2Wire Technical Support passing the buck to AT&T UVerse.

I’m having problems getting the necessary functionalities back that I used to enjoy while using standard DSL.   Namely:

  • VPN Client: Client Access to IP Pool requires additional “spare” IP’s to use on the home network if a VPN client connect to the network.
  • Dynamic DNS Agent:Since I lost the ability for Static IP, I must now rely on Dynamic DNS services to link my current IP Address with a personalized domain name.


Neither of these services are provided by my new 3800HGV-B 2Wire Router, so the best solution at this time is to try inserting my old Router (Linksys WRVS4400N Business class Router) into the 2Wire.

Understandably, AT&T UVerse Technical Support does not support such a configuration since the service works with just the 2Wire Router in place.   Likewise, Linksys cannot assist me in configuring an “upstream” router.  Logically, 2Wire would be the best party to provide additional help in supporting my desired configuration, but instead of trying to be helpful, they are instead referring me back to AT&T. 

I’ve since replied back to them and advised them that AT&T won’t assist since the service works, and Linksys shouldn’t be asked to assist since the problem is with a piece of upstream equipment. 


We’ll see what their response is…

Trying to setup a good Dynamic DNS solution

Since I had to give-up my Static IP Address as part of my UVerse installation, I am looking around for a way to setup a Dynamic DNS Solution that would provide consistent access to my Home Network from the outside world.

The Problem: The challenge is that since I am now using PPOE to connnect to AT&T, my IP Address changes frequently.   Since the IP Address changes frequently, I cannot consistently know when the IP Address changes, and what it changes to. 

The Partial Solution: Enter Dynamic DNS, or DynDNS.  This is a solution that works to automatically detect the new IP Address assignment and update DNS “Dynamically” whenever a change occurs.  The Router (or software package running on one of the Private Network PCs) would detect this change, then notify the DynDNS Host Server (which is always consistent) of the new IP Address.  The downside of this particular solution is that the DynDNS Host Server will traditionally only allow the new user to pick a name for a subdomain of their existing domain choices (in my case, helpdesk.dyndns.org), and some users like myself do not like this kind of restriction.  

The Rest of the Solution (I hope):  So I’m working with my provider to see if I can create a new subdomain of matson-consulting.com and have that setup to redirect incoming traffic to the helpdesk.dyndns.org URL.

I hope I can get this setup…

Gathering data on Shavlik NetChk Protect

shavlik_logo I just installed Shavlik’s NetChk Protect 6.1.0 (build 57), a product that that I used more than a year ago, back when it was version 5.31.   This previous product ran for a whole year and kept my six systems (one server, two laptops, and three desktops) fully up-to-date. 

Sure, Windows Update can do this for you for free, but the process is controlled by Microsoft, who does not always have the consumer’s best interest in mind when they install products like Windows Genuine Advantage, which can take a totally legitimate installation of Windows XP and disable it for no apparent reason.

Also, NetChk Protect updates a lot of common non-MS applications like Adobe Reader,  WinZip, etc…

I will be performing a product review of the NetChk Protect application in the future, so we’ll see how this product does in the next month or so…

I am invited to join Microsoft’s "WM Owners Circle Forum" Moderator Team!

I was recently invited to join the Moderator Team at Microsoft’s “Window’s Mobile Owner’s Circle” forums by my good friend Jack Cook, and it goes without saying that I readily accepted! 

I will be working with the existing team members: Jack Cook (whom I work with currently at MobilitySite), Laura Rooke (whom I was honored to work with at MoblityToday way back when), Johan van Mierlo, Linley Meslier, and Mina Mistry.  

Below is Jack Cook’s announcement:

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to pass on to you that today we have added a new moderator to our midst.  David Matson, aka Elrendhel, will now be part of our group offering support to users we spend so much time with. 

Laura and I have known and worked with “Elrendhel” for years, so we know firsthand the kind of support he offer us.  He will be a great addition to our team!  Initially when we started the forums, when ever there was a question on Wi-Fi, I would ask David if he could jump in and help out and of course, he always would.  Well it appears as if he likes it here and has agreed to jump in often.David, it is again a great pleasure and a unique privilege to once again be working with you.  Thank you for agreeing to spend some time with us!

So now we have two mods on the east coast (Johan and me), two on the West coast (Laura and David) and one (Linley) on the other side of the globe basking in the sun on the Island of Mauritus.  Life is good and it becomes better every day when I look at who I am working with.  I am appreciative of all the efforts from all of you.  Not only are you helping the users that visit but I am learning an immense amount from all of you …. That is very cool!

Thank you for the warm greetings and kind words Jack, it is good to know that I am once again amongst good friends!

AT&T announces new approach to early termination fees

AT&T today announced a new approach to early termination fees (ETFs) that provides some additional flexibility for wireless customers.  

Beginning on May 25, the company’s new and renewing wireless customers who enter into one- or two-year service agreements will no longer be required to pay a single, flat early termination fee. Instead, that fee, which is $175, will be progressively lowered by $5 during each month, every month, for the term of the contract. (The single, flat ETF will continue to apply to new and renewing customers who enter into one- or two-year service agreements prior to May 25.)

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Free WiFi Hotspot access for AT&T DSL customers

AT&T recently announced that it was going to provide free access to it’s nationwide Wi-Fi network to all of it’s qualifying DSL customers.   I use this service myself, and it’s quite handy to have free access to hotspots near McDonalds restuarants, UPS Store outlets, and Barnes and Noble bookstores.  This service previously cost $1.99 extra per month for DSL customers, but now it’s free!

AT&T Inc. announced that millions of its customers with higher speed broadband plans can now receive free access to AT&T’s nationwide Wi-Fi network – nearly 10,000 hot spots at popular locations across the country including leading airports, McDonalds restaurants, Barnes & Noble bookstores, coffee shops and popular sporting venues.

With the proliferation of Wi-Fi-enabled devices including, most recently, the iPhone but also laptops, wireless music systems and PDAs, consumers are increasingly looking for on-the-go Internet connections. As the nation’s premier provider of broadband service and with the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network, AT&T offers consumers more high speed in more places.

Effective now, qualifying new and existing residential and small business AT&T broadband customers instantly benefit from the free unlimited Wi-Fi connectivity at company hot spots. Qualifying AT&T broadband packages include: AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Pro (up to 3.0 Mbps downstream), AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Elite (up to 6.0 Mbps downstream), FastAccess Xtreme (up to 3.0 Mbps downstream) and FastAccess Xtreme 6.0 (up to 6.0 Mbps downstream).

So if you are a DSL (broadband) customer and had originally paid for this service, you might want to call your local business office to confirm that your account now includes this service for free.

If you are a DSL (broadband) customer and never bought this service previously, call your local business office and confirm that your account qualifies, then request they add it to your AT&T account!

Another HSI (High Speed Internet) Router setup

Today I got to work on a new brand of Router currently being distributed to Verizon High Speed Internet (HSI) customers: the ActionTec modem & DSL Router GT704-WG (presumably for “Wireless-G”).

It had a nice browser interface, but a very limited implementation of WPA, in that it only allowed alpha and numeric characters for key-entry.  This goes against the industry standard, which is to allow additional characters (specifically special characters) to be used in key generation.  If the intention is to secure the connection between the client and the access point, then why reduce the effectiveness of that security by limiting the character-set the key is based on?  Sigh…

Security in a Mobile World part-4 Posted

Today I posted the last part of my four part article “Security in a Mobile World”.   This article part, as well as the prior 3 parts, can be found at Mobility Today.

Security on the PocketPC platform is a great deal different than your laptop. Security issues considered minor on the Laptop platform like Physical Access, Application/Data Access, and Theft/Loss Mitigation are more substantial on the PocketPC platform, because the PocketPC is infinitely easier to steal than a laptop. And larger issues on the Laptop like Firewalls, AntiVirus, and AntiSpyware become less predominant because the PocketPC platform offers less of a potential target for hackers. Because there is currently more interest in cracking Windows PC data and applications, the PocketPC platform is relatively safe, but that will change soon enough.

If you would like to read the entire 4th part of this article, click here.

Security in a Mobile World part-3 Posted

Today I posted the third part of my four part article “Security in a Mobile World”.   This article part, the prior 2 parts, and the remaining  part will continue to be published at Mobility Today.

It is a well known fact that most every Laptop user could stand to improve their privacy (and overall security) when utilizing their PC for everyday use. This installment is geared towards getting you started on the right path towards accomplishing this goal.

If you would like to read the entire 3rd part of this article, click here.

Security in a Mobile World part-2 Posted

Today I posted the second part of my four part article “Security in a Mobile World”.   This article part, the prior part, and the remaining 2 parts will continue to be published at Mobility Today.

Public wireless hotspots are, by definition, meant to be public, and so it goes that private hotspots are meant to be private, regardless as to whether or not the hotspot is encrypted to keep unauthorized users out. This is the same as recognizing the difference between a grocery store and a residential home. A grocery store is open to the public, and you can walk through the door and browse among the aisles to your hearts content. Likewise, it is generally understood that it is completely unacceptable for someone to just walk into another person’s home unannounced. It needs to be understood and accepted that a private Wi-Fi LAN is essentially an extension of someone’s personal property.

If you would like to read the entire 2nd part of this article, click here.