KillerSites Blog

Web Design News

PCI Compliance Security Scam – Podcast

November 1, 2010


The following article and podcast is based on my personal experience and opinion, as web application developer and web entrepreneur.

Let’s start with the basics, what is PCI compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Essentially any merchant that has a Merchant ID (MID).

… So if you are processing credit cards and you take credit card information on your site, you are then subject to the edicts of PCI compliance.

Now on the surface this may sound like a good idea, but in practice, I am seeing something akin to the Y2K scam of the year 2000, where many companies paid big money ($$) to protect against the non-existent threat of Y2K. Again, my opinion as a programmatic nerd.

🙂

… Ahh Y2K, many of fraudulent fortunes were made in those days!

PCI Security Server Scan/Scam

So being a proud holder of a merchant ID (so I can process credit cards directly) I fell under the oppressive thumb of the PCI compliance industry. Besides answering yes to a whole slew of questions that had ZERO relevance to my company because of how we do things, I had to subject my server to the PCI compliance scan.

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Apple vs. Adobe Flash … what does it mean for web designers?

April 10, 2010

If you are a web designers/developer or just a geek, you’ve probably heard about the recent ongoing battle between Apple and Adobe.

The fight revolves around Adobe’s Flash and Apple’s iPhone and now the new iPad – basically Apple has blocked both these devices from running the Flash player and thus, any Flash delivered content, whether it be video or applications … can anyone say NO Flash games!

Apple says that they blocked Flash because Flash runs terribly on Mac OS. This is true. But recent events tells me that there is more to it than protecting iPhone and iPad users from the evils of the Flash player ….

“Apple Gives Adobe The Finger With Its New iPhone SDK Agreement”

This title (form a Techcrunch article) tells it all. You see, not only does Apple prevent Flash from running on iPhone and iPad, they are even blocking Flash-created programs that would then be ported to (translated into …) native iPhone-code based applications!! This is truly a poke in the teeth … from Apple to Adobe.

… Apple is blocking Flash with their new license agreement – basically, applications must be “originally written” in C/C++/Objective-C:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

I don’t normally swear on my blog … but WTF!?

Bottom line for web designers and developers:

We is screwed! Especially if you are Flash developer …

😉

Ok, not really … but read on for details how to get around this mess.

Apple basically want’s to kill Flash … this is clear. They want to kill it because they want to replace it. This is nothing new for Apple, they nailed Adobe with Finalcut years ago … and Apple basically took over the video editing market … took it away from Adobe.

More evidence:

Apple just announced a new tool for creating HTML 5-based interactivity, I’m not sure of the details but it just ads more fuel to the fire. There’s going to be a battle and nerds will take sides; in the end though, everyone will loose.

So what should web designers do?

Code is code and good design and good design – continue to work on your basics:

As I have been saying for years, don’t get married to a particular language or technology. Instead, try to concentrate on the key fundamentals and become language/technology agnostic … and use what works best for the project at hand. Personally, I’ve used 8-9 languages over the years to build web applications; I would look at the project and then choose the language, rather than trying to shoehorn everything into same technological box.

Stefan Mischook
www.killersites.com

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Web Design Community – launched!

March 26, 2010

Hi,

We just launched our brand-spanking-new forum/community for web designers and aspiring web designers. It is basically a forum with extend personal profiles and social networking capabilities like friends lists, private messaging, galleries, chat .. etc.

Beyond the obvious, we will be including a few interesting features:

  • Script banks for people to contribute useful PHP and Javascript.
  • A web template library … again, for people to contribute to and use.
  • A photo sharing section for people to showcase their web design work.

The idea is to create a community of web professionals that can share not only knowledge of web design, but also potentially pool talents and secure jobs. For instance, maybe you’re are great coder but lack on the design side of things, you being a member of the community, will undoubtedly get to know a few great designers – people you can get to help you on more design intensive projects.

… And this of course can go both ways.

Check it out:

killersites.com/community/

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
www.killersites.com

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An interview with David Siegel about his new book on the semantic Web: Pull

February 27, 2010

David has had a knack for pointing the way, when it comes to the Web. In David’s new book ‘Pull’, he’s now pointing the way when it comes to the Web, business and perhaps even more. In the following interview, I try to get to heart of what Pull is all about.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook

An interview with David Siegel about Pull

1. What is ‘pull’ in a nutshell?

It’s the first book of its kind, describing the next 10 years of innovation online, where all industries will transition from a push model to a pull model. In the next few years, your customers will pull information, products, and sevices from you, and you’ll have to set up to be pulled, rather than pushing.

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HTML 5 support for IE7 and IE8 … today!

February 8, 2010

Hi,

As is usual, Google is pushing the Web forward with their innovations in Web technology – this time around, we have Chromeframe, a plug-in that gives IE Chrome browser capabilities … that is to say, HTML5 ability.

From Google:

Enable open web technologies in Internet Explorer

Google Chrome Frame is an early-stage open source plug-in that seamlessly brings Google Chrome’s open web technologies and speedy JavaScript engine to Internet Explorer. With Google Chrome Frame, you can:

* Start using open web technologies – like the HTML5 canvas tag – right away, even technologies that aren’t yet supported in Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8.
* Take advantage of JavaScript performance improvements to make your apps faster and more responsive.

The video from Google:

The Chromeframe plug-in is of course based on the Chrome web browser.

My take on this:
I’m not sure how practical this is for most web designers, but for the adventurous sort, this maybe something to explore. For instance:

– how well does the plug-in work?
– how easy is it to install: could you convince your IE7 and IE8 visitors to install it?
– can you degrade Chromeframe implementations gracefully?

So, if you are beginner or you are a hard-core in-your-face, I got no time to waste working web designer – forget this post for now.

🙂

Stefan Mischook
www.killersites.com

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With iPad, Apple has started a new browser war!

January 28, 2010

ipad image 167x240

It seems that Apple wants to start a new 1990’s style browser war – this really sucks!

Instead of the war being centered around HTML and the DOM, Apple has decided to make it about rich media delivery – Apple does not like Adobe Flash and they are not supporting it on iPad and iPhone.

… Hey Apple, did you hear that Flash IS THE Web standard for rich media?

Because everyone uses Flash to embed video and audio on the Web today, blocking Flash on the iPhone and iPad (with special exceptions made for Youtube of course!) … is NO DIFFERENT than the proprietary tag wars of the 1990’s between Microsoft and Netscape.

In the original browser war’s, it was all about the software, Netscape vs. Explorer … this time the browser is the physical device .. iPad and iPhone vs practically every other device in the world that can surf the Web. Man this is really beginning to piss me off!

With the HTML/DOM browser wars, in the end, everybody lost … and I lost a lot of hair trying to build cross browser compatible websites!!

Adobe fights back against the tyranny of an Apple

Adobe responds by giving Flash the ability output native iPad applications.

From the article:

The iPhone and iPod Touch were the first devices to popularize surfing the Web from a small screen, using multitouch input to allow users to zoom in and out of Web sites that were originally designed to be seen on larger screens. But the iPhone and iPod Touch don’t support Flash, which is widely used for online multimedia content, and Apple hasn’t signalled that it’s interested in adding Flash support to its line of mobile devices.

… This doesn’t solve our web browsing issue but at least we can enjoy the creativity of the millions of Flash developers out there on the iPad and iPhone – something Apple does not want it seems.

Stefan Mischook
www.killersites.com

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Killersites University is live!

January 9, 2010

killersites.com-university

Hi,

After a couple of months of hard work, we finally got the new video tutorial subscription system up and running.

About the University:

The Killersites University is a subscription based service that gives you total access to our GROWING collection of web design and web design related training videos. Not just a collection of tips and tricks videos, we provide complete video courses on popular subjects like:

* HTML
* CSS
* Dreamweaver
* PHP
* Javascript
* and much more

You can learn more about it here:

http://www.killersites.com/university/

What’s next?

Now that we have the University up and running, we will be able to focus a lot more time on new videos. Subscribe to the RSS feed or one of my newsletters to keep up-to-date.

Thanks,
Stefan Mischook
www.killersites.com

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Apple sees 11 million downloads of Safari 4 in three days

June 12, 2009

Hi Guys,

This is interesting news for web designers as it seems Safari is even getting traction in the Windows world:

Apple said Friday that more than 11 million copies of its new Safari 4 web browser have been downloaded in the first three days of its release, including more than six million downloads by users of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems.

Some interesting points about the new Safari 4:

– It uses the Nitro JavaScript engine that executes Javascript code several times faster than IE 8 or Firefox 3.

– Safari (according to Apple) renders HTML three times faster than Firefox 3 or IE 8.

And for Mac users, this is an interesting point:

With the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard this September, Safari will run as a 64-bit application, boosting the performance of the Nitro JavaScript engine by up to 50 percent, Apple claims.

Besides the speed improvements, Safari 4 has some really cool features like the Topsites feature that basically gives you a large thumbnail preview of recently viewed web pages.

You can read the full article here:

Apple 11 million downloads …

You can check out Safari’s 150 features here:

Safari’s cool features.

Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook

www.killersites.com

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Note to Firefox Nerds: Firefox Sucks on Mac

September 29, 2008

firefox-logo

Hi,

I’m a big fan of the Firefox browser; it’s fast, nimble and has a great plug-in architecture, that has made Firefox into a true tool for web designers. That said, Firefox has one big failing – it sucks on the Mac.

Yes, for reasons beyond the comprehension of this humble nerd, Firefox crashes like crazy on the typically ultra stable Mac OSX.

… It’s so bad in fact, that sometimes it feels like I’m using crash-crazy Mac OS 9!

What is the source of the Firefox problem?

I haven’t done any thorough testing, but it seems to me that the constant crashing has to do with the Firefox Javascript engine – it only seems to crash when I’m on a page that uses Javascript.

So if any of your Firefox developers happen to come across this post, please take a closer look at this glaring problem. Believe me, I am not the only one who has seen this.

PS: The Flash player also doesn’t work properly in Firefox on Mac.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook

www.killersites.com
www.killerphp.com

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Here comes IE8

June 21, 2008

ie8-beta

The web design magazine is slowly taking off.

… We have our first article from John Beatrice who has given us a sneak-peek at the new IE8:

Internet Explorer 8 is Microsoft’s response to the growing interest in interactive web services and rich online experiences. This is Microsoft’s second attempt to build a browser that follows standard compliant HTML and CSS. So, will designers and developers embrace this new Internet Explorer?

You can read more about the Internet Explorer 8 beta in the magazine section of the website.

I hope you’ll find it interesting.

Stefan Mischook

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