Visits since Feb 2008
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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