Easy VPN-Setup on the iPhone, secure browsing on public networks

I've just set up my iPhone to make a VPN connection to my home servers via PPTP. No, this protocol is not unsecure. It's a long lasting urban myth, so don't mail me with some crap about it. I've chosen a strong password and that's it.

It was quite easy to setup, just add a user to your router at home/office. Then go to SETTINGS - GENERAL - NETWORK - VPN and add a new vpn-connection.

Provide your username and password and think about whether you want your entire traffic routed through your VPN (then check ALL TRAFFIC) or just the routes to your private network.

I gave it some thoughts, and by choosing ALL TRAFFIC you essentially get a complete encryption of your traffic. So, if you're using public, unencrypted hotspots, anybody could see the filthy sites your surfing on. This is a great and EASY way to prevent this (if you have a PPTP-capable router). Communications between you and the site is still in part unencrypted, but just the route between it and your own router (which hopefully sits on a non-public somehow secure line).

To put it in a nutshell: using this technique you're browsing as secure as you would when you are at home in front of your computer.

That's it. Best of all, you now have a direct on/off switch for the VPN in your SETTINGS menu so you don't have to dig deep to turn it on and off.

I suggest turning it on every time you're on an unencrypted or otherwise untrustworthy network (airport WiFi, etc.). Just remember to choose a STRONG password. And your children's names are not a strong password ;-)

Tracking your packages

I don't know why I never mentioned it before, but as I just downloaded an update, I'm taking my chance right now.



Some of you may know, I don't like going to town for my shopping needs. There are.. those... other people... and It's way more convenient to shop online. So, that said, you can imagine I'm receiving a minimum of one package a day.



To keep track of what will when arrive, i'm using "Delivery Status".



A nice, free widget for OSX. You can track nearly every delivery service. And best of all, it can track orders from the Apple-Store, Amazon, Nintendo etc. Give it a try, it's free.




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Switching from Quicksilver to Launchbar

As the development of Quicksilver came to a hold some time ago, and the once rock-solid launcher (yeahh, I know it's way more than that... NERD) gets more and more unstable with each new revision of Leopard, I finally decided to switch to launchbar.



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After a week of use (mostly as an applauncher) I can honestly say, give it a try.



Licensing starts at US$19,95 which definitely is a reasonable price.



Get it at:




http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html

Clean Finder's "Open with" menu

In case you find yourself with a long list of already uninstalled applications in your finder's "Open with..." menu, here's a quick fix:

1. Go to your Home/Library/Preferences folder

2. delete "com.apple.LaunchServices"


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The list is generated by your Mac based on programs you install, but it doesn't update that regularly, so this list can get pretty bloated with apps you no longer need.

Some thoughts about the Macbook Air and .mac

I just received my Macbook Air and I'm setting it up right now. I'm quite amazed how easy it is.

I have a .mac account so all I had to do was to enter my username and password and after a few minutes all my settings, passwords, addresses and appointments were there. Even most of the files I need on a daily basis were there as I had set up an iDisk long time ago which holds my files.

Now I'm trying to read tea leaves...

WHAT if the Macbook Air is just the beginning? What if Apple is planning something much bigger and .mac plays a big part in it?

Just imagine your iDisk could hold your entire home-folder. With some tweaking you'd be able to log on to your iDisk from whatever Mac you like and have your working space just there. I know this sounds crazy at the moment, but think about how bandwidth just grew over the last 3 or 4 years.

Am I totally off here, what do you think?

OSX Leopard sync-issue (the annoying exclamation mark)

Another resolved issue with Leopard....

At some time my Mac Pro just started to tell me there was a conflict when trying to sync with my .mac account. Ok, no biggie... yeah, right...

When I clicked on "resolve conflicts" the conflict-resolver app started up with a nice orange icon in my dock. App was running but there was something unusual... there was NO FUCKING WINDOW :)

Now what? There's obviously a conflict, there's an app to resolve this conflict but no way for me to do anything (kinda that's what it's all about - human/machine interaction, isn't it :)

A bottle of vodka later, I figured out what was wrong. To correct this issue, you must reset your synchronization history, which empties the so called "truth database" and leaves your system in a state which appears like it has never been synced before. This will force a slow, first time synchronization event when you next sync it.

To reset synchronization history just follow these 4 (quite easy if you found out what to do...) steps:

- launch iSync
- open the Preferences… dialog
- press the Reset Sync History… button at the bottom of the dialog
- sync with .mac