About Kimberly Larson

I am a high school graphic design & communications teacher who loves to teach other people about things that will make their lives easier.

#AdobeGenPro – App Development

Adobe Gen Pro - App

Adobe offers wonderful professional development opportunities via their Adobe Education Exchange! I’ve had to ability to take a number of amazing courses! Last year I started the App Development course but was unable to finish due to scheduling. Luckily, Adobe is now offering the course again!

We are learning how to create apps by writing HTML / CSS / JavaScript coding using a program called Brackets. (Brackets is a FREE coding program by Adobe. If you get a chance you should really take time and check it out. Download it here.) After we write our “app” using code we when send it to PhoneGap. (PhoneGap is another FREE program by Adobe! You can download it here.)

Watch a quick overview of Adobe Brackets

Watch a quick preview of Adobe PhoneGap

If you are interested in creating apps, I would take time and explore the possibilities of Brackets and PhoneGap. You might exactly what you need!

Why you need to change your password!


question mark

Why you should change your password

Last month I attended a workshop about cyber safety. The presenter, Dave L. Rutz, is actually a Computer Forensic Analyst. As he enlightened us about how computer passwords are crack it really started to make me think. There are three main ways that a hacker will try to figure out your passwords. The first method is known as the Dictionary Attack. The computer will go through the dictionary one word at a time until it figures out your password. This is the easiest password to hack. You may think that you have an awesome password by using something complex like “underfunded”, if you look in the dictionary there are 113 words in the English dictionary that contain the word “fun” verses “fund” there are 56 words verses 8 words that start with “funde”… you can see how quickly the “Dictionary Attack” can work. The second, and more difficult to hack, is known as the “Brute Force Attack”. This method works by trying to figure out one letter at a time. This can take some. The final method that we talked about is a combination of both Dictionary Attack and Brute Force Attack. Again while you think that you have a strong and powerful password like “juglandaceous” there are actually 3 words in the English dictionary that start with “junl” and 41 words that start with “jug”.

Now that we know how easy it will be to hack your current passwords how can we make a strong password you might ask. First you might want to renew your current passwords if you  either haven’t changed them in a while and/or you think you current password has been compromised. Next make your password complex by having it at least 8 characters, use upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and symbols. To avoid being hacked using the dictionary attack you will want to change your password to a “passphrase”. These are more difficult to crack. A passphrase might look like this “Tp4tci2s4U2g!” = “The password for this computer is too strong for you to guess!“. Notice the uniqueness of the password/passphrase, the caps / lower case, numbers, and symbols. Finally, make your passwords/passphrases unique. DO NOT use the same password for every account and DO NOT have your passwords relate to anything personal about you, such as your children’s names, address, zip codes, birthdays, car, favorite color. Thing about it, you post that kind of personal information about yourself on your social media pages all the time. If you have a hard time coming up with a password you can use this site to help you: http://www.onlinepasswordgenerator.com.

Of course while you are taking the time to come up with strong passwords you do not want to write them down on a sticky or shared media. If you put them in a file make sure your document is password protected or use a reputable password management software. When asked NEVER use the “Save Password” option on your computer. If you want to check and see how secure your password is you might want to check out: http://howsecureismypassword.net.

Happy computing!!!

** UPDATE **

Here’s a great article about “The Big Password Mistakes That Hackers Are Hoping That You’ll Make

Another great password checker: http://blog.kaspersky.com/password-check/

Color Blindness

Am I color blind? If so, what does that mean?

Color Blindness Test ResultsAfter my post about the X-Rite Color Deficiency test was so popular I thought I’d do a little more research into the matter. What I found was interesting to say the least. For example, if you are color deficient there are a few job that you cannot have such as a police officer or pilot. Did you know that in some European countries you can not have a driver’s licenses if you are color deficient due to the color coding of lights and signs. I’ve never thought about it but I could see why someone who is color deficient would not be able to be an electrician as well! Another job that came up in my research was Baggage Handler as there are some tagging systems that use color coding. (for more info) A few others that came up in my research were the Army, if you have red/green colour blindness; Custom & Excise Officer;  Civil Aviation: pilots (although this may change), engineers, technical and maintenance staff, air traffic controllers; Railways: drivers, engineers and maintenance staff; Hospital laboratory technicians and pharmacists; Paint, paper, textile manufacture, photography and fine art reproduction. One source cited the difficulties of being a chef if you are color deficient as you may not know if you are cooking the product correctly or if the product is good to begin with. That being said I know other people who are color deficient but lead successful careers in designers, illustrators, apparel designers, etc. There are tons of resources out there and I found out that there might be a cure in the near future!

Example of the Ishihara Color Blindness Test

Here’s an example of the Ishihara Color Test for Color Blindness. You should see the “12” in the top image and an “8” in the bottom image.

So, the question that people have is, Am I color Blind? The fact of the matter is that it is extremely rare that someone would be completely “color blind”, meaning that they only see in black/white. The truth is that people who are labeled as “color blind” are merely “color deficient” to a degree. According to the ColorVisionTesting.com website about 5%-8% of males are born with some sort of color deficiency as apposed to only 0.5% of woman are born with some sort of color deficiency.

Do you think you are color deficient? Here are a few places to go to test yourself. (computer nerd alert: of course the results might vary depending on the calibration of your monitor)

As a designer and a teacher of designers, I know that most people do not take into consideration the color deficient of the world. While working on a design if you want to double check your work to see how someone who is color deficient might see your designs/photos you can check our the Coblis — Color Blindness Simulator. Simply upload your image and take a look!

You also might want to take a look at Adobe’s Color Website! This is not only a wonderful resource for the color deficient but for the person who is not so great at matching or coming up with color schemes!

Adobe Kuler / Color

Adobe Kuler / Color

A couple of great resources that I found are ColorBlindnessAwareness.org and  ColourBlindness.com websites!

If you decide to take any of the tests and/or if you know you are color deficient, I would love to hear thoughts by commenting below!

How do I clean up my workspace in my Adobe Software?

What happened to my workspace in Adobe?! I CAN’T find anything!!!!

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 6.27.22 PM

Over the years I’ve had people contact me because their workspace in their Adobe software has been moved around, deleted, modified, etc. As you can guess, the question is always the same, “how do I change everything back to the way that it used to be”. Of course, Adobe makes this a very simple task. In the upper right corner, next to the help/search area, you’ll notice a drop down with your title of your current workspace.

workspaceYou’ll notice in my visual example that my current workspace I am in is called “Kimberly’s Workspace”. I personally like to make my own custom workspace. I arrange my panels and tools in a way that speeds up my workflow on different types of tasks. Currently you might be using the “Essentials” workshops, which is typically set as your default. If you have not explored the different workspaces available in the software you might wan to take a moment and see what they have to offer or you can always create your own if you like. The task is simple, arrange your panels and tools the way that you like them and the click on the workspace drop down and then click “New Workspace”. Simple right?! Back to the task at hand, how do you fix your workspace back to the way that you like it? Again, the answer is simple, click on the workspace drop down and then click “Reset *(name of your workspace you want to set it back to)*” and that is it.  Enjoy your nice and clean workspace!

reset workspace


* Please note that the visuals I’m using are for Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 but it should look similar in your version / software.

Do you have any color vision deficiencies?

xrite hue test

xrite hue test

Did you know that 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency? Interesting thought I know. Take the online color challenge, based on the official FM100 Hue Test by X-Rite. Reply to the post and let us know how you did. I scored an 8 🙂


X-Rite is the global leader in color science and technology. The Company, which now includes color industry leader Pantone, Inc., develops, manufactures, markets and supports innovative color solutions through measurement systems, software, color standards and services. X-Rite’s expertise in inspiring, selecting, measuring, formulating, communicating and matching color helps users get color right the first time and every time, which translates to better quality and reduced costs. X-Rite serves a range of industries, including printing, packaging, photography, graphic design, video, automotive, paints, plastics, textiles, dental and medical.


For more information about color deficiencies check out http:// http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/lightandcolor/humanvisionintro.html