Internet related articles talk about how to safely connect your computer to the Internet and keep you, your information, and your privacy safe from others.

Another Reason to Choose A2Hosting: Opposition to SOPA

I’ve recommended A2Hosting for your shared and dedicated hosting needs for years.  You might have heard about two pieces of legislation current before the Senate and Congress–SOPA and PIPA— which threaten the openness of the Internet.  A few companies (such as GoDaddy) initially supported these measures, but the Internet at-large vehemently opposes them.

As a professional who makes his living off of the Internet I believe I have a responsibility to do what I can to protect this open ecosystem that has provided me with so much opportunity.  It’s my own policy that I will not be doing any new business with companies whom at any point supported SOPA.  To that end I contacted A2Hosting to hear what they had to say about the matter:

Question 1: Does A2Hosting Support SOPA?

Answer:  We are strongly against SOPA!

Question 2: Does A2Hosting use GoDaddy for Domain Registration?

Answer: We do not use GoDaddy on the backend. We are currently using eNom on the backend, however we may soon decide to go direct because we have enough domains to make it worthwhile. It’s just a rather large project to do so.

Conclusion

In addition to their reliability and excellent technical support, A2Hosting‘s opposition to SOPA is yet another reason I highly recommend them and will be using them directly for my domain registrations and renewals in the future.

What To Do When Firefox Forgets It’s Own Age

Yesterday I dealt with some issues that were plaguing my cousin’s computer, among which was the odd fact that both MySpace and Yahoo Mail would not allow him to use their sites because his version of Mozilla Firefox was too far out-of-date.  The problem was, he was using the most recent version of the program, Firefox 3.5.5, which I confirmed by checking the “About” window under the Help menu in his browser.

Firefox and all other web browsers tell the web pages you visit what browser and version number you are using by sending something called a User Agent string. My suspicion was that Firefox was reporting the wrong User Agent string, and this suspicion turned out to be correct.

First attempt to resolve the issue by turning off or uninstalling your Firefox plug-ins, one-by-one.  Chances are, one of your plug-ins corrupting the User Agent string.

If removing plug-ins doesn’t fix the problem you can try to manually check and modify the User Agent settings by typing the address “about:config” into the Firefox address bar and checking the settings under “general.useragent” for an incorrect browser version.

Video: Finding Your Network Settings in Windows Vista

A YouTube member who watched my video about Finding Your Network Settings on Windows XP requested that someone make a similar video for Windows Vista. This video is quick and dirty, but it walks users through each step of finding their network connection settings both through the Windows user interface as well as through the command prompt.

Speed Up Your Internet Connection Using Open DNS

Have you ever noticed that large downloads go quickly on your broadband Internet connection but websites still seem to load at dial-up speeds?  I have a 10Mb/s DSL connection which–in theory anyway–is about 182 times more bandwidth than a 56k modem. Yet loading my Facebook profile took can take up a minute, which by todays standards feels like a lifetime.  The problem was caused by slow DNS servers at my ISP and I solved the problem using Open DNS.

The Difference Between Downloading a Large File and Viewing a Website

When you download a single large file from the Internet like a music album or an episode of your favorite show, the download is a single continuous stream of information, all originating from the same location.  But have you ever noticed that when you view a website, all of the sudden your web browser’s status bar starts going a little crazy?  That’s because when you view a website, it needs to download not just the “web page” but all of the supporting images, videos, and other external resources. Each resource is downloaded individually, and they may or may not be downloaded from the same central location.
[ad name=”rc_article_content”]

Why DNS May Become a Bottleneck

When a webpage is requested the domain name (like google.com) must be translated to a numerical address (called an IP Address) which can be understood by the computers and devices that make up the Internet.  This translation is done by a special service called DNS which your Internet Provider automatically assigns to your Internet connection. DNS must be consulted each time a resource is requested, hence if a web page contains 20 supporting resources DNS could possibly be called 21 times to translate names to numerical addresses.  If your Provider’s DNS servers become bogged down this can increase the time it takes for resources needed by a web page to be located.

OpenDNS to the Rescue

I discovered a service tonight called OpenDNS that hosts free DNS servers that you can easily configure on your own Internet Connection.  If you find that your web surfing seems sluggish, visit OpenDNS and follow their instructions for using their service on your computer. If you find that it doesn’t help, it’s easy to switch back to your ISP’s DNS servers.

The World Wide Web

Since I was first exposed to the Internet back in 1995, people have erroneously had a tendency to use the terms Internet and World Wide Web interchangeably. It may take the mind of a true geek to really care about the difference, but the World Wide Web is actually only a small fraction of the Internet.

This article is the first in a series meant to supplement the web design course that I’m currently teaching at SUN Area Career & Technology Center. I will define the Internet and the World Wide Web, talk briefly about their history, and discuss a few of the web’s defining features.

Read more