Updates: February 2002

February 23, 2002
Did you patch your Windows computers/servers today?  You can do this at WindowsUpdate.com or Windowsupdate.microsoft.com.  You should be visiting them EVERY week.  So far, a week has not passed where Microsoft has not released a patch.

I added several new mail servers to the Server Software section.  If you have a good one, let me know.

Mail Server Software

Added more goodness to our Member Sites page.

February 17, 2002
I added a new website uptime monitoring service to Test/Tools which monitors your website uptime and notifies you when your website is inaccessible.  I personally haven't tried it out, but it looks promising.  If you try it out, let me know how you like it.

I added a new website to the Connections section called World of ADSL.

Added a few new entries in our Member Sites page.

February 9, 2002
The month of January was a very successful month for this site.  Here are some stats just in case you're interested.

Total visitors: 27,715
Unique visitors: 19,557
Total page views: 173,796 according to WebTrends, 207,421 according to Analog
Data transferred: 6.2 gigabytes
Pretty good considering that this site runs on a 128k upstream DSL line.

Added a update to the Server Software section which I'll display here since it's pretty important:

Server security:
If you use Windows, make sure to install the latest service packs and critical updates.  The easiest way to make sure that you have all the proper patches is to visit Windows Update at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.  When you go there, click on "Product Updates".  The first time you visit, you will be asked to install a small plugin into your web browser.  Accept this and then the system will scan your computer to see what updates you need.  Don't worry, no information is being transferred to Microsoft.  You'll then see a huge list of potential updates.  The ones you really need to pay attention to are in the "Critical Updates and Service Packs" section.  Check the appropriate boxes and hit "Download".  The updates will then be installed automatically.  Depending on which updates you install, you may or may not need to restart your computer.  You should visit Windows Update at least once a week for all your computers running Windows, no matter if it's running as a server or not.
Here is a another Server Software section I added:
Running Programs and Batch Files as Services
On your webserver, you may often times want to run programs constantly in the background.  These are called services.  Services are programs that always run when the computer is booted up whether or not somebody is logged in.  What is the difference between a service and a program?  A service runs whether or not somebody is logged in.  A program only starts when somebody to logged in.  Even if you put a program in the "Startup" folder, the program won't run until somebody logs in.  And when when the program does start, it will be a window in the foreground.  If you close the window, the program stops.  On the other hand, a service will run all the time and in the background with no window.  Here is a common scenario, you have cool program/utility that you want running all the time, such as FREEping which pings an IP address continuously to keep your DSL/Cable line alive.  However, FREEping doesn't have an option to run as a service.  How do you get around this problem.  Most likely, you would install FREEping on your server and then put it into the "Startup" folder so that it runs when you log into the computer.  But you want to keep the server secure so you use the "Control-Alt-Del" command and select the "Lock Workstation" Command.  This works just fine, but there are potential problems.  1.  If your computer is accidentally powered off and turned on again, and you are not there to log in, the program will never start and your DSL/Cable line could go to sleep.  2.  The FREEping window is always on your taskbar and takes up space.  The solution?  Turn your favorite program / utility into a service which runs all the time and in the background.  A good solution is FireDaemon. FireDaemon will turn practically any program into a service.  Very useful tool. 

On the other hand, if you have batch files that you need executed when a computer is turned on without somebody logging in, take a look at Greyware Autoexec Service. This program cannot run programs as services, but what it does is run batch files once when the computer is booted up and then quits.

I also did a bit of updating in the DNS section so that it makes more sense.  DNS is a tricky subject!

February 8, 2002
I added a few new "Whois" tools in the Tools/Tests section. Got some cool tools?  Email them to me!  Also added a new forum software package called ASP Fast Forum to Server Software.  See if it works for you.