• I know this is an old idea and it’s been done several times over, but what would be a cool tech blog without my own tutorial on this? We’ll be making a server that you can connect to from just about anywhere.

    Setting Up the Server

    Fire up Synaptic Package Manager and search for “ssh”, or if you prefer faster way and willing to get your hands dirty, open up a terminal window and type: sudo apt-get install ssh

    After installing SSH, we need to put it in just enough security to help us sleep more soundly at night. Configure SSH by typing: sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
    Look for the following lines and set their options as so:
    PermitRootLogin no
    PermitEmptyPasswords no
    ChallengeResponseNotification no
    PasswordAuthentication no

    Ok, we have to restart SSH for these settings to take effect. Type in: sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

    At this point, you can already connect to your computer from another computer. Just type in the remote computer (for Linux computers) ssh user@domain.com OR user@192.168.0.5

    (for Windows computers) Install Putty and use that to connect.

    You should try it out at this point to get yourself familiar with the login process.

    User corresponds to one of the server’s users, including root. Although, we already disabled root login.

    Next, we setup Remote Desktop. System > Administration > Remote DesktopCheck “Allow other users to view your desktop” and “Allow other users to control your desktop” Uncheck “Ask for confirmation” and check “Require password” and set a nice, secure password (You could also opt to uncheck this as well, since you’ll be tunneling VNC through SSH).

    Setting up the Client Computer

    For Windows, install Putty or your favorite SSH client.

    For Linux, if it’s not already installed, search for SSH in Synaptics or type sudo apt-get install ssh

    Also, install your favorite VNC client, such as WinVNC or TightVNC. (This is not necessary for Linux computers since it is usually built in).

    Setting up Putty for TunnelingNext up, we set up Putty for tunneling. We don’t need to set anything in Linux and shortly you’ll know why.

    1. Start up putty.
    2. Expand “Connection”
    3. Expand “SSH”
    4. Go to Tunnels
    5. Enter the source port you’ll be using
    6. Enter <destination address>:<destination port>

    Source port is the port number for your client machine (the one you’re using to connect). You can set this to any port available at your disposal. Notice here one of the tunnels L8080 helium.kicks-ass.org:5900 I used 8080 as the source port since the other ports were being blocked by our corporate firewall.

    Destination port is the port number for your server machine (the one you want to connect to). The default port for VNC is 5900, so we’ll use that.

    Go back to “Session” menu and type in a name in “Saved Sessions” and click on Save, unless you want to set your Putty everytime you run it.

    Finally, Connecting

    1. Ok, the Windows method first. Start up Putty, click on your saved session, then click Open.
    2. Login to the server.
    3. Fire up VNC
    4. The TightVNC Connection Details DialogYou’ll be shown a dialog box, enter your destination IP or domain and port with the format <destination IP>:<display>:<port> Since we’ll be using the default display, we can just omit that but we still have to leave the colons behind. Click OK

    5. If you set a password in the Remote Desktop settings, you’ll need to enter that next, as well.

    That’s it. Now for the Linux way.

    1. Connect to SSH sudo ssh -L 8080:domain.com:5900 user@domain.com
    2. Connect to VNC vncviewer domain.com -listen 8080

    Done.

    Don’t forget to open up the SSH port (22 by default) in your router/firewall as well.

    Dynapic IP Address

    Not all of us are so lucky to have their own domain name or a permanent IP address. Usually, the Internet service you get from your provider automatically assigns you an IP address, and that address rotates from time to time, like in the case of PLDT MyDSL. So if you’re far away from home, how do you determine what your home’s IP address is? You can get a free host name to alias your dynamic IP by registering one in www.dyndns.org or other dynamic IP host name providers.

    Transferring Files Between Computers

    In Windows, just install WinSCP, enter the IP or domain of your server as well as the password, and you’re good to go.

    For Linux users, type in scp -r folderOrFile user@192.168.0.5:/home/user/

    To transfer files from your server, just interchange the parameters.

    Using just these, you can have Azureus or your favorite Bittorrent client, set it so that it checks for new torrents now and then, and just SCP the torrent files into your server.

    We’re Done Here

    So there you have it, a basic remote-controlled computer. It’s up to you, though, to beef up the security as you see fit, or add other applications or features to this set up. Enjoy!

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  • March 13, 2007 /  Nintendo DS, Tech Stuff

    A year after the DS Lite was released in Japan, I finally got my hands on my own DS Lite by end of last month. So here’s my two cents worth after having played with it for some time. While you can get the PSP for about P10k or so, you can get the DS Lite for just over P7k. The complete DS gamer’s package (boxed)Couple that with an M3DS and a 1gig microSD, it’s roughly the price of buying a PSP unit, except you get to download all the games you want and put it in your microSD, while with the PSP you can play…er, well, at that price, you don’t have any games just yet.

    In terms of fun, it offers it in truckloads. If you want to be all serious about gaming and play RPGs and PS-style games, by all means go for the PSP. But if that’s not enough for you (it certainly not enough for me), and you want to have some real fun, go for the DS. The unique features of the DS include a microphone, 2 screens, one of which is a touch screen, and Wi-Fi capability. The built-in lithium-ion batteries can give you enough juice for 5-15 hours of play, depending on your brightness setting.

    The complete DS gamer’s packageThe first things I’ve played with my DS were Ossu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Cooking Mama, and MarioKart DS, putting all the features of the DS to the test. In all of the games mentioned, only MarioKart DS didn’t focus too much on using the stylus, which was understandable. How much tapping would you need in a racing game anyway. However, it’s coolness can easily be seen in Balloon Battle–you have to inflate your balloons by, get this, actually blowing into your DS! Cooking Mama, too, involves blowing, and other stylus fun such as mixing, peeling potatoes, slicing carrots and tofu, and rolling stuff in breading. And of course, who can’t resist looking like a fool inside the MRT as you shout “Objection!” at your DS while playing Phoenix Wright! Still not convinced? How does teaching your dog how to roll over by giving verbal orders sound? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing in Nintendogs.

    A week later, after having convinced two of my office buddies to get DS Lites, we were having MarioKart parties every morning through Wi-Fi, nearly bursting our lungs out while playing in Balloon Battle mode. Playing with friends across the globe is also possible with some games through the Nintendo WiFi Connection, by use of Friend Codes that are unique to your cartridge and DS pair, which is cool because I can play with my brother in China. Of course you can also play with strangers if you haven’t got any friend codes yet. And the DS is no weakling either when playing serious games for the hardcore gamer. The framerate for the first-person shooter Metroid Prime rarely lagged, even with multiple opponents on screen in multiplayer, and the graphics of Need For Speed are just fabulous. Anyone can play

    The DS also caters to non-games, including learning tools like Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten, a really good Japanese dictionary. Also with the M3DS, you can play music and videos with Moonshell, or play music using the IPod homebrow application. Most of the main IPod feature is there, of course including the touch-sensitive IPod interface.

    All in all, the DS Lite is a powerful computer disguised as one of the best piece of entertainment hardware you’d get your hands on, and for a low price. Let’s just say I used a little over half the savings I was gonna use to buy a MP4-enabled Ultra 9.9 Samsung to buy this baby. A warning though, once you get your DS Lite, expect to be bringing it everywhere, always keeping it charged, and fending off would-be borrowers.

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