Offbeat Internet
Public Access

Free Tools

Listed here are useful free tools, to assist you in your Internet surfing. Remember that there are many outstanding Internet services that are not free.


Free Hosting Services

You can't use the Internet unless your computer is attached (dialup, broadband, etc.), and that requires a lease from an Internet Service Provider. Once attached, if you want to supply your own content, you will also need need access to a hosting server. Here are listings of some available free hosts.

Gopher

HTTP

TelNet


Protocol Portals

Enthusiasts of many of the social protocols have devoted webpages to assisting persons interested in exploring the protocol. These portals usually include both a knowledgebase and links to servers, and make good starting points for newbies.


Classic Document Search Engines

Finding documents is not always easy. Search engines servers, specific to each protocol, were soon deployed to help with the process. None of these pioneering search engines are still with us, but they do have web accessible successors listed here.

Search Engines are only machines, and before they can dynamically group a website, they must first discover it and then try to determine its subject matter. Often they make categorizing mistakes. A method called "WebRing" has been developed, which allows Webmasters to actively group their websites together with others that they themselves determine are of similar content.


Anominity Tools

Agencies often attempt to control public access to the Internet. At the same time however, they usually don't want to restrict access of governement agents, businesses, etc.. If the controlling agency cannot easily determine who you are, their is less likelyhood that your activities will be censored. Below are tools to assist with anominity.

Startpage

Startpage is an anonymous search engine for the web. In its default mode it is filtered, so you might need to change the settings. Startpage draws from the Google database, so with filters removed you will get all the same results (without location and previous-search specific tailoring of course) as you would from Google. Warning: Accessing Startpage through a Webproxy is not recommended for security reasons (the Webproxy will know what you were searching for). Note: If you continue to use Google, you can increase anominity slightly by bypassing "Google Instant"
(to bypass, use the URL- http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=0).

Webproxy list

Open Proxy servers list

Anonymous Tor Proxy

Proxies are servers that make requests to destination servers in your stead. They are often used to get around firewalls placed in front of your computer that are using "blacklists" to censor access to certain IP addresses. You would contact a proxy server not being blacklisted, asking it relay your data to/from the blacklisted destination server. Note that because the destination server is given your IP address, services such as those attempting to locate you on a map will still function correctly.
Anonymous Proxies go one step further, and they hide your IP address from the destination server, to hinder tracking (the destination thinks data is actually originating from the Proxy server, and not your computer). Warning: Beware to only use trusted servers whos legitimacy is established as not being operated by controlling agencies. One trustworthy Anonymous Proxy server cluster (a cluster of interlinked proxy servers is more effective against surveillance than a standalone proxy) is the Tor Project. This link will check if you are actually passing traffic through Tor.
Normally the proxy server address is added to your network configuration file, so it could handle data from any Port and Protocol. Webproxies are a new variant that work only for HTTP. With a webproxy you do not have to change your computer settings; just visit the proxy servers website, and request your destination webpage URL. The Webproxy will retreive the webpage and display it from their server as if it was their own. Webproxies are useful at WiFi hotspots where all you need is a temporary firewall circumvention.

AccMail list

Anonymity can be increased if you have another person access the Web for you, then email you the results. By breaking the direct link, spying software, such as scripts embedded in web pages, can not access your hard drive, log your IP address, etc.. AccMail (Access Mail) is an automated proxy which does just this. You email a request to one of the (protocol specific) AccMail servers, and the server emails you back a specially-formatted snapshot of the Web resource you requested.

PGP Public Key Servers list

If your messages are intercepted, you can still keep much of your anominity by cryptographically obscuring the content. PGP is an incredibly effective method of obscuring content, but part of the decryption process requires having a "public key". Here is a list of servers on which you can upload your public keys, and access the public keys uploaded by others.

[US Government tips for protecting yourself online]
[Laws against "Phishing"]

Internet Port probe

Password Generator

Pre-download Spyware scanner

Pre-download Exif Record examiner

Your identity is being actively sought. Although much of this activity is by persons bent on malice or theft, some of it is by agencies who want to make a positive ID in order to restrict your Internet access. Some steps you can take to reduce identity discovery is to hide Ports, use strong passwords, and examine files for spyware. Here are some tools to help.

~ Phone:
Reserved US Phone Numbers list
Publicly Viewable Voicemail and Textmessage phone numbers - (WARNING: Messages are accessible by anyone for approximately two weeks)

~ Zip Code:
Unused US City Zip Codes list

~ URL:
Reserved URLs list

A ubiquitous method of finding your identity is to ask for personal information, such as a valid zip code and phone number, in order to access a website. Offering fake information is an effective method of circumventing this intrusion, but it is important that the fake information both be truly fake, and give the appearance of being legitimate. Here is some false data you can offer these nosy websites.