If your business is based in the European Union (EU), or you process the personal data of individuals in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - a new European privacy law - affects you. It takes effect May 25th, 2018.

Here is some information from MailChimp and Squarespace, the companies we use most often for email newsletters and websites. It should help you make an informed decision about what to do. We apologize for the late notice. Personal trials and tribulations got in the way, sorry, but let us know if you need help implementing any of this.

Do you need to comply with the GDPR? 

If you are an organization that is organized in the EU or one that is processing the personal data of EU citizens, the GDPR will apply to you. Even if all you are doing is collecting or storing email addresses, if those email addresses belong to EU citizens, the GDPR likely applies to you. Non-compliance can result in financial penalties.

That said, I need to remind you that we are not legal counsel. If you have clients/customers and other people you collect personal data from in the EU, you may want to consult with legal and other professional counsel regarding the full scope of your compliance obligations.

So what does it all mean?

If you send emails to, or collect other personal data from, people in the EU you will need to implement some changes to how you collect and store their data. One of the fundamental aspects of the GDPR is that organizations who collect personal information from people in Europe must ensure that consent is obtained in accordance with the GDPR’s strict new requirements. For example, the law says that pre-ticked boxes on a newsletter signup form (along with silence and inactivity) do not count as consent, so you’ll need signup forms that make it easy to collect the permission you need.

When relying on consent as your legal basis, the GDPR says the consent you obtain must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous. You also must clearly explain how you plan to use their personal data. 

Please note: Whatever system you use to send emails and collect personal data please know that just enabling GDPR fields on your signup forms does not make you compliant. It’s the first step of the process. To collect consent from new and existing EU contacts, you’ll set up your forms and send a consent campaign. If they do not consent to being on your email list, you must remove them.  

Your business may not be affected by the GDPR. However, we think it wise to put these protections in place for the future since European law tends to set the trend for international privacy regulation, and increased privacy awareness now may give you a competitive advantage later.

All our best to you and yours,

-Robin

P.S. 
Want all the technical details?  MailChimp has a good guide here.  
Planning on doing it yourself? Here is some info on how to do that in MailChimp.
Here is info on keep your website complaint at Squarespace.

 

 

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AuthorRockin Robin
CategoriesWorking Smart
TagsGDPR

Or, Why Online Text Looks Weird:

copy-paste.jpg

Lately I've noticed a lot of oddly-formatted text online and on websites. It's too big, a strange color, a different font, or it sticks out in some way. I notice it because I visually trip over it. It doesn't seem to fit with whatever else I'm seeing. That's when I know that the person updating the site has forgotten (or didn't know) the Copy/Paste Golden Rule.

Why is this important? Because you want the viewer to feel at ease and focus on the content of your website or social media. When they encounter oddities or strangely-formatted text it's distracting and a little (to a lot) stressful.  Really.  Have you noticed that when a website is difficult to navigate, or keeps pulling your focus away from what you're looking for, you feel a little stressed or frustrated? That little bit of stress can make you (and your viewers) disappear faster than a wet cat.

How do you avoid that happening? When you work online updating your website and social media you can do one of two things: You can type directly into the online system, or, write first in software like Word or Pages, and then copy/paste it.

When you copy/paste directly from software the text you paste may initially look OK, but you’ve also copied and pasted some unseen code that will likely make it look strange. It can happen immediately or later. You may not see it at all in the browser you're using and it may look awful in another browser.

These days most online systems and websites have a nifty button to allow you to safely paste directly from software. It’s often called the “Paste as Plain Text" button. The button may have a "W" on it to indicate it's a "Paste From Word" button. It may have a "T" on it for "text." 

pasteasplaintextbutton.jpg
pastefromwordimage.png

If there is no "Paste as plain text" button, you can use a piece of software called a text editor that will strip any hidden code from your text. Paste your text into a text editor, then copy/paste from the text editor into the online system. Yes, it’s an extra step and a pain but trust me on this one, you’ll thank me later. I use Text Wrangler for my text editor (I'm on a Mac).  If you’re on a PC you can use Windows Notepad or TextPad.  First check your own computer, you may already have one.

Let me know if you have questions or need help with this. Our tutoring and support is very cost-effective and will save your money AND sanity in the long run. 

As always, all our best to you and yours!

-Robin

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart

When I'm working on a creative project and I stall, feeling like my creative muse has abandoned me, I stop and remind myself that what I'm doing is not really about effort, but perspective and perception. Considering an alternate point of view, and a different interpretation of the goal of the project, makes a world of difference.

Here's one of those creative projects that was a timely reminder to me about perspective and perception (and keeping the concept simple).  Really, watch it, it's absolutely stunning.  

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AuthorRockin Robin
CategoriesInspiring

For me, this art is total eye candy. It also reminds me that we are all constantly creating and transforming our lives, our work, our beliefs, and that nothing (and no one) is useless.

Brian Dettmer, painter-turned-sculptor, takes outdated reference materials such as textbooks and encyclopedias, seals them with varnish, then carves away at their pages with an X-Acto knife. He works quickly to reveal images that explore our relationship to information. Take a look at some of the amazing results.

(Image courtesy of the artist and Kinz + Tillou Fine Art.)

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesFine Artists

What is freedom? Author Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity talks about how his definition of freedom has changed over the years. Originally, it began with a desire to "determine the course of my daily schedule and overall life direction."  That was true for me too. That's why I went into business for myself, and probably why you did (or plan on doing it) too.

Creative-Freedom.jpg

Like Chris, over the years my definition of "creative freedom" has evolved. I want to choose my own adventure in this life. I want what I do to mean something good. I want challenge, growth and learning too.

"I think that most of us want freedom to create, to make something meaningful. The freedom that we achieve allows us to move to higher planes of mission and purpose," says Chris. I agree.

It's worth thinking about. What does creative independence mean to you?

Read "What is Freedom" by Chris Guiolebau here.

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesInspiring

Are you old enough to remember what life was like before computers, cell phones, digital TV's, and remote controls? We are. It was a slower time, that's for sure. We are all SO busy these days and like Ferris Bueller said: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

So late last year Harry and I did stop and look around, and took a good look at our schedules. It was an eye-opener. I realized that I had been working at full-tilt for over 46 years. Harry did too until he retired from being an aerospace engineer and started working with me in 2005. Ack! Time to slow down!  

We're not retiring, just going slower. We are committed to being here for existing clients, and will take on new clients very selectively. Really, we'll just work half time instead of full-time. So, if you're currently a client and have something in the works, DO let us know so we can reserve time for you.

On the theme of harkening back...
Here's a video about a "Backward Index" started in the late 1930's. It's in the basement of the Merriam-Webster offices. Why would anyone create an index of 315,000 words spelled backwards? Watch the video to find out:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/video/backward-index

All our best to you and yours!

Robin & Harry

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart