Commercial Web Sites with Bugs

Written: September 27, 2016

I often read the OregonLive.com web site for local news and today I found an interesting article about an eLearning company in Portland called OpenSesame, so I browsed over to their web site. The site is well-designed and full of interesting content, so I wondered about how many WordPress classes that they offered, so I clicked on a button for Browse Classes. Then it happened, the dreaded pop-up dialog with an error message:

OpenSesame error message

It’s never a good idea to have your web site throw error messages, because it makes the visitor suspicious about how viable your company, products or services may be. I clicked the OK button and continued to look at the search results for WordPress and found a handful, so obviously this platform is not a big one for the 100,000,000 users of WordPress. Most of us just visit Google and find plenty of free WordPress tutorials out there instead of paying for training.

I did continue on the OpenSesame site to use their Chat feature and they responding quickly, asking me to email a screenshot of the error message to their support department. I wish OpenSesame much success, however they really should be doing more QA work on their web site by having testers click every button and link to double-check that all is working OK, instead of letting a hapless, first-time visitor stumble onto errors.

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Running Windows 10 on a Mac

Written: September 26, 2016

In my web development business I have a need to use both Mac and Windows operating systems for browsing web sites, so one way to do that is by using a MacBook Pro with a version of Windows running virtually. What does virtual mean? Even though my hardware is a Mac, there’s a software company called Parallels that offers a product to let you install and use Windows on your Mac, although it won’t be running at full speed like on a dedicated PC. For web browsing this virtual solution is just fine for me, plus I get to continue using the Quicken software for my business accounting.

As Windows keeps upgrading versions and also Mac, I eventually have to upgrade my version of the Parallels software, so today I upgraded to version 12 of Parallels:

Parallels 12

The upgrade process was pretty straight forward and I could download and start installing the software right away:

Install Parallels 12

To keep me honest the install process has an activation code that is unique to my computer, so I don’t go around sharing commercial software:

Activate Parallels 12

Invoking Parallels version 12 there is one last app to install, Parallels Tools:

Parallels Tools

There you have it, Parallels 12 is all updated and I can use the latest version to run Windows 10 on my Mac:

Windows 10 on a Mac

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Even PayPal Has Bugs

Written: September 7, 2016

I use PayPal both in my business and for personal financial transactions because it is so easy to use, especially compared to a credit card. With PayPal I can checkout with just my email and password, however with a credit card I need to supply much more information:

So just from a pure typing viewpoint using PayPal will save you time over using a credit card with every use.

Is PayPal perfect? No. Just today I received a $400 payment, so I logged in and planned to transfer that money into my bank account but was greeted with an odd sight because my balance should’ve said $400, instead it showed no balance:

 

paypal-bug

I’ve never seen this bug before, so I went looking for support and a phone number to call:

call-us

 

I was on hold for just a few minutes and then the support person listened to my bug report, acknowledged that it was a real bug and that PayPal engineers were working to fix the bug, so I just get to wait for my account balance to appear again.

After one day of patiently waiting the techs at PayPal have fixed the bug and my account balance is now correct. See, patience is a virtue..

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Spotting Fake Domain Name Registration Scams

Written: September 2, 2016

As a web developer I own my own domain name of www.tualatinweb.com and several others for clients. Almost every week I receive phony email messages from bogus companies asking me to renew my domain name, or else. Here’s a typical example that I just received a few minutes ago in my In Box:

fake-domain-name-registration

After a quick glance it could be a credible email because it has a pleasant heading color of orange, and a big, blue button that they want me to push labeled: Renew Now

As an owner of a domain name it is important for you to keep your real account updated so that your web site continues in service without any embarrassing interruptions or down time. Now, let’s dive in and start taking a closer look to understand why this particular email is a phishing scam and not legitimate.

  1. My Full Name

A legitimate vendor has my full name on file, and they will use it in all email communications. Notice that this email has name or personalization included at all. Strike one.

2. My Account Number

Where is my account number in this email? Not to be found. So that’s strike two, folks.

3. Who are You?

As I hover my cursor over the From email address is reveals┬áthat the sender of this email is using a domain name of romconsults.com, which is not my actual vendor’s domain name. And that gaffe makes it strike three. But wait, there’s more.

bogus-email

4. English grammar

They used a very odd phrase, “search engine registration” which makes no technical sense to me. Correct phrases would be “search engine optimization” or “domain name registration”.

5. Renew Now

Hovering my cursor over the big, blue button reveals a strange URL address of www.thedomainregistration.net, which is not the name of any vendor that I do business with.

bogus-url

 

Summary

Trust email only from vendors that you know, where they include your full name, show an account number, have a company logo, and use links to only vendor addresses that you are 100% certain of, otherwise it is a bogus email trying to phish your credentials and cheat you out of money.

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