Thursday, September 27, 2007

Abbey Bank

Aaaaggh!! Abbey does it again!

I am tired of Abbey procedures and call centres half-way around the world. Last month I had a new pin issued due to my identity theft I spoke of earlier. I only used my new pin once before I forgot it.

At the end of August I requested a new pin. "3 to 5 working days" they said. On the sixth day I requested a new pin. Again "3 to 5 working days". The following week my pin number arrived, only this wasn't my pin number that was issued the previous week but the number issued two weeks previous. The following week my second pin number arrived. This was on the 25th. Over 3 weeks without having access to my account! There is no Abbey branch on the island. The ATM network is my only access.

I used my card with the new pin on the 25th at a non Abbey ATM. Normally this would have "activated" the card with the new pin. Not this time it seems. I then attempted to use my card at the local supermarket only to have the pin locked! Aaaaaggh! After struggling on the phone with the Indian call centre I was put through to someone who offered some hope. "Normally one would activate a card with a new pin at an Abbey ATM, but as you live on an island and no Abbey ATM available you may find another bank will offer you pin services connecting to the Abbey network". Hmm! Worth a try. I really don't want a new card and pin.

I went into town and looked at the Lloyd's ATM, not much information there. I then walked around the corner to the Barclay's ATM. On this machine was a notice "The following bank customers are welcome at this ATM". Abbey National was listed. This looked promising. I put my card in and entered my pin. It was accepted and one of the options available as "Pin Services". Very promising. I was able to "Unlock PIN" and withdraw some cash. Cause for celebration!

I really must transfer my account to an island based bank; Barclays is looking very promising.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Server-Side Scripting

My family website has been written solely in HTML and CSS. I want to do more on this site specifically with dynamic content. This is not possible without some sort of scripting. I have been toying with learning Javascript for some time. Javascript, for those that don't know is a client side script, and can be switched off by the user browsing the website. This renders some functionality of a website inoperable!

To overcome this, what is needed is some form of server-side scripting. Server-side scripting are instructions that are run by the server that hosts the website before the web pages are presented to the user's browser. Therefore the user is unable to switch these instructions off. The web page behaves as it is intended by the author.

The two most common server-side scripting languages are PHP and ASP. I have chosen PHP because it is free! It is also very powerful and well supported. You can identify web pages that use PHP by looking at the URL in the browser address bar. It will show something like

Now I am learning PHP. So far I have found it quite simple to use. I have installed a local server on my PC to learn and run PHP scripts. I am using an online tutorial .

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Spam Comments

I have noticed regular automated spam comments appearing in my blogs. So now I have switched on both 'Comment Moderation' and 'Word Verification'. This will block out any of these automated spam comments. It will still allow individuals to post comments, but these comments will not be published until I have 'Moderated' them. I may at a later date switch off 'Comment Moderation' but for now it stays.