You can use the commands below to ping computers with PowerShell.
Pinging a Single Computer
You may add (without the quotes) “-IPv4” to the end of the command to tell PowerShell to only ping the IPv4 address of the specified computer.
Pinging Multiple Computers
Use a comma [ , ] to specify multiple computers at once.
Test-Connection google.com, yahoo.com
Posted in Code Snippet, Computers, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems, PowerShell, Tips & Tutorials
I have noticed many times on the Internet, people will ask if A is better than B. However, they do not give any context of what they consider “better” to be.
Whenever someone asks me if A is better than B, I always ask them, “What exactly do you mean?”. This is so I can help them make an informed decision. Otherwise I am just guessing, and that will not be helpful to anyone.
Here is an example of someone asking if something is better without context.
A guy named Jeremy goes to a cellphone store and asks Greg the salesman, “Which phone is better to use?”.
Jeremy has not explained to Greg what his requirements are. He could be asking “Which phone is cheaper?”, “Which phone is the fastest?”, “Which phone has the most battery life?”, etc. You get the idea. His saying “better” does not give any context to Greg.
Now Greg proceeds to correctly ask Jeremy, “What are your specific requirements?”. Jeremy then responds saying he is looking for a phone that has a large screen and is not too slow. Now Greg has context – instead of just “better” – and he now can properly show Jeremy the phones that will meet his needs.
Now Jeremy leaves the store happy, since he was able to purchase the phone he wanted.
Something to keep in mind. When someone mentions “better”, that is just their opinion. It does not mean anything until you get their context, and even then, you still would have to agree with their reasons why A is better than B.
You can also have someone who does not care either way. In this case, “better” does not factor in for him.
In addition, you may have someone give their opinion that A is better than B. However, if there is ample, reliable evidence to prove that A is instead equal to B (e.g., scientific research done by two independent universities that came to the same conclusion using valid, reliable methods to test), then there is cause to not believe what the person said. It all comes down to using common sense.
Summary: It’s good practice to always add context when asking if A is “better” than B, otherwise you will have people misunderstand what you are asking and may (unintentionally) give you an answer that is not helpful.
Posted in Computers, General, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems, Security, Shopping, Society, Software
Quick Answer: No. Windows Defender offers decent protection while being free, conveniently updates via Windows Update, and is not a huge resource hog.
Anti-virus software has been available for a long time. For years, people paid for virus protection via a subscription service.
Over the last 10 or so years, free anti-virus software such as Avast, Avira, Windows Defender, AVG, Malwarebytes (the free, non-premium version), etc. have taken a hold of the market. Now I have used all of the above-mentioned anti-viruses. They are all pretty good (AVG, for me, ran on the slow side), but my favorite of the bunch is Windows Defender.
Now I do not have fancy charts, data sheets, graphs, etc. to show the “awesomeness” of Windows Defender. What I can tell you is I am running it on several Windows boxes without any trouble or noticeable slowdown.
None of the boxes have had a successful virus intrusion – while running Windows Defender – for the past 3+ years. False positives for me are pretty much non-existent, and I do not have to think about updating Defender, since Windows Update takes care of that automatically.
Q: What advantage would a paid anti-virus software give me that a free one won’t?
A: Pretty much just support. No guarantee of getting support with free software, but with paid software they kind of have to give support, at least if they want to stay in business.
Everything else – including anti-virus definitions (updates) – are good with both paid and free software.
Q: Are there any open source anti-virus software out there for me to use?
A: The only one I would recommend is ClamAV. However, this is not a proper anti-virus solution for most people.
While ClamAV has a real-time scanner, it is not used by default, and it can make your computer run slow (even ClamAV’s own help documentation warns about this). It also has a minimal amount of definitions (from my experience, will catch almost nothing out-of-the-box), and has no graphical user interface for you to use (yes, you will be manually editing a configuration file with a text editor), and it will catch several false positives if you are not careful.
This is not a user-friendly software solution. It is geared towards servers and server administrators to set it up properly.
Q: Do any of the mentioned anti-virus software have any back-doors, spyware code, etc. in them?
A: I really do not know, but I would never discount the possibility. The only solution that should not have any “spy” code in it would be ClamAV, but as mentioned before, ClamAV is very non user-friendly and will cause headaches to people who do not know what they are doing.
Unfortunately, all the good free anti-virus software is closed-source. I can understand this, because no company wants their trade-secrets exposed to the entire world. This would not be good for business!
Also – just a quick note – I personally would avoid the Kaspersky anti-virus software. They are based in Russia, and I would not trust any Russian software on my computer. I have nothing against the Russian people themselves, I just don’t trust their government not to spy on me. Just a thought.
Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems, Security, Software
Should I switch my current DNS resolver?
If you are just a regular Internet user (not self-hosting anything), and you are currently using your ISP’s DNS resolver, I would switch to a 3rd party DNS service (e.g., Cloudflare).
However if you are self-hosting anything (e.g., email), then I would opt for running my own DNS resolver for reliability.
Here are my opinions on the three typical ways to get DNS.
ISP DNS Resolver: usually OK performance / no privacy
- Works out-of-the-box with your Internet service.
- Since you are using servers they control, always assume your ISP is logging your DNS requests (no privacy).
- Sometimes an ISP actually has worse DNS resolvers (slower, less secure) than a 3rd party DNS service.
- I used to make use of my ISP’s DNS resolvers. They would occasionally go down every few months. It made it look like the Internet was down, but it was just their DNS resolvers that were down, which caused software to fail since they could not resolve domains to connect to services.
- Some ISPs will redirect you to their own online search engine, if the domain you are looking for does not exist. That is real tacky. They should just give the standard DNS error response, instead of – effectively – hijacking your DNS service.
Third-Party DNS Resolver (e.g., Cloudflare, OpenDNS): good-to-excellent performance / potentially less private
- Can be faster than your ISP’s DNS resolvers. This is due to 3rd party DNS services having a very large network infrastructure. They can handle large amounts of traffic with ease.
- Cloudflare does support DNS-over-TLS. However this is just encrypting your connection to Cloudflare. When Cloudflare retrieves the DNS records for you – assuming they do not have a cached copy – that connection of theirs is unencrypted. This means the DNS records Cloudflare gets for you can be manipulated by a 3rd party, outside of Cloudflare’s control.
- Encrypting your DNS does not prevent your ISP from seeing what domains you are going to, if the web-server you are connecting to does not support both the TLS 1.3 protocol and the ESNI extension. This is due to the fact the SNI (Server Name Identification) gets sent from the web-server in plain text. With this information, your ISP can effectively see which domains you are visiting, regardless if your DNS is encrypted via Cloudflare or another 3rd party service.
- Unless you are using a VPN service, your ISP will still have to route your connection to the website (they can see the web-server’s IP address). This may give away where you are going on the Internet, even if your ISP cannot read your DNS queries.
- There are some free public DNS resolvers, run by volunteers (read: no large corporations), who claim they do not log your domain lookups. Just like I mentioned before, you must take their word for it.
Self-Hosted DNS Resolver (e.g., Unbound DNS server): OK-to-good performance / potentially more private
- Useful if you want to have reliable lookups, since you are cutting out the middle-man handling your DNS requests (you are going directly to the source, instead of having someone else do it for you).
- If you are self-hosting web services (e.g., web and email), it is recommended to run your own DNS resolver. While not necessary, this will help prevent interruptions to your services.
- While there is no worry about the DNS resolver keeping logs (you are running it, after all), there still is the possibility of your ISP and/or other entities sniffing your DNS lookups and keeping a log that way. This is because DNS is inherently insecure (not encrypted).
- Unbound runs on many different operating systems (e.g., FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, MacOS, Linux and Microsoft Windows).
- Unbound does require some knowledge of DNS to be setup properly. Users who have little to no experience with DNS servers may find setting up Unbound to be difficult.
- Something to keep in mind. When doing your own DNS lookups, usually you are contacting the Root DNS servers, domain TLD nameservers, and of course one of the domain’s nameservers using your public IP address from your ISP. This means all three of those services may log your IP address when doing lookups.
- For example, if I lookup my domain computerlagoon.com via Unbound, it will first ask a Root DNS server for a nameserver belonging to the .com TLD. From there it will ask one of the TLD’s nameservers for one of my nameservers to get the webserver’s IP address.
- There is a very good chance the .com TLD nameserver, run by Verisign, is logging domain lookups. This means someone, somewhere is more than likely logging your lookups (associating your lookups with your IP) even if you opt to self-host your own DNS resolver.
|Easiest out-of-the-box solution | best for people who just want things to work||ISP DNS resolver
|Best performance | good for people who want more performance than what their ISP provides||3rd-party DNS (e.g., Cloudflare, 18.104.22.168)|
|Best reliability | best for people who self-host web services (e.g., email)||self-hosted solution (e.g., Unbound DNS server)|
Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems, Security