Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pushing PHP Output to the Browser

Because PHP is our favorite programming language, we do a lot of behind-the-scenes processing with it. Some of these processes are called from the command line, but most are triggered from the browser. When a long script is processing, it is useful to get updated messages about where it is at. Normally, the browser will just hang and spin until the entire script is done. But here is a way to send output to the browser before the process is finished. The loop and sleep command are contrived for demonstration purposes.

Please note that the header is very important here.


header( 'Content-type: text/html; charset=utf-8' );
for($i=1;$i<11;$i++) { echo "Step $i complete...
";
ob_flush();
flush();
sleep(3);
}

This is dependent on your server environment. Your results may vary.

Linked fields with datetimepicker

While using the Bootstrap DateTime Picker, it is often handy to link two fields for a date range. For example, a stop date (to) should not be before a start date (from). Here’s how…


var now = new Date();

$("#from_").datetimepicker({
format: "mm/dd/yyyy",
linkField: "from",
linkFormat: "yyyy-mm-dd",
minView: 2,
endDate: now
}).on('changeDate', function(ev){
$('#to_').datetimepicker('setStartDate', ev.date);
});

$("#to_").datetimepicker({
format: "mm/dd/yyyy",
linkField: "to",
linkFormat: "yyyy-mm-dd",
minView: 2,
endDate: now
}).on('changeDate', function(ev){
$('#from_').datetimepicker('setEndDate', ev.date);
});

This also has linked fields for submitting a date in a preferred format and today’s date for an upper limit (useful for reports).

Don’t let your domain name get taken hostage!

Who owns your domain name? You may be surprised by the answer. If you let a web designer or web developer register your domain name for you, he or she may be the legal owner. And if you end up parting ways with them, you may find yourself in a bad situation.

How can I make sure I own my domain? When registering a domain, make sure you register it yourself and you are the one paying for it. Domains are only about $10 per year, well worth the piece-of-mind you get. When you register a domain, contact and ownership information are kept on file with the registrar. The most important piece of information is the “Registrant” or “Registered Owner”. Registering a domain yourself insures that this will be you. A design or development firm could register a name on your behalf and any reputable one would make sure your name is listed as the registrar. But why risk it? Register the name yourself to be certain.

How can I see who owns my domain? You can look up the public records of a domain name here: http://who.is You should see your name and or company under Raw Registrar Data. If not, you need to contact the Registrant and get him to update this information. You may also see that there is a “Private Registration” put on the domain. This hides the registrant’s information from the public. With this privacy on, it is impossible to tell who is the owner without going to the registrar. The privacy feature usually costs more, so if you did not register the domain yourself and there is privacy in place, this can be a bad sign.

I don’t own my domain, what can I do now? The first thing you should do is contact the owner of your domain and nicely ask if they are willing to transfer the domain into your name. If you are in good standing with this person or company there is no reason they should refuse. If you are not in good standing you will need to begin a dispute with ICANN. This dispute falls under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy and is normally resolved by court litigation between the parties that are claiming rights to the registered domain. More information on the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy can be found here.

Is Refurbished Equipment Worth It?

If you are in the market for a new electronic device, you may be considering buying refurbished.  A factory refurbished item is usually repackaged and sold at a discounted price.  Not quite as low as used, but there are some advantages.  For example most refurbished items carry the same warranties an guarantees as a new item.  So you get a little more piece of mind than buying used.

So you may be wondering, what’s the catch?  Why was this refurbished?  Was it damaged or defective?  Can I really trust this equipment?

I would contend that refurbished is better than new.  Let’s take a new Apple computer for example.  If you need an Apple computer, it can be quite expensive compared to similar devices.  So you will look for any discount you can get.  But you decide you want to make sure it is tip-top and buy it in factory new condition.  That computer was made and packaged in China taken right off the assembly line and shipped straight to the US warehouses or right to your door?  You feelings about American made vs. foreign aside, this is the fact.

If you buy a refurbished Apple computer, it was repaired (or maybe just returned for no mechanical reason) scrutinized by an engineer in Cupertino CA, and found to be in excellent condition.  This engineer put his name and reputation behind this computer being in a condition good enough to resell and give a full warranty.

I always buy refurbished.  And I am always happy about my decision.

Innovation Through Laziness

I started programming because I don’t like working.  So I would create scripts to automate the tasks with which I was charged.  It wasn’t long before I had enough free time to see what my coworkers were doing in their jobs.  I am so lazy, I don’t like other people around me to have to work either.  So I’d make scripts for them.  Then I began making the scripts communicate with each other.  And thus my first full-on program was born and my job became to administer it.

My grandfather once asked me if I thought that one day I could be replaced by a machine.  My answer was, “I sincerely hope so”.

Web App vs. Mobile Application

As a software developer who wants to reach the broadest possible market, I have often considered the benefits of web applications compared to platform specific, “native” releases.  Since I have already made up my mind, I will forgo the charade of presenting both sides in an attempt to present spurious objectivity.  I will simply present my opinion.  I prefer Web Applications.  A single version can be deployed to users across multiple devices and countless platforms.

Domain Name Scams

Many people and companies try to take advantage of others through domain name scams.  Don’t be a victim of one of these schemes.

Case #1 solicitation to register similar domains

An unsolicited attempt to sell you domain names similar to your own should usually be ignored.  For example, assume your domain name is yourdomain.com.  A domain company may send an email to you offering to register similar domains on your behalf.  I.e. yourdomain.net, yourdomain.org, yourdomain.us, yourdomain.ca, yourdomain.cn, yourdomain.de, your-domain.com etc…  In fact, there are currently 280 TLDs (Top Level Domains, such as .com or .net).  Not to mention theyour-domain.com , your-domain.net, and so on.  It is just not practical or affordable to register every available variation of your domain.  You may, however, decide you do want one or two additional domains to park on op of your main domain, or to host a side project, or just to protect your name from someone else buying a similar one.

Ok, so lets assume you do decide that you want to buy one of these similar domains.  There is still no reason you have to register it with the company soliciting you.  Until purchased, domains are freely available from any registrar.  And usually the companies making these offers have signifigantly higher than average costs.  You should also consider that you already have a domain name registered with somebody.  It makes life much easier when all your domains are with the same company.  That way you have one place to go to control them and one company billing you to keep track of.  If you don’t like your current registrar, consider shopping around and changeing.  We recommend registering your domains through the company that does your web hosting.  This provides convenient management of all your internet related services.

Another good reason not to register any domains with a company that practices these types of marketing tactics is that these companies are unscrupulous and untrustworthy. They have already sent you spam (an unsolicited email).  They are violating ICANN bylaws by using whois information to create a marketing list.  They often try to scare you or threaten that if you don’t buy these domains it will hurt your business.  Below is an example of an email a client of ours received.  Note how they claim that someone else is interested in these domain names and they, out of the kindness in their hearts, are giving the mark an opportunity to buy it first.

____________________________________

Dear Sir/Madam

We are a internet service (software development, website design and development, wifi network works to promote the protection of brands, search engine optimization, etc.) company in China,

Several days ago we received a formal application submited by Robert  Jiang who wanted to use the keyword  “yourobscuredomain” to  register the Internet Brand and with

suffix  .cn / .com.cn / .net.cn/ .hk/ .asia/ .info/ .tw/ .us/ .jp/ .fr/ .de/ …domain names.

After our initial checking through Internet , we found that the keyword “yourobscuredomain” to be applied for registration  is  same as your  keyword.Accordingly,before we finish his registration,we would like to get  your final decision about  this,whether you mind his registration,if you believe his registration would affect your bussiness and produce conflict,then we could give your priority to register them,as the keyword is first used by your company.However,if you do not think so,please advise of that and then we will finish his registration.

For  proceeding the next step, Please contact us by Fax ,Telephone or Email as soon as possible.   Under the circumstance of no your reply during the next 5 working days ,we will consider you to give it up and finish his registration.

Yours sincerely
Cherry
Checking Department
Tel:  86 513 85330968
Fax:  86 513 80260081
Email:Cherry@wifinantong.com
Website: www.wifinantong.com

____________________________________

The domain name was changed to protect the innocent, but every other word is as sent.  I know, it is hard not to trust “Cherry” from the “Checking” department.  But I think ” Robert  Jiang” is not probably not interested in this obsure domain at all.  Maybe I am just synical, so I will keep checking to see if those domains ever get registered by anyone.  If they do, I will formally apologise to Cherry.  But here is a link to another example of the same message.  http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/1279391.html  Either Robert  Jiang is some kind of internet mogul trying to buy up every obscure domain name available, or this is a confirmation that this is a scam.  Im not saying that they are not a real company who could regester these domains, but that they are contacting peoplle under false pretense and illegally in some jurisdictions.

Case #2 solicitations that look like invoices

This practice became popularized by Domain Registry of America. This wikipedia article outlines this scam…

____________________________________

The Domain Registry of America is an Internet domain registrar based in the Canadian province of Ontario best known for sending solicitations for business that resemble legitimate invoices.
In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with the company for practices such as transferring domain registrations to their service under the guise of domain renewal, a practice known as domain slamming, and having hidden fees. Despite this action, the company still sends mass direct mail to consumers resembling invoices with “domain name expiration notice” in bold print. Targets for the company’s mass mailings are known to be in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States with information obtained in violation of their ICANN registrar agreement.
They have also now (Aug 2009) started emailing potential customers with an email scam, purporting to indicate that the transfer of a domain is ‘not complete at this time’, and requesting the domain owner follows a series of steps to complete the transfer to DRoA. These are highly misleading emails

____________________________________

The best case scenario for falling for this scam is that youll be paying 3 times the average price for your domain.  We have also heard reports of clients losing thier domain altogether.

Bottom Line

Do not use an disreputable company to register your domain names. A domain name today can be more important than an 800 number in terms of allowing your clients to reach you.  It is your home on the internet and is usually connected to all of the emails in your company.  To lose a domain name can be devistating to a small business.  That is why we recommend not using a company you are unfamiliar with or one that has shady business practices.

If you have any questions regarding your domain name or registering a new name, call us.

Effective Password Strategies

To make internet applications useful, a balance needs to be struck between convenience and security.  Advances in technology attempt to bridge the gap between the two.  Unfortunately, rather than moving forward together, the two concepts generally play leapfrog, one trying to catch up with the other.

Passwords are a good way to demonstrate the disparity between the concepts of convenience and security.

For example, “1234” is a very convenient password.  It is easy to remember and fast to enter.  But the drawbacks are obvious.  Due to it’s short length it is very susceptible to brute force attacks (trying one password after another in a strategic sequence).  Let alone the fact it could be easily guessed.  Most people would agree that to protect anything sensitive using this password is not a good idea.  So they opt for a special date, or a meaningful number, or the name of someone or something close to them, etc.  These passwords can actually be less secure than the original example.  These sorts of seemingly personal information are often readily available on the internet either though public records and third-party sources like Google, or self published information like that on Facebook or MySpace.  The bottom line here is that a memorable password would rarely be secure.

Alternatively “d$Gr~42h7pDW%a9” is a terrific password.  The chance of it being guessed is zero.  And it would take a brute force attack literally years to crack. The problem with it is it’s near impossibility for the average person to remember.  This would necessitate storing the password somewhere which creates other security problems.  It would also take considerable time and effort to enter the password even knowing it.  I have used passwords like this and it sometimes even takes me several tries to enter it due to misreading it or typographical errors.

Here are some password dos and don’ts to consider when choosing a password…

Do:
– Include numbers, letters (upper and lower case), and special characters (like ! or * or #, etc.)
– Make your password as long as possible
– Change your password regularly

Don’t:
– Use personal facts such as the last 4 of your social or the name of a child or pet
– Use the same password for trusted and untrusted sources
– Include your username in your password

Password Creation Strategies:
Try to have at least two passwords.  One that is highly secure for use in online banking, etc.  And one “quick and easy” password that is more memorable.  This one you should use to sign up for newsletters or subscribe to sites that you don’t necessarily trust.  With your secure password, try using a phrase if possible.  This can give you the benefit of length, spaces, punctuation, and capital letters.  And at the same time it can be easy to remember and enter.