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Round and Round with Verisign-- I'd Love a Job Like That!

From: Martin McCormick <martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 12:45:19 -0500
Message-Id: <200208171745.g7HHjJw17845@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

	On this list we discuss the art and science of making web
sites as accessible as possible within the bounds of reason.
What do you do when a company is just dead wrong?

	I received a message from Verisign, AKA Netsol AKA
Network Solutions AKA Internic.net describing their new on-line
domain management tool.  I manage about 50 domains, some of which
are with this particular enterprise so I gave it a try.  I can
probably get access to Windows and JAWS, but I work in UNIX so
this would be the proverbial 900-pound gorilla which I don't want
in my living room because it doesn't fit in.  There is no
guarantee that JAWS would even work, anyway.  It is the
principle of the thing.

	Read the following message traffic and get a first-hand
look at how things really work when one is dealing with a private
company which appears to be out-sourcing all the real work over
seas.  It must be nice to have a job where you set all the rules
and a bad day at the office is getting letters like mine and
saying "no!"  Blood pressure elevation script follows:

--- Original Message ---
From: Martin McCormick <martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
Received: 08/16/2002 04:03pm Central Standard Time (GMT - 5:00 )
Subject: 1-1mlj7d  Problems with New Domain Management System

	I am responding to a message I received today from
Verisign.  The contents of that message can be found at the end
of this entire message.

	The message in question described how the new domain
management system will work.

	I want to describe a problem I have discovered with this
site and ask you how you propose to solve it?

	As a computer user who happens to be blind, I use
lynx2.8.5-Dev.8 which is the latest version of a text-only web
browser that works well in the UNIX operating environment.  It
handles html and can properly handle SSL links as well as
cookies.  The one thing it can not do is to handle javascript
which is at the core of this problem.  It appears that your new
site fails instantly when I make a connection via lynx.  This has
nothing to do with accounts or passwords.  The connection makes
and instantly is reported as having timed out.  Other SSL (https)
sites display normally within lynx and this is, in fact, the
first time I have seen this particular problem.

	Here are some facts.

1.  lynx is the best option for blind computer users at this
time.  There is no good access to X windows for use with

	There are no present javascript-enabled browsers that
work reliably under UNIX that would solve this problem.

	While there is some speech access to Microsoft Windows,
the software is expensive at our end and not really compatible
with a UNIX working environment.

	Bottom line.  I manage lots of domains and I can't use
this system.

	Your message says:

Begin quoted text:

   Can I still use e-mail templates?
   No, e-mail templates are no longer necessary because these tools are
   available for you online through the account management tool.

End of quoted text.

	No, they are not available for me to use because they
aren't working.

From:    VeriSign <customerservice@verisign.com>
Subject: Re: 1-1mlj7d  Problems with New Domain Management System <<#38751-5346

part       text/plain                9358
Dear Mr. McCormick,

I sincerely apologize for whatever inconvenience you might have experienced but I am afraid that the new site is encoded via javascript by default.  I understand your situation and I really do wish that I can be of more help to you.  There are only two options I can present you with  now:

1.  Acquire a software that can handle and break down javascript code
2. Assistance from a family member, relative or friend

I know that the options I presented you may not directly answer your questions or your concern but those are the best options we have right now.

Please know that your business is very important to us and we value your patience with this matter


Arjay Angodung
Supervisor- Customer Experience
Verisign Inc.

To: VeriSign <customerservice@verisign.com>
Subject: Re: 1-1mlj7d Problems with New Domain Management System <<#38751-53466
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 22:17:36 -0500
From: Martin McCormick <martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu>

	These solutions are totally unacceptable.
This activity is not something I do for leisure but is part of my job
managing domains which my institution, Oklahoma State University,
maintains.  It is not acceptable to have to ask coworkers
to assist in something that I have been able to do myself up
until this time.

>Please know that your business is very important to us 
>and we value your patience

	Well, you have already said what my options are and they
are worthless.  You can always tell the quality of a company by
how it handles non-standard situations.

	I am forced to do business with your company whether I
like it or not and so far, I have no reason at all to recommend
your services to anyone.  Quite the contrary.

	If I did my job in this way, I wouldn't have a job for
very long.  Our motto is to do the impossible and make it look

	All you have done is to take something that used to work
and break it.  I can do that myself, but I usually have to clean
up my own mess.  Your company took the easy and made it

	The web forms are a great idea, but you should use
universal technology such as html forms and SSL links which work
on about anything with an html engine in it or you can use the
javascript site like you presently are and allow email templates
which are automatically scored as before.  Have a backup for
Heaven's sake!! The rest of us usually do.
End of quotes.

	Well, the Email went back and forth and he even said that
javascript gave the customers the security level they demanded.
I pretty much told him he didn't know what he was talking about
and offered to send him the security bulletins I have collected
about malicious javascript during my twelve years in the
networking field.  I even suggested that his site is putting
customers at risk.  The S word for Security seems to be the
catch-all for justifying malfeasance, these days, so I threw it
right back at him.

	At least, in my field, I feel better about solving
difficult problems for our customers or for my working group
because that is the right thing to do.  The idea is to make it
work and make it work well for as many people as practical.

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK 
OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Network Operations Group
Received on Saturday, 17 August 2002 13:45:21 UTC

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