OpenDNS – Speedy Internet in Ubuntu

29 05 2007

OpenDNS has richly enhanced my internet experience. I have been using the service for about 6 months now and have always noticed a difference between page load times on networks using OpenDNS and networks using their ISP’s DNS. OpenDNS is great because it caches frequently visited websites more often and flat-out has a bigger cache than what your local ISP provides. The end result is a faster internet. Some additional features include spell-checking when you accidently type in “craigslist.og” and anti-phishing prevention. OpenDNS maintains PhishTank which is a blacklist of known phishing websites. Shortcuts is a great feature which allows me to type in “bball” to go directly to the Phoenix Suns homepage.

 

Here is how you can setup OpenDNS in Ubuntu:

  1. Run: sudo gedit /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf
  2. Change the prepend line to read: prepend domain-name-servers 208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220;
  3. Run: sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

What we just did here was prepended the OpenDNS addresses to the top of the DNS list. You don’t have to worry about the DHCP client overwriting settings on each reboot or lease cycle, and your ISP nameservers will still be used as backup.

The only issue I had with OpenDNS was that it would not work in locations that used their own DNS through a proxy. For example, I wasn’t able to use OpenDNS at the local Starbucks which used T-Mobile HotSpot to connect to the internet. This is due to the fact T-Mobile forces you to use their own DNS. There is nothing OpenDNS can really do about that – but overall my OpenDNS experience has been great and the internet keeps on blazing.

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Democracy TV – Tivo for the Internet

27 05 2007

I spent my weekend watching tv shows on my computer using Democracy TV. I’ll cut down to the chase – Democracy is an open-source media player that allows you to subscribe to internet videos via RSS. This is great because now all of the videos you find on the internet can be viewed like an actual television set. Instead of clicking on links and watching videos, why not switch between channels (feeds) and use the same principle that made the television so popular? Setting up Democracy to watch your favorite shows is as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Add the Democracy repository to your sources list and install:

deb http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/democracy/linux/repositories/ubuntu edgy/o

2. Choose a show from tvRSS

Visit tvRSS and select a show that you want to subscribe to. Copy the RSS feed to your clipboard

3. Add RSS as a Channel

Copy the RSS feed for the show you selected into the Channel guide and start watching your favorite shows!

tvRSS is basically an RSS feed of tv shows that are available on the internet. Sort of like a tv guide for the internet. Democracy will go through your feed and download the tv shows via bit-torrent so that you can watch the shows at a later time. Sounds like Tivo for the internet no? Please excuse me while I finish watching the rest of The Office.

Downloads:
ftp://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/democracy/src/Democracy-0.9.5.tar.gz

Note : The download link is a tarball which needs to be compiled from source. Democracy is also updated on a regular basis, so it would be best to follow the steps mentioned in this post to install the software.