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Archive for the ‘I.T.’ Category

Is 2016 the Year to Stop Bundling Javascript and CSS?

Posted by robkraft on December 13, 2015

If you don’t stop bundling your javascript and CSS in 2016, you will probably do so in 2017 or 2018 and the reason for this is the implementation of HTTP2. HTTP2 is a new spec to replace HTTP and requires changes in both browsers and the web servers they connect to. Once each side of the communication supports HTTP2, the improved communications can begin using the new spec. Going into 2016, most major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Edge support it; but I am not sure about IE11.

HTTP2 is not a rewrite of HTTP, but an alteration of a few features. One of the most notable is the ability for the browser to bundle multiple requests together to send them to the server. This is why developers should consider ending the use of bundling javascript and CSS on the server, as it may provide worse performance to clients running HTTP2. For a good podcast about the impact of HTTP2, I recommend show 1224 of .Net Rocks: http://www.dotnetrocks.com/?show=1224

Developers should keep the following in mind regarding HTTP2:

  • Bundling of javascript and CSS may provide worse performance than not bundling for clients using HTTP2.
  • Communications that are not using HTTP2 will still benefit from bundling.
  • Some browsers, notably Chrome and Firefox, may only support HTTP2 when the connection uses TLS/SSL.
  • Proxies in between the client and the server that don’t support HTTP2 may also affect the improvements HTTP2 would otherwise provide.

For a little more about the spec, I recommend this concise post from Akamai: https://http2.akamai.com/. And don’t overlook their awesome demo example of the improvements HTTP2 can provide: https://http2.akamai.com/demo.

Posted in Coding, Dev Environment, I.T., Uncategorized, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

The AntiVirus Software from AVG is Itself a Virus

Posted by robkraft on November 8, 2014

I’ve been personally trying different anti-virus packages for Windows 8.1 and I must report deep disappointment with the free version of AVG anti-virus.  I have two complaints:

  1. When I apply an upgrade of the software it changes my browser homepage to their own URL.  I did not ask it to do this and did not even see any option where I could prevent it.  But the default behavior of an upgrade should not be to make changes that I don’t want to my computer.  That is the definition of a virus, software that changes my computers in ways I don’t like to benefit the writers of the software.
  2. The second problem I had was that my settings in the browser telling Internet Explorer 11 what to do when I open a new tab would not stick.  Every time I rebooted the computer they changed back to the default settings, a blank tab.  It took me a while to track down the cause and the cause was an addin that AVG Antivirus installed in my browser.  I don’t mind the addin, but I do mind that it kept changing my IE settings.

I guess it is time to try a different package.  Microsoft Essentials does not do anything unexpected and can be trusted, but it also has the reputation as being the poorest at catching viruses.

Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

How I Figured Out Why I Could Not Get To My WebSite Hosted at Arvixe.com, But Others Could

Posted by robkraft on April 19, 2014

I encountered an unusual problem last night when I attempted to view one of my web sites (http://www.KraftSoftware.com).  I could not get to the web site.  Fiddler showed me a 502 response.  My site is hosted at arvixe.com and I use the name cp.violet.arvixe.com to connect to and manage my web site, but I also could not even connect to cp.violet.arvixe.com.  I scanned twitter for arvixe but found no one else complaining about outages.  Maybe others had not realized the problem yet.  Fortunately I was able to get to support.arvixe.com to chat with a technician.  He said there was no problem, that both sites were accessible and ended our chat.  That did not please me.  I opened a chat with a better technician at arvixe.

He told me that they could access the site, and we bounced some ideas back and forth.  I sent him the result of my traceroute, then I went to bed.

Tracing route to stats.violet.arvixe.com [198.252.79.4]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  192.168.1.1
2    36 ms    28 ms    30 ms  cpe-65-28-0-1.kc.res.rr.com [65.28.0.1]
3    16 ms    15 ms    12 ms  tge7-2.lesmmo11-cer1.kc.rr.com [65.28.16.138]
4    13 ms    17 ms    13 ms  tge0-9-0-7.ksczmogn01r.kc.rr.com [98.156.42.246]
5    39 ms    27 ms    27 ms  ae30.dllatxl3-cr01.kc.rr.com [98.156.42.0]
6    28 ms    27 ms    27 ms  107.14.19.92
7    25 ms    24 ms    24 ms  ae-3-0.pr0.dfw10.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.209]
8    24 ms    50 ms    34 ms  po21.bbr02.eq01.dal01.networklayer.com [66.109.9.222]
9    29 ms    28 ms    24 ms  ae5.dar01.sr01.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.18.215]
10    24 ms     *       52 ms  po1.fcr03.sr03.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.118.143]
11     *        *        *     Request timed out.
12     *        *        *     Request timed out.
13     *        *        *     Request timed out.
14     *        *        *     Request timed out.
15     *        *        *     Request timed out.
16     *        *        *     Request timed out.
17     *        *        *     Request timed out.
18     *        *        *     Request timed out.
19     *        *        *     Request timed out.
20     *        *        *     Request timed out.
21     *        *        *     Request timed out.
22     *        *        *     Request timed out.
23     *        *        *     Request timed out.
24     *        *        *     Request timed out.
25     *        *        *     Request timed out.
26     *        *        *     Request timed out.
27     *        *        *     Request timed out.
28     *        *        *     Request timed out.
29     *        *        *     Request timed out.
30     *        *        *     Request timed out.

Trace complete.

The next morning an Arvixe tech had sent me an email asking me for my IP address.   I supplied it to them 6 hours ago but have not heard another response from them yet.  So I started doing some more research.

After disabling the wireless on my phone (so that my phone would not be going to the Internet over the same connection as my home PC), I went to my web site and it was working from my phone.  I then went to www.pingwebsite.com and pinged my server web IP (192.252.79.4) and only 4 of the 10 hosts were able to get a response.

I emails to ‘admin@dnstinations.com’ and ‘dnsadmin@us.ibm.com’ because they were the apparent owners of the last node the tracert reached successfully (po1.fcr03.sr03.dal05.networklayer.com [173.192.118.143] ).  It is a Saturday, and I have no response from them yet.

I then considered that my IP address had been blacklisted.  I went to http://whatismyipaddress.com/blacklist-check and entered my IP Address for my server 198.252.79.4 and it showed that my site was blacklisted by two spamhaus.org servers, but not by any of the other 60 servers on the list.  One of the links from this site took me directly to the reason for the block by spamhaus.org at http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/query/SBL213271. This document told me that a site named primus.com.mk was being blocked as a spammer.  The IP address for that site was the same as my site IP address (www.KraftSoftware.com).  So apparently my site, and all of my sites hosted at arvixe.com, have the misfortune of being on the same server as a spammer.

At this time I think there is nothing I can do except to ask Arvixe.com to move my sites to a different server and IP Address, or for me to move my sites to a different web hosting provider.  And of course I asked Arvixe.com to shut down primus.com.mk and get my IP address off of the blacklist.

At the moment, I am just waiting for their response.

UPDATE AND RESOLUTION:

So I was wrong about the blacklist being the cause of my site not working.  The blacklist just blocks emails, not web sites.  The problem was that my home security system was sending so many pictures to store on my site that it triggered a DDOS response and was blocked.  I have changed my security camera to send fewer pictures and will hope it doesn’t happen again.

Posted in I.T., Online Resources, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How to Fix 2013 Internet Explorer Search Redirect to DNSSearch.rr.com

Posted by robkraft on January 13, 2014

For the last month I’ve been tolerating the redirect that Kansas City Time Warner slipped into my “Search with Bing” searches in Internet Explorer, but I found the fix is simple.

Go to http://dnssearch.rr.com/prefs.php and select the disable option and click “Save Setting”.

I believe this is just another dirty trick Time Warner realized that could sneak into innocent user settings and that most users won’t be able to figure out how to get rid of their search engine.

So, if you find that your search engine recently started redirecting to DNSSearch.rr.com, try the fix above to resolve it and get back to a legitimate search engine.

Posted in Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How To Power On A Dead Nexus 7 Android Tablet That Won’t Boot At All

Posted by robkraft on January 1, 2014

I don’t use my tablet often, so I sometimes find that my Nexus 7 won’t boot when I power it on.  Not only does it fail to boot, it does not show any activity at all on the screen and I first thought the device was broken.  However, after searching the Internet I learned about similar reports from others and suggestions for getting the device working again.  I am writing this post so that I can find my own answer the next time I need to do this and hopefully provide the extremely precise instructions to help others.

Here is what I have to do when my Nexus 7 does not boot:

  1. Plug in the power to an electrical outlet.
  2. Hold down both the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons.
  3. While continuing to hold down both volume buttons, hold down the Power button for a few seconds.

At this point, a battery charging icon shows up on the screen and you can let go of all of the buttons.

From then on, you can occasionally press the power on button to see the battery charging icon.  If you look closely and wait long enough, you will notice that the battery charging icon appears to be more fully charged over time when it starts up.

Give it a few hours to charge, and then you should be able to unplug it from the power outlet and power it on and use it again.

Good luck!

On July 24th, 2014 this did not work for me, but when I tried this guy’s recommendation it did: http://www.droid-life.com/2012/12/27/fix-nexus-7-refusing-to-charge-try-this-trick/

Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

Internet Explorer 10 is now the Best Browser in the Market

Posted by robkraft on March 2, 2013

I am loving the speed of the recently released Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) for Windows 7.  It is noticeably faster than Chrome.  It also has no problem rendering video and other content on sites that IE9 struggles with.

A few other minor improvements are nice such as the little ‘x’ added to every text box to allow you to clear the field and the icon for viewing your password that appears in every password protected field.  This is a long overdue security enhancement.  A lot of users choose simple passwords primarily because they struggle typing complex passwords when they cannot see what they have typed.

Text fields and some fonts render a little differently in IE10 than in IE9.  I don’t think they look better, but I think they probably render a little faster.  Once again, IE10 appears to be all about speed!

Posted in Free tools, Home Tech, I.T., Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

How to Configure Your Windows 8 Phone to Get Your Google Mail

Posted by robkraft on December 17, 2012

I have several e-mail accounts hosted by Google, which is fortunate because it helped me solve this problem.  I had set up my organization’s email account, hosted on Google, using the settings I used in my Windows 7 phone.  Those settings looked like this, but did not work on my Windows 8 phone:

  • User Name: admin@MyDomainName.org
  • Server: m.google.com
  • SSL: Checked (Yes)

But to get that to work on my Windows 8 Phone I had to switch the account to the IMAP settings.  To do this, delete your account settings on your Windows 8 Phone because you need to set them up in a way that allows you to choose IMAP4.  Create a new account with these settings:

  • Account Name: really doesn’t matter
  • Email address: admin@MyDomainName.org
  • Incoming email server: imap.gmail.com:993:1
  • User Name:   admin@MyDomainName.org
  • Outgoing (SMTP) email server: smtp.gmail.com:465:1
  • Outgoing server requires authentication: Checked (Yes)
  • Use the same user name and password for sending email: Checked (Yes)
  • Advanced settings:
  • Require SSL for incoming email: Checked (Yes)
  • Require SSL for outgoing email: Checked (Yes)

When you do this on your phone:

  • Pick “add an account”
  • Pick “other account (POP and IMAP)”
  • Enter the Email address and Password and click Sign In.  It will fail.
  • Click “try again”.  It will fail again, but then you will get an “advanced” button where you can enter the information above.

I do not have all of my google/gmail hosted accounts configured the same way on my phone.  My primary gmail account is set up simply using the “google” option and looks like this:

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

Simple Google Settings that work for me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the emails that needed the IMAP4 settings, my configuration looks like this:

Part 1 of 3

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Posted in I.T. | 20 Comments »

Make Time to Learn from the Free Microsoft Security Assessment Tool

Posted by robkraft on August 16, 2012

Today I discovered the Microsoft Security Assessment Tool.  Although the tool came out nearly three years ago I still discovered it to be very useful in helping you to identify the security areas in which your organization or software development shop may be weakest.  It also provides a lot of links and useful recommendations to assist you with improving security.  Security should be near the front of every developer’s mind as the world moves toward cyberattacks that are increasingly more damaging to businesses and people.

Download the free tool here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=12273

Expect to spend 30 to 90 minutes answering the questions.   You must first answer all the Business Profile Assessment questions, then you can move to the more interesting “Defense In Depth” assessment.  Follow that with generating a report of the results and if you’d like, posting your results to Microsoft and see how you compare to other organizations.

 

 

 

Posted in Free tools, I.T., Process | Leave a Comment »

Carbonite Backs Up Well, But Does Not Restore Well

Posted by robkraft on July 23, 2012

I started using Carbonite in mid-June to back up all my important files on my PC.  Just a few weeks later a failed device driver installation began causing my PC to blue screen and I was unable to fix it.  Fortunately, I run inside a virtual machine, Microsoft Virtual Hard Drive (VHD), so I restored my VHD from my last VHD backup made at the end of June then went to Carbonite to download all the files that had changed since my end of June VHD backup.  That is when I learned what you may consider troubling truth about Carbonite.

While Carbonite is good at backing up your files, it is not so good at restoring them.  My first attempt at restoration, which required about 20 hours to restore 28,000+ files (an acceptable amount of time) appeared to work on the surface, and it even gave me a report showing all the files that it had restored.  But when I looked at my important files, none of them had newer date timestamps on them, and when I looked at the contents of the file they were not updated.  To make a long story short, after slowly spending 4 to 6 hours going through every tier of Carbonite support I reached the top tier who told me that, “Carbonite does not overwrite existing files.”  Apparently it only gives one the illusion that it does.

Now this restore solution may work fine if you have bought a new PC, re-installed the OS, and are looking to re-acquire all of your music and pictures, but if you are just restoring over some existing files and hope to get the latest version, you need to pick a new restore strategy.  Personally I think there are two flaws (three flaws) here:

1) Carbonite documentation and first three levels of support were not aware and could not convey to me that a full restore will not overwrite any existing files.

2) The report generated by the full restore indicated that a file had been restored.  The report should have said, “Can not restore over existing files when doing a full restore.”

3) There is no option to restore over existing files.  I understand the risk, so make me click four or five confirmation prompts first, but at least give me the option.

My recourse was to restore everything to a different set of folders, then hunt through all the restored files for files I cared about that had a datetime newer than my local version, and then manually copy the files into the new locations.

Posted in Home Tech, I.T. | Leave a Comment »

How to temporarily fix mouse cursor suddenly becoming extra large

Posted by robkraft on July 23, 2012

I am running Windows 7 and I have two monitors and occasionally the mouse cursor on one monitor turns into an extra large size.  While still functional, I find it annoying.  Apparently this caused by a flaw in some video drivers from ATI.  My PC is using ATI Radeon HD 4550 drivers on ViewSonic VA2226w-11 Monitors.
To resolve this problem, I run the magnifier tool built into Windows 7.  Just starting that, and leaving it running, causes the enlarged mouse cursor to go away.  A reboot will also usually fix the problem.  To run magnifier, simply type magnifier in the search box off the start menu.

Image of Magnifier

Posted in I.T. | Leave a Comment »