Secure Connection Series: Aka VPN, SSH, Tunnelling

In this series we will progress through the steps on how to remotely connect to your home computer. In this example I will mostly lean on my expertise in Linux, however many of these techniques will apply to Mac OSX and to a lesser extent Windows. Having looked into solutions for OSX and Windows, I will go into some details on using clients from these operating systems to connect to your home server.

As a preview, and to give you some of the key terms you can search for to find some of these answers out for yourself, here is theĀ  outline of this series of articles I will be presenting:

Steps in this series:

  1. Open a Port on your home networks router/modem
  2. Install SSHD on your home machine
    1. OpenSSH
    2. SSH for Windows
  3. Configure SSHD_CONFIG
    1. Allowed users
    2. Port Configuration
  4. Adding Security Key Pairs
    1. Disabling password access
  5. MacFusion / WinSCP / Fish:// for File Transfers
  6. VNC / Remote Desktop
    1. Tunnelling the port -L 50000:localhost:5900
    2. Starting a VNC server on the Server Machine
    3. Using Remote Desktop
    4. TightVNC client
  7. Beyond the basics

This outline should get you started towards setting up and configuring your own secure connections, however as time permits, i will be releasing articles to fully detail each of these steps.
Use the comments section to left me feedback or as questions for other topics.

Back to the Text (and perhaps some Video)

It has been some times since I have posted to this blog. Mostly because my efforts have been focused over at There the TLP Network is growing, and I am in the process of restructuring out websites, and looking at new ways of presenting community. These changes will be evidenced in the launch of TLP v3.0.

I have been itching to write more lately, and the influx of technical questions have spurred me to write some How-To articles on some topics I have covered previously, but with some refreshments towards other operating systems.

I realize that perhaps some of my previous articles and papers were a bit of a high level view and took certain assumptions on the reader. Well with the assistance of my friend Alejandro, I will try and break things down into easy to consume components, and run series on how to do things one step at a time.

Much of this will find its way onto the TLP, and some of it will remain here on this blog. The TLP has been geared mostly towards Music, even with my Geek Out segments (which are technical in nature, but tend to relate to music production, or organization).

That is going to change in the near future with the introduction of a new show, and perhaps some veering off of the path for the TLP Show. What I mean by that is, I intend to keep our main theme of “Scenes behind scenes” but I am going to try and include many more scenes in the interviews, outside the realm of music.

Along with more technical articles, I am going to be writing more about applications and how to do certain things on Mac OSX. WHAT!??!

Yes, that is right, I am join the cult, or as I like to put it, exploring BSD.
But my reasons are simple ones: I am recording video in HD, and my camera records using the h.264 codec.
This results in smaller video files, while maintaining good quality. The problem is that my current computers cannot handle decoding the video, let alone allowing me to edit the video.

So my new Macbook Pro is to me a video editing tool, that will be able to handle my various other computing requirements. It certainly has a premium, and the Final Cut Pro Studio software package also has a hefty premium, but for my purposes, this is justifiable.

More to come, and look for a revamp in serial form of my how-to document on using SSH to create a VPN tunnel to your home computer.

If you have any suggestions, or requests for how-to documents or articles, leave a comment or email me.

Back to the Media

Dusting off the old keyboard, blowing the bits out of the “series of tubes”, and gearing up for some content creation.

Now that I am working on projects that aren’t requiring 80hrs a week of my time, and draining the life from me, its time to start letting those creative juices flow. (What an awful idiom)

I am making my effort to start up a podcast. Yes, those that know me have read the how-to’s I wrote a few years ago, and although i demonstrated podcasting and podcasts. I never really created one of my own. Well i think its time. Look for news here in the future about it.

Perhaps I will devote a portion of this site to essays (aka rants) about Open Source, Creative Commons, Mass Media, and other related topics. But for the moment, I am aiming my musical ramblings over to Insomnia Radio’s new site . That site is in development, and it will be interested to see what becomes of it.

New System for the Parents

Koala MiniAfter hearing complaints from my parents about their ailing computer (which is a kludge of used and random bits of hardware) I decided to get them a new machine. A System76 Koala Mini, pre-installed with Ubuntu. Since they currently use Debian, moving them over to Ubuntu should be seamless.

I have used Debian for some years, I have been promoting Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) as my distro of choice for new users. It wasn’t until last July that I installed k/Ubuntu on my own machine. My desktop is still running Debian, and is the work horse of a server, but for my laptop Ubuntu has been the choice.

On to the system. Why did I choose this one? Simplicity.

I wanted a system that could replace that monstrous tower on the desk, and basically wouldn’t be messed with. This machine is a mere 6.5″x6.5″x1.97″ (LxWxH). You won’t be adding any hardware inside this guy. The options i have chosen are Intel Core 2 Duo T5600 1.83ghz, 1gb ram, 100gb sata harddrive.

Some of the features that make this such a great machine are the CDRW/DVDRW (dual layer) drive, integrated wifi 802.11abg, dvi and s-video outputs, and the undocumented remote control and IR.

I should be receiving the computer in a week, where i intend on setting up the accounts for my parents, installing some applications I know they will need, and making sure its ready to go when they get it. They should not have to worry about configuring anything. Although, from what I read, System76 does a great job at setting up Ubuntu for you, they can’t possibly set up accounts for my parents and import all of their data from the existing system.

I will post pictures and more on the system when I have it in hand.