darkoshi: (Default)
Remember that song I bought on iTunes, which was so much trouble to buy?

Not only that, but in addition to the price of the song I bought, iTunes charged me an extra $1 which they are now refusing to give back. When I initially contacted them about it via their help link, they replied by email that it was only an "authorization hold on my credit card" and that it would automatically drop off in an unspecified amount of time. I was dubious, as the $1 had been taken from my PayPal balance (which I told them), not from a credit card. However, I found a PayPal page which indicated that those kind of charges might take a month to get refunded, so I decided to wait that long to see, before bugging iTunes about it again. The $1 never got refunded.

After the month was over, I tried contacting iTunes again via the same help link (twice!), but even though their automated replies state that they'll get back to me within 48 hours, they haven't, either time. So it seems like they are purposely ignoring me now. (Why? I can't figure that out.)

I had also tried disputing the charge via the PayPal site, however none of the choices PayPal provides for the reason of the dispute seemed applicable. I clicked what seemed the most relevant one and chose answers to the remaining questions that were presented to see what would happen, even though none of the answers were applicable. I thought I'd be given an opportunity to either Submit or Cancel at the end, and that I'd choose Cancel and maybe then try a different initial option. But after selecting the answers, I was only shown a message like "Well, you said you received the thing you ordered (ie. the song), so you can't dispute the charge."

Now when I try clicking the link to dispute the charge again (thinking that maybe I'll select a different initial reason this time), the link doesn't work ("Sorry — your last action could not be completed"). I suspect it is because they previously decided that I have no grounds for dispute.
ARGH.

I do still have the option of calling the PayPal customer support phone number. Maybe I could find an iTunes phone number.

It is only $1 they stole from me. It's not worth the hassle. But it's not right.
darkoshi: (Default)
I've been trying to support independent journalism by getting paid accounts on some news sites whose articles I occasionally read (even though most of the time, the pages I read are ones that other people have linked to).

I had made a note that Slate.com charges $49 for a year's subscription. Today the site even shows an introductory price of $35/year. So I decided to sign up. But after fighting with their website for the last half hour, I've changed my mind.

First problem: The Join Slate Plus page says what the membership costs and what special perks you get. But there were no fields for signing up, and no link or button for any sign up page. I had to click NoScript's "Temporarily Allow All This Page" icon 4 times for the fields to finally be displayed. (Each time you click that icon, NoScript allows JavaScript for the domains that were previously blocked, but then encounters additional domains which the page indirectly references, and for security reasons, NoScript doesn't allow them until you click again. And so on.)

Furthermore, the fields that show up aren't for buying a paid account, but rather for "Try it Free for 2 Weeks!" That's not what I wanted.

So instead I used their normal Sign Up page to create an account. It asks for an email address, display name, and password. It took me a while to decide on a display name to use. Upon submitting my info, the site then brought up the Terms of Service. But there was no Accept button. I repeatedly clicked the "Allow All This Page" icon, until 30 or more domains were unblocked (and my laptop fan started spinning on high speed from all the crap it was trying to load each time, because underneath the ToS, the page showed a bunch of news articles), and still no Accept button displayed. Yet when I tried to go to my account page, it kept re-displaying the Terms of Service, like it was waiting for me to accept them.

Then I tried a different browser without NoScript. That way, I was able to log in and open my account profile. The account page has a "Manage subscriptions" link. But when I click the link, it only opens the slate.com homepage. So I can't see whatever email lists they may have added me to by default. Hopefully I'll be able to unsubscribe from them somehow, supposing they did add me to any lists.

Then I tried logging in from my normal browser again. But when I click the login button, it ...

(oh thank goodness for Dreamwidth's AutoSave. I just closed both browser windows, to see if I was only having trouble because I was still logged in from the other window, not realizing that I was also closing the tab where I was writing this post.)

When I click the login/account icon, nothing happens. I have to again allow JavaScript from a bunch of domains, just to get the login fields. But then when I enter them, I still don't get logged in. Sigh.

This is way too much trouble. I no longer like their website, so I don't want to give them any money after all. The articles I see on their site today don't seem so great either (or is that sour grapes speaking?).
darkoshi: (Default)
This Is How Your Hyperpartisan Political News Gets Made - interesting to me because of this comment: The stories read like they were stamped out of the same content machine because they were. Using domain registration records and Google Analytics and AdSense IDs, BuzzFeed News determined that both sites are owned by American News LLC of Miami.

Google Analytics and AdSense IDs. So that is one way to link sites together, when their domain registration details are private/hidden.

I searched the page source of the 2 sites mentioned by the above articles, and found a section of script with an ID like UA-########-# (see below). This seems to be the Analytics ID. I've read that AdSense IDs start with "pub-", but I did not find that on those pages.

The 2 sites have different Analytics IDs. But doing a Google Search on them shows other sites using the same IDs. I presume that the number after the 2nd dash can identify multiple sites owned by the same publisher. So search without including the last number.

From LiberalSociety.com:
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,'script','https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');
ga('create', 'UA-87513966-2', 'auto');
ga('send', 'pageview');


From conservative101.com:
'UA-85347348-1'


Search results for the first number indicate that godtoday.com (as mentioned in the article) and democraticreview.com have the same owners.

I still don't know where one can find the AdSense IDs; maybe that is how they linked the 2 sites together, as the Analytics ID doesn't link them.

ok or not so kay

Thursday, June 16th, 2016 12:18 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Someone mentioned OkCupid in a post of theirs, so I decided to check out my old profile:
Ok. So I'm not exactly male or gay. But they didn't have any options for androgyne and asexual. That's like asking what people's hair color is and only giving options of black and brown to choose from.
And I'm not exactly a donkey either. But oh well, if I were, I'd be one kick-ass donkey.


I never used OkCupid for looking for a partner; I created my account after getting involved with Qiao. He wanted us to compare questions/answers to see how compatible it rated us, for fun. So I didn't put all that much effort into my profile.

Today I surmised that OkCupid might have more gender options nowadays than they did back then. Sure enough, I could now select my gender as agender, nonbinary, etc.

But in order to save those selections, the page forces me to select an answer for "Include me in": "searches for men" or "searches for women" (those 2 options are in a drop-down - you can only select one or the other).

The "include me in" question only shows up if you select an option other than man or woman as your gender.

So. I understand the reasoning, that most people on the site are only searching for men or women, and not selecting one or the other would drastically reduce possible matches. But it rather defeats the point of someone like me entering their real gender.

bad website design tip

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 08:14 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
While the user is typing a detailed message in your website's "Contact Us" form, pop up a message that they will be logged out in 2 minutes unless they click a button to stay logged in. When the user clicks the button, navigate them to another page, causing them to lose the entire message they had been writing.

If the user clicks their browser's Back button, show them a brief tantalizing glimpse of the prior page with their message still intact on it, but then immediately switch back to the other page again. Each time the user presses the Back button, switch back to the other page even faster, to make sure that they don't have enough time to select and copy the text of their message.

obnoxious ad

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 09:46 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
On the iPad, which I mainly use to play Words With Friends, I generally have 2 browser pages opened to 2 dictionary websites, for checking if words I'm considering using are really words or not. And for checking definitions.

Today, the Merriam-Webster site has an ad-banner across the top, "Would You FUCK an Older Woman?" with FUCK highlighted in red, and Older Woman underlined. Apparently it is an AdultFriendFinder ad, it having their logo in the corner. Not only that, but the banner itself is moving around in jerky manner in order to grab your attention.

Somehow, this surprises me. I suppose this must have slipped by the people in charge of the web site. Surely they wouldn't have allowed an ad like that knowingly, it being a dictionary website which one would expect kids to use too, and how easily offended some people are by the word "fuck".

Pinterest

Saturday, March 28th, 2015 12:11 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Does Pinterest really not want people to be able to browse their site without creating an account and logging in? When I open any Pinterest page, the moment I scroll down a little bit, the bottom half of the page gets overlaid with a "There's more to see..." banner with Continue (for creating an account) and Login buttons. This effectively makes the site unbrowsable. Am I overlooking some link or button for disabling that?

Furthermore, even when a page seems to link to interesting things, such as this one about black-out panels for windows, I can't find a way of getting to the referenced sites. For example, when I click the top middle pinned item, rather than taking me to the "Tutorial: How to Sew DIY Black-out Li..." page, it just takes me to another Pinterest page, not the Tutorial.

Even then, it overlays the next Pinterest page with a login box. In the past, when the site didn't do this, and I was able to freely browse it, I sometimes seriously considered setting up my own account there. Something stopped me; I don't recall the details. Something about copyright issues and/or the Terms of Use. Or perhaps exactly that perceived inability to actually link to pages on other websites?? But now the site is so obnoxious with that login banner, that I want nothing to do with it.

Well, according to this page, clicking on the pinned items should take you to the referenced page, not another Pinterest page. But maybe the links only work correctly when you are logged in? Or are people inappropriately pinning other Pinterest pages, rather than the actual site that the original pinner pinned?

3/29/2015 Update:
I've discovered that if you disable Javascript for "pinimg.com", then the Pinterest pages display without the overlying login banner/panels, and clicking through to the referenced sites works fine. However, only 3 pinned items are shown per page this way; any additional ones are hidden.

There's also this GreaseMonkey script which lets you browse the site without being logged in, and without any pinned items being hidden (in this case, Javascript for "pinimg.com" must be enabled).

taxes and RTFM

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 12:03 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I submitted my federal taxes yesterday through freefilefillableforms.com. At first I thought to have my refund directly deposited to my bank, so I clicked the "checking" radio button in the section for the type of account. Then I decided that having a paper check sent to me would be safer than giving the IRS my bank account info. The fewer places that data is stored, the less likely it is to be hacked. But as it was a radio button, there was no way to un-select it after having selected it. So I simply left the routing and account number fields blank.

Today I got an email that my return was rejected due to the radio button being selected, but no account number being entered! "If you are unable to fix the issue, you will have to print the return and file by mail."

The only way I saw around the problem was to click the "Start Over" button. Now I have to re-enter all the forms from scratch, dang it. That reminds me I need to buy envelopes - I wouldn't have had an envelope for mailing in the forms anyway.

And now I'm kicking myself in the head, as after reading the site's User Guide, I find out that I could have unselected the radio button after all, by double-clicking it! Ah hahahaha grrrr. Read the fucking manual, indeed.

.

The website for filing South Carolina returns (southcarolina.statefillableforms.com) now uses the same web interface as the federal forms. I wonder if that site is available for all states' tax returns now, or only some. SC's tax data was hacked a few years ago, and this is the first year I'm comfortable enough to submit my SC taxes electronically again, though I'm not giving them my bank info either.
darkoshi: (Default)
Does anyone know of a good website that lists the movies currently playing in theaters, along with a synopses of each movie on the same page, so that one doesn't have to navigate to a separate page to find out what each movie is about?

I'm fine with the description displaying in a popup window, as long as it is the full description rather than a short partial description along with a "More" link.

The description doesn't need to list actors, play times, or theaters; just what the movie is about.
darkoshi: (Default)
While checking my browser cookies, I noticed some curious ones named __utma, __utmb, __utmv, etc., from a few LiveJournal and Dreamwidth domains. It turns out they are a part of Google Analytics, which can be used to track visitor traffic to your websites.

Apparently, blocking cookies from google.com doesn't block these cookies, as they belong to your website, not to google's website. I wonder whether blocking Javascript from the Google-Analytics website (which I've had NoScript set to do) disables the tracking information from being collected, or not. In my browser, I generally don't enable Javascript from that site.

Both Dreamwidth and LiveJournal support the use of Google Analytics.

So I figured I'd set up a Google Analytics account to use with my journals, to see what kind of info it generates. But it's likely I won't be checking it very often, because...

This reminded me that I hadn't checked the boingdragon counter info for my website in a very long time (a year and a half, it turns out). So today I checked it.

The Curses page remains my most popular one. A year and a half ago, it was getting around 10 hits a day. Now it's getting more than 40 a day.

(no subject)

Friday, August 10th, 2012 12:56 am
darkoshi: (Default)
What does the Amazon sign-in page use the Adobe FlashPlayer plugin for?

is something afoot?

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 11:45 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Both Dreamwidth and Netflix are experiencing technical difficulties.

I was quite tired today after work, considering that my body had only been sitting around all day. Too tired to even go for a walk. But I did manage some exercise.
darkoshi: (Default)
One of the people whose blogs I've been following for several years changed the format of their blog a few months ago. It uses tumblr now, and I just realized that there's no way for me to leave comments on the posts anymore. Apparently you need to have a tumblr account and be logged into it, to even see any options for leaving comments. I viewed the site in both Firefox and IE, and all I can do is look at the "notes" other people have left, which mostly consist of "likes" and "reblogs" but do include an occasional comment... but all these are linked to another tumbler account. There's an "Ask me anything" link on the main page, but even that brings up a window where you need to login to tumblr before you can post your question.

I encountered this same bewildering lack of being able to leave feedback a while back on someone else's tumblr page... but I figured it must be because that person didn't want comments and had disabled them. But it sounds like tumblr doesn't even have a normal commenting system built in.

Inconceivable!
darkoshi: (Default)
This is a neat site: http://www.newsmeat.com/

It lets you do searches to see what political campaign contributions (of $200 or more) an individual has made. You can search by name or zip code. I'm even in there, because I donated to the Green Party a few times!

There's also an interesting chart on the right side of the page, showing the current number of casualties, troop deployment, and money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the list of popular searches, Harrison Ford is currently at the top... his donations are sort of interesting - in 1999, he donated to both Al Gore's and John McCain's presidential campaigns.

(no subject)

Sunday, December 9th, 2007 12:41 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
What is the point of creating a password which is very hard to crack, when most sites now also require you to enter "security questions" in case you forget the password, and it is probably a lot easier for a hacker to guess the answers to such questions than it would be for them to guess the password?

useless gripe

Thursday, August 9th, 2007 10:16 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Websites should not be allowed to make proclamations such as "We've updated our Terms and Conditions. Go to this page ... to see the updated version. Your continued use of the service indicates your acceptance of the updated terms."

I already read (or skimmed) the whole long thing when signing up for the service. If they change their conditions, they should be required to also list those changes separately, not just the whole updated document. Users should not have to read the whole 10 or 20 page thing all over again from scratch. I'm sure they know that very few people are likely to do so, and therefore most people will not know what the changes are, and what they are implicitly agreeing to.
darkoshi: (Default)
well.
on the downside, just found out mybravenet.com hosting has been terminated, and so my old site is gone. guess i'll put it on the same server as my new site then.

hope i can get google to re-index my cursewords page. hey, it must have a pretty good ranking. search on "curse words", and it's on the first page of results. heh. doesn't look like my duel of the fates page is even indexed anymore though. maybe because i didn't update it in such a long time, or because the song is old now and people don't search for it much anymore.

on the upside, i've been friended. and thru a link of theirs, i rediscovered an alexander key fanpage which i had lost track of a while back, since my link to it had become obsolete. cool.

oh, and someone gave me the gift of a yahoo-group. made me moderator. hee! i'm a moderator! i've got the Power! but it's not really a real group. more of a ploy. but i suppose it could become a real group. perhaps.