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How can you get better performance with your Internet connection?

You’ve seen the scam artist advertisements for software programs that do nothing more than install junk-ware on your system.

TV Ad for software that did little to help novice PC users

The thing to remember is that many times your PCs Internt connection is slow becausee of your DNS provider.

Now you might be thinking “what is DNS John?” and I would tell you that this is a good question .

DNS means Domain Name Service. It operates on your computer’s port 53 and acts as the phonebook for the Internet. Here’s how…when you want to order a pizza for dinner, you may have to look up the number to the pizza place online or from an ad that they placed on your doorknob. You do not instinctively know the phone number to the pizza place and that’s okay. It’s normal.

Well in the same way you do not have every phone number that you may need in a day memorized, computers do not keep a track of every possible web site you might want to go to in a day stored in them either. Sure, some days you may bounce from a cable news site to a cable weather outlet to an Internet storefront and finally finish up at an Internet movie house like Youtube.

All of these have an IP address and yes, the sites you visit the most often you might want to save their IP addresses in your hosts file. This can be found in a Windows system in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts (and note that this file DOES NOT have a file extension).

You can save them in this format:

tech.jchampion.com            50.87.150.160

Now for you to have a better list of sites that are available worldwide on a DNS server. You are no doubt using one of the ones that your Internet service provider told you to use. These DNS servers may use tricks so that in the event you mistype a domain name, you are redirected to a relatively safe site that is hosted by the ISP or the DNS service provider. Any link that appears on these pages that you click on, make money for the service provider and likely put some sort of tracking cookie on to your computer to follow your movements to similar sponsored sites across the vast internet.

One way to speed up your experience and maybe avoid the whole tracking thing, is to use a new DNS provider. I’ll bet you did not think that you could do that but you can?

Simply go your Internet settings on your computer (Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network Connections and choose whichever icon matches your Internet connection). Right click on this icon and select properties. Now select Internet Connection version 4 from the window that pops up and then click on the properties button that highlights directly below that selection box.

Another window will pop up that will give you some options on things to fill out. Leave the top of this window alone if your Internet/network connection is working fine. What you want to fill out is the section that says “Use the following DNS server addresses” — and now you get to fill in any of a series of numbers you like. It looks like this:

The bottom part of this General IP Properties page that has DNS information is what you'll want to fill out.

The bottom part of this General IP Properties page that has DNS information is what you’ll want to fill out.

The IP addresses to populate those boxes are 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220

Google also has a DNS service that is available for the public to use and you can certainly use their IP addresses, 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 . With these addresses you get away from your ISP’s control but at the same time Google does not provide any level of service to help control or customize your own experience.

A list of other IP addresses for publicly accessible DNS services are listed here — just be sure to check the companies providing the IP addresses that you can use before you use them. You never know what information they could be pushing you to. There is such a thing as DNS poisoning and it is bad.

By bad..I mean that you could think that you are paying for an Amazon or Bank payment service and instead your traffic is directed through JimBob and Bubba-Sue’s scam site that culls your credit card or payment information before passing it along to Amazon or your bank so your purchase goes through and you are unaware anything went wrong, until you see your credit card bill or get that dreaded call from credit card security services.

It’s something to be aware of but do not be afraid. Forge ahead.

My goal in giving you this information is to teach you how to improve things for yourself without needing to spend money on software that does nothing but further bog down your system and worse, entices you to remove files your computer needs to run.

Have fun, be smart, and be independent. There will be more tips coming soon!

 

 

Can you implement your own privacy notice and have it work?

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Privacy is never simple when the Internet's involved

I have seen a lot of people posting notices to their Facebook profiles similar to this one:

***PRIVACY NOTICE:
Warning–any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental, public or private structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you DO NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/ or the comments made about my photo’s or any other “picture” art posted on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee(s), agent(s), student(s), family or any personnel under your direction or control. The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law.

UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
It is recommended that other members post a similar notice to this or you may copy and paste this one. Thank you. This is now a publicly traded site, protect yourself.

While a part of me wants to be optimistic and say that you should use this to protect yourself, I can tell you that much of this will do you very little good.

The reason is actually very simple. Whichever site that you visit is not your property. It belongs to the site’s creator and/or owners. As such, the site should have its own privacy policy.

You must understand that when you visit a website the resources made available to you on that site, reading material, news, information, files, data access, images, whatever, are owned by either that site’s creator or a 3rd party originator. By entering on to this site and accessing this data/information you are agreeing to abide by the Terms of Service (TOS) and End-User License Agreement (EULA) plus its privacy policy.

This policy takes into account the information it needs or has promised its investors, advertisers, or others, that it would acquire.

So therefore by simply visiting a site, you are giving the owner of that site permission to implement its privacy policy, EULA, and TOS and if you do not agree, then you have an obligation to leave the site immediately.

It’s a simple choice that you must make. For more information, Google search the terms ‘privacy policy’, EULA, and ‘TOS’ and you will get a better picture of how this works.

You should really pay attention to privacy policies

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Privacy and data collection

Google has been getting slammed lately in the tech media space for it’s blog post ( http://j.mp/z5Z5EO ) declaring that they are unifying all of their privacy policies into one massive policy. What has happened is that Google is being accused of violating it’s initial rule–“Don’t be evil.”

Evil is actually in the eye of the beholder as Google is not saying they are selling our personal data. They are merely sharing it across their own platforms to serve their own needs. As long as Google keeps this data internally and does not share it with third parties, I have no problem with that.

What I would like however, is to have control over the data that Google has gathered about me and the ability to change or delete it when Google does turn evil, which all for profit companies must do if they are to survive.

There are hundreds of companies who make billions of dollars off of each our personal profiles. Our criminal records, our driving records, and even how much money we gave to our local dog-catcher’s re-election campaign are all part of data sets that large companies like ChoicePoint, and Insurance Services Office sell to their customers. Even your prescription records are acrued and compiled to be resold by Milliman and Ingenix.

I would venture a guess that those who fear our federal government’s intrusion into our private lives have never searched deeply into who they should really be worried about. Private companies exist for one purpose…to make rich people richer. Government exists for one reason–to do for people what they cannot do for themselves.

Fearing government regulations is one thing that many Americans do but it’s misguided. Regulations on private business are necessary to keep our food and our money safe.

MyLife.com–why you should avoid it

You see the commercials on TV that someone may be looking for you. It seems like you have old boyfriends/girlfriends lining up to talk to you after all this time and they are doing it at the MyLife.com website.

Well…I accidentally clicked on the MyLife.com site when Google returned it in a search for a former coworker’s email address. What happened next was eye-opening.

First off..you must understand how malware-laden sites work. You visit a site with malware loaders, a popup comes up on your screen telling you that you have a virus and need their “anti-virus solution” or worse, the computer seems to lock up and there is nowhere to click except on a yes or no box on the popup.

If you are smart, you know that clicking on either box, or even on the circle x in the upper righthand corner, to close the window, will result in something being uploaded to your computer without your knowledge. It’s one of the reasons why I found and re-published instructions for creating a shortcut for immediately closing Internet Explorer without triggering any loaders (see this link: http://tech.jchampion.com/?p=16 ).

Well I mention all of this because this is the exact same behavior that the MyLife site exhibits. The site “grabs” Internet Explorer and there is nowhere to click on the page to close the application except inside the popup box that pushes you to register for this pay service. And for the record, you may not be surprised to learn that not very many of your old friends, girlfriends, or boyfriends are looking for you on this site as they probably did not want to pay the fee to contact you either.

And according to Techpaul’s blog ( http://techpaul.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/just-say-no-to-mylifecom/ ), the site is more annoying than nefarious. In order to join you must surrender your contacts list and from that moment on, your friends and family will be spammed relentlessly by the MyLife servers. In addition, it appears that they turn over your contact information to any advertiser whose ad you click on. Hint–there is only one teeny tiny “no” link on those ads while the rest of the ad is a clickable surface. Sneeze and exert pressure on your mouse and the advertiser gains access to your profile/contact information and possibly that of your friends as well.

In short…please stay away from the MyLife.com site and if you have joined, perform a Google search on how to remove your name and information from social networking sites.

Things you don’t own anymore

It started with Microsoft and the notion of software licensing. It was a simple enough idea; since Microsoft wrote the code and owned it, their claim to ownership did not end when the user paid their hard earned money for it. No one really paid much attention to this at first because users never really pay attention to anything important beyond price.

So enter into the field other software companies who followed Microsoft’s model. The model remained the same, you pay a software manufacturer x-amount of money in order for the right to use their software. You do not own it. You cannot resell it. You cannot loan it out and your wife and children cannot legally put it on their computers if you have it installed on yours.

And by the mid-90’s users were not paying attention to the law and these software licenses. So other industries began using this model for their items.

Audio/video production companies, like Sony, MGM, and Universal Music Group, began implementing these policies with their media. Up until the mid-90’s, the idea of making copies of your cd’s, tapes, and albums, was normal and we all did it and shared those duplicates with family members but the media rights holders had different ideas and to quote Sony Music Group’s attorney, “copying music that you own,” for your own listening purposes, “is stealing.”

So where am I taking this? Today, Adobe software announced a new subscription plan for their industry leading, and pretty much monopolistic software. Adobe Photoshop, Acrobat, Flash, and other tools are seriously overpriced and are among the most pirated materials on the planet.

How bad is their plan? Would you be willing to pay $50/month-every month for the rest of your life, to use Adobe Photoshop? How about paying $139/month every month for the rest of your life for their creation suites?

Can you wait for the car industry, which has already jumped on board this, “you paid for it but you don’t own it” bandwagon, to join the subscription plan? Can you see paying $650/month, every month, for the rest of your driving life for the right to drive a Kia and $1200/month to drive a Ford F150? Wait for it..it’s coming because you don’t pay attention.