What is SSL (the "little padlock")?

SSL ("Secured Socket Layer") is a protocol used to encrypt the communication between the user's browser and the web server. When SSL is active, a "little padlock" appears on the user's browser, usually in the status line at the bottom (at the top for Mac / Safari users.)

This assures the user that sensitive data (such as credit card numbers) can not be viewed by anyone "sniffing" the network connection (which is an increasing risk as more people use wireless networking).

Common web site owner questions about SSL:

How do I get the little padlock on my site?

To get the little padlock, your site must have an SSL Certificate from a Certificate Authority. Once an SSL Certificate has been purchased and installed, it provides three things:

  1. The ability to show a page in "Secure Mode", which encrypts the traffic between the browser and the server, as indicated by the "little padlock" on the user's browser.
  2. A guarantee by the issuing Certificate Authority that the domain name the certificate was issued for is indeed owned by the specific company or individual named in the certificate (visible if the user clicks on the little padlock).
  3. An assurance that the domain name the certificate was issued for is the domain name the user's browser is now on.

Once obtained, the certificate must be installed on the web server by your web host. Since your web host also has to generate an initial cypher key to obtain the certificate, very often they will offer to handle the process of obtaining the certificate for you.

My web host has a "shared certificate" that I can use. Should I?

It's still fairly common for small sites to use a shared certificate from the host. In this circumstance, when a page needs to be shown in secured mode, the user is actually sent to a domain owned by the web host, and then back to the originating domain afterwards.

A few years ago, when SSL Certificates were quite expensive (around $ 400 per year), this was real attractive for new sites just getting their feet wet in e-commerce. Today, with a number of perfectly functional SSL certificates available for under $ 100 (exclusive of installation, etc.), it is a lot less attractive. Since your user can look at the address line of his or her web browser and see that the site asking for the credit card number is not the site he or she thought they were on, the cost savings is probably not worth the risk of scaring off A sale.

What's the difference between the expensive SSL Certificates and the inexpensive ones?

Typically, mostly price. Some expensive certificates have specific functions, such as securing a number of different subdomains simultaneously (a "wildcard" certificate), but the effective differences between basic single site certificates are very slight, despite the wide range of prices:

The encryption mechanism used by all of them is the same, and most use the same key length (which is an indicator of the strength of the encryption) common to most browsers (128 bit).

Some of them ("chained root" certificates) are slightly more of a pain for your web host to install than others ("single root" certificates), but this is pretty much invisible to the site owner.

The amount of actual checking on the ownership of the domain varies wildly among sellers, with some (usually the more expensive) wanting significant documentation (like a D & B number), and others handling it with an automated phone call ("press # 123 if you 'Ve just ordered a certificate ").

Some of them offer massive monetary guarantees as to their security (we'll pay you oodles of dollars if someone cracks this code), but since it's all the same encryption mechanism, if someone comes up with a crack, all e-commerce sites will Be scrambling, and the odds of that vendor actually having enough cash to pay all of its customers their oodel is probably slim.

The fact is that you are buying the certificate to insure the safety of the user's data, and to make the user confident that his or her data is secure. For the vast majority of users, simply having the little padlock show up is all they are looking for. There are exceptions (I have a client in the bank software business, and they feel that their customers (bank officers) are looking for a specific premier name on the SSL certificate, so are happy to continue using the expensive one), but most e -commerce customers do not pick their sellers based on who issued their SSL Certificates.

My advice is to buy the cheaper one.

I have an SSL certificate – why should not I serve all my pages in "Secured" mode?

Because SSL has an overhead – more data is sent with a page that is encrypted than a page that is not. This translates to your site appearing to run slower, particularly for users who are on dial-up or other slow connections. Since this also increases the total amount of data transferred by your site, if your web host charges by transfer volume (or has an overage fee, as most do), this can increase the size of your monthly hosting bill.

The server should go into secure mode when asking a user for financial or other sensitive data (which may well be "name, address and phone number", with today's risk of identity theft), and operate in normal mode otherwise.

Safety Tips on Doing an Oil Change

Probably one of the first safety tips to share when you're going to do an oil change on your car engine is to be ready for the oil spills, the grease, and the dirt. If you're a squeaky clean kind of person, then maybe you would rather bring your car to an auto repair shop and let them do that for you. But of course, changing the oil yourself is more practical and you get to save more money every year as change the oil periodically.

Now before starting out on the task of changing the oil in your engine, prepare the tools you need first. A preparation of all the things you need will make the job easier and with no hassle. You will especially need lots of old newspapers or cardsboards to cover the floor and protect it from spills. Oil filters, wrench set, an oil container, a funnel, and new oil are a given in this task, of course. Do not forget to wear gloves, too. Some people change the oil with bare hands but there is always the option of wearing gloves for extra protection.

Make sure that the spot where you're going to do the oil change has a level, flat, and solid ground. Drive around your neighborhood first to heat the oil and make it thin and easy to drain from the engine. Once your engine is warm enough, you can then park your car on the spot for the task at hand.

You can wait a while to cool the engine a bit. Thin oil that is easily drained is good but we would not want to burn our hands now, do we? Make sure you've placed your car in gear and the parking brake is set firmly. You can block the tires with a rock or brick for extra measure. You then jack your car up, but do not settle only for that. Use jackstands to keep the car aloft to help keep it firmly there. Do not get under the car unless you are very sure that the car is stable being held up.

Now with the car settled, the ground covered with newspapers or cardsboards, the tools prepared, and you protected with gloves and work clothes, you're ready for the task of changing the oil. Just remember to be careful when draining the oil since it may still be hot. Also make sure your face is out of the way when draining it.

When you're done with changing the oil and screwing the engine close, start looking for leaks. Start the engine and run it for five minutes or so while checking if there are leaks or not. Afterwards you can clean up. Throw the newspapers and oil containers away. Place the used oil and container in a sealed bag and take it to the gas station or oil recycling center.

Another important reminder is to remember that oil disposal should be done correctly. Improper oil disposal has been a hot issue, and is considered illegal and damaging to the environment. It is recommended that you drop your old and used oil at gas stations that will accept them, at no charge. There are regulations for proper oil disposal and people doing an oil change on their engines should be well aware of it.

Real Estate SEO for Beginners

The world of real estate is going through dramatic change and I don’t mean the current market upheavals caused by the change from a Seller’s market to a Buyer’s market.

Independent of price level there will always be buying and selling of homes going on. But the way people search for and find homes is in the middle of a dramatic change. The Internet is the great equalizer but also the great differentiator.

People searching online are not aware of your achievements, everybody is equal at first. If your website does not offer the design and services people appreciate they will not stay long enough to find out. This is where you can differentiate yourself.

But design and functionality are a secondary issue to the problem of how to get found in the first place. Use the analogy of websites being online business cards. New business cards are deposited not at the top of the pile but at the very bottom. Customers are picking up business cards from the top of the pile. SEO or search engine optimization deals with efforts to move ones business cards further up the pile so that customers can find one’s site through popular search engines.

So you have a new website. So you basically just had your business cards printed but nobody knows how to find them. Or even more dramatic you don’t even know if somebody is picking up your business cards and you don’t know if your business cards are in the big pile yet.

I would define SEO as the efforts to purposefully move ones website to be placed higher on the results page in response to a search query at a range of search engines.

But there are thousands of search engines out there. True. But all but 3 are irrelevant to your optimization efforts. Google, Yahoo and MSN control about 98% of all searches performed on the Internet. Focus on the three big search engines and the rest will take care of itself.

What is there to optimize? The aim is to be found by people searching for things that you offer on your website. When people search they do this textually by querying a search term or phrase. For you to optimize your site you first have to understand for which keywords or key phrases you want to be found. As I am practicing real estate in Aspen, Colorado and appropriate search term could be “Aspen Real Estate”.

Make sure you repeat your keywords and phrases on your homepage. Make the most important key phrase a headline and type it in a bold font.

It is important to understand that search engines are automated computer systems programmed by humans to evaluate the webs content without human interference. This means that search results are based on what is called a computer algorithm. This is basically a set of instructions for the computer on how to evaluate certain criteria and translate the results into a sequence of importance. Most important website first, least important website last.

The art and science of Search Engine Optimization is to try to understand what the search engines are looking for in a good site and then giving the search engine just that. The Google search engine algorithm probably looks at hundreds of different criteria. It is so complex that not even the engineers inside Google know the whole picture. Well you might say, how should none Google employees then know what to do?

Basically the most important fundamentals of what makes a good websites are known. Google for example uses a patented mathematical concept they called “Page Rank” at the root of their systems. Links are seen as votes. The more links are pointing to one website the more important that website must be. The more important the website is that votes for another website the more weight that vote caries.

So, try to get people to link to your website. It is important to know that links from website that have the same topic as your website seem to be more important than links from website that do not fit the subject. Links from other real estate related website are more important to my website then links from websites promoting toys.

Search engines like content rich websites. The more pages with useful content the better. Blogs are a great way to accumulate great on-topic content over a period of time. This is all the more important as search engines like website that have fresh content on a regular basis.

DMOZ.org is a human compiled directory of websites. Read their instructions carefully and submit your website to a relevant category. Yahoo and Google use this directory and it helps to be listed.

Generate a site map and place the xml file on your web server. A site map is basically a long list containing all your web pages in a format that is readable by computer programs employed by search engines to browse the web. These programs are called “bots” or “spiders”. This will help the search engines to find all the pages on your website. Remember, the more web pages the search engine knows about the better for you.

Search engines cannot read certain content. Graphical content is one such thing. If your site consists of mainly pictures the search engine will not understand what your site is about and therefore will not offer it as a result of a search. Make sure your site is text rich.

Real Estate website can have pages for the different subdivisions in the area serviced. Write a blog on the property of the week. Incorporate a section of “Frequently Asked Questions”. Write about yourself and give people a bio on you. Explain the buying and selling process. Offer sales statistics. The list goes on.

Get a program Like “Advanced Web Ranking” to search the search engines for search results containing your keywords. Optimization is fun when you start to see results. But manually looking for your website in search results is labor intensive and a good job for an automated program.

Read web forums and a couple of books on SEO once you are past the basics. The field is constantly evolving and there us tons more to learn.

Lingerie Shopping for Men

Lingerie shopping for men may sound really strange, although you would be surprised to know that lingerie shopping has really become a common practice for men.

Men love to shop for exquisite and sexy lingerie for their beloved. Now, this can be a really tedious task as shopping for something as intimate and complicated as lingerie is not an easy job.

Every woman is different and have different tastes. Here, it is difficult to figure out what kind of lingerie would please your loved one, as a gift. You may like her to wear something as hot as thongs but she may prefer something elegant and lacy. Here, it is extremely necessary to keep in mind what she likes and dislikes.

Buying sexy lingerie for your sweetheart can make her swoon with delight. This would be extremely romantic. Now, this does not mean that sexy lingerie is just a gift for your lover. It would be a gift for you as well. Giving lingerie to your lover would show that you really love her and care for her deeply.

Now, here are some important things you need to consider prior to purchasing lingerie for your loved one. First of all, you need to do some research on the type of lingerie available in the market and also keep in mind the person who is going to wear it. Think of the style that she usually prefers wearing and then decide on a specific style.

In case, you want to experiment on your purchase, you can consider purchasing something lacy with a stretchy mesh. This would make her love wear it.

Remember that women's sizes vary by manufacturer and material. Stretchy materials and meshes tend to fit every woman, with a slight guess.

In case you want to find out what she actually likes, you can try paying attention to her comments when watching movies or commercials. If she does point out a certain style or look, it is quite straightforward to find something similar. But make sure it is similar, try not to get carried away and chose whatever the cutest model is wearing ….

Quality need not cost the earth, as there are lots of great designs at affordable prices. You should really consider purchasing lingerie online. This would offer you privacy and also ensure you are not rushed into a buying decision. You can compare lots of different styles online, and above all, just take your time over it.