I will avoid OpenDNS

I have nothing to hide, but I take privacy very seriously. I moved to OpenDNS because of trust. I had used it many years ago. I had no issues. But this time I felt insecure. I will probably never use them again nor recommend. Here is what happened.

Following the installation of a new router, I set the DNS to OpenDNS. SLT was injecting annoying advertisements when I was visiting links and I was irritated. Things went well for a few days.

Visiting YouTube, I got a warning that the SSL can’t be trusted. I was surprised. I was like “Did Google forget to renew YouTube SSL?”. But then I noticed I was having issues loading some other pages and receiving warnings. A link in the page kind of suggested me to purchase a monthly subscription. I looked close in the YouTube error and it kind of said there seemed to be a “man in the middle attack”.

I knew some thing was off. I wasted no time. I bought a new VPS and installed and configured the open source DNS server Bind. Then I configured my router to use it.

Things are back to normal. I am not sure if I can trust OpenDNS again. If you are privacy conscious and irritated by injected advertisements you should use your own DNS.

Minify and Combine CSS - Jekyll Github Pages

This blog is hosted on Github (Github Pages) and today I was interested in minifying css files to improve page speed. There are many ways you can do this. I chose to use Gulp for the task. Gulp is a framework good for automation tasks. Webpack may be a great tool, but I like Gulp. Its easy to work with for tasks like this.

If you are from the Ruby world, like my self, Gulp is like Rake. You can use Rake. I like Gulp.

How to

If you haven’t, install Gulp. Then make a gulpfile.

#~ npm install -g gulp-cli
#~ touch gulpfile.js

Now lets make a npm package. Give relevant information about your package.

#~ npm init
#~ ... answer the questions

Then install the dependencies. --save-dev will write the dependencies to the package.json file.

npm install --save-dev gulp gulp-clean-css gulp-concat

Now its time to write the gulp task.

// gulp.file
let gulp = require('gulp');
let cleanCSS = require('gulp-clean-css');
let concat = require('gulp-concat');
let rename = require('gulp-rename');

gulp.task('minify-css', () => {
  return gulp.src(['public/css/poole.css', 'public/css/syntax.css', 'public/css/hyde.css'])
    .pipe(cleanCSS({compatibility: 'ie8'}))
    .pipe(concat('style.min.css'))
    .pipe(gulp.dest('public/dist'));
});

The problem is, Jekyll is going to think node_modules and other stuff we just added should be compiled. So we need to ignore it. Add this to your _config.yml file.

exclude:
  - package.json
  - gulpfile.js
  - node_modules

Then if you already haven’t done, add node_modules to .gitignore.

And finally run it gulp minify-css. Now you can add a single minified css file for your project.

SLT ZTE ZXV10 W300 - Avoid if Possible

I have replaced (SLT) ADSL routers 4 times. The last time I did it was today when my old ZTE ZXV10 W300 started to fail. My new Router is a Prolink H5004NK which I got many years ago as a backup. Now I am in Prolink land.

What is ugly

I have owned 2 ZTE routers. Both would heat up quite a bit. I would say about 10°C hotter than competition. Their power adapters are much worst and I think it is fair to say its about 20°C hotter than a normal power pack. That is waste of energy.

Then in the other hand, it has less coverage than the competition. I have found that it covers about 3m less in distance in practical situations.

Adding to the list of issues, mum doesn’t like the design of the ZTE. She like the new Prolink! I couldn’t agree more.

Whats good

The price is really good. It is always on promotion and you will find it few hundred to about a thousand rupees cheaper.

It also survived 3 years. But all my previous routers died of lightning. So I can’t compare life time. But routers live longer. I’d seen Cisco routers and switches well over 10 years old rocking and rolling. How do I know? I worked as a Systems and Network Engineer intern.

Summary

You will save a little if you go ZTE. You will find edges of your house having low or no signal. You will also waste electricity. And my mum insists to add ‘it looks ugly’ :D.

SLT is known for their cheap products. I have a mantra not to buy any thing on promotion from them. ZTE is always on promotion so it might be really-really shitty! So do your self a favour. Go for a Prolink. TP-Link is also decent.

This is not a product review, but personal experience!

SLT ADSL - WiFi Router Config

SLT has been my primary ISP since 2002. I got my first ADSL connection in 2008 when I was a first year engineering student. My relationship with SLT is a love-hate kind of a complicated relationship. Today my router, a ZTE ZXV10 W300 started to fail.

I stored an Prolink H5004NK 4 port WiFi ADSL router in my store room for a rainy day. I opened, plugged the network-cable to my laptop and started configuring the connection.

That is when I noticed that I had misplaced the ADSL username and password. I had no way of extracting it from the old router either. So I called up 1212 and asked for a password reset.

Then I followed the Quick Setup but was been told that the connection failed because the username/password was wrong.

I called up 1212 again to be certain. Then the girl on the other side of the phone said I should use @sltbb at the end. I’d sware I tried it. But after the second call it worked. I guess the previous girl might have screwed up???

Any ways here is what you need to do.

Accessing Admin

  • Make sure the correct port of the splitter is used for the input of the router
  • Connect to PC using ethernet cable (RJ45) to the LAN1 port
  • Open a browser and go to 192.168.1.1
  • Use username admin and password password to access the control panel
  • Then the magic happens in the ‘Quick Setup` tab (2nd tab to the top)

Quick Setup

  • Connection

    #~ Username: tanxxxxxxx@sltbb
    #~ Password: 12345678`
    
  • Wireless LAN Interface

    #~ SSID: ZiyanJDeen
    #~ Chanel Number: Auto
    #~ Encryption: WPA2 (AES)
    #~ WPA Authentication Mode: Personal (Pre-Shared Key)
    #~ Pre-Shared Key Format: Passphrase
    #~ Pre-Shared Key: 12345678
    

Note

Keep in mind that Username and Password comes from SLT. The Pre-Shared Key is the password that WiFi devices will be asked when connecting to your network. I have it written in my wall so any one can use it.

Visiting Gardener at Malabe

I am a busy web developer working in US and European time lines. I have little free time. I like gardening, but I am always working. A good gardner is important to keep the garden clean, dengue free, and beautiful.

With the help of a friend, mum found a new gardner. He charges Rs. 1500/day. At first I wasn’t sure but I gave him the chance. I was pleasantly surprised. In 2 days he cleared a messy 45 perch garden. About half the garden is grass which I trim. Then there are mums vegetables, fruits and flowers. He cleans and fertilizes. He comes at 8 and leaves sharp 4.

The only issue with him is that he has his own priorities. Just tell him what needs to happen and he will update your garden. He doesn’t like been chased and advised while working. That is not an issue. He knows what he is doing.

The guy is about 60 years old, but energetic. He is a cancer patient. He needs the money for his medication and food. He only works around Thalahena and Malabe because he can’t travel by bus due to his operation.

If you are interested, drop me a mail to ziyan@jdeen.com with the address and other details. He doesn’t have a phone. But when he comes, I can tell him if you ask me.