Opening of Study Website

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Opening of Study Website

Post by Forum Admin » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:00 pm

Hi, folks. We want to keep you informed about the delayed status of the website...and the operative word is "delay."

This is all done, of course, on a volunteer and part-time basis. We had a structural change of plans partway into the website build when the decision was made that we were trying to add too many features to the initial launch. Plus, we ran into a minor technical glitch with a feature we couldn't live without.

Then--and no pun intended--we ran into a perfect storm. While the webservers and mailservers are safe in a Tier 3 data center in Salt Lake City, all the fingers-on-keyboards are in Houston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey had something to say about our progress. As Harvey neared South Texas, all spare time turned to preparations. You've all seen some of the images on the news. Even for those whose homes and cars weren't flooded, entire sections of neighborhoods and businesses went underwater and any appreciable travel in the sprawling city was severely curtailed: there was no freeway or tollway that didn't have one or more sections completely closed, and many surface-street arteries shut down. As some businesses tried to reopen beginning September 5, the traffic was gridlocked because typical access routes remained closed. Thirty-minute commutes became three hours, and most public school systems announced they would stay closed until September 18. Grocery stores began to slowly reopen last week with sparse shelves, and began to be possible to find fuel without waiting in lines dozens-deep.

The second part of the time-eating perfect storm came in the form of the massive Equifax data breach announced on September 7. Because it's one of the Big Three credit reporting bureaus, it wasn't surprising to learn that almost half of all Americans were affected in some way.

But if you're one of the approximately 209,000 people who used the Equifax for-fee credit monitoring service--after all, who better to trust with that service than one of the world's largest credit agencies who would certainly be ultra-sensitive about your privacy and information security--you stored not only personal identity information (full name, birth date and place, driver's license number, social security number) but also all details about all your bank accounts, loans, credit cards, and brokerage accounts. They can't monitor what they don't know about, so you enter everything. So those 150,000 people, if they were paying attention, suddenly had their entire lives consumed by the work and exquisitely painful amount of time and inconvenience it takes to attempt to lock your credit report at all agencies; notify collateral lenders like mortgage holders; contact credit card companies to close and reissue with new account numbers; track down all those myriad accounts you have setup to autopay via credit cards and make alternate arrangements until the new cards arrive; go to your bank and see about a change in account numbers, new checks, and reissuing debit cards; and contacting your asset management or brokerage firms to see what can be done about locking transactions to those accounts or, better, changing account numbers. And signing up with LifeLock and stop paying Equifax for credit monitoring like you had for a decade. Sigh.

But you have to embark on this almost-full-time journey because waiting to react to fraudulent charges or identity theft is a much worse alternative.

Over this past weekend, as many as a dozen class-action lawsuits have been filed against Equifax. The L.A. Times article from September 8 titled "Here are all the ways the Equifax data breach is worse than you can imagine," gives us a number of additional reasons to now despise Equifax. I have to admit, though, that my favorites may be:

A) "Equifax waited six weeks to disclose the breach. The firm says it discovered the breach, which it reports began in mid-May, on July 29. That’s six weeks that consumers could have been victimized without their knowledge and therefore left without the ability to take countermeasures. Equifax hasn’t explained the delay."

B) "Three Equifax executives sold shares after the discovery of the breach and before its public disclosure, according to Bloomberg. They collected $1.8 million from the sales, which weren’t part of any prearranged option-execise programs. The sales were made on Aug. 1 and 2, the third and fourth days after the breach was discovered."

We're trying to get back to quasi-normal schedules, and get the overdue website opened. As long as that asteroid doesn't hit earth this week, we may be able to do it before the end of September.

P.S. Just kidding about the asteroid! I hope....

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Re: Opening of Study Website

Post by Forum Admin » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:49 pm

On Valentine's Day, in stealth mode, we opened the website to the public...stealth mode because we hadn't yet told the major search engines it was okay to index the site. We made a couple of alterations following that--one to the registration process, which may still need revision--and gave search engines the green light on February 24. Certainly not going to result in an immediate influx of new participants, but at least you can now tell your family members and interested family members about the Study.

And just to note, there are a few ways to get to certain areas of the Study. The Study itself resides on the server with the "casestone.com" domain name, so that's the one you'll want to bookmark. The others are aliases that make it easier to remember (and to provide a little more internet exposure), and easier to give others the address.

The primary website homepage can be accessed via:
The blog can be accessed with:
Our daily newspaper, the Threlkeld Tribune, can be found at:

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