Monthly Archives: January 2007

Netflix doesn’t allow customers to find movies by release dates

Netflix customer service cofirmed with me that its movie search doesn’t allow users to find movies by release dates. It wasn’t explained to me why and I really don’t see any reasons for not making it easier for customers to find what they want to see. I can’t imagine it’s related to technical difficulties. Is it possible that it’s a business decision to deliberately prevent customers from renting a certain subset of their movies only? I’d like to know what you think of this.

btw, Netflix also doesn’t offer a search by MPAA rating (i.e. R, PG, etc) either.

Paypal vs Google Checkout online payment systems – Part II

Since my last post, I’ve implemented PayPal on my site. I thought I’d write about my PayPal implementation experience.

Google CheckoutFirst of all, the fact that I didn’t go with Google Checkout is not because Google Checkout is worse then PayPal in terms of features, performance, fees, etc. I went with PayPal only because I had already spent a lot of time looking into PayPal and that I had a good understanding of how it works. PayPalThe fact that a lot of websites already use it and it just works(cross my fingers), and that there’s existing support in Ruby on Rails made it almost a no-brainer to go with PayPal. In order for me to get a better time estimate for implementing Google Checkout, I’d have had to spend more time than the couple hours that I had already spent. That said, Google Checkout seems to have all the features that I need. Having SOAP is also nice. Google Checkout also works with AdWords and that’s another plus. It has a lot of potential and my plan is to implement Checkout sometime in 2007. Continue reading

Ruby on Rails with and without SSL using WEBrick

I’m currently building a website with Ruby on Rails that requires SSL to secure a few web pages such as the login page while leaving the rest of the site SSL free. It took me a few hours to figure it out and the information on this subject is somewhat sparse. I thought I’d write down the information in case someone needs it.

I’m using WEBrick for my development work because it’s quick and easy. Normally, WEBrick isn’t in ssl mode and it wasn’t obvious to me as to how to run an ssl version of it. After looking around, I found the script mentioned in this mailing list.  Simply save the script as server_ssl in the script directory of your RoR project and then:

chmod +x script/server_ssl

Be sure to change the ‘ip’ in the script.

SSL requires the use of a server certificate. The logical question is then how does one create and install a server certificate? Normally, you would purchase a certificate from a Certificate Authority or create one by using a tool like openssl(see HTTPS Configuration in the Ubuntu Server Guide). However, it seems the server_ssl script tells WEBrick to create a server certificate on-the-fly and so there is no need to create and install a certificate. One side effect is that Firefox will warn you the certificate is not authentic. Another side effect is that if you stop and restart WEBrick without restarting Firefox, Firefox will tell you the certificate has the same serial number as another certificate and will simply refuse to use the certificate. If that happens, just restart Firefox. These are inconveniences but are ok while you’re still in the development phase.

Continue reading