Tag Archives: Rant

PGA Tour Flash Version Checking Kills Website Access

First things first, Adobe flash should die. It should have died 5 years ago. It’s a terrible, awful plugin that is prone to hacking, memory leaks and a host of other stuff. We all know that!

I watch ONE single sport here on the farm. That sport is golf. Once an avid player, now that I’m in a wheelchair, I can only enjoy the game on TV. Using a standard antenna for television here on the farm, I’m stuck with only watching on the weekends when a match is broadcast on a local network.

When I’ve been interested in watching on a Thursday or Friday, I’ve always relied on the web. PGATourLive has always been my go-to web site for that purpose, until this year.

Wanting to catch up on a couple favourite players this afternoon, I opened the PGA’s video web site and am greeted with a nice new error message.

PGATourLive error message

PGATourLive error message

It seems the webmaster of the PGATourLive website, decided to do version checking for flash, and they refuse to allow you to view their content unless you’re using version 17+

That’s fine, but the version of flash that is used in Linux, always reports as version 11.2.  So even though I’m running the latest version of Flash where Linux is concerned, web sites that do version checking don’t know that!

2 hours of searching the net, trying to find a way to spoof my flash version were unsuccessful, so I guess watching golf via a web browser under Linux is no longer an option. Thanks guys!

Hey PGA Tour, it’s 2016! How about joining the rest of us and use an html5 compliant video format on your sites!

 

Already Not Impressed With Frontier – Please Give Me Verizon Back!

I feel like I’m in a vehicle, hurtling down a mountain road with no brakes, no steering wheel, in short no control!

I’m one of those poor souls who are being forced into a new telephone company, after Verizon sold their Florida assets to Frontier.

Dear Public Service Commission, you did us no favours!

I’ve been a happy Verizon customer for over 40 years, with the last 4, being a FIOS customer. When I heard about Frontier taking over, it didn’t take but 60 seconds to read countless complaints from other states where this has taken place. Not reassuring at all!

So I get the mailer to create my Frontier user ID. Fine, how hard can that be? Well, it took over 30 minutes!

Screen shot of the Frontier website

Screen shot of the Frontier website

For starters, their web designers have decided to block a users ability to use the context menu or Control-V to paste in your password.

In this day in age where a strong password is important, this prevents me using my password manager and my normal 32 character password!

OK fine, I type in something far less secure and continue on…

Next, they want a mobile number. No, you can’t have it! It’s a required field though, so I just put in the home phone number for the service I’m paying for with them. Then a menu comes up giving me the ability to accept or decline marketing calls to the number.

I decline

At which point, my number is erased from the “required” field and I am not allowed to register! I tried several times to get past this road block, before finally putting in a completely fake, all Zero phone number with my proper area code, and then accepting advertising. This only worked after they decided to throw out a Captcha verification to make sure I wasn’t a robot.

Now, it lets me register

Next, it wants to verify my email address. Fine, it’s a simple thing, and completely understandable.  I click for them to send me an email with the link.

But the email never comes. Turns out that Frontier generates so much spam email, that my mail provider was blocking them from my mailbox! This took a trip to my hosting control panel to actually white-list their domain so the mail can get through.

The mail comes, I click on the link, and it just takes me back to their main site. No indication that my mail has been verified.

I close the window and open it again, and they once again complain that I need to verify my email.

Fine, I ask for another email. Click on that link, with the same results. It took several attempts before their web site acknowledged that my email address was verified.

It won’t let me set up billing and other needs at this point, as the hand-off doesn’t happen until tomorrow. This is the only thing so far that makes any sense.

I’ve read many complaints of double billing during the hand-over, with Verizon continuing to bill when you’re no longer a customer, and Frontier trying to calculate partial months to get you into their billing cycle.  This could be a disaster for those of us on a fixed income.

So far, my experience has been terrible with this company. I’m scared to death of huge price increases after my current Verizon contract expires next year (If they even honour it!)

I may have to change to Bright House cable, and I hear they’re even worse…

 

Health Insurance Refusing To Pay? Call Your Insurance Commissioner!

Not Linux related, but still an observation that may help someone out there.

As anyone who reads my ramblings will know, I spent an entire month in hospital between May and June of last year after a failed surgery for bowel cancer.

After my first of 3 surgeries, I had a heart attack, caused by the pain killer they had me on, which I ended up being allergic to. This required the services of the in-hospital cardiologist.

My wife and I spent the next 6 months after I was home, fighting with Humana Insurance over why they would pay one doctor, but not another. Indeed, every person we spoke to, gave us a different lame excuse, some saying it was coded wrong by the provider, another saying that the provider didn’t even accept Humana insurance. Going back and forth for months before the cardiology practice put me into collections, dropping my 800+ credit score 50 points in the process.

Having little recourse at the moment, I paid the cardiology and other bills myself, money I didn’t really have!

After stewing about the situation for a few weeks, we decided to contact our Florida state insurance commissioner to inquire if it was proper for Humana to selectively pay some of my $490,000 hospital bill and not others. The response from Florida state was swift, personal, and positive!

Indeed, the Florida Insurance Commissioner employee who was tasked with looking into our complaint, called us personally instead of just sending the normal form letter, to let us know how unfair and unprofessional it was for Humana to deny claims that occurred in a hospital that was supposed to be “in network” and on my plan! Florida assured me that refund checks would soon be in the mail to us.

I should add, that Humana’s “third party arbitration company” (excuse me while I fall down laughing) who we first sent our complaint to, of course sided with Humana, saying that Humana was not responsible for paying these bills, even though it happened in a covered hospital!

Personally, I’d like to see insurance companies hit with triple damages to the patient when they do crap like this. How many people out there have been ripped off because they don’t know their rights?  I’ll be contacting my state representative to see if this is possible. It would sure protect us consumers, that’s for sure!

I am so grateful for the work of our insurance commissioner’s office in clearing up this matter, and will say to all who will listen; If you are having payment problems from your insurance company, contact your local regulatory body in charge of them. You may well find that money, back in your own pocket!

 

Firefox Version 34 Search-Bar Rant

I happily upgraded my machines to Firefox 34, and found the new search bar to be very frustrating! There seemed to be no way to change the default search engine unless you entered the Preferences menu to make the change.

Turns out that if you have nothing in the search bar, you don’t get the option of choosing your search engine, as seen below:

Firefox Search Bar

Firefox Search Bar

In the above, the only way to change search engines is to click the Change Search Settings button presented, and then choose your desired search engine.

It was by chance that I figured out that if you actually have your search term in the bar, then and only then are you presented with a menu of available search engines:

Firefox Search Bar

Firefox Search Bar

Frankly, the old way they did it was much handier, and I really wish they would stop fixing things that are not broken!

Most of my searches are done from highlighted text in a web page, and this makes it a rough go. I was able to solve this irritation by installing the Firefox Add-On called Quick Context Search

This lets me choose the search engine directly from the Right Click context menu after I have highlighted the search term.

We love Firefox here on the farm, but gosh guys, it it works, don’t change it!

 

Rant Wednesday: No Cookies For You!

Run a web site that blocks users who turn off cookies and java? How about rethinking your crappy, backwards attitude!

No, my little Linux blog is not going to change the world, though in this case, I wish it could…

If you take your security and privacy seriously, like me, you probably disable cookies and javascript in your web browser..

Tracking Cookies

We all know that web sites need to make money to stay in business. and we get that. Most commercial sites will use one of the many advertising companies like Google Adsense etc. to serve up advertising on their site. They do this by using cookies, little bits of text that will stay on your computer and tells them all kinds of things about you. Some of the data may include the last time you visited, your comment user name, what advertising you saw or clicked on etc.  Worse, they can be used to track you as you go from site to site in the same ad network.

Are mainstream sites like the news site below using cookies for evil?  No, but I deserve some privacy from your intrusive tracking!

Yes, we get it, we need to enable cookies if we want to participate, comment etc. But for those finding your site through a link from a news aggregator  and just want to read the story quick and move on, you are doing us all a disservice.

No cookies, no view our site!

No cookies? Go Away!

Javascript

Javascript, can be misused to serve up virus and malware packages to your machine. This in turn can be used to turn your computer into a spam sending email server, botnet client, or even steal your personal financial information!

Yes, if you turn off javascript, many web sites will break. I get that. Javascript is a powerful way to do some really neat things in a web browser. The site below, actually displayes just fine, until their server notices that you have javascript turned off. They then forward you to a nag screen to complain!

No Javascript? Go away!

No Javascript? Go away!

But darn it web developers, completely blocking my access to your site because I have cookies turned off or javascript turned off is just short-sighted and dumb.  Web users are getting smarter about their privacy and safety on the web.

For many sites, it’s pretty easy to get around the no javascript complaint on their site by actually deleting the node that is sending the javascript warning. While that works much of the time, it doesn’t always.

Do we use cookies and javascript in our 7 sites? Sure we do, but all of them can be used without either!

To those sites who don’t play these stupid games, we thank you.

For sites that choose to block those of us who want a little privacy and security,  we’ll take our web surfing elsewhere until you grow up.