More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Passwords and Penny Theives

There are a few good and useful amateur radio websites that I just cannot live without and I have gone to the trouble of registering, but in general I try my best to avoid sites that require registration. Some of you may ask why and the answer is simple, passwords. I can only remember so many passwords. You either keep secure by using a different password on each website you visit or you use the same one so you can remember it. Some people have no problem remembering passwords and others write them down, but I have to admit I struggle to remember a password even five minutes after have typed it in. With all the passwords I have for on-line services and websites I just can not cope with anymore. So in the past week I have found three new ham radio sites, that looked interesting and I would like to have reviewed here but the dreaded "You need to be logged in to view this page" message came up. Well screw you idiots! If I cannot see your website how the heck do I know if I want to register and risk giving away my details to some deadhead spammer or worse. The other danger with sites that require registration is they could be phishing so entering a password you have used elsewhere could prove troublesome.

Another thing I have come across time and time again is sites that sell you what can be legitimately downloaded for free. A prime example is manuals for amateur radio gear most of which can be downloaded from the manufacturers websites. In a lot of cases the pay for versions are massively inferior having been scanned from dogeared copies where as most of the manufactures supply first generation copies. Recently a local ham was delighted to have found a manual for an old rig he had and told me how much he paid. When I told him the manual was available to download for free from the manufactures website he told me he had clicked on the first site that Goggle threw up and he could not be bothered searching any further. Another fellow ordered a manual from a site in the US and when it arrived it was an almost unreadable photocopy of a badly scanned and badly faded booklet complete with thumb prints and the words "Downloaded from..." in grey across each page. I went on the the manufactures website and downloaded the manual. After a few minutes with a laser printer I was able to give him a printed copy as good as the original for which he was grateful. Even where the manufacture does not have the manual there are plenty of sites hosting free to download manuals for old ham radios and other obsolete technology.

Pass the word! Don't cripple your website with passwords and registration forms and stop hams getting ripped off by educating them where to find the manuals they need.

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