Monthly Archives: April 2012

Kaspersky: Uninstall Java Now

Echoing what I’ve been saying for years,, the Kaspersky Lab news blog today says that, in light of the recent OSX/Java exploits, “the best course of action is to uninstall Java.”

They make a decent comparison between the Oracle of today and the Adobe of a few years ago.  I’d go farther and argue that Oracle isn’t the new Adbobe so much as the original Adobe–insular, arrogant, bloated, self-serving.

This is why, for at least the last 10 years, I have only been willing to install Java on virtual machines or hardware that would be erased at the end of the project (often by the end of the day).  Coincidentally, this is exactly how I treat iTunes–install when needed, then purge asap.

Dropbox Doubles Referral Bonus and Ceiling

Dropbox is a great, easy-to-use service for automatically synchronizing files—documents, music, photos, video, whatever!—between computers and mobile devices. As well as being available on all your devices, your files are also backed up “in the cloud” and are available securely through the Dropbox website. The standard account includes 2GB of storage and is completely free. You can install the Dropbox client on as many computers and mobile devices as you wish.

Dropbox Logo

On your computer, Dropbox acts just like a regular folder. Drag in files and they’re automatically synchronized with the cloud and your other devices. That’s it! Dropbox does all the hard work in the background, keeping your files in sync and keeping backup copies when files are changed or deleted.

Dropbox allows you to earn additional free storage through referrals. If you’re already a Dropbox user, you’ll notice they doubled the referral bonus and ceiling (including retroactively for existing referrals). That means you now get 500MB per referral for up to 32 referrals (16GB additional space).

If you don’t already have Dropbox, get it now! If you use my referral link, you’ll get an extra 500MB right off the bat (meaning you’ll start with 2.5GB instead of two). You can also earn extra space for completing a few simple steps on their web site (taking the video your, inviting at least one friend, etc.).

I’ve been using Dropbox for the last two and a half years and I’m not sure I could get by without it now. If you haven’t tried Dropbox yet, try it now!

Impact on Smartphone Data Usage of Getting a WiFi Router that Works

I upgraded to a Netgear N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (WNDR4500) on 11/23/2011 because my (not that) old WNR3500 simply couldn’t maintain connections on mobile clients and Apple products.  The effect on my 3G data usage via my Sprint phone was dramatic:


I did try two other routers first:

Back in May I had tried an ASUS Black Diamond Dual-Band Wireless-N 600 Router (RT-N56U) briefly, but it ran super-hot and the settings required to make it compatible with the IPSEC VPNs I use resulted in noticeably slow throughput over the WAN port.  That went back within the 30-day return window.

With the holidays on the horizon, and the attendant flood of Apple devices that inevitably brings, in early November I became desperate enough to try the ZyXEL ZyWALL USG20W 802.11n Wireless Internet Security Firewall with 4 Gigabit LAN/DMZ Ports, 2 IPSec VPN, SSL VPN , and 3G WAN Support.  That required me to re-develop a level of expertise in TCP/IP networking that I hadn’t exhibited in years.  As much fun as that was, even with the help of ZyXEL tech support neither I nor they were ever able to get the unit to function the way I wanted (a main sticking point being the impossibility of bridging the wired and wireless networks while continuing to support the other functions of the router, in particular NAT loopback).  But what finally made me take it back was the horrendous WiFi coverage.  Maybe I’m just spoiled by MIMO, but the ZyXEL was essentially useless at WiFi—it would have required me to run a separate access point just to cover the whole house, and that’s not evening addressing the low throughput from the main unit.

The WNR3500 had worked well until the arrival of smartphones and Apples products in the house, so I decided to give NetGear another chance.  I’ve been completely satisfied with the WNDR4500, and going by the graph so has my smartphone.