FRII Break Room

Informal tech chatter from the geeks of Northern Colorado’s largest commercially available data center

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What is Fiber?

What is “fiber” Really?

Fiber Optic Cable

In a world of ever expanding technologies, many new hype or jargon words can be thrown around that don’t necessarily come with an easy or readily available explanation. One of those words that you might have heard lately with regards to technology is fiber. While we all know and have used the word fiber when talking about clothing or dietary supplements, do we know what fiber stands for when speaking about technology? Continue reading

People still use dial-up?

close-up image of rotary phone

Although called dial-up, a dial up connection is actually calls out through your computer, not a rotary phone.

When FRII started in 1995, all of our customers were dial-up users. There was no broadband. And we still have many customers on dial-up [1].

Inspired by Verizon’s acquisition of AOL, CNET recently questioned why anyone would still be on dial-up. The answer isn’t that difficult.
So, why do people still use dial-up?

Mysterious email settings: IMAP and POP

A chalkboard is covered with advanced mathematical equations. A man stands facing it, back to us, scratching his head in confusion.

Setting up your e-mail shouldn’t be this hard.

Are you excited about the new laptop you bought? Playing with your new tablet? Well it’s all fun and games until someone gets POP-ed. That’s right: we’re going to talk about POP and IMAP.

Don’t be ashamed that you have no idea what that means; for most of my life I have closed my eyes and selected my email settings randomly and hoped for the best.

Read on. No advanced degree required.

Why is my Internet so slow?

highway sign for merging trafficBandwidth. The data world’s equivalent to Black Gold. With life migrating to the digital world more and more everyday, everyone is fighting to get their worth of this prized resource. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) promise faster and faster speeds to residential and business users and faster dedicated speeds to enterprise-class users. But are they actually providing these speeds or are they fudging the numbers to build a customer base?

Read on to find out.

A Beginners Guide to Network Devices

Devices Everywhere

computers, smartphones, scanners, printers, servers, IP phone routers, and switches all connected to the Internet

With modern advancements in computing, consumers are demanding more and more data. We think its really interesting how these technologies work, which devices play an integral role in allowing other devices to communicate, and hope you do too! This article provides a simple overview of the types of devices that comprise a network and how they interact to transmit information from one place to another.

Let’s look at specifics

Data Privacy: Are you protected?

Data Privacy Day - Your privacy is in dangerPrivacy of personal information is a contentious issue. In a day and age when people share more information about themselves than ever before, intentionally or not, there is an intrinsic value in privacy that we cannot forsake.

Data Privacy and anonymity afford us protection, ensuring certain information cannot be used to harm us.

Data Privacy protects our bank accounts from being robbed and safeguards our health and welfare from the eyes of those who would target us among the masses.
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Why Internet Slowdown Day Matters

loading wheel as seen when websites are slow to load

If certain large carriers get their way, many sites may load slower for consumers.

Your Internet connection might look like it is slower than normal today, Wednesday, September 10, 2014. This is due to an online, grassroots protest called Internet Slowdown Day. Your connection will be working just fine, but many sites — including top web sites such as Google, Netflix, Amazon, and Reddit — will be showing a constant loading symbol.

Why are they doing this? To gain the public’s attention regarding the on-going net neutrality debate. (see our earlier post: How Net Neutrality Affects You)
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Warning: Email phishing attacks are targeting you

Do you know how to tell a legitimate email from a targeted phishing attack?

fish hook

Phishing scams try to “hook” you into believing they come from legitimate businesses so that you’ll reveal personal or secure information.

Sometimes it’s not easy to tell what’s real and what isn’t, even for the most sophisticated email user. This article will help you or someone you care about learn what to look for so that your information stays safe.

Within the past few years, there’s been an increase in the ability of the average email user to detect and delete spam. This has not gone unnoticed, particularly by the spammers who have a direct financial interest in obtaining our confidential information. Because of this, the percentage of people who respond to spam has remarkably decreased. Now, though, we’re seeing an increase in the type of targeted spam known as phishing. We’ve entered the next evolution of email scams, and things are just heating up.
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The Trouble with Passwords

Password Strength from xkcd

Popular web comic xkcd shows why most people’s hard to remember passwords aren’t very safe. Click image for full size. (license here)

Many people have trouble with passwords. And since the discovery of the Heartbleed bug, there’s a lot of frustration as people are asked to change their passwords on multiple sites. I think that most of this frustration stems from the habit we, as an Internet society, have of creating hard to remember passwords. And because we create hard to remember passwords, we tend to use tricks to help us — and these tricks make them easier to be cracked.

So here’s a list of things a lot of us do, but shouldn’t, along with things most of us don’t do, but probably should. These should make your passwords more secure and easier to remember.
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How to use mailing lists

Types of Mailing Lists

MailingList

Mailing lists are a convenient and adaptable method for email users to manage electronic mail distributions. These lists are typically used, and are subsequently named, for one of two purposes: announcement and discussion lists. Announcement lists are used to distribute email to a group of email addresses for newsletters, periodicals, and marketing materials. Discussion lists are used to provide a forum for individuals to participate in moderated or un-moderated discussions on topics of particular interest to them.

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