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#803: Matt's Departure, IP Protocol, Quick Lion Tips, Correction


Happy Tuesday,

After nearly six years and just shy of three hundred newsletters, I’ve decided to move on from Small Dog to return to school and figure out what’s next for myself. My time here has been a period of great personal and professional growth, and I will certainly miss the dogs and my great co-workers. I know Owen will miss coming to work every day as he’s done since he was eight weeks old; hopefully he handles staying home alone well. I hope you’ve found Tech Tails to be a valuable resource over the years, and I know Liam, Carl, Jon, Glenn, and RJ will keep the tips, tricks, and stories coming.

It’s been a pleasure getting to know so many of you over the years. Hundreds and hundreds of you have written over the years with questions and article requests, and I hope you’ll continue doing so.

You can send these inquiries to my replacement, Jason Lewantowicz, moving forward. I will be checking my Small Dog email until January 31st.

As always, thanks for reading.

  What Is the IP Protocol?  

IP Protocol, as well as TCP, were developed to assure a constant set of rules regarding the connection and transport of data across networks. Previously, network connections and rules had been regulated by software and hardware developed by the manufacturers of the hardware within the networks. Even after TCP/IP protocol were established, other protocols were still developed for proprietary systems that did not fully address interoperability.

From RFC791, “The internet protocol implements two basic functions: addressing and fragmentation.” IP itself is not responsible completely for the content of datagrams (packets or frames), but rather the protocols by which frames and packets are to be routed and addressed to make their way from a start point to an end point. IP is responsible for the addressing, routing and division of the data to makes sure it can travel to the appropriate network it needs to.

The IP protocol finds the best path across both physical and virtual networks to make sure the packets of a transmission reach their intended destination. To do this, each frame has added to it information regarding the sending node and the destination node, QoS information TTL and Checksums. As the packets travel across networks, each device that receives the packet checks the address information and forwards it on if it is not for it to that receiving address. To make sure packets eventually leave the network, they have encoded in them ‘Time to Live.’ This value determines how long the packet is to stay on a network before it is discarded should it never reach its destination.

IP protocol does not ensure that a datagram it is sending improperly formatted or not corrupt. It does provide a checksum that says how big the payload should be for the individual packets. Should the checksum fail, the specific packet that has a noted failure will be requested again.

Lastly, IP protocols route packets the best way possible. Individual packages of a single message may be sent different routes between the two nodes. Since it is not guaranteed that all packets travel the same route, only the sending and receiving units actually know how much data was transmitted. QoS, or quality of service, reflects the steps IP protocol has to take into consideration regarding the transmission of data. Things that affect QoS are both static, throughput, and dynamic, availability, error rate and latency.

The IP protocol (IPv4) weaknesses fall in many ranges. As it stands now, there is finite address space for addressing that is quickly running out. IPv6 is slowly being adopted, which will increase address space from 32bits to 128bits.

  A Few Quick Lion Tips  

Quite on accident the other day I found a nice addition to Lion that mirrors behaviors of iOS. When typing a document should you hold a key down, in my case the letter ‘e’ as I was trying to add extra letters for emphasis, I was greeted with a ‘pop up.’

In this pop up was seven different characters: the letter ‘e’ with several different accent options. Hold the key down to select the character you need.

In Finder windows, as long as I remember, there has always been information about the system including number of files and available space. With Lion these defaults have been removed.

To restore this data in Lion follow these few steps:

  • Open a new Finder window—without it, the options will not be available.
  • Click in the View option in your menu bar.
  • In the view menu drop down click Show Status Bar.
    (This can also be accomplished by using the command key and the /.)

By doing so, you will now have the folder information restored at the bottom of your Finder window.

  PC to Mac: How to Make Switching Less Daunting  

Buying a new computer can be an intimidating experience. Stepping into a Small Dog Electronics and viewing all of the shiny new bezeled aluminum MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and iMacs when you have used a PC for your entire computing life can be stressful, bordering on threatening. Customers are captivated by the sleek design of these machines, but know instinctively that they are different from what they are used to. But are they?

The operating systems of a Windows 7 PC and Mac OS X are different, but many of the common operations that customers carry out on their computers can be done on both with no extra software at all. Picture files (usually found in a common file format of .jpeg, .gif, or .pdf), a music file (such as an .mp3), or a text file can be read on a Mac with the software fresh out of the box. If something more is required, PC applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop make Mac versions of their software that can be installed easily. Even popular games such as Civilization V, Dirt 2 and World of Warcraft make Mac versions that can run on a Mac.

Getting the Mac home and transferring your files need not be a traumatic experience. The files can be easily transferred from an external hard drive via a USB, or an ethernet cable using Mac Migration Assistant. The Mac will use the same connection to the internet that your PC does, either hardwired (via ethernet) or wirelessly using Wi-Fi. And if there are applications that no Mac equivalent can be found, you can run Windows on your Mac (with the help of Boot Camp Assistant and Parallels Desktop 7) Plus, with our software installation services, Small Dog can make this even more painless for you.

For those users who have long and storied histories with their PCs (for geeks like me that means they know what the function keys do), many of the same quick keys and alternate commands work on the Mac keyboard, but with a slight caveat. Instead of a Windows button, there is a command button on the keyboard. For all of the other quick keys to shortcuts to learn, consider a cheat sheet. There is nothing wrong with getting a little help from time to time with your newest addition to your tech family.

  Editor's Note: Correction  

Last week, we ran an article entitled “Tip of the Week: Browser Spoofing” from the archives and inadvertently miscredited the author.

Former Small Dog employee Mikhael Cohen wrote the original article, found here; we apologize for the error.

All Tech Tails archives can be found here or by clicking the header at the top of each issue.

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