How does Wikipedia Work?

Written: October 31, 2017

Every day I’m on the computer and a question arises, so I quickly go to Google on my web browser and type in a search phrase. Then the magic happens, I receive pages of results that help to quickly answer my question. Most often at the top of page one is at least one article from Wikipedia, that famous online encyclopedia of free information written by volunteers.

But wait, it isn’t really free because there are real costs to running such a web site, so this year I decided that since I use Wikipedia daily that it has real value to my business and personal life, so I made a donation. What about you?


After donating, here’s the nice email response that I received:

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your support of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation. Your contribution of $ 25.00 supports Wikipedia and helps secure the future of free knowledge for everyone.

Wikipedia is possible because of a powerful idea: that people, like you and me, can participate in building the world’s knowledge and making it freely available to everyone, everywhere.

Today, thanks to the support of millions of volunteer contributors and supporters, you can wander Wikipedia for hours. With more than 40 million Wikipedia articles and 35 million freely licensed images, Wikipedia can answer almost any question, and take you places you’ve never been.

Your donation supports the creation and sharing of free knowledge in real, practical ways. It helps us make Wikipedia fast, secure, and accessible to everyone in the world. It helps us bring free access to Wikipedia in places where high mobile data costs prevent people from going online. It helps us support people who are digitizing knowledge currently locked away in analog archives. It protects Wikipedia from threats to free knowledge and the open internet.

Your support means that you can find the information you need now, wherever you may be—to settle a bet with a friend at a dinner party, or to understand the world around us.

Donating to Wikipedia makes you the champion of a powerful idea.

Wikipedia will continue to evolve, grow, and meet new challenges. We’re excited and eager to meet these and more. Your donation will help us get there. We can’t thank you enough for your support. On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, thank you for investing in our future and taking this journey with us.

Katherine Maher
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Many employers will generously match employee contributions: please check with your employer to see if they have a corporate matching gift program. For your records: Your donation, number CNTCT-22812562, on 2017-10-31 was $ 25.00.

This letter may serve as a record of your donation. No goods or services were provided, in whole or in part, for this contribution. Please send mail to: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 98204, Washington, DC 20090-8204, USA. U.S. tax-exempt number: 20-0049703


Join me and consider making your donation today.


Mary Ellen is a Happy Client

Written: October 16, 2017

I first met Mary Ellen Baker at the Portland WordPress Meetup group and we’ve kept in touch over the years, because on occasion she has clients that need something special to be coded on a web site. Mary’s recent web client was and they wanted to re-use a custom video on their Home page after doing a site remodel project. I was able to do the custom coding and get that video migrated into WordPress OK, and it even works on tablet and mobile devices.

In response Mary Ellen took the time to write me a thank you note, which I received in the mail today, so I wanted to share it with you.

Thank you letter, Mary Ellen Baker

Thank you letter

If you’re curious to see the newly remodeled web site, visit and watch that video.

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Keeping your network updated

Written: October 5, 2017

In my home I use WiFi to connect my MacBook Pro to the Internet. Today I received an email from Netgear, the company that sold me the WiFi router, and they wanted me to update the firmware to the latest release for security reasons. Right away I took action, because I really want my WiFi network up to date and secure so that hackers cannot get into my network and disrupt my business or steal my identity.

Netgear eail

Netgear email

In my web browser I logged into the WiFi router, then went to the page where firmware updates are performed.

Netgear firmware

Netgear firmware

The whole process to update the firmware took maybe 3 minutes, and then I reset my WiFi router.

It’s a good feeling to be secure in my business, and I recommend that you take update notices from your WiFi router vendor as serious so that your business runs smoothly

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Poor Experience with LegalShield

Written: September 26, 2017

With all of the recent news of Equifax being hacked I still felt secure, because for the past several years I have been a member of LegalShield which provides a credit security auditing service called IDshield. Today I wanted to update my automated monthly payment from PayPal to a different credit card, so I went to login, that’s when the first problem showed up. My username and password weren’t accepted, so then I tried clicking the link for Forgot Your Password.

The form at Forgot Your Password didn’t accept my username, so now I was kind of stuck. The recourse was to phone their support line at 800 654 7757. On my first call the pre-recorded message ran for about 15 seconds, then went silent, then it disconnected me.

On the second phone call attempt I waited on hold for about 2 1/2 minutes, then was disconnected. My patience is starting to wear a bit thin at this point.

Finally, on the third phone call I did get a human to answer and they revealed that I had written down the wrong username, so once that was out of the way I could login to their web site just fine. I changed my automated monthly payment to a different credit card, then noticed that I had a dependent listed on the account, but several pieces of information were missing:

I dutifully filled out these four fields and clicked the Submit button, but was then met with an ugly error message:

Notice:ERROR: Update java.lang.StringIndexOutOfBoundsException: String index out of range: -2

Being a web developer I knew that this was a serious issue, because you never want a web visitor to fail at saving their fields. I noticed a Chat link on the web page, so clicked it and had the following conversation:

Legalshield chat

LegalShield[1:16 PM] Welcome to LegalShield!

LegalShield[1:16 PM] A Member Services Agent will be with you shortly.

Stephanie[1:16 PM] Good Afternoon. My name is Stephanie, how may I assist you?

Daniel J Payne[1:17 PM] When I try to update Dependent Information the form throws an error: Notice:ERROR: Update java.lang.StringIndexOutOfBoundsException: String index out of range: -2

Stephanie[1:18 PM] What information are you trying to update?

Daniel J Payne[1:19 PM] For my Dependent I tried to enter XXXX for the SS# last four digits, but it truncated it to XX instead. The error occurs when I enter a phone number: XXX XXX XXXX, and email:

Stephanie[1:20 PM] I’m sorry about that, I can take care of updating that information for you. The SSN is correct because anytime the last 4 starts with a zero it will not show it so that is why you only see XX. Just one moment please while I update that information for you.

Stephanie[1:21 PM] Okay I have that information updated for you. Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Daniel J Payne[1:21 PM] The Dependent phone number doesn’t save properly, still throwing that error message.

Stephanie[1:22 PM] I have added that number to your plan for you, it won’t let a phone number be saved under the dependent information it has to be under the named member which is completed.

Daniel J Payne[1:23 PM] Very odd, seems like a broken form to me, not exactly feeling secure.

Stephanie[1:24 PM] I’m sorry about that but the website is secure it just won’t allow for a dependent phone number to be added. Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Daniel J Payne[1:24 PM] Can you please ask the web development team to remove the field for Dependent phone number?

Stephanie[1:24 PM] I will send that over for review, not a problem.

LegalShield[1:25 PM] Chat session ended.



The folks at Legalshield need to fix two things right away:

  1. Automated phone system – no more disconnects
  2. Dependent fields – if they request info, then they need to save it successfully, not throw error messages


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