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By Kristin Ellison | Friday, August 22, 2014

Pixel Playground: Spruce Up an Interior Shot


This week, Bert walks us through how to improve an interior shot by adding a door under the sink, lighting the candle, and cleaning up here and there.

By Nick Brazzi | Friday, August 22, 2014

Facebook Messenger: Understanding Privacy Settings


Earlier this month, Facebook made a move that sparked lots of controversy on the Internet. That’s a statement that’s been made about many Facebook moves over the years. But this time we’re talking about Facebook Messenger—a handy little smartphone app that gives users access to Facebook messages.

Facebook messages are private, like email or chat messages; they can only be seen by the people involved in, and invited to, the conversation. So messages are very different from public wall posts and status updates.

The Facebook Messenger app has been around for a while. Justin Seeley covered it very well in his Up and Running with Facebook course. What’s changed is that Facebook has made the move to require all users of the Facebook smartphone app to switch to Facebook Messenger to access messages. That means the only way to work with Facebook messages on an iPhone or Android is to install and use the Facebook Messenger app. But that’s only half of the story.

The big controversy centers around the long list of app permissions that users must agree to before installing the Messenger app—permissions that some feel are too invasive.


For example, the Android version of the messenger app requires that users grant permissions to edit and read your text messages, modify or delete the contents of your USB storage, record audio, directly call phone numbers, access your approximate and precise location, and much more. Some people insist that these terms are normal and benign, while others argue that Facebook will have the ability to exploit private data if users agree to them.

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, I want to show you how to enable and disable some of these app permissions. For example, if you do not allow Facebook Messenger to link to your phone number, the app will not be able to make phone calls or send SMS messages. And you can manually adjust location settings—which represent the most controversial issue—after installing the app.

If you’re worried about installing the Facebook Messenger app, watch our video and see how you can adjust your settings to alleviate your concerns.

Keep in mind that some of the permissions required by the Messenger app are not user-adjustable—and the options are different from one phone to the next. iOS, for example, gives users more control over enabling and disabling certain permissions after an app has been installed.

On a Google Nexus 5 phone, the following permissions are not adjustable:

• Storage

• Other Application UI

• System tools (Install shortcuts)

• Microphone • Camera

• Your Personal Information (Read your own contact card)

• Your Social information

• Audio Settings

• Sync Settings

• Affects Battery

• Run at Startup

It’s also worth noting that SMS and phone call permissions can only be circumvented by declining to link a phone number when first installing the app.

If you are not comfortable granting the permissions listed above, you can always decline to install the Messenger app, or remove it from your device if you’ve already installed it. You can also read up on Facebook’s policies around collected user data.


By Kristin Ellison | Friday, August 22, 2014

Drawing Challenge in Action: Day 14


Our Design content manager Kristin Ellison takes on our 21-Day Drawing Challenge and lets you see the daily results.

Today Von challenged us to use the reference image below and change it to make it more dramatic.

By Ashley Kennedy | Friday, August 22, 2014

Setting Up a Recording Booth for lynda.com Courses

Ashely swapout

Have you ever shut yourself in an unventilated closet for hours at a time during the hottest, most humid months of the year?

It’s fun—let me tell you.

And if you’ve watched any of my courses on lynda.com, you’ve probably heard my voice speak through the sweaty resilience that resulted from such a setup. But no longer.

Life is looking up, and it’s thanks to the life-changing addition of a WhisperRoom recording booth to my professional setup.

By Anne-Marie Concepción | Thursday, August 21, 2014

Helpful, Uncommon Uses for Quick Apply in InDesign


Any designer worth her salt knows about Quick Apply in InDesign — but I have a few other uses for Quick Apply that often surprise InDesign users.

By Scott Fegette | Thursday, August 21, 2014

Songwriters: Make Royalties from Your Shows with ASCAP Plus


It’s hard to make a living as an independent songwriter in today’s music industry—and even more so if you’re not already established in the field.

When budgets are already tight, it’s tempting not to register with a PRO (performance rights organization) if you aren’t anticipating enough (or any!) radio play that could net you a royalty check.

But here’s a reality check for you: If you’re a serious songwriter, you really do need to register with a PRO if you ever expect to see a dime for your work.

By Kristin Ellison | Thursday, August 21, 2014

Drawing Challenge in Action: Day 13


Our Design content manager Kristin Ellison takes on our 21-Day Drawing Challenge and lets you see the daily results.

Today Von challenged us to draw a visual narrative—to tell a story with our drawing, without using speech bubbles.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Code Clinic: The Second Challenge


What is programming really like?

Code Clinic is a series of courses from lynda.com designed to help you understand the process of programming—something called “computational thinking.”

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