RECENT INTERNET SERVER & ROUTER PROBLEMS
If you're worried about your internet access, router problems, security,
your compromised safety, then you will read this ... and right to the end.
Some will not like one bit what I have to say ... but they may take note.
In my many conversations with visitors to the museum about computers, the internet, researching family history, I've heard many, many tales of woe. Many were of folks that have fallen foul of some difficulty in using the internet, either of virus or malware problems, poor ISP service or speeds, and a host of other issues, most of which folks should be now aware of.
In those brief conversations, I always tell people that whilst the internet, and computers per se, are brilliant – and yes, better than they ever have been – they are still not a 'perfect science.' We still need to learn something about the basics of our machines, whether a desktop PC, internet telly, or a tablet. We haven't yet reached the stage when we can buy a computer, smart phone or tablet and just dive in and use as is.
I can hear folks say, why not? Why shouldn't you be able to bring home your new computer, plug it into your phone connection or router, and fly away with it. Similarly with the router. You sign up for an account, your ISP sends you a router with basic instructions, and to make it all as easy as possible for non-techies, you're encouraged to plug in and switch on and start sending emails, Facebook messages and shopping online. So why aren't they a perfect science?
My answer is simply we haven't got there ... yet. Maybe another 5 years, or 10, or even 20, I've no idea how long, but I do know we're being unreasonable to expect it to be so right now. For folks that drive and have a car, none would claim there is such a thing as a perfect car. Where is the vehicle that you never need to lift the bonnet, check or top up fluids, oil, water, or put air in the tyres? Where is the car that you need to learn absolutely nothing about it at all, apart from jump in and drive away … period? That's it .. buy it .. use it .. and know nothing whatsoever about it. Really? Rediculous, I hear folks shout.
Well, why not. We've had cars for well over a 100 yrs now, so why not the perfect car that never needs servicing or even a lift of the bonnet. We've had aeroplanes for a similar time, nearly as long, so why aren't they 'user proof', why do they sometimes go wrong and drop out of the sky. Answer, there is very little perfect science in this world. Everything we have, everything we use, requires some knowledge about it, requires the user to take some interest in it, if only to get the best results. Whether a vaccum cleaner, oven or a hair dryer, even older ladies today would admit that none are foolproof and each requires some knowledge to use it, if only use it safely. But we've had computers, as we know them now, with Windows and internet connections, Spotify and Skype, internet shopping and banking, and all the rest of it, for barely 20 years. To put it simply, they are still too new.
So why do folks buy a computer, take delivery of a router, and not expect to do anything else other than plug in. To some degree, those who expect that are not being totally unreasonable, for that is the direction new technology was going in. That is, before the advent and rise of crooks and brigands and thieves and a host of devious nasties in foreign countries who all are out to wreck your system, steal your money, inconvenience you bigtime, or all three. Today's world says that, just like your car requires you to know where the bonnet catch is, today's internet technology requires you to know and take charge of your own security. You look after your keys to your house, take care to lock doors, so why not the security of your router?
The basics require that you know and remember your password, know how to change your password and know how to choose a suitably secure password. So why do so many folks still use the most common password in use today, 123456, or leave their router set at name=admin, password=password. I ask you, is that reasonable? Or would those folks admit that a lot of recent problems have been brought on themselves by themselves. If they were being reasonable, yes. But a lot of unreasonable folk are blaming everything and everyone but themselves. Blaming their ISP, blaming the computer manufacturers, the router manufacturers - anyone, but themselves. Blogs on social media using foul and abusive language directed at their ISPs show the level of mentality many of those unreasonable folk have descended to.
This Mirai Worm that is causing the present problems first hit users big time in October, in Germany and Ireland for the most part, and mostly using the same type of routers that folks have been hit with here. So how in hell's name is that the fault of Talk-Talk, The Post Office, or KCOM-Karoo ? Simply because folks didn't learn how to change their passwords, didn't want to know. But they knew they should. There's been warnings for quite a while now, a year or more, that something of this nature was on its way. Still can't be bothered? I know of 80-year olds that are computer savvy and know what they should do, so it's not an age thing. And it's not just routers and passwords. Someone, somewhere, are still opening dodgy email attachments. If not, how are so many crooks making so much money the police are at a loss how to deal with it and the government admit it's hurting the economy?
Wise up. Learn about the risks. Learn about how to combat those risks. Parents now already accept they have to learn how to use parental controls, so why not accept that their kids are just as much a security risk on an insecure router as they are themselves. It is not logic, does not make sense, to accept you have to know how your microwave works, or your car works, and thus how to use it, but not to understand how your router works. Having an insecure router can bring total disaster to your home and family, and not just financial. I have every sympathy with folks that did learn the basics, change passwords but still got hit .. yes, it happens. But no time for folks that say, I can't be bothered or not techie enough or laugh and admit to being just too damned lazy. You have got to 'get techie' and move your backside and do something about it. Or get hurt.
I don't mind helping folks, but even my patience is wearing thin. Such folks are going to have to learn .. or pack up using the tech. Or just get bit and lose a tremendous amount of money. I suspect many professional computer repair shops took this view some years ago, and are making big money out of the very folks who can't be bothered to learn how to change a password. Just as garages make millions out of drivers that know sweet nothing about their engine. There'll always be some.
C'mon people … wake up!! The banks are not going to carry on picking up the tab for the wider public's crass stupidity for much longer.
SOME USEFUL TIPS
First of all, we've tried to make this page more easily accessible to
people (like me! ) who wear specs.
Most of the fonts, in most of the pages, are expandable;
If you go to the 'View' and 'Text Size' - or 'Fonts' -
command on your pull-down menu, you can increase the size of most
typefaces here quite considerably. There's no need to strain your eyes.
For Netscape users, there is a similar facility.
Additionally, if you have a mouse with a roller-wheel in the centre,
you can quickly increase and decrease the screen fonts size by pressing
Ctrl + rotate the roller wheel. Magic or what !
If you have several Windows open at once, say Internet Explorer, a word
processor, and perhaps an art programme, you can more easily cycle
between them all by pressing "Alt + Tab" on your keyboard. The
tab key is usually top-left, with two-way arrows on.
For Win95 users and above, you can make your web page use the WHOLE
SCREEN, and temporarily get rid of toolbars, address boxes, etc.
Just press 'F11'. See more of each page . . . !
Press F11 again to get them back again ! Simple, innit !!
Note: .. both top and bottom toolbars, and status bar, are configurable
to disappear altogether, and reappear when you pass the mouse over
them. More magic !
You can easily search or FIND any word on a web page;
press 'Ctrl + F' . . up pops a dialogue box,
enter your word, and click OK.
To find a phrase, enclose in quotes, thus : "Sutton & Wawne"
When you're browsing the net, and you're looking at a page that you
would like to send to a friend by email, but are worried about the
huge, lengthy address in the address bar, no matter. Go to 'File'
on the pull-down menu, and click on 'Send'. That will open your
email programme, with the page address already encoded for you. You can
then add a message of your own, and send it on its way.
You don't have to do everything with the mouse. Agreed, it's
novel at first, but it can take some getting used to. Don't despair,
help is at hand, literally, for there are many keyboard commands that
do exactly what the mouse can do, and they're often quicker. After a
long while using a mouse, the wrists can ache considerably. Mouse-ache
is now a common complaint in the repetitive strain injury field .. RSI
.. So it's a good idea to learn as many keyboard commands (shortcuts)
as possible, and mix and match the two methods according to how you
feel. Let your fingers do the walking. Eventually, you'll find that for
many things, it's quicker and more efficient too.
You can quickly move back and forth between pages you've already looked
at. These commands double for the BACK and FORWARD
arrows at the top-left of your browser window.
Go to previous page . . BACKSPACE
Go to next page . . SHIFT + BACKSPACE . .
and Alt + Right cursor arrow .. does the same thing.
If these following tips do not work at first, click with the mouse within
the window you're browsing to 'activate' it. Here's a whole nest of
shortcuts that will have you whizzing around your web pages in no time
Scroll towards the beginning of a document . . UP ARROW
Scroll toward the end of a document . . DOWN ARROW
Scroll toward the beginning in larger increments . . PAGE UP
Scroll toward the end in larger increments . . PAGE DOWN
Move to the beginning of a document . . . HOME
Move to the end of a document . . END
Pretty useful, huh!
You can 'Refresh' the current page . . press F5
You can Stop downloading a page that's taking too long
and driving you mad . . . hit ESC
And you can Save the current page . . CTRL + S . . a prompt box
will open asking you what filename you would like, and where to save it
to, which directory or folder, etc.
If Ctrl+S is greyed out, use Alt + F, then A ... to bring up
the box to "Save As" ... that will prompt you for a new filename, and
ask which directory you want to save it to.
TIPS FOR WORD-PROCESSORS
LIKE MS-WORD, MS-WORKS, WORDPAD, ETC
If you're just starting to get to grips with a word-processor, like Microsoft
Word for instance, these shortcuts may prove helpful.
One of the most common mistakes people new to word-processors
make is to be unaware of exactly where the cursor is on their screen.
The cursor is that 'blinking' little upright bar, or thin
line, that also looks like the Roman Numeral I
Everything you type in, whether on a clean page, or in a form field on
a Web Search Engine, happens at the point where the cursor is. You need
to 'click' in a form field to activate it, to make the cursor blink.
Then you can start typing, or entering your search words, etc. Where
people get lost is when they've been scrolling up and down a page after
that, and lose where the cursor is. It is also possible to jump from
one field to another by using the TAB key. After a while, it all
becomes second-nature, and you'll soon get the hang of it. Give it time
. . . and don't give up.
Now for some more tips . .
To instantly save your document as you go along, hit 'CTRL +
S'. If it's a new document and you haven't given it a name, you'll
get a prompt box asking you for one. No more excuses for losing an
hour's work . . I always hit Ctrl+S after every paragraph now, just in
case of crashes, lockups, or power failures. It's as automatic as
hitting the Return key for a new line.
To increase the size of any font on the screen in Word6, Word97, and so
on, highlight all the text you want to change, then press CTRL + ]
. . . that's the right-hand square bracket, near the Enter key.
Likewise, to decrease the font, press CTRL + [ . . this trick
works even if all the text is all different sizes; each press of the
keys goes one size larger, or smaller, as you wish.
Many people like the Cut, Copy & Paste buttons on toolbars; in most
Microsoft-type applications, you can use the shortcuts on the keyboard
as well, with CTRL+X to cut . . . CTRL + C to Copy, and
CTRL + V to Paste. The V stands for Vector,
which in early computer-speak was the same as Paste Down, and it's
convenient that way, as the X, C and V keys are all
together on the bottom row, and all three commands can be used with the
left hand only.
Clever, huh !
What many people don't realise is that those basic tips work in all
sorts of other applications as well as Word processors, such as art
programmes like PaintShopPro, Corel, etc, and spreadsheets and database
too. Even in Internet Explorer browsers . . . highlight all the text
you want to keep, Ctrl+C will copy it to the internal memory
(RAM), then open Notepad, or Wordpad, etc, and Ctrl+V to paste
it down. Far quicker than the mouse when you get the hang of it. And
keyboards don't wear out as fast as mice . . when the mouse buttons go,
and they will, a new one will be usually around £10 plus . .. more if
it has eyes !
That's enough for now . . . once you've got to
grips with those dozen or so, you'll be flying around your pages like a
maniac, and get pinched for speeding ! You'll almost certainly improve
in confidence and go on to find your own shortcuts and quick tips. If
you find some really good ones, drop me a line and let me know. I still
find them occasionally, and no-one can know everything. I'm still
learning .. every day!
Have fun, and have confidence in yourself.
We have 90-year-old surfers
visiting our pages and my hair is white !
That's through marriage, one daughter and three granddaughters though,
NEVER give up. You CAN DO IT !
Back to the
Sutton & Wawne
+ + +