Monday, July 24, 2006

Does your Pop-Up blocker really work?

I found this nifty site this evening: which does exactly what they say: It provides many different popups to test your popup blocking system.

My Firefox Web Browser version passed every test but the "Drop Down" Popup, and the "Sticky" popup.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Windows Crap Cleaner

Many, many myriad utilities are advertised on the web purporting to fix your computer, make it faster, and clean up unused or problematic files. Most of these are crap - loaded with spyware, they will gladly download yet more spyware and ruin your computing experience.

Enter CCleaner, which my friend Sue showed me a few weeks ago, claiming that it was recommended on Microsoft's web site, and saying that it was a wonderful tool. I was skeptical, but it was worth a try!

I downloaded it, installed it, and ran it, and, much to my delight, it works as advertised, cleaning up unused and unnecessary files, cleaning out and even repairing the registry, and fixing all sorts of irritating problems, including addind an add/remove programs that works better than the Microsoft Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Easy, Free VPN Solution

Remember my post about IPCop? Well, here's yet another gem that's free for those who are willing to work for it - OpenVPN. The reward is an easy to set up, easy to administer Virtual Private Network connection. The OpenVPN GUI provides an easy way for clients to connect. also explains how to create an easy-to-install client package that can customized for your own VPN (Not for NEWBIES!).

Before you freak out and try putting this all together, check out this tutorial on getting OpenVPN to work with your IPCop. The Zerina VPN Plugin is beautifully made, thought not fully implemented, and makes ready-to-use .ovpn configuration files. It also makes and exports its own certificates, and lastly, and possibly the biggest headache it solves, it automatically configures client and server routes.

So now that you can remotely join your internal network, what will you do with it? 1st up, Windows Network browsing services won't work. If you have a DNS or WINS server on your internal network, point your TAP Interface's at one or both of these, and you'll be able to use your familier Network Neighborhood stuff. If these services are unavailable, then you're stuck using hosts IP addresses (ie \\

Beyond Windows File Sharing, most everything else should work through your shiny new Ecnrypted Tunnel without a hitch.

Opera 9

Opera 9 has arrived on the scene somewhat quietly, but it has a lot of features rivaling Firefox and Internet Explorer 7 (which is now at Beta 3). From what I can tell, there's not much reason to switch if your a Windows user -Firefox pretty much takes the prize. But Mac and Linux users, REJOICE! There's finally something better than Firefox (arguably) - I say this because it has an excellent implementation of Flash on the Mac. On my OSX Tiger box, My son's favorite Scooby Doo game will crash after a little while, hanging the browser. It doesn't matter which one I use, Firefox, Internet Exploder for Mac, or Safari, it crashed. But Opera held up admirably. And when my kids are happy, I'm happy.