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Alexis Wilke's blog

US Zip Code overlay on Google Maps

Today I had a need to find out a set of zip codes that would match a delivery area for one of my customers. I was wondering how could I find out all the zip codes over a given area...

Searching a little bit I found a website named zipmap which actually does just that. The entire US is covered and you can navigate it just like you navigate a regular Google Map view. Very practical!

You can easily move around, zoom in and out, and you even see the map with street names in the background.

Bad Google Indexing "Secure" Pages...

About a week ago I got a customer who started having their website appear in Google with HTTPS (the secure version of the site.) The pages are served securily, but it uses our website certificate so you get a big bad error saying that everything is broken and if you proceed you'll know what hell is like.

"This Connection is Untrusted" by FireFoxThe fact is that this customer never had a secure certificate. In other words, there is no reason for the site to have been referenced with HTTPS unless someone typed a link to their site and inadvertendly entered https://... instead of http://...

I checked a few of the pages where there ...

Alan Turing Centenary

Starting tomorrow, Jun 23, 2012, many countries are to celebrate the centeray birth year of Alan Turing. Alan created the Turing machine concepts and formalized algorithm and computation that are now in use in all our computers (including your portable phone and your electronic watch.)

He actually participated to the creation of the first electronic computer during second world war in England. His algorithms and knowledge of cryptography gave him the necessary skills to crack the encoding of the German Enigma Machine (a form of printer that would encode messages with a level of complexity too ...

Getting Rid of Deactivated Facebook Friends

Last updated in Dec 31, 2017 as many things have changed.
Not only that, I also noticed that "dead" accounts are not already really dead.
Read below to learn more.

I was slowly nearing 5,000 friends when all of a sudden I had 5,089!

Wondering what was happening, a post on the Blackhat World forum caught my eye as someone mentioned the fact that he had 5,700 friends. The answer was that deactivated friends do count against your 5,000 friends limit. They are counted as part of your friends even though they do not have an account anymore and they don't get automatically ...

CSS3 media queries

CSS is improving with the introduction of CSS3.

Contrary to the previous version, CSS3 supports selections that are very advanced, offering capabilities close to what you could write in JavaScript.

Today I wanted to talk about the Media Queries because that can be used to very much optimize the list of links used to load your CSS data.

In HTML, you can use a <link ...> to add a CSS file to your page.

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css" />

In this case, the file style.css will always be loaded, whatever the media being used.

South Sudan top-level domain is .ss

Very recently, Sudan was split in the northern and southern part. The southern part has a new name: South Sudan. It is now official and the new ISO country code given to this new country is SS.

This means their country top-level domain name will be .ss.

Assuming they open their domain name to all world wide, this is going to be quite interesting! There are many words in the English language that end with .ss such as dre.ss, and stre.ss, and le.ss...

If you're in the domain name business, look out for those! If it works like other top-level domains, these will go really quick and make ...

Security Issue in many mail systems

It always amazes me when one finds a security issue that looks like something that should never have happened in the first place.

This one was found earlier this year by Wietse Venema who first discovered the issue in Postfix.

He fixed the Postfix server quickly, however, he went further. He actually tested many other servers sending commands that bypass that very security measure and to his surprised he found out that Postfix wasn't the only system affected by the problem.

For those interested, all the details of the problem can be found on the Postfix website as CVE-2011-411.

A ...

Upgrade to PHP 5.3.3 or newer because of security issue

If you are responsible for a Debian or Ubuntu server and run PHP on it, make sure to run the following command to fix several security issues found in PHP:

sudo apt-get install php5-suhosin

This will make the necessary and your PHP version (security wise) will look like you have PHP 5.3.3.

What I found quite annoying in regard to this issue is the fact that it was very difficult to find a mention of this upgrade. All I could find in large number were people saying that you'd have to get an upgrade using the source code of PHP. Somehow, I did not feel like upgrading PHP from ...

IPv4 exhausted!

That's it! It's official, the IPv4 address space is now exhausted. This happened this year on February 3, 2011. Now what?

Well, first of all the exhaustion was at the level of the IANA, not for each single Internet provider. This means many more IPs are still available.

However, it is important now for everyone to think of writing any new Internet based software so that it works with IPv61

  • 1. Remember that if you support IPv6, then your system is capable of accessing all IPv4 addresses since the IPv6 address range includes the IPv4. Now let's hope that the IPv6 is not going to be ...

Google Panda Change Beneficial to Press Releases

Today, BusinessWire disclosed the fact that they and their customers were benefiting from the changes made by Google to improve the giant search engine results.

The news is not that surprising since the Panda change was to eliminate most of the so called farmer websites. Websites that would copy news, most often as is, and not themselves create any additional value (Except to the owner by having advertising and other products and services for sale on their otherwise fairly useless website.)

Of course, many people are not happy as this change affected 11.8% of the US websites. Yet, users will ...