A Web Worker’s December Twenty-Fourth

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and in my workspace,
The tech gear was taking breaks from the rat race.
The smartphones were plugged into USB,
And the laptops were waiting for “press any key.”
The servers were nestled with heads in the cloud,
And a few FTP files were being allowed.
So I started to close Twitter, Facebook and RSS,
‘Cause tomorrow, I thought, the news would be less.
When from the dark screens there rose such a ruckus,
I jumped to my desk to see what overtook us.
The normally placid display on my iPhone
Was flashing and shining a red-and-white glow.
The light was so bright I could almost not see,
But it looked like a video window to me.
And from the speaker there came such a sound,
Saying “Can you hear me?” in a voice big and round.
“Cell service is bad at the North Pole, you know,
But I wanted to call you on Skype ere I go;
To get on the sleigh,” said he, sounding merry;
“I’ve got more calls coming in on my BlackBerry.
The season is great now the ‘Net works all right;
I have the elves tweeting; Rudolf runs my website.
I can check Todoist while I’m up in the air;
And I’m mayor of my own domain on Foursquare.
I’ve outsourced most packages to Amazon,
And UPS delivers for me by the ton;
But there are some things I must still do myself,
There are just a few presents can’t be left to an elf.
Some gifts just won’t fit stockings hung on the hearth;
It’s tough to find packages for Peace on Earth,
And I pay large-box charges on Goodwill to All,
And Joy to the World can’t be found at a mall.
Meanwhile, though, can you do me a favor,
I’ll thank you for being such a good neighbor.
Please pass on the word to your friends at the blog:
Tell them for me to have an eggnog.”
He raised eyes to webcam, with a background pristine,
And said, “Wish them good cheer in twenty-sixteen,
But now, tell them all to relax and sleep tight:
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
–Charles Hamilton

Some of the technologies have changed since this was originally published in 2010, but the sentiment is the same.

Image courtesy of Flickr user SolYoung

CHCS receives award for website service to national nonprofit organization

I am honored to have been presented with this award, but it should, by rights, go to the entire CHCS team, since all of us have worked on the NARP website project.
–Charlie Hamilton

From the July 2015 NARP News, the publication of the National Association of Railroad Passengers

Charlie Hamilton Honored With Jack Martin Award

NARP CEO Jim Mathews, Charlie Hamilton and Board Chairman Robert Stewart
NARP CEO Jim Mathews, Charlie Hamilton and Board Chairman Robert Stewart

NARP presented the Jack Martin Passenger Rail Advocacy Award to at-large Council Member Charlie Hamilton. The award, established in honor of the association’s late president, was given to Hamilton at the April Spring Council meeting.

The award is given to individuals who have given a significant and valiant effort to the cause of America’s rail travelers. Hamilton, who has been a NARP volunteer since 1979, received the award for his efforts to help NARP’s advocacy efforts. His plaque reads: “For his efforts in bringing the Association’s advocacy efforts into the Twenty-First Century. Though his contributions travel through the ether, they have, and continue to have, substantive impact for those traveling aboard high iron.”

Hamilton is the founder and co-owner of CHCS Internet Development, which has designed websites since 1994.

“We have helped many nonprofit organizations develop websites,
including several train-related sites here in the Northwest,” he said. “I offered our services to NARP when the previous site needed to be updated. We put it together quickly, as NARP wanted to discontinue its relationship with the previous vendor as soon as possible. There are more improvements on the way.”

Hamilton has donated hundreds of hours in choosing vendors, building NARP’s website, moving to its new system and donating time of his staff to help the association. He is always on call for any technical issues with the website.

Hamilton’s advocacy work also includes creating and managing
Facebook groups for every Amtrak route [not quite every route; we’re still looking for folks to administer groups for a few routes], including vetting volunteers to administer all of them. People like the open discussion format, and they like to focus on their home train, he said.

“The Empire Builder, Cardinal and Starlight groups have been particularly active, but all of them have been lively,” Hamilton said. “I feel that these venues make it easy for interested people to participate in rail advocacy, and the groups have been responsive when asked to contact their elected representatives.” The current list of groups is available at http://www.growtrains.com/amtrak-communities-on-facebook/ Contact Hamilton through the website to add new groups to the list.

“Hamilton has given what would have been thousands upon thousands of dollars in technical advice so NARP can have a professional website,” said President and CEO Jim Mathews. “NARP and its members continue to reap the benefits of his invaluable contributions.”

A letter to Senator Maria Cantwell

Dear Senator Maria Cantwell​,

As a former high-tech executive, I am sure that you have been following the news that personal information of government employees (like you), former government employees (like me), retirees, and military personnel have been hacked.

I urge you to develop and sponsor legislation that would:

  1. Create a system to allow anyone whose personal information has been compromised to get a new Social Security number.
  2. Prohibit the use of such numbers for anything other than Social Security purposes, thus returning them to their original purpose. (My card, issued in 1973, includes a large “Not for Identification” notice.)
  3. Work with your colleagues to review the web of public and private information in which all of us are enmeshed, and come up with safeguards that balance our needs for privacy with a modern society and economy.

Thank you for your consideration.

Charles Hamilton
Business Owner
Seattle, Washington

About passwords, security, and Heartbleed: what you should do

It’s still unclear how severe the Heartbleed security problem is. We’ll know more as time goes on, but for right how, here are some suggestions for what you should do.

Everyone should:

  • Change your passwords, but only after a site notifies you to do so. Changing them too early may mean that you’ll just have to do it again.
  • Check the latest lists of sites affected by Heartbleed, and their current status. LastPass users can check to see whether their passwords should be changed.
  • When you change your passwords, make them something that is used only in one place. Using the same password multiple times is asking for trouble.
  • Use a password manager like LastPass, KeePass and 1Password. This is the only way to manage individual passwords for every site you need to log into. (1Password is offering their software at a discount as of this writing.)

If you own or manage a website, you should:

  • Check to see if it uses the https:// protocol for secure logins. If it does, you will have purchased an SSL certificate, and this may have to be revoked and reissued. But almost all websites for CHCS clients do not use the https:// protocol, so they do not need to be updated.
  • Check to see if any third-party application you use (like shopping carts, form builders, and the like) is recommending that you change passwords. Again, they will notify you if and when you should do so.
  • Make sure that you have updated any software your site uses (like WordPress and its plugins) to the latest versions.

CHCS continues to monitor the situation closely, but we encourage you to do so as well.

New domain types available

As you may have heard, there are a large number of new “top level domains” being made available (like .com, .net and .org). It’s evident to us that the traditional domain names aren’t going away, but if you want to buy a domain ending in one or more of the following, we can now purchase them for you. Prices vary, and the list will be expanding soon.

  •  .academy
  •  .accountants  
  • .actor  
  • .agency  
  • .associates  
  • .bar  
  • .bargains  
  • .best  
  • .bid  
  • .bike  
  • .blue  
  • .boutique  
  • .build  
  • .builders  
  • .cab  
  • .camera  
  • .camp  
  • .capital  
  • .cards  
  • .care  
  • .careers  
  • .cash  
  • .catering  
  • .center  
  • .ceo  
  • .cheap  
  • .church  
  • .claims  
  • .cleaning  
  • .clinic  
  • .clothing  
  • .club  
  • .codes  
  • .coffee  
  • .community  
  • .company  
  • .computer  
  • .condos  
  • .construction  
  • .consulting  
  • .contractors  
  • .cool  
  • .credit  
  • .creditcard  
  • .cruises  
  • .dance  
  • .dating  
  • .democrat  
  • .dental  
  • .diamonds  
  • .digital  
  • .direct  
  • .directory  
  • .discount  
  • .domains  
  • .education  
  • .email  
  • .engineering  
  • .enterprises  
  • .equipment  
  • .estate  
  • .events  
  • .exchange  
  • .expert  
  • .exposed  
  • .fail  
  • .farm  
  • .finance  
  • .financial  
  • .fish  
  • .fitness  
  • .flights  
  • .florist  
  • .foundation  
  • .fund  
  • .furniture  
  • .futbol  
  • .gallery  
  • .glass  
  • .graphics  
  • .gratis  
  • .gripe  
  • .guide  
  • .guru  
  • .haus  
  • .holdings  
  • .holiday  
  • .house  
  • .immobilien  
  • .industries  
  • .ink  
  • .institute  
  • .insure  
  • .international  
  • .investments  
  • .jetzt  
  • .kaufen  
  • .kim  
  • .kitchen  
  • .kiwi  
  • .land  
  • .lease  
  • .life  
  • .lighting  
  • .limited  
  • .limo  
  • .loans  
  • .london  
  • .luxury  
  • .maison  
  • .management  
  • .marketing  
  • .media  
  • .menu  
  • .moda  
  • .moe  
  • .nagoya  
  • .ninja  
  • .partners  
  • .parts  
  • .photography  
  • .photos  
  • .pictures  
  • .pink  
  • .place  
  • .plumbing  
  • .productions  
  • .properties  
  • .pub  
  • .qpon  
  • .recipes  
  • .red  
  • .reisen  
  • .rentals  
  • .repair  
  • .report  
  • .rest  
  • .reviews  
  • .rich  
  • .rocks  
  • .schule  
  • .services  
  • .shiksha  
  • .shoes  
  • .singles  
  • .social  
  • .solar  
  • .solutions  
  • .supplies  
  • .supply  
  • .support  
  • .surgery  
  • .systems  
  • .tax  
  • .technology  
  • .tienda  
  • .tips  
  • .today  
  • .tokyo  
  • .tools  
  • .town  
  • .toys  
  • .trade  
  • .training  
  • .university  
  • .uno  
  • .vacations  
  • .vegas  
  • .ventures  
  • .viajes  
  • .villas  
  • .vision  
  • .voting  
  • .voyage  
  • .watch  
  • .webcam  
  • .wiki  
  • .works  
  • .wtf  
  • .xyz  
  • .yokohama  
  • .zone

Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing one of these new types of domain names, or if you have any questions.