Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flickr API Authentication Pitfalls

Or Things That I Don't Think Are Clear Enough in the Flickr Documentation, I do accept however that they are (may be) standards documented elsewhere on the net. Examples are in PHP.
  1. Your first request, to request the Request Token token (no, that is not a typo), should be SHA1 hashed using your API Secret (AKA Consumer Secret) followed by an ampersand as the key, since you don't have a Token Secret yet. ie:
     hash_hmac('sha1', $base, "$secret&", true)
  2. Your second request, for an Access Token, should be hashed using your API Secret followed by an ampersand followed by the Token Secret returned in step one as a key. After this step you should start using the Token Secret returned by this step.
  3. The "base string" to be hashed should be the exact query string (including both equal signs and ampersands, alphabetically ordered by name, values url encoded) url encoded. ie, query values should be url encoded twice, leading oauth_callback values to look like:
  4. The hash should be a url encoded base64 encoded binary, not hex as is the PHP default, so you need to include true as the last hash_hmac parameter, ie:
    urlencode(base64_encode(hash_hmac('sha1', $base, "$secret&$tokensecret", true)))
  5. The oauth_nonce is a random eight digit integer, used to make each call unique.

Monday, August 20, 2012

ASUS Not Releasing Zenbook UX32VD In The UK?

There are quite a few reasons why I want to get an ASUS UX32VD. I currently have a UX31E, which I like a lot, but it does have its flaws, the keyboard is especially bad, and the screen is not great. With its IPS, full HD screen and improved keyboard the UX32VD should address these issues, the screen particularly has me drooling, but on top of that it has both dedicated and integrated GPUs and of course an Ivy Bridge processor and still seems a reasonable price (approximately £850). So I contacted ASUS to ask them when the UX32VD would be available in the UK. The reply surprised me, apparently they're not planning to release it in the UK at all. Having said that, several UK sites were selling the machine, so I contacted a couple. One said that they were getting in 20 at the beginning of August, but that 19 of those were already pre-ordered. After a bit of thought I put in my order but missed the last one. Not to worry they told me, they're getting in another 40 at the beginning of September. There, I Fixed ItThrowing caution to the wind I pre-ordered from two online shops. On the 16 and 17 August both shops contacted me to say that the UX32VD would not be available, at all. Maybe the UK market's just too small to worry about, or maybe they're making sure they don't get burned again with old unsold stock, or maybe I'm just not being patient enough.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Giving eBay Negative Feedback

A couple of weeks ago I gave an eBay user negative feedback. It was a little harsh, but I felt fair. The member in question has nearly 600 positive feedbacks, and with my single negative still has 99.8% positive and is still rated as a "Top Seller". Be this as it may, he wasn't pleased. At first he pleaded with me to remove the negative feedback, and I replied with my reasons of giving him the negative feedback. Then he made a small threat, and then he started trying to bribe me, offering me £10 to remove the negative feedback, none of which I responded to. Then, using a different account, he bought something I was selling. At this point I contacted eBay by phone, which was a fairly pleasant and reassuring experience. Having blocked him, and after a week of silence I thought that the situation had been resolved, but no, last night he sent me another email offering me £20. So this morning I called eBay again, mainly to query how a blocked user was able to message me. The man I spoke to said that members who you were already in a transaction with would always be able to message you, but assured me that he took the situation very seriously and that it would be looked into. After putting the phone down I received a transcript of the call. Unfortunately it bore very little resemblance to the conversation that I'd just had. I've no idea why his name is Sandra, and the time is out by at least ten minutes. The seller and item details are correct, so I think it's the right call.
jamiekitson 09:44:02

Sandra Long 09:45:24
Thank you for contacting eBay Live Help, my name is Sandra. How may I help you today?

jamiekitson 09:46:30
Hi i would like to report a seller for forcing me to remove the feedback that i left
That much is true, and fairly close to what I actually remember of the conversation, but from here it gets further and further from the truth and what I actually said.
jamiekitson 09:46:37
can you please help me

Sandra Long 09:47:31
Hello, Jamie.

jamiekitson 09:47:45

Sandra Long 09:48:02
I understand you want to report your seller as they are forcing you to remove the feedback you left. I'll be happy to look into this for you. While I'm reviewing your account, are there any additional concerns you would like me to address for you today?

jamiekitson 09:48:25
that's it

jamiekitson 09:48:32
here;s the info that you need

jamiekitson 09:48:42
Seller: ***********

jamiekitson 09:48:49
Item number: **********

Sandra Long 09:49:42
Don't worry, I will do my best to help you resolve this matter. Please bear with me for a few moments while I investigate this for you.

jamiekitson 09:50:11

jamiekitson 09:50:19

Sandra Long 09:54:20
Thanks for waiting.

jamiekitson 09:54:30

Sandra Long 09:54:36
We want to assure you that we'll take appropriate action if necessary based on our site rules.

Sandra Long 09:54:49
The action we take may include formal warnings, temporary account restrictions and indefinite suspension, depending on the severity of the policy breach. Members who receive a warning or a temporary suspension will be able to continue to trade on eBay.

Sandra Long 09:54:53
As I'm sure you'll understand, member privacy is one of our top priorities, so we won't be able to update you about the results of this investigation

Sandra Long 09:55:13
It will still be your own discretion if you will remove the feedback, Jamie.

jamiekitson 09:55:24

jamiekitson 09:56:07
but this seller is already warn that it is not allowed to harrass an ebayer nor threat them if you cant get what you want right?
I didn't know that, so it's quite unlikely that I would have said it. Especially like that.
jamiekitson 09:56:24
Definitely i wont remove the feedback
Nope, didn't say that.
jamiekitson 09:56:35
so the other buyers will know how bad he is
Didn't say that either.
Sandra Long 09:57:41
Yes, it is your right to leave the appropriate feedback.

jamiekitson 09:57:57

jamiekitson 09:58:22
but what i am trying to say is what kind of warning that you will be sending to this seller?]
Didn't ask that.
jamiekitson 09:58:46
it should be a serious issue because he is trying to tell me that he can come here and break my neck
I definitely didn't say that, and he has never threatened me with violence.
jamiekitson 09:58:53
i already reported this member to local police
Also completely untrue.
Sandra Long 09:59:44
I assure you that we will be taking the appropriate action.

jamiekitson 09:59:49

jamiekitson 09:59:59
Thank you

jamiekitson 10:00:10
that's it

jamiekitson 10:00:11

jamiekitson 10:00:15
have a great day

Sandra Long 10:01:28
It's my pleasure to assist you, will there be anything else I can help you with?

jamiekitson 10:02:46
none so far

jamiekitson 10:02:47

The chat session is being wrapped up.

The chat session has ended.

This chat was on 08/16/2012. All times in the above transcript are in the following time zone: (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

So now I am left feeling like I want to contact the eBay member to tell him that I didn't accuse him of these things and take his side against eBay.

UPDATE: After emailing eBay with a couple of my comments above, I received the following reply:
Thanks for emailing us back about this seller. I understand your concern that they are still selling on eBay...