Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2009 November 17

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November 17[edit]

Keep browsing private from network administrator?[edit]

Hi all,

Is there a way to browse the web from within my company's network while keeping my browsing habits from my network's administrator? Are there services that can encrypt your requests and encrypt the response, perhaps?

Thanks, Sam 01:54, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Try a web proxy, like There's also an, but make sure whatever proxy you use has an s after the HTTP, as that encrypts everything. These web proxies are better than regular proxies, because they hide the URL you're visiting. You could also use a regular SOCKS or HTTPS proxy to browse encrypted to an HTTP web proxy site like Let me Surf. If they have key loggers installed, then you'd need to hide what you type by typing the letters out of order. For example, could be typed backwards and you could use your arrow keys to move to the left after each letter. You could also try to confuse them by browsing to each site's IP address instead of the URL, after converting the IP to binary 0s and 1s and then pasting the binary into your address bar. Browsers understand binary IPs, but humans have a really hard time with them.--Drknkn (talk) 02:12, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Tor would also do what you want. It has some additional assumptions you want to check on, and the fact you were using it would be apparent to anyone looking at outgoing traffic on a detailed level (although basic HTTP filters wouldn't know what the traffic was).

Another way would be to login to a home computer and browse from there. Windows Remote Desktop would be ideal for this. VNC would work too, but native it is unencrypted so you would want to tunnel the vnc protocol using an encrypted protocol. If the link was encrypted, anyone looking at it would only see the link to the home machine.

None of this would help if the actual machine it's coming from is under the eavsedropper's control.

Obviously if this behavior violates the employer's terms of service, you shouldn't do it. But this information is pertinent to other unprotected network connections, like wifi hotspots. Shadowjams (talk) 02:20, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

It depends what your administrator has done to prevent you. It may not be possible to use Remote Desktop if your admin has banned that. It may not be possible to use any other protocol, since your admin could have potentially banned all except web browsing. If they've done this, they could use a proxy themselves to see all the traffic you pass. It's even possible for them to intercept https (normally secure) traffic by spoofing the certificate for the site you're visiting and fixing your browser so that it accepts the spoofed certificate. So, depending on how much effort your admin has gone to, the possible answer is no. If your job is important to you, it would be wise to stick to the rules concerning accessing the web. --Phil Holmes (talk) 10:36, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
I was going to say nearly as much as Mr. Holmes but it seems he said it all. Your network administrator will see you using proxy servers or TOR. Although they may not know what you are doing, they will get suspicious. Best to just follow the rules at work.--TParis00ap (talk) 20:43, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

You could use a cell card in a laptop or a modern cell phone (iPhone, Android, etc) to do your personal browsing (during your lunch break, right?). That's the only way I could think you'd avoid suspicion... unless they use CCTV to monitor employees. That does cost money though. (talk) 21:27, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Very strange web domain[edit]

I noticed that §.com is (apparently) a valid web domain. I did not think that this was possible (i.e. characters not within the English Alphabet/base 10 numbers/'-')? --JoeTalkWork 03:51, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

See Internationalized domain name. -- kainaw 04:01, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Wow. Interesting. Thanks for the quick reply. --JoeTalkWork 05:35, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Free small biz website design/host site?[edit]

Office Live is free. Is there any similar free site? Intuit's Homestead charges $60 a year. I need only extremely simple site for an elderly person who knits once in a while, so it's a very low volume "business." Thanks. Imagine Reason (talk) 15:56, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Are they just trying to sell knitted items occasionally? Might I recommend using something like Etsy instead? It is a lot easier than hosting your own website, and also has the benefit of being something that people might actually stumble across while looking for craft items. It is not strictly free (there is a 20 cent charge to list items, and they take 3.5% of each sale), but it is a LOT easier and more reliable and has more exposure than hosting your own free site will be. --Mr.98 (talk) 16:20, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Redirect I/O error messages from a Linux Ctrl-Alt-Fkey console[edit]

A minute ago in Kubuntu, when I pressed Ctrl-Alt-F1, I kept getting a message about once per second, "Buffer I/O error on device sdh1, logical block 3", preceded by a number in square brackets. I pressed Ctrl-Alt-F2 to open another console so that these messages would stop interfering with my attempts to fix the problem from the command line. But they would always output to whichever console actually had the screen. How do I stop this and make them always output to, say, the Ctrl-Alt-F1 console? (I know how to redirect error output from a program when invoking it, but this was clearly from a program that was already running.) NeonMerlin 16:27, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

See man rsyslog.conf. -- (talk) 18:09, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Online Image Editor w/Brushed Edges Effect[edit]

Does anyone know of an online image editor that can give a brushed edges effect? There is some free software you can get for Mac that does it very well, but my Mac cable is broken so I'm stuck with Vista for the moment and would like to do some editing while I wait for my new cable to arrive. All I need is the brushed edges effect, as I can do most else (and can't be bothered doing this particular effect with GIMP). --KageTora - SPQW - (影虎) 18:38, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I can't remember where, but I've seen an online version of Photoshop in a very slim down version. You might try the adobe site.--TParis00ap (talk) 20:32, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Have you tried [1]? --Andreas Rejbrand (talk) 21:08, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
... or [2]? --Andreas Rejbrand (talk) 21:12, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Excellent! SumoPaint has a brush I could use! Thanks! --KageTora - SPQW - (影虎) 21:43, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

You could also try - their interface is much like photoshop's and free -- penubag  (talk) 21:57, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Internet connection monitor[edit]


Is there any program that will monitor my actual computers connection to the internet and tell me of any times when the connection is lost?

Windows will do that. Just go to network connections -> right mouse click the network adapter -> click properties -> click "Show connection in status bar".--TParis00ap (talk) 20:34, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Yeah but I can't sit at the computer all day looking at the status bar. I want something that'll monitor it constantly and log any loss of internet connection. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:51, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
You could set up a VBScript and use Windows Scheduled tasks to run it. This script would use the XMLHTTP object in VBScript to try to access google and if it fails, you can use CDOSYS.sys to send an email but you'd have to find an open SMTP server to relay it for you. If you lost a network connection, how are you supposed to get notified other than by sitting at your computer? Or are you looking to store it in a log? If so, like I said, you could use the XMLHTTP object in VBScript to constantly check google and then if it ever fails use the filysystemobject to append the end of a log file.--TParis00ap (talk) 21:59, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Thank you but I don't understand about scripts. I just want a simple program that will monitor the connection and log when it loses it's connection to the internet —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:40, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
I think pingplotter is what you want. (Me too; I use a DSL connection occasionally which drops out for a minute or longer every so often; I've yet to figure it out & I'm never using it when tech support people are available. It's been going on for years :( --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:48, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
This is perfect thank you!

cannot connect to wireless network[edit]

Hello wikipedians my new housemate cannot connect to the wireless network at my house. He has windows XP on his laptop. He has connected to my house's wireless network and receives excellent signal strength. When he opens up internet explorer he can't surf the web. I pressed diagnose connection problems and the following message was the result: 'Windows cannot connect to the internet using HTTP HTTPS or FTP. This is probably caused by the firewall settings on this computer. Check the firewall settings for the HTTP port (80) HTTPs port (443) and FTP port (21). You might need to contact your ISP or manufacturer of your firewall software.' I tried disabling his firewall but still couldn't connect to the internet. Any suggestions? Thanks RichYPE (talk) 19:51, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Did you check to make sure that he did not have a proxy configured? Also, is your Wifi configured to only allow any certain MAC addresses? Can he get to the internet on other wireless connections? You can try uninstalling/reinstalling the TCP Protocol (Remove/add it from Network Connections -> right mouse click on the adapter -> properties) but that will only help if the problem is if it is corrupted - I've only had that ever happen once. Did you try pinging google from a command prompt? Try pinging an ip address. Did you verify he is picking up a gateway and DNS server from your router?--TParis00ap (talk) 20:31, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
I would recommend as a first step opening a command prompt and typing ipconfig. Check the IP address - if it start 169.254 then you don't have a connection to the wireless network and probably need to sort out something like the security sessions. Any other IP address - probable OK and try typing "ping" in the command prompt. --Phil Holmes (talk) 14:14, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

html remote save php[edit]

I'm trying to create a webpage where I can input a URL to a form, then the page will grab the html of the URL and save it along with all images. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Use the php function called fopen and then use the php filesystem object to save the file. Piece of cake. Of course, you'll have to read the source and pick each image out then use fopen in a loop to save them. Also, for the images, you'll have to save it in binary form, if you don't specifically save as binary - it won't work.--TParis00ap (talk) 20:36, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Some hosts disable the ability to fopen() remote URLs, make sure your allows it or you run it on your own PHP installation. --antilivedT | C | G 23:35, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you are doing this just to learn, but if it were me, I would use the php snoopy class to parse the pages for URLs. It makes life a lot easier. --Mr.98 (talk) 02:32, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I would use a system call to wget to save the whole page. Much easier than attempting to rewrite wget in PHP. -- kainaw 04:17, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

My Vista laptop has a default Administrator account with blank password?![edit]

I am concerned about the weak network settings of my computers. I am a student on a student home network with a desktop and a laptop. I followed this tutorial for Cain (software) and was able to "hack" into my laptop using username 'Administrator" with a blank password. I did not follow the instructions to install Abel onto my laptop. I went to my laptop and to the user accounts via Control Panel. I want to give the Administrator account a password but a) it does not appear in the list of user accounts and b) it is not possible to create the account (with a password) because the computer complains it already exists. How can I fix this security flaw? ----Seans Potato Business 23:15, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Hi Sean! Try this one: Click on Start > Run >> Type in "Control userpasswords2" and hit enter. "Control userpasswords2". This seems to be a good first resource. Any other questions? Please feel free to reply. :) Kushal (talk) 00:58, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Hi. Thanks for the reply, but unfortunately this solution seems to suffer the same problem - the account is apparently hidden. It does not appear in the list of accounts (despite the fact that my account (the only account shown and the only account that I myself set up on the machine) is a member of the group 'Administrators'). If I click on the 'advanced' tab and then the 'advanced' button under 'Advanced user management', I get something telling me I can't use this "snap in" because I only have Vista Home Premium. ----Seans Potato Business 01:32, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Windows generally renames the root Admin account to whatever you set when you setup Vista. It can be accessed via "Administrator" or your user account. The admin account is likily the primary account you use. Just add a password to your primary account and that should fix the problem. Ie, let's say your running Vista set up and it says "What is your name" and you type "Bob" -> then Bob is not the exact same account as "Administrator" is. Same SSID and everything. If you go to the registry and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList that lists every profile on your computer. You'll notice there will not be an "Administrator". As I said, this is because the SSID (each folder under profile list) is the same for both "Administrator" and "Bob". DISCLAIMER: I am not certified in anything (not A++ especially) so I am giving this a 95% certainty rating on my scale of "things I think I know but I could be wrong."--TParis00ap (talk) 03:07, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I think you have a meaning-altering typo: "not" should have been "now" in the post above. I think the description above does not apply to all versions of Windows (specifically not to the server editions), but it looks accurate for the "Home"-branded Windows editions. Nimur (talk) 04:46, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
(From personal experience administering my wife's Compaq laptop, with pre-installed Vista...) In Windows Vista Home Basic, there is a separate Administrator account which is disabled. It can be enabled by a user who has administrator privileges (which the initial user after first run will have) by the user running a Command Prompt "as administrator" then typing "net user administrator /active:yes". The default password is empty, so if you enable the account, it would be wise to set a password.
(From personal experience installing XP on my own PC...) Windows XP Pro Corporate (SP2, SP3) has a separate Administrator account which is enabled by default with an empty passord. It is not visible on the "welcome screen" or the "user accounts" control panel if there exists another user in the Admin group, however it becomes visible if it is the only user in the Admin group. However (I believe) that it is always visible in Computer Management, Local Users and Groups (which is not available in Vista Home Basic). When XP is installed, it prompts for at least one user (other than Administrator) who becomes a member of the Administrators group. However good practice is to use the real Administrator to do actual administration and make the normal users NOT administrators, to reduce the risk of malware. If you're using the "Welcome Screen" you can log in as Administrator even if it is not visible, by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del twice to get the "classic" login prompt. Mitch Ames (talk) 06:11, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
The SSIDs are different according to CAIN. Also, I was able to login with username: Administrator and password [blank] despite the fact that I set a password for my personal account. --Seans Potato Business 12:13, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
The solution to the problem on Vista is to run CMD as administrator and type Net user Administrator [password] (replacing [password] with your chosen password). On XP, it's the same except it's probably not necessary to context-click > run CMD as administrator, provided the user already has administrator privileges. --Seans Potato Business 12:16, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

I think, in Windows XP/Vista/7, if the Administrator account has a blank password its network access is disabled. It can only be compromised by physical access to the machine.

Also, keep in mind, you can hack Windows XP/Vista/7 passwords with a Linux-based bootable CD. So your machine is never really secure physically, but can be secure on the net. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:40, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Another alternative (at least on XP, I'm not sure about Vista or 7) is to boot the computer in Safe Mode; the root sysadmin account will be amongst the listed accounts there. Log on as the root account, enter the Control Panel, and give it a password - I can tell you from experience that this works. -Jeremy (v^_^v Stop... at a WHAMMY!!) 11:12, 19 November 2009 (UTC)