Posts Tagged ‘web tools’

Web Tools for the Organized Student

April 1st, 2009 No comments

We could use those around our house. My kids always start out the year with crisp binders, everything in its place inside, and plenty of pens and pencils. But one month flows into the next, and organization can slip.

web_tools Lifehacker has 10 Top Back to School Tips that are good for high school and college students. They range from a textbook deals finder (, a bibliography maker (OttoBib), LitSum online literature summaries and study guides, and some nice apps for sharing class notes.

If you’ve got a Mac, Desktop Organizer Schoolhouse 2 looks very intuitive, offering a great way to put all class assignments, tasks, grades and more in one place.

The notetaking site allows students to take, share, and find notes with friends, connect with Facebook friends, and keep track of dates.

Notely, a web-based student organizer, looks really helpful and easy to use, too. It helps you keep track of class notes, to-do lists, schedules, friends, and bookmarks.

Categories: Webmaster Tools Tags: ,

US Post Office Web Tools gives away your password

April 1st, 2009 No comments

I applied for a User-ID and password so I could use the US Post Office’s web services. They have some promising looking tools: zip code lookup, city/state lookup, address verification, and some other things.

A couple of hours after I applied for an account, I got my welcome email. I was on to the next task though, so I filed it. Tonight I wanted to take it for a spin.

I wrote a little program to give it a go. I didn’t follow their technical details because I don’t want to put a long XML string in the query string of the XML. This is an idempotent request, but I’ll put that stuff in the message body anyway and use a POST request.

Here’s the code. Notice I have my ID and password in the environment. The USPS says on just about every other page that I can’t give out those credentials. I can’t share them and I can’t tell anyone else what they are. Fair enough.

Look at the request scheme though! It’s plain ol’ HTTP. That’s plaintext floating across the air, or copper, or whatever. I tried sticking https in there, but it never makes a connection. Every time I test this little application, I’m exposing my credentials. You don’t have to hack ChoicePoint to get that.

use HTTP::Request;
use LWP::UserAgent;

my $content =<<"HERE";
<Address ID="0">
<Address1>5250 N. Kenmore Suite 157</Address1>

my $ua = LWP::UserAgent->new();

my $request = HTTP::Request->new( POST =>
'' );
$request->content( $content );

print $request->as_string;

my $response = $ua->request( $request );

print $response->as_string;

Okay, it’s their system and a password to their system. Obviously they know what they are doing. They are the government after all.

Not so fast. Check out this response: All I really have is a User-ID and password. I can’t actually use the service, even on the testing service. It turns out that I have to request that separately. Ughh. Not only that, they are using IIS. Oh boy, so this service will down a lot, won’t it? I’ll have to wait to see about that because I need someone to authorize me to use the web service I signed up for two weeks ago.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: close
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 11:04:46 GMT
Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
Client-Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 11:04:40 GMT
Client-Response-Num: 1

	<Description>API Authorization failure. 
User 931THEPE4647 is not authorized to use API Verify.</Description>

Categories: Webmaster Tools Tags: ,