benWorks

My attempt at joining the masses

Rogers does it again…Hijacking failed DNS lookups

Well Rogers has done it again.

This time they are forcing their content/ads on anyone who mistypes the URLs just to cash in on the ad revenue. They call it “Assisted Search”…I call it “Assisted Profit”! This also creates havoc while trying to access your corporate network through a VPN.

You can see a detailed explanation at Digital Home Canada.

Now there are several ways around this but all of them require some sort of manual configuration on your part.

The first option would be to use alternative DNS servers like OpenDNS. This is a fairly straight forward process but keep in mind they are ad supported as well. There is a step-by-step walkthrough on the OpenDNS site to help make the nessecary changes required to use OpenDNS. Unlike Rogers they have a simple way to disable the search suggestions on typos. Just disable the “Domain Typos” option under the advanced settings section of your OpenDNS account and OpenDNS acts like a normal DNS service. Note: If you want to use the Content Filtering option of OpenDNS you cannot disable Domain Typos.

A second option for those that are running some variant of Linux on their routers like DD-WRT or Tomato that uses DNSMasq as the DNS forwarder is to use the “bogus-nxdomain” option.  Here is an explanation of the option from the DNSMasq website:

-B, –bogus-nxdomain=<ipaddr>
Transform replies which contain the IP address given into “No such domain” replies. This is intended to counteract a devious move made by Verisign in September 2003 when they started returning the address of an advertising web page in response to queries for unregistered names, instead of the correct NXDOMAIN response. This option tells dnsmasq to fake the correct response when it sees this behaviour. As at Sept 2003 the IP address being returned by Verisign is 64.94.110.11

In DD-WRT this is a very easy task. Simply open the DD-WRT web configuration page and navigate to the “Services” tab and find the DNSMasq section.

Paste this into the “Additional DNSMasq Options” box and apply the settings. No more “assisted profit” webpages.

bogus-nxdomain=8.15.7.107
bogus-nxdomain=63.251.179.17
bogus-nxdomain=65.200.200.47

Now if you wanted to use OpenDNS in conjuntion with the bogus-nxdomain option you just change the DNSMasq options to the following:

bogus-nxdomain=208.67.222.222
bogus-nxdomain=208.67.220.220

It’s unfortunate that these measures need to be taken to ensure a pleasureable non-intrusive internet experience on a service that we pay for. I think our rates should be lowered if they are now Ad-supported.

Hope this helps someone. In the meantime I am shopping around for a new ISP.

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

More on Mozilla Weave

I have been doing some testing of the latest update to the weave extension version 0.1.30 (change log here) and I have to say it works quite well.

I started with a clean install of Firefox 3.0RC1 from Portable Apps and then installed the extension from here. I ran through the initial setup routine and did the initial sync which took almost 7 minutes to complete. Most of that time was spent with the hard drive churning away with very little CPU or memory impact. After the initial sync i went into the weave preferences and enabled the alpha password and cookie options and then ran another sync.

Weave Prefs

I then went out to several forum and web mail sites like Gmail etc and all my user names and passwords were there. The feature seems quite stable for being alpha.

I will test the new build more in the coming days including on a Linux install.

Weave is quickly becoming viable replacement for Google Browser Sync that I used previously. Other than the initial sync performance seems to be on par with GBS as well. If this is alpha/beta software I cannot wait to see the release version!

I will test Foxmarks in the future but I have become so accustomed to password/cookie/history syncing that plain bookmark syncing does not really appeal to me at the moment. Not a knock on Foxmarks as I hear it is a great bookmark syncing system.

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Extensions, Firefox | , , | Leave a comment

Firefox 3 RC1 and extensions revisited.

So I have finally switched to Firefox 3 full time. There so many improvements that everyone else has talked about so I won’t go into them here. The biggest thing holding me back was extension compatibilities. The most important one Google Browser Sync is not and quite possibly will not be compatible with Firefox 3 any time soon. Enter Mozilla Labs Weave. This promises to be a very good replacement to GBS and possibly so much more. So far it meets my needs perfectly and I look forward to the future of this project.

Some other extensions that I use (read: can’t live without) are Tab Mix Plus and Sage-Too. For Tab Mix Plus you need to download a Dev build for Firefox 3. So far it works flawlessly. Sage-too is a fork of the popular Sage RSS reader that has not seen any development for a year or so. I happy to see someone pick up this extension and port it to FF3.

The last one that I also really like is Download Statusbar. It also works well with FF3.

Those are my main picks. Check back for some more details on these extensions in future posts.

Later and enjoy.

May 20, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

My Favourite Firefox Extensions…

Everyone has their favourite Firefox extensions. I have 7 that I install on every new install of Firefox. I have fine tuned these to give me the best browsing experience possible.

The Big Three Must haves:

Google Browser Sync
I install this one first so I get an encrypted copy of my bookmarks. I have found this to be one of the easier bookmark sync tools out there even though I have had quite a few issues with it sometimes going out of ‘sync’.

Tab Mix Plus
This is my next install. TMP gives me the ultimate control over the way Firefox behaves. There a too many options to list for this one. You can configure almost every aspect of tab viewing, opening, closing etc. There is an undo close tab feature that is impossible to live without and the crash recovery feature works quite good as well. Even in Firefox 2 I use the TMP session manager instead of the native one since it gives me much more control. TMP is very much a “Must Have”!

Sage Feed Reader
This one is obviously my rss feed reader. I know live bookmarks are built in but I just prefer Sage. I guess it is just because I have been using it for so long(since version 1.1 i believe) that it is hard to change. Hard to beat its simple interface and usability though.

The rest:

FireFTP
I just love that fact that when you click on an FTP link you can automatically fire up a fairly full featured ftp client instantly. It saves alot of time launching an external FTP client like FileZilla and copying and pasting the info. I could use the built in ftp support of Firefox but this is much nicer to use.

ChatZilla
Again another in browser app that just saves time. I do not spend alot of time in IRC so this client works great for me.

Linkification
Another fav of mine. This takes any plain text link and makes it clickable so no need to copy and paste. Just a time saver while browsing.

Pearl Crescent Page Saver
I use this(the free version) to save entire webpages or just the visible portions to a .png or .jpg. I use it mostly for saving things like google maps and then cropping and adding my own markups to the image for my own personal directions. It also makes printing certain pages easier by saving them to images.

These are my top extensions. I guess since I am trying to start a blog some blogging extensions may be of interest. Any suggestions?

February 7, 2007 Posted by | Extensions, Firefox | Leave a comment

   

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