Jul 20, 2020

Wait... Is Microsoft Azure Using VMWare?

My company made the move to Microsoft Azure a couple of years ago. For the most part, we really like it. We've had the occasional hiccup, and their support is trash, but at least their platform is easy to learn and is relatively stable.

Well, an interesting thing happened today. I was in the process of upgrading some Ubuntu servers to 18.04, and during the upgrade process I noticed this:


It appears that their Linux VMs have VMWare Tools installed. Which begs the question, is Azure using VMWare on the back end? One would think they were using Hyper-V.

Anyway, I thought that was interesting and should share it with you guys. If you know more about it, let me know in the comments!

Jun 30, 2020

Get Ready For An Epic SSL Certificate Maintenance Shitstorm


According to ZDNet, Apple made the executive decision back in February of this year to limit the default lifespan of SSL/TLS certificates to 398 days.
A decision that Apple unilaterally took in February 2020 has reverberated across the browser landscape and has effectively strong-armed the Certificate Authority industry into bitterly accepting a new default lifespan of 398 days for TLS certificates.
Google has opted in to join Apple as well according to The SSL Store:
It’s no secret, Google has been championing shorter certificate validity within the CA/Browser Forum (CA/B Forum) for years. At the end of last week, a well-known voice within the forum posted on Twitter that the tech giant will be making the switch to a one year validity period of 398 days for SSL/TLS certificates starting Sept. 1. This might sound like a big move, but it doesn’t actually change anything because it was already happening.
Mozilla will be jumping on the bandwagon on August 31st according to a Git Hub post.

What will this mean? Well, for one, if you host a website that has a two year SSL certificate, all major browser are going to start displaying an error warning users that your certificate is valid for too long.

I actually agree, this will probably make things more secure. The more frequently you swap your encryption keys, the better the security. I'm already doing it with LetsEncrypt on my personal email server because LetsEncrypt makes you renew every 3 months! LetsEncrypt makes renewal easy at least with the help of automation scripts.

Swapping out certificates every year in other places can be a pain if you are using other 3rd party CA's, and manually renew your certificates. It's even more of a pain when you have clients that use Java applications and manually trust their 3rd party keys for additional stringent security. That means we have to swap our keys out probably every 200 days now at my day job so we can send the keys to clients ahead of time for testing and validation...

Basically an SSL Certificate Maintenance Shitstorm!

Do you manage SSL certificates in your environment? How are you handling it? Let us know in the comments!

Jun 12, 2020

An SSL Certificate is An SSL Certificate is An SSL Certificate

You are probably looking at the title of this post and scratching your head right about now. Allow me to try to explain my thought process here. Many moons ago I worked as a Systems Engineer for a SharePoint consulting company. It was the first place I started messing with SSL certificates for encryption. Granted, I didn't know as much about them as I do now, but I had the basics down.

One thing we did there was purchase GoDaddy SSL certificates because at the time, they were probably the cheapest 3rd party certificates out there. Shortly after I started buying them, I found the now defunct StartSSL which issued free 3rd party SSL certificates that were trusted by browsers.

It was around this time I realized that as long as a browser trusted a certificate, it really didn't matter which 3rd party certificate company you went with. I mean, the technology is the same. A certificate really is just a text file with random characters in it that is matched by another key file that is also just a text file with random characters in it. There is really nothing inherently special about a Verisign certificate vs a DigiCert certificate vs a Sectigo certificate... Basically an SSL certificate is an SSL certificate is an SSL certificate. Do you follow me?

One might have argued back then that an EV, or Extended Validation certificate is a little more special, but even then all certificate authorities offer those. Some cheaper than others, and again my point is proven.

Well I just stumbled on an article that backs my original thought on this, and goes a little bit further by arguing that even EV certificates are kind of unnecessary now, and you might as well just go with a free 3rd party certificate authority like Lets Encrypt!


...as of Autumn 2018 browsers are increasingly hiding the only information that distinguishes between these two types of certificates. It is fully possible some users will never know a site has an EV certificate in use. Google and Apple have already shown that they can and will stop showing the added benefits of higher cost security certificates, and most others will surely follow. Moreover, most users do not care or know the difference between a DV or EV certificate. To most people a site either has the padlock, or it does not, and if an EV certificate is visible, they often find the additional information confusing.

So then, why pay for these fancy certificates? Some certificate providers will offer a “warranty” on a certificate purchase. Cutting to the chase, it is not clear what value these warranties provide. There is no record of anyone using a certificate warranty, and there may not ever be. As the benefits of the higher end certificates continue to dwindle into irrelevance, all that remains is the normal, trusted, DV certificates that throw up the padlock and say it has a secure connection. This lock could be green, or grey, or whatever color the browser chooses to display. The fact of the matter is that the browser controls how the certificate displays to the user, not the certificate.

What do you think about this? Do you agree with Paradox Labs? Let us know what you think in the comments!


Jun 11, 2020

SSL Grades For The Top 6 Social Media Sites

I've been keenly aware of SSL/TLS settings on web servers for the past 9 years. Mainly because securing websites has been a big part of my job, and part of that is keeping up to date with the latest threats to SSL/TLS encryption in websites. Periodically PCI/DSS standards change which means I have to scramble to implement improved SSL/TLS standards for the websites owned by the company I work for. One of the tools I use to test my own servers is SSL Labs by Qualsys

Those of you that have been following my blog for years know about it since I write about it periodically.

Well, one of the things I like to do is check other websites and see how their SSL/TLS stands up. Are they secure enough? Should I trust them? You get the picture.

I decided to test 6 of the top social media sites out there to see if they cut the mustard! Here they are:

Twitter

Coming in at the best secured social media site with a beautiful A+ rating is Twitter! I can't complain about that at all. Well done!




LinkedIn

The social media site for professionals did fairly well with an A rating. They got dinged a little for not having DNS CAA settings which in short tells browsers which SSL certificates are authorized for use by that particular domain. It is a really easy to setup, so there isn't a good reason not to have that done. They also got dinged for weak ciphers. Still though, not a bad rating.




Facebook

Probably the king of social media, and often slammed for their draconian censorship is Facebook with a trash rating of B! They were capped at a B because they still support TLS 1.0 and 1.1 which was depreciated by PCI/DSS a couple of years ago. They also accept the RC4 cipher which is garbage. More on that after the rest of the ratings.



Snapchat

The app used by teenage girls and basic bitches on Tinder! I've said it before, your animal Snapchat dating profile picture isn't cute! Knock that shit off! Anyway, they were capped at a B rating too! At least they turned off RC4...




Instagram

Instagram is a favorite of mine. I like what their filters can do for some of the pictures I take while out hiking, or spending time with friends and family. Still though, their encryption is't great since they were capped at a B as well. That isn't very surprising since they were bought out by Facebook.




TikTok

Finally we have TikTok. My daughter has me addicted to this silly video social media app! I wasn't going to use it but she kept texting me various videos and I was tired of opening up the links in my phone's browser. Now I love it! Still though, their security sucks as bad as Facebook with a B rating. At least they don't support RC4!






Why SSL Labs hates TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1

Per Qualsys:

Best practices outlined in RFC-7525 give reasons why it is discouraged to use protocol TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1. PCI-DSS recommends users to switch from protocol TLS 1.0 and adopt protocol TLS 1.2+.

Why RC4 Sucks

Again, from Qualsys:

RC4 has long been considered problematic, but until very recently there was no known way to exploit the weaknesses. After the BEAST attack was disclosed in 2011, we—grudgingly—started using RC4 in order to avoid the vulnerable CBC suites in TLS 1.0 and earlier. This caused the usage of RC4 to increase, and some say that it now accounts for about 50% of all TLS traffic.

Last week, a group of researchers (Nadhem AlFardan, Dan Bernstein, Kenny Paterson, Bertram Poettering and Jacob Schuldt) announced significant advancements in the attacks against RC4, unveiling new weaknesses as well as new methods to exploit them. Matthew Green has a great overview on his blog, and here are the slides from the talk where the new issues were announced.
The funniest part about some of these sites still supporting RC4 is that the above blog quote from Qualsys was written in 2013! There is no good reason for anyone to still be using it at this point!

Conclusion

So should you stop enjoying these social media sites because the ratings aren't all A+? Not really. Most of these servers support strong ciphers in preferred order. That means as long as you are using updated applications and modern browsers, you are most likely connecting using the strongest ciphers and TLS versions offered by the servers. You will be fine. On top of that, most of the info you put out on social media isn't that secure anyway.

This is more of an indictment of their security and systems engineers, and I'm calling them out to do better and try harder. It's not that difficult to get at least an A rating! It also pushes your customers to improve their security as well by not allowing them to keep using legacy systems! If they want to connect to your service, they need to use modern browsers!

Your thoughts?

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments!

May 25, 2020

Becoming a better man: My top 10 list of audiobooks

I recently wrote an article about dating in small town Colorado, and in that I mention an ex-girlfriend of mine. One thing I am grateful for having dated her is the fact that she got me hooked on audio books. Not just any audio books, but books on self development. Listening to these, often multiple times, has really helped to make me a better man... I think.

Most of these books fall into one of three categories:
  1. Finance and investment
  2. Leadership
  3. Dating and relationships
Without further ado, here is my top 10 in no particular order:
These books are absolutely life changing in my opinion. They have complete changed my view on everything I have ever been taught about money, dealing with people, and dealing with relationships. 

Out of all of these, the most eye opening is probably Atomic Attraction. I think everyone should read that book, men or women. It is really geared towards men understanding women's psychology, but it would help women understand why they always find themselves attracted to assholes!

Atomic Attraction has also changed how I view dating. I've been enjoying playing the field, meeting multiple women, and not taking things so seriously! It has been amazing. So far I've listened to it three times. I'm sure I'll listen to it many more!
 
What are some of your favorite books? Let us know in the comments!



May 12, 2020

What to Compare When Choosing an eCommerce Platform


For many people, owning and operating a successful eCommerce business equates to living the dream. Running an eCommerce company means that you can easily sell products and services online without face-to-face sales pitches, there’s no need to worry about factoring in the cost of renting an expensive storefront, and you can make money as you go about your daily life. For many eCommerce store owners, the option of dropshipping has even made it possible to make a living without having to spend a lot of money on inventory. Today, it’s relatively easy to get an eCommerce store up and running, but turning it into a successful business is a whole other story. If you’re considering starting an eCommerce business, here are some essential things to keep in mind when choosing a platform.

SEO Benefits:

If you want to succeed with an online business, you are going to need at least a surface level understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). This involves everything that goes into making sure that your site is visible to search engines, and with over 90% of online experiences beginning with search engines like Google, it’s safe to say that it’s fairly important. Use comparisons such as this one of WooCommerce vs Shopify to determine which has the best SEO tools for your needs. Check out PieSync’s blog to find more comparisons of eCommerce platforms and their features.

Payment Options:

Payment is the most critical part of the online shopping experience, and when you run an eCommerce business, you need to be prepared to accommodate a range of payment options. If you’ve ever had to look somewhere else because the store or restaurant you were trying to buy from only accepted cash and you didn’t have any on you, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. The more payment options you can offer on your eCommerce website, the better. If you only take a few types of credit cards, you’re going to end up turning potential customers away. Look for an eCommerce platform that allows you to offer a wide range of payment options to your customers.

User Experience:

You will want to choose an eCommerce platform that takes the user experience very seriously. How users perceive your website and the type of experience they have when using it can really make or break your business. If there’s poor navigation, a complicated checkout process and it’s difficult to find information on a product, your visitors are going to have no problem pressing the back button and trying somewhere else.

Support:

Finally, no matter how user-friendly a platform appears to be, bear in mind that there’s always the potential for things to go wrong, and the last thing that you want is to be left waiting around for answers while you lose business. If your site goes down, you want to get answers and a solution as quickly as possible. Opt for an eCommerce platform that provides large online support communities and tutorial libraries along with round-the-clock support from staff if needed.

Starting a successful eCommerce business is easier than ever when you choose the right platform for your online shop.


Apr 6, 2020

SEO Project Management Done Right

One of the biggest bottlenecks to getting a project started is planning. This involves establishing goals and laying out the vision for the project. But when it comes to execution, people resort to just getting things done. This is not a very efficient way of working, and the way you get things done will have a profound effect on the outcome. This is where proper project management procedures like Kanban come into play. If you want your SEO agency to work better and produce better results, you have to ensure that your workflow is both smooth and efficient. Below, we will look at what Kanban is and see how it can help optimize your workflow.

What Is Kanban?

Kanban is a management method for improving work processes that is getting more and more successfully applied to the world of project management. It advocates for doing just what is needed when it is needed and in just the amount needed. When working like this, companies are able to eliminate waste, unreasonable requirements (also known as scope creep), and inconsistencies in their results. Kanban is also able to make the production process smoother which makes teams more productive.

Kanban calls for transparency so that everyone on a team knows what is being worked on, what they have to work on, and what is left to be done. Because of this, your teammates can do just what is required and no more. For a more in-depth look at what exactly Kanban is, check the linked article from Kanbanize. Kanbanize is a leading Kanban platform, giving you clear visibility and control over your projects with their automated software.

Kanban and Project Management

One of the best ways to use Kanban to do project management is with a Kanban board. This can be a simple board that shows what is in the queue, what is being worked on, and what is completed. The board could also be customized to show the names of the team members beside the tasks they are currently working on or that they should work on in the future.

The board can also be customized so that the different tasks can be moved to their respective columns when their status changes, like when they are picked up or completed. Your teammates should also get an alert when a task is assigned to them so that there is no time wasted between assigning a task and letting a team member know they are responsible for it.

The biggest strength of this approach is that because everything is visual, it is easy to understand and navigate even to those who may be new to the company.

The Benefits of Using the Kanban Approach

When teams use Kanban for project management, everyone knows what they should be doing at any one time. This allows the teammates to focus on their tasks which makes them more efficient.
Kanban allows the collection of all information related to a task in one place. Teammates can see everything they need to know about a project in one glance. Kanban allows for the division of work into smaller tasks. Because of this, work can be completed faster, as many more people would be working on a single project.

The process of using Kanban for project management can be improved over time as a company learns how their employees work best. It can also be adjusted for the types of projects a company normally handles. Finally, Kanban can be used in different situations and arrangements.

Kanban Limits Multitasking for Higher Productivity

A lot of people think that when they multitask, they are being more productive. This is wrong. The Kanban project management principle states that employees should work on a single task at a time. This allows them to focus their efforts on one thing, and they can produce higher-quality work this way.

Multitasking opens up the possibility that your mind will wander as you hop between different tasks, and this can be detrimental to the end product. The best thing to do would be to work on just one job and pass it along to another teammate and then you can pick up another task. This chain continues until a project is complete.

Kanban Can Be Improved on Over Time

One of the best things about using the Kanban process is that there is always room to switch things up or improve on them. When trying to get your team to peak performance, start by identifying any holes in the way they work. It could be that they are multitasking or working on different parts of different projects at any one time.

Once you have identified these holes, it is time to plug them. Start by introducing small changes to the way your team works and ramp things up as you identify more areas that need improving. If you keep repeating this process, you will get your team to where you want it in a very short time.
Project management does not have to be complicated. If you run an SEO agency where are a lot of things to handle and projects to complete, your team could always benefit from using the Kanban approach.

Mar 2, 2020

Simple and Easy Way to Secure Your Wifi Connection

It is really important to make sure that your wifi network at home remains secured. There are few simple and easy to do steps which you can do to make your wifi safe and secure.

Open Router's Settings Page

Go to your web browser and type in "192.168.1.1" so as to access it. From there, enter your proper username and password in the designated boxes and press enter. You can find your username and password in your router's user manual. Some routers also have their manual available on Google.

Create a Unique Password

Create a new, unique and personalized password for your router which no one can guess. Do not keep a generic or a default password for your wifi router. Also, dont forget to change your password every few months.

Change Network SSID Name

Changing your NETWORK SSID name would help as it'll help others know that it is not a default network, and that it might be secure. Don't keep your family names, phone numbers or home addresses as your SSID names.

Network Encryption

This is an important task. There are a multitude of encryptions out there. In the newest routers, WPA2 is the most secure one, and WEP the least secure. Choose your encryption accordingly.

Filtering PC Mac Addresses

A Mac addresses is an inbuilt address in your device's networking equipment. It is similar to an IP addresses, except that it can't be changed. For more protection, you can add Mac addresses of all your devices to your wifi network. To do that, find your devices' Mac addresses. In PC, use command prompt and type "ipconfig /all". You will see your Mac address against the name 'Physical Address'. In your phone, you'll find your Mac address under networking settings. Simply add these Mac addresses to your wifi router's administrative settings. Now only these devices will be able to access your wifi.

Reducing your Wifi's Range

The easiest way to do that is to put the router under the bed in a shoe box, or to wrap foil around its antennas. Similarly, you can also change your wifi router's mode to 802.11g instead of any other mode.

Upgrading Your Wifi's Software

This is also important as with new updates, you also get new security updates for your router. Check your current firmware version by visiting "192.168.1.1" and checking it in the administration setting or dashboard.

Feb 24, 2020

Is it time to ditch Chrome?

I wrote a few years ago about how I was ditching Google Chrome for Firefox after the revelation of Edward Snowden's PRISM leak. I mean, we also talked about how Google was a known conspirator of the leak around the same time, so it made sense then.

If having Big Brother spy on you wasn't enough to have you ditch Chrome as your browser of choice, maybe their latest version will. Chrome 80 now has a deep linking feature called ScrollToTextFragment that allows Google to use YOUR browser to index and share links from the websites you visit down to a single word of text.

From Forbes:

The deep linking freedom of ScrollToTextFragment can be very useful for sharing very specific links to parts of webpages. The problem is it can also be exploited. Warning about the development of ScrollToTextFragment in December, Peter Snyder, a privacy researcher at Brave Browser explained:  
"Consider a situation where I can view DNS traffic (e.g. company network), and I send a link to the company health portal, with [the anchor] #:~:text=cancer. On certain page layouts, I might be able [to] tell if the employee has cancer by looking for lower-on-the-page resources being requested.”  
And it was Snyder who spotted that ScrollToTextFragment is now active inside Chrome 80 stating that "Imposing privacy and security leaks to existing sites (many of which will never be updated) REALLY should be a 'don't break the web’, never-cross, redline. This spec does that."

Are you going to be sticking with Chrome or are you going to switch to another browser after hearing about this? Let us know in the comments!

Feb 17, 2020

Dating Purgatory: A Review of Dating Apps in Small Town Colorado


If you look back at my posts for the last five years or so, you see references to my smoking hot girlfriend. I used to mention her quite a bit as she and I both work in the IT field, so when I would help her with an issue, it was relevant to the blog.

Well, last year we broke up. Not sure the catalyst exactly. Maybe I'm an asshole and people can only take my crap for so long. Maybe it was because all of her kids grew up, and moved out and she finally had the freedom that she never had after high school, and I was cramping her style. Maybe it was because she is into chubby fat guys, and when I lost a bunch of weight four years ago, I was no longer her type. Who knows for sure, but it ended. At least it ended somewhat amicably. I wish her all the best.

Anyway, since then I've been in what I like to refer to as Dating Purgatory. I say that because I live in a very small town, and the dating pool here is extremely shallow. All of the local bars are completely dead or filled with old drunks. The only way to meet anyone is by using one of the myriad of dating apps available. It's like a living hell.

On top of that, since it is small town Colorado the quality of prospects aren't that good either. How's a nice way to put this? There are a lot of corn fed women, and women who look like they have lived really hard lives around here. I can only imagine the type of creepy dudes that show up on these apps for the women.

Don't get me wrong, there are attractive women around, they are just few and far between. I'm assuming it is the same for quality men too. Just the luck of the draw I guess.

With that being said, here's my review of the dating apps I'm on:

Facebook Dating:

I'm starting with this one because just about everyone is on Facebook. In fact, the town I live in is such a technological black hole that businesses around here don't even have their own websites! They just use Facebook.

So if everyone has Facebook, you would think there would be more people using the dating feature right? Well, you are mistaken. There is almost nobody on this app, and the people that are on it are pretty ghetto. This is my least favorite.

Plenty of Fish:

This app is the first app I ever tried during my separation and subsequent divorce back in 2014/2015. Sometimes it's good to see things stay the same, but not when those things are complete garbage. Plenty of Fish, or POF is trash folks, and it hasn't really improved since 2014. Sure, it's free, but it's worthless as a dating app. They added a "Meet Me" feature that is almost just like Tinder (See below), but what is the point when they are showing you pictures of people 5 hours away?

One of the biggest drawbacks of POF is that when there is nobody in your area, they automatically expand your search to 100 miles. Seriously, I don't know about you but I don't like driving 35 miles to Grand Junction for a date that might not work out. I sure as hell am not driving 100 miles for a date that might not work out! Expanding my radius is a waste of everyone's time!

Another drawback to this app is that anyone can message anyone. The problem with that is that legit prospects are getting bombarded with dick pics constantly, so they are afraid to look at messages. They are flooded and overwhelmed and eventually leave the app.

Finally, since this is one of the more popular free apps, there are a lot of... low class people on the app. It really does make finding decent prospects more difficult.

This is my second least favorite.

Match:

This is probably one of the most popular dating apps/sites out there. They are heavily advertised on television. One of my best friends from growing up met his wife on Match. I actually had a brief reprieve from Dating Purgatory myself when I met a smoking hot cop on Match a few months ago. Unfortunately that didn't work out... I digress. It was the only successful story I've had from that app though. At least she and I are still friends. It's always nice to have a friend in law enforcement!

Match isn't a bad app, but it certainly isn't one of my favorites. It is like a slightly better version of POF. You can limit your search radius, and the quality of people on it are better. The issue here is that anyone can message anybody, and you have the same issues you have with POF. Women get overwhelmed and rarely message you back.

Hily:

I just started playing with this app, and to me it is like Tinder and POF had a bastard love child. You have all of the swiping goodness you have with Tinder, but the range filter is completely worthless. In fact, it is even worse than POF.

I have my max range set at 35 miles, and I am constantly seeing chicks from Pittsburgh or Sacramento. Ladies and gentlemen, I've already established above that I won't drive 100 miles. What on God's green Earth makes you think I'm going to buy a plane ticket and fly to Pittsburgh?! It's a waste of time, and you are inviting scammers!

Some good things about this app are that the interface is pretty nice, and you can't message anyone unless you've matched with them. This is very important in an app in my opinion!

Hinge:

This is another newer app that I've just started using. There aren't a whole lot of people on it in my area yet, so I haven't had the opportunity to dig in too much. I like what I see so far though.

This app gives you a very minimalist profile, which is nice because when you have too much in your profile I feel like people judge you before even getting to know you. It also gives you a couple of "prompts" that other users can like individually and strike up a conversation with.

I'd say the drawback is that again, anyone can comment on your prompts, which leads to women getting overwhelmed and not wanting to check their inbox. Still, this seems like an improvement over Match and POF.

Bumble:

This app at first seemed like it would be my favorite. It is almost just like Tinder in my opinion, but you have expanded profiles and the biggest thing is that women must make the first move.

That, kind of makes me wonder about lesbians using the site then... Who gets to make the first move there?

What about gay men? Do they not even get to message each other? I digress...

Anyway, the interface is nice and there seems to be a decent number of quality users in my area. The drawback comes to that women must make the first move rule. I honestly don't think most women WANT to make the first move. They get too nervous! I have had countless matches that eventually time out because women don't want to make the first move on the app! It's kind of ridiculous if you ask me.

Ladies, if you are too scared to make the first move then this app is NOT for you!

I mean, if you look at the issue above with Match, POF and Hily you would think that would be appealing for women. The conversation can only start if THEY start it. Well, I guess the creators are ahead of their time with the women's equality movement, because it seems that women are still old fashioned... At least in my area. They prefer that the guy initiates the conversation.

A good thing about this app is that if you don't like someone, you can un-match them and they disappear forever. Tinder has the same feature. Some might find it rude, but if you've only been messaging for a little bit, or only been on one or two dates, do you really owe them anything?

Tinder:

Last, but certainly not least is the king of the dating apps in my opinion. A lot of folks think of Tinder as a hook-up app, but it's not. I mean, it can be, but that's not the only thing it is good for. I met my aforementioned smoke show girlfriend on Tinder at the end of 2014 and we ended up dating for four and a half years!

Meira Gebel just wrote a piece on Business Insider about how she met her husband on Tinder. So again, it isn't just for hooking up!

This by far is my favorite app. I've had more success on this app than any other. The interface is simple, the profiles are minimal and you can only contact people you match with! The best thing about apps like this is that it really cuts out the bullshit. You see a picture, you either like it or you don't. If you want to see more, then you can open a profile, but attraction at first site is important and very real.

It's like the electronic equivalent of being at a bar or a club. You see someone you are physically attracted to so you swipe right. The difference being that if they don't swipe right too, you don't get to approach them with your witty pick-up line. That means they have to find you attractive as well! Again, it cuts out the bullshit!

I think the stigma of this being just for hooking up is what keeps more people from using it. If the word got out that you can find your long-term partner on this app, more people would start using it for that.

Conclusion

These are my opinions of the dating apps I've experimented with in small town Colorado. I think the experience with all of these apps is way different in heavily populated areas. I've noticed that when I travel to Denver or to San Diego that my phone blows up with all sorts of prospects. That leads me to believe that you might have a different experience with these apps if you live in a big city.

It would be certainly nice if the creators of these apps found a way to advertise them more to people in small towns. It would be good to let the eligible ladies around me know that they have other options than the dive bars with old creepy dudes available for meeting men their age!

Are you using a dating app? Which one is your favorite? Is there one that you recommend trying? Let me know in the comments!

Side Note:

Ladies, can you please stop using the Snapchat animal pics in your profiles?! They are not cute, they are childish and stupid... just stop.


Update - Zoosk:

Since I originally wrote this, I also hopped back on Zoosk. I had tried this one back in 2014, but subsequently forgot about it... and for good reason. It is a complete scam!

They promote it like it is free, but you have to have a premium membership to do pretty much anything worthwhile on the site. One might argue that making someone pay keeps the riffraff out, but Zoosk goes way beyond that. Even with a premium membership you can only send one initial greeting per day! Want to send more? No problem, that will be an additional $50. They nickel and dime everything!

One particular thing that I find annoying is that you constantly get messages that someone viewed you. It is meaningless! Every time you pop up in their carousel feature or a local search and someone scrolls by you, you will get that notification. It doesn't mean they are interested at all! In fact, if you check your viewed notifications, it will send them a notification that you viewed them. When they check their notifications and see you again, it will send you another notification that they viewed you! It's a vicious cycle of pointlessness!

I did see a lot more users on this site, but it is very hard to tell who are active users and who aren't. Long story short, this app is a rip-off!

EDIT: Actually, that message limit is not true. Turns out there was a bug with my account. I called Zoosk support, and they fixed the messaging limit message I was getting for me. Still... The app is trash. I stand by that statement!

Feb 10, 2020

You can help stop .COM Price Increases!

Do you own your own domain or multiple domains like I do? Are any of them .COM domains? Well, it turns out that ICANN just made a deal behind closed doors with Verisign, the company that operates the .COM top level domain (TLD). This change means that .COM wholesale domain prices can grow by more than 70% over and above current prices over the next decade.

According to NameCheap:
On January 3, 2020, ICANN announced significant changes to the contract it has with Verisign, Inc. to operate the top-level domain .COM.  
ICANN and Verisign made these changes in secret, without consulting or incorporating feedback from the ICANN community or Internet users.  
Although ICANN has a history of making similar deals behind closed doors, and also of ignoring unified opposition against such action, Namecheap will continue to lead the fight against price increases that will harm our customers and the Internet as a whole. (For more information about Namecheap’s efforts to maintain domain name price controls, visit pricecaps.org.)  
The changes to the .COM agreement will have a much bigger impact on the Internet than the previous action for .ORG, .INFO, and .BIZ domains, due to the dominance of .COM. There are 359.8 million total domain names, of which 144 million are .COM — that’s 40% of all domain names. With 161.8 million country-specific TLDs (ccTLDs), there are 198 million generic TLDs (gTLDs). That means that .COM makes up 73% of all gTLD domain names. 
ICANN was created in part to introduce competition between domain name registrars, but now ICANN itself is at the heart of the problem, without considering any input from Internet users on these critical decisions. 
So what can you do to help us stop this? You can let your voice be heard! ICANN has opened a public comment period that is open until this Friday, February 14th. You can submit your own comment using their form to let them know you are opposed to this change!

Jan 31, 2020

How To Replace An Expired SSL Certificate For Dyamics Management Reporter

I periodically find myself blogging about Microsoft Dynamics products. Mainly because they are a pain in the ass, and fixing problems tends to yield decent blog articles...

Anyway, the other day I was faced with an issue. We use Dynamics Management Reporter 2012 at my day job, and it rarely gets used. Because of that, certain issues like an SSL certificate expiring easily gets overlooked until someone goes to use it and you find out a certificate has expired and you neglected to replace it!

Well, that happened to me when our Accounting Director went to use it and received the below error when trying to connect to our Management Reporter server:

Management Reporter 
The server presented a certificate that could not be validated. Verify the certificate has been installed and is configured as a trusted root certificate on the client. Contact your administrator for help with certificate configuration.
I Googled around a bit and only found articles about changing the certificate in IIS. The issue is, we don't use IIS with Management Reporter in our environment. I did find a solution though, using netsh via the command line!

Before you do anything else, install your new SSL certificate in your local computer's certificate store like you normally would. Google how to do that if you don't already know how.

Next, find out how binding is currently configured by running the following:
netsh http show sslcert
You will get something like this:



Next you want to delete that binding by running the following:
netsh http delete sslcert hostname=hostname:4713
Be sure to replace hostname and port above with the information provided from the first command.

Now, we want to bind your new certificate. First you will need the thumbprint from your new certificate. You can find that by looking at your certificate's details tab, and scrolling to the bottom to see the thumbprint. Copy that information to notepad and remove the spaces.



Now you are ready to bind the new certificate by running the following:
netsh http add sslcert hostnameport=hostname:4713 certhash=<your certificates thumbprint> appid=<Your Application's ID> certstorename=MY
Be sure to replace the hostname with the hostname from the first command above, use your new certificate's thumbprint without spaces, and use your application's ID from the first command above.

After that, not sure if you have to, but I restarted the Management Reporter services and everything worked fine.

If you know of an easier way to do this, I'm all ears. This worked for me though. If this helped you too, let us know in the comments!


Jan 13, 2020

Cisco Finesse Cannot Authenticate With The Notification Service

I love waking up in the morning extra early, and hearing the lovely sound of my IM client at my computer (I work from home). It usually means that something is broken for someone. Well, this morning was no different. I got a message from one of my company's client support folks saying that she couldn't get into the Cisco Finesse phone queue, and that she was getting an error saying that it failed to load workflows.

When I tried logging in myself, I was greeted with a much different message. I got a message saying:

Cisco Finesse
Cannot authenticate with the notification service. There may be a configuration mismatch. Please contact your administrator.


Well shit... That's no good...

Anyway, I decided to try logging into Cisco Unified CCX Administration. When I logged in there I was greeted with a different message. This one said:

The Cisco JTAPI Client versions are inconsistent. Please go to Cisco JTAPI Resync in the Unified CM Telephony Subsystem to install the Cisco JTAPI Client.


Well shit... That's no good...

So I decided to follow instructions. From within Cisco Unified CCX Administration I went to Subsystem > Cisco Unified CM Telephony > Cisco JTAPI Resync. Then clicked OK when prompted.


After that I got another message saying:

For changes to take effect, please restart the Cisco Unified CCX Engine.

In order to do that, I had to go into Cisco Unified CCX Serviceability. Once in there I had to browse to Tools > Control Center - Network Services.


Once in there I had to find Cisco Unified CCX Engine service and restart it. Once that was done, I restarted the Cisco Finesse Tomcat service as well. After that users were able to login to the call queues again!

These last two services have to be restarted from an SSH terminal using the following commands:
  • utils service stop Cisco Unified CCX Engine
  • utils service stop Cisco Finesse Tomcat
  • utils service start Cisco Unified CCX Engine
  • utils service start Cisco Finesse Tomcat
Did this post help you out? Let us know in the comments!



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