Other Computing

How to read the Wall Street Journal for free

Google has an agreement with the Wall Street Journal to allow people who get referred to their site using Google news service to read the full password protected articles on the WSJ.

Steps to read the Wall Street Journal for free

1) Copy the headline of the password protected Wall Street Journal article you want to read.

2) Visit and paste the headline in the search box.

3) Clink on the link leading to the Wall Street Journal article, you will now be able to read it as you will have been referred by Google News.  Note that there is a limit on the number of WSJ articles you can read for free everyday day using Google News.

Tip: If you get too many results from Google News, make sure to type “” after your search words, this will make sure that only results belonging to the Wall Street Journal website are shown.

Wall Street Journal Newspaper
Wall Street Journal Newspaper

UPDATE March 2012: The is now limiting the free articles through Google news, it won’t work all the time.

Other Computing

List of search engines giving money to charities

Dogpile: A a metacrawler using a combination of Google, Bing and Ask to get its search results, this search engine will donate part of the generated revenue to animal rescue organisations helping out abandoned dogs, cats and other pets. The sponsored search results are not clearly marked, they are located above and below their results.

Optionally DogPile provides a toolbar that you can download to use the search engine directly from your internet browser.

Dogpile animals charity search engine
Dogpile animals charity search engine

GoodSearch: It uses Yahoo for its results and it allows you to choose what charity you want to support before starting the search, there is an enormous wide range of good causes supported, cancer treatment, local animal refuges, privacy rights group advocates, etc.

You can buy goods using one of the digital discount coupons provided by GoodSearch search engine portal instead of going to the online shop directly and you will be helping fund raise money for your charity at the same time as you save cash yourself.

Goodsearch charity search engine
Goodsearch charity search engine

LookPink: Every one of your Internet searches using LookPink helps raise money to find a breast cancer cure, visitor’s searches help fund major breast cancer prevention foundations. The amount of funding generated per search depends on the search term and actions completed after the search is conducted.

LookPink cancer charity search engine
LookPink cancer charity search engine

Ripple: This search engine supports various third world development charities, only searches from the ripple homepage or toolbar make money for charity. Repeat searches you do from the results pages will not as Google provides the results page, and Ripple can not place their search sponsor there.

Ripple charity search engine
Ripple charity search engine

How search engines make money

Search engines make billions of Euros a year, every time you perform a search you are presented with sponsored results, when you click on one of those sponsored links the search engine gets paid, what it is known as pay per click, the price of that click will depend on the user location, the wealthier the country where the user is located the more the click will be worth, it will also depend on the product being sold, companies selling products with a high margin will be willing to pay more for each user the search engine refers to them.

Online stores bid for keywords in order to rate higher in the search engine results, the higher up their name comes up the more they have to pay with each click having a higher costs.

Retailers can discriminate certain countries in the search engine results deciding not to show up in them, a company only capable of selling to US based customers will not have any interest in visitors coming from somewhere else and ban them.

Helping animal shelter & good causes searching

The Internet portal providing the searching services gets a cut from each click on the sponsored results, one part goes to the search provider, Google or Bing, and the other part goes to the website where the search has originated from, that is how these charity friendly search engines are able to make money.

Instead of you using or to carry out your next Internet search, you can use a search engine giving you the same results and at the same time you will be helping charity not costing you a dime.

Other Computing

Firefox addons to bypass the censorship filter in Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia and others

To bypass ISP censorship filtering in the Middle East and China you can either deploy a VPN service that will route all your connection through a foreign service, including P2P and other traffic, or if you can’t install a Firefox addon that will only route the websites you visit in Firefox and keep your original computer IP in a different browser.

Cocoon: A free USA proxy server that will identify you on the Internet as being located in the US. You will be able to unblock US TV and also get around ISP censorship. It will also protect your information from hackers encryption the communications in between your browser and the website you visit.

AnonymoX: One of top used proxy addons in Firefox, it has dozens of servers worldwide, it will not only help you bypass ISP censorship but also help you watch geoblocked content like or Slacker radio.

Chinese police raids illegal Internet café
Chinese police raids illegal Internet café

FoxyProxy: An advanced proxy management tool with a tabbed interface, it comes preloaded with proxies from all over the world and allows you to choose what country you would like to appear from. You can even specify what country should each website use.

Autoproxy: With Autoproxy you no longer need to switch your proxy status between on & off manually. If you prefer to visit a website via proxy, just add it’s domain to AutoProxy’s preference.

ProxySelector: WIth this addon you will need to enter your own list of proxies, it is not suitable for automatic access because you have to configure it manually but if you have a list of proxy server IPs, this addon will help you manage them.

Other Computing

Methods to find out if your ISP is throttling your bandwidth

Bandwidth throttling and traffic shaping happens when a network attempts to limit the amount of bandwidth that a given service or user may use. Many ISPs terms and conditions specify a maximum data download per month allowed but they are not too keen to tell you about it when you sign up with them.

Citing bandwidth abuse from a few users some ISPs will sneakily throttle the Internet speed for users they claim to be downloading too much data, this bandwidth throttling is mostly used against P2P software protocols as P2P software is notorious for its bandwidth usage, technically bandwidth limits could be imposed to any application and it is often used for people on mobile Internet tariffs.

If you observe your Internet speed has ups and downs frequently or peer to peer applications do not reach the same Internet speed that your browser does, chances are that your ISP could be rate limiting your traffic for certain bandwidth intensive operations or at peak time.

How to test if your ISP is limiting Internet bandwidth

Nealyzr: Online test that analyses your overall Internet connection, it can detect an ISP slow DNS server, blocked TCP and ports, IMAP, SSL diagnosis and much more. You will have to allow Java to run in your computer, which could be a security risk if you don’t know the source. The project is backed up by the University of Berkeley which is a trust worthy entity.

Switzerland Network Testing Tool: This open source tool has been developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and it will test the integrity of data communications over networks, ISPs and firewalls. This traffic shaping test will spot IP packets which are forged or modified between clients, inform you, and give you copies of the modified packets.

NOTE: The Switzerland Network Testing Tool only works from command line, to be used by advanced computer users.

Internet connection bandwidth throttling
Internet connection bandwidth throttling

Glasnost test: To perform this Internet traffic shaping test you will need Java installed. The Glasnost test can detect bandwidth throttling in P2P software, Email, video streaming and even Usenet traffic shaping.

This traffic shaping test uses a Java applet to compare your regular download speed against the speed at which Flash videos get streamed to your system. It can also compare the download speed for email attachments (via POP and IMAP), normal HTTP based file transfers, torrents and binary downloads from Usenet servers.

The Glasnost test will create a fake data stream between your computer and their servers and then monitor the data packets flow.

Measurement Lab: M-Lab is a multi-functional internet performance measurement tool supported by Google that includes numerous online tests to check your Internet connection reach, ideal to troubleshoot Internet network problems.

Neubot: A research project that checks network neutrality is being enforced. You have to download their open source client for Windows, Mac or Linux and run it in your computer, the program will perform a series of tests in the background using the distributed Measurement Lab platform to find out if any kind of throttling is taking place. Data is collected by the University of Torino to carry out an study on Internet providers that throttle bandwidth.

How to run a traffic shaping test

Some Internet Service Providers only limit Internet speed at peak times, if you suspect your ISP is limiting your bandwidth consider carrying out various tests at different times and make sure that there are no other processes running in the background before performing the ISP throttling test.

Other Computing

What your credit card numbers mean

Every time you enter your credit card number into a form the credit card processor will perform a series of security checks based on the information that those numbers give away.

Credit card numbers are not randomly assigned, each digit in the number sequence has a meaning. Some companies like department stores and phone companies have their own numbering systems, but ANSI Standard X4.13-1983 is the system used by most national credit card systems.

Credit card number length will change depending from issuer, the most usual is 16 digits divided in groups of 4.

Credit card number length

The first credit card number will always be 3, 4, 5 or 6 and it is known as the Major Industry Identifier (MII), this number represents the entity which issued your card.

  • American Express: 15 digits
  • Visa: 13 or 16 digits
  • Mastercard: 16 digits
  • Discover: 16 digits
  • Diner’s Club/Carte Blanche: 14 digits
Credit card number codes by issuer
Credit card number codes by issuer

Meaning of the credit card first digit

American Express and Diners Club credit cards also use a second digit to identify the company. Diners Club cards will start with either 36 or 38, and American Express cards use 34 or 37.

The rest of the credit card digits meaning will vary depending on credit card type and issuing company. Normally the numbers grouped after the opening series are the routing number of the bank and the next group of digits represents the user’s account number.

  • Number 3: Travel and entertainment cards such as American Express or Diners Club.
  • Number 4: Visa credit card and Visa branded debit cards.
  • Number 5: Mastercard credit card and Mastercard branded debit cards.
  • Number 6: Discover credit card.

The other credit card numbers explained

  • American Express: Digits three and four are type and currency, digits from five to eleven are the account number, digits from twelve up to fourteen are the card number within the account and digit fifteen is the check digit.
  • Visa: Digits from two through six are the bank number, digits seven through twelve or seven through fifteen are the account number and digit thirteen or sixteen (depending on credit card numbers length) is the check digit.
  • MasterCard: Digits two and three, two through four, two through five or two through six are the bank number (depending on whether digit two is a 1, 2, 3 or other). The digits after the bank number up through digit fifteen are the account number, and digit sixteen is a check digit.

The final credit card number is a check digit, a checksum number calculated using the Luhn algorithm and used for fraud check purposes.

Credit card numbers explained
Credit card numbers explained

Credit and debit card security code explained

Credit and debit cards also contain a credit card verification code that it is known as CCV, CSC,CVC2, CVV2, CID2 and many other acronyms depending on who the credit card issuer is.

  • MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, Discover, and JCB credit and debit cards have a three digit card security code printed at the back of the card but the latest US MasterCard and Visa cards feature this code in a separate panel to the right of the signature strip to prevent overwriting of the numbers when you sign the card.
  • American Express cards have a four-digit code printed on the front side of the card above the number and they call it Card Identification Number ( CID).

The credit card verification value is normally used for card not present transactions, like shopping over the Internet or buying items by mail, credit card regulations state that this number can never by stored by the merchant making it more difficult for a thief to get hold of it.

The card verification value at is calculated by encrypting the bank card number, expiration date and service code using encryption keys known only to the issuing bank, the end result is the three of four digit decimal number printed on your card.

Other Computing

Private internet browsing mode vulnerabilities

Internet Explorer 8, Firefox +3.5 and Safari have an internet browsing “privacy mode”, using it to surf the Internet it is meant not to leave an internet cache, history cookies or anything else behind that could jeopardise your internet surfing privacy, but there are two things that still give away what sites you have visited.

  • Cached DNS Entries: In order to be able to surf the internet you will need use a DNS server to resolve the URLs and this will be cached locally into your machine for a while to speed up your internet surfing, this entries also get cached in private mode browsing.

You can see this yourself opening up the command prompt inWindows, type or cmd.exe at the search box to get to the Windows command prompt box.

Now type:
ipconfig /displaydns

Windows cmd.exe command line prompt
Windows cmd.exe command line prompt

You will see the full list of cached DNS entries, open up a new private browsing session, re-run the command again and see how the sites you just visited got added. Anyone with access to your computer, such as a noisy College systems administrator or your boss at work can see this too.

To clean up the cache just type in:
ipconfig /flushdns

  • Flash Cookies: Even in privacy mode evil flash cookies will get stored into the %appdata%\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjectsdirectory, and they can reveal what sites gave them to you, and what day and at what time you visited them, you can delete these flash cookies manually.
Other Computing

Review: Hide My Ass VPN provider for anonymous internet surfing

Some of you may know Hide My Ass for their free cgi proxy but they also run a premium VPN for anonymous surfing, their VPN is much better than a cgi proxy because it protects every single application and connection going in and out from your computer to the wild wild web.

Hide My Ass VPN encrypts your internet traffic and hides your real computer IP from hackers and stalkers as well as repressive regimes. They have SMTP on port 25 blocked because of abuse by spammers but you can still use webmail and the sender IP will be replaced by one of Hide My Ass VPN servers, you can also request to whitelist your SMTP emailing support.

A VPN for anonymous internet surfing will also get around internet censorship filters implemented by some countries ISPs, like the one they have in China and Australia. Hide My Ass provides PPTP as well as OpenVPN for the same price, I have only used the more secure OpenVPN and this review is based on that.

Hide My Ass VPN Advantages

There is a wide range of servers all over the World, at the time of writing you have a dozen servers in the US, four servers in the UK, three servers in Canada, and single servers in Sweden, Holland, Germany(x2), Estonia and Russia. Hide My Ass VPN service has been adding new servers all the time since I signed up with them 6 months ago.

I have found some Hide My Ass US VPNs IP has been blocked by Hulu and I easily got around this by simply choosing a different US VPN location, I never found myself in a situation where every single US server was blocked. I have also used the Canadian servers to watch online TV at and (only for Canadian residents), as well as listening to radio online, also limited to US and Canada residents only, I never experienced any problem watching US&Canadian TV from abroad using a Hide My Ass VPN located in North America.

The speed I usually get on Hide My Ass VPN servers is around 4MB download and my ISP provides me with 6MB ADSL downloads, occasionally you will find HMA VPN servers with 1MB speeds changing location will solve this.

I am normally able to watch free movies online at , and with just 1MB of bandwidth. I find Hide My Ass speed download speeds more than acceptable for my requirements.

Assuming Hide My Ass VPN FAQ is honest, they say that their VPN logs are kept for one week, this is a sensible length of time, enough to catch abusers and not extremely privacy invasive. Those logs, according to them, do not contain what sites you visit, they only contain what user had certain IP on what date from what time to what time.

Hide My Ass VPN client
Hide My Ass VPN client

Hide My Ass VPN Disadvantages

The worst part of Hide My Ass VPN client is that when you get disconnected from the network for whatever reason you will be surfing with your real IP and the VPN client makes no attempt whatsoever to warn you, instead it tries to reconnect, there is a good chance your real IP will be exposed during that time.

If you want to use Hide My Ass VPN on a BSD or Solaris system you are out of luck because it only works on Windows, MAC and Linux and the client needs to be installed.

Hide My Ass VPN Review conclusion

Hide my Ass is great to watch US and Canadian TV online, the reliability and server speed is more than acceptable to do this, as well as the wide range of locations they offer. Support always replies to email and they are quick and helpful, forget about their forum and IRC channel, if you have a problem email Hide My Ass instead! Their forum is not to be used for support.

Hide My Ass only needs to polish their VPN client about not warning you when the VPN is disconnected, and I will then increase my satisfaction rating at %99, there is something more important than speed in a VPN, their capability of being able to cover your real IP (or your ass) and if they can’t do that, then they can’t do the basics.

Visit Hide My Ass VPN homepage