A Mind Lost

Anything and everything.

Category Archives: Internet

Adblock Plus & Element Hiding Helper

There’s a lot of neat content on Tumblr, but sometimes an individual’s choice of theme leaves much to be desired.  In such cases, I switch to archive view, e.g. by going to blogname.tumblr.com/archive/.  From there one can view all the posts made to a tumblr by year and month.

I came across one blog that has an annoying hover element on it’s /post/ pages that makes it difficult to get to the content itself.  Viewing the source and opening the URL, or viewing the page info and saving from there didn’t take too long to become tedious, so I did a quick Google for a solution.

Enter Element Hiding Helper for Adblock Plus.  This extension presents a handy popup that allows one to select an element, refine it, then add it to Adblock Plus‘ filters.  Unfortunately, this had the effect of rendering the archive view unusable as the same tag (div class="hover") was used there.  Due to the way element filters work there’s no way to limit the scope to only specific parts of a site, it only works by domain name, so to get around this an exception must be added (exceptions can specify more than just the domain name to apply to).  What I ended up with, then, is a rule for blogname.tumblr.com##DIV.hover, with an exception as @@blogname.tumblr.com/archive/.   This is definitely much easier than searching through the page’s media for the correct image.

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YouTube Service Scam

Seems the scam artists of the Internet are trying a new trick.  After seeing mail from Blizzard, Runescape, and a bunch of other MMO’s, as well as various banking sites, it looks like they’re trying to use the YouTube name now.

YouTube Service has sent you a message:

Your video has been approved
To:*****@*******.com

http:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK1qRu97Wx&feature=topvideos_mp
You can reply to this message by visiting your inbox.

Don’t click on the fake YouTube links, they lead to “http://russ.vndv.com/impeccable.html”.  I didn’t actually open it, so I’ve no idea what kind of scam they’re running.  Neither did I bother looking up the domain to try to determine which asshole of the Internet this one is.

*Edit* I just checked my junk mail, and found nearly 20 more of these with minor variations in the subject, and some linking to other sites.

Media Center Extender Woes

I spent a few hours banging my head in frustration trying to get Windows 7 and my XBox 360 to work together.  Windows Media Center was failing to connect, and not providing any helpful error messages.  I dug through firewall rules, services, the event log viewer, anything I could think of, but nothing was working.

In the event viewer, under Applications and Services Logs -> Media Center, the only slightly helpful error I could find was “Media Center Extender Setup failed as the Extender was detected on the network but the UPnP search for the Extender failed (timed out after 20000ms).

Anyway, long story short, it turns out that if Internet Connection Sharing is in use (which it is, I run an old wired router from my desktop’s ethernet connection to allow my television and blu-ray player to connect to the Internet), Media Center barfs and can’t connect.  So the fix, in my case, was as simple as turning off Internet Sharing on my wireless connection.

I found no documentation on any of Microsoft’s support sites mentioning this as a reason for MCE to not work.  In fact, their troubleshooting documentation is pretty crappy all around.

Upgrading my Interwebs

Lately I’ve had to keep a closer eye on my bandwidth usage.  With a sibling forced to return home, as well as myself, my parents, and my kids, it really doesn’t take long to burn through 95 gigabytes of bandwidth in a month.  YouTube and the various other Flash laden sites, Steam’s digital distribution, and all manner of sundry entertainments conspire to consume our bandwidth limit.  Throw in a pair of XBoxes, a PS3, two smartphones, all on top of the 5 computers (6 if one counts my notebook) that can all be running simultaneously, and it really doesn’t take long to chew through what’s available.

While checking our usage this morning, I noticed that Rogers now provides something called Usage Assurance; five bucks a month gives an extra 20GB of bandwidth.  This certainly beats their $1.50/GB overage charge.  I Googled it to see what the specifics were and along the way found out that they had grandfathered our plan (“Extreme 95”) in favour of a newer one.  The same plan, at the same price point (although with higher transfer rates) now grants 100GB of usage.  As for the Usage Assurance, I sort of got sidetracked weighing the cost benefits of switching to a newer plan and didn’t really give it any more thought.

Unfortunately, upgrading requires a new modem.  We’ve been using a Motorola SB5100 since we bought it five years ago (it has more than paid for itself in saved rental fees); I’ve never had any problems that I could definitely attribute to the modem itself.  It’s been a rock-solid piece of hardware.

A lengthy chat with a CSR ended up with an order placed for a new “D3” modem to be purchased and an upgrade to the ExtremePlus plan for an extra $10 a month over what we’re currently paying.  That’s 150GB per month for $69.99, rather than 100GB (or 95GB) for $59.99.  A quick trip to the most convenient Rogers store and I had my new modem.  Yay.

The modem is an SMCD3GN-RES modem/router:

The SMCD3GN-RES is a powerful DOCSIS 3.0 gateway providing 802.11n wireless connectivity to high-speed “Wideband” Internet services. Taking advantage of DOCSIS 3.0 technology, the gateway operates on up to four downstream and/or upstream bonded channels supporting speeds of up to 160Mbps downstream and 120Mbps upstream. In addition, the SMCD3GN-RES offers numerous remote management options, provisioning via GUI, CLI or downloadable configuration file, advanced troubleshooting capabilities, Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall, PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec VPN passthrough, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), and DOCSIS Quality of Service (QoS).

Basically it’s a modem and router in one with all sorts of fancy pants stuff that I don’t really need.  I suppose it’s easier to troubleshoot problems for ignorant people (ignorant in its benign meaning) when everything’s all in one box, but I’m not too keen on the whole thing.

I already have a D-Link DIR-615 (B2 rev, no OpenWRT for me sadly) that’s served me well for a few years now, but I figured I’d give the SMC’s WiFi a go since it’d be one less electronic device sucking up juice.  Configuring it was pretty easy, although it took me a while to find the login and password that allows access to the device’s more advanced features (rogcesadmin/wra8uje) rather than the “customer” administration panel (cusadmin/password).  Incidentally, if you have one of these and are looking to access the control panel, it resides at 192.168.0.1.

Messing around with things, I noticed a couple of issues that really started irritating me after just a short time.  The first was that the device appeared to spontaneously reboot…

In fact, while I was typing that, the modem went ahead and rebooted, except this time it didn’t come back.  I spent an hour and a bit messing around with it, including power-cycling, trying multiple cable outlets, and even factory resetting the damn thing before finally calling tech support.  The techie asked me to move it back to its initial position and jack, and blammo, it came right back up.  Sometimes I really hate technology, especially when it screws up for no apparent reason, and makes me look like a tard in the process.

Aside from the inexplicable reboots, the built-in WiFi was performing absolutely terribly.  The ExtremePlus plan’s download rate is around 32Mbps, I was pulling a third of that:

I dug around and figured out how to disable the built in WiFi, opting instead to go back to my D-Link router, and sure enough my rate tripled:

Even better is the occasional burst speeds:

The D-Link is within a few feet of the modem, so it’s not a distance or interference issue.  Anecdotal evidence indicates the SMC is a crappy wireless router.

One thing the technical support fella did say was that plugging the modem directly into a wall outlet for electricity, rather than a power bar, would eliminate the reboots.  I jimmied mine around to get it into an outlet (our home’s electrical outlets appear to have been placed by a clueless twit), so we shall see if that fixes things.

The only other gripe I have right now is that my modem also randomly disconnects from the network.  It’s been doing it with the old modem for the last two weeks or so, and now it’s doing it with the new one.  I’ve called them about this problem too, but the tech I got on the line was less helpful.  He tried blaming it on my router.  I’m really starting to get fed up with Rogers, and can’t help but wonder if I should have looked in to an alternative provider rather than sinking more money into a new modem and upgraded plan.

If the disconnections continue, I’ll be back on the phone with them tomorrow… or Tuesday, not sure if their support lines are open on Monday.  It’s really frustrating, particularly while gaming.  I dusted off my LoTRO account, but eventually gave up after getting disconnected thrice in one hour.  I think there was something else I was gonna mention, but I got disconnected again, then side-tracked by YouTube for a moment, and just realised it’s time for bed.  Got a bit of a headache from messing with things…

Steam(ing pile)

While waiting for the Lord of the Rings Online servers to come back up this morning, I figured I’d fire up Steam and see if there were any decent deals on.  Since I’m a cheap bugger, I usually check the <$10.00 section, occasionally they have some nice games in their digital bargain bin.  Two items caught my eye, Neverwinter Nights 2 Platinum and the Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money DLC.

Adding these to my cart, I proceeded to the checkout.  After filling in all my information and clicking submit, I was greeted with a message telling me that my credit card company had declined the transaction (I didn’t think to grab a screenshot of the pretty message, even after trying 5 times). Needless to say I know there’s nothing wrong with my credit; I am nowhere near my limit or the card’s expiry date.  I’ve also made purchases through Steam before, so I know that it can work.  The question is why isn’t it?

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Firefox – Untrusted Connection

Yesterday I decided it was time to update my information at the Linux Counter (#334357, since 2003… seems like so long ago sometimes).  Anyway, upon trying to log in, Firefox threw up its big “Untrusted Connection” warning.

Screenshot of Firefox warning of an Untrusted Connection.

Rather than bothering to figure out why such a well-known and long lived website was causing Firefox to barf, I just whitelisted the whole domain and continued on my merry way.

This morning I grabbed an old issue of Linux Magazine from September 2006 to peruse during my morning constitutional. Coincidentally enough, it contained an article entitled “CACert : World-class security at the right price” by Tanner Lovelace.  CACert is the SSL certificate provider the Linux Counter uses, and the article included information on how to get Firefox to stop being retarded about CACert certificates.

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Clogging the Tubes

In the grand tradition of every other site on the Interwebs, I’m going to link to an article that links to an article.

In short, a west coast businessman believes that linking to another website makes one a publisher.  This is just so blatantly stupid it’s not even funny.

Things like this really drive home how much the Internet (specifically the web) has changed in the last fifteen years.  It makes me nostalgic and more than a little sad.  I miss the good old days when the ‘net was about exchanging information freely (and the occasional low-resolution GIF containing naked women or humorous imagery) rather than the almighty dollar.  I don’t, however, miss the remote shell over 14.4kbps dial-up.

I almost wish there was some sort of an Internet license, and much like a driver’s license, when one does something stupid or harmful they have their Internet license revoked.  Cut down on all the bad drivers on the Information Superhighway.  We could have a Computer Gestapo that people could turn their friends and family in to for various crimes against the Internet.  Ignorant people who blithely download every PowerPoint slideshow or archive, regardless of it’s origins.  People who purposely go in search of questionable content involving two females and one fluid containment device and instead end up with a computer so loaded down it runs worse than a P200.

Dream the impossible dream.

I just realized I haven’t seen or heard the phrase “information superhighway” in quite a while.  Does that make it a retro-cool phrase now?  Far out.