Monster cookie misstatement

The FAQ page of the parentteacheronline.com.au site confidently asserts that

We do not use cookies at all on our PTO site.

Oh really? Chrome inspector begs to differ.
This level of misstatement give me no level of confidence in one of the other assertions on their FAQ …

PTO maintains the highest level of Internet Security available. This means that any data entered into the system is as secure as information held by banks and large businesses.

 

Now secure

Today I’ve done something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time … to make this website use HTTPS (a.k.a. SSL/TLS). That means that all traffic to and from this website is now going over an encrypted connection, and web browsers will indicate this with a friendly green padlock in the address bar.


The final impetus for getting this done was Troy Hunt’s blog about how “Life Is About to Get a Whole Lot Harder for Websites Without HTTPS”. Soon, any website page that has a text input box will start displaying an “insecure” warning to users who load the page over old fashioned HTTP.

So how hard was it to get HTTPS enabled on this WordPress site? In short, not at all. Thanks to a collaboration between Comodo and cPanel I didn’t have to obtain or install SSL certificates – it was there waiting for me to use. All I needed to do was install and activate the Really Simple SSL WordPress plugin. That was it. Job done.

iTunes 12.6.2.20 sync woes

I use iTunes to organise my music library, listen to music, and sync music to my iPhone. With this fairly basic usage pattern, its probably been close to a decade since iTunes added any functionality that is of use to me. And that leaves me fairly ambivalent about the regular notification that “an update of iTunes is available”. On the one hand I don’t want to upgrade and risk breaking something that is working fine, but on the other hand skipping an upgrade potentially leaves security vulnerabilities unpatched.

The cautious side of me steers me to upgrading, and usually this is unproblematic. But not last time.

In late July I updated to iTunes 12.6.2.20 on my Windows 10 PC, and to iOS 10.3.3 on my iPhone 5. Everything seemed to upgrade as usual, but when I next connected my phone via the USB cable I got an error that the phone “cannot be synced because there is not enough free space to hold all of the selected items.”

I sync music to my phone based on a smart playlist I hadn’t changed the playlist settings or added any new music recently, and the size of the playlist as displayed in iTunes was indicating that the music should fit in the available space on my phone.

I tried simplifying the playlist rules, and a few other things, but the sync operation continued to baulk with the incorrect error about available space. I was eventually able to resolve the problem with the following steps.

Firstly I turned off the “Sync Music” checkbox, and performed a sync that removed all the music files on my phone

After doing this, on the phone I went into Settings –> General –> Storage & iCloud Usage –> Manage Storage –> Music. Even though all the music files on the phone had been removed, the phone was still reporting 10.49GB of space being taken up with music. (In the music player app, a large number of songs were displaying as available, but trying to play them would fail with an error.) By swiping left on “All songs” I was then able to ‘delete’ these phantom songs.

After this I restarted the phone. I’m not sure this was necessary, but I wanted to ensure the phone was in a clean state before the next step.

Lastly, in iTunes I ticked the checkbox to sync music again, and this time the sync progressed to a successful completion after several hours.

In summary, I don’t know whether it was the iTunes update or the iOS update that broke things, but it seems that the phone ended up with an incorrect reckoning of how many music files it had. The fix was to delete all the music files and resync the music files from a fresh start.

Totally believable spam

Occasionally I open up one of theĀ  e-mails that Google files away in my Spam folder, just to see what’s on offer. This one made me laugh, several times.

Firstly with its claim that “Your Name And Your Contact Details Was Given To This Office”, yet the e-mail is addressed to “Dear Customer” and then goes on to ask me to supply them with my name and contact details and identification documents!

But the biggest laugh is the assertion that my $7.5m USD is sitting unclaimed “Because Of Your Unbelief Of The Reality Of Your Genuine Payment”. Its funny because its true.