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Jan 27, 2010

Open VPN

So I have been thinking a lot about VPN, I want to securely access my home network and VPN is the best way to do that.

As I have mentioned in previous post I use Tomato firmware on my router.  This free software allows me to adapt my "$60 router into a $600 router".  One of the variants out there for Tomato firmware allows me to run an Open VPN server from the router.

Using this Open VPN version of Tomato firmware I would have the ability to connect securely and become part of my network from anywhere in the world.  This got me thinking a little more...

I have a small portable XBMC solution, running on Ubuntu, if I had a VPN server up and running on my router I could configure the VPN client on Ubuntu to securely connect and be part of my network - allowing me to stream my content securely/encrypted anywhere in the world!

OpenVPN: Building and Integrating Virtual Private Networks: Learn how to build secure VPNs using this powerful Open Source application

Port Triggering

So I am on the search, I need to find a good application for port triggering.

I use uTorrent for getting various content/distributions, however I don't want traffic hitting my router when I am not using the application.  To get the best out of uTorrent you need to open a port on your router (port forward), but I don't want that port to be open when my application is not running, so what's the solution - port triggering.

There is an application out there that will work Port Trigger, but it is not supported in Windows 7.  The basic idea is that when Port Trigger sees the application of choice (uTorrent) running, it will intermittently send a request to a port.  This port request can then be set up at your router to open the configured port for your application connection.  Then, when the application is not running Port Trigger no longer 'pings' the trigger port, and the router will not open the port for the application.

If anyone has any suggestions for a Windows 7 supported application, please get in touch!

My router running Tomato firmware:

Jan 21, 2010

File Renaming Utilities

So I used to be a big fan of Lupas Rename 2000 (http://rename.lupasfreeware.org/), but I came across a problem that it could not solve.

I had several files that had characters at the start of the filename that I wanted to move to the end... after some searching I found a utility (free too) that could accomplish my requirement.  It's called Bulk Rename Utility (http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk).

This nifty little application allows me to, for example, do the following:

Original filename - "(1937) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.avi"
New Filename - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).avi"

This is an example you understand...

The application can be downloaded as an installer, or as a stand alone application - for all you portable pundits out there.

Jan 14, 2010

RetroShare

So, I like P2P for getting my downloads fast, new Linux distributions and such, but what about sharing my content?  Most of the content I want to share with my family and friends is private, and I would like to keep it that way, so what are my options?  Well, I don't want to use P2P for sharing my files, as that will allow anyone to get hold of it... but I want the security and speed offered via a distributed system.  I don't want the hassle of setting up a secure FTP server, mostly because messing with SSH certificates is a bit of a bore.  The solution I found, uses the benefits of P2P, and the administration of SFTP - F@F.

F2F is the acronym for a friend to friend network, this solution will allow me to use a P2P network structure, but only invite friends to join in the media sharing.  After some looking around I have found RetroShare.  This little application is cross-platform, meaning it can be run on Linux, Mac, and Windows - truly allowing any of my friends/family to access and retrieve my data.  There are a few options for F2F, but I believe RetroShare to be the only active project with cross-platform support... but if you know different, share the love!

I currently have it running on my Ubuntu HTPC, as it is always on, I have yet to get friends/family set up with their clients, as I want to play with it a little myself.

Jan 12, 2010

Boxee

So I signed up to be notified about the boxee beta, but I never received an email - today I went to check the site out for an update... the beta has been out since the 7th.  I have downloaded the deb on my Ubuntu machine and installed it:

sudo dpkg -i "downloaded file name without quotes"

Probably have dependency issues...

sudo apt-get -f install

Worth checking on a few updates...

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Well, obviously I haven't had a chance to check it out, but we will see - I am very interested in the social aspects of the application, but I am loving XBMC with Rapier right now!

Check out boxee for yourself here!

Update:

So I played about with boxee for a short period, the beta is a much needed improvement, but I am not sure if I will switch to it from xbmc!