Saturday, June 25, 2005

On ZoneAlarm....

I had recently been having my DNS resolutions fail on every 4th or 5th attempt while web-browsing. In my ZA logs (freeware version) I could see that for some reason, it appeared that the DNS server was getting now getting blocked by the firewall. In my attempt to resolve this, I really went down a rabbit's hole of learning--more that I intended to! Here are some fruits of this vanship pilot's adventure:

Start out looking at Don Hoover's ZA guide and GNC Web Creations ZA guide.

Now that you have ZA set up and tweaked. What do all those logs mean? Try these two applications (if you are brave!) ZoneLog and VisualZone.

Not satisfied with just knowing who is coming in and out of your pc? If you really want to know what as well, get a packet sniffer. I really like to use Ethereal. Really awesome and the newer versions support both broadband connections as well as dialup modem gear as well. If that is too much, a more "contained" sniffer I sometimes run in the field on missions is PacketMon.

Of course, every vanship pilot knows that to be the best you need training and practice. Lots of it. If you want some tutorials fly over to Novell and Packet Level for some samples and actual downloads.

So anyway, after two weeks of learning more about ZA and tweaking it out, no more problems with DNS resolutions and more peace of mind. In the end, I suspect that a prior ZA version upgrade caused the DNS location to get blocked for some reason.

Also, I know every vanship pilot likes to paint their ship in their own preferred colors. I mean, look at Tatiana's for example over at Desktop Anime (& enjoy Ming-Ling's other awesome work there as well!). Check out the Home Firewall Guide for more information about firewalls and alternatives (Kerio and Sygate also have good free versions). Because of the number of excellent FREE! versions of software firewalls, there's really no good excuse why you shouldn't be running something on your vanship. (And no, the MS XP firewall doesn't count in my opinion.)

See you in the skies!

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