Even Big Companies get Web Security Wrong

Written: June 20, 2013

My son wanted a new bike so we found a wonderful deal at www.target.com and received the bike just fine.


When I received my new REDcard from Target I signed up to manage my account online, however their SSL security certificate was invalid, as reported by my Google Chrome browser:

bad security at target.com

Even big companies like Target have issues with their SSL certificate.

If you ever question if a site is safe, then just click the https icon and get more details:

ssl details


I then tried browsing the Target site with Safari, the default browser on a MacBook Pro, same error message as Google Chrome:

Safari Mac error

Oddly enough, two browsers had no complaints:


I did follow up and report this to Taget both by sending an email form and spending 16 minutes on the phone with tech support. Ironically the two phone support people simply told me to try another browser, in spite of my attempts to ask them to submit this serious security bug to their technical department.

HP Cloud Service Has Epic Fail

Written: June 6, 2013

HP is a trusted and giant computer company with a number one position in laptop revenue worldwide. I’ve been using their HP Photosmart printer in my office for several years now and enjoyed using the ePrintCenter.

Tonight HP sent me an email with a free offer to upgrade to HP Connected, their cloud storage. It sounded attractive so I gave it a try.

HP Connected offer

A cool-looking sign-in page appeared:

HP ConnectedI typed in my Password and clicked the big blue button, hoping for the best however the login simply failed:

HP system error

If this were an amateur web site then I could forgive the entry-level web programmer for making such a gaffe, however this is a multi-billion dollar leader in our computer industry, so I expected so much more.

Many other reliable suppliers have already provide me with free cloud storage:

I wish HP all the best in joining the cloud party, however they are terribly late and ended up at the wrong house tonight.

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Phone Service Choices

Written: May 23, 2013

For my freelance web business I’m using a cellphone, however you have several choices for your business and home phone service today. Here are some of the phone choices to consider:

Service Initial Cost Monthly 3 Year Cost
Land Line $29-$129 per phone $45-$65/mo. $1,649 to $2,469
Cell Phone $29-$199 per phone $25-$95/mo. $929 to $3,619
Internet Phone $50 VOIP box, $19-$69 per phone $0/mo. $69 to $119

I have used all three of these choices, and I can tell you that the final option of using an Internet phone is my preferred choice today. Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of each choice.

Land Line – Pros

It’s familiar, the same kind of technology that your parents used. It works when the power goes out, and you can dial 911. Need some limited mobility, then use a cordless phone.

Land Line – Cons

It’s the most expensive option, which is why over half of USA households have switched to option #2, the cell phone instead of a land line. They are the largest in size, and will not fit into your pocket.

Cell Phone – Pros

You probably have an old cell phone lying around the house, so why not use it for your home phone number? Cell phones are small, pretty reliable, and SmartPhones are feature-rich. You can still dial 911 and get help. They are small and portable, easy to carry in your pocket.

Cell Phone – Cons

Still a bit pricey, especially for ocasional usage. Fragile when dropped and they don’t like water. During peak usage, your cell phone service can be spotty to non-existant.

Internet Phone – Pros

Most homes and businesses already have a broadband Internet connection, so it’s easy to connect. They are flexible and have features like voice mail that can be accessed from any web browser. The monthly cost of $0.00 is very attractive.

Internet Phone – Cons

You cannot dial 911, so for emergencies have another device to call for help. You have to set things up to get the free monthly price.

How to Spend $0.00/month

You’ve read this far, so you should be curious about what I’m using to get free monthly phone calls:

my free phone setup


To setup Google Voice you can follow a tutorial at Obihai.

After you unbox the Obihai box, you’ll want to go to the web and create an account, follow this tutorial.

Finally, you need to tell the Obihai box about your Google Voice account, and follow this final tutorial.

There you have it, I’m making free phone calls for my home phone number, the sound quality is better than a cell phone, and the voice mail indicator even works on this Vtech phone. From my web browser I can also see or hear my voice messages as well, very slick.

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Changing 100’s of Prices

Written: May 21, 2013

We all love flexibility with our web sites, especially the ability to login and change prices. I have a web client that needed to change hundreds of prices in a quick and efficient manner. At first I thought of presenting a single page with all of the price names and values, but when I tried that it was too much scrolling up and down to find what I was looking for.

The approach that I ended up with was to use the familiar Tab metaphor with the major category names across the top:

We used WordPress on this project to allow the client to login and make their updates using just a web browser. This is the back-end to the web site that I blogged about most recently, see what the front-end looks like.

For the technically inclined, this project used jQuery UI and jQuery Tabs.

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