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CalendarJanuary 20, 2017

Goodbye HTTP, Hello HTTPS

Goodbye HTTP, Hello HTTPSOn Wednesday, January 18th, PC.net underwent the biggest change since I renamed the site from Sharpened.net to PC.net on May 1, 2012. Once again the website has a new URL. Instead of http://pc.net, the new URL is https://pc.net. Pretty dramatic, huh?

While it is a small change, this means all traffic to PC.net will be handled through the HTTPS protocol instead of HTTP. So what exactly is HTTPS? It is a secure version of HTTP, the standard protocol used for accessing webpages. It runs connections through SSL, which encrypts the communication. Therefore, your connection to PC.net will now be encrypted, meaning no one can eavesdrop on your browsing or see what you submit via the contact form, for instance. Otherwise, it should have no noticeable effect on your PC.net experience.

HTTPS is super important for e-commerce sites and websites where you can log in with a username and password. It protects your personal information from being intercepted by someone on your network running a packet sniffing program or other malicious software. For PC.net, this isn't really a concern.

So why the switch? Well Google, the self-proclaimed authority of webmaster guidelines for websites around the world, has encouraged websites to use HTTPS since August 6, 2014. The goal, I suppose, is to make the web more secure, preventing data theft and the alteration of webpage content between the server and end user. A noble goal, but also a pretty big hassle for the average webmaster. Historically, moving to HTTPS has involved buying a secure certificate, authenticating your identity as an individual or organization, and installing the certificate for your domain on the server. Not an easy task for the everyday webmaster.

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CalendarNovember 23, 2016

Why my Health Insurance Premiums are Increasing 56% Next Year

My health insurance premiums are going up over 56% next year. It is the biggest annual increase in monthly premiums I have ever had – by far.

A few weeks ago, I surmised how Obamacare may have been a pivotal factor in the U.S. election. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has driven up health care costs and has actually made health care much less affordable for most US citizens. It certainly has not benefitted me the past few years. See the chart of my 2005 to 2017 insurance premiums below.

Medica Health Insurance Premiums Chart 2005 - 2017

The chart above speaks for itself. As the details of the Affordable Care Act have been implemented over past few years, I have watched my health insurance premiums skyrocket. On top of that, my insurance company – Medica – has reduced my coverage, lowered the amount they will pay for prescription drugs, and increased my deductible.

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CalendarNovember 9, 2016

Obamacare: The Untold Story of the 2016 Election

Obamacare: The Untold Story of the 2016 ElectionIt actually happened. Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States.

Not too many saw this coming, including myself. Millions of people in America and around the world were glued to their TVs, computers, and smartphones wondering, Is this actually happening?

Nearly every political analyst predicted a Hillary Clinton victory. Many of them were confident the election wouldn't even be close. But it was close. And Trump won. The smartest people in news got it wrong.

So why did Donald Trump win? Was it because Americans are frustrated with the establishment (the current government)? Do they not trust Hillary? Or do US citizens simply want a leader who is not politically correct? These are all reasons people voted for Trump, but they had already been factored into the polls. So what made the difference? I have a theory — and it revolves around one word: Obamacare.

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CalendarSeptember 23, 2016

iPhone 7 Review - One Week Later

iPhone 7 Review - One Week LaterWaking up at 1:55 AM CDT on September 9 was worth it. I was able to access the online Apple Store at 2:09 AM and was one of the first people to order the new iPhone, with a delivery date of September 16. A few minutes of clicking refresh is better than waiting several hours in line at a physical Apple Store IMO.

I ordered the 256 GB Jet Black iPhone 7 for AT&T. The purchase and financing options were confusing, but I ended up choosing the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program, which includes AppleCare+ and an option to upgrade in 12 months. It was only $5 more per month than the other options, so I figured it was worth it.

Design

The iPhone 7's design is striking in the sense it is strikingly similar to the iPhone 6. It is the exact same size as the iPhone 6 and 6s and all the buttons are in the same places. That means an iPhone 6 case should fit, right? Nope, the camera lens on the back has been moved and is shaped differently so most old cases won't work. Wa wa...

iPhone 6 vs iPhone 7 rear cameras

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CalendarSeptember 10, 2016

AT&T Passport - Is it worth it?

AT&T Passport - Is it worth it?I just returned from my annual trip to Sweden. I've traveled to Denmark and Sweden so many times and know how readily available Wi-Fi is, that I decided to try an experiment. I skipped AT&T's Passport plan, meaning I had no access to cellular data.

AT&T Passport is a 30-day add-on that provides you with a small amount of cellular roaming data, cheaper calls, and unlimited messages. It conveniently starts at whatever date you choose and automatically expires in 30 days.

AT&T Passport Options

The plan used to be $30, but AT&T recently increased the price to $40. In the bucket of trip expenses, $40 is still just a drop, but I decided I would forego the plan this time and see how I fared just using only Wi-Fi.

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- PC (Per Christensson)

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