Written: March 26, 2019

Aspen Dental Web Woes

In my house I get the job of paying bills, so when Aspen Dental sent me a bill I opted to pay online at their web site www.aspendental.com where I already had created an account. Oddly enough the paper bill that arrived in the mail had one amount due, but online it was a different amount due.

Aspen Dental
Online Dental Account

I typed in my Visa card credentials and waited for the transaction to be approved.

Credit Card payment
Broken Payment Page

The orange animated icon on the bottom spun in circles and I waited, however it never completed. Hmmm. Next I looked at my web browser for a special setting, Developer Tools, and it showed me that this payment page had 5 fatal Javascript errors. Not a good sign to be in business but have a broken payment page.

Javascript errors
5 Fatal Errors

Not a problem, I thought I will just report the bug on their web site. So where is the Contact Us form? This site has no method to send feedback or contact the owners, another major misstep.

OK, let’s give them a phone call and explain that their payment page is broken. First attempt I was put on hold, then disconnected. Second attempt I was disconnected. After lunch I tried a third time and finally got ahold of a live person, and I begged them not to disconnect me. They confirmed that the paper account balance was incorrect and took my credit card info over the phone.

I pointed out the fact that their web site has no way to contact the company with a Contact form or email address. I also request that they report their broken payment page to the web developer, but I didn’t get the idea that the person I was talking to had the intention to follow through.

Make sure that your business is on the web and has a way for clients to contact you by filling out a form, sending a text, tweeting or phoning. Then when a client does contact you, please follow through.

In the meantime, which dental group do you recommend, because I’m in the market for a new dentist.

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Secure Page Calling an Non-secure Form on Firefox

I have a client called YumFinder that has a secure shopping cart page that needed to call a non-secure form to continue shopping. My first approach was to include a link to the non-secure page (http):

Continue Shopping

With a browser like Internet Explorer 8.0 this works OK however with FireFox (Safari, Opera, Chrome) there is a warning dialog that pops up telling you that the form you are calling is not secure (http) while you are on a secure page (https).

I came up with a fix to avoid these security warnings. On the secure page I use a link to a PHP script which is also considered a secure page (https):

Continue Shopping

Then in the PHP script I redirect to my non-secure page:

header(‘Location: http://www.yumfinder.com/continue_shopping.html’);

The non-secure page (http) can now do it’s work:

I can understand why Firefox and other browsers get concerned about navigating from an https to an http page. Now I know how to keep my visitors from seeing un-needed security messages.

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Tethered Photography,Applescript, PHP, MySQL and Web Servers

I’m getting ready to do formal portraits at a corporate party in March so I’d like to share with you how I’ve automated my workflow to better serve clients. Here are my work flow objectives:

  1. Allow clients to be photographed, see proofs and order in a few minutes.
  2. Minimize any waiting in lines.
  3. Have fun, create lasting memories.

To achieve these objectives I’ve assembled the following technologies:

Here’s how the computers and camera are all connected:

I’m a geeky guy so I wrote my own Applescript to re-size and copy images, plus the proofing and order system was written with PHP, MySQL, Javascript, Dreamweaver and Photoshop.

My web server on the PC is using the popular XAMPP tools, which are Open Source.

I operate my Canon 5D just like always, on full manual with custom white balance, everything metered so there are no surprises. Using the USB2.0 cable it takes about 6 seconds for an image to go from the camera to the iMac. I shoot JPEG for event photos to save time and they look just great. 

This script takes about 5 seconds to re-size the full-size image into a proof and thumbnail size images, then copies them over to a folder on the PC where the web server is running.

Proofing and Ordering
The client uses a web browser to see their proofs. At first they see thumbnails. Clicking a thumbnail brings up a larger image with a price list.


Post Event
When I arrive back home after the event, then I run another web page to take my batch credit card orders and process them. Yes, I wrote that one too.

I’ve been able to achieve my event photography work flow objectives by using some standard technology and some custom technology to get the job done. My clients can be photographed, proof and order in a few minutes. They’re happy and I’m busy sending orders to my lab and then delivering prints to clients.

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One response to “Tethered Photography,Applescript, PHP, MySQL and Web Servers”

  1. Chris Roane says:


    I love the article and your blog. Would you be interested in exchanging links with me? My website is http://www.montanaprogrammer.com/ . Please let me know!

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Dynamic Content

My client at Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital wanted to show several slide images and text inside of an existing page, so I used dynamic content with Javascript to make it work. Visitors just move their mouse over a slide number to see a new photo and read text. See the live results here.

I’m using AJAX techniques more often to display dynamic page content without having to reload pages.

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