[dranshublog.com] “Wallowing in webinars”

It is time to sleep and I have just changed into my night gown, when the phone rings. It is a Whatsapp call from a family member. You never know who needs what help in these corona times, so you pick up.

“What is this? Shift to video mode. We can’t see you!” the caller reprimands. Hello! I certainly don’t want you to see me in this state of undress. But then people think a lockdown is a good time to keep connected, so anything and anytime is good. Next online, are a group of friends from school. Same request. I want them to glare at a fixed profile image, but they want to ‘see’ me and my wrinkles in zoom mode. Predictably this is followed by comments on my greying scalp. Aargh!

I receive an email. Someone somewhere on this globe wants me to speak during an online course. I agree. And then I notice the fine print. “You are advised to be dressed like a presenter. End your presentation in 5 minutes.” The sender surely didn’t notice it was almost midnight in my part of the world at that hour. And I’m expected to be all dressed up for a 5 minute comment at that unearthly hour. Why are webcams allowed to intrude into our privacy so blatantly?

I connect with my students online for my teaching session. It is my one bright spot in the day when I can chat informally and find out how they are doing. There are discussions on data limitations and speed. They know more about technical aspects that I don’t understand myself. Their questions are tough and I find myself saying “I don’t know the answer. Let us look it up together” very frequently. But then I’m thankful they are processing and questioning what I am saying. A few sessions later, there is a problem. They have online coaching sessions every afternoon which are training them for postgraduate entrance exams. So could I wrap up sooner, or take sessions aligned with that schedule. I agree.

The constant refrain in our academic circles is that people have nothing to do during the lockdown. So start a webinar. As a result, one is bombarded with flyers on email, Twitter and Whatsapp. Three medical equipment companies want you to listen to ‘Safety guidelines in the times of COVID-19’. Every title ends with ‘… in the times of COVID-19’ irrespective of the content. And they all impinge into your lunch time. They forget that you are still at work, unlike the rest of the world. Each of them have over a 1000 doctors online, half of whom are simply saying “Hello, has the webinar started?” or “You are not audible”. And the game of oneupmanship continues as they claim to be the best. After my third webinar I need artificial tears, as my eyes are smarting from staring at the laptop screen all day.

And then there is the good news. Several top-notch academicians across the world have been herded by academic societies to deliver educational webinars. For free. You know you are never going to get this opportunity to listen to world experts so easily. So you click, click, click and register for all. I have a world clock helping me convert international times to IST. It is extremely hard to keep pace with all of them, as they are back to back. Two webinars later I realise that I am no longer listening. My brain has switched off long ago. There is something called ‘cognitive overload’ and there is only so much that you can assimilate.

It is here that I pause. To introspect. There was this big revelation which everyone seemed to be posting online two weeks ago. Positive thoughts, they called them. Telling us to slow down and look at the world outside and our worlds within. But just as quickly everything has changed. All we seem to be doing is staring at monitors and screens. The hurry and stress of the workplace is replaced by back-to-back webinars. It is worse than the workplace. Because at least there, the schedule was 9 to 5. Here there are no boundaries of time or space.

We will never learn as a species. Once part of the rat race, we will continue to find ways to be rats.

Do you know what the business model of Whatsapp (+ similar apps) is? How about your telephone? How do the producers of smartphones make money? Have you ever wondered about that?

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[2020-04-13 09:30 UTC]


#app, #apps, #business-model, #make-money, #marketing, #promote, #promoting, #promotion, #promotions, #smartphone, #smartphones, #webinar, #webinars, #whatsapp

[accuwebhosting.com] “The Importance of SSL Certificates to Search Engines”


SSL is an abbreviation of Secure Socket Layer while TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. These are the two most often used protocols today. The common factor between them is that they serve as a security layer (individually) between your computer and the server. Every website that begins with HTTPS makes use of SSL/TLS.

Another fancy name for SSL Certificate is Digital Certificate, but its job description is simple – creating a secure connection between your browser and the server SSL certificates come as tiny data files hosted on the server of the website. They are typically encrypted so that the information contained therein about your website isn’t available just to anyone.

Besides establishing a secure link between HTTPS and your site, they provide authentication, which is also essential for a secure connection. Basically, SSL Certificate is tasked with a majority of the security responsibilities taking place between you and the server, including moving your site HTTP to an HTTPS web address. Are you familiar with that tiny padlock at the start of the address in the address bar? That’s the SSL Certificate trying to secure the website. Whenever you see this padlock, know that the information transmitted between you and the server is safe. Every bit of data transmitted is first encrypted through SSL encryption to render it senseless to the prying eyes of intruders.

The biggest worry about browsing the internet is not about unknowingly downloading some malware but rather, someone reading those private details you transmit to the guy on another end. This is where the importance of the SSL Certificate becomes apparent, it will encrypt your information while on transit so that only you and the receiver can read it. And when you add hackers in the mix, the need for encrypting your information becomes even more necessary.

As aforementioned, the SSL Certificate’s primary job is to protect all communications taking place between the server and the client. With an SSL Certificate installed on a website, all information exchanged between the user and the server is encrypted. This means it will protect you from hackers while securing your passwords, your identity, credit card information, and other private information at the same.

Establishing the integrity of a website is just as important as being mindful of what you share on it. You will be shocked by how easily people lose money through phishing attacks. For instance, if someone emailed you a link of fake imitation of your bank’s website, if you are not knowledgeable about phishing, you would more than glad to surrender your banking information to the attacker. However, SSL Certificates tries to help us by flagging such fake sites and keeping us away from trouble before we do anything regrettable.

Before installing an SSL Certificate on your website, you need to complete the verification procedure set by CA (Certificate authority). The authority will eventually verify your identity, organization, among other essential details. Your website will be given an HTTPS address once you’ve been proven to be authentic. Why is this bothersome process even necessary? Well, it is aimed at preventing a faker from creating a website that imitates yours for malicious reasons.

Google made it clear back in 2014 that sites with SSL Certificates would rank higher on organic search results than those without. This was based on the assumption, which is just a fact by the way, that sites without SSL Certificates tend to fail to deliver good visitors experience. However, this doesn’t mean you are certainly assured that your site will rank highly simply because it has an SSL Certificate; other factors like SEO may influence your ranking. Google clarified that sites with SSL Certificates would enjoy benefits that won’t be available to those without the certificate.

By now, every user of the internet knows a thing or two about the precautions that need to be taken while surfing the internet, more so precautions regarding private information. At times, some organizations are reckless enough to lose a lot of customer information to hackers. SSL Certificate serves to provide standard security that can help stop such incidents by encrypting information shared between the user and the server. Every bit of information is essential, mainly if it can be used to uniquely identify an individual (often referred to as personal data).

We mentioned that Google is committed to make SSL Certificates mandatory. We also mentioned how these certificates help ensure the safety of internet users. Google sought to improve these measures skipping harmful websites by not displaying them in the search results and warning the users about every such website they try to open them. The same applies to malware prone websites. If Google detects malware on your site, they will blacklist your site on the spot, remove it from the organic search results, and warn internet users about it.

Because it is the most popular search engine on the planet, Google tries to play its leading role tune the ranking of websites and ensure security at the same time. The search engine regularly makes changes to its algorithm to improve the ranking and security factors. There are numerous search engines on the internet, but Google stands out of the park with its ability to effectively rank your website based on security and UX (user design).

Both HTTP and HTTPS are underlying protocols that the World Wide Web uses to define how information is transferred between servers and web browsers. Users are encouraged to switch from HTTP to HTTPS for various reasons. The reason is that the HTTPS protocol is very much like an improved version of HTTP, meaning better security and an array of their nice features that aren’t readily available on its older cousin. There are other considerable differences between the two, all of which are critical to your overall safety on the web. For instance:

All these are an effort to show you the link between three things: your safety, HTTPS/HTTP, and SSL Certificates and why Google pushes webmasters to uphold the utmost security standards for them to rank well on the search engines’ organic search results. Yet many sites continue to flaunt even the most basic standards set by Google. As a result, a typical day sees tons of websites closed.

As a webmaster, you have plenty to dread. If by any chance, Google blacklists your website, it will mean your reputation and sales are broken forever. If you are not operating without an SSL Certificate, you should start to forget about getting any significant traffic on your website. And if you are still lagging in upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS, it means your website isn’t secure at all, hence good customer experience is not assured – that’s one of the sins Google frowns upon and won’t hesitate to deliver punishment.

It doesn’t matter how minimalistic your site is (your excuse could be: Okay guys, I’m just dealing in word content over here, no need for high security – WRONG), as long as you are handling some sensitive data, securing your site with an SSL Certificate is a must.

Both HTTP and HTTPS are underlying protocols that the World Wide Web uses to define how information is transferred between servers and web browsers. Users are encouraged to switch from HTTP to HTTPS for various reasons. The reason is that the HTTPS protocol is very much like an improved version of HTTPS, meaning better security and an array of their nice features that aren’t readily available on its older cousin.
There are other considerable differences between the two, all of which are critical to your overall safety on the web.

The biggest difference between HTTP and HTTPS is the SSL Certificate. If your website was based on HTTP but you installed the SSL Certificate, it would effectively start to load on HTTPS. Hence, it won’t be much of a stretch if you said HTTPS is an improved HTTPS. More broadly, we describe HTTPS as a secured improvement of the HTTPS. Now that you know the basic technical information about SSL Certificates, let’s look at main reasons why you need it on your website. There are three primary reasons why having the SSL Certificate on your website is one of the best ideas you will ever make.

You can only hope that the visitor landing on your site and getting greeted with “Not Secure” label is knowledgeable and has an idea why the label would appear there, otherwise, the non-technical visitor will think your site has been hacked or is source of some sort of dangerous malware. This will certainly affect your bounce rate as many visitors will leave immediately as they arrive on your website.

No one wants basic web security measures to negatively affect their brand’s reputation and success. The easiest way of avoiding the needless inconveniences that come with web security measures is to switch from the insecure HTTP to the secure HTTPS. The switch comes with numerous benefits including boosting your rankings on Google and ensuring security on your website. But this doesn’t mean the implementation process will be all easy – switching from HTTP to HTTPS is complex, costly, and often risk-prone. If you look at the benefits it comes with, however, you will be more than willing to do all it takes to have it in place.

Which other search engines (besides Google) do you consider — and for which characteristics do you feel they stand out better than Google? (FYI, I found this blog post using a search engine other than Google’s)


[2020-04-09 11:33 UTC]

#ad, #ads, #bullshit, #certificate, #certificates, #google, #marketing, #paid, #propaganda, #seo, #sponsor, #sponsored, #ssl