OpenDNS Preferences Are Live

I just noticed the OpenDNS preferences page is up and running. It’s pretty basic, but now you can enable or disable typo correction and phishing protection. The configuration is done based on IP address, so if you don’t have a static or persistent IP address, you might be out of luck. I don’t have a static IP at home, but I’ve managed to keep the same one for a little over a year now.

Here’s a screenshot of the preferences page:
OpenDNSPrefsSmall

Obviously, there’s not much there at this time. But look at the little information box in the top right. It mentions they’ll be adding more preferences there over time. It looks like they plan to have user accounts soon too, so you can manage preferences not based solely on your IP. Fun fun!

UPDATE: In my last post on OpenDNS, I mentioned I was having trouble getting to http://www.tehserver.us/. The problem seemed to resolve itself, when I was suddenly able to hit tehserver.us with no problem. However, come Monday morning, I’m unable to load tehserver.us again. Even when I type http://www.tehserver.us/Home, the direct link to the homepage, I get the OpenDNS search page. OpenDNS search successfully finds the site, but when I click on the search result, I’m taken back to the OpenDNS search page instead of being taken to tehserver.us. The really odd thing is that I can reach tehserver.us with no problem from home. Not so from work though. I’d think a traceroute to tehserver.us would be nearly identical from my house and from the office, since the two are about 3 city blocks away from each other.

OpenDNS Speed

Wikipedia defines Adware as “Adware or advertising-supported software is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertising material to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used.”

This guy makes some good points, the OpenDNS as Adware idea not being one of them though. He’s had some issues with the typo fix feature of OpenDNS and the OpenDNS search page coming up when it shouldn’t.

So what happens when it doesn’t know the IP address you ask? Well sometimes it returns no answers

[email protected] ~ $ dig verizonn.com @208.67.222.222

;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

And sometimes it gives you back their server. (asdverizon.com. 1 IN A 208.67.219.40) any request to 208.67.219.40 results in a search the attempted url being ran through their systems. If im not misunderstood, they make their money off of adds displayed at this time… therefore, the more they don’t catch, the more money they make on advertising? Ok so I guess for their software it “Pays to be stupid”

Simply because an application doesn’t provided the expected results doesn’t mean it’s adware. OpenDNS seems like the kind of company who is out to stop adware and other sorts of internet baddies. That post is worth a read, it does a nice job of bringing to light some problems in OpenDNS. And, I don’t think the guy was actively trying to take the “OpenDNS is Adware” stand, he did file that post under “Talking Shit” after all. heh.

Another interesting OpenDNS related post comes from Thomas Ptacek. Thomas has noticed OpenDNS actually takes longer to resolve some domains than, say, your ISP’s DNS servers.

74ms longer via OpenDNS. How much of that is network latency? You could turn off recursion, but OpenDNS doesn’t support it, so instead query for OpenDNS’s own names:

nsping -z opendns.com 208.67.222.222
+ [ 22 ] 55 bytes from 208.67.222.222: 261.771 ms [ 192.468 san-avg ]

41ms. Weak evidence that it takes OpenDNS 33ms longer to look up random names at Google on my DSL connection? Note also that all the OpenDNS queries “succeed”, because OpenDNS sends you to a landing page for typos.

Some pretty interesting comments going on at that post too. David Ulevitch and Thomas might end up getting together to do some testing on DNS caches and overall performance. David made a comment in my previous post on OpenDNS in which he explains some of the new features they’re working on:

I agree 100% about us needing to be more transparent. The three biggest things we are working on right now are:
1) Getting account preferences up and running so people can just enable and disable the various features they are working on.
2) Providing a much clearer understanding of where our phishing data comes from and what happens if we make a mistake
3) Bringing up our London datacenter and adding in a bunch of peering and other network connectivity to our existing sites.

I’ve really only witnessed one problem with OpenDNS. This is a prime example, try navigating to http://www.tehserver.us/. It takes you to the OpenDNS search page, right? Well, the first link displayed on the search page is really where I want to go. So, I click the first link and I’m taken right back to the OpenDNS search page I was just on. So, there’s apparently no way for me to get to www.tehserver.us using OpenDNS. Granted, tehserver.us isn’t totally legitimate, it’s definitely not breaking any sort of laws. Perhaps the spellcheck is getting confused. The domain is tehserver.us, not theserver.us.

I’ve been using OpenDNS for about 5 days now. I am going to do some testing tonight at home to see if OpenDNS actually serves up info quicker than my ISP’s DNS servers. I will post the results and how I went about testing. That is, provided I have power at home, there’s been some awesome storms rolling through the last couple days. A welcome event for the farmers around here though.

UPDATE:
I can get to tehserver.us with no problem now, I never even see the OpenDNS search page. David mentioned he’s opened a bug in bugzilla for the developers to check out. He also mentioned this post on OpenDNS by Greg Keene. Greg takes a look at OpenDNS and fears even one security breach could make OpenDNS disappear:

My concerns? The obvious, security and security. Will temptation to generate advertising overcome their ‘do good’ nature? We’ll have to see. A huge, obvious hole is their own security. If they get hacked, then their users are effectively exposed — don’t underestimate this. I’d like to get more people using them so we can really find how good they are. My thought is that one security breach could kill these guys, even an exposed exploit would be a very bad thing.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Valerie Plame Suing Rove, Libby, & Cheney

Valerie Plame has filed a lawsuit against Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. She and husband Joe Wilson are claiming their exposure was intentional and malicious, and was done in an attempt to destroy their careers. Here’s a bit from the article at CNN:

The lawsuit accuses Cheney, Libby, Rove and 10 unnamed administration officials or political operatives of putting the Wilsons and their children’s lives at risk by exposing Plame.

“This lawsuit concerns the intentional and malicious exposure by senior officials of the federal government of … (Plame), whose job it was to gather intelligence to make the nation safer and who risked her life for her country,” the Wilsons’ lawyers said in the lawsuit.

Libby is the only administration official charged in connection with the leak investigation. He faces trial in January on perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges, accused of lying to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about when he learned Plame’s identity and what he subsequently told reporters.

There’s already lots of discussion on this:
Wizbang
Stop the ACLU
Outside The Beltway
bRight & Early
Hot Air

All those sites have all the details, I won’t bother re-stating the facts. I’m not really sure how I feel about this, but it seems like something Valerie and Joe wouldn’t want to get themselves into voluntarily. Won’t this additional attention just put them and their family at greater risk?

OpenDNS: Better DNS

Wired is running an interesting story on OpenDNS. What is OpenDNS you ask? “OpenDNS makes the Internet experience safer, faster and smarter for you and everyone using your network.” Here’s a peice from the article:

The OpenDNS system, which will open its servers to the public Monday, wants to be a more user-friendly name resolution service than those provided by ISPs, with technology to keep fraudulent sites out of its listings, correct some typos and help browsers look up web pages faster.

The man behind OpenDNS, David Ulevitch, isn’t new to DNS by any means. He’s also the founder of EveryDNS, which I used to use to host this site. It’s a great, free service.

OpenDNS is also free. I just updated our DHCP server to serve the OpenDNS IP addresses as DNS servers instead of the ones provided by Midiowa Net. So far, all seems to be working very well. Hopefully they’re ready for a huge influx of users, I don’t wanna have to swtich my DNS servers back.

David Ulevitch has a post in the OpenDNS Blog titled “Why I Started OpenDNS“, it’s really interesting.

I’m a little late to the blogging phenomenon, but here we go. I started working on OpenDNS last November to create a new kind of DNS service that can be used by anyone to make their Internet experience better. Since then I’ve been working hard to bring this to fruition by assembling a fantastic team, developing some really great software and deploying a world-class network. Now I’m thrilled to introduce the free service we’ve been building. It’s ready, and I want you to try it. You will love it.

All in all, the service looks very promising. I think a “smarter” DNS system will prove to be very beneficial. Thanks to Venture Geek for reminding me where I’ve seen the name “David Ulevitch” before, at EveryDNS!

Remember, you have a choice in who provides you with DNS services.

Kos Kiddies Attack Stop the ACLU

A writer at Daily Kos has his panties in a bundle over nothing. Well, he may have a good reason for the ranting and raving, but he’s targetting the wrong “Stop the ACLU”. I am a member of the Stop the ACLU Blogburst team, not a member of the Stop the ACLU Coalition. That kos kid seems to think the two are one in the same, although they are somewhat related. He should have looked more closely at the domains, one being a .org and the other being a .com. Longren.com obviously has nothing to do with longren.org.

This all boils down to the .org website posting some personal information about two Jewish families that resulted in them not feeling safe, so they had to move. I’m not gonna go into the gory details, just head over to the Stop the ACLU blog for more details. Right on the Right has some interesting facts to point out also.