How to Setup a Dynamic DNS Service to Access your Home PC

Our global IP address (the IP address that points to your network at your house) is very important if we want to access things on our devices connected to our home networks. Each of your devices have a local IP address, which probably looks something like this...192.168.x.x. This address is the local IP address and does NOTHING for us when we are outside our network (i.e. connected to the internet at our office or friend's house).

What we want...is the GLOBAL IP Address. What is OUR global IP address? Well, this is the address your internet provider gives to you and is probably sitting on your wireless or wired router in your house somewhere. To find out what your CURRENT global ip address is, you can go to a site like: http://whatismyipaddress.com/ You will see your IP address towards the top of this page. Mine looks something like 122.22.x.x.

This will tell you what your global IP address is. So now you can access things through the internet to your home network. You will most likely need to setup port forwarding in your router to allow the communication to go through to the server software and applications you have running on your PC or Mac at home. Search my site on how to setup port forwarding.

Okay, so what's all this talk about Dynamic DNS service?



How to Create an Interactive Batch Program

Files on windows with the file extension ".bat" are called batch files. These are usually small files with some lines of Windows batch code that can help automate things for users. They are commonly used to do the following:

Add a share drive
Add a share printer
Replace shortcut files on your desktop
They can be used to do most of the common tasks we do on a windows machine. They are usually added to a users logon profile so that they are run every time that user logs into Windows. They can also be used as interactive programs to do the above mentioned items. Let's say you wanted to give a user the option of WHICH share drive he/she wanted to map. A normal batch script will just map a predefined share drive. Well, I'm going to show you how to write a batch script to ask the user which drive to map and then map it for them.

Let's go over a few things so we know what each command does.

@echo - this outputs text to the users screen

So '@echo Print this' would result in the user screen displaying 'Print this'

'@echo.' with a period after it will print out a blank line after your text. This is good to make the output easier to read.



Does Windows Have Symlinks? YES!

So I was trying to do something the other day with my ServeToMe server. I wanted to add certain folders to the media server that were on different drives. For personal reasons, I wanted to add the folders I wanted to share under the existing folders I was currently sharing, so I thought I would create shortcut files to those folders and drop them inside the folders I was already sharing. I quickly found out that this didn't work.

Hmmm, so I was thinking and thought if Windows has something like Linux symlinks, then it would have to work. I did a quick search on how to create symlinks on windows and sure enough I found it, the command is mklink. So I gave it a try and it worked perfectly. The media server software on my iphone was able to open up the folder just as if it were a regular folder that existed under the root folder that was shared.

This works on Windows 7, not sure about anything older than that. The command is

mklink /D C:\symlink-file-you-want-to-create C:\the-folder-you-want-to-link

So to create a symlink from inside my media folder to my storage drive folder I would do this:

mklink /D "C:\Media Folder\MusicArt" C:\storagedrive\musicart

Notice I put the quotes around the first path, this is because I have a space in the file path, so I need to enclose it with quotes.



How to Start a Windows Application when your Computer Starts

I'm going to show you how to make a Windows program start automatically when you turn on your PC (without requiring you to logon to your account). Typically software that is meant to run unattended will have an option to run as a Windows service. This enables the application to start once Windows finishes loading BUT prior to someone logging in.

WHY WOULD I NEED THIS?

Well, let's assume you have a computer sitting somewhere acting as a media server for your game station. Or perhaps that computer is setup as a media server to stream movies and music to your iPhone or other personal portable device. You may not have it connected to a monitor or keyboard and you just want to push the power button on your computer and walk away. In my particular case, I have an iPhone app that allows me to turn on my PC over my 3G network no matter where I am in the world (as long as I have a cellular signal). Nobody is at my house to log into windows and launch the application, so I need Windows to do this for me automatically.
 

SO HOW DO I DO THIS?



Facebook Share/Like - How to Control what Data is Shared from your Site

For web admins and designers, it's important to control what data Facebook pulls from your site when users share your URL through their wall posts, status updates, and like/share buttons. If you check Facebook's developer pages it explains this quite clearly. You will need to specify metatags to tell Facebook what data to grab. Below are the tags they recommend setting in your header so that the proper data is passed to Facebook.

<meta property="og:title" content="title" />
<meta property="og:description" content="description" />
<meta property="og:image" content="thumbnail_image" />

However if your site is properly laid out and configured, Facebook can usually just grab the info it needs without the need for these tags. I would suggest using the above tags just to ensure the correct data is shared, but typically if these tags are missing it will grab data as follows:



Never lose anything EVER AGAIN with Bluetooth technology!

The day of losing things in your house is over! Check out this new company Stick-N-Find. They sell little bluetooth stickers not bigger than a US quarter. Stick it to items that seem to go missing easily around your house. When you can't find it, open up this cool iphone app to track down your item using bluetooth technology.

Read the full article here.



The Chinese Great Firewall Starts to Crack Down on VPN Connections

Well, I'm not very surprised about this one. For those that have been to China, you probably know that most of the websites you use on a day to day basis in the US are either BLOCKED completely by the Chinese government or blocked occasionally (whenever the Chinese government feels the need). So sites like Youtube, Facebook, Google Docs, Gmail. Pretty much all the sites we love and enjoy are blocked by the Chinese government. Read more »



How to Create a LiveUSB Ubuntu Pendrive that saves your Settings

I recently wrote up a guide on how to create a LiveUSB pendrive using Ubuntu. I wanted to share this alternative way of building the system. The previous tutorial showed how to create a Live system on a USB key that would reset each time you reboot your machine. Well let's say you plan to use this USB Live system more permanently and you would like it to save the settings and changes you make while using the system. So basically the settings and options get saved each time you run the system and upon reboot they are still there.

Well, this is fairly easy and straightforward to setup. The only catch is this is only supported for Ubuntu, so you will need to be okay with that. Once you are, jump over here: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ and downloaded this Windows USB key installer tool.

Basically load up your Ubuntu desktop ISO and select all the options. Now you will see a field to enter a size for your persistent folder titled "space used to perserve files across reboot (ubuntu only). Simply enter a size in this field and hit okay. Size is in MB, so list something like 2000 for 2GB of space. After it builds your USB key you are all set and ready to use your persistent USB key Ubuntu system!



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