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"Murphy was an optimist!"

EZ Home Network Management – Use static IPs January 28, 2007 1:08 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Network, Technology
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I love technology and I want my children to know technology therefore they have Internet connected computers in their rooms (because I question the advice of the experts suggesting that computers in the bedrooms are bad ideas but that is for a different post). Tommy and Sarah use Windows XP due to their software needs but Noah uses Linux and although he could boot to Windows, he never does!

If you have more than one computer connected to the Internet through DSL or a cable company then you have a router that is probably assigning IP addresses to your computers by DHCP. First off, all our computers are named. If you didn’t name the computer yourself, it got a pseudo random name like CW123-Laurence1 when you installed your operating system. Now, you can change this name at anytime. For instance, our computers are based on famous artists and psychiatrists such as Monet, Freud, Dali and so forth. These names are absolutely meaningless to a computer. Computers like numbers! Your computer also gets an address assigned to it. This is your IP address which will look something like or DHCP randomly choose a number when your computer connects to the network (ie. is turned on). So your child might be on Monday and on Tuesday that same computer could be

Having randomly generate IP addresses is not really a big deal since the numbers are behind the scenes, right? I say no! One reason I am completely comfortable having computers in each of the children’s rooms is that I monitor them. I can look at the router’s log files or a sniffer and know exactly what traffic is crossing my network. I can also remotely disable their Internet connections without pulling wires or hampering other connections. I can do this because their IP addresses never change. I still have DHCP enabled so that if someone is visiting they can simply plug into the network. Each of our home computers have a static IP. Companies with static IPs keep charts to relate an IP to a user (Bob == but I find that cumbersome for a household. My scheme? Birth year! If your child was born in 1992, then the IP address is Got twins? Put the second one at or make them share a computer.

Naturally this is a little pointless if you only have one or two computers in the house. In the coming years, I bet you surprised how many devices in your house start relying on an IP address. "Honey. Can you ping the toaster and see if my breakfast is ready yet?"

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1. jonathan hickman - January 28, 2007

What sniffer program do you use? The only one I’ve played with is Cain and Abel, but other than passwords, I couldn’t get much out of it.

2. jonathan hickman - January 28, 2007

Um, clicking the box this time….

3. James - January 28, 2007

jonathan >Ethereal really rocks, its free too http://www.ethereal.com/

djuggler> I agree, I always setup static addresses when setting up a network, you need it especially when one of your pc’s is acting as a print server, or juke box for you millions of mp3’s :o)

4. Barry - January 29, 2007

We plan to give BrainyBoy an internet-connected PC in his room when around when he turns 11 and/or starts middle school. I’d have no reason to set up a router or DHCP or assign static IP’s or name the computers or install a dual-boot Linux OS or whatever since I have no idea how to do that (that’s stuff our IT department spouts that I don’t understand). I’ll do what I can to install parental controls, though.

5. djuggler - January 29, 2007

I maintain the best parental controls come from our mouths and our actions. The words we say to our children guide them. How we react when they slip or stray from the path reinforce or diminish our words. And ultimately, how we behave and handle ourselves creates the example by which they will live by.

Electronic parental controls on a computer are essential as they will help remove temptations. However, like the lock on your front door only keeps an honest person honest (a crook uses a sledge hammer not a lock pick), electronic controls also have weaknesses. When Eddie Haskell visits with knowledge of how to get around the parental controls, the child will have to make the uncomfortable decision between right and wrong under peer pressure. That’s when our teachings kick in.

Of course, the parental controls we set on our computers do not follow the children to the library, or their friends’ houses. When Tommy hit puberty and got curious, it was his grandparent’s computer that gave him the most time to be exploratory (and he has good taste!). Once caught, instead of shaming him, we chose to use it as an opener for a very age appropriate discussion on sex. We explained photoshop (watch this!) and that what is on the Internet cannot be believed without verification as well as a reiteration of the definition of “fiction” and an explanation of “fantasy.” We taught forgiveness instead of anger and Tommy has made good choices since then.

6. Barry - January 29, 2007

I agree completely, and we had a similar experience with BrainyBoy that you did with Tommy. And we handled it about the same way. Kudos to you 🙂

The parental controls will hopefully prevent the unintentional straying and free associational surfing that can pull up who knows what. Even clicking from blog to blog can pull up some pretty hair-raising stuff 😉 I have to be careful at work to only read sites I’m familiar with and not random click links. Even with the best of intentions mistakes can happen.

But you’re right, it’s best to teach responsibility and judgment to kids instead of threatening with a stick and a padlock.

7. djuggler - January 29, 2007

Shoot. Yesterday I went to Amazon’s front page and did a double take because I was staring at real women in panties and bras.

8. jonathan hickman - January 29, 2007

I read somewhere the other day (cnet?) that porn is having trouble migrating to blueray because it’s too close to real life – it shows all the imperfections.

9. djuggler - January 29, 2007

I think Jonathan might be referencing this article:
“Can a movie be too crisp, an image too clear? Reports indicate that HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, two high-definition formats struggling to win market acceptance, show actors in such eye-popping detail that adult film models are taking extreme steps to preserve the illusion of perfection…. ‘I’m having my breasts redone because of HD,’ [Jesse Jane] told the New York Times.

Sony has again refused to lend its support to the porn industry, pushing would-be high-def pornographers closer to the HD DVD camp, headed by Toshiba.

But the Blu-ray Disc Association, anchored by heavyweights such as Apple, Dell Relevant Products/Services, Warner Brothers, and even Walt Disney, has said it welcomes all movie producers into the Blu-ray camp, as long as they show an interest in Blu-ray discs. ”

Here’s another article implying Sony (whose cameras dominate the porn industry) is trying to keep porn off of Blu-ray.

Of course, while Hollywood hesitates, the porn industry is always first to try new technology:
“Vivid Entertainment says it will sell its adult films through the online movie service CinemaNow, allowing buyers to burn DVDs that will play on any screen, not just a computer.

It’s another first for adult film companies that pioneered the home video market and rushed to the Internet when Hollywood studios still saw it as a threat.”

Coincidentally, if porn ends up on blu-ray, the easiest way to watch it will be with a relatively, inexpensive, Sony Playstation 3.