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Fr. Robert Ballecer: In this episode of Know How you’re going to learn how to prepare your Rig for Titanfall. We’re upgrading a PC with some SSD’s and some memory. Then we’re going to get all swiggy with monitoring your bandwidth usage.
What do I do with myself [laughter].
Fr. Robert: Welcome to Know How, I'm Father Robert Ballecer and this is the show where we build, break, upgrade and turn into awesomeness. I'm the digital Jesuit joined by…
Bryan Burnett: Bryan Burnett.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, Cranky Hippo and the chat room. We’re here to give you the knowledge to break down projects like the stuff you see in front of us and turn it into something you can use in your geek life.
Fr. Robert: Bryan I see you keep fondling that thing.
Bryan: Uh, well I had a good time playing with it the last couple of days.
Fr. Robert: I noticed that, but before we talk about that Titanfall, how about a public service announcement for the good folks at home.
Fr. Robert: Okay, well have you ever heard of a hackathon?
Bryan: I have heard of a hackathon.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, it’s a gathering of geeks. Likeminded individuals who do media, tech, hardware, software. Pretty much everything right?
Fr. Robert: Yeah, the definition of a hacker has changed over the years. Do you remember what is used to be? I mean way back when you were like a kid back in like 2000.
Bryan: Yeah, it used to be those people in a dark room with monitors all over the wall and just like code going over the monitors and…
Fr. Robert: Yeah exactly, that’s what a lot of people think a hacker is. But now we understand that a hacker, the hacker culture is all about taking things and maybe using them in a way other than their intended purpose. And really that’s the mother of invention right?
Bryan: Right, right.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, because you take something that you have and you play with it. You tease the usefulness out of the device and you come up with something new.
Fr. Robert: Okay well that’s why we’re talking about a hackathon that’s going to be taking place in Irvine I believe Alex has a – there we go. The OC Hackerz hacking for good. Now this was put on by a man by the name of Anil Pattni - Patt, Patt, I don’t know his name but all I know is he’s been a hacker for fifteen years and he wanted to build something that could be an incubator for anyone who was interested in any part of the hacker culture. So the idea is, if you know how to do hardware hacking, if you know how to do software hacking, if you are a media person, and artist, a creative person and you want to come, look at a bunch of projects, look at a bunch of demos, listen to a couple of pitches, maybe meet up with people who you can join and create something. Then we’ll match you up with business people who could maybe monetize that and turn it into something—
Bryan: Wow, that sounds pretty cool.
Fr. Robert: …that you can sell.
Bryan: It’s more of a mesh. It’s not just software stuff, it’s software and hardware coming together. It’s the maker and the hacker kind of stuff.
Fr. Robert: Yeah exactly. We’re seeing more and more of that where software alone, that’s kind of cool. Hardware alone, that’s kind of cool. But when you put the two together, along with people who actually have vision, who actually have style, who can actually make something that people want to use, that’s when you get something magical. I mean I can think of one company right now in the bay area who famous for that—
Bryan: Who’s that?
Fr. Robert: Apple right?
Fr. Robert: You don’t think of hardware, software design. It’s all one product. That’s what people at a hackathon want to do.
Bryan: Yeah, something that you can do in your garage maybe.
Fr. Robert: Yeah.
Bryan: Start there.
Fr. Robert: Well the event’s going to be the 22nd the 23rd of March down in Irvine. It’s actually going to start off with a tour of the Space X headquarters and you’re going to see some of the builds which is kind of nice because that’s also – that’s hacker mentality right?
Fr. Robert: Take something and turn it into something like a spacecraft. Who knows? But if you are in Irvine, and if you are interested in finding out how this hacker community works why not go ahead and join them. The link for the Eventbrite event page is going to be in our show notes, make sure to check them out.
Bryan: Okay, is there tickets that you have to purchase or something?
Fr. Robert: Yeah there’s some tickets but just go to the Eventbrite page and it’ll spell it all out. I mean it’s really not that much. What this guy is trying to do more than anything else is invigorate the community down south in Southern California.
Bryan: Yeah, support it. Yeah very cool.
Fr. Robert: And we’re all about that. That’s what we do.
Bryan: Yeah. That’s why we have a G plus community.
Fr. Robert: That’s why we have a G plus community and you know what that G plus community has been watching the last couple of late nights?
Bryan: No idea.
Fr. Robert: Really?
Bryan: [laughs] is it True Detective?
Fr. Robert: No, no it’s not True Detective. It’s been us in this machine here.
Bryan: Ahh yes.
Fr. Robert: Yeah we’ve been playing this game called Titanfall. Bryan can you explain what Titanfall is?
Bryan: Well it’s - if you’ve ever played Call of Duty, it’s that with robots and it’s a lot of fun.
Fr. Robert: In fact I think Alex has got some video he’s going to play underneath us right here. It’s going to show what Titanfall videoplay looks like. It’s like a mix between Call of Duty and - oh yeah here we go. And actually if you could make that full screen. Go ahead and put that on the full screen so that people can see the amazing detail that’s involved in this game. Now this was a match you were doing last night, and by the way all of your matches looked like this right, you were just dominating the field.
Bryan: Yeah consistently at the top of the list, you know [laughs].
Fr. Robert: It feels like your old Call of Duty shooter right? I mean, that’s the same layout, the same keys.
Fr. Robert: But the eye candy is great. The detail to the game is actually really, really nice. And—
Bryan: And then a cool thing is that you don’t have to have crazy hardware to play this on full specs.
Fr. Robert: Right.
Bryan: And it still looks pretty good.
Fr. Robert: Right, like for example, there's some people in the chat room, like Harlequin was saying “This reminds me more of Crisis”. Well Crisis was famous for taxing your hardware to death.
Bryan: It’s still an internet joke too, right?
Fr. Robert: It is like nothing.
Bryan: Like “Oh I have this great PC I built, but does it run Crisis?”
Fr. Robert: Nothing will run Crisis at full eye candy, it won’t. But this is running on a ten year old source engine.
Bryan: Right, the same thing that Half Life 2, Counter Strike Source—
Fr. Robert: Portal.
Bryan: Team Fortress, Portal.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, they all run on that engine and that hardware is abundant. Now, we thought that maybe we’d want to show you a few things that you could do. A few things that you might consider in upgrading you current PC in order to get up to what we’d call acceptable levels. Now I know that at home, you were running on and older PC, correct?
Bryan: Right, at home I have about – it’s a four year old computer. I've got eight gigs of RAM, a six core AMD processor but I have a sixty-eight hundred series ATI card. So it’s decent but I had to run things at - some things at medium and no anti-aliasing.
Fr. Robert: Right, right so the game runs. It runs smoothly but you don’t get all the eye candy.
Fr. Robert: Which is – now this box right here. This is an Acer Predator. We’re going to be doing this box on Before You Buy. This is one of their gaming machines. That’s a dedicated gaming machine and it’s a different kind of gaming machine. It’s designed for those people who don’t want to mess around with a box. You want to buy it, you want to play.
Bryan: Plug it in and--
Fr. Robert: Probably never really upgrade.
Bryan: It doesn’t make much noise either.
Fr. Robert: No, it’s incredibly quiet.
Bryan: The whole we were playing it, it was just [makes noise].
Fr. Robert: Yeah I mean like I bet your gaming PC is probably under the desk right?
Bryan: It is, yeah.
Fr. Robert: Because if it’s next to you, it’s hard to get into the game when all you hear is [makes noise].
Fr. Robert: Well this was designed to be quiet. We actually had this on the desk while we were playing, it didn’t interfere with gameplay at all. Now this is – it’s a relatively high end PC you’ve got an Intel i7, high end i7 quad core cpu. You’ve eight gigabytes of memory expandable to 32. You’ve only got a one terabyte spinning hard drive but you’ve also got an SSD cache module which speeds it up. But you’ve also got that GTX 770 card.
Bryan: Yeah, now that’s a pretty good card right there.
Fr. Robert: Yeah and go ahead and run the video on the back here. You can see that we've got all the eye candy on. We actually turned on full anti-aliasing right? You maxed that thing out.
Bryan: Oh yeah, the only thing we didn’t have maxed out was the ultra-high texture resolution, which they recommend having a 3 gigabyte video card or above which—
Fr. Robert: Right, right.
Bryan: …this doesn’t have [inaudible].
Fr. Robert: Yeah exactly.
Bryan: Everything’s maxed out.
Fr. Robert: The textures are different just because they have to be loaded in memory. You don’t want to be swapping that out during gameplay so, yeah you know, you do want that video card with 3, 4 gigabytes of memory. But we thought we might show you a few things that you could do to your current PC to give you a better chance of having that smooth Titanfall drop. Now, you know what this is right?
Bryan: That’s an SSD.
Fr. Robert: This is an SSD. This is a Kingston SSD back in episode - what was that like 64, 63?
Bryan: Yeah I think so.
Fr. Robert: Sorry 67.
Fr. Robert: Back in episode 67 of Know How, we actually talk about when Iyaz was still with us, how you choose an SSD. Specifically, you look at capacity, price point, format, speed, reliability and speed over time. Personally I've always gone with the higher end Kingston. I specifically like their KC series just because they are affordable, they actually measure really well when you compare them to other drives from Samsung and Intel, and they last. That’s the thing I want. I don’t want to buy a screaming fast SSD that going to become slow after 6 months because of the way that it’s designed. This thing will keep 95% of its speed to its last write, which I like.
Bryan: And the main reason that you’d want an SSD for a gamerig is loading, loading stuff quickly.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, yeah. Now we noticed, because this has a rotating drive but once it was loaded up, it actually ran really smoothly.
Fr. Robert: Right, and that’s because the source engine does really good off loading of data, reloading of data in times that you don’t need to be doing that sort of loading right?
Fr. Robert: Well if you’ve got an SSD, it’s not going to help with that part of the game but what it will help is with the loading up of a level. You'll see it load up so much faster.
Bryan: So if we were playing Crisis, the maps will load way quicker.
Fr. Robert: The maps will load up a day.
Bryan: My experience is once you go SSD you can’t go back.
Fr. Robert: You really can’t. It’s one of those things that people are like “I guess it’s kind of faster”. But when you’ve been playing on an SSD and you go back—
Bryan: Or waiting for your OS to load up.
Fr. Robert: It’s torturous. I will say this, these still aren’t that big. I mean they’ve got the 500 gigabyte versions now but—
Bryan: That’s where it starts to jump up in price right?
Fr. Robert: It kind of jumps up in price, really 240, 250 is still kind of the sweet spot you can get that for close to a hundred bucks now. But Titanfall is a big game. It’s fifty gigabytes and that’s the compressed files.
Bryan: Yeah, how many hours did you spend on working on downloading that?
Fr. Robert: …long time. Here in the brick house we've got like a hundred megabits per second and—
Bryan: It took forever.
Fr. Robert: …like five hours. It was not great. But if you're going to do the SSD route, just know how big this game is and know how big your other games might be so you might need multiple SSDs.
Bryan: And off load some of those video, music and photos that you have and stuff like that.
Fr. Robert: Right, right.
Bryan: So if we have an older rig and we upgrade the SSD – so what should we do, power supply and video card?
Fr. Robert: Yeah, you know this we’re going to cover in a later episode of Know How because I want to dedicate something specifically on how to choose the graphics card you’re going to upgrade and how you choose the power supply that you’re going to need. Now the reason why you need to think of this as a pair is because if you - especially if you’ve got and older machine, your power supply is probably not going to be able to handle the power requirements of a newer graphics card. These things just suck power. I believe the high level one now – there's a GTX card that pulls like three hundred watts.
Fr. Robert: Which is why you need these supplemental power. If you to the overhead, these cards have these supplemental power sockets so that you could jack in straight from the power supply rather than going through the motherboard. That’s one of the ways they keep the traces on a motherboard from becoming too unwieldy. But again, we don’t want to talk about this right now, right.
Bryan: Okay, yeah we’ll wait. We’ll save that.
Fr. Robert: Because with Titanfall, since it’s using the source engine. If you’ve – I’d say on the ATI side, if you’ve got 6000 series and above or on the—
Bryan: That should be okay.
Fr. Robert: …and video side of you’ve got a 600 series or above, you should be fine.
Bryan: Right. And this is a really fast paced game so you're going to want the 60 frames per second because - I don’t know about you padre but I was getting killed a lot on my home PC until I turned down the graphics and so I was like “Oh things are smooth now”.
Fr. Robert: The sad part is I was getting killed a lot and then I turned down the graphics and—
Bryan: And it kept happening.
Fr. Robert: …I was still getting killed a lot.
Bryan: But you still felt like a badass right? Hopping out of Mecs and…
Fr. Robert: I felt very flat.
Fr. Robert: I got stepped on three times.
Bryan: [laughs] at least is looked pretty.
Fr. Robert: I have not – you have to teach me how you do that thing where you jump on top of an enemy titan.
Bryan: Well you know.
Fr. Robert: I can’ –
Bryan: I can’t let all my secrets out.
Fr. Robert: But okay, how about this, why don’t we show them the easiest way to get a little bit of an extra speed boost out of their existing system.
Bryan: All right.
Fr. Robert: And it’s simply this. It’s memory.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, you know these things?
Bryan: Yeah that looks familiar.
Fr. Robert: Okay, now here’s the thing about memory. Everything runs faster with memory, Windows is going to run faster, Mac OS 10 is going to run faster. Your game will definitely load faster or it’ll run faster if it doesn’t have to swap out to the hard drive all that much. If you're going to be running Titanfall, I would recommend a minimum of 8 gigabytes, preferably 16 or 32. Now, choosing memory is a lot like choosing an SSD in that everyone is going to have their own favorite, they're going to have the brand that they like. But here’s the only thing I want to offer, if you are going to buy memory please don’t just buy it off of Amazon because there is many types of memory you can get. People get the DDR level wrong. DDR3 now DDR4, people get the speed wrong. And even if you get everything exactly right, some of these systems just don’t like being fitted with generic memory. Have you ever seen that?
Bryan: Oh I’ve seen that. But I always pick the RAM that has the pretty heat sink on it you know because—
Fr. Robert: [laughs]
Bryan: That means it’s good right?
Fr. Robert: Yeah, yeah. No.
Bryan: One thing when I was building my first PC, you definitely want to look through the motherboard manual because there was a list of RAM that worked and didn’t work.
Fr. Robert: Exactly, yeah the motherboard manual is a really good place. It’s a reference spot.
Bryan: That’s if you're starting from scratch—
Fr. Robert: That’s if you're starting from scratch.
Bryan: …you know, you're building your own PC.
Fr. Robert: But there's actually another way, a decent way to figure out. And if you could go ahead and go to my main computer, I'm going to show you that there are a couple of companies like Crucial and Kingston. Again, these are my two favorite companies to get memory from. They have memory selectors, what they will let you do is you can go in here and you can choose system specific memory and tell it, am I doing a server, am I doing a desktop, a laptop. You can pick the server, you can actually pick the model and the product line and then it will tell you exactly what kind of memory modules would be compatible with your system. Now, the reason why I like this is because it’s matched, it’s because these companies actually do take care to make sure they're going to recommend a module that will actually work in your system.
Bryan: Very cool.
Fr. Robert: But beyond that, both Crucial and Kingston have really good return policies so if it doesn’t work, send it back.
Fr. Robert: Yeah.
Bryan: Well, one other thing that I noticed, Ryan Trout obviously we have a computer hardware specific show on the network tweeted you earlier and I checked out PC Per. They have an article where if you wanted to build a rig, you could do so for around $700 and it will play Titanfall just fine. So definitely check out their website if you haven’t already and if you're planning on – because if you're going to build a rig for any game that’s come out recently, this would probably be the one…
Fr. Robert: Yeah.
Bryan: Unless you're into Dark Souls, because Dark Souls 2 is coming out soon and I like that one too.
Fr. Robert: Yeah I didn’t really buy into all the Titanfall hype.
Fr. Robert: I saw the commercials but then we loaded it up that first night—
Bryan: I hate it.
Fr. Robert: And I said “Wow, okay this is actually—
Bryan: And I've had very iffy experience with online only games where it’s like “Oh, the game just launched but the servers crashed for the first six hours”.
Fr. Robert: Yeah.
Bryan: So, but they were really good about it, like game launched at 9, at least on the PC I think Xbox had a few issues.
Fr. Robert: Xbox had a few issues. The PC side they were running on a native [?] server which load balanced really, really well.
Bryan: Right, yeah I noticed I worked perfectly. But that is one of the costs of having an online only game, which a lot of developers seem to be going in that direction for piracy of whatever. So if the servers are down you're not going to be able to play anything, not even training but—
Fr. Robert: Wop wop.
Bryan: …but so far it hasn’t been a problem so.
Fr. Robert: Well you know what else isn’t a problem?
Bryan: What’s that?
Fr. Robert: Fixing things.
Bryan: Oh we do need to fix some stuff.
Fr. Robert: We do need to fix things, and that why I'm happy to have on the show ifixit. Now you’ve probably heard of this company before, in fact I'm going to have my esteemed colleague here be the hand model for the ifixit tool kit. If you're a hacker, if you're a person who does upgrading of your PC. If you're just the kind of guy who like showing off what you can build, then you're definitely going to want to check out the Pro Tech toolkit from ifixit. Now ifixit is the free online repair manual company for everying. Their free step by step repair guides are foolproof instructions to fix all your stuff. If you shattered your Iphone screen, need to repair your game console, or swap the battery on you Galaxy S3, ifixit has got you covered. They have ten thousand repair guides for everything, from electronics like your smartphone, tablet and game consoles to your home appliances, your clothing or even your bike. That’s right, they help you hack the things that aren’t technical. They can even hook you up with the most needed parts, the things that you need to fix and everything they sell is tested and guaranteed. If you're ever looking for that dongle, for that weird piece that you just can’t find, ifixit is the place to go. They also make the most trusted repair tools for the consumer electronics including this Pro Tech toolkit that my esteemed co-host is playing with right now. This thing has 70 tools to assist you with any mod, malfunction or misfortune that comes your way. The toolkit is the gold standard is the for the electronics work from garage hackers to the CIA and FBI. But more importantly their unique tools are used to repair everything by repair technicians everywhere. Now this thing includes ifixit’s 54 bit driver kit with 54 standard, specialty and security bits. They have got Phillips bits, Pentalobe bits, torques and torque security bits. The Tri Wing bit that a lot of video consoles use. And even the triangle bit, the McDonald’s toys use to keep you out from hacking their gear. They also have a swivel top precision driver and one of my personal favorites is this flex extension thing. This weird – thank you for destroying my video, this weird rubber looking thing which allows you to reach difficult places with your bits and well it worked where you can’t push the entire driver. They’ve got an ESD safe precision tweezer for delicate manipulation and this anti-static strap which I'm going to use to pull my co-host on camera over here. They’ve also got nylon spudgers, metal spudgers and plastic opening tools for prying, scraping and pretty much doing everything for tablet repair, cleaning heat sink mounts etcetera. They're compact, they're lightweight and they're durable. This whole tool roll makes it an on the go choice for repair professionals and amateurs alike. The toolkit is only 69.95 and it’s backed by a one year warranty. Hobbyists and home DIY fixers also use the Pro Tech toolkit for doorknobs, eyeglasses, cabinet doors, sink fixtures and so much more. If you're looking for a great addition to any artist or hobbyist toolkit, look no further. Best of all there are thousands of free ifixit guides to help you put your tools to use. Here’s what we want you to do, if you're a hacker, if you're DIYer, if you're a maker, if you're just a geek who likes to fix things himself, why not check out the ifixit toolkit. Right now you can fix it yourself, visit ifixit.com/twit for free step-by-step guides. Ifixit also sells every part and tool that you'll need plus if you enter the code KNOWHOW at checkout, you'll save ten dollars off of any purchase of 50 dollars or more. That’s ifixit.com/twit and use the code KNOWHOW. And we thank ifixit for their support of KNOWHOW. You done there Vanna White?
Bryan: Yeah. Is my mic on? I don’t hear myself.
Fr. Robert: Yeah there you go.
Bryan: Oh sorry.
Fr. Robert: The wonderful thing about this is I think we’ve pretty much used on every episode of Know How even if we don’t have them—
Bryan: Well our motto is breaking things so you don’t have to.
Fr. Robert: Yeah.
Bryan: And this helps so much in breaking them and then also putting them back together if you had the skill for it so—
Fr. Robert: How about that.
Bryan: I’ll leave that to you though.
Fr. Robert: Thank you, I appreciate that. Now, Bryan I understand that we had a question from the G Plus community that we thought might make a good segment.
Bryan: That’s right, we got a comment from William Burlingame, he asked on our G Plus page. His February data usage hit 292 gigabytes, his Comcast cap is 300. So the Comcast agent said if he upgraded to the next level, it would bump into 350. He checked the Comcast site and it still said he had a 300 gigabyte cap but his download speed is now 50 megabits. It seems like the only option available is to select markets and mine is not one of them. Is there a way to monitor the usage and figure out who the main culprit is on the network. He has a Netflix account for nearly - he’s had it for five years so that’s nothing new. He hasn’t come close to the limit before until last month but he does have a college student living with him now and he’d like to see what’s going on before he makes any accu – before he accuses anyone.
Fr. Robert: Before he accuses anyone. This is actually something we get quite a lot. There’s people who are saying “Wait a minute, you know, I've got a cap now. I don’t understand what’s eating up my cap”, “I used up 300 gigabytes last month”, “It wasn’t me so who was it?” There are a few tools on the market right now that can help you figure that out so you can accuse the right person. So you go “Hey you stop it”.
Bryan: Let’s not start a witch hunt.
Fr. Robert: Yeah let’s not start a witch hunt. Actually if you checked our cap right now, I think at least 50 gigs would be Titanfall.
Bryan: Yeah sure.
Fr. Robert: …maybe 60.
Bryan: If we had a cap.
Fr. Robert: If we had a cap. If we had a cap. But the cool thing was, this last January at CES I stopped by the booth of a vendor who offered a product who did exactly this.
Fr. Robert: Just using the router that came with your ISP or a cheapie that you’ve picked up at the local Best Buys. Your probably not going to get all the services out of it that you need, especially if you're trying to protect children or other people in your household from let’s just say the darker side of the internet. That why we've got Skydog. We’re here looking at their new product, 149, which will allow you to do essentially deep packet inspection of all the traffic that’s going through your network. You want to take a look at how much bandwidth people are using, you can do that. If you want to look at what individual users are doing, you can set policies to make sure that people aren’t going to websites that they're not supposed to be at and they're not using services that they're not supposed to use. The nice thing about this is that Skydog has an enterprise class heritage they're from Xerox Parc. They cut their bones making enterprise solutions and now they're taking that and giving you a package that’s built for the consumer, for the parent, for the person who’s concerned about what their loved ones are watching on the internet. If you want a bit more control over the traffic flooding into your house, take a look at Skydog.
Fr. Robert: Now, I have to admit, I took a look at their product at their table because I thought “It looks interesting but I've seen so many products like this at CES and just failed to impress once they into the studio, right?” I mean, everyone makes the promise of “This will be the last router you ever buy and it works great for a year maybe—
Bryan: And then.
Fr. Robert: …and then not so great, right. It never quite lives up to the hype. But what they wanted to do was they wanted to give a really easy to use interface, specifically for parents. So people who have a household where they're trying to monitor what’s happening on the internet. That is easy to use, easy to set up and also very easy to set. So you could put limits on what your kids are doing.
Bryan: Makes sense.
Fr. Robert: Now this product right here. We've actually got one of these in house. This little unit, the Skydog router, the cool thing about this is the first time I plugged it in, and I connected a computer to one of the gigabit ports in the back. All it did was it asked me if I wanted to create a new account or associate with my Google Plus account. So I went ahead and associated it with my Google Plus account and then if you show my screen over here, you're going to see what kind of information you get. Now, I've already done all the setup, I'm going to show you really quickly how that works. But this is the interface that we’d be looking for if we’re trying to answer William’s question about monitoring usage.
Bryan: Oh that makes it clear about what’s going on.
Fr. Robert: Incredibly clear right? So I've got two users here. I've got my use and then I've got this unassigned, I'm trying to figure out who that is. The cool thing is I can drill down through this so right now I'm looking at day but I could look at hour, I could look at week, I could look at month. I could look even further back. So this thing will store all the—
Bryan: So you can pinpoint—
Fr. Robert: Exactly, exactly.
Bryan: …when like “Oh I know somebody came into the house on this day so let’s see what it’s been like since then”.
Fr. Robert: Right, but it’s like – for example, this is the past day since I've had this demo unit hooked up in the studio. I'm going to go ahead and say “Alright, I want to see everything from that time to about here because this is where I got my main spike before it dropped off.”
Fr. Robert: And when I do that, it’s going to drill in – go ahead come on drill in. I think I broke it. Well, normally it would drill in and it would allow me to – oh wait, actually now I know what happened. That’s my mouse. I could drill into individual hours, and it would show me exactly what’s going on with the users on my network. Now, one of the things I really like about this, check this out. So what I'm going to do, I'm going to go to the users and devices and I'm going to assign a new user. I'm going to go ahead and call this one Cranky Hippo because I think was – actually, sorry about this, I borrowed your laptop to generate the second stream.
Bryan: [laughs] I was wondering where my laptop had gone.
Fr. Robert: Yeah and I'm – everyone knows your email right?
Bryan: Yup. Go for it.
Fr. Robert: Thank you.
Bryan: It’s pretty obvious.
Fr. Robert: Yeah Bryan@Twit.tv., alright now when we go back into the setup, it allows me to choose all the options. So I'm going to assign it this weird computer right here, that red one, that I don’t yet know who is using it.
Bryan: Suddenly there's a 50 gigabyte spike.
Fr. Robert: Exactly, and then I can turn on everything like – all right, what kind of priority do I want to give your traffic.
Bryan: Oh wow.
Fr. Robert: So if this was just someone, a guest in my house, I could turn this all the way down, I could turn it all the way up. I could say he should have max bandwidth, I could say he should have no bandwidth. I could also do things – this is my personal favorite screen. This is the policy. So let’s say I know – let’s say you're my kid.
Fr. Robert: Which is scary in so many different ways and I don’t want you to have access during the week because you should be working during the week. So all I would do I click on no access and I would highlight the entire days.
Bryan: Oh okay.
Fr. Robert: And now—
Fr. Robert: …it knows that anything coming from that Mac address, that computer, that device, that tablet whatever it is, cannot access the internet from Monday to Friday. But in the weekends its purely open. But let’s say I'm kind of worried about—
Bryan: Come on, father [laughs].
Fr. Robert: Exaclty, exactly so I don’t want to block you. So how about this, why don’t I go ahead and give you some standard family permissions between the hours that I think maybe you should be using the internet.
Bryan: Oh okay.
Fr. Robert: So this really easy to use interface is something that parent can use to say look, at this point past ten o’clock I don’t want you on the internet. You should be in bed, you should be sleeping.
Bryan: Now this is just data though right? Or can you specify certain websites to block—
Fr. Robert: Oh no this is policy so this is everything. This is everything. But if I go to next, I can also specify specific watch lists, specific sites.
Bryan: Oh man.
Fr. Robert: And I can tell the router to tell me when those sites are being accessed or when a data cap is being overloaded.
Bryan: Wow, I'm glad my parents didn’t have this.
Fr. Robert: Right, I can also enable logging history. Now, okay this gets into all sorts of privacy issues. I'm not sure if your parents want to know where exactly their kids have been going. But if you are that kind of a parent, this is the kind of tool that will let you do it. Now something else I want to point out is this is entirely over the web. I'm not accessing the router.
Bryan: Oh okay.
Fr. Robert: I'm accessing an internet page, which means I could be anywhere in the world, log in to that and change policy.
Bryan: So you don’t have to be on the land to get to it huh.
Fr. Robert: Right, exactly.
Bryan: Oh okay.
Fr. Robert: But it also means that I have the ability to find out, as William was – want to know, who is using up all the bandwidth in my house. And I can go to those spikes and I can say “Oh it was Cranky Hippo. Cranky Hippo was the one who was doing it. Or it was padre, padre was the one who was doing it”. It’s an incredible tool that I actually really enjoy. I'm looking forward to reviewing this on before you buy, more than that I'm forward to finding out all the different features that I can get out of this.
Bryan: Right, well it seems like a good tool for someone, especially if they have a data cap, you know.
Fr. Robert: Yeah.
Bryan: I mean when my parents wanted me to get off the internet they just picked up the phone.
Fr. Robert: Wait, phone?
Bryan: Dial-up phone. I'm actually dating myself.
Fr. Robert: There is a large part of our audience that never had to dial-up, you know that right?
Bryan: Uhhh, I don’t want to think about that.
Alex: So many of our doom sessions were interrupted from picking up the phone.
Fr. Robert: Okay wait, between the two of you, how many of you have had this conversation “Mom I'm on the internet!”
Bryan: Come on, I need to use the phone.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, exactly right?
Bryan: Yeah, sorry.
Fr. Robert: Too many bad days. All right now, just some of the practicals. This router is going to cost a hundred and fifty bucks. So it’s not crazy cheat but it’s not expensive.
Bryan: That’s not out of the realm of a lot of other routers.
Fr. Robert: Right exactly, and with that one hundred and fifty bucks you get the first year of service for free, right. So—
Bryan: Oh so they start charging you for that service.
Fr. Robert: They do charge you. So the first year it’s either going to cost $30 a year or it’s going to cost $60 for three additional years.
Bryan: Oh wow, okay I didn’t know that.
Fr. Robert: Okay, so again – yeah, they're going to charge but I'm thinking that this is actually one of those things where it’s worth it.
Fr. Robert: If you’ve ever been worried about your kids accessing the internet—
Bryan: If you're going over your cap, it’s going to save you, yeah.
Fr. Robert: …or going over your cap. Right, that’s one month of going over your cap. Why not have a device that you can set limits. That you can say “Past this point, throttle this user”.
Fr. Robert: “Or past this point, don’t allow Netflix”, “Or if I'm getting close to the cap, don’t allow anything but email, just the stuff I really, really need”.
Fr. Robert: That kind of fine tuning of my bandwidth, I really like.
Bryan: Yeah, no I really like this product a lot, it just makes me hate data caps though.
Fr. Robert: [laughs]
Bryan: Because we live in a world with data caps, I'm glad this product exists. This Skydoge—
Fr. Robert: I don’t think they're going to like me doing that but—
Fr. Robert: No, no, no but leave it, leave it. I don’t really care but you know what else is good?
Bryan: What’s that?
Fr. Robert: I don’t like data caps but I do like learning.
Bryan: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Fr. Robert: Can you think of any company that maybe we have that might help us to learn.
Bryan: Something that has well-made videos they created, uh, Lynda?
Fr. Robert: You know what, why not? I think this might be a good time to add Lynda to the Know How community. Now what do you want to learn? You want to learn photography? You want to learn audio and video editing?
Bryan: Well, here at Twit we’re switching over to Premiere from Final Cut so I should probably brush up on that.
Fr. Robert: That’s actually a good thing. Exactly, we’re switching over from Final Cut and a Mac based platform to Premiere and a PC based platform. Now the cool thing about Lynda is that they are the premiere online learning company. With easy to follow tutorials on lynda.com you can learn at your own pace on your own terms from top industry experts. With the lynda.com subscription, members receive unlimited access to thousands of online video courses that cover a variety of software, creative and business skills. Now just like you, I like to use the Premiere courses on Lynda because I need to brush up. I mean I've been using Premiere since I started publishing content. But every once in a while I realize that my knowledge is really limited because there's maybe five or six tools that I use over and over again but I want to remember all of the advanced tools that are at my fingertips. I mean they're in the software I've already purchased, why not learn how to use them. Now Lynda helps you improve your skills, learn new software, and keep up with technology. They have over 2,000 courses with new courses added daily. Instructors are working professionals at the top of their fields and expert teachers who make high quality video productions from state of the art studios. Now these aren’t those homemade videos that you’ll find on Youtube, which God bless them are great, they give you a lot of knowledge.
Bryan: Where on Youtube?
Fr. Robert: Where on Youtube, right. But I mean there are too many out there that don’t take audio and video seriously right?
Fr. Robert: The lighting’s not quite right, and the mic’s not quite right. And I don’t care how much knowledge you have, if it’s painful to watch or listen to, you're just not going to attract that much audience.
Bryan: No and if you're trying to learn something it’s easier to follow along when you have a transcript.
Fr. Robert: Which is what Lynda does. They have not just the easiest to follow lessons, but they have transcripts of the content inside the videos. Curated course content mind you. Each lynda.com course is carefully structures so that the users learn from start to finish, or jump to a specific chapter to for quick answers. Easy to follow videos to find your answers you need and as you mentioned, searchable transcripts that allow you to search inside that video to save time and find exactly what you're looking for. Lynda has courses for all experience levels that cover a range of technical skills, creative techniques, business strategies and so much more. Watch from your computer, your tablet or mobile device and then switch back and forth on the chapter where you left off. You can learn at your own pace, at your own schedule, on your own time, anytime you need. Now here’s what we want you to do, we know that as members of the Know How community, you want to learn. So learn something new in 2014 with lynda.com. It’s only $25 a month for access to the entire lynda.com course library or for $37.50 a month, you can subscribe to the premium plan, which include exercise files that let you follow along with the instructor’s projects using the exact same assets. And you can try lynda.com right now with the seven day trial. Visit lynda.com/knowhow to access the entire library. That’s over two thousand courses free for seven days. It’s all a lynda.com/knowhow. And we thank Lynda for their support of Know How. Now Bryan, Skydoge is not bad right? This is a pretty good service. It’s worked really, really well. I love the interface but I know there are going to be people out there who go “oh”.
Bryan: “Can I do this for free? Are there some tools out there that might help me monitor my – it might not be as elegant, it might not be as well put together but is there something that I can use?”
Fr. Robert: And the answer is yeah. Yeah, kind of I mean you can create tools that will allow you to do essentially what the Skydoge is letting us do and in that beautiful interface.
Fr. Robert: It’s not going to be as elegant as you mentioned but it’s probably going to be possible with stuff you have lying around the house.
Fr. Robert: Okay, the first thing we got to do before we do anything else is we got to know the difference between a hub and a switch.
Bryan: Okay, isn’t a hub just an extension of like a router and a switch is—
Fr. Robert: Yeah kind of, we also call a hub a repeater.
Fr. Robert: So hub’s old technology. This is what it looked like. So we’ve got these two scenarios here. This is a hub and this is a switch. Both of them have a frame of information, of Ethernet information that’s coming in on port 1.
Fr. Robert: Now, the way that a switch deals with it, is when the frame comes in, it’s going to read the header. It’s going to find out where it’s going, it’s going to look at its memory and realize the computer that number one wants to send to is on port eight.
Bryan: All right.
Fr. Robert: So it will forward that frame from port one to port eight without touching any of the other ports.
Bryan: So is port one – is that hooked up to the modem? Is that—
Fr. Robert: Well, no, no so this would be one computer, this would be another computer.
Bryan: Oh I see.
Fr. Robert: So that’s all it is right. So this is like every switch you would buy from a Best Buy or a Frye’s Electronics or whatever. The idea is switches are far more efficient—
Bryan: Oh okay.
Fr. Robert: …because one frame goes in, one frame goes out. As opposed to old technology, a hub or what we used to call a repeater.
Bryan: Where one goes in and then it goes out all of them.
Fr. Robert: It’s mindless, exactly. So the computer on port one wants to talk to the computer on port eight. The frame is going to go in, the hub is just going to repeat it out all the other ports.
Bryan: Right, that doesn’t seem very efficient.
Fr. Robert: It’s not efficient at all and that’s actually the reason why we got rid of it because you would get what are called collisions. You get computers that are talking at the same time, having to retransmit and then suddenly your one hundred megabits becomes like half a megabit and—
Fr. Robert: …not great. Yeah, we use switches because they're faster, because they're smarter and because they're far more efficient.
Bryan: I'm guessing they're more expensive too.
Fr. Robert: More expensive – well actually, that’s moot now because it’s almost impossible to buy a hub.
Fr. Robert: There are very few vendors that sell hubs. But hubs have on huge benefit and that is the fact that if any traffic goes in it gets repeated out all ports. If it gets repeated out all ports, we could use that as a device to tap our network because if in a switch, let’s say we’ve got a computer on port five that wants to listen to the traffic, if the traffic comes in on port one and goes to port eight—
Bryan: And it’s going to eight. It’s not going to see anything.
Fr. Robert: It’s not going to see anything right? It’ll just be blank. But if it’s hooked up to a hub, traffic going from port one to port eight will also hit port five. In fact, any traffic going into the hub will also hit port five. Which means if I use a hub, any traffic going into that device can be copied, can be sniffed, can be tapped by my listening device.
Bryan: Aha, okay. What if you put a hub in before you reach the switch?
Fr. Robert: Well oh – good point, good point. That’s what we’re going to talk about. Before we go there, I thought we might want to talk a little bit about a tool called Wireshark. I believe Alex has the webpage for this software. This is sort of the de facto concerning anyone who ever wants to start playing with tapping. It’s completely free and it runs on pretty much any computer. The cool thing about Wireshark is it has been developing over the last decade. It has incredibly high end features, not as elegant, not nearly as easy to understand as something like the Skydoge but at the same time it is tremendously powerful.
Bryan: I feel like I've seen it pre-installed on a few Linux Distros that I have used—
Fr. Robert: Yup.
Bryan: …so it’s been out there for a little while.
Fr. Robert: Well, I mean anyone who going to be doing any network troubleshooting is probably going to be using Wireshark.
Bryan: Wireshark, cool.
Fr. Robert: Now, while we set up our little demonstration, I thought we might harken back to an old episode of Know How. You might remember back in episode 64, I showed you some basic Wireshark techniques.
Fr. Robert: This is what the interface for Wireshark looks like. If you switch over to my PC screen, it’s you know – it kind of undecipherable right now. In fact I'm going to do something that’s going to make it even more undecipherable.
Scott Wilkinson: Okay, I'm liking where this is going.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, yeah so I'm going to start my capture. And this is actually running in between PC one, so this is PC one that you said you wanted to find out what was going on.
Scott: PC one is what I'm messing with right now.
Fr. Robert: Right, and over to the router, and then right here I've got my one tap. I am only looking at the traffic going from the PC out to the router, not the other way. And I'm going to start, if you go back to my interface I'm going to start my capture. And now this is only the packets that are going from that PC out to the internet. So right now don’t show me but go ahead and type in a website. Go to a website, any website. Pick a site.
Scott: Any website, I'm going to pick a site that nobody would ever go to. There is no way on earth this is on your machine.
Fr. Robert: And you're starting to see the packets flow, so this is – the packets that are flowing from his computer out to the router. What I'm going to do is I'm going to put DNS, in the filter box here, which means I'm only wanting to look at packets that have a DNS call in them. And is see here that the very first, I see a Bing call, I see a Myspace call, I see a google call, I see another Myspace call. So it looks like you're going either to Myspace or Facebook. Now here’s the weird thing, notice - what site did you go to?
Scott: I went to myspace.com.
Fr. Robert: You went to Myspace, notice all those other sites that are popping up. Those are all the other calls that that site is going to make. It calls over to Myspace but also to Facebook, also to vinidcodosuite, whatever. A couple to Google, a couple to akamai. That shows you all the different places that your computer is accessing when you access a simple website.
Fr. Robert: So that’s how Wireshark works, and it’s actually really simple. You start the capture and then you capture the packets, you stop it and then you can analyze them.
Fr. Robert: And if you remember during that demonstration I was able to scrape your password.
Bryan: Yeah, I noticed that. Thanks a lot for that.
Fr. Robert: Sorry about that.
Bryan: But also so it doesn’t put it into a nice graphical interface for you huh.
Fr. Robert: No it doesn’t, you have to know how to use it but it is free and it’s always going to be free and you probably can use the equipment that you have now. If Alex would go to my product shot, this is what you're going to need. So I've got an old laptop that I'm going to use as my capture computer. So this is the computer that’s going to receive all the packets that are running through my network.
Fr. Robert: Now I've got my router, so I'm using the Skydog as the router. So just a standard home router like you would have maybe hooked up to your cable loading your DSL. I've got an old Netgear hub, this is an old 5 port hub that allows me, again any traffic that goes in this port is going to be repeated out all the other ports.
Fr. Robert: And then I've got this switch. Now, what this switch is, this is the thing to which I'm going to connect everything in my network.
Fr. Robert: So nothing connects to anything here except the tapping gear. This is what connects to the rest of my house.
Bryan: Okay, all right.
Fr. Robert: Let me show you on the blackboard how this is going to work. Now in a standard network, you're probably going to go from your cable or your DSL box, wireless and wired, whatever it’s going to be, straight to the PCs or straight to your tablets right? You can have the reconnection. What we’re doing is we’re putting a device in line instead of going straight from your cable DSL router slash modem to the PCs we’re going to go from there to the hub, we’re going to go from the hub to the switch and then the switch is going to connect to all those devices.
Fr. Robert: Okay, we don’t want anything that’s not on that side of the hub.
Fr. Robert: And then to this hub, what we’re going to do is we’re going to attach—
Bryan: You're going to connect your little laptop.
Fr. Robert: Yes, now this is where my laptop goes that’s going to watch all the traffic. Because that hub is going to repeat all that traffic that ever goes through it, it means that since this is the only way to get to the router, anything that goes to the internet is going to be seen by my tapping computer.
Bryan: So are you going to lose any bandwidth doing it this way?
Fr. Robert: No, no that’s the wonderful thing. This is the reason why we use this switch here. This – the product shot. We use this switch here because we want to maintain full speed in the house.
Fr. Robert: But unless you’ve got gigabit Ethernet, which I'm pretty sure none of us does yet, you're going to have an internet connection that’s slower than one hundred megabits per second. And that’s the maximum speed of a hub. There is no gigabit hubs.
Bryan: I could live with that.
Fr. Robert: Exactly, right. So as long as you have less than one hundred megabits in or out from your cable modem, this is not going to be the bottleneck in you network.
Fr. Robert: But what it will let you do is it will let you capture all that traffic. And like William likes to know, who is using up all my traffic. If you go and switch to my smaller laptop, the demo laptop here. I'm going to show you, this is what a Wireshark capture session looks like. There's a lot of data in here. I don’t even want to try to scroll through everything and explain what it is. Now you can do a lot of stuff with this data, like for example you can look for passwords. We showed that in the last episode.
Fr. Robert: You could look for DNS queries if you wanted to find out what websites people are going to.
Fr. Robert: You could even look for encrypted site and my personal favorite, this lets you do things like capture telephone conversations. So if anyone ever made a voice over IP call over you network you can playback the call.
Bryan: Oh wow.
Fr. Robert: Which, okay now we’re getting into spooky civil liberty stuff. Let’s back off for a second.
Bryan: Well it is your network.
Fr. Robert: It is your network, but no, no, the part that I want to show you is this. If you go to statistics, conversations, and you click this. It will start compiling everything, it will start looking at all of the – of all the packets. Thank you, thank you Alex. It will start computing.
Fr. Robert: And eventually it will give you something that looks like this. Let’s go and stop that, I pre compiled this earlier. It’s breaking down all of those packets into the devices, the conversations that were happening on the network. And as you can see, there’s one conversation here that has a whole lot more data than the others so—
Bryan: Oh okay.
Fr. Robert: So what I want to do, I’ll break it down by bytes and this is showing me “Oh okay, this is my top talker. This right here, this is the IP address and also the Mac address that is using up all that data.”
Bryan: That is using up most of the data.
Fr. Robert: And it will also tell me where it’s going to.
Fr. Robert: Right, so—
Bryan: And then you can pinpoint the culprit.
Fr. Robert: Exactly, so if William wanted to say “Hey this was you” he could just say – he could just look at his router table and say “This Mac address or that IP address belongs to that computer, that’s your computer, stop it.”
Bryan: Yeah now I'm going to limit you.
Fr. Robert: Now, again just a very small bit of what Wireshark can do but it’s pretty incredible considering that this is a free tool.
Bryan: Yeah, totally and if you wanted to just learn some stuff about what’s going on over you network.
Fr. Robert: Oh and by the way, if you want your tapping tool to make those sounds as you're calculating—
Bryan: [laughs] as it’s computing.
Fr. Robert: Just contact Alex Gumple and he’ll set you up. Okay, something I should mention about this is I like this tool but a lot of people just get freaked out because—
Bryan: They’re overwhelmed.
Fr. Robert: They’re overwhelmed because there’s a lot of information here right?
Bryan: It looks like a lot of gobbledygook.
Fr. Robert: Yeah exactly. Look at this, this makes sense to someone who’s been doing network work for his entire life. But to other people looking at this, other than maybe this bite line that it shows you how much that one person has been transferring, this could be a little bit daunting.
Bryan: But you know, if I wanted to save the money, I think I’d put the time in to learn how to do it.
Fr. Robert: Exactly, and this is what we’re trying to do right? Now we've given them two different ways to do it. You can either go out and buy an excellent device like the Skydog, which comes with the surface and a graphical user interface, or you can do it yourself, buy a cheap hub, plug it in and see what you get.
Bryan: You got options.
Fr. Robert: You got options folks. Options, how about that. Oh, what are we going to be doing next week Bryan?
Bryan: So we will be doing user feedback from our amazing Google Plus community and that just reached over six thousand.
Fr. Robert: So make sure you get in there and put in any last minute questions you might have or projects that you are trying to cover.
Bryan: Or projects you’ve finished and you want us to show it – well present it on the show.
Fr. Robert: Actually, yeah let’s do that. You know what, we've got a lot of really good questions in there already. If you’ve got a project that you are really proud of, please post it in there. Give us a small video, give us some pictures, give us a description. We’d love to show off the stuff that you make.
Bryan: Absolutely, and then the next thing we will be working on is the mobile podcasting thing?
Fr. Robert: Oh right, right we’re going to update that right because Iyaz did a segment on creating a mobile podcasting rig. We’re going to show you not just how to create an even better podcasting rig, but we’re going to show you how to do field audio.
Bryan: Nice, nice I'm looking forward to that.
Fr. Robert: Yeah, now we understand that we have a lot of stuff that we covered here. Everything from the parts from the upgrade to the tapping to the Skydog that you might need another go around so here’s what we’ve got, so if you go to our show page, you can find out show notes and Bryan I’d say the best in the business right?
Bryan: Oh, absolutely. As far as show notes go, those are the ones that you want to look at and you can find them at twit.tv/kh.
Fr. Robert: Yeah.
Fr. Robert: And also, I'm going to put in a little brag here, if you find something in the show notes that you don’t like, go ahead and contact us and tell us about it.
Bryan: Contact padre.
Fr. Robert: Contact – no, contact Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you send us an email to email@example.com we will promptly put it in the spam filter but if you contact us in our G Plus page we’ll probably respond to you.
Bryan: Yeah, well I appreciate you throwing me under the bus with the “Congratulations Google Plus, we hit 6000 users. If you mail something to us, Bryan will send you back a sticker.”
Fr. Robert: By the way I’d like to apologize for that folks, it’s not true. What you have to do is send something to the brickhouse with Bryan’s name on it.
Bryan: Just put Know How on it, I’ll get it.
Fr. Robert: Self address that envelope and say send me free stuff.
Bryan: I do have lots of stickers so if you want to send something to the studio—
Fr. Robert: We’ll take care of it.
Bryan: We’ll take care of it.
Fr. Robert: Oh, speaking of that, please join our G Plus community. Like you said, there are over six thousand people in there and it’s always growing. And I just love the diversity of topics that people want us to tackle. And also, I think you can find us on twitter. If you're not much of the G Plus type, you can find me at padresj.
Bryan: And you can find me at Cranky_Hippo.
Fr. Robert: And until next time I think, now that you know—
Bryan: Go do it!