Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SOFTWARE: The 411 on DNS

DNS, Domain Name Services, is/are very important to your computer. DNS is a translation service, turning into it's numerical twin, You will admit, that typing in is a WHOLE lot easier than typing in, and remembering, that string of four numbers. Especially when it's going to become six numbers in the not too distant future.

This whole computer equivalent to a telephone directory offers ease of use over all other considerations. It lets you enter easy-to-remember word codes (the name part), tells the system what you REALLY mean is the IP code (the number part) and does this about as transparently as possible. And when the folks at various web-sites change the place where their web-site is, they can just tell the DNS directories and the changeover is handled pretty smoothly, many times with no visible change to the customer (the YOU part). Doesn't even require a change-of-address/telephone card (the pain in the butt part).

It's the last part of the DNS system that prevents me from going hog-wild and just changing over all of my bookmarks from the to It WOULD be faster UNTIL a change, then it wouldn't work at all. I'm not willing to spend several minutes changing something to save a micro-second, especially if I might later end up spending an hour figuring out why google suddenly seems unavailable on my machine and nobody else's.

Still, I should point out to you that there are more than one DNS service out there. Your ISP has one. Rogers in my case. There are several commercial DNS outfits who maintain a DNS service that is refined and filtered of crud (thus quicker and safer). Depending on the outfit, it might filter out sex sites and gambling sites, for example. A company who doesn't want its workers looking for such sites on company time and hardware, can employ a commercial site to lock these sites down, as well as a bunch of other not-so-good sites.

There are also free DNS services available, including the very highly regarded OpenDNS site. Besides PROBABLY being faster than your ISP site, it's also got some other goodies that make it worth your time to consider moving to OpenDNS for your DNS needs. In fact, for the time being right now, it might be a VERY GOOD IDEA to switch. I know for SURE that OpenDNS has been protected against the most recent security vulnerability discovered in Windows. I'd LIKE to think Rogers has been jolly on the spot, but you never know ...

A recent article at ComputerWorld does a good job of outlining the issue AND showing a step-by-step how-to to fix the issue for sure in 30 seconds ... plus the time to reboot your computer. Take a look at it. You might find some small gains out of it and a little bit more piece of mind.

And yes, if you don't want to pass along the long link above, have them type in

NOTE: With all CW articles, the story can be removed or archived at any time. There is not guarantee the site above will work forever.

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