How to Create a New Page & Link to It In Weebly

Introduction

Recent upgrades at Weebly have rendered methods my Dad previously used for posting new content using Weebly ineffective. His old methods appear to be broken and trying to figure out a new methodology has proven challenging for him because Weebly has added so many new features that it’s hard to find some of their most basic procedures amidst the fray.

So I’ve written this guide for him to describe a simple step-by-step method he can use to publish a new Page. I know there are a lot of other ways to post things on Weebly but this is what he needs so it’s what my guide is focusing on. The one aspect I have not addressed that he may also need is adding images. But I suspect once he understands the steps here that will be an easy matter for him as well.

A Little More About My Dad

My Dad is 91 3/4 years old!  I mention that fact only because I’m really amazed by it. I’m also amazed that he still works on his website almost daily. It’s a huge part of his life!! I mention the 3/4’s part because when you’re in his age range…3/4’s of a year can make a big difference…heck even a 1/4 of a year can make a significant difference in managing virtually every aspect of life.

My Dad is the reason why I even have my own websites and YouTube channel. I write tips for everyday people to help them in using technology and also in learning how to stay safe online. Many years ago, when Dad retired from the corporate world, after consulting for a few years, then he really retired. That’s when he began to record important aspects of his life for his kids by writing about them.

My post about why I love my Dad's website

The kinds of things he wrote about initially were things like when he first arrived in the USA following a long cruise on a ship which sailed from Germany…he was around 6 years old then. About 20 years later he served as a Marine in the Korean War. Roughly 35 years after that Dad wrote about the culmination of his corporate career and the years leading up to it. He also searched high and low for some favorite German children’s stories and translated them for us when he found them. These were all self-published into a series of ‘essays‘ if you will, that he hand-bound and distributed. By the time he’d accomplished those things he’d been bitten by the  ‘writing bug.’ That’s when he decided to try his hand at fiction.

Shortly after Dad completed his first fiction compilation is when home computer use began to become fairly mainstream. Dad came up with the idea of publishing his work on a little website for his family. This would prove to be a much better means for him to  distribute his work. It’s also what ignited a hidden passion in some other family members to do the same :-)

His Pioneering Work as a Blogger

Little did Dad or really did any of us know at the time, but Dad had created what essentially was a blog! Below is a screenshot of his website today.

Dad's website today

I’m convinced that Dad was one of the first bloggers in existence!

Fast forward many years later and Dad is still writing his blog today.  He even has a healthy if not surprising number of weekly visitors (on average around 200)!   But the technical challenges aren’t as fun for him to tackle as they once were. Which is why I decided to try and help out a little by writing this guide. If you’d like to visit Dad’s website you can do so here. I should warn you however that Dad is a fairly prolific writer, and while it may not look it…he has a lot of content at his site!!!

If you’d like to read more of a ‘quick overview ‘of his site…(here ‘quick’ is a relative term!)…you can read the blog post I wrote in 2015 about why  I love my Dad’s website and how it inspired me to create my own :-)  In it I tried to provide a good overview of the kinds of things he writes about and how his site is organized.

A Little Background About Weebly

Weebly is a free (or it can be a paid) platform for regular people who have no coding background to use to build,their own websites. The site you’re reading this on, which is WordPress.com is similar. The way in which they differ is that WordPress relies more upon standard website creation tools whereas Weebly has come up with an ingenious ‘drag and drop’ type of engine to make website creation possible for someone with absolutely no technical background whatsoever.

When Dad began using Weebly it was very different from what it is today. I doubt that the Weebly staff even recognizes who Dad is or how unique he is in their universe of users. But Weebly needs to keep up with the times just like any good company that wants to survive should, and as they’ve added new features and tools the basics of web building have necessarily changed some. I recently learned that Dad wasn’t really utilizing the true ‘drag and drop’ nature of Weebly but had developed his own methods for publishing his work. He’d use Microsoft Word to write with and then copy/paste or drag his finished work into Weebly…with all the formatting and everything in finished form. Knowing how websites are constructed a little tells me that shouldn’t have worked…yet it did!

Dad’s methods survived for many years and it was only recently that they finally stopped working. So he needs a bit of a refresher course on how Weebly is supposed to work in order to keep writing and publishing.  Therefore my guide will start with a few basic concepts and then go on to demonstrate how to use Weebly to publish a web page.

Anatomy of a Webpage in Weebly

In Weebly webpages are built using what I like to think of as page building blocks. While there are many different kinds of blocks (Weebly calls these blocks…elements) there are only 2 that you really need to concern yourself with right now.

The Title Element and the  Text Element

Before you can add any content to your Page…you first need to add the proper container for it. I could be wrong, but I think the reason for this is that by placing content into containers, this ends up coding that content correctly for Weebly to render it properly onto a webpage.

Adding any kind of element is done in the same way…you just drag it from the tools menu to the editor.

Adding a new building block

A Little More Information About Pages

Adding Pages in Weebly is straightforward and easy. Pages are also one of the main organizational units in Weebly…and a page is equivalent to an actual webpage, in that pages become the webpages for your website.

Adding pages in Weebly

Organizing pages is pretty easy too.

Organizing pages

The only tricky thing about Pages is finding the URL or link to them after creation.

Brief Weebly Tutorial on Pages and How You Organize Them in a Website

Since everything on Dad’s website is centered around pages, I thought this Weebly video guide on managing your pages might be helpful too.

The Steps to Publish a New Webpage

If you follow this set of steps each and every time you publish new content, the whole process should be easy for you. After you’ve done it a few times, these steps will become second nature to you.

  • Step 1 Add a New Page for Your New Content

When you open Weebly’s editor for the first time you’ll land at your homepage. Dad’s homepage looks like this.

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To begin publishing a new page, you need to leave your homepage and go to the location in the editor where all of your pages are displayed.

To do this, click on the menu item ‘Pages‘ using the top horizontal menu, shown in the screenshot above. The screenshot below shows what you should see and do next.

Tap on the + sign at the top of the left side menu to add a brand new page. This is shown in the screenshot above.

Select Standard Page next.

If you’ve done this correctly, you’ll arrive at something which should look like the screenshot below.  You may see your own theme’s default Header Image here which you’ll probably want to remove.

If you do want to remove this header image, the next thing you’ll do is click on the down pointing arrow next to ‘Tall Header‘ on the left menu.  

When you do this several different types of page layouts will be displayed. You should select the option that says ‘NO Header.’

Several page layouts should display

Now you’ll have a new blank page that’s all ready for you to add your new content too.

  • Step 2 Add a Title

Adding a title is probably the easiest step. Just find and drag the Title element box from the left side menu onto you new document.

After the Title is complete you’re ready to move on to adding the most important part…the new content itself.

  • Step 3 Add the Text for the new page

There are a couple of ways you can go about adding your new content. You could just start typing it in right here…that’s what I do if I’m just adding something short. Or, you could have first created your new page somewhere else. In Dad’s case he was using Microsoft Word…but recently that ended up causing some problems for him so he’s been advised by Weebly staff to use something like Notepad in Windows or Apple Notes on Mac because those apps don’t let you add a lot of formatting.

So, I’ll assume that you have something already written in another app that you now want to import into your new page on Weebly. You can add it in one of 2 ways. You can either just drag it in or you can use copy/paste to add it into Weebly’s editor. In both instances it might help if you have 2 windows open on your desktop. I like to always keep the window that I’m copying from on the left and the window I’m copying to on the right…because I’m right-handed. Dragging something from left to right is easier for someone who’s right handed…if you’re left-handed you might want to do things the opposite of the way I do.

But Wait!!!

Before you drag or paste anything, remember that you need to add your container first! So, in this case, you need to add a new Text element to the page first. It will act as the ‘holding cell‘ for the text you’re about to add.

Below is an example of my container right after I added new text to it. In my example, rather than dragging or pasting some text, I’m just typed it directly into Weebly’s editor.

So, you need to find the Text box in the left-hand Menu, then drag it into your Document editor towards the right. Then either copy and paste your content into that text box, or drag it from your other open app. See my example:

(You may notice that when you begin dragging the Text element it’s a blue box…but as soon as you let go of it sort of morphs into the white text box shown below.)

Beginning to drag the textbox from The lefthand menu

  • Step 4 Make any Formatting Changes

You may have noticed that the title I entered already has some formatting. The word Will is in red and the word Title is bold. These are two of several different formatting changes you can make here.

Formatting Text in Weebly’s Editor

Formatting in Weebly is really straightforward. You just select the block of text that needs to be formatted and then use the toolbar that appears to make changes.

The only aspect that may prove slightly confusing is knowing what the various icons in the text formatting toolbar refer to. So I copied something from Weebly’s support Pages that describes what each menu item refers to.

Weebly's formatting toolbar explained

Weebly’s formatting toolbar explained

Dad is especially interested in how text is justified.  The menu icon for that is in the middle of the toolbar with 3 horizontal lines and a down arrow next to it.

Changing the color of fonts.

Adding color to fonts

Step 5 Publish the Webpage 

Once your page looks just the way you want it to click on Publish in the upper right hand corner. I believe that Weebly auto-saves your work while you’ve working on it…I know WordPress, my regular editor does. But if it doesn’t or if you often experience problems while posting something, you can do periodic ‘Publishes’ as you’re working …think of it as  ‘interim saves.’

So, the purpose of the final Publish is to allow Weebly a chance to create an internal link for it. Basically so that,you’ll have something to link to in the next task…adding a link to a menu or table of contents.

The Final Steps Are Hard To Illustrate with Screenshots So I Made a Video Demonstration

Below are the last steps which I cover in the video.

Step 6 Go to Your Table of Contents & Add the New Title

Step 7 Convert the New Title Into a Link

Step 8 Publish Your Table of Contents Page

Step 9  Thank Your Lucky Stars You Have a Daughter Who’s Happy to Write Up a Step-by-Step Guide for You

Video Demonstration | How to Create a Link in a Different Location to Your New Page

Or You Can Find my YouTube Video Demonstration by Clicking Here .

Initially I couldn’t get WordPress to embed this video, which is why I had the link to it…because really, the video has over half of the most important information in this post within it. Finally towards the end of the day imposed this I was finally able to embed it! Yay! Btw, embedding it means that it runs right within my tutorial instead of having to use a link to go watch it at YouTube.

 Below:   My YouTube Video

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Comments

Please feel free too leave me any comments by scrolling further down the page and looking for the little comments box.

Posted in Websites, Websites I Love, Weebly | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Learn to Protect Your Network From Botnets with 1 Simple Safety Measure

Update October 2017

I Decided to Repost This Because it’s Really Important, Really Timely & Because October is National Cyber Security Month 

Homeland Security's Announcement of National Cyber Security Month

Friends and family members have helped me to understand how utterly boring this entire topic is to the vast majority of people. Even to my followers who tend on average, to be much more knowledgeable about these kinds of things. Despite that, I implore you all to read this post through one time. It’s information that everyone really needs to know and understand enough about to follow the easy steps I describe towards the end.

This post was originally written about 6 months ago. In it I describe some simple measures everyone should take to insure that the networks they use the most, their home or small business ones, are secure and protected from hackers. As I already mentioned, the information I discuss is extremely important because it helps to ensure the security of your personal data and devices. Everything from cellphones to computers.

There have been several huge new data breaches, which makes these measures even more important, and that’s why I decided to repost this. I’ve also added a lot of new information to it. And, it’s this is a great lead-in for the next post in my Firewall Series. While  6 or 7 months doesn’t appear to be a very long period of time in the real world, in terms of the internet world, it’s a very long time indeed.

Office computer network center

Why This Post Is So Important

Everyone who uses the internet requires a network to do so. For most people this means that they have their own networks that they maintain in their homes and if they run their own business it’s quite likely they maintain a separate network for that. Any network needs a gateway device that brings the internet service you use and  probably pay for from your ISP (internet service provider,) into your home for use. It’s the security of this gateway device that’s so critical.

For some inexplicable reason there’s a huge disconnect in people’s understanding of the security of these gateway devices. The type of device in question may be a standalone modem or it might be a combined modem and router, or possibly even a 3-in-1 type of device that also creates a WiFi network. Regardless if the type of device it is, when you first set it up there’s one crucial step that needs to be taken to assure that your network remains secure. That step is to remove the default credentials that come installed on it and replace them with your own.

Most times the default credentials are something like admin for the username and admin for the password. Every brand of hardware uses their own default credentials. It’s relatively easy to discover what the default credentials are for any given brand because the manufacturers of the devices expect that users will change the defaults as a part of the install process. That’s where the disconnect comes into play. Most people don’t know that these defaults even exist and that they need to be changed to something secure.

An Arris Surfboard Modem

The main reason most people don’t know about this is because the devices have become very easy to install. They can generally just be plugged in and then need to be activated by calling your ISP. ISP’s fail to mention to users that after the activation users should secure them, and most people never even use the default credentials to log onto the device because there’s no reason to. But, even though you don’t log onto it, trust me, hackers can and will if the situation arises. Why would they do that? Because that device provides easy access to all of the devices that are using the network in question. Once a hacker has access to your network, hacking into individual devices is relatively easy.

But if you change the username and password of your gateway device (i.e. Your router or modem) to something that only you know, hackers will never have that opportunity. There’s one unintuitive aspect to logging onto these network devices.  But once you understand that you’ll see that changing these credentials is easy. The aspect that tends to confuse people is that to change the credentials you need to logon to the router using a web browser like Safari or Chrome. Using the same address bar that you would typically enter your Google search in, instead you enter the IP address for your device. The manufacturer should provide the IP address for you. If you can’t find it Google the model number of your device along with something like, ‘how to login to a net gear router model # XXXXXX’ and look for the manufacturers support page that provides this information.

Oftentimes the IP address will be something like 192.168.0.1. After you enter the IP address hit ‘Enter’ and you should arrive at a screen that looks something like this:

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Once you’ve arrived at the login screen simply enter the manufacturers default username and password and you will be taken to the router’s settings. From here look for a menu item that lets you change the default to something else. That’s all there is to it to making your network much safer and more secure. Further down in the post I show you more detailed instructions for accomplishing this, as well as some other settings you might want to consider changing as well.

Why a Standalone Modem is a Good Idea

The reason it suddenly dawned on me that I should repost these instructions is because we’re in the market for a new network modem. We recently upgraded our internet speed to 300 Mbps and our old modem couldn’t provide adequate throughput…so we switched to one offered by our ISP, Spectrum. But that one seems to have problems and I think it’s because it’s not just a simple modem but an ‘all-in-one‘ which also functions as a router and creates a WiFi network too…but we don’t use those features. After a lot of research I’ve learned that using these multi-function devices when you don’t need the additional functions they offer at best, isn’t an ideal situation, and at worst, can cause latency and signal dropping problems. Since these are some of the problems we’re experiencing, I decided we need to replace our modem.

Once I’ve decided upon the new modem I may write a post about that process…because it’s taking much longer than I would have thought it should take! But in the meantime…I ran across this handy chart that Spectrum (formerly)  Time Warner Cable provides for accessing the credentials of all of the modems they supply customers with. Since it can take readers some time and effort to find out this information on their own…and because it’s precisely what the topic of this post is all about, I decided to update this post and include this handy chart.

Below: Spectrum’s Handy Chart for all of their Modem credentials as well as their own step-by-step guide for changing the default credentials on their provided modems.

Spectrum's modem credential chart

Spectrum, as well as most internet providers have the tools available to their customers…usually online, to help them take the measures they need to protect their home networks. But they never tell the customers about them! This is so extremely important yet I never even knew that Spectrum provided this webpage for all their customers…and it took calling their tech support, which you know is a pain, to find it!

Introduction

I’m writing what’s ending up to become a very long series of articles on Hardware Firewalls. My initial goal was to introduce home users to this type of device and to show how they can be used in the quest for keeping computer networks safe. I wanted to tackle this subject because there isn’t a lot of information out there for home owners yet. But more importantly because there’s an emerging market of devices designed specifically for that purpose. I didn’t really realize however how complicated the topic would become.

Mainly because this is a new and rapidly expanding range of device types that’s exploding onto the marketplace which are focused upon serving this formerly ignored, but very real need. So the situation is this. With my Hardware Firewall article I’m trying to introduce home users to an already vast array of very new products, while concurrently giving adequate coverage to the many more that are planned to launch in 2017.

It seems like within this new niche there are almost as many different approaches for addressing this need as there are new devices. The product group as a whole is still too new to have any sort of order. Confusion will dictate until people have had enough time to try them all out and decide which approaches really work the best. So, my firewall article has ended up becoming a huge undertaking…one that I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve been struggling with how to simply represent all the new devices well in written form, much less try to compare and contrast them in an evaluative manner.

While working on that it suddenly dawned on me that people should know how to secure what they already have too. So this post began as yet another section that I was adding to an already far too long and complicated article. Ultimately I realized that this section could and should, stand on its own. It’s a separate and important enough topic in its own right and my unfinished firewall article is already way too long!

Websites like Norse and Fire Eye show you computer attacks around the world in real time.

Websites like Norse and Fire Eye show you computer attacks around the world in real time. Go to Fire Eye’s Cyber Threat Map

Why You Should Secure Your Network

Every computer network has one device that acts as the gateway to the internet. That device may connect to other network components that together compose the architecture of your network. Regardless of whether or not that network is large and complicated or it simply consists of one device…it all relies upon one key gateway device. This network serves every internet device within your home or office. Every single device from servers, computers and printers on down to smart light bulbs rely upon this network’s proper functioning.

If the network is hacked or stops working…then none of these devices will work. If your network is taken over by a Botnet for example, which is something  I speak from personal experience about, then it’s quite possible, and in fact likely that your network won’t always be available for your own use. Sometimes it may work, but other times it won’t. This inconsistent pattern of fluctuating up and downtime is one key indicator of a possible Botnet.

For sure it was our own Botnet experience that led to my becoming slightly obsessed with making sure our own network is always secure. This happened in the early days of networks. Our network had been secured, up until the point when one of our teenagers decided our aging router needed an upgrade. He installed some open source firmware on it (called DD-WRT) which was actually really great but he inadvertently removed the encrypted password needed to access our WiFi in the process. He also enabled remote access, and opened a port for port forwarding. He only thought to mention the upgrade to me, keeper of the network, after the fact, although he had run the concept by and garnered the necessary permission from his Dad beforehand. Truth be told neither of us really had a clue about the importance of our router back then…so when he did tell us about it we weren’t really concerned.

Photo credit: portalgda via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

How to Tell if Your Network is Part of a Botnet

Within a few months time we began having network outages as well as other annoying computer problems which started cropping up on a fairly regular basis. Slowly, over time our problems increased to a point where our network was rarely usable and most of the computers in our home seemed really virus prone and exhibited other aberrant behavior too. Our problems went way beyond the typical ones of the era…things like constant online popups, many spammy emails and occasional virus alerts were just the tip of the iceberg. At its worst point we’d watch while our computer’s would wake themselves up or change screens or applications right before our eyes. More and more it seemed like something or someone was controlling our computers much of the time.

If your network begins to exhibit this kind of behavior, it could be due to several factors. One of the network device’s might be malfunctioning, other unauthorized users could be using your network, or it could be that a Botnet has taken it over too. Most Bot Master’s (they are the hacker’s who manage the Botnet) will allow their victims to keep using their devices and their networks because they want to prevent them from growing suspicious which could lead them to take the necessary steps to oust the Botnet. Many more Botnets today are formed without involving computers at all. Their targets are networks with a lot of smart home or IoT (Internet of Things) devices. That kind of Botnet may never really register any obvious signs to their victims, which is one of many factors that makes this type of Botnet more attractive to the hacking community.

What Do Botnets Do?

If you’re wondering what hacker’s use these Botnets for, the short answer is that they are able to combine the ‘computing’ resources of all those small processors into one large, more powerful computing weapon that ultimately is used for the rather mundane activities most business-focused hackers provide as services to their clients. Crimes aimed at the general public which  are things like massive spam email campaigns that send out Trojans or virus-laden emails designed to entrap even more Botnet victims, or phishing campaigns designed to steal and then resell user identities or simply just acquire lots of user credentials for future theft involving financial transactions. Crimes aimed at the corporate world are generally designed to harm companies by attacking the computers that they depend upon to run their businesses.

You’ve probably heard of and wondered what DDoS attacks are. DDoS attacks are the main type of attack that Botnets are used for. They are very simple attacks which just rely upon lots of devices sending requests to the same computer at the same time. The sheer volume of the requests overwhelm the computer so much that it can’t do anything else like perform the tasks the business needs it too, to operate. The attacks can end up causing not just huge software problems but also hardware problems. So, while these may sound like confusing, highly technical concepts that are difficult to understand, in fact they are really just pretty ordinary ones that are performed using pretty low level functions. Most IoT devices have cpu’s in them which are tiny, but when they are all combined together they can be quite powerful and easily capable of performing these low level attacks.

Which explains exactly why securing your home modem is so effective. It’s really just a pretty simple action that you can take but it ends up keeping your router’s credentials private and under only your control. The sheer magnitude of protection that this one simple step affords is well worth the effort. Because in the larger picture, it’s your entire network of devices that you’re protecting…it benefits every single device within your home that can interact with other devices.

In any event, preventing these kinds of malicious attacks from occurring is much, much easier than it is to fix the kind of problems that will arise after an attack occurs. That’s why it’s so important to secure your network now.

If you’re not convinced yet, take a look at this 6 minute video which does a great job illustrating some of these concepts.

Photo credit: portalgda via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA
IMG_0293

A New Wave of Botnet’s Has Recently Appeared as Another Major Threat

I didn’t include this in my original discussion of botnets, because it wasn’t really something that was considered an imminent threat back when I first wrote this in March. But now, everything has changed. Botnets are back big time now and the need for family’s and individuals has never been greater for you to take a few minutes to secure your home network with the steps I describe in this post.

This new wave of Botnets is very different from the kind of botnet that took over my family’s network. Their primary purpose is to mine bitcoins. The whole topic of bitcoins is itself an extremely complex one and I don’t pretend to understand all that much of it myself. What I do understand is this. Bitcoins are a popular form of currency that are ‘created‘ by being ‘mined.’ This mining activity uses a huge volume of computing resources. The computers required to successfully mine  bitcoins would be very expensive to assemble and maintain…just the energy alone required to run one 24/7 is costly. What then are potential bitcoin miners without the proper resources to do? The answer is use other people’s computers without their knowledge. That’s exactly what a bitcoin mining botnet is…a network of innocent people’s computers that have been commandeered in working for a bot master to mine for them.

You might think to yourself, well, at least if my machine is taken over by this kind of a botnet I don’t need to worry that it’s going to go around hurting others…so I won’t worry about it too much…but that would be the wrong assumption to make. Because if a hacker can break down your security and enter your machine, every single bit of data contained with in it or that even simply passes through it on its way to the internet, is now accessible to that hacker. It’s only a matter of time before your credit cards and bank accounts are hacked too.

I truly don’t want to frighten readers…that’s the last thing in the world that I want to do. But we lived through all the horrors of having our network hacked. It was perhaps the worst ordeal of my life (despite that I almost died once!) and probably of all my family members too…even our kids. From start to finish the whole ‘awful period’ was about a year and a half long. It took that long for us to finally regain control of our network. We spent thousands of dollars hiring network consultants and replacing devices that simple wiping and reformatting didn’t fix. There were a few computers that were replaced multiple times. We couldn’t safely go online at all…and most of the time couldn’t even get online unsafely…because the botnet was using all of our bandwidth. It’s not an experience I want to ever see another person or family have to go through. 

That’s why, when I read about this new wave of mining Botnets I understood what a huge threat this poses to everyone…it’s a huge security concern for every single computer user today. It’s not a new kind of botnet…there have been bitcoin mining botnets before…but the economics of bitcoins have made the concept very popular amongst hackers once again. Even more worrisome is the fact that it appears this newish type of botnet is rapidly growing and gaining in popularity amongst even novice, or noncriminal hackers…it has a very broad appeal because it’s pretty easy to orchestrate for a hacker. This provides even more compelling reasons for you to make sure that you take the proper measures to protect all the computers and devices within your network right now!

Which Device Really Needs to Be Secured?

My firewall article will go into much greater detail about device protection…so this post is simply about securing what you already have in place for your network.

In 2017 almost everyone refers to their main network device as a router…but many cable and telephone providers actually provide their customer’s with combination units which include the modem function too. The difference is that a true modem just receives and re-transmits the provider’s signal into your home while also converting it from requiring either the telephone line cable or coaxial cable it enters the building with…to allow it to be used with an ethernet cable instead. So, users’ just need to stick to using one kind of cable, an ethernet cable, within their homes. Modems differ from routers because while modems bring the signal in, routers take that signal and divide it up for users to better access. Oftentimes the signal is split into a LAN (a wired Ethernet network) and a WLAN (a WiFi network.) But oftentimes routers also include several more LAN ports on back so several devices can connect to the LAN (also called the hard wired network) too. If your main network gateway device is indeed a router, than the modem (the hardware that’s necessary to receive the signal coming into your home or building and make it useable for all your devices) is actually built right into it.

So, overtime the terms ‘router’ or ‘modem’ came to be used interchangeably. The way that they are used however can vary somewhat…one type of device may be a combination or an ‘all-in-one’ device. It’s really easy to misidentify what your main device is too, because routers and modems today can look almost identical. So much so in fact, that I myself didn’t even realize until very recently that what I thought was just our modem was really a 3-in-1 combination unit. To complicate matters a little furtherthere are plenty of other network hardware devices that can also serve these functions too…like the traditional firewall devices that I discuss in my longer Firewall Series of articles. So firewalls can also act as a routers, as can wireless network devices…so it can get really confusing.

More Information About Some of the Newest Types of Network Hardware

Some of the newest network security devices are much more sophisticated routers with built-in security features. And then there’s another new class of routers which provide newer, more complex WiFi networking capabilities like cloud-based mesh ones which give you much faster, less problem-prone WiFi’s capable of handling gigabyte speeds. I don’t think there’s ever been a time in which there was such a vast range of network devices available to home owner’s. Gone are the days of the $75 router…the newer ones can get really pricey…like $400+ for high end versions.

Therefore, to alleviate any confusion I’ll try to stick to calling the device which is the subject of this post, the network gateway device. It’s the first device in your network, and it’s the one that’s connected directly to your internet service provider’s incoming signal.

It’s what you do to this device that’s the important part…not what you call it…

All network gateway device’s have settings that can be changed. The settings that are most vital for you to change are the device login credentials. Yet most people aren’t even aware of the fact that these settings exist! But there are also some additional ones that I suggest you should think about changing too…especially since you will have gone to all the trouble of figuring out what the default login is and then actually used it to log onto your device already.

Truth be told, I’m really puzzled why this information isn’t more public. It’s something that should be handed to every new customer buying a computer, subscribing to a network or buying any piece of network hardware. But, because no one talks about this people never learn that they can and should visit their main network device’s settings online to tweak a few things that could make themselves a lot less vulnerable to outside attacks. This in my mind is more important than using strong passwords, changing them often or, best…using a password manager. It’s more important even than understanding all the dangers of emails…because once a hacker has access to your network, they have access to every single device on it too. That’s also why it’s so hard to rid yourself of this problem after it occurs. Because it can cost you a lot of money and more often than  it you’ll end up having to dispose of many of your devices and getting new ones to replace them.

There are no simple fixes after the fact.

So, rather than my going into long explanations for each tweak I describe below (and risk boring you to the point of falling asleep,) I’m just telling you what needs to be changed and how it should be changed. You can Google more information about the why’s of it, if you really want to know more about each individual setting.

Since your router or modem is the gateway to your entire network…securing it isn’t just a good idea, it’s mandatory and nonnegotiable. It’s something you MUST do if you want to keep you, your personal data and your devices safe.

Our network

Our network

Because this is so important Homeland Security has created a webpage telling you what things should be secured and why.

Here’s a link to Homeland Security’s great information about securing the device that provides the internet gateway to you network.

Here’s another excellent and very detailed article about the many different ways a modem or router can be made most secure…but it’s also a bit techie.

If you don’t really understand technology and networks very well, I’ve written what I hope will be the most basic steps (for what is really a pretty complex topic) for you to follow to secure your network below.

Homeland Security's Webpage Warning Users to Change their Default Router Credentials

Homeland Security’s Webpage Warning Users to Change their Default Router Credentials

When Should You Do This?

Um..now? Please? ASAP would make sense, really. But if you’re wondering if you need to do this if you’re renting a modem or router from your isp, the answer is a resounding YES! It’s your network! Don’t think twice…they expect that you will do this!

Who Shouldn’t Do This?

No one! Everyone who has a network…literally everyone…needs to do this!

Unless you’re a kid! Then talk to your parents and help them to do it if they are unsure. But don’t do it all on your own…because one tiny mistake could cause huge problems you had no idea about. Even though your parents don’t know as much as you do about all this tech stuff, trust me when I say, they do possess certain knowledge and skills that you just don’t have yet. So, your combined wisdom should be used if they can’t manage this on their own!

Parents…read my article about how our network was invaded by a Botnet if you want to understand why you should do this with your kid rather than leaving it up to them to do alone!

Steps to take to Secure Your Network Gateway Device

Step 1 to Secure Your Network:

This is by and large the most important change to make. If you do nothing else but just make this one change you will have gone a very long way towards protecting you and your family from the dangers of the internet and hackers!

Change the device’s login name and password.
FYI, my router’s login name was: admin & the password was also admin

I changed both so that hacker’s couldn’t get into my gateway device’s settings and essentially take control of it, (which, by the way, is exactly how our network was taken over by a Botnet many years ago.)

Here are 2 links that explain how to login to your router:

Link 1: CNET’s article on defending your outer.

This is the easiest and fastest method. But sometimes it doesn’t work because you can’t figure out what your brand of router is using for its IP address or it’s been changed. If that’s the case, then use the 2nd link’s steps to connect to it. If you’re a Spectrum customer refer to the screenshot I added towards the top of the post, which provides logins for all their current devices as well as step-by-step instructions.

FYI, oftentimes this is written on a sticker that’s on the bottom or the back side of the device, but if there’s no sticker the 3 most common IP addresses are:

  • 192.168.1.1
  • 192.168.0.1
  • 192.168.100.1

Link 2: If following the steps in Link 1 doesn’t work for you then follow the steps described in this Link 2.

Step 2 to Secure Your Network:

Make sure your wireless network requires a password to join it and that the password uses strong encryption. Currently the best encryption for this is WPA2 Personal.

Here’s a link to linksys showing how to do this on many of their routers, but the Homeland Security site above also gives good advice for this.

Step 3 to Secure Your Network:

Disable any features you’re not using which make your router vulnerable to outside attacks.

Disable all of these settings

• Remote access or remote management
• UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
• WPS (WiFi Protected Setup)
• Telenet
• SSH
• HNAP
• Port forwarding

These should all be turned off.

If you’re unsure about turning any of these off and are worried that doing so might hurt something else that you’re using….then just think about it like this instead.

If you didn’t turn these services on..who did? Some, like UPnP may have been turned on by default by the maker of your device. But if you’re not using those services, you shouldn’t leave secret doors for hackers to use to gain access to your network. Just turn them all off and write down what you changed.

If turning them off causes any unforeseen problems, you can go back and just turn them on again. If you think that this may happen because other people also help in maintaining your network…maybe a spouse, a teen, or your internet provider service people…then write in a note to yourself about exactly what changes you made so it’s easier to change back again…although I highly doubt you’ll need to do that.

Step 4 to Secure Your Network:

Write down the new login name and password and tape it to the bottom of the device. Maybe even include the IP address that worked for you.

While you don’t want this information to get lost…don’t worry too much about it. If it does get lost you can just reset the device, bringing it back to its defaults. In fact, under Step 1 above, the 2nd link step’s tell you exactly how to do that.

Congratulations!

If you’ve successfully made it all the way through this guide…congratulations, you’ve just taken some really huge steps to secure your network! Steps, which the majority of people don’t take because either they don’t know that the risks exist, or they think that doing this will be too confusing or complicated. But really it’s not, if you just know what to do, right?

If you want to learn more about ways to keep your network safe and secure you can subscribe to receive an email whenever I write a new post. The subscribe form should be somewhere below this on the bottom right side of the screen.

Comments

I really love getting feedback from my readers! Therefore I try to make it as easy as possible for readers by not requiring you to add your email address, unlike most comment sections you’ll encounter on blogs. I’ve gone a step further though because you don’t even need to include your real name. You do need a name of some kind…but that can be whatever you want it to be. You’ll find the place to leave comments by scrolling down past the end of this post and looking for the little comments box.

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How to Search for an Image or Photo Online Using Only an Image | Discover Tin Eye

Did You Ever Want to Find Out More About a Photograph or Image Online?

But you didn’t know how to go about conducting that kind of a web search? Maybe it’s because you want to discover where you originally found an image that you saved, but you didn’t think to write down the source of it at the time you saved it.

That’s exactly what I wanted to do recently. I have a photo album I call ‘Cool Photos’ that I save images I like in. I created this album years ago. Recently I wanted to use one of the images in a post, but I didn’t want to use it without knowing how to properly credit its source if it’s originator required accreditation.

 This image is called Danbo and I found it searching for free HD wallpaper at wallpaperwide.com a few years back. Jennifer Chang 2009 is the creator I think.

This image is called Danbo and I found it searching for free HD wallpaper at wallpaperwide.com a few years back. Jennifer Chang 2009 is the creator I think.

So I set out to figure out where I’d found the photo.

Introducing Tin Eye the Free Online Reverse Image Search Engine

Tin Eye is a free online tool that’s really cool! I remember first discovering Tin Eye about 6 or 7 years ago, and thinking that what it could do was pretty amazing. But I also remember spending quite a bit of time just trying to figure out how to use it. In it’s early years, Tin Eye wasn’t very user friendly, and it didn’t seem like they were interested in pursuing the avenue of attracting the general public. Their site was built for corporate users who had a lot of technical knowledge I didn’t. So I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover what Tin Eye has developed into today. Their website couldn’t be more user friendly, while maintaining a beautiful aesthetic and more services than I was aware of.

What is Tin Eye?
But let’s start at the beginning with what Tin Eye is and what they do. What Tin Eye writes about themselves is that they are an image search and recognition company who are experts in computer vision, pattern recognition, neural networks and machine learning. Their mission is to make all of the images that are online searchable.

In practice Tin Eye provides a free Reverse Image Search Engine tool to the online world. Their tool works somewhat like how a reverse telephone directory does. In case you’re unfamiliar, reverse telephone directories allow you to enter a landline telephone number and find the address for that phone number. But in the case of Tin Eye you search for photographs instead.

How Does Tin Eye Work?

How to Use Tin Eye’s Search Tool

The search engine itself works by using proprietary advanced image identification technology. It works for users like this. First, you visit their website hereYou can begin your search by either entering a URL in the search box or uploading a photograph.


When you tap or click on the magnifying glass or hit enter or return, Tin Eye searches for all the instances of where that photograph may reside online, and displays them for you. In my example above I searched for the photo at the top of this post and my search results are displayed in the screenshot below. Then I remembered that I’d been searching for interesting wallpaper’s for my Nexus 7 Tablet and that I’d run across this great site, HD Wallpaperonline.com where they offered a ton of cool images for people to use for free as wallpaper backgrounds.

What Can You Use Tin Eye For?

There are probably a lot more uses for Tin Eye than those I can think of, but the ones that immediately come to mind for me are these:

  1. If you have a low resolution image that you found online and need a higher resolution version of it.
  2. If you’ve used your own original photography online and you want to find out if anyone else has reused your work without your consent.
  3. If you have an image that you found online and that you want to use online but you first want to make sure that you are able to properly credit the source of it.
  4. Find the source for any image or the content creator, or you just want more information about it.
  5. Find all of the webpages that use a specific image.
  6. If you want to verify that someone on social media is who they say they are.

The last isn’t one I can take credit for. I discovered it in a 2011 ZdNet article which discusses Google’s launch of their own competing tool they can Google’s Search by Image. In that ZDNet article Stephen Chapman present’s the following creative scenario:

Let’s say someone added you on Twitter or Facebook. You see their main picture and you think to yourself, “man, that sure is an attractive person… almost too attractive to have just added me to their list of friends!” Lucky you, you can now save that picture (or copy the direct link to it), go to a site like Tin Eye or Google Images, then upload the picture (or provide the direct link) to it and voila! If that picture has been found anywhere on the Web by Tin Eye or Google Images, you will be provided with links to all the places that image was found.

Stephen’s description is really a great one I think since the explosion of social media sites have resulted in user dangers like catfishing, which is when someone impersonates a more likeable character and targets another, more vulnerable online member, and builds a relationship with them based purely upon lies. If you’ve never heard of catfishing and you’re active on social media sites you should familiarize yourself with the concept so you never fall prey to a catfish scheme. Social Media’s 12 Signs That You Might be Getting Catfished Online is a great place to get up to speed on the topic.

Using More Advanced Features of Tin Eye

While I can’t speak from personal experience because my Use has always been very simple…like the example described above. You can use Tin Eye for more advanced things too. Tin Eye describes some of this in the screenshot below:

You can learn a lot more about Tin Eye, their image indexing and how to work with it at their FAQ webpage…as well as discover some amazing statistics about Tin Eye too!

Like the fact that currently they’ve indexed 22,372,262,404 images on the web! That’s 22 Billion!! And they add hundreds of millions of new images to TinEye every month…their index is constantly growing.

Google Photo Reverse Image Search

While Tin Eye was the originator of reverse image searching, Google Photos has also offered this kind of function via various different means throughout the years. Their original tool was called Google Goggles, but it never really took off and then Google shut it down.

Their current offering can be found by just Googling ‘Google Photos Reverse Images.’  Here’s a link to their support pages which describe how to use their tool. Many predicted that Tin Eye was going to lose their market share when Google finally entered the scene with a viable product offering but that hasn’t happened and Tin Eye remains in their well-earned lead

Google Image Search Isn’t As User Friendly as Tin Eye

If you want to use Google’s Image Search on a mobile device it’s best to use the Chrome browser and follow the steps outlined in their support pages shown below.

How to use Google Image Search on Mobile Devices

Below are some of Google’s instructions for using their search image tool on computers.

Use Google Image Search on a Computer

Use Google Image Search on a Computer

Just last month the New York Times wrote a helpful piece on using Google Image Search on mobile devices. And Greenlane Marketing wrote a great blog post on their 3 favorite image search tools with some useful comparisons you can find here.

The New York Times piece on Google Image Search on the Go

 

Comments

Please feel free to add any of your favorite image search tools in the comments section below.

In the interest of preserving reader’s privacy any comments you make here can be done in complete anonymity…or not…it’s up to you. Just use an alias for your name if you don’t want your real name displayed publicly. Look for the comment’s box a little further down below.

Posted in Photo Editing on ios, Photography, Tech Tips, Websites I Love | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple’s Restocking Early to Sell iPhone 8!

Wireless charging

Wow…It’s Happening Already !!!

Apple has Shut Down their Site Early for iPhone 8 Restocking

Whenever someone in my family needs to get a new iPhone, we  excitedly monitor Apple.com late the evening before the day the iPhones will go on sale. Usually sometime after midnight the Apple website shuts down and all they show is this message:

Apple site we'll be back notice

Here’s a link to the post where I describe how to be one of the first people on the planet to order a new iPhone as well as how I first discovered this early ordering trick.

My post about being 1st to buy iPhone

If you’d like to closely monitor when Apple’s site comes back for business…here’s the link you need.

Tech Radar’s Comparison 4 Minute Video

Tech Radar made the best video I found that compares the features of all three phones.

Some of the Major Differences | iPhone X  8+ &  8

 IMG_1506

Battery Comparison Between iPhone X  8+  and  6+

IMG_1505

Helpful Links

iPhone 8 information including some tech specs for iPhone X too.

iPhone 8 models and pricing

iPhone 8 Tech Specs

Compare All iPhone Models

Gallery of New iPhone Images

iPhone PDF’s

I made a couple downloadable PDF’s for you to peruse until the Apple site comes back up.

Compare all New iPhone Models

iPhone 8 Tech Specs

Compare iPhone X to iPhone 8

Comments

If you have anything to add, now’s the time. In the interest of preserving reader’s privacy any comments you make here can be done in complete anonymity…or not…it’s up to you. Just use an alias for your name if you don’t want your real name displayed publicly. Look for the comment’s box a little further down below.

Posted in Apple Devices, Apple Watch, Apple's New iPhones, iPhone | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment