window are set to Pixels.  Locate and click the drop down arrow next to the X Y coordinates quadrant of the Info Window and select “Pixels”

Set Info to measure in pixels

 Step 4

Put your cursor over the spot in your image where you want the Lens Flare effect to start and make a note of the X and Y coordinates.

Position your cursor

 

Step 5

Alt+Click (Option+click on Mac) the new layer icon in your layers palette. The New Layer options window will appear.  Name your layer “Lens Flare”, change the Mode to: “Hard Light”,  and check the box next to “Fill with Hard-Light-neutral color (50% gray) then click [OK]

New-layer-options

 

Step 6

With the new “Lens Flare” layer selected, go to the “Filter” menu >”Render” > “Lens Flare“, the Lens Flare Window will appear.

Apply Lens Flare filter

 

Step 7

Select the Lens Type and Brightness for the  flare you want to use.  I usually leave the Brightness at 100% and select 50-300mm Zoom as the Lens Type, but you may want to try different settings.

Step 8

Alt+click (Option+click on Mac) in the small Lens Flare preview window that appears you will then have access to the “Precise Flare Center” setting.  Type in the X and Y coordinates you took note of in Step 4 then click [OK]

type in flare coordinates

 

You now have your lens flare, placed right where you want it in the image.  Since the lens flare effect is on its own layer, you have more control over the effect and can adjust the transparency, and add  clipped adjustment layers like hue/saturation to further refine the flare.

Final Lens Flare Applied