Accidental Exclusion

I often listen to the Accidental Tech Podcast while washing dishes, and this week they had a discussion sparked in part by a tweet by John Siracusa about what they can do to get more women to listen to the show. One of the responses to John’s tweet discussed on the show is that the sponsor reads sometimes feel like they cater exclusively to men, and John and Marco discussed the merits of dropping sponsors that cater only to men vs. trying to modify the ad read in a way that it’s inclusive, even if the sponsor sells a male-focused product.

The discussion was mostly about Harry’s, a shaving company, and the most obviously male-oriented recurring sponsor of the show, and in the discussion Marco stated that he felt the script was pretty neutral, with the exact words “I don’t think the script is really the problem.” Because Marco seems like a considerate man who genuinely wants to include everyone I’m pointing out how last week’s seemingly-innocent sponsor read for Harry’s excludes women.

Numerous comparisons, in quality, price, and comfort, to the Fusion line of razors, suggesting the style is Mad Men-inspired, and, and the statement that Harry’s “was started by two guys who wanted a better product” leave no doubt that these are razors being made for men, not women. Saying that the blades provide “a better shave that respects your face” leaves little doubt that Marco is speaking to the men in the audience, not the women.

The short phrase “respects your face” excludes women. If it read “a better shave that respects your skin” or “a better shave that respects the face” then women would not be excluded. John suggests going even further and trying to include women, but the point of this post is to show how easy it is to exclude a group without even realizing it.

Does anyone use PayPal integration in Appointment Booking WordPress Plugins?

I’m working on my own branch of an appointment booking plugin for WordPress for a client site. It works great, but there’s more to do.

The original plugin has an option to require payment via PayPal when someone books an appointment. I want to know if people use this feature.

For those of you who use a plugin to accept appointment bookings through your WordPress site, (or one you develop), do you use PayPal integration to accept payment for those appointments?

Bonus Questions: Do you use some other payment provider to accept payments for appointments? Which appointment booking plugin do you use?

Please leave a comment below, or E-mail me via my contact form.


Demoing Drape: a Multiple URL Shortener

One of the projects that I’ve been involved with has a new product out: Drape. Drape is a multiple URL shortener, and I’ve prepared a demo. Here’s a drape that I created of some interesting blogs about living with less impact on the planet.

And, here’s what the cut & paste button looks like:

Interesting Living on the way to Living Green

Switching to an External DNS Provider

The other day I discovered, and tweeted, that Bell Canada, my ISP, has started doing DNS Redirection.  That is, if I try to visit a domain that does not exist, they send me to a page of search results for whatever I typed.  This can be considered convenient, but it is kind of like connecting you to 411 if you misdial a telephone number – not exactly what I want.  Bell offers an “opt-out”, but despite the name it it’s not an opt-out.  They simply set a cookie in your browser that redirects you to yet another webpage that they attempted to make look like the error page from your browser, (and failed).

This wouldn’t really be a problem if I wasn’t developing a program for BonzoBox right now that checks to see if user-entered URLs really exist.  All of the sudden I can’t test my work because no matter what domain name a URL starts with, it resolves, and returns a 200 status code to boot!  This will not do.

I needed a new DNS provider, however, who do you trust?  I tried out OpenDNS, but they do the same thing as Bell just started doing, (except, they’ve been doing it for a while, maybe always, and they’re up front about it).  I read about how Level3 has great DNS servers, but if you look at it doesn’t mention it anywhere, (it’s not exactly what they’re known for).

I did run across some Level3 DNS Server addresses on, but are they really Level3’s servers, or are they some hacker’s servers that has seeded the forum with some bogus info in order to capture my banking info?  Well, a whois lookup told me that they do belong to Level3, so my new DNS servers are now –  They’re even easy to type!

FYI:  This does not appear to be a paid service from Level3, but if it was, it is something that I would be willing to pay a few dollars a year for.

Bell, on the other hand, is barely hanging on to my business.  The only reasons I am still with them is 1) I am too lazy to research the alternatives, and 2) I have an old account with no monthly bandwidth cap.  If I can find another service that is reliable and has no bandwidth cap, I may very well consider switching.