Oregon Health Care Web Site Woes

Written: February 12, 2018

I don’t really like the idea of being forced to choose healthcare from a government site instead of the free market, but that’s the system that we have so I make the best of it. Today I received an email message about my health care account:

State email

State email

The first funny thing about this email is that Apple mail moved it straight into the Junk folder, probably because of the very odd email address of NoReply.Forms@hsoha.state.or.us

The second point which bothered me is that the state of Oregon knows my first and last name, plus my account number, however none of that information is shown in this email, so it really looks like a phishing scheme instead of a legitimate email message.

Point three of concern is that there is no personal information like John Smith, Deputy Director of Oregon Health Services listed in the message.

Fourth point of caution are the two hyperlinks for http://oregonhealthcare.gov because when you click these links you get redirected to another address at http://healthcare.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx, something that criminal web sites regularly do. I mean that state is going out of their way to make me not believe this email at all. I then have to guess that the proper link to click is called Already Covered:

Already Covered

Already Covered

Next I have to read a paragraph to find yet another link to click:

one.oregon..gov

one.oregon.gov

This link actually brings me to the correct web site address that should’ve been in the email to start with, but for government reasons wasn’t. Finally, so I try my login credentials:

Login

Login

Of course my password is rejected because the government wants me to change it again, so another several clicks and I have yet another new password. Now it tells me that I have two cases to consider:

Two Cases

Two Cases

I try both cases, yet each one has no new messages for me:

No messages

No messages

So, I’ve spent some 15 minutes trying to read a message from one.oregon.gov, yet there aren’t any messages. Can you imagine how frustrating my web experience with this government web site is right now?

It’s really beyond all reasonable expectations to have citizens like myself trust the ineptness of the Oregon web site that is here to help me with health care information and insurance.

I have many online accounts like for banking and my IRA that are 100% functional and easy to use, nothing like the brokenness of the one.oregon.gov web site. I’m counting the days until health care decisions and web sites go back to the private sector again, because honestly the old web sites worked quite well and for a price that I can afford.

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Remember to Update your WiFi Router Firmware to Stay Secure

Written: January 18, 2018

Today I received an email from Netgear, my vendor for WiFi router used in the home office, so I read through it and decided to follow their security advice and follow the simple steps.

Netgear email

email from Netgear

It’s also best practice to double-check any email message like this by viewing the From address, and then hovering the cursor over any link just to make sure that you know where the link is pointing to before actually clicking it. This email passed my scrutiny, so the next step was to browse the link and find out what version of firmware I already had:

Firmware Version 1.0.0.16

So yes, there was a newer version of firmware at 1.0.0.18, so I started the update process and watched the progress bar:

firmware updating

Firmware updating

The update process only took a few minutes, so not a big deal in lost productivity for me. When the firmware update was complete I checked to see the latest version number of 1.0.0.118:

Version 1.0.0.118

You should always update to the latest firmware when your WiFi Router vendor sends you an email. When you purchase a new WiFi router make sure and register your product so that you can receive these useful update email notifications.

My previous update was in October 2017, so it looks like Netgear takes security seriously and continues to support their WiFi routers with new releases as soon as they find any exploit.

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Keep Your macOS updated, or else be insecure

Written: January 4, 2018

It’s a common myth that Apple Mac computers are not hacked, and that somehow they are inherently more secure than Windows computers. Every computer ever created is a target of hackers, so it’s a best practice to keep updated from your computer vendor whether it’s Microsoft, Apple or Linux. This week there’s a lot of press being written about an Intel CPU security flaw. Here’s a link with more details at 9to5mac.

On your Mac just double-check that you are at macOS 10.13.2, click the Apple icon, then choose About this Mac:

 

macOS 10.13.2

macOS 10.13.2

So this security bug affects CPU chips from Intel, AMD and even Arm.

Welcome to 2018, keep your OS updated, and may your business continue to grow this year.

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Automobile Monitoring with RightTrack, Epic Fail

Written: December 15, 2017

I recently compared automobile insurance prices and found out that Liberty Mutual offered me a 40% savings advantage over my current coverage, so I switched companies and then heard about a high-tech program that they offered called RightTrack where a small device is placed in my car then linked to my smart phone with an App to monitor driving patterns like:

Two devices arrived in the mail and I easily installed them on the windshield of our cars. Next up was to download the App and pair with the devices, which worked out OK.

RightTrack device

RightTrack device

I also asked my wife to install the App, however when she opened the App it began to constantly crash on her phone, then I noticed that when I opened the App it was also crashing on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone:

App Crashes

I phoned tech support about this and they had me un-install then re-install, but to no avail after 60 minutes of efforts.

Today I received an updated version of the RightTrack app, however it fails to find my Location Services, which are turned on:

Version 2.40.52 Fails

Version 2.40.52 Fails

My oldest son just signed up for auto insurance with Progressive, which also offers a monitoring device in cars to provide feedback to the insurance company on how you drive, and thankfully his experience had no drama, it simply worked out of the box as advertised.

Conclusion

I’m loving the lower auto insurance rate provided by Liberty Mutual, however their RightTrack app is a total failure. If you look at the app on the Google Play store it has the worst rating of only 1.5 stars. This is a huge embarrassment for Liberty Mutual, but I have low expectations on them actually fixing the App because it has been broken for about one year new. It’s really too bad, because the folks at Progressive have already figured out this type of monitoring system, so it’s not like Liberty Mutual or RightTrack are breaking any new technology ground here.

You would assume that a large company like Liberty Mutual would require that their technology vendors like RightTrack would actually test out their App before releasing it to the public, but somehow that didn’t happen here.

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