Entries Tagged as 'Internet'

Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 quite a while ago, and I’m not sure they fully realized how many web pages it would break.

Sure, they put a compatibility mode in it to allow some older sites to run; and they have the facility to “update” IE8 to configure it for more sites with know issues, and developers can add a header or a meta tag to their web pages to force IE8 into compatibility mode, and of course a user and select compatibility mode.

A truly sad thing is that in all this time Microsoft hasn’t issued a fix to Virtual Server 2005’s web management interface (the only way you can control Virtual Server 2005); and it requires compatibility mode to work (come on guys, how tough is it to just update the web pages to include the meta tag — or maybe you could actually fix what’s broken in the page).

My personal feeling is that we didn’t need another version of Internet Explorer; and we certainly didn’t need another version of any software rushed out the door riddled with severe bugs and deficiencies.

Why software companies spend so much time and energy making things worse (work on thing that are BROKEN) is beyond me…

Your potential. Our passion.

Maybe they should consider we could all achieve our potential if we didn’t have to waste so much time finding works around for their psychoses.

Originally posted 2009-08-26 01:00:09.

AT&T U-Verse – Summary

After thinking over AT&T U-Verse service I’m going to have to make the call that it’s something you’ll have to consider long and hard and figure out if the cost makes it something that’s worth it to you.

AT&T is a horrible company to do business with; but then again, so likely is the company your get your video, telephone, and internet services from now — so that might be a wash.

AT&T is a company that doesn’t engender trust is the least — and you’ll have to keep documentation and follow up on them on just about every aspect of your order, your service, your rebates, your rewards, your bills, etc; but then again, that’s probably all true of almost every company you do business with now — so that might be a wash.

The prices are high; so unless the service offerings are a good fit for exactly what you want (and you can take advantage of some of the bundle discounts) you might want to deal with separate companies for each of the services.

The only real positive thing I can say about AT&T U-Verse is that there isn’t a long term contract; in fact there’s not really a contract of any sort (as long as you ignore the fact that you will need to retain the service for some period of time to actually get your rebates and rewards).

One thing I suspect we’ll see as the economy continues to stagnate is that companies will do more to retain existing customers; so you might find that pricing becomes much more flexible (I’ve already been offered a “free” upgrade to U450 service with the top-tier internet for 90-days… of course I’m pretty sure they’re betting on me forgetting to downgrade [I said “no thanks”]).

Originally posted 2010-05-18 02:00:50.

Wikipedia Funding

I’m a big fan of Wikipedia— that should be clear from my previous posts on Wikipedia and my frequent use of Wikipedia as a reference tool (and to link to from my posts).

Wikipedia rose from the ashes of failue much like a phoenix… and currently operates one of the largest (if not the largest) repositories of human knowledge.

Wikipedia is freely accessed by anyone with an Internet connection (provided their provider does not block such access), and is currently funded completely through donations.

While I applaud the dreams of Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales to keep the site free of advertising, my feeling is that advertising might well be a better way to sustain the site.

My concept is that those who do not wish to see advertisement donate, and are free from advertisements as long as they have “credits”… when they run out of credits then they like those who choose not to donate see advertisements.

Since Wikipedia is one of the heaviest traveled sites on the internet, advertisers will likely pay top dollar, and there’s likely no need to work through an advertising network…

Originally posted 2010-01-24 02:00:35.

Remote Access

I’ve been using a combination of bitvise WinSSHD and Tunnelier for remote access to my home network.  It basically allows me to tunnel a RDP (or simple command shell) via SSH to a Virtual machine running on my server (actually each “user” has a virtual machine all to their own, so there’s no contention).

I really like the simplicity of the SSH tunnel, and find that running it on port 22 and port 443 provides me with a very good likelihood of being able to connect through all but the most draconian firewalls.

You will want to make sure that you implement good security policies on your SSH server, and that you either use pre-shared keys or certificates OR that you make sure you have a strong password.  There are a number of bots out there that try to break into an SSH server using a list of well know user names and dictionary attack for the password.

WinSSHD will lock out IP addresses after a number of failed attempts; but I created a test account called “test” with the password “password” just to see what the bot would try to do (the account was jailed without any write priviledge in a safe sub-directory with no files).  The bot got frustrated and went away, but I was trying to upload files, and I would guess execute them (probably propagating itself).

You can black list IP addresses, and if you’re like me you run the DynDNS client (I use DynDNS.org for my dynamic ip naming service; it’s free, and it works well) on your notebooks so that you “know” their IP address via a fixed host name (though in WinSSHD the IP black list superceeds a DNS name white list).


http://www.dyndns.org/ or http://www.dyndns.com/

Originally posted 2008-10-30 13:00:59.

Media Com – Followup

I got an email notifying me of my first (and last) Media Com statement about two weeks ago, only problem, I couldn’t access my bill online without the PIN printed on my first statement… a bit of a flaw in their system (nice of them to switch me to paperless billing before they sent the first statement).

And, of course, I’d already gone through customer service and been told that they will not provide me with the PIN over the phone (nor is it printed on anything they had given me to date)… so I had to ask that they send me a paper copy of my final statement.

The statement arrived on Saturday, and it had a balance (nice how their 30-day guarantee guarantees nothing but to waste your time). 

No only did the bill not have a zero balance (they had refunded my payment to my credit card), but it didn’t have the $20 credit for a missed appointment — so by any measure the bill was WRONG.

I called up customer service bright and early Monday morning, and actually spoke to a billing representative who seemed moderately bright… as she went through the bill she found more and more issues and from the tone of her voice was almost as disgusted as I was after reading the notes and looking over the bill.

Apparently the individual who closed the account noted the money back guarantee, but didn’t do anything about it.  The supervisor who refunded my credit card didn’t process the money back guarantee either, and that’s why the system re-billed me.  The system billed me for more family cable than it should have (on the first bill Media Com indicates you have to give them a seven day notice of disconnect, technically I told them when they failed to provide me reasonable speed internet that I was disconnecting — but even using seven days from when I turned in the equipment the system billed me for over two weeks).

You’d think that companies would build into their billing systems rules that enforced their policies… and who knows, maybe they do build in rules to enforce their billing polices and sending out fraudulent statements is the way they choose to do business.

Original Post

Originally posted 2009-08-15 01:00:59.

Air Time Free

If you have a flat rate cellular voice plan, you may not be interested in this article; but for most of us who simply don’t have cost effective options for flat rate plans this might help cut down on cellular bills.

Most cellular telephone companies off the ability to add one or more telephone numbers to your cell plan that will not be charged air time for inbound or outbound calls.  It goes by various names, A-List, Friends & Family, My Favs, My Circle, etc.

Unfortunately, all of them limit the number of telephone numbers you can designate as air time free to a fairly modest number.

But… by using Google Voice, you might find that one air time free number is really all you need to greatly reduce your monthly cellular expenses.

You can go to Google and read a fair amount about Google Voice, they’re adding new features all the time so I won’t even try and cover all of them; just a few that might be of help to you (by the way, the “Call Me” widget on my web site uses Google Voice, and it’s no cost to the caller or me).

So how exactly can you use Google Voice — or really what will be covered in this post is how I use Google Voice.

First, I setup a Google Voice account a few months ago, mainly to be able to give out a telephone number that I wouldn’t be bothered answering when I didn’t want to, and still be able to get voice mail (at my convenience).  Mainly I wanted to do this because I’m going to disconnect my home phone (AT&T offers “naked” DSL here, and since all my home phone does is provide telemarketers with a number to call I really don’t see a reason to ever answer it).

The Google Voice line worked great for receiving messages; I got them in my email inbox, and more times than not the voice to text transcription wasn’t very useful, but I could just click the link and listen to the message as well.

Second, I added my Google Voice number to my Verizon “Friend’s & Family” (what AllTel used to call “My Circle”) so that it would be air time free.  Partially because there would be times when I wanted to actually route my Google Voice number to a phone so I could answer it (say when I was expecting a call), but mostly so that I could use Google Voice for outbound calls to people who were not going to be air time free.

So to use Google Voice for air time free outbound calling you need to log onto the Google Voice web site (there’s a mobile version of it as well, so if you have an unlimited data plan you don’t even need to be near a computer to make use of it) and simply instruct it to make a call.  What happens is Google Voice calls you, then calls the number you instruct it to call and conferences you together.

To make all this air time free, you need to setup Google Voice to present you Google Voice call on inbound calls (that’s the number you specified as air time free with your cellular provider).  This, unfortunately, means that you don’t know who’s calling, but there are some Google Voice features that help there too (I’ll let you go through all the features yourself).

For outbound calls you could setup Google Voice to present your actual telephone number, but it makes more sense to have your Google Voice number presented (especially for toll free calls, remember that they always get your telephone number).

Now you might not care whether or not you get charged air time for a quick call to your doctor’s office to confirm an appointment, but when you’re going to be on the line with customer service for half an hour (or more) you might want to think about the extra step of using Google Voice.

Now let me make it perfectly clear.  I don’t trust Google with my personal and confidential information, so I would never have any sensitive data go through a Google Voice call; but hey, when it’s something like a customer service call people I don’t really trust with my information already have it.

You can request an invite to Google Voice, it’ll probably take ten days to two weeks before you get it.  I’d recommend setting up a Google Mail account as well (you can forward the message from the Google Mail account or you can directly access the Google Mail account with POP3/IMAP4) to go along with Google Voice.  In fact, even if you don’t expect to use Google Voice much, I’d say go ahead and setup an account now.

Also, Google Voice will be adding VoIP (SIP) service (they purchased Gizmo5) soon.

Originally posted 2010-02-10 01:00:49.

Dynamic DNS

Most broadband users have an IP address that is issued by their provider via DHCP or PPP (PPPoE technically); that address, generally, will not change as long as the connection is kept up (in the past, some Telcos implemented a policy on PPPoE where the IP addresses would by cycled every few hours to insure that users could not depend on IP addresses staying the same, as far as I know that policy hasn’t been in effect for several years).

Realistically there are only a handful of reasons why you might need a fixed IP address rather than a dynamic IP address.

  • Running a DNS server
  • VPN endpoint (particularly a VPN server)

Further, it would be advisable to have a static IP address for the following uses (though not required).

  • SMTP server

Many people mistakenly believe they must have static IP address in order to have a web server (or FTP server).  That’s simply not the case.

Many domain registrars that provide DNS service offer dynamic registration of host (dynamic DNS), and even if your registrar doesn’t provide that service there are a number of free providers that allow you to register a dynamic host name in their domain (you could then create a CNAME in your domain and point back to that).

Provided that your gateway or a host on your sub-net can provide the dynamic DNS provider with notifications of changes to your IP address, you will always have a canonical name that you can reach your IP address via.

Which means, you always have a way to find a web server, or most any other type of network service that you choose to run on your home network.

NOTE: You should check your terms of service, your provider may forbid you from operating one of more services on your connection.

While there are many dynamic DNS providers, I tend to recommend individuals look at DynDNS.org first, they offer a free dynamic DNS service that should suit the needs of most individuals, and offer update clients for most operating systems in the case that your gateway is unable to update your IP address (or is unable to do so correctly, which may be the case for DSL services where the modem initiates the PPPoE connection).

One other thing you might think about… even if you have a static IP address, it may make sense to use a dynamic DNS service to provide you with your IP address — you can generally enter it as static, or just go ahead and run the update client.  That insures you that if anything goes wrong you can still find your IP by name (and provides a redundant DNS entry).

Originally posted 2010-01-21 02:00:24.

All the news fit to print…

Hmm… maybe that should be all the bs that can be gotten away with!

When you read news articles or when people relay to you “facts” be sure and do your homework; read accounts of the same events on multiple un-related sources.  In fact it’s often good to get a perspective from an international source.

Take a look at any of the facts, figures, and claims — try and verify those against an authoritative source.

If the information reported is important to you; check to see if any of the “facts” it’s based on, or claims it makes are updated over time.

Most journalists report the news impartially from their perspective; but it is from their perspective.  Many journalists and news organization like to sensationalize the news or majorly spin it to suit their agenda.

Question everything.

Originally posted 2009-02-12 01:00:46.

HTML Special Character Reference

ID Code Description
Á 193 Aacute 1 latin capital letter A with acute
á 225 aacute 1 latin small letter a with acute
â 226 acirc 1 latin small letter a with circumflex
 194 Acirc 1 latin capital letter A with circumflex
´ 180 acute 1 acute accent
æ 230 aelig 1 latin small letter ae
Æ 198 AElig 1 latin capital letter AE
À 192 Agrave 1 latin capital letter A with grave
à 224 agrave 1 latin small letter a with grave
8501 alefsym L alef symbol
Α 913 Alpha G greek capital letter alpha
α 945 alpha G greek small letter alpha
& 38 amp C ampersand
8743 and M logical and
8736 ang M angle
å 229 aring 1 latin small letter a with ring above
Å 197 Aring 1 latin capital letter A with ring above
8776 asymp M almost equal to
à 195 Atilde 1 latin capital letter A with tilde
ã 227 atilde 1 latin small letter a with tilde
Ä 196 Auml 1 latin capital letter A with diaeresis
ä 228 auml 1 latin small letter a with diaeresis
8222 bdquo U double low-9 quotation mark
Β 914 Beta G greek capital letter beta
β 946 beta G greek small letter beta
¦ 166 brvbar 1 broken bar
8226 bull P bullet
8745 cap M intersection
Ç 199 Ccedil 1 latin capital letter C with cedilla
ç 231 ccedil 1 latin small letter c with cedilla
¸ 184 cedil 1 cedilla
¢ 162 cent 1 cent sign
χ 967 chi G greek small letter chi
Χ 935 Chi G greek capital letter chi
ˆ 710 circ D modifier letter circumflex accent
9827 clubs S black club suit
8773 cong M approximately equal to
© 169 copy 1 copyright sign
8629 crarr A downwards arrow with corner leftwards
8746 cup M union
¤ 164 curren 1 currency sign
8224 dagger U dagger
8225 Dagger U double dagger
8659 dArr A downwards double arrow
8595 darr A downwards arrow
° 176 deg 1 degree sign
Δ 916 Delta G greek capital letter delta
δ 948 delta G greek small letter delta
9830 diams S black diamond suit
÷ 247 divide 1 division sign
é 233 eacute 1 latin small letter e with acute
É 201 Eacute 1 latin capital letter E with acute
Ê 202 Ecirc 1 latin capital letter E with circumflex
ê 234 ecirc 1 latin small letter e with circumflex
è 232 egrave 1 latin small letter e with grave
È 200 Egrave 1 latin capital letter E with grave
8709 empty M empty set
8195 emsp U em space
8194 ensp U en space
ε 949 epsilon G greek small letter epsilon
Ε 917 Epsilon G greek capital letter epsilon
8801 equiv M identical to
Η 919 Eta G greek capital letter eta
η 951 eta G greek small letter eta
ð 240 eth 1 latin small letter eth
Ð 208 ETH 1 latin capital letter ETH
ë 235 euml 1 latin small letter e with diaeresis
Ë 203 Euml 1 latin capital letter E with diaeresis
8364 euro U euro sign
8707 exist M there exists
ƒ 402 fnof I latin small f with hook
8704 forall M for all
½ 189 frac12 1 vulgar fraction one half
¼ 188 frac14 1 vulgar fraction one quarter
¾ 190 frac34 1 vulgar fraction three quarters
8260 frasl P fraction slash
Γ 915 Gamma G greek capital letter gamma
γ 947 gamma G greek small letter gamma
8805 ge M greater-than or equal to
> 62 gt C greater-than sign
8660 hArr A left right double arrow
8596 harr A left right arrow
9829 hearts S black heart suit
8230 hellip P horizontal ellipsis
í 237 iacute 1 latin small letter i with acute
Í 205 Iacute 1 latin capital letter I with acute
î 238 icirc 1 latin small letter i with circumflex
Î 206 Icirc 1 latin capital letter I with circumflex
¡ 161 iexcl 1 inverted exclamation mark
Ì 204 Igrave 1 latin capital letter I with grave
ì 236 igrave 1 latin small letter i with grave
8465 image L blackletter capital I
8734 infin M infinity
8747 int M integral
Ι 921 Iota G greek capital letter iota
ι 953 iota G greek small letter iota
¿ 191 iquest 1 inverted question mark
8712 isin M element of
Ï 207 Iuml 1 latin capital letter I with diaeresis
ï 239 iuml 1 latin small letter i with diaeresis
Κ 922 Kappa G greek capital letter kappa
κ 954 kappa G greek small letter kappa
λ 955 lambda G greek small letter lambda
Λ 923 Lambda G greek capital letter lambda
9001 lang T left-pointing angle bracket
« 171 laquo 1 left-pointing double angle quotation mark
8592 larr A leftwards arrow
8656 lArr A leftwards double arrow
8968 lceil T left ceiling
8220 ldquo U left double quotation mark
8804 le M less-than or equal to
8970 lfloor T left floor
8727 lowast M asterisk operator
9674 loz E lozenge
8206 lrm U left-to-right mark
8249 lsaquo U single left-pointing angle quotation mark
8216 lsquo U left single quotation mark
< 60 lt C less-than sign
¯ 175 macr 1 macron
8212 mdash U em dash
µ 181 micro 1 micro sign
· 183 middot 1 middle dot
8722 minus M minus sign
Μ 924 Mu G greek capital letter mu
μ 956 mu G greek small letter mu
8711 nabla M nabla
  160 nbsp 1 no-break space
8211 ndash U en dash
8800 ne M not equal to
8715 ni M contains as member
¬ 172 not 1 not sign
8713 notin M not an element of
8836 nsub M not a subset of
ñ 241 ntilde 1 latin small letter n with tilde
Ñ 209 Ntilde 1 latin capital letter N with tilde
Ν 925 Nu G greek capital letter nu
ν 957 nu G greek small letter nu
ó 243 oacute 1 latin small letter o with acute
Ó 211 Oacute 1 latin capital letter O with acute
Ô 212 Ocirc 1 latin capital letter O with circumflex
ô 244 ocirc 1 latin small letter o with circumflex
Π338 OElig O latin capital ligature OE
œ 339 oelig O latin small ligature oe
ò 242 ograve 1 latin small letter o with grave
Ò 210 Ograve 1 latin capital letter O with grave
8254 oline P overline
ω 969 omega G greek small letter omega
Ω 937 Omega G greek capital letter omega
Ο 927 Omicron G greek capital letter omicron
ο 959 omicron G greek small letter omicron
8853 oplus M circled plus
8744 or M logical or
ª 170 ordf 1 feminine ordinal indicator
º 186 ordm 1 masculine ordinal indicator
Ø 216 Oslash 1 latin capital letter O with stroke
ø 248 oslash 1 latin small letter o with stroke
Õ 213 Otilde 1 latin capital letter O with tilde
õ 245 otilde 1 latin small letter o with tilde
8855 otimes M circled times
Ö 214 Ouml 1 latin capital letter O with diaeresis
ö 246 ouml 1 latin small letter o with diaeresis
182 para 1 pilcrow sign
8706 part M partial differential
8240 permil U per mille sign
8869 perp M up tack
φ 966 phi G greek small letter phi
Φ 934 Phi G greek capital letter phi
Π 928 Pi G greek capital letter pi
π 960 pi G greek small letter pi
ϖ 982 piv G greek pi symbol
± 177 plusmn 1 plus-minus sign
£ 163 pound 1 pound sign
8243 Prime P double prime
8242 prime P prime
8719 prod M n-ary product
8733 prop M proportional to
ψ 968 psi G greek small letter psi
Ψ 936 Psi G greek capital letter psi
34 quot C quotation mark
8730 radic M square root
9002 rang T right-pointing angle bracket
» 187 raquo 1 right-pointing double angle quotation mark
8658 rArr A rightwards double arrow
8594 rarr A rightwards arrow
8969 rceil T right ceiling
8221 rdquo U right double quotation mark
8476 real L blackletter capital R
® 174 reg 1 registered sign
8971 rfloor T right floor
Ρ 929 Rho G greek capital letter rho
ρ 961 rho G greek small letter rho
8207 rlm U right-to-left mark
8250 rsaquo U single right-pointing angle quotation mark
8217 rsquo U right single quotation mark
8218 sbquo U single low-9 quotation mark
Š 352 Scaron O latin capital letter S with caron
š 353 scaron O latin small letter s with caron
8901 sdot M dot operator
§ 167 sect 1 section sign
­ 173 shy 1 soft hyphen
Σ 931 Sigma G greek capital letter sigma
σ 963 sigma G greek small letter sigma
ς 962 sigmaf G greek small letter final sigma
8764 sim M tilde operator
9824 spades S black spade suit
8834 sub M subset of
8838 sube M subset of or equal to
8721 sum M n-ary sumation
8835 sup M superset of
¹ 185 sup1 1 superscript one
² 178 sup2 1 superscript two
³ 179 sup3 1 superscript three
8839 supe M superset of or equal to
ß 223 szlig 1 latin small letter sharp s
Τ 932 Tau G greek capital letter tau
τ 964 tau G greek small letter tau
8756 there4 M therefore
Θ 920 Theta G greek capital letter theta
θ 952 theta G greek small letter theta
ϑ 977 thetasym G greek small letter theta symbol
8201 thinsp U thin space
Þ 222 THORN 1 latin capital letter THORN
þ 254 thorn 1 latin small letter thorn with
˜ 732 tilde D small tilde
× 215 times 1 multiplication sign
8482 trade L trade mark sign
ú 250 uacute 1 latin small letter u with acute
Ú 218 Uacute 1 latin capital letter U with acute
8657 uArr A upwards double arrow
8593 uarr A upwards arrow
û 251 ucirc 1 latin small letter u with circumflex
Û 219 Ucirc 1 latin capital letter U with circumflex
Ù 217 Ugrave 1 latin capital letter U with grave
ù 249 ugrave 1 latin small letter u with grave
¨ 168 uml 1 diaeresis
ϒ 978 upsih G greek upsilon with hook symbol
υ 965 upsilon G greek small letter upsilon
Υ 933 Upsilon G greek capital letter upsilon
ü 252 uuml 1 latin small letter u with diaeresis
Ü 220 Uuml 1 latin capital letter U with diaeresis
8472 weierp L script capital P
ξ 958 xi G greek small letter xi
Ξ 926 Xi G greek capital letter xi
ý 253 yacute 1 latin small letter y with acute
Ý 221 Yacute 1 latin capital letter Y with acute
¥ 165 yen 1 yen sign
ÿ 255 yuml 1 latin small letter y with diaeresis
Ÿ 376 Yuml O latin capital letter Y with diaeresis
Ζ 918 Zeta G greek capital letter zeta
ζ 950 zeta G greek small letter zeta
8205 zwj U zero width joiner
8204 zwnj U zero width non-joiner

Section Description
P General punctuation
A Arrows
1 General characters
C Controls and basic latin
S Miscellaneous symbols
D Spacing modified letters
T Miscellaneous technical characters
U General punctuation (special characters)
E Geometric shapes
G Greek symbols
I Latin extended B
L Letterlike symbols
M Mathematical operators
O Latin extended A

Originally posted 2008-05-16 14:04:48.


Wikipedia is an incredible place to find information; if you’ve never used it, you should try it out.

That said, you should always question the accuracy of any information you get off the internet (really you should question the accuracy of any information you get period).

When you read something on the internet, it’s best to confirm the accuracy of that information by visiting a web site that should be authoritative one it.

For instance, if you’re gathering medical related information, check out the medical web sites provided by major medical schools and clinics; and the government.  Compare what’s there with what you’re reading on another site, and don’t take anything as being factual if you can’t corroborate it.

I’m not trying to diminish the value of Wikipedia, I’m just pointing out that all the information there probably isn’t correct; and you should double check anything before using it.

Originally posted 2009-02-20 01:00:57.