Category Archives: Webmastering

Tutorials, tips, and issues for maintaining a web site.

Not Fond Of Wikis

Over the last few weeks I’ve had to work on a Wiki. Overall the experience has been quite challenging, and I have had to adjust somewhat to the limitations of the Wiki script. While I do like the benefit of being able to quickly edit a page or section, I also find myself editing more and more, because I either hate the way my information is presented, or can’t decide on how to organize it. In other words, I find myself being more of an editor than actually authoring content, which over time frustrates me, because the whole reason I am using a wiki in the first place is to create content. The more I use wiki, the more I am beginning to think that I really don’t like wiki as a creative tool. Perhaps it is because I am now too comfortable with regular HTML, or because I use WordPress so much, or maybe because in the end, wiki tools are boring.

I have started to insert more HTML and CSS within the wiki entries to make them look nicer and I am somewhat satisfied with the results now. However I still can’t escape the notion that wiki is as limiting as using Microsoft PowerPoint, which I consider to be one of the worst pieces of software to ever be invented. I hate when people reduce complicated ideas into bullet points. Real life can’t be reduced to just an unordered list of points, it has to have meaning and sadly I think the wiki tool is just one step better than PowerPoint, which is to say it is mediocre. Not bad, but not great.

Affordable SSL Certificates

If you are thinking of starting up an eCommerce site or simply want to secure part of your website, then you probably are shopping around for an affordable SSL certificate. A few years ago there was no such thing as an affordable SSL cert. Every certificate would cost hundreds of dollars and the ones that did not were not officially recognized by the major browsers. Today, you have better options unless your eCommerce business is significant, in that case, you are still better off using a more expensive certificate. For the rest of us who can’t afford a 100% recognized certificate, there are options. The following sites all offer certs at reasonable prices. Our site, WebKeyDesign uses a RapidSSL certificate.

  • EV1Servers offers affordable RapidSSL certs and higher end QuickSSL certificates. EV1Servers is a major reseller of certificates, so that is why their prices are lower than other resellers and the certificate authority.
  • GoDaddy.com sell their own branded Turbo SSL and High Assurance certs. These certificates offer 256-bit encryption which is twice the encryption of most SSL certs.
  • Registerfly.com is another SSL reseller. They include custom Registerfly SSL logos with their certs.

You should be able to purchase an affordable SSL cert for around $20 from any of these sites. Although most older browsers will not officially recognize this type of certificate.

Before purchasing the certificate, you should decide before hand what url the certificate should be installed to. Most webmasters select a subdomain, like http://secure.yoursite.com, but you can use your regular site url (http://www.yoursite.com). For Windows servers, double-check before hand that the certificate you are purchasing works on Windows and your particular webserver software. Most of these certs should work on your standard cPanel based server (Apache + UNIX based OS like Linux).

The Spam War

By far the biggest problem with using the Internet is the massive amounts of spam that is clogging up the works. The most common is the spam you get in your email inbox, but increasingly there are tons of junk sites with nothing but useless content. If you run a forum or blog, you have to constantly monitor things due to the comment spam entries you get daily. Of late, I decided to start fighting back. Though I am not sure how effective the FTC is these days, I started to forward any and all spam emails I get to any of my email addresses.

If you get spam email that you think is deceptive, forward it to spam@uce.gov. The FTC uses the spam stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive email.

I found out that Mac OS X has a really handy feature, unique to the 10.4 release. Regardless of the program, if you hold the pointer over a URL link, the operating system shows you a tooltip window with the actual URL that the link is redirecting too. I am not sure this would work for shorturl redirection urls, but it does help quite a bit with many phishing emails.