Migrating to HTTPS

Last November, it was my domain’s sweet sixteen!

As a birthday gift, I got my site its very own SSL certificate, courtesy of DigiCert through their Microsoft MVP offer, and as of this week my site has now been fully transitioned to HTTPS!

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is an Internet security standard that enables encrypted communication between your browser and a website, preventing attackers from eavesdropping on or even tampering with information. This is more important for sites that collect sensitive information such as government and e-commerce sites, and less so for personal sites, but as SSL certs become more accessible and affordable I don’t see any reason for me not to secure my site, so, here I am!

In this entry I’ll be sharing my personal experience of obtaining and signing a certificate, setting it up on my server, and migrating both static and dynamic content on both the main domain and its subdomains.

As this is about my own experience, this will not be a comprehensive how-to covering all the various ways of setting up HTTPS on your site (though I’ll cover some ground in the overview), but I hope you learn something about the process in general. This being my first ever experience with SSL certificates as a server administrator, I certainly learned a whole lot!

It’s my 26th birthday!

Happy birthday to me, I’m officially 26!

As another uneventful even-numbered birthday, here’s another fun fact: ten years ago, my 16th birthday in 2008 was when I had intended to launch NOVALISTIC 3.0 “Oltanis”, which, from the About page, was:

An attempt at creating an online resource for web developers, with tutorials, assets, and even a discussion forum. Codenamed “Oltanis”, I spent months implementing version 3.0 between 2007 and 2008 before finally deciding not to launch it as I realized it was too large of a commitment for myself.

At 26, not only do I still think I’m not ready for such a commitment, but I think the web has largely moved beyond tutorial sites and discussion forums. Oltanis was a relic of its time, for sure.

I should probably start some sort of birthday fun fact thing here each year, huh?

Anyway, speaking of the number 16, it was’s sweet sixteen last November! Here’s my tweet about it in case you missed it:

And if you haven’t noticed the fact that my site is now mostly on HTTPS yet, to commemorate my domain name’s sweet sixteen it now has its own SSL certificate, courtesy of DigiCert through their Microsoft MVP offer!

Most of the site has been transitioned, but not all of it just yet. I’ll be posting about my move to SSL in full once I get that wrapped up.

Emergency Chat for Windows 1.2 and 2.1 released

The second update to Emergency Chat for Windows is now available on the Microsoft Store!

Get it from Microsoft

This is an architectural (read: behind-the-scenes) update that should not negatively impact performance or reliability on Windows Phone 8.1. On Windows 10, a few user-facing improvements accompany the architectural changes:

That blog post I promised in the previous update will be rolled into the one I’m planning that’s accompanying this update, as they both pertain to the UWP development process (for the developers, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my question on Software Engineering!). In the meantime, if Emergency Chat has helped you during a time of need, or if there’s something that you think can be improved, we’d love to hear from you! Please rate and review our app (you can do this from within the app by going to Settings > About, or if you’re reading this on Windows 10 you can use this handy direct link!).

I never really left the Apple ecosystem

Yesterday saw the public release of iOS 11.

Yesterday also saw me powering on my brand new silver 128 GB iPhone SE for the first time. It was still running iOS 10, which I promptly replaced with a restore of iOS 11.

For the uninitiated, you might be wondering what a Microsoft MVP is doing with an Apple device. Well, one of the best things about being an MVP is that Microsoft doesn’t judge you even if you own and use competing products. I won’t go into detail on Microsoft’s role in the Apple and Google ecosystems compared to its own, but what I’ll say is that once you’ve used an iOS or Android device for even five minutes, you’ll notice right away just how ridiculously well made Microsoft apps are on those platforms. I won’t get into why that is, either; I’m just stating that fact for the sake of context.

Anyway, cut to the chase: as of yesterday, my daily driver is now an iPhone SE. The good news is that I’ll be keeping my Lumia 830 and I will be continuing to support Emergency Chat for Windows with updates.

The bad news is that my eight-year-and-three-quarter-old Sony Cyber-shot DSC-S750 is now dead and as much as I wanted to shoot my iPhone SE and Lumia 830 together for this post, it’ll have to wait. In any case, I’ll be spending the next week updating my battlestation to introduce my new iPhone as well, so watch that space for updates!

My Microsoft MVP Award gift package is here!

A little over a week after becoming a Microsoft MVP, I’ve now received my MVP Award gift package!

My Microsoft MVP Award!
My Microsoft MVP Award!

Receiving the Microsoft MVP Award this year was even more special for me, as ten (10) years ago, in 2007, I was certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist (and Expert), doing pretty spankin’ well in the Excel 2003 nationals even if I didn’t make it to the world championships. Sure, certifications and awards are two different things, but they’re both achievements — and these were both official Microsoft-related ones! I may not be an Excel MVP now, but perhaps someday if I get back into it I just might become one in the future… though I think I’m more interested in Windows Development and/or Xamarin.

A diptych of my Microsoft Office Specialist awards from 2007, and my Microsoft MVP Award from 2017.
2007: my Microsoft Office Specialist awards. 2017: my Microsoft MVP Award.

Anyway, since many other MVPs have done it, I figured I’d hop on the bandwagon and post my own photos of my MVP Award gift package. Hashtag unboxing, because, yeah.