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Ask How-To Geek: Diagnosing DSL Hang Ups, Extracting Media from PowerPoint, Restricting IE to a Single Web Page

askhtg372011

This week we take a look at flaky DSL connections, extracting media from PowerPoint presentations, and how to lock down IE to a single website without any additional software or network configuration hacking necessary.

Once a week we dip into our reader mailbag and help readers solve their problems, sharing the useful solutions with you in the process. Read on to see our fixes for this week’s reader dilemmas.

Diagnosing a Persistent DSL Connection Issue

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Dear How-To Geek,

I’m having problems with my broadband internet connection. When the phone rings (and I answer it), my broadband connection times out. No phone call, no problems. Phone calls, lost broadband connection? I have DSL-based broadband and a regular land line for my telephone service. Where do I start?

Sincerely,

Put Me on the No Call List Please

Dear No Call,

Check all the phone lines in your house to ensure they have a filter on them. DSL filters are analog low-pass filters designed to prevent interference between the frequencies used by your DSL service and the frequencies used by your telephone service. You should have a filter on every telephone, fax machine, and other voice-band device in your home or business (don’t forget to check often overlooked but still connected devices like your TiVo). Without the filters in place the telephones and fax machines can interfere with the lower end of the DSL frequency and cause connection issues, including the drops you’re experiencing.

If you already have filters on all the lines, call your service provider and ask if they will send a set of new ones out—you likely have a bad one somewhere in the mix. If you replace the filters and still have connectivity issues there is a chance that there is an issue with your telco provider’s filters/wiring somewhere between your home and their equipment. Things become more complicated here—if it’s an issue with the wiring in your house then you’ll likely be footing the bill to repair it, if it’s an issue with the outside wiring or their equipment they’ll take care of it.

Extracting Media Files from PowerPoint Presentations

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Dear How-To Geek,

I have a PowerPoint presentation I want to extract the media files from (such as the background music). How can I do so? There doesn’t appear to be any way to save the audio and video in the slideshow separately from the slideshow itself. Thanks!

Sincerely,

PowerPoint Jam Master

Dear Jam Master,

You’re in luck. This fix is so simple you’ll be like “No way?” and we’ll be like “Way!” (or something similarly Wayne’s Worldian in nature). If you have Office 2007 or above you can open the Powerpoint presentation, resave it as a .pptx file if it’s not already in the updated format, then rename the file with a .zip extension (such as newfile.pptx –> newfile.zip). Open the zip file and you’ll find all the media neatly organized in directories. Office files are secretly organized using a simple Zip file format! If you want to read more about this super sneaky hack that relies on the tidy organization of PowerPoint files, read more here.

Restrict Internet Explorer to One Web Site

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Dear How-To Geek,

Is it possible to limit a computer to one website? I don’t just want a home page I want to limit users to that home page (specifically, an encyclopedia the users are allowed to access). The computer in question is running Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8.

Sincerely,

One Page to Rule Them All

Dear One Page,

Internet Explorer has a built in content-management system that you can take advantage of to meet your super focused white-listing needs. First, download this file from our server, whitelist.rat (it’s a dummy rating file for Internet Explorer’s Content Advisor tool, we’ll explain more about it in a moment).

Fire up Internet Explorer. Navigate to Tools –> Internet Options – Content. Click on Enable under Content Advisor (it will prompt you to set a Supervisor Password before you continue, do so now) then click Settings. Under settings click on General and then on Ratings System…, there you’ll click on Add and then navigate to whitelist.rat file you saved earlier. When you have the whitelist added, it should appear as WhiteListOnly in your Rating Systems list. Once you confirm that it’s on the list then you can select the default ratings system ICRA3 and click Remove. Click OK to return to the Content Advisor settings menu.

Normally the Content Advisor tool calls on an remote database of web site ratings and compares them to the sites the user is trying to access. The dummy file you downloaded earlier has fake web addresses in it and points to no such database. As a result the only thing Internet Explorer will have to go off of is the white list from Content Advisor. Let’s create that white list now; in the Content Advisor Settings Menu click on the Approved Sites tab. If there are any entries under it remove them. Add in the website you want your users to access, such as http://www.wikipedia.com and click Always.

The screenshot above shows the white list in action. We visited Wikipedia then tried to navigate to Super Pete’s Porno Castle. The ol’ Porno Castle wasn’t on the white list and Internet Explorer blocks it, indicates that the site has no rating, and requests a supervisor password. Success!


Have a question you want to put before the How-To Geek staff? Shoot us an email at ask@howtogeek.com and then keep an eye out for a solution in the Ask How-To Geek column.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/7/11

Comments (8)

  1. Steve

    Note to anyone who wants to set up the Content Advisor at work. In order to allow a site on a computer where the user is not a local admin, you have to run IE as an administrator to white list a site.

    I opened all the sites from my own PC and exported the registry entry for easy import into the other PCs on the domain.

  2. Lamp Els

    Its very informative…..

    Thanks

  3. Chad

    I’ve come up against this very issue multiple times, while sometimes it _is_ the filters. I usualy end up running a new pair from the DMARC to wherever the customer has their modem. On one occasion the fault was traced down to a cordless telephone in the garage.

  4. bampcs

    The DSL filter issue isn’t very obvious and the providers don’t offer to replace them. They usually just ask you to check if the filters are in place. In most instances, I’ve found it was the DSL provider’s issue outside of the customers control. I’ve also found more resistance on the part of the main DSL provider in our local area to get an actual technician visit than the cable internet providers.

  5. wbrown

    I’ve also had the DSL hangup issue, and it ended up being a roadside junction box over a mile away that had the fault. If your provider does not fix the issue by the 2nd trip, ask for them to send a line technician to backtrack from your home/business to their distro gear.If you live in the sticks, there’s a fair chance that mowing crews have previously knocked a cover off a roadside terminal box allowing rodents and water in, you can imagine what damage either may do.

  6. Roi

    I wonder how many people reading this tried visiting http://www.superpetespornocastle.com :P

  7. criss

    can u send me simp setup

  8. Paultx

    Another way to get media files from a PowerPoint presentation: open it in PowerPoint then save it as it as a Web page (not as a single file). This will create an HTML file and a folder with all its content related files–images, sounds, etc. Next, open that folder to choose what to keep and delete what you don’t want, including the HTML file and the folder themselves.

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