Visits since Feb 2008
Linux Air Combat production Version 6.15 now available for free download.
Numerous small bugs were fixed in logic affecting the Me163 "Komet"
rocket plane. In particular, when landing that plane on a damaged
airfield, the throttle settings became corrupted, and the service crew
failed to repair any damage it had sustained. Now the throttle problem
has been fixed, and repairs are made as for other planes, so long as
the airfield itself is sufficiently intact. I also diminished the
ability of airfield-based defensive gunners to hit and damage enemy
aircraft that are flying faster than about 430 MPH. This will
especially benefit players flying the Me163.
Improvements in Server-based missions will also be apparent to new players: the damage that players inflict upon enemy airfields, and enemy aircraft, as well as any repairs that they cultivate on their own airfields, are all much better preserved between flight sessions, and even effect subsequent Server missions as one might expect.
Improved "glide" performance: When aircraft run out of fuel, they glide a lot better now (still not great, but not nearly so terribly as before).
Improved HQ airflield explosion sound effects: In prior versions, when HQ aircraft suffered damage from bombs or rockets that were not dropped by the player, appropriate damage was inflicted but no explosion sounds were heard. I fixed that. Now explosions are heard regardless of the source of the weapons in use.
A new log file, named "GunCamHistory.LAC": That file makes a text record describing every GunCamera segment session that the player ever requests from the server. The details within that record can help users request a specific GunCamera segment from the server.
This version is better behaved as new players join an online mission that already has several active players: If the player's desired "MyNetworkId" value is already in use by some other player, this version tries to find a new value, but it preserves the same Team affiliation (Blue or Red). The overall result is smoother, quicker, less confusing for other players, and helps develop a better sense of teamwork. If no new value from the player's previously configured team is available, the sim terminates with some informative messages advising the player to try selecting a different mission or to edit the LacConfig.txt file to change the value of "MyNetworkId" to reverse team membership. CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat production Version 6.03 now available for free download
This version of Linux Air Combat is very similar to the April
2018 version, but we have added an eerie air-raid siren sound effect
that can be heard near airfields that have been damaged by the
enemy. Also, strategic gameplay is improved with a new series of
notification messages that warn of approaching strategic bombers
targeting the player's HQ airfield. CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat production Version 5.91 now available for free downloadWe've improved the graphics of the terrain, of the airfields, and of several of the 54 supported aircraft. For example, all of the odd-looking, infamous "trenches" which previously stretched all the way across all of the popular terrain maps, have been eliminated. HQ airfields now feature a rotating RADAR antenna that can be damaged or destroyed with bombing, rocket, or strafing attacks. A small improvement is also evident in the coastlines due to elimination of a tiny "shimmering" effect. Source code has also been modernized and cleaned up even better than before. Strategic airfield combat has been made a little richer and more complex, with the ability to damage, destroy and/or repair RADAR equipment independently of other HQ airfield facilities. We've also added an optional, new system of "Morse Code Radios" that allow players to communicate with other networked players, using keyboard-generated text messages, one character at a time, emulating the very primitive "Morse Code" radios that were used in the early phases of World War II. This low-speed, text-based communication system even works for players that choose not to install the well-known "Mumble" voice communication app that has been our standard means of interplayer communication since version 3.30. CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat production Version 5.64 now available for free download
supporting 54 aircraft, this version is ready for prime-time! This is
now the BEST "pure Linux" combat flight simulator available! CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat production Version 5.50 now available for free download
LAC beta testing is completed, and Version 5.50 is the first
official "production" version. Now supporting 33 aircraft, this version
benefits from a large set of small improvements, including better
cockpit instrument stabilization, better flight models, and prettier
aircraft, and much better handling when taxiing on runways or
requesting re-arm, re-fuel, and repair operations. CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat Version 5.09 now available for free download and online beta testing
LAC is approaching official release! We've fixed a few minor bugs, and added three new WW2 aircraft (bringing the total up to 28). We've also made airfields prettier, improved the visual appearance of explosions in strafing and ground-attack missions resulting from cannon shells, machine gun bullets, and rockets, and we've enhanced some cockpit status messages for better clarity. CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat Version 4.77 now available for free download and online beta testing
We've fixed a lot of bugs and made five new aircraft available
as we approach the day when we can declare LAC "ready for prime time"!
Online, multi-player strategic battles are becoming more and more
engaging as we work to balance defensive fire from airfields and
bombers versus offensive guns, bombs, and rockets from strike aircraft.
Victory conditions are now accompanied by celebratory music and radio
announcements. CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat Version 4.53 now available for free download and online beta testing
Now all three of our online, multiplayer missions offer advanced, strategic airfield combat. Airfields are now much harder to destroy with the previous weapons, but we've added World War II-style bombs and rockets, and a "Norden" bombsight that makes daylight, precision bombing practical from medium and high altitudes. Improved flight models degrade performance of aircraft due to damage, and/or while they are lugging heavy weapons. As a result of these improvements, airfield destruction and mission victory is now a much richer experience requiring teamwork and careful monitoring of opposition forces. We've also improved flight controls for players that rely on a "mouse" instead of a joystick for primary flight controls. Take-offs are now safer and more realistic. We've moved our "Mumble" Server to a new domain named "LinuxAirCombat.com", and we are experimenting with a secondary LAC Server at LacServer2.LinuxAirCombat.com. CLICK HERE for further details.
Linux Air Combat Version 4.16 now available for free download and online beta testing
is primarily a bug-fix version, and we've also worked hard to create a
powerful new infrastructure for strategic combat. As a result, the old
"MissionNetworkBattle01" is now far more immersive. Bombers have
defensive autoguns that shoot at hostile fighters within gunnery range.
Airbases now have anti-aircraft guns that can be destroyed by strafing
runs from hostile aircraft. Runways have been lengthened, widened, and
beautified. MissionNetworkBattle01 has been enhanced so that players
are forced to land for fuel and then take off again. If opposing
fighters are overhead, this is a very dangerous proposition, so three
different airfields are available. The first team to destroy the
opposition's HQ airbase wins the battle. CLICK HERE for further details....
Linux Air Combat Version 3.72 now available for free download and online beta testing
With the latest upadate, Linux Air Combat now has 20 flyable
aircraft. This month we've paid a lot of attention to the accuracy of
the flight models, and we are very pleased to announce that all of our
WW2 aircraft now behave very much like their historic counterparts at
low and medium combat altitudes. We're still working on extreme high
altitude modelling, but this version has seriously improved high
altitude flight too! CLICK HERE for further details!
Linux Air Combat Version 3.64 now available for free download and online beta testing
Linux Air Combat has been improved again. Now with 19 flyable
aircraft, mostly from World War II, this new version benefits from
significantly improved flight models, airfield landing and takeoff, two
additional aircraft, powerful interplayer voice communication, and much
smoother network performance. The download size is now much smaller
too. CLICK HERE for further details!
Linux Air Combat is now available for online, multi-user beta testing through our new server!
We've completed our alpha testing phase, and as many as ten
players have been enjoying outrageous fun flying combinations of the
seventeen flyable aircraft we now support, in any of three different
types of online, multiplayer missions in two different types of
terrains. Linux Air Combat has now advanced to version Lac03p18 which
is available for free, open-source download. CLICK HERE for further details....
Updated version 2.87 of Linux Air Combat is now available, with video previews of the new Linux Air Combat Server and six-player mission. This version includes much better support for players that fly with a "Mouse" instead of a joystick, improved flight models for all aircraft, and improved stability on all types of computers. The new Linux Air Combat server will soon come online. CLICK HERE and stay tuned....
Linux Air Combat Update 2.26
An updated beta test version of Linux Air Combat is now available. This version includes vastly improved network features and compatibility. We've been having a lot of fun with this in our labs, exploring our new six-player online mission. A Linux Air Combat server will soon come online. CLICK HERE and stay tuned....
Linux Air Combat Version 01p99 now available for download!
A beta test version of Linux Air Combat is now available for download and testing, as described HERE.
Linux Air Combat Approaching Release!
have almost completed enough of LINUX AIR COMBAT to contemplate an
initial beta test release within the next few weeks. I'm also well into
a comprehensive series of video introductions and tutorials. You can
find all of this new information featured HERE.
Linux Air Combat Sneak Peak
I have been busy writing a new flight simulator for LINUX, which I call "Linux Air Combat". Based on Tom Drexl's venerable, open-source "gl-117", Linux Air Combat (or "LAC") generates very smooth flight with amazing frame rates, even on older computers, and simulates World War II air combat as well as jet air combat. Compared to the old, arcade-style gl-117, LAC uses more advanced flight models, a far more sophisticated view system, additional aircraft, greatly expanded controls, control surfaces, and correspondingly expanded joystick axis, button, and keyboard control mapping. The old, arcade-style missions and scoring system are replaced with more realistic, more difficult missions. The old music and sound effects have also been updated for better realism, and the terrains have been completely re-worked for better appearance and fantastically smooth flight on today's PCs. This isn't ready for release yet, but if you'd like a "sneak peak", check out this pair of YouTube Movies:
Linux Air Combat YouTube Playlist
"Learning to Program Computers in C++" Playlist expanded again! We continue to expand this offering from previous months. Our newest segments (#15 in the series) covers even more advanced topics, such as "aliases" and advanced data types like "Unions". This comprehensive new segment is available in High Definition, and it's optimized for "Learn by Listening", but you are invited to watch along if you are a "Learn by visual experience" kind of person!
Here are three links:
1 of 2: The entire "Learning to Program Computers in C++ Playlist
2 of 2: New Episode 15 on "Advanced Data Types"
Aces High Mission Recording in High Definition: "Rabaul 18Oct1943" Here's a new YouTube video, recorded in high definition, showing what it's like to fly my "Rabaul 18Oct1943" offline mission, re-enacting one of the great air battles of the South Pacific during World War II, using the free, well-known "Aces High" combat flight simulator software for Windows or Linux. Use these links:
YouTube Movie of the mission
Web page from our "Gaming" section introducting Aces High
Web page from our "Gaming" section introducing this free mission
Compiling Video Games from LINUX Source Code: The free GL-117 Flight Simulator
YouTube Video shows exactly how I found, downloaded,
and compiled the source code for the free, well-known "GL-117" flight
Learning to Program Computers in C++ Parts 13 and 14
The entire YouTube playlist for "Learning to Program Computers in C++"
We've switched to High Definition!
In January we installed a complete new
High-Definition video production studio and were trained on a new set
of video tools. From now on, the vast majority of our video clips will
be available in glorious High Definition.
"Learning to Program Computers in C++" Playlist expanded. We continue to expand this offering from last month. New segments cover more advanced topics, such as "Character Sequences" and "Pointers". These comprehensive new segments are both available in High Definition. As before, both are optimized for "Learn by Listening", but you are invited to watch along if you are a "Learn by visual experience" kind of person!
Here are three links:
1 of 3: The entire "Learning to Program Computers in C++ Playlist
2 of 3: New Episode 11 on "Strings"
3 of 3: New Episode 12 on "Pointers"
Introduction to PcLinuxOS 2015
We like PcLinuxOS a lot, and we use it for almost everything we do.
The first of these three video clips will show beginners what PcLinuxOS
looks like, comparing and contrasting it with Microsoft's "Windows"
desktop operating system, and suggesting the possibility of switching
to LINUX the "Easy Way". The other two videos show that it's really
easy to keep PcLinuxOS up to date.
New YouTube Playlist "Learning to Program Computers in C++"
We've been very busy for the past couple of months
creating a series of YouTube "Learn By Listening" clips that will help
you learn to program computers using the well-known "C++" language. C++
is the most important programming language in the world today, forming
the basis for most gaming, simulation, and system programming. Because
it derives directly from the venerable old "C" language, it comes from
a strong heritage. People that learn to program in C and C++ gain
access to the world's most vast collection of source code and free
programming tools. With our new playlist, you can learn to program in
C++ by just listening to the powerful, thoughtful instruction. The
basis for this comes from a wonderful web site at www.cplusplus.com
and we highly recommend their publications as companions to this work!
At the time of this writing, we have published the first ten chapters,
totalling about 2 hours. More chapters are coming. Click
the link above for immediate access to all of our AskMisterWizard.com
playlists, and look for the one entitled "Learn to Program Computers in
C++", near the bottom of the page.
Gaming and Flight Simulation: New offline mission for the "Aces High II" combat flight simulator
Combat flight simulation fans use a lot of technology, and many of our readers are fans of the well-known, free "Aces High II" combat flight simulator. We've now published our 19th offline mission for that sim. It's called "Johnson at Ormoc Bay", and it re-enacts the air battle of December 7th, 1944 over Ormoc Bay, Leyte Island, of the Phillippines, in which Colonel Gerald R. Johnson shot down four Japanese aircraft from his Lockheed P38 Lightning fighter.
Zello update: Insert Photos and other images into your Zello Walkie-Talkie conversations
Zello is a very popular "Walkie Talkie" app for
Android, IOS, and Windows that allows you to use your phone, tablet,
laptop, or desktop computer like a CB radio with world-wide range. But
it offers much more. Recently it was upgraded so that you could easily
send photos and other images to those in your conversation, and it is
very clever about archiving those images into a long-term record. Visit
our October 2014 update for movies, articles, and instructive text
showing the amazing and clever power of this little app!
Gaming and Flight Simulation: We've updated our ysflight server!
For several years, we have hosted a free online server for the well-known, free "ysflight" combat flight simulator. That server has specialized in World War II aircraft and battles, but newer versions of the server software have been released in the interim, and most users have updated their client software and are no longer compatible with our old World War II services. Nevertheless, a small cadre of dedicated fans have continued to use our server. In addition to that "classic" server, we now offer a second, fully updated server for compatibility with the larger community!
Gaming and Flight Simulation: Jane's Fighters Anthology Reborn!
have recently dusted off my old copy of the classic "Jane's Fighters
Anthology" combat flight simulator, originally published way
back in 1998. This was a comprehensive package of several prior flight
simulators from the people at Jane's. Applying modern technology to
this classic old software has been very rewarding! It runs very, very
well on modern Windows-based hardware and also under Linux, and today's
advanced, programmable keyboards and joysticks make it MUCH better than
it ever was back in the days of its birth!
Security Now Illustrated: New YouTube Playlist
Our "Security Now Illustrated" feature (made in
cooperation with Steve Gibson and Leo LaPorte) now has sixty different
video segments, and it can be difficult to find them all, in the proper
sequence, on YouTube, so we've worked to arrange them all into a
single, simple, comprehensive, YouTube playlist with cross referencing
embedded into YouTube annotations. Be prepared to linger awhile; you'll
find more than 5 hours of high-quality, animated vide here!
Enterprise Network Architectures
The video clips in this series show how
a LAN and associated set of computers are connected with the Internet
and built up into increasing levels of sophistication. The series
starts out with a simple overview of the worldwide Internet, and then
shows how a very small LAN can be connected in a home or small office.
Then, clip by clip, the small LAN is expanded until, at the end, it is
quite large and sophisticated, spanning multiple rooms full of
interconnected equipment using both wired and WiFi (wireless)
connections. Each step is carefully explained. Viewers will come away
with a comprehensive understanding of Local Area Network (LAN)
architecture in modern environments.
Gaming and Simulation: Training for absolute beginners on the "Aces High" combat flight simulator: New YouTube Playlist
The well-known "Aces High" combat flight simulator continues to be a favorite around here, and among viewers of our "Gaming" section. A couple of years back we completed a series of 28 video clips with training for "Absolute Beginners" on this very advanced, very realistic simulator. Now we've returned to those video clips, uploaded them to YouTube, and created a simple, convenient playlist so it's now easier than ever before to find them all and to watch them in the intended order, proceeding from simplest to most advanced.
Our "Reunion" mission is the biggest and most complex mission ever written for the old "8-player LAN" mode. Check it out!
Networks the Easy Way: New YouTube Playlist
Troubleshooting: New YouTube Playlist
We've dusted off our classic set of videos covering "Ping" and
"Traceroute", and we've made them available in a simple, convenient
YouTube playlist, with comprehensive cross referencing visible in hot
links that show up as live annotations.
Wireshark YouTube Playlist
We've dusted off our old set of video clips about
"Wireshark", the well-known, free, Ethernet diagnostic and monitoring
software, and organized them into a brand new playlist on YouTube that
makes if far easier to find and view them in the proper order. Now it
is easier than ever to learn how to download, configure, and use
Wireshark to monitor all of the activity that's entering and exiting
through your Internet connection!
We've updated our classic old video clips on "Dynamic
DNS" to better reflect current events, and made all seven segments of
the prior version available free of charge, in a single, 14-minute
video clip on YouTube! Since the original publication of that series
back in 1996, the biggest news has been the recent announcement by
dyn.com that their very popular, formerly free DDNS service would no
longer be available without charge. As a result, thousands of people
are now looking for a free DDNS alternative. Faced with this same
challenge, we discovered the free services of "no-ip.com" and we like
them. This update shows how we used the free services of no-ip.com to
replace those from dyn.com.
Google Chromecast Review and Configuration for thinking people
Google's low-cost "Chromecast" device is a
WiFi to HDMI Bridge. Unlike your HDMI-compatible DVD or Blue-Ray
player, it doesn't have a remote control. In fact, it doesn't have ANY
controls at all. It is constantly listening on WiFi for commands from
its own, custom command language. We take a comprehensive look at this
very interesting device as we get it working on our network and with
our High-Definition, big-screen TV.
Home Solar Power Plant Expanded to eight panels
Product Review: Logitech Extreme 3dPro
The Dirty Little Secret About NiMh
Free Cell Phone Calls with your google
Nexus 7 Tablet: Our review of "Groove IP Lite"
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 29
Free, 4G Wireless Internet versus very low-cost 3G/4G Wireless Internet
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 27
Illustrated, Episode 26
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 25
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 17
We continue our very popular "Security
Now! Illustrated" work, animating and illustrating the amazing,
well-known audio dialog of Steve Gibson and Leo LaPorte with three new
episodes as follows:
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 10
"Open WiFi Access Points"
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 11
"Bad WiFi Security"
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 13
"WPA: WiFi Security Done Right"
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 9
"Root Kits" are well known to the
authors of spyware, adware, viruses, and other malware. In episode 9 of
"Security Now!" Steve Gibson's audio podcast explained Root Kits for
the rest of us. Now, we illustrate Steve's audio dialog with beautiful,
animated, 3D graphics.
Security Now Illustrated, Episode 8
We continue our "Security Now
Illustrated" section, adding beautiful, animated video clips to
illustrate the classic "Denial of Service Attacks" episode from the
amazing "Security Now!" audio podcast by Steve Gibson and Leo LaPorte.
Security Now Illustrated,
Episodes 3, 42, and 388
If you're not familiar with
the wonderful audio podcast series that
Steve Gibson and Leo LaPorte have named "Security Now!", then you're
really missing out, and you should go and check it out at
If you're a "Security Now!" listener, then you
know how Steve and Leo explain the intricacies of the Internet, LANs,
WANs, VPNs, and information security. We enjoy their podcast very much,
few weeks, Steve creates a complex, "Propeller-Head" episode that
really cries out for visualization through illustrations or animations.
That's why we have created our new "Security Now Illustrated" Section,
where we will animate and illustrate Steve's "Propeller-Head" episodes.
Now you can SEE what Steve is talking about!
Linux shared file browsing with Smb4K
Microsoft popularized file sharing on
LANs many years ago. The LINUX community quickly figured out the
resulting protocols and added support for compatible file sharing
within the LINUX kernel. Ever since then, it has been possible for
LINUX users to access Windows-based files on the LAN, but casual users
find the process intimidating. Browsing for shared LAN files using
Smb4k is both powerful and cumbersome. Manually mounting shared files
requires advanced knowledge, and precise, unforgiving syntax. But it's
worthwhile! In this month's offering, we present a series of brief
video clips documenting exactly how we use LINUX desktop computers to
share and access Windows-compatible files on our LAN.
Linux on USB Flash Media
We love our LINUX systems so much that we
never want to be without them! Since we can't ALWAYS lug around our
laptops or tablets, we learned how to make a bootable USB "Thumb Drive"
with our full, powerful LINUX environment that can be used on almost
any computer, anywhere! Explore this month's offering to see exactly
how we did it.
Linux the EASY Way!
Many sophisticated PC users are apprehensive about Microsoft's upcoming switch to Windows 8 because of the radical and fundamental changes that are inherent in the new design (experts have concluded that Windows 8 was designed for phones and tablets instead of desktop machines). This has sparked renewed interest in LINUX as an alternative to Windows. Linux has made MAJOR strides since our last series of articles on the subject. Modern LINUX operating systems are far easier to install (and far easier to back up and restore) than Microsoft Windows. Explore this month's offering to see exactly how we installed LINUX on a powerful, gaming-class PC. We're pleased to report that this installation strategy leaves Microsoft Windows completely untouched.
Your Computer's BIOS: key to installing LINUX, or re-installing or upgrading Windows.
Ethernet over Power Lines
There are times when WiFi technology does NOT provide
the best solution.
For example, it's generally best to locate your WiFi router near the CENTER of your house for best overall coverage. However, your broadband Internet connection generally enters your home at one of its external walls, through a DSL or cable TV interface. If you locate your WiFi router there, the remote portions of your home will probably have trouble getting a good connection. In this month's installment, we show how you can "Bridge" the Ethernet connection between your wired router and your WiFi access point through the power lines in the walls of your home!
The Analog Hole
Hollywood and the entertainment industry have a problem: They cannot prevent people from making backup copies of the movies and music files that they license for legal, private enjoyment at home, even though they would very much like to, and they expend a great deal of money attempting to do so. Ultimately, however, they are are doomed to fail because of a little secret known as "The Analog Hole". In this month's episode, we explore and explain The Analog Hole for you viewing pleasure!
Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player Review. We review the popular, new WD TV Live SMP, which can connect your TV to your Ethernet or WiFi LAN and to the worldwide Internet. We found that this little device was loaded with pleasant surprises (including one BIG one that wasn't even mentioned on the retail box or in any of the prominent advertising).
Aces High Offline Missions. Continuing our diversion into modern flight simulation, our new "Gaming" section features a new offline "mission" for the well-known "Aces High" combat flight simulator. Our entire collection of eleven offline missions is now available for your enjoyment, including our newest offering entitled "Shubin at Guadalcanal". A new "YouTube" video clip is featured, showing exactly what it is like to fly this mission with a modern gaming computer.
Aces High Online video clips. We've captured the essence of competitive, modern combat flight simulation with four delicious video clips documenting four online "battles". This is the stat-of-the art in online gaming at this time.
New "Gaming" Section! From time to time we have published information about flight simulation, and those articles remain among our most popular. Your enthusiastic response has prompted us to create a brand new "Gaming" section, where you can now find our flight simulation, TeamSpeak, and other features.
Skype Video for Android: Skype has long dominated Internet telephony and video chat services for PC, Macintosh, and LINUX users, but users of Android-based phones and tablets haven't been able to use their video cameras with Skype until very recently. We are happy to report that Video Skype is almost ready for prime-time use, and we demonstrate our experience with two different, popular Android tablets. You may be surprised to learn of some of the shocking problems we uncovered....
Remote Access via VPN: This month we reveal how we use the "Point To Point Tunneling Protocol", also known as PPTP, to access our LAN from remote locations all around the world. By exercising great care in the choice of authenticating passwords and PPTP options, we are able to enforce pretty good security, and we really enjoy the powerful access that results: we can access our shared files, print servers, ftp servers, routers, wireless access points, wireless ethernet gateways, and web servers from anywhere in the world.
We've been building something REALLY BIG! Have you been thinking about solar power for your home? We've spent the past couple of months building our own system, and it's turned out to be a real asset. However, it was more expensive and more complex than we had expected, and at the rate it replaces the electricity we have been buying, it will take us more than 10 years to get our investment back (disregarding any government or tax incentives for which we may eventually qualify). Our September and October 2011 publications reveal all!
Solar-Electric bicycle, anyone? Are you wondering how difficult it is to convert your favorite bicycle to electric power? Would you ride your bicycle more if it had a clean, silent electric motor with a throttle lever that you could activate when you need more speed or when the road gets steep?
Let us tell you about a new App we just discovered. We really like it. It's called "HeyTell", and it implements a very effective Internet - "Walkie Talkie" - for Android, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. It's becoming very popular because it's completely free, simple, and effective.
P3 "Kill A Watt" Review. Have you ever wanted to measure the exact amount of electrical energy used by the electrical or electronic devices in your home. In this month's review of the "Kill A Watt" electrical energy monitoring device, we show the easy to get answers (and some surprising information about the "unknown" factors adding to your electric bill).
The anatomy of a "Phishing" Attack. This month, we dissect an email "phishing" attack of the type that has become a commonplace threat to network security. Learn what a phishing email looks like, and how to confirm that it is indeed malicious. It's easy to identify these nasty messages if you know what to look for....
Banking and E-Commerce security on the Web. This month's featured video clip shows exactly how your web browser reacts and warns you when the site you want doesn't identify itself properly, or uses an identification technique that can't be trusted without extra steps. Have you ever wondered if you can safely ignore browser error messages about site security or certificate details? Answers are here....
DNS Cache Poisoning Attacks! Can your Internet Domain Name Service be corrupted to lead you to hacked, counterfeit bank or E-commerce pages? Following up on our December issue in which we discussed speeding up your Internet experience by choosing a faster DNS server, this month we pay attention to the SECURITY of your DNS setup. These are things that every active Internet user should know!
Our Flight Simulation section remains among our most popular offerings, and for January 2011, we've enhanced it with a lot of new content. Featuring three flight simulators that can be downloaded free of charge for Windows environments (Aces High, YsFlight, and AirWarrior), we are now announcing three new, free offline "missions" for Aces High. Each of these free missions is accompanied by a "YouTube" movie showing exactly what it looks like. Furthermore, we've located a free download package for the venerable "AirWarrior" simulator, and we've commenced a forum where fans can exchange notes and questions
Your DNS Performance
Is your Internet connection slow and frustrating? A poorly performing Domain Name Server could be the cause! In this month's report, we review the amazing, free "DNS Benchmark" utility by Steve Gibson of grc.com, and we show how you can test the performance of the DNS servers you are now using and compare them with any of thousands of other, free DNS offerings. It's likely that you'll be able to find one or two that perform significantly better than the default servers that your ISP configured for you....
Network Attached Storage, The Easy Way!
As networks proliferate in our homes and small businesses, millions of us are taking advantage of new, Local Network-oriented applications. One of the most powerful of these is the ability to share our files and media with all of the PCs, laptops, netbooks, iPads, TVs, and media players in our modern homes. In this month's installment, we show how we "perverted" a low-cost router for use as a "Network Attached Storage" (NAS) fileserver.
New Home Theater Section! Everybody's building and enjoying Home Theaters nowadays, but there are thorny problems: Old VHS tapes are wearing out and breaking. Priceless, irreplaceable home movies are at risk. DVD collections are difficult to back up. We want to watch our movies on iPods, other media players, and PCs. We tackle all of these thorny problems this month, with the "Neuros OSD" Open Source Device.
Password Management. Do you enjoy choosing and memorizing passwords? Are you confident that you won't forget an important password? Are you worried that you've used your bank or brokerage password on other websites whose managers may not be taking prudent care to keep them secret? We've implemented a simple, inexpensive, practical solution to all of these modern challenges.
SPAM Trap! Have you ever wondered just how spammers operate? When we implemented our "Forums" section, we learned first-hand about the enormous quantity of spam that spammers tried to publish on our site. Eventually, we determined that 99% of forum spammers use mindless "bot" technology that simply tries to get a spam-oriented link published on whichever forum section has had the most traffic. So we thought: "Why not create a fake forum section as a trap. We'll past a whole bunch of silly, mindless, worthless traffic in it just to see if all of the spammers use it instead of our other, valuable sections. It worked beyond our best expectations, even after we included the following text in the forum description:
Flight Simulation! Our "Combat Flight Simulation" section has become very popular, and we've published a sophisticated, free combat "mission" for the well-known "Aces High II" combat flight simulator.
Introduction to MagicJack! We explore the well-known "MagicJack" VOIP (Voice over IP) adapter, software, and service, giving it the AskMisterWizard treatment to reveal how it's purchased, installed, configured, and used. Then we dive deeper, answering questions like "will this slow down my computer or my Internet connection?". Our VOIP section is becoming more and more popular with our viewers!
Programmable Keyboards! The lowly keyboard is still the fundamental basis for controlling most computers. You use it a lot. Why not make it work harder for you? In this special exercise, we show how we purchased, programmed, installed, and used a hardware-programmable keyboard to emulate the functions of an airplane's "cockpit" in our Flight Simulation Laboratory.
WiFi Freeloading, Part II! Are your neighbors stealing WiFi access from you? In this second installment of our 2-part series, we get down to the "nitty gritty" details, explaining how you can determine who is accessing your system, how much access they have been using, what they're doing, and how to shut them down.
Featured Articles Section! Now that AskMisterWizard.com has so much content, it's easy to lose track of some of our best publication "gems". We've added a "Featured" link in our header bar, where we will link to some valuable items that might otherwise be difficult to find. We'll change these links from time to time. This month we're featuring "Setting Up a WiFi LAN The Easy Way", Part 1 and Part 2.
New Network Troubleshooting Section! Check out our new "Network Troubleshooting" section, where we take a look at the well-known "Wireshark" tool for monitoring all of the traffic on your network. We also reference prior video clips and articles detailing use of "ping" and "traceroute" tools. If your network is misbehaving or infested by bad guys, these tools will be your best friends.
WiFi Freeloading, Part 1! Are your neighbors stealing WiFi access from you? It happens far more often than you might think!
FORUMS! We now support a rich heirarchy of online, interactive forums where you can ask and answer questions related to technology, and to our online video clips, articles and services.
New VOIP Section! Check out or "Voice over IP" section, where we'll cover Skype, TeamSpeak, and other telephone-like use of the Internet.
YsFlight Online Combat Flight Simulator Server! We love online combat flight simulation so much that we've decided to host our own free service.
LINUX Section! We have merged with our sister publication "HowIGotItWorking.com", so that all of their popular content is now visible within our new LINUX Section. See our detailed instructions for migrating from Windows to LINUX!
April 2010: Advanced Enterprise Network Architectures, Part 3 of 3
Part 3 of our 3-part series on Wireless Enterprise Network Architectures: Wireless Ethernet Bridges. As your network grows, you may want to add additional rooms full of equipment, such as for a small office at the back of a home. Sometimes the best performance comes from using "wired Ethernet" within each new room, and a "Wireless Ethernet Bridge" to connect the entire room to your existing WiFi infrastructure and to share your main Internet connection. This allows rich and powerful new architectures.
March 2010: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and the popular "Hamachi" VPN
Until recently, VPNs were complex, cantankerous, and generally confusing to set up. But in late 2005 or early 2006, Internet users began to see references to a new, free set of VPN software for Windows that was remarkably easy to set up. It was code-named "Hamachi", and it could traverse the complexities of NAT routers and manage generation and configuration of complex encryption keys without even involving the user at all. Easy VPNs became available for Windows and LINUX computers. This month we explore Hamachi and show exactly how to obtain, configure, use, and troubleshoot it.
February 2010: Advanced Enterprise Network Architectures, Part 2 of 3
In this second part of our 3-part series on Wireless Enterprise Network Architectures, we look deeper into the popular ways of adding WiFi access. First, on the assumption that you already have a working wired infrastructure as described last month, we consider the simple addition of a "Wireless Access Point". However, we acknowledge that there are less expensive ways to add Wireless functions. We explore those with two more options, both based on the popular "WiFi Routers" that are available from vendors like Linksys, D-Link, Netgear, SnapGear, etc. People often ask us if it's OK to "daisy chain" two routers in series when they want to add WiFi. Here's your answer! (Next time in this series, we'll go even deeper into advanced WiFi architectures, with an examination of "Wireless Ethernet Bridges".)
January 2010: Advanced Enterprise Network Architectures, Part 1 of 3
As the network in your home or business grows to "Enterprise" proportions, you will need to think about the overall architecture that will best serve your needs. You will be expanding your LAN to provide additional Ethernet connectors within your own private subnet, and that expansion will be based on Ethernet Hubs and Ethernet Switches, and it will gradually expand to take on a "tree" structure. Different rooms or departments within your enterprise network will be served with their own Ethernet Switches, each of which can be connected, like the branches of a tree, to "parent" nodes, with Ethernet cables that can be as long as 50 feet. At the "trunk" end of this branching tree structure, your NAT router will create the private subnet that will assign as many as 253 new, private IP addresses to all of your enterprise devices, and you will want to configure that "trunk end" equipment to facilitate network monitoring and troubleshooting. We've published 12 new, brief, highly focused video clips focusing on those details. This is Part 1 of a 3-part series, to be continued next month. Next month's offerings will expand on these January 2010 publications with a deeper treatment of WiFi equipment, multiple routers, multiple subnets, and two different implementations of "Wireless Access Points".
December 2009: Setting Up a WiFi LAN the Easy Way, Part 2 of 2
Part two of our two-part series. Once your "wired" infrastructure is set up as described in last month's issue, you're ready to turn on the WiFi radios in the Wireless Access Point logic of your Wireless Residential Gateway equipment. You'll need to configure several details to get everything working correctly, at the best compatible speed, with minimal interference from your neighbors, and with enough security to keep out the bad guys. We've published six more video clips focusing on these details.
November 2009: Setting Up a WiFi LAN the Easy Way, Part 1 of 2
Setting up a new WiFi LAN requires installation of at least one new electronic box containing a WiFi Router and several other functions. You'll also need to choose an appropriate Internet Service Provider. In the first of this two-part series, we've published six brief, new, highly focused video clips showing how to build the "wired" infrastructure that you'll need before you can do anything without wires....
October 2009: Wireless Networking Fundamentals
Eight brief, new, highly focused video clips describing the fundamentals of "WiFi" wireless networks and the equipment that you'll need to obtain and configure in order to set up wireless computer networks at home or in your small office.
September 2009: Flight Simulation
A just-for-fun foray into the exciting world of computer-based, online combat flight simulation. We show how to purchase a new computer that will work very well for this popular hobby, and then we go on to show how we configured low-cost, readily available "joystick" and "joypad" hardware for use as virtual aircraft controls. Additional sections show movie clips from classic Windows flight sims, and how we downloaded, installed, configured, and mastered two new, free flight simulators for Windows.
August 2009: Switching from Windows to LINUX
How I converted a desktop PC workstation from Windows XP to PcLinuxOs, one of the most popular new LINUX distributions. 27 brief, highly focused video chapters show the exact steps, commencing with downloading the free PcLinuxOs installation software and burning it to a bootable CDROM, and continuing all the way to creation of a high performance multimedia/gaming LINUX workstation capable of running thousands of LINUX applications and even most graphically-intensive Windows games!
July 2009: Advanced Networking
14 new video clips describe exactly how we have evolved the small-office LAN at the AskMisterWizard.com headquarters, commencing with our very first Internet connection with just one laptop computer, and expanding in 14 video chapters to cover 10 computers, several different subnets, WiFi, a print server, a file server, and more!
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