How to Not Change Your Password

Written: April 21, 2016

I’ve used the free Skype app for several years now and it has allowed me to speak with other professionals in San Jose and Tokyo for free by using a computer connected to the Internet. We all setup Skype accounts, then use the app to talk on our computers instead of making expensive overseas telephone calls. Way back in 2011 Microsoft paid some $8.5 Billion to acquire Skype and they pretty much left that company alone to run their business as before, that is until just recently. I received an email update from Skype yesterday telling me that a credit in my account was becoming inactive, so I decided to login to Skype and keep my credit active.

Microsoft wanted me to login with my Skype or Microsoft account, and I selected my Skype account. Next, it showed a dialog forcing me to update my password:

Skype Password

The first time that I tried this update password procedure I was confirming my password and the dialog told me that the passwords didn’t match, however it would let me go back and update the first password, it would only let me update the confirmed password. Uh, that is a catch-22, I couldn’t proceed because I had a typo in my first password yet I wasn’t allowed to change my first password. The only work around was to revisit the site at www.skype.com and start all over.

I’m all for security and sometimes prodding web users to update their passwords to something more secure, but when you do that prodding you need to allow a web user to update any field on the form, not keep them stuck on the confirmation password field only.

I would expect a small company to make an annoying user interface mistake like this one, but not a major corporation like Microsoft which should know better about using best User Interface best practices that allow a user to change any form field at any time, for any reason.

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Banking Phishing

Written: April 12, 2016

Both my business and personal banking are online, saving me time and effort to run my company and personal finances. Getting an email alert from a bank can be a bit dramatic, as I found out this morning when the following message arrived.

WFB phishing

At first glance this appears to be an official email from Wells Fargo Bank, but upon closer inspection a few things didn’t look quite right to me:

The final detail to help me realize that this was actually a phishing scam was that hovering my cursor over either button showed that the link was not going to www.wellsfargo.com, but rather another phishing web site that would certainly try and steal my real username and password to break into my real account.

Be very suspicious of any email from a financial institution like a bank, because you need to be 100% certain that the email is coming from your trusted vendor and not a scammer trying to steal your identity.

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Room for App Improvements

Written: April 7, 2016

On the web we can browse a site that is designed for mobile devices, or we can use an App. My local haircut store is Great Clips in Tualatin and this franchise has gone the App route. Installing the App is straight forward and when it opens I just have to click one button: Check In

Great Clips check in

Clicking that button brings up a map of the many Great Clips locations, along with the wait time at each store:

Map, Great Clipos

Today I wanted to go in for a hair cut, so I used this App from Great Clips, selected the closest store in Tualatin and it came back with a 29 minute wait time. No big deal, I just did some email on my computer and waited until the wait time reached 9 minutes, then I drove 5 minutes to reach the store in time, and sure enough my name was listed as #1 on their display board. Once inside the store the lady told me, “Oh, we have another customer in front of you, so there is at least another 10 minutes of wait time.”

My incredulous reply was, “I used your App and it told me when to be here, and I arrived on time, plus my name is #1 on your list, how can you bump me to number two?”

She replied, “Oh, that’s not how it works here, when anyone walks in they get placed on the list and you have to wait.”

I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I simply left their store and probably will never return again. Great Clips has just lost another loyal customer because their App promised me one thing, and yet the Tualatin store seemingly cares more about walk-ins then App users, even when the App user is #1 on their display board.

I’m all for using Apps and display boards to empower your customers, but to be effective your business will have to use a policy that makes sense to the clients, otherwise you are going to risk losing loyal customers like Great Clips just did with me.

Corporate Response

Here’s the response from Great Clips customer service at the corporate level:

Great Clips corporate response

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Keeping Your Smart Phone Updated

Written: April 1, 2016

My smart phone is used for both business and personal tasks, so it’s important for me to keep it updated to the latest release of the Operating System to ensure that security is kept current, plus it’s plain fun to have something new and shiny to use. AT&T is my wireless carrier and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is my phone, so today I received a message from AT&T that their Android 5.1.1 version was all ready to be installed. I basically read the dialog and clicked the Continue button, quite simple. The whole process took maybe 12 minutes or so, because after installation it has to optimize each App, and my phone has 81 Apps.

In the end I can click on Settings> About device and see that Android is now at the 5.1.1 version.

Android 5.1.1

Your carrier probably has a very similar scenario to follow for upgrading the Android OS, and even Apple devices are quite easy to update the OS with.

Before updating make sure that you have at least 25% battery life, because the last thing that you want to happen is for an update to be interrupted by your device turning off unexpectedly in the middle of the process, something that could leave you with a brick for a phone.


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