More from: OS

Restoring BIOS Real Time Clock Alarm Power Up

locked-computer-cartoonACPI

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) allows dynamic control of power to various computer components for use (as an example) in reducing power use when the computer is idle, or allow the computer to be automatically started just before the business day begins, or to turn on the computer and run maintenance tasks at night. There used to be a common Basic Input Output System (BIOS) setting where one could specify the day(s) of the week and time at which power should be turned on so the computer would boot, however this functionality has generally disappeared in main boards manufactured after the year 2000 and the “RTC Alarm” must be set programatically using an Operating System (OS). Readmore..



Content Filters

(Note: this was written in 2013 – years ago, so links may or may not work.)

Reviewing web content filters: the box that scans incoming web pages, reads them, and allows acceptable content or blocks/drops unacceptable content based upon rules you set. Notes:

  1. Must read the pages, not merely scan URLs
  2. Must break open encrypted packets and scan, otherwise it is all wasted time
  3. Must not rely upon the device being used to view web pages — must be installed in the line connecting the LAN to the Internet, so it cannot be bypassed by any end user. It cannot be a mere proxy (cloud) that trusts the person being limited does not circumvent it: it must be hard wired into the building LAN so that it is impossible to evade.
  4. Preferably OpenSource so it is subject to peer review.
  5. Preferably no per seat licensing attempts to exploit
  6. Linux / BSD / Unix OS

DSCN2693

Web search possible results

Five Content Filters, Tech Republic http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-content-filters-suitable-for-both-home-and-business/

Potential candidates which supposedly read the actual web page and block unacceptable content.

  1. Net Nanny http://www.netnanny.com/ — relies on intintegrity of the end user’s PC, Windows, not in LAN, costs $39.99 per seat for licenses
  2. K9 http://www1.k9webprotection.com/ — only works on Windows or some mobile devices, apparently to be installed onto the actual device and not inline in the LAN, and they want $12.50 PER MONTH PER SEAT to use it. graphic
  3. Safe Squid http://www.safesquid.com/content-filtering/linux-installation — downloads at http://www.safesquid.com/content-filtering/documentation. Seems to be free. Good Linux command line install instructions. Not sure if it scans each web page or not: looks like just a firewall with a URL blacklist (menus have nothing about content filter, key words, weights, etc). Think it might be intended to be installed inline however it comes in Linux and Windows versions. Look more at this later.
  4. DansGuardian http://dansguardian.org/?page=documentation — It was a good project, but not maintained. People in volved started a pay-per-seat for-profit project called SmoothWall that has superceeded it. It does read the pages, but it did not break open encrypted packets when I used it last.
  5. OpenDNS http://www.opendns.com Looks promising. It is a web based service BUT it works by changing the DNS lines in your firewall to point to OpenDNS. Unless the end user can break inot my firewall/router it will help. They provide a white paper on their approach here. Free with VIP subs available for $20/year. Graphic here. I’ll look more but this is potentially a high efficiency solution, so I subscribed. Summary from the web site at http://www.opendns.com/technology/ reads

    “We’ve established that DNS is used in almost all online activities, helping you get to where you want to go. But traditional DNS doesn’t discriminate the good from the bad. Regular DNS doesn’t know the difference between http://www.paypal.com and a forged clone site, aiming to trick you into providing your sensitive personal information. OpenDNS not only knows the difference, but also gives you the tools to decide what to let in, and what to block.  Think of it like a firewall for DNS. Using DNS as a filtering mechanism has powerful implications: phishing websites can be blocked from tricking users into giving up sensitive data and malware websites can be prevented from infecting computers.  Moreover, it’s not just about preventing security threats from loading.  Infected computers usually use DNS to try and “phone home” to a master computer for instructions, often leaking out confidential information, passwords, and files from computers.  OpenDNS prevents that from happening, too.”

    The bottom line is change your DNS settings to use the OpenDNS server addresses as your DNS server settings and save/apply:208.67.222.222, and 208.67.220.220. Piece of cake.
    Apparently there is more to this than meets the eye. I had my wife browse to sex dot com and she said she got pictures, lots of pictures. Ah. An email came to the address I provided when registering. First I must confirm my identity. Then enroll my IP address. Then select my level of filtering. Then wait 3 minutes for it to take effect. Works. It is clearly a URL filter, but that is better than nothing until I find a content scanning filter.
    One benefit is that URLs are submitted and rated by members through an averaging process (voting).

  6. Smoothwall Express http://www.smoothwall.net/ — looks like IPCop to me, a firewall. No apparent content filtering. Maybe content filtering is in their per seat license product. I requested pricing information on their contact web page, but have not heard back yet. I’ll update when I have more complete information. This could be a nice content scanner in addition to the OpenDNS URL scanner, but the pricing may be too high for a public charity serving the poor to afford. Their sales asked when I could chat and I suggested Monday 10/7. NOTE: I talked with the Smoothwall rep Tuesday 10/8 and there filter definitely does break open encrypted packets and examine the content.
  7. IPCop http://www.ipcop.org/ — it is only a firewall. We use it now and it works nicely. Free, no artificial limitations to coerce you into buying something unlimited. But no content filtering.

Good source for free and well written BASH Documentation / Tutorials

One of the most difficult parts of switching to a new computer operating system is learning the commands. I found a link to a really good source for Linux shell scripting instructions — one that most people can follow, even have fun with as a hobby, which should be interesting for Raspberry Pi users as well, if they have BASH installed. IT is at the Linux Documentation Project http://www.tldp.org/guides.html, free downloads, html, and pdf. Very nice work, easy to read and play with.

A push toward more people using Linux came about over the last decade mostly because the major software OS supplier was suffering from acute cranial-rectal inversion: you can’t expect your customers to remain your customers when you are price gouging them for buggy products most likely containing government surveillance malware and then suing their cities over the lack of one receipt for a system upgrade! Eventually the market will bring in another player to service all those customers that your hubris is driving away!

However, over the last couple of years the largest OS vendor has made some amends and his market share as measured by visitors to our collection of web sites has increased from 60%, although by how much we cannot be sure as our stats engine does not yet clearly categorize contacts from mobile devices: assigning *unrealistically) all ambiguous contacts to this vendor would let him have almost 80% market share.

IF the unmitigated NSA / FBI / etc. government extremism in bugging everything from wireless networks and phones to your private potty (“Sorry, you cannot flush at this time as the DHS Inspection Recall Task (DIRT) is currently full: we are unable to accept your DNA evidence to be inspected, evaluated, and permanently archived for future witch hunts. Please try again later.”) brings more public reaction in the form of refusing to use OSes deliberately made to spy on citizens without their knowledge or consent, this documentation could be of even more interest as people learn to control their own computers fairly easily thereby. Linux is very different from the largest retail OS in that almost all configuration is easily controlled and read in plan words which a normal person can learn to use fairly quickly ( the configuration files usually have copious comments instructing the user on each configuration choice).

This is a really nice source for learning to control the *ix type systems, from Raspberry PI to hundreds of Linux distros to Apple to Unix.

That’s my two bits for today: please insert two quarters to play again…