Warning About Unofficial MLS Internet Connections

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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mkmurray
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Warning About Unofficial MLS Internet Connections

Postby mkmurray » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:10 pm

So one of our clerks has brought in a D-Link wireless router that has a slot for those Sprint 3G Wireless Internet Cardbus Adapters that you normally plug into a laptop. We use it to access helpful sites like LDSTech, LUWS, LDS Maps, etc. on our personal laptops that we bring in. Unfortunately, we had a curious member of our bishopric try to connect the ward computer to the wireless router via ethernet cable, in hopes that it would give us a faster MLS connection.

For any of you out there thinking about this, first of all you should wait for authorization from your Stake Presidency and Stake Technology Specialist. Second of all, I will tell you of how it can hose your working modem connection within MLS. It's also important to note that it was never successful anyway because apparently MLS had a way of detecting that our install of MLS was not supposed to be coming through an internet connection, but through a modem connection only.

So after this deed was done, we were unable to transmit via modem for 3 days. It seemed like the modem was dead, fried, or something similar. However, someone older than I who knew how to work with modems was able to use ATDT or something to verify the modem was functional, just not within MLS (haha, I know that dates me that I got started on a cable modem; if it helps any, I was the first kid on the block to have a cable modem when they weren't widely available).

After a call to Clerk Support and a few levels of support representatives later, it was determined that at some point an extra modem driver was installed or something. Apparently, MLS didn't like choosing between more than one. Our guess is that by Windows detecting the LAN connection to the wireless router, somewhere in that install sequence this extra modem was configured and confused MLS.

So moral of the story is don't mess with a good thing when it's working, and also wait for the people in charge to make the change to the Meetinghouse Internet Program as approval is given.

P.S. An interesting side note...during the phone call with one of the lower level Clerk Support representatives, they had us remove Symantec from the machine; in fact, they insisted when we asked them if they were really sure. It did significantly speed up our Dell Optiplex GX620 with XP Pro SP2, Intel Celeron 2.53 GHz, and 256 RAM. I suppose it's ok while we're still on a dial-up modem, but I can't imagine this will be good when we move to the Meetinghouse Internet Program in a few months.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:38 pm

mkmurray wrote:P.S. An interesting side note...during the phone call with one of the lower level Clerk Support representatives, they had us remove Symantec from the machine; in fact, they insisted when we asked them if they were really sure. It did significantly speed up our Dell Optiplex GX620 with XP Pro SP2, Intel Celeron 2.53 GHz, and 256 RAM. I suppose it's ok while we're still on a dial-up modem, but I can't imagine this will be good when we move to the Meetinghouse Internet Program in a few months.

Well, there's good news in credit to our STS...I just got a call from him making an appointment to put the Symantec program back on later this week. Guess we won't be going without it too long after all! :)

It's still curious to me though why a Clerk Support representative would encourage that...

techgy
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Postby techgy » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:22 pm

mkmurray wrote:P.S. An interesting side note...during the phone call with one of the lower level Clerk Support representatives, they had us remove Symantec from the machine; in fact, they insisted when we asked them if they were really sure. It did significantly speed up our Dell Optiplex GX620 with XP Pro SP2, Intel Celeron 2.53 GHz, and 256 RAM. I suppose it's ok while we're still on a dial-up modem, but I can't imagine this will be good when we move to the Meetinghouse Internet Program in a few months.


The SAV (Symantec Anti-Virus) not only protects you from spyware and virus infections from the Internet - which may not be much of a risk when using Dial-Up since you're connecting directly to the Church server - but it also protects you from spyware/virus infections that may be brought into the PC from a flash drive, floppy disk, or any other storage medium that a member could bring into the office.

Removing it was risky so hopefully they'll get it back quickly.

techgy
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Postby techgy » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:33 pm

mkmurray wrote:P.S. An interesting side note...during the phone call with one of the lower level Clerk Support representatives, they had us remove Symantec from the machine; in fact, they insisted when we asked them if they were really sure. It did significantly speed up our Dell Optiplex GX620 with XP Pro SP2, Intel Celeron 2.53 GHz, and 256 RAM. I suppose it's ok while we're still on a dial-up modem, but I can't imagine this will be good when we move to the Meetinghouse Internet Program in a few months.


One additional note. The GX620 is the same machine that we have in all of our wards. I recently discovered that 256 meg of RAM isn't enough. With the desktop 5.5 system running we only had about 70-80 meg of RAM remaining to operate the MLS program in. It ran like a dog with a broken leg. Upgrade the RAM to 512 Meg or higher and MLS will be improved significantly. I just upgraded the systems in three wards over the past month and everybody is thrilled now.

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Postby russellhltn » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:54 pm

Techgy wrote:which may not be much of a risk when using Dial-Up since you're connecting directly to the Church server


Well, you can hope. My understanding is that it's really an Internet connection where everything else has been filtered out. Which is fine until the ISP's ACL list fails.

<war story mode> I remember some time ago clerk were reporting pop-ups during send/receive. This was back before Desktop 5.5 existed and we were all running WinXP SP1. It was also back when "messenger spam" was the big thing. Apparently the incoming packets were being let though but not any outgoing traffic, so no nasties got downloaded - until the ACL failed. Fortunately I realized what was happening and ran around installed SP2 which included a firewall. So our stake was lucky. A neighboring stake wasn't so luckily and they ended up with infected machines - all from dial-up.
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BrianTAllen-p40
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Postby BrianTAllen-p40 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:50 am

You are only able to connect to Church headquarters through the internet if you have the church's official hardware firewall installed and activated (which requires a call to them and their running some scripts remotely into the firewall).

Trying to connect over the internet without that firewall would be a very easy thing for them to detect automatically.

Not sure why it would cause the other problems you had, aside from the possibility that your machine was automatically blacklisted so that even dial-up didn't work until they manually removed your machine from the blacklist.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:55 am

BrianTAllen wrote:You are only able to connect to Church headquarters through the internet if you have the church's official hardware firewall installed and activated (which requires a call to them and their running some scripts remotely into the firewall).

Trying to connect over the internet without that firewall would be a very easy thing for them to detect automatically.

Not sure why it would cause the other problems you had, aside from the possibility that your machine was automatically blacklisted so that even dial-up didn't work until they manually removed your machine from the blacklist.


You responded to a thread that is well over a year old. Policies regarding Internet connections changed dramatically throughout 2009. So I don't think what was happening back in 2008 is particularly relevant at this point.


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