Friday, May 30, 2008

Remote Management Of Your Router, Important Information

Useful For Non-Technical Computer Users Too

Routers whether wired or wireless, have certain setup procedures. These procedures control important functions that include who, can access your network, when, for what type of applications etc. To do this, the router needs to be connected to a computer, the computer then accesses the router set up interface and allows the user to configure various parameters. Let us call the computer to which the router is connected (for configuration purposes) as, COMP-A. The user sitting on COMP-A would access the router set up screen through a web browser, enter the required password, make the set up changes and then save the configuration.

It does not matter whether COMP-A is connected or not connected to the Internet during the configuration process. However, technically it is possible to allow any computer connected to the Internet to access the router through a web browser. This is a process that is referred to as 'Remote Management' and most technically minded users would be aware of this. But what we need to do is take care of those users who install a router and are not very technically savvy.

If you do not understand the meaning and implications of remote management of your router, disable the feature. You will still be able to configure your router through the computer to which it is physically connected and that is good enough. Allowing remote computers to access your router through the Internet requires a few important precautions to be taken. You will need to restrict the access to a specific IP address or a group of IP addresses. It is always advisable to change the password required to access the router to something that is different from the 'default' password, this is always a good thing to do.

Enabling the remote management function for your router, could allow others to access your router and reset important parameters that relate to the security of your network. So if you are not sure about how to do a proper control when remote management is open, you can either take the services of a professional or disable the router remote management function.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Digital Cameras, The Aperture Preferred Mode

The popularity of digital cameras has grown rapidly, it has also been responsible for the decline of conventional film based cameras. The 'point-and-shoot' ease of operating a digital camera, makes the whole process look like child's play. However there are a few professional tips that would allow you to get better images from your digital camera.

Most budding photographers use the 'Auto' feature for taking images with their digital camera but, this might not give the best result in all situations. In the 'auto' mode, the camera is programmed to set the aperture and exposure time of your digital camera, you just accept the results that you get. Let us know take the situation where you need to take the image of a building, the building is sufficiently far away for you to frame it in the shooting window. However the light conditions are not ideal, your camera in Auto mode would translate the scene as follows.

The light around the image would be calculated, the camera would set the aperture and exposure time for your digital camera. It is likely that you will get a dark image, the exposure time might be too long for a humanly held digital camera. This will mean that the image is out of focus and dark, but what if you wanted a better exposed image with little or no camera motion.

Firstly, you would set the digital camera to the 'Aperture Preferred Mode', this is often marked as 'P' on many digital cameras. The aperture is also called the 'f'-number and could be in the range of f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f22 etc. The larger the aperture number the smaller the aperture. The aperture is like a hole controlling the amount of light that will pass through the lens. The more the light passing through the lens the better the exposure, remember that there is a possibility of over-exposure too. As the aperture number increases (the aperture size decreases), the portion of the scene that remains in focus (depth of field/focus) increases. The bigger focus area is ideally suited to take images of buildings and monuments.

So the first thing that you will need to do when in the Aperture Preferred Mode is to, set an aperture number that is as high as possible. This will mean that the aperture size gets reduced and the amount of light passing through the lens decreases. To compensate for this, the camera will (automatically) set a slower shutter speed which, will in turn allow more light to pass through the lens. So you now have a smaller aperture size (large aperture number) and a slow shutter speed. A slow shutter speed will most likely cause your hands and the digital camera to shake, this will ofcourse ruin the sharpness of the final image.

In such a situation use a sturdy camera stand (tri-pod) and mount the camera firmly on the tripod. When you have framed and composed your image, gently depress the 'shoot' button on your digital camera. The chances of the camera moving or the degree of the movement will be drastically reduced. You will end up with a sharper and better exposed image. There are a few devices that can help you trigger the 'shoot' button more smoothly (no chance of moving). One of these devices is a cable that fits on to the 'shoot' button. The other end of the cable has a trigger button that can be depressed to shoot the image. With technical advancements, many digital cameras today have an option to trigger the shoot with a wireless device.

Experiment with the 'aperture preferred' mode on your digital camera, the results will gradually become more impressive. The aperture preferred mode is an option that lies between the 'auto' (completely automatice) mode and the 'manual' (both aperture and shutter speed are manually set) modes.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Beware Of Shipments To Singapore, Indonesia And Nigeria

There is an alert from our network security team. This online fraud is not new but seems to shown a strong revival in the past few months. You receive an email from a prospective 'buyer' requesting for payment mode clarification. The email would read more or less like the content shown below.....

I am xyz from Singapore (or Indonesia or Nigeria) and would like to buy some items from your website. But before I do this, I need to know if you accept Visa (or Mastercard or AMEX). Let me have this information and I will place the order.

Another fraud which is similar to this has the content as shown below:

I have seen your website and would like to buy 50 pieces of 22k Gold Chains payment will be through my AMEX card. I will need you to ship these chains to my retail stores in Nigeria.

The important thing about the the 22k Gold Chains mention is that, the cybercrook picks up the exact title of some merchandise that is listed on your website. The words are so similar that it is very likely that a cut and paste operation was used for the text.

Beware of these online frauds, stay away from such emails and delete them the moment they arrive. What is alarming is the text content, it has a surprising uniformity and has remained this way for many years now. There is every possibility that, one large group of fraudsters is behind this fraud. Many honest and budding online sellers have got financially ruined by falling for this internet fraud. The thought of being able to make a big sale brings about an excitement and not even a small degree of caution is felt.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Read Before You Try To, Boil Water In A Microwave

The convenience and speed with which cooking can be done in a microwave oven is truly impressive. Many people even use the microwave to boil water for a quick cup of tea or coffee. You should however be ware of a dangerous thing that could occur when you try to boil water in a microwave oven.

It is highly advisable to place a wooden spoon or even a tea bag along with the water in the microwave oven. Technically the water in the microwave gets superheated, this can prove dangerous if there is only water in the container that is placed in the microwave oven. A slight jerk or movement to the vessel with water that is superheated can cause the water to 'burst' out of the vessel.

There have been cases of accidents reportedly caused by boiling water in a microwave. If you can avoid it, use a stove or other heating decide to boil water. But, if you must boil water in a microwave oven, read the report on this topic at this link: