Friday, November 19, 2010

Windows 7 Private Vs.Public Network Security Problem

For some time now I have been struggling with an annoying problem with my Laptop computer. I am confident my home network has adequate security for wireless use, and I want to be able to share resources on my computer with other computers on my home network. However, when I take the computer to a coffee shop, I don't want those services to be available. The simple answer was to set up very strict security rules for "public" networks, and to leave them relaxed for my home network.

Last May or so, Windows 7 security decided that my home network is a public network, apparently because I connect to it wirelessly. It did not provide me with any means to change that setting. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling my wireless drivers several times. Eventually, I started relaxing my public security settings so I could use my computer at home.

Finally I decided to research the problem. Apparently Microsoft decided that since the most common private network address range is used almost universally in coffee shops, that the default address range commonly used by home wireless routers is public by definition. (viper1ab, 2010)

Fortunately, I found instructions to override this setting. These instructions are my adaptation of Bill Grant's solution to a similar problem reported on Microsoft's TechNet support forum: (The first four items were copied directly from Bill Grant's post. I removed some details that did not apply to my situation, and I added the fifth instruction.)

1. Start --> run --> MMC --> press enter
2. In MMC console , from menu file select Add/Remove Snap-in
3. Select Group Policy Object editor --> Press Add --> select Local computer --> press OK -->press OK
4. Open Computer configration -->Windows Settings -->Security Settings -->select Network list manger policies on the right side you will see options for your home network.
5. Double-click your home network, and change the status of the network to private in the properties form.

(Grant, B., 2010)

Now I can re-assert my strict security rules for public networks, and enjoy relaxed rules on my home wireless network!


viper1ab. (2010, February 1). Home Network changes to Public when enabling ICS for Wireless Broadband connection [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Grant, B. (2010, February 2). Home Network changes to Public when enabling ICS for Wireless Broadband connection [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How I disabled in-text advertising from Infolinks

I frequently do internet research. A frequent annoyance that costs me time and has even caused me to loose important articles has been the in-text "pop-up" advertising scripts from Today the problem happened again, and I decided to do something about it. First, I right-clicked on the web page (using Chrome) and I selected "view source." Then I looked for the name of advertiser "infolinks" in the code. I found the hard-coded address in a javascript link.

I tried adding the address to my hosts file, linking it to the loopback address of my own computer, <>. In previous versions of Windows, that addition would have been sufficient to block an address. (Don't edit the hosts file without researching the topic first. You can disable web access entirely if you do it wrong.) I have used the hosts file in Windows 7 to enable my computer to find addresses on my own home network, but I had never used it to block an address. In Windows 7, it appears this method does not seem to work as a way to bock addresses.

I had to add the address to my firewall. In this case, I added the address only to my local computer's firewall, but I may choose to block it from my router as well.

To add the address to my firewall, I needed the actual IP address. To get the IP address, I "pinged" the URL . I typed "cmd" in the search/run text box from the start button form, using this command to open a console window (DOS emulator). In the console window, I typed "ping" I wrote down the address. Then I typed "ping," and I wrote down that address also.

I opened my firewall program, selected "advanced," added a new outbound rule, and accepted all the default values. Then, under the "Scope" tab on the firewall "properties" window. I added the two numeric addresses I had pinged.

Previously an article I could not read because it was littered with advertising "land mines," is now readable!

I support internet advertising. I especially like Google's unobtrusive ads like the ones on this page that don't get in the way of reading, and help pay to provide a free internet experience for all of us, but ads must never impede access to information.

Popup ads should be illegal. They never serve consumers. They impede or sometimes even prevent access to information. Sometimes they masquerade as the information they prevent users from accessing. By causing users to legitimately attempt to block their unwanted intrusions, popup ads cause legitimate popup response forms to be blocked as well.

I want to encourage my fellow internet users to avoid accessing sites or purchasing products that make use of popup advertising. Please pass this information along to others. Together, we can make the internet the productive and useful tool for education, communication (and business) that it was designed to be.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sometimes things happen

I noticed a post to my "Big Bad Ideas" blog that I did not post. The blog entry was actually a link to a similar kind of blog. I did not mind the link, but it bothered me that someone could actually add an entry in my name. At first I just commented on the link, but when I saw that my comment was not displayed by default, I felt more drastic action was needed, so I deleted the post. The link I deleted was to this blog: Cup O' Joe with Bill: Loving God... laughing at myself...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dave's Diet Plan

I haven't actually started a "diet." I just decided I'm "fed up" with my current size, and I've made a few commitments which I'm going to track in my blog. The commitments are:

  1. Birthday cake and ice cream are free foods unrelated to my diet plan, provided it is restricted to one average serving during an actual celebration where "the song" is sung, and presents are opened.
  2. All cravings are allowed in small doses, and do not count against the "plan," because rebellion will kill any plan.
  3. Coffee and everything that goes in it is a free food, not related to my diet plan, however caffeine will be restricted to 200 mg per day.
  4. No refined grains or products made with refined grains, because refined grain products frequently cause me to loose will-power when consumed.
  5. No fried foods unless the oil was sprayed onto a non-stick pan, and no additional oil was added. (Spray oil is a free food not counted in my diet plan.)
  6. No butter, and no more than two teaspoons of country crock soft margarine per meal, however three teaspoons (and no more) of fat or oil are required per meal, which includes what is used in cooking. (Because a little oil is necessary, and a little oil strengthens will-power.)
  7. Oily meats, cheeses, and nuts count as a serving of oil AND a serving of meat.
  8. No sugar other than what naturally occurs in fruit, however two servings of fruit per meal are required, because it is necessary for good health, and because it strengthens will-power).
  9. Serving sizes are bigger than a thumb, and smaller than a fist, unless otherwise specified.
  10. No more than six meals or snacks a day, and no fewer than four meals or snacks a day are required.
  11. Every meal including snacks must include meat, cheese, nuts, or legumes, with fruit and a vegetable. (Peppers and tomatoes count as fruits AND vegetables. )
  12. One meal a day must include whole grain oats.
  13. Single egg yolks (including those in cooking) are allowed only three times a week, and should be avoided completely when possible, however a sprinkling of cheese in egg whites still counts as one serving of egg (within reason).
  14. Always partake of every snack or meal with a thankful attitude that is clearly expressed. Grumbling is not allowed!
Day 1

4 oz orange juice
1/2 cup cracked oats
1 egg
1 slice ww bread
2 tsp margarine
8 oz sugar-free yogurt

2 oz turkey lunchmeat
2 ww english muffins
2 tsp butter
1 cup berries

3 oz steak
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup mushrooms
1 tbs butter
1 nectarine

1 oz turkey lunchmeat
1 slc bread
1 tsp mayonnaise
8 oz milk

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm annoyed with my new 3G phone

My new cell phone won't act as a blue-tooth modem for my Laptop like my old cell phone did. I don't want to have to take the time to troubleshoot why my new phone only provides bluetooth audio services to my Laptop (a service which is completely pointless for my purposes)

Why would I want to use a cord to access the internet? That's what blue-tooth is for! However, I would still put up with a cord if that's what it takes to use my phone as a modem, but that option doesn't appear to be available either.

I fear I may have to downgrade my phone.

Technology will not be "fully grown" until this kind of annoyance is eliminated.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Annoyed with Windows 7

I am annoyed with Windows 7 for at least four reasons.

1) Error msg: "If your resolution is below 1280 x 960, some items may not fit on the screen."  This is a laptop. Its maximum resolution is 1366 x 768, which is marked "recommended." I can't set the height greater under any mode, consequently I frequently find I cannot run certain programs that display critical information at the bottom of the form unless I attach an external monitor capable of 1280 x 960 resolution.

2) I am visually impaired. I had retina reattachment surgery in both eyes, and now I have fewer "pixels" making up the images my eyes see. Consequently I cannot use a screen with fine print, regardless of the capability of the screen. Windows settings for the "visually impaired" create ugly screens that are so distracting I can't imagine anyone using them. I have to tweak the font sizes, but Windows makes no provision to scroll forms, and it prevents me from moving them slightly off-screen so I can create a usable text window as I did with Windows XP.  Attempting to move a window outside of the viewing area causes the form to snap back, which means there are times I can never work with a font I can see.

3) In dual screen mode, when the computer revives from "sleep" mode, it gets the two monitors confused in at least four different ways. I don't have this problem when I boot the computer to Ubuntu Linux, so I believe the problem is entirely a Windows issue.

  a) It sometimes makes one screen so bright it has no contrast, while the other screen is too dark to make out anything. Other times it just fails to make the second screen bright enough to see anything

  b) It sometimes changes which screen has the icons. This is a laptop. I connect and disconnect the external monitor, but I never disconnect the built-in monitor (because its attached). Why would I want to change the primary display?

  c) It sometimes swaps the height and width of the screens.

  d) Sometimes it gets confused about which screen is number 1 and number 2 when it identifies screens. This problem happens rarely, and is usually unrelated to the other three problems, but when it happens, resetting the assignments fixes all the other problems.

4) Have you ever tried to send a report to Microsoft to tell them about a problem? Need I say more?  Ok, apparently I do, because Microsoft makes communication with them very difficult, and tries to charge people who call to report problems, providing information a responsible company should be grateful to receive. I am forced to blog about problems with Microsoft because apparently its the only way to get their attention.

Microsoft, are you listening?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The best part of wakin' up...

One evening at a job I had 20 years ago, I was working late with several hours work yet to do. I decided to brew a pot of coffee to help me to be at my best as I raced against the clock to lock up and be out before midnight. I found the coffee can empty. My boss had used it as an ashtray. Fortunately a new can of "Folders" was there, and I had my pocket knife, so I opened the can and brewed a pot. Now I was using "Stewarts" coffee at the time. I had not paid much attention to the brand of coffee at work, so imagine my excitement on taking my first sip, that I had found a brand of coffee I really LOVED. I was amazed. Every sip seemed to awaken new pleasure. When the cup was about half-full I refilled it. It was still excellent, but apparently that incredible aromatic flavor I had never noticed before requires catching the first cup after a pot is brewed, because the second cup, while still very good, seemed somewhat less potent. Still I savored every drop. As I got toward the bottom of the cup, I considered adding more coffee, but I decided two cups was enough for a late night, and I could not bear to have that wonderful flavor diluted again. I finished the cup. After my last wonderful aromatic sip, I noticed something in the bottom of the cup. It was a cigar butt!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Expiration Dates

The meaning of expiration dates varies from product to product and from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some kinds of products cannot "expire," but they still have expiration dates. Tired of arguing about this issue, I decided to do some research. My research vindicated my understanding was correct.

Contrary to popular opinion, expiration dates on foods, drugs and cosmetics have no standard legal meaning. The meaning depends on the intention of whoever applied the label. A manufacturer's expiration label may be replaced for any reason by a distributor or a retailer, with no legal ramifications. Terms like "Best if used by," or "Sell by" or "Expiration date," while obviously different in their intended meanings, are indistinguishable from a legal perspective. (“US v. Farinella.,” 2009)

In the US v. Farinella decision, the court noted various reasons why an expiration date might be assigned to a product. The manufacturer may be attempting to provide a basis to recall a batch of product, or to limit liability, but usually dates are assigned to insure product turnover, so that the oldest product is sold first. The court also mentioned the possibility that expiration dates may be used “as a method of price discrimination." (“US v. Farinella.,” 2009) Products may be labeled with expiration dates to encourage consumers to purchase their product unnecessarily just to drum up business for the manufacturer. Consequently consumers may make their own decision about what expiration dates mean on a product-by-product basis, though they take the risk that important expiration dates may be ignored.

In the case of US v. Charles Farinella, the defendant was convicted of fraud for purchasing expired product, relabeling it as fresh, and reselling it to Dollar stores as a fresh product. The defendant won his appeal on the basis that the “best if used by” date had been interpreted by the lower court as an expiration date, and that the lower court had accepted expert testimony about undocumented FDA procedure as if it had the force of law, saying “It is a denial of due process of law to convict a person of a crime because he violated some bureaucrat’s secret understanding of the law.” (“US v. Farinella.,” 2009)

The court ruling mentioned that the specific product in question was “shelf-stable” and could have been as viable ten years later as it was a day after the “best if used by date.” The court also determined that the FDA has no authority to require expiration labeling or to enforce such labeling. (“US v. Farinella.,” 2009)

US v. Farinella. (2009). US Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 558 F. 3d 695.