Archive for August, 2009
I have to admit, I wasn't a fan of iTunes until I got my first Mac Mini. I started listening to one of the radio stations on it. To be exact, I liked the solo piano station. I wasn't aware of many of the features on iTunes.
So I started to browse through some of the other courses available on iTunesU. Man, I can not explain how excited I was when I started reading through all the available course. I know, most people won't care about lecture videos. However, I love it. I'm sitting here watching a lecture on Physics from MIT. This is great stuff.
Apparently this is a question many people want asked so I'll touch on what I use to block/unblock internet sites from my home network. This method will not require one to purchase any additional software or anything. It is designed specifically to be the low cost effective solution.
First of all, your home router controls all of the traffic going to an from your home computers. Some people don't have routers. The modem, whether it be a DSL, Cable, or dialup modem, handles their routing. These instructions will work for those people as well, but anytime I mention the router, please understand that if there is no router, the modem will be doing all the work.
The router software for various models of routers are different, so it is nearly impossible to have a step-by-step howto for each of them here. Instead, it's suffice to say that most routers have a block/unblock function. Most even let you time these blocks/unblocks. So one can set up rules as to when certain sites can be viewed.
Refer to your router's manual for these instructions. It is usually rather easy.
There is a further step that can either be used in conjunction with the router blocks or by itself entirely. This method involves signing up for a free service call OpenDNS.
OpenDNS is a free service that I've used for a little over a year. It gives you a great DNS service, plus allows you to do various other interesting things like protect your home network. Basically, all one has to do is sign up for the account and change their DNS settings in the router to the IPs provided by OpenDNS. All future DNS request will go to OpenDNS.
I should probably first explain what DNS is to begin with. DNS stands for Domain Name Server/Service. When you type google.com into your web browser, your computer has no idea what google.com is. It's oblivious. First it has to query the DNS server. Usually the IP of the DNS server is provided by your ISP. In many cases, the ISP provided DNS server lags behind a bit. You computer asks the DNS server where it can find google.com. The DNS server then responds with the IP address for google.com. Your browser then knows where to fetch the information.
The DNS server configuration can be changed in your router. You will override the ISP defaults and put in the OpenDNS server IPs instead.
OpenDNS updates much faster than typical ISP DNS servers. When you buy a domain name and direct it to your hosting provider, it can take up to 72 hours for the DNS information to propagate across the internet. OpenDNS usually propagates within minutes.
Some of the protection OpenDNS offers is right up there or better than many parental block software. There are automatic settings to make it easy to block pornography or harmful sites. One can also specify sites to block. Anytime a local user tries to access a blocked website, they are told that it is restricted. This is great free service, and I hope this will help you block those unwanted websites, and if you have any questions drop a comment.