Actual answers…

17 Dec

…to actual homework questions that I actually submitted for my Networking 101 course (which I have yet to determine as actualized). In our syllabus, we were repeatedly requested to use college-level writing in our discussion board posts and our homework assignments. Below is a chronological list of excerpts that should demonstrate the descent of my writing from college level to romance novel as I grew increasingly bored in this sixteen-week course. Please note that I received full credit and no comment for all homework assignments, except for the most recent which he has yet to grade after a full week. Also please note that any typographical errors in the questions are the work of their writers, as I simply copied them from source.

Enter the command file . Does this help to find the meaning of “.”?
Yes. It tells me that “.” means directory, ruining my initial impression of this question as a koan.

Can you look at “.” using the cat command?
No. I am told that “.” is a directory. I am fortunate not to be scolded for my foolishness.

Change ownership of /etc to your own user and group.
I can’t let you do that, Dave.

Please describe what you see/your experience/thoughts in your interaction with the following two sub-topics:
* Pin a program to the Start menu
* More Start menu custommizations

Under the All Programs menu, I right-clicked Steam, and selected “Pin to Start Menu.” This pinned it to the Start Menu. I had no trouble with this action, as it was ridiculously self explanatory. I also had no trouble further customizing the Start Menu; I right-clicked and viewed the Properties menu. Within the Customize dialog box, I was able to convince the Start Menu to contain a link to the Downloads folder. It was glorious, and I shall cherish the memories always.

* Setting up Windows 7 parental controls
Please describe what you see/your experience/thoughts in your interaction with the above procedure(s).

In Lab 8.4, I set up parental controls for Testy, my hypothetical child. Still managing the little guy’s account, I clicked on Set up Parental Controls. I still had to reselect his account in the initial screen before selecting the “On, enforce current settings” radio button, thereby granting myself tyrannical control over the oppressed little man’s technological existence. I clicked the time limits option and selected everything before relenting and allowing him to log on between 1 and 2 PM on Sundays.

Next, I clicked on games. At first, I almost disallowed him any gaming at all, but I decided he should have some enjoyment after his days working in the salt mines. I elected to block all games without a rating, then selected E 10+ as his highest rating. Additionally, I opted to block mild language and edutainment; we’ll have none of that in this house, young man. Once I was satisfied with these settings, I clicked OK, bringing me back to the main menu for some specific game blocking. I was delighted to find that such wicked games as World of Warcraft and Dora’s Carnival Adventure were already blocked due to being unrated. I decided to permanently block Bejeweled 2 Deluxe, despite its E for Everyone rating, as I don’t want my precious son developing that kind of addiction. Satisfied again, I clicked OK, bringing me back to the games menu where I clicked OK again to return to the main menu.

At last, it was time to block specific programs. I clicked on the last option and selected the option to allow only certain programs. I selected the few programs I wanted him to be able to use by clicking on them, in direct opposition with what the video for this chapter instructed. Once I had selected Wordpad, the Acrobat Reader, and the uninstaller for my webcam drivers, I clicked OK and returned to the main menu. All my settings were then complete, so I clicked OK a final time to impose my authoritarian rule. I had no difficulties with this coup.

Excerpts from my summary of our Linux readings on security. All of these were online writings. You can view them here if you’re so inclined.

Unlike the password encryption, PGP (pretty good privacy) uses Public Key Encryption, in which the public key encrypts the data, and the private key (kept to oneself) decrypts it. This explanation serves mostly to illuminate a whole slew of XKCD jokes for me.

The IPSEC section was most interesting to me, not so much for the content regarding the effort to create a cryptographically secure communication tool at the IP level (which translates into Virtual Private Networks, a commonly used tool today), but for the dating of the writings. The working group that was creating IPSEC is finished, the mailing list disbanded in 2005. The x-kernel Linux implementation page no longer exists. The FreeS/WAN project has not been touched since early 2004, and the HOWTO states that it had just hit version 1.0. According to the FreeS/WAN site, that was in early 1999, which tells me I could have taken this very class in college and learned the exact same things. I thus grow to feel incredibly crippled by this course’s use of outdated materials in a field that changes so dramatically rapidly, and wonder why I am taking it rather than simply doing independent research, which is what I will inevitably have to do in order to be adequately equipped for the present computing world.

Ssh and stelnet are programs that allow you to login to remote systems with a secure connection, rather than the horrifically insecure connection provided by r-utilities. This is useful information that we have been taught in the last chapter. The rest of that section; well, let’s count the broken links, shall we? Datafellows.com now redirects to an antivirus program website of questionable veracity. OpenSSH still exists and is up to date, but the information on psst has vanished from the internet. The option to connect via ssh from Windows to Linux is dead, thanks to one 404 link and the aforementioned datafellows redirect. The SSLeay FAQ is similarly File Not Found, and the SRP page, while it still exists, has moved. That’s 4/6 links broken, 5/6 if you want to be really picky, meaning a 33% effectiveness rating on that section.

Please describe what you see/your experience/thoughts in your interaction with:
* Using the Administrator account to set and change passwords

In the control panel, I selected Add or Remove User Accounts, and selected the account for my hypothetical son. I clicked the Create a Password link and created an extremely esoteric password for him much in the same manner I had done for myself; I typed it in both password fields. As the password hint, I typed “ha ha ha.” I then clicked Create Password, locking him out of his account entirely and mocking him remotely when he tries to access it. I had no issues with this cruel experiment.

* Thwarting inruders with Windows Firewall
Please describe what you see/your experience/thoughts in your interaction with the following sub-topic:
* Managing exceptions

In Lab 10.4, I thwarted intruders with Windows Firewall. I did this by default, because it is turned on by default. I did, however, have to keep it from overzealously blocking some of my favored internet programs. In the Control Panel, I clicked on Windows Firewall. I clicked the Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall link, and clicked Change Settings on the ensuing interface. I made sure to allow such valuable programs as the Blizzard Launcher, the Dragon Age Origins Updater, and Civilization V. I did, however, disable access for such suspicious programs as Windows Live Call, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Live Sync, none of which provided anything illuminating within the Details interface. I had no problems with this exercise; in fact, it was a valuable teaching tool in regards to what programs I didn’t realize had free rein in getting through my firewall. Now, I feel my computer is a bit more secure. Ha, take that, intruders! Thwart!

* Windows Live Mail
Please describe what you see/your experience/thoughts in your interaction with:
* Composing your message

In Lab 12.3, I composed an email message. … I then moved down and entered the body of my email. It was witty and brilliant and descriptive, like a novel not written by Stephanie Meyer.

* Changing the look of your message
In Lab 12.4, I changed the appearance of my email message. First, I selected the second sentence of my email and changed the font. I settled on my classic favorite, Wingdings (Wingdings2 simply does not have the charm of the original). In order to make sure that the reader knew this was a particularly important sentence, I selected all of Bold, Italics, and Underline to highlight it. I also made the text red. I then made the background the blinding yellow that would make it fit perfectly on a personal website from the 90’s. I had no troubles with this lab, and instead had a great deal of fun.

* Adjusting display settings
Please describe what you see/your experience/thoughts in your interaction with the above procedure(s).

In Lab 14.3, I futzed with volume settings. First, I moved the basic volume slider in Windows Mobility Center to about 50%. Then I clicked on the Sound Settings icon. I nodded affirmatively at the settings I had arranged for back in chapter 4. Yes, those are some good settings. Then I clicked OK to close the window. I could also have done all of this from the volume settings icon in my system tray, which is whence I usually access it. I have 99 problems, but this lab is not one of them.

* Connecting to the Internet via a wireless connection
Please describe what you see/your experience/thoughts in your interaction with the above procedure(s).

In Lab 14.5, I connected to the internet via a wireless connection. It was not necessary for me to click “Turn wireless on,” oh no, not in the least. I sped directly for the Change Wireless Network Settings button, which popped up a dense list of wireless networks for me to peruse. This list appeared from the Wireless Settings icon in my system tray, which is a far more convenient place from which I can and usually do access it. I found my own network, lovingly called “Gleeok,” and thought back to the day I first connected this laptop to it. It was a sunny July afternoon when I expanded its listing and clicked “Connect” as well as clicking the “connect automatically” checkbox. I remember joyfully typing in my WEP key when prompted, and notifying Windows 7 that it was a Home network by selecting that option. When my selection was confirmed, oh what joy! I could browse the web.

And then came the fateful day I had to disconnect because my internet connection went down for ten minutes and I was trying to reset it. A terrible day. On that day, I clicked on the Wireless Connections icon in the system tray and selected fair Gleeok. She seemed to peer at me mournfully when her disconnect button appeared, as though pleading with me not to cut her off. But I, fool that I was, was ruthless in clicking it and severing her connection. She cried out, and then my router was silent.

We’ve patched things up since then, my wireless network and I, and we have no problems anymore, just like I had no problems with this exercise.

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3 Responses to “Actual answers…”

  1. Verdus December 17, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    That’s pretty amazing. Ah, delicious snark!

  2. Bob. T. Bear December 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    Oh the Snark! The Snark! Filling and delicious and low calorie! I cannot resist it’s tasty goodness!

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