Making Windows 7 As VPN Server And Mac As VPN Client. Surfing On Public Network Safer As VPN Encrypts Your Data!

Having a Windows 7 computer at home or office and you want to allow it to become a VPN server, but how?  Don’t worry, in this very post I’ll address that very question of yours!  First though, for whoever doesn’t know what is VPN server, I’ll quickly give a brief introduction to it.

VPN is virtual private network.  When you allow a computer to act as a VPN server, you basically allow computers outside your network to connect to VPN host and utilize the private network’s capabilities (e.g., accessing Internet, share files, etc…).  To make this a little clearer, you can sit in a coffee shop and access your office’s VPN to browse the Internet using your office’s Internet connection!

By now, you probably have a little question wiggles its way into your brain, wondering why you even need to access your office’s Internet connection even though you already connect to the coffee shop’s Internet connection.  You see, it’s somewhat safer for you to connect to your office’s Internet connection than from the public’s Internet connection such as one belong to a coffee shop.  With a private Internet connection such as your office’s Internet connection, you don’t have to worry about unknown users sniff your Internet traffic (e.g., prying on your Internet activities, stealing your plain text password).  In addition, the VPN connection will automatically encrypt all of your data from and to both ends of VPN (i.e., from the public to the private networks).

If you still don’t know why VPN is better for you while you surf the Internet from a coffee shop or a public Hotspot, then you just need to keep one thing in your mind that VPN helps secure your data by encrypting your data in strong encryption algorithm where hackers will find it very difficult to hijack your sessions.  So, now you know what VPN is capable of, but how to set it up?  Well, read on and I’ll promise you will be able to set up a VPN connection.

You don’t really need to download any special software, because Microsoft’s Windows 7 Home Premium or better allows you to create a VPN type of connection.  In this post, I’ll make Windows 7 computer as a host of VPN connection, and a Mac as a client of VPN connection.  Whenever I mention a VPN host, I mean Windows 7, and whenever I mention a VPN client, I mean a Mac.  Let us begin!

  1. On Windows 7, go to Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> Network and Sharing Center >> Change adapter settings >> hit Alt key on your keyboard >> File >> New Incoming Connection.
  2. A new screen will pop up and show couple available users that you can allow to connect to your new VPN connection.  Make sure you check the boxes of the users you want to allow to have access to VPN connection, and then click the Next button.
  3. A new screen pops up with an empty box next to the description which says Through the Internet.  Just check the box so you will be able to connect to your VPN connection later over the Internet from a public network such as a coffee shop.  Click the Next button.
  4. At this point, you will see a screen with couple features with boxes that had been checked.  Highlight the feature with description as Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP4).  Click on Properties button.  Make sure the box says Allow callers to access my local area network is checked.  Pick the radio button that says Specify IP addresses — this to fix the problem where Windows 7 fails to assign a proper internal IP addresses which leads to no Internet access for VPN clients.  Enter a starting static local IP address inside the box with the label From (i.e., 192.168.1.10).  Enter an ending static local IP address inside the box with the label To (i.e., 192.168.1.15).  You notice that the IP address in the To box determines how many static IP addresses can be assigned to more VPN clients (i.e., included the host and additional VPN clients).  In the configuration above, it shows that we can have 5 static local IP addresses to be used with our VPN clients and one IP address is used by VPN host.  VPN Host will assign one of these IP addresses to a VPN client of yours so you can connect to the Internet through your private network.  Oh, your internal IP addresses might be different, because it’s depending on how your router assigns the local/internal IP addresses.  Some routers may use local IP addresses starting not with 192.168.x.x but with something else.  It’s up to you to figure that out.  Now you can finish this process by clicking the OK button.
  5. A new incoming connection is now created, and the last screen shows you your computer name.  Remember the computer name so you might have to use it inside your VPN client later.
  6. Open up a command prompt by click on Start button, type cmd inside search box, and then hit Enter key on your keyboard.
  7. Inside the command prompt, enter the command ipconfig /all.
  8. If your Windows 7 computer is currently connecting to the Internet/router through ethernet connection, looks for the IP address that maps to an ethernet connection.  If it’s a wireless connection, look for the IP address that maps to your wireless connection.  Write it down so you can use it later.
  9. Open up your router’s configuration panel (i.e., access it through the browser).  Usually you can get to your router’s configuration panel using a browser.  The address of your router’s configuration panel may not be the same as mine, and so you have to look that up with your router’s manual or router’s official website.  An example of Linksys router’s configuration panel can be accessed at 192.168.1.1.  In the router’s configuration panel, you need to do a port forwarding for port 1723/TCP (PPTP).
  10. It’s time for you to configure your Mac so you can connect it to your VPN.  Go to Settings >> Network >> click on the lock and type in your administrator password so you can add a connection >> click on the plus sign >> choose VPN for Interface and PPTP for VPN Type and type in any name for the new VPN connection in Service Name >> click Create button.
  11. Leave Configuration as default.  Type in the IP address of your Windows 7 machine (i.e., I told you to write down the IP address in step 8).  Type in account name (i.e., username of the user you allow to have VPN access to your Windows 7 machine) in Account Name.  Try to choose Maximum (128 bit only) Encryption for stronger security.  Check the box that says Show VPN status in menu bar.  Click on Advance button, in Option tab, check the boxes of Disconnect when switching user accounts and Disconnect when users log out and Send all traffic over VPN connection.  Go to DNS tab and click the plus sign under DNS Servers box — enter Google’s Public DNS servers (e.g., 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4).  Click OK button to exit and save everything!
  12. Don’t you see a little icon on your menu bar?  It looks like a rounded corner mini bar with many smaller vertical bars within.  Anyway, click on it and choose to connect to your VPN connection.  A password prompter will ask you for your password, just enter a password of a Windows 7 machine’s user that you had allowed to use VPN in step 2.  At this point, you either connect or don’t.  If you can’t connect to your VPN connection on Windows 7 machine, then you have to retrace back to previous steps to see what you had done wrong.
  13. How do you know that by now you’re actually tunneling into your VPN and using your VPN’s Internet connection to surf the Internet and not your current Internet connection?  Well, just open up a terminal on your Mac, type in ifconfig, and scroll all the way down where you see something that looks like this:
  14. You can also open up a browser such as Chrome and try to see if you’ll be able to browse the Internet or not.  Also, you can always use one of those IP check service on the web.  How?  Go to Google, and type in what’s my IP.  Click on the first link you see!  If the IP address is of your VPN (e.g., of your office or home), then you know you’re browsing the Internet using your VPN connection!

I think I’d pretty much cover all the steps, but I’m not 100% sure.  After all, I’m writing this post very late in the night!  Nonetheless, I wish you all good luck in creating a VPN connection by following this guide of mine!

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ThingLink Pushes Image Tagging To The Next Level

Bloggers will love ThingLink, but photographers and marketers may love what ThingLink can do even more!  ThingLink allows people to tag their pictures in a way that is very useful to the broadest situations.  How?  Just imagine you snap a picture from your phone, upload it to your publishing software such as WordPress, and then tag it with ThingLink which allows countless people to figure out what are the items inside your picture.  Still don’t get it?  Watch the video right after the break and you’ll know what I mean.

ThingLink may be very useful for online store owners, I believe so!  Imagine an online store owner sets up tons of images for various products inside his or her online store, and with just few tags can make those images evermore appealing to their customers, eventually enticing them to buy more products from the online store owner.  How about photographers?  Photographers can juice up their online portfolios by tagging their photos in poetic and romantic and artful ways, but of course there are more ways for photographers to tag their photos to their heart’s content using their imagination.  You see, that will attract more eyes onto their perfect photos — like bees to honey!

Installing ThingLink is surprisingly easy, especially for WordPress blogger like me, and I mean by self-hosted WordPress.  As now, WordPress.com does not support third party plugin, and so you can’t really use ThingLink with WordPress.com.  If you’re a WordPress user/blogger, just go to Plugins section >> Plugins configuration page, click on Add New button at the top, type “ThingLink” into search box, and then install the official ThingLink plugin.  Afterward, you need to create an account with ThingLink.com or log into ThingLink using Facebook Connect.  As long you log into your WordPress account and ThingLink account at the same time, ThingLink will be able to look up your ThingLink ID and add to your ThingLink plugin’s setting page — you still have to venture to your ThingLink plugin’s setting page to click save so the ID will be saved forever.  From here on, just blog away and upload your images and tag those images however you like.  Besides WordPress, ThingLink supports Blogger, Tumblr, Drupal, and many more platforms.

Source:  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/thinglink_social_objects.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+readwriteweb+%28ReadWriteWeb%29

Nvidia’s Quad Core Chip Will Help Android Tablets Shame iPad 2 in Gaming

iPad 2 sells like yummy ice cream during a super hot summer day, but can future Android tablets do the same?  I think yes!  According to GigaOM, Nvidia is going to roll out quad core chip for tablet makers by August this year — most likely be tablet makers that cater to Android platform.  We all know iPad 2 only has dual core, and so quad core will be way better for people who like to play games on tablets.  Don’t take my words for it, because the video below will show you how quad core leaves dual core in the dust.

As you can see in the video, dual core could not perform the same way as quad core in controlling the smoothness and the lifelike behaviors of lights.  Also, the way the ball rolled and the drapes reacted to the ball were simulated so real as if these objects were of real environment.  GigaOM suggests that Android tablets will reap the benefits of quad core chip, and so iPad 2 of today may become obsolete in couple more months in term of hardware spec.  How you like quad core chip in a tablet now?

Source:  http://gigaom.com/mobile/nvidia-tegra-3-kal-el-quad-core-demo-video/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+OmMalik+%28GigaOM%3A+Tech%29

Frustrating With W3 Total Cache Plugin On Cpanel Server Using WordPress?

Are you one of those Cpanel and WordPress users who had tried to install W3 Total Cache plugin and had to pull out your hair for W3 Total Cache’s compatibility check feature complained that mod_deflate and Opcode cache and Memcache were not installed or detected?  Here, I’ll try to explain or reveal a tip or two of how to approach these specific issues.  So, let us begin!

Dear Cpanel users, newer eAccelerator version (i.e., 0.9.6.2 and up) won’t support Opcode cache mode, therefore W3 Total Cache plugin for WordPress won’t recognize your eAccelerator installation.  You can try installing another type of Opcode cache software instead.

For Memcache, you have to manually install from source.  Memcache requires LibEvent, and so you need to install LibEvent before you install Memcache.  Don’t forget to edit your /etc/rc.local file to enable Memcache on fresh boot or reboot.

The mod_deflate must be installed using your WHM/Cpanel’s easyapache script (i.e., /scripts/easyapache).  Afterward, go inside your Cpanel account and click on Optimize Website under Software/Services section.  At the configuration page of Optimize Website, you can configure Cpanel to compress various elements of your website — saving bandwidth and server loads.

Now, regarding to W3 Total Cache still won’t recognize your mod_deflate, it’s OK, because Cpanel probably had stuck mod_deflate somewhere that W3 Total Cache couldn’t find.  You know that Cpanel is already using mod_deflate to compress your website, and so you don’t really need to have W3 Total Cache recognizes where mod_deflate has installed.  Your W3 Total Cache plugin should see Memcache installed if you had installed Memcache correctly and activated Memcache’s daemon.  Also, your W3 Total Cache plugin should also see Opcode cache installed if you had installed a working Opcode cache type of software.

You probably will be able to see a huge improvement in server performances (e.g., faster website load speed, low server loads, etc…).  Get busy!  Good luck to you!

Yahoo Isn’t Compatible With Opera Mini 6 On iPad 2!

Opera Mini 6 on iPad 2 isn’t showing Yahoo’s website correctly!  The funny thing is that this browser shows all other websites correctly and beautifully.  It must be Yahoo has ignored of implementing a compatibility version of its website for Opera Mini 6.  Anyhow, using Opera Mini 6 today and surf Yahoo, you will see a huge white page with few rows and non-clickable words (i.e., very few words).  Switch over to Safari and other browsers and surf on Yahoo, you will see Yahoo switches you to a tablet version of its website that looks extremely enticing on iPad 2.  Do you experience the same thing as I before today or on this day in regarding of Yahoo and Opera Mini 6?  (FYI:  This happens to the default settings of Opera Mini 6).

Raising Ulimit On CentOS Server!

Some people who run CentOS may have difficulty of raising ulimit (visit here to know more about ulimit).  These folks find out that whenever they enter the command [ulimit -n] inside terminal as root, the actual ulimit value isn’t showing up in the terminal.  Instead of anything, they find out that the original ulimit value is still showing up as they type [ulimit -n].  In this very post, I’ll list the steps of how to raise ulimit value appropriately for CentOS 5.6 and possibly newer versions too.  Just make sure to make copies of whatever files you’re going to change in case you need to revert those files back to original state.  Check out the steps below:

  1. Open up the file /etc/sysctl.conf with vim editor (or vi) using this command [vim /etc/sysctl.conf].
  2. Add this line fs.file-max=122880 into /etc/sysctl.conf.  This line needs to be by itself (i.e., on a single line).  Best, just add it to the very bottom of /etc/sysctl.conf file.
  3. Save and exit /etc/sysctl.conf by hitting ESC button on your keyboard and then type in a colon and a letter w and a letter q and then hit enter to finish.
  4. You can execute the command [sysctl -p] or reboot to permanently add the kernel parameter above (i.e., fs.file-max=122880).
  5. Now, edit this file /etc/security/limits.conf.  How?  Using vim as above.
  6. Inside /etc/security/limits.conf, enter the line * – nofile 122880 (i.e., make sure it stays on a single line by itself).
  7. Save and exit /etc/security/limits.conf file.
  8. This last step is very crucial.  Without this last step, nothing will work!  Execute the command [ulimit -n 122880] inside your terminal as root.
  9. Finally, check to see if your new ulimit value is showing up correctly, just execute the command [ulimit -n] inside your terminal.  If you had done everything correctly, you should now see a value returns as 122880.

Good luck!

Disclaimer:  Following instructions here at your own risk!

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