Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


Some site news here: I finally enabled SSL here, so HTTPS works properly, and that stupid warning goes away in Chrome. I’ve put off doing this, because I thought it involved buying SSL certs from my domain place, and I didn’t want to pay a monthly charge for it. Turns out I was able to click a button in the admin panel, tell it to use Let’s Encrypt, and change one character in my WordPress config. HTTP requests now redirect to HTTPS, and that’s that. I’m sure there’s some dumb thing somewhere that gets tripped up and goes to the wrong thing, but it seems to be mostly functional? I think the various links scattered around the site need to be changed, but I have a list of a dozen other things I need to fix, so I’ll get to it.

I very vaguely remember in 1995, I documented a commercial web server at Spry/CompuServe, and we rushed out a new version that glued in the ability to use HTTPS. We also slapped SSL support into Spry Mosaic. I only remember a few distant details of this, like there were competing standards, S-HTTP and HTTPS, and we supported both, but Netscape supported HTTPS, so S-HTTP died. Also there were almost no sites that supported SSL; you had to pay Netscape five grand in 1995 dollars to get a secure version of a server, and e-commerce was mostly a vague rumor at this point. I vaguely remember CompuServe partnering with a drop-ship company with a portal to quickly throw some store to sell junk you’d normally get for free at a trade show for insane prices, like you could pay $50 for a t-shirt. Anyway, I did virtually nothing except write an addendum for Marc VanHeyningen and the whole thing was a moot point; Internet Explorer killed Spry Mosaic, because why would you pay a hundred bucks for a web browser in a box on floppy discs.

Not really related: I vaguely looked at moving this site to AWS Lightsail, and did an experiment with that. (One of the features included in this is that it would support SSL out of the box, but who cares now.) I spun up an instance in AWS with WordPress preinstalled, and then did an export and import of this blog. All the posts came across, but none of the media, themes, plug-ins, or site config made it. A quick test or two showed a very slight performance boost, but not enough to justify the labor involved. It would be nice to have the site on a CDN, and it would save me a few bucks a month in hosting fees. But it would involve moving my mail config, and I’m sure I’m forgetting three or five other things that would need to change. It’s not entirely worth it for the ten views a day I get on here.

Side note: the latest Word on Mac doesn’t open any of the files I wrote back at Spry/CompuServe. I think they were in Word 95, or maybe even Word 6.0. I had to download a copy of LibreOffice to open them up. That seems dumb, but they’re also almost 30 years old. It’s always scary to look at writing that old, and this is no exception.

Anyway. That was easy enough. Now I need to fix all the other little things that came up during the move to the new theme. And maybe figure out how to make this thing faster.


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