Serious DIY System Wide Ad Blocking How-to for Free!

Alright so there’s a ton of addons for firefox that will let you skip all the ad’s on most sites out there, but let’s say you want to do that in all your browsers! Here’s a great roll your own way of doing it with a few free software install’s on your own pc that will block most any ad’s as well as display whatever you want it to in there places!

Here’s some examples.

Facebook:

Hulu Desktop:

Myspace:

Information Weekly:

And all of this is done before a request is sent out so they never have to know!

What’s going on is I’ve edited my HOSTS file and have a local web server to serve up the error pages.

Really it’s simple. I promise! The hardest part is designing the error page’s html :) (and I’ll include mine as well below)

So first off you need to edit your HOSTS file. This is like your pre DNS lookup so if you have sites you frequent often and would like them to load slightly faster, add them to your hosts file and it will save a request to your DNS Server (usually given by your ISP however I recommend OpenDNS or google’s new DNS which seems pretty fast!)

The program I use to edit my HOSTS file is called Hostman and it’s a great little app that runs at startup and will let you know if there’s updates to the built in list’s that they offer. You of course can add your own sources to it if you so choose however they do a pretty good job and are updated often. Along with that you can use the built in http server to report the IP of the site’s being blocked however I wanted a better error page so I installed my own http server using NGINX locally as it uses very little resources and works a treat!

So you’ve got Hostman installed, selected the blocklists that you want (and or added your own sources like bluetack or whatever) and have updated your HOSTS file. Great! Now let’s get to NGINX’s configuration!

Download and extract the NGINX file’s to your root drive (ie C:/) so you have a folder C:/nginx inside there you’ll find a folder called conf and of course that’s where the configuration file’s are located. Open C:/nginx/conf/nginx.conf with your favorite editor (I love Notepad ++) and on line 48 you’ll see something like this:

[codesyntax lang="text" lines_start="48" highlight_lines=""]

[/codesyntax]

This will tell you the directory for your custom error page to be displayed everytime an ad is blocked. Mine looks like this:

[codesyntax lang="html4strict" highlight_lines=""]

[/codesyntax]

This will center the text both horizontally and verticly. and display it on a black background with white text (unless otherwise noted like my red text)

You of course can add images, or whatever else you might find interesting, and it will be displayed. I like this because it’s fast and light so there’s no delay displaying it on the webpage.

Once you’ve added your changes (if you made any) you need to start NGINX and that’s just a quick press of the Windows button, type in cmd and simply change directory’s to the nginx folder

[codesyntax lang="text" highlight_lines=""]

[/codesyntax]

then starting the NGINX Server.

[codesyntax lang="text" highlight_lines=""]

[/codesyntax]

You’ll see a window open ever so briefly and then dissapeer you should now be able to go into your web browser and go to http://localhost and be shown your homepage running on NGINX locally, try http://localhost/error and you should see your error page pop on screen. Viola! Your http server is working properly!

Now the nice thing about this setup is it works system wide, so ANYTHING making a query over the internet is subject to the blocking power of this setup so if you have a program that’s ad supported and it no longer works this might be the cause, however I believe even that would be a very rare occurrence.

I Hope this setup helps you keep your speed and privacy up this holiday season and Merry Christmas to you all! (You’ll also note that I don’t have any ad’s on my sites, feel free to thank me in the comment’s if you appreciate this!)

Getting the Linksys WPSM54G Working on Linux and Windows 7!

First off this post is more for my own remembrance then informational and is aimed at the more advanced user then just putting in the disk and following the directions  (which will work just fine if you are running Windows Vista but not 7) however I was having issues getting this to work on linux as well as logging in to the web interface where this will mostly be taking place.

First before you can get to it wirelessly you will need to set up the Print Server. Attach it to your Router directly (wired). (I recommend anything running DD-WRT as I’ll be using this in my descriptions to follow. More on this in a bit.) After it’s attached Power it on.

Once the light’s turn green, head on over to your browser and login to your routers interface and head on over to the “Status” Tab.

Find and click on the “LAN” Sub-Tab and look for your Linksys Print Server and make note of it’s IP. (Mine is named LKEED64C don’t ask me why and for this walkthroughs sake we’ll assume it’s on IP 192.168.0.555)

Now that you’ve found the IP go ahead and open another tab in your browser (ctrl+t) and browse to the web interface at [codesyntax lang="text"]

[/codesyntax]

This will bring up the first page asking for your password. The default username is blank and the password is “admin” Please for god’s sake, CHANGE THE DEFAULT PASSWORD!!!

After you’ve changed the password go to the “Protocol” page and set your IP to be static. (special note to those running DD-WRT if your network is mostly dynamically assigned the IP’s if you set your server’s IP out of the normal range it will remain static and you don’t have to worry about collisions if another device takes it) Go ahead and set it for your network. In my example the IP would be 192.168.0.555 Netmask would be : 255.255.255.0 and Gateway would be the router at IP 192.168.0.1 and then click Save.

Now click the wireless tab and set your SSID to whatever your’s is, click save then do the same for your security tab. I won’t be of much help posting my info here as you should already know that information.

Now you can disconnect the power to the linksys print server and the Ethernet cable, move it to wherever your printer is located, and hook up the printer then power back on the print server.

Your Print Server is now ready to be put into action!

Now to get your Linux-Mint, Ubuntu, Debian or such laptop out and let’s get it printing!

Open your Menu and go to Administration>Printing. Select New>Printer. Once the Select Device window pop’s up, Select “Other” and in the “Enter device URI” window enter in this: [codesyntax lang="text"]

[/codesyntax]

You should then be asked what type of printer is attached for CUPS to install the proper drivers, and then you should be able to print a test page! Your Linux install can now print wirelessly anywhere!

Now for Windows 7 users getting connected to the printer. First off, I recommend having already hooked up the printer to your system beforehand and have the proper drivers for your printer already installed it just makes things easier.

Click your start menu and select Printers and Devices. Then right click inside the window and select Add a new printer, then Select Networked Printer. It will start scanning for attached networked printers, but it doesn’t find mine so I just click stop and select the “The printer that I want isn’t listed.”

Select the radio button that says”Add a printer using TCP/IP blah blah blah” and click Next.

For the Hostname enter in your Print Server’s IP of 192.168.0.555 and click Next.

Let it query the Printer for drivers automatically.

The Additional Port Information needed window should pop up just keep it selected at “Generic Network Card” and click Next. Select your printer from the drivers list and click next, if you have already installed them just keep the one’s you have (it says it’s recommended anyways)

Then just name your printer (I like to add “(NETWORKED)” to the end of mine to keep it easily identifiable) and you should be able to print a test page to confirm that everything works! (I have it set as the default printer. It’s up to you if you choose to do the same)

And now you should be able to print from both new OS’s using the Linksys WPSM54G wirelessly! Phew!

Opera 10.10 and Opera Unite Kick Ass!

So I’ve been a long time lover of the Opera Browser Family (then firefox took over for a few years) and I have to say, I’m back and loving it!

They have made MANY improvements, and speeded up the whole browsing experiance, as well as score a perfect 100 out of 100 in the acid 3 test (which is no small feat!)

Now they’ve always done thing’s there own way and a bit differently then the other’s and for once I’m very excited to see the addition of Opera Unite which is taking your browser’s experience and turning it more into a content provider as well by offering a web server, music and webcam streaming, photo and file sharing as well as private AND group chat’s all provided by your browser and that’s not all!

You can view my simple page that links to my other sites by viewing it here. (of course that does mean that my browser must be open and online, but most of the time it is!)

You can get yourself a copy and read more of the goodness that is Opera Browser by going to there site at http://www.opera.com/ and getting your own copy!