Checking internet speed:

The tutor mentions, a convenient internet speed test.

When I’m wondering how my wireless internet is performing, I point the browser to, by Netflix. loads with a number showing Mbps. I find it’s very useful for checking internet performance.

One of Shaw’s tech operators out of Winnipeg mentioned to me for that purpose.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Technology: is the computer 5G compatible?

The tutor begins exploring the question of 5GHz capability.

I have several computers. One shows the 5GHz network among those available, but the other doesn’t. Why? Apparently, the answer is in the hardware.

Both computers are Windows 7. In the Command Prompt, if I key the command

netsh wlan show drivers

I receive about 40 lines of information. Around Line 14 is

Radio types supported:

One computer (the one that offers the 5GHz network) says

Radio types supported: 802.11a 802.11b 802.11g

while the other says

Radio types supported: 802.11n 802.11g 802.11b

That’s not necessarily a decisive difference, but in this case might explain it. 802.11a supports 5GHz. However, 802.11b, 802.11g do not. An 802.11n device may or may not support 5GHz. Such is my understanding, anyway.

I’ll be talking more about this:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Internet: web proxies, part II: what is a transparent proxy?

The tutor continues coverage of web proxy terms.

With yesterday’s post I began exploring the world of web proxies. In general, they are hardware or software entities that receive and pass on the requests and responses of internet communication.

A transparent proxy can be either forward or reverse (see yesterday’s post). “Transparent,” here, is the opposite of “apparent”: the internet surfer can’t see that a given request goes through the transparent proxy. Rather, they just seek the information, then get the response, as if they are communicating directly with the server.

In fact, the requests and responses might be passing through two transparent proxies – one at the gateway (forward) that connects them to the internet, and one in front of the server (reverse) that holds the resource requested.

I’d argue that, from the user’s point of view, the reverse proxy is typically transparent. After all, what’s it to you, if your request, on the server side, is funneled through a proxy to the server that can best answer? You likely expect such a premise, without knowing it’s called a “proxy”.

On the client (forward) side, the difference between “transparent” and “non-transparent” can be more meaningful:

Non-transparent proxying is probably what people mainly used twenty years ago. It involved configuring the computer (perhaps via its internet browser) to a certain connection, possibly via phone number (if dial-up was being used), internet address of the proxy, and even its port number. Someone needed to open the “set up connection” pane (or terminal), then enter those details. A tech from the internet service provider might come to the residence to do it, or else you might do it yourself, from written instructions or guidance over the phone.

Transparent proxying is likely the context most users are familiar with today. The user arrives, computer under arm, at an internet gateway (possibly a coffee shop, university, hotel, etc). They plug in with their ethernet cable, or just connect wirelessly to the host network. Then, they need to enter a code (likely posted on the wall for client reference) and/or accept a license agreement. Doing so, they are able to surf the internet. Since their computer has needed no specific configuration to use that internet gateway, it’s a case of transparent proxying.

Non-transparent proxying can still be used: Internet Explorer 11, for example, in Tools→Internet Options→Connections, has a place to configure connection to a proxy server. Using a specifically configured proxy can lead to increased functionality. Moreover, the configuration details (address, port, and possibly other rules programmed into that proxy) will likely be unknown to hackers. Therefore, non-transparent proxying can provide increased security.

Transparent proxying, on the other hand, has the advantage of convenience.

Perhaps, philosophically, the difference between “transparent proxy” vs “non-transparent proxy” can depend on your point of view. For instance, let’s say you’re a visitor at your friend’s house. You didn’t set up your friend’s internet service; you have no idea about it. You go on the internet to find tomorrow’s weather forecast. From a proxy point of view, is the context “transparent”, or “non-transparent”? To you, it must be transparent, since you’re not aware which one it is:)



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Internet: web proxies

The tutor begins about the different types of proxies used over the internet.

Lately I’ve developed interest about internet proxies. I hear about people using them, but those aren’t the ones that mainly interest me. I’ve got the academic curiosity about the “nuts and bolts” ones that carry internet traffic without the user ever knowing.

From what I’ve learned, the non-elective proxies a home user’s requests and receipts pass through are two main types: forward and reverse. Both types are fundamentally used to cache information – that is, they store responses to common requests, then fire them out instead of going to the source to retrieve them.

The forward proxy is used on the consumer side – likely by the home user’s internet service provider (ISP). Among other functions, it cuts response time by supplying common responses from its cache. The reverse proxy is used by the content deliverer, to balance the load among many servers (if that much traffic is received), as well as to fire out familiar responses from its cache.

There is more than one kind of forward proxy; I’ll be covering more in future posts:)



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Web browsers: Firefox: Show All History not quite working?

The tutor offers a way to view your history when it’s not showing.

I love Firefox; it’s the browser I use with my Linux (Ubuntu) computers.

Yesterday I clicked, at the top, History. A drop-down menu appeared, showing websites I had recently visited. “But are those all of them?” I wondered. From the drop-down, I chose the Show All History option. A window opened titled Library, but the page list was blank.

I repeated the exercise several times: after all, I thought, the Show All History option should show at least as much as the History drop-down. I even went online to research the situation: apparently, I wasn’t the only one facing it.

Eventually, I tried the search box in the Library window. By putting characters into it, I could cause pages to appear in the list. I decided the forward slash / to be best, since every page I’d been to had that in its address.

So, with Firefox, if pages aren’t showing up in the Show All History view, perhaps a solution is to type the forward slash into the search box there. I think, then, you’ll see the pages you’ve been to:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Web design: css3 gradient, part III: browser support

Continuing about css3 gradient effects, the tutor discusses some of the browsers that do or don’t support them.

In my previous two posts (here and here), I’ve been talking about the css3 gradient effect. I’ve acknowledged that not everyone viewing those posts can see the effects, but I continue to believe that most people can.

On my ancient 32-bit system, which runs under Linux (Ubuntu), the gradients show up on Firefox. (It’s the browser that came with Ubuntu.)

My equally ancient 32-bit Windows XP system (from 2002) has two browsers: ie8 and Opera. As I expected, ie8 doesn’t show the gradient effects at all. Opera, however, shows them perfectly.

My wife has a Mac with Safari; the gradient effects show up fine on it.

Finally, we have two Windows 7 computers, both of which have Chrome and ie11. The gradients all show up perfectly on Chrome. On ie11, the middle rectangle’s gradient (from top left to bottom right) does not show up, but the other two do.

In future posts I’ll discuss browser usage:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Internet research: the tutor comments

The tutor opens a discussion of research in today’s context.

Nowadays, virtually everyone counts on the internet not just for entertainment, but for important information.  Travelers likely use it to access ferry schedules, highway routes, and weather forecasts.  DIYers might use it to gain advice about projects. Of course, students use it for research towards papers.

I think there are more mundane uses people make of the internet that aren’t even considered research.  Recipes, for example, are easy to get from it.  In fact, I think the internet offers better coverage of recipes than of academic information.

If you use the internet to find a garlic bread recipe (which I did, here), you needn’t report the source or judge its validity. You’ll know by how the bread turns out whether it’s a good one. (BTW: that recipe worked out well for me on the first try:) The recipe is likely not controversial; moreover, you’re not quoting it.

Compared to the safety of recipe hunting, academic research can be a whole other thing. There might be four reasons:

  1. The point is usually to write an article based on what you find from the sources.
  2. Often, an academic article is based on surprise or controversy.
  3. Unlike a recipe, an academic article can’t be “proven in the pudding.” Its only legitimacy may be its credibility.
  4. People who read an academic article like to see evidence you’ve “done your homework.”

For the above reasons, it’s my opinion that citing sources is much more important for academic research than for domestic.

Of course, if one cites sources, it’s best to have good ones. Below are some of my favourites. A regular reader of this blog might recognize them:

I’ll be talking more about research in future posts.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.