Archive for category Networking
I installed LinuxMint earlier today because I found that I really liked the Cinnamon desktop environment on my laptop. I promised that I would post how well it works on my desktop.
Well it mostly works fine. There's still a slight hiccup that I'm trying to work through, where the desktop environment just seems to die. I have this same problem on Gnome 3 and Unity though, so I think it has something to do with the ATI drivers. I wish I had a good nVidia card to go in this thing.
There's one bug that I had to post about. I was getting terrible internet speeds from my LinuxMint install. My top speed was around 190KBytes/sec. Some people may still regard this as fast, but I'm on a 30Mbit/sec connection. I should be seeing speeds around ten times that.
It was across the board too. I thought it was a bad mirror at first because I first noticed it while trying to update the system and install new software from the repos. I soon found that the problem was also happening from every web site and speedtests showed the same results.
I started out by searching for the issue and was coming up with a lot of duds. It was the standard first level support answers like "unplug your router and modem". No need, I know that's not the issue. After some intense searching, I finally found the answer. It was a problem with my network card drivers in the latest versions of Ubuntu and LinuxMint.
My system was showing a RTL8111/RTL8169 network device. The 8169 is the part to look for. This driver is built into the latest kernel and it has problems. I found that the solution was to build the r8168 drivers (note that's 8168 not 8169) from source.
A full walk-through can be found here: https://unixblogger.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/the-pain-of-an-realtek-rtl8111rtl8168-ethernet-card/
Follow those steps and you'll not have this issue again. Much thanks to the author!
Many of you may be die-hard GoDaddy users. GoDaddy's support of the SOPA has led many people to start looking for a new registrar, including myself. After a boycott, GoDaddy broke away from its support of SOPA. However, their initial support for the legislation was enough to turn me away. I do not plan to do any further business with them and will be slowly migrating my existing sites over to another registrar as time goes by.
In my search for a GoDaddy alternative, I found that I really like NameCheap.com. They offer good rates on domain transfers and registration. I also like their control panel much better than GoDaddy. They don't have as much up-selling going on when you register a domain. I always found that annoying about GoDaddy. I also didn't care for GoDaddy's domain manager. Once, I tried out GoDaddy's Windows hosting as well. It was terrible. So if you are looking for a viable alternative to GoDaddy, you should definitely give NameCheap.com a try.
Many internet users understand that a large portion of the internet is pornographic in nature. Many parents want to restrict their children from being able to view pornographic sites, and with sites like Youporn and other "porn tubes" which do not require identification or a credit card, this is even harder to restrict. There are programs available to block such sites, but sometimes they aren't very effective, and there are easy ways around them.
There is a good alternative for parents in their search, however. OpenDNS, which is a free DNS service with many features, has built in site blocking capabilities. You simple sign up for an OpenDNS account at http://opendns.com and configure your router to use the OpenDNS servers. That last part isn't as hard as it sounds, but it's different on various routers. Typically the DNS settings are in the main router configuration settings. It will typically be set to automatically use the DNS servers provided by your ISP. You should be able to use manual DNS servers, however, and you can find the IPs for these servers at the bottom of your OpenDNS account page.
Once you have your router using OpenDNS's servers, you can configure your home network's settings on the OpenDNS accounts page. There are various levels of blocking, plus you can block individual domains if you want. They also have good stats available, if you enable it. This will track all domain name requests and show you what everyone on your home network has been looking at. I'd say a few wives just raised their eyebrows.
Of course, with enough know how, one can get around these types of blocks, just like any other block. Most children will not know how to do this, however. Tech savvy teenagers may have more ability to get around these blocks, but once they are at the point where they'll go to such great lengths to look at porn, just let them do it. They aren't going to listen to you anyway 😛
Due to its support of SOPA, many people are calling for a boycott on GoDaddy. At first GoDaddy was laughing because of the planned boycott. After about 24 hours, their tone changed and they proclaimed that they were no longer supporting the legislation. Many people are looking for alternatives to Godaddy.
I searched for a bit and found that about the best deal in town is namecheap.com. There is a transfer fee for moving domains over to them, but you get a free year of registration with the transfer. So for around $7 bucks you can transfer and renew a .com. If you have a few months left before it's time to renew your .com, you can still transfer the domain and get a free year along with the remaining time of your current registration.
Check out their deals. Let's show GoDaddy that we do not like their support of this unconstitutional legislation.
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.
I was recently asked by my wife why Google search results change. I had noticed it before but didn't spend much time dwelling on it because my first thought was that Google uses many locations and many datacenters to hand out search results. The varying results are differences in the data stored at each location. Depending on which datacenter you are getting results from at any given time, you can see a huge change in results. As an example to this I made a quick video to show how going through a proxy server can change search results. In this video I'm going through a Linux server in Texas at first. Note the total results for the keyword while going through the proxy are 282. By removing the proxy and refreshing the search the number changed dramatically to 635,000 results.
I saw a video explanation of this behavior that stated that Google was a beach, and while I enjoyed the analogy, it isn't entirely correct. There is a lot happening on the internet, but there's no way Google can index it all at once, or even catch it all. That's why they have many data centers, each pulling their own part of the weight. I'd imagine that the synchronization of the data takes time, that is if they actually synchronize the data at all. It may be that Google does this to randomize search results a bit in order to gauge relevancy of each result. At any rate, the keyword results can vary.
Also, after making this video, I captured the packets using wireshark and found that the request from my home internet connection was querying IP 220.127.116.11 and my proxy server is pulling the query from 18.104.22.168. Also neither of the search results were correct. After digging into the other pages of results there is a total of 64 results omitting the repeats. ICHY reports that the keyword has 3,640 competition. So, from what I can see of the data on both sides, ICHY doesn't report very accurate competition numbers according to their own explanation of the relevant results. Other keywords in their list yielded similar results discrepancies.