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Archive for November, 2012

PPTP VPN Connection to Synology NAS on Windows 7

I previously wrote a post about connection to a Synology NAS VPN server using OpenVPN. Although OpenVPN is more secure, it does involve installing software and can be a bit tricky to set up.

The Synology NAS VPN server also has support for PPTP VPN connections, which Windows 7 (as well as other operating systems) have built-in support for, without the need to install software. It’s much easier to set up and get going.

Here’s how to do it:

Assuming that you already have the VPN Server package installed and running, go to VPN Server and make sure your PPTP VPN is enabled.

Also go to Privilege and make sure your user has permission to connect.

Lastly, make sure TCP port 1723 is forwarded to your NAS.

Setting up Windows 7

Click Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center (view by large or small icons) and click Set up a new connection or network.

net_setup_new

Click Connect to a workplace.

net_connect_workplace

If you are prompted, click “No, create a new connection”

net_new_connection

Select “Use My Internet Connection (VPN)

net_use_vpn

In the next screen, enter the IP address or hostname of your Synology NAS.

net_enter_address

In the next screen, you can enter your username and password and click Connect.

Your PPTP connection is now set up. You can access it from your network connections menu.

Deciding whether to route all traffic through the VPN connection

By default, the PPTP link will route all traffic. This is good if you’re using your VPN session as a routing point to encrypt all your traffic. However, if you decide you do not want all traffic routed through the VPN, but only non-public Internet traffic, change your settings as follows (Windows 7):

Click Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings

Right-Click on your PPTP configuration and click Properties.

Click the Networking tab.

pptp_properties

For both IPv6 and IPv4, do the following:

Click Properties.

Under the General tab, click Advanced.

adv_tcp_ip_settings

To route all traffic through the VPN link, check the Use default gateway on remote network.

To route only non-public Internet traffic, uncheck the box.

Questions or comments, please leave a comment below. Thank you!

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Re-enabling the thumbnail preview of webcam video in Skype

If you’ve accidentally closed the video preview window in Skype, it should re-open next time you start a call. If not, you can re-enable it by performing the following steps:

Go to Tools > Options, and click on Calls. Click the Show Advanced Options button, and uncheck Show call controls when Skype is in the background.

Now, hover in your call window, and you should see a new icon in the lower-right corner that looks like a square. Click that, and there will be a menu item for Pop-out video. Click that, and the preview window will appear and stay on all the time.

Tested on Skype 6.0.0.126

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How to manually change the Symform contribution port on a Synology NAS

Symform is a cloud-based backup solution which allows you to have 10 GB of backup space free, and get additional free space, as well as support, by contributing space.

In order to contribute, you need to have a port forwarded to your Synology device. However, in my experience, I wasn’t able to choose the port (as it’s chosen randomly during installation). If the port number that the Symform service chooses is already taken, or you prefer to assign another port number, here’s how to do it.

To do this, you will already need to know how to set up port forwarding on your router, and install and set up the Symform service on your Synology NAS, as well as be familiar with how to SSH into your Synology NAS. This only shows you how to manually edit the contribution port number chosen by the Symform service.

Make sure the Symform service is stopped

Do this by logging into your Synology on the admin port (usually 5000 or 5001) and going to Package Center. Under Installed, you can stop the Symform service by clicking the stop button. Once the service is stopped (as shown below), you can continue.

symform_stopped

SSH into your Synology NAS

If you haven’t already, turn on the SSH (or telnet) service by going to Control Panel > Terminal, and enabling the desired service. Next, SSH (or telnet) into your Synology NAS box. Once logged in, go to the Symform configuration directory by typing:

cd /volume1/@symform/lib

Next, open node.config with the vi editor:

vi node.config

Locate a line starting with <contribution enabled="True" fragmentStorePath= and scroll to the right of that line, and you will see port="43100" (or another port number). If you’re not familiar with the vi editor, carefully follow the following commands to edit the file in-place:

  • Press the a key to enter append (editor) mode
  • Cursor to the value and use the keyboard to edit it
  • Press the ESC key to exit editing mode
  • Type :w followed by enter to save the file
  • Type :q followed by enter to quit the editor

Now go back to Package Center and start the Symform service.

You will be able to see the updated port number in your Symform control panel.

If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts to share, please do so in the comments below. Thank you!

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Install LAME and FFmpeg libraries for Audacity in Windows

To install the LAME and FFmpeg libraries for Audacity, follow these steps.

First, download Audacity from SourceForge, and install it.

Next, run it, and go to Edit > Preferences, then click Libraries.

You can click either download button, you will be taken to this webpage. Then, follow the links to download the LAME library and FFmpeg.

To verify correct installation, go back to Audacity’s Edit > Preferences, Library pane, and verify version numbers are displayed, as below:

That’s it!

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StartSSL SSL Certificate on Synology NAS using subdomain

This will explain how to generate and install SSL certificates on your Synology NAS to get rid of the pesky SSL certificate errors. I’ll be explaining specifically how to generate and install from StartSSL, who gives out free SSL certificates.

First, you will need to own or control a domain name, and have a subdomain set up and CNAME pointed to your Synology NAS’s IP address. You can find a walkthrough on how to set that up by reading this article. If you are having trouble with certificate domain mismatches, make sure you have read this article first: Synology DiskStation on a subdomain with dynamic IP address.

Once that’s set up, head over to StartSSL and follow the steps outlined below to validate a domain name and generate an SSL certificate.

Validate a domain name

Select the Validations Wizard and choose type Domain Name Validation

select_domain_validation

Enter the domain name you wish to validate, and continue. You are validating only the base domain name.

domain-name-validation

Select an email address to which the validation code will be mailed to, and then continue.

select-verification-email

Enter the validation code you received via email, and continue.

complete-validation-code

Generating your SSL certificate

After verifying your domain ownership, you can now generate the SSL certificate.

Select Certificates Wizard and choose Web Server SSL/TLS certificate, as in the image below.

web-server-ssl-cert

Generate a private key by inputting a password of at least 10 characters, choosing your key length, and selecting SHA1.

On the next screen, you will be given your generated, encrypted, private key with instructions to save it to a file called ssl.key, and what to do with it. For now, just create a new text file on your desktop, call it “encrypted_ssl_key” (or whatever), and hang on to it for later. I’ll explain what to do with it in a few more steps.

save-private-key

Next, you’ll be prompted to add a verified domain to your SSL cert. Choose the previously validated base domain.

add-domains

Next, you’ll be prompted to enter a subdomain to add to the certificate. This is where you enter your NAS’s subdomain. For example, if your root domain is example.com, and your NAS is accessible via myds.example.com, enter myds.

The ready processing certificate screen will show next, and should include both your base domain name and the subdomain, like this following image.

ready-processing

The following screen will appear, and prompt you to save the certificate, as well as the intermediate certificates, which you will need for the Synology NAS. Save the certificate in a file called ssl.crt as instructed. Hold on to both it, and the two downloaded intermediate certificates for the following steps.

save-cert

Decrypt the private key

One more step before we install the certs onto the NAS box. Head over to the StartSSL toolbox and click on Decrypt Private Key.

decrypt-private-key

In the top box, paste the saved encrypted private key that you generated and named “encrypted_ssl_key” (or whatever). In the Passphrase box, enter the 10-character-or-so password that you set on it, and click decrypt. Save the decrypted key to a file called ssl.key.

Installing the SSL certs

Now we’re ready to install the SSL certs onto the Synology NAS. Log in as admin and head to Control Panel > Web Services. Click the HTTP Service tab and click Import Certificate.

For each of the following select the corresponding files

Private Key: Your decrypted ssl.key file

Certificate: Your ssl.crt file

Intermediate certificate: The sub.class1.server.ca.pem intermediate certificate you downloaded.

(If you forgot to download the intermediate certificates, you can get them again by following this link.)

Click ok, and you should see Restarting Web Server, like so

syno-import-cert

Assuming all went well, you should be able to go to the subdomain and see a good SSL certificate lock icon, like so in Chrome

identity-verified

Questions, comments, or otherwise, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Thank you!

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Not all rechargeable batteries are created equal

The charge in batteries is typically measured in milliamp hours, or mAh for short. This is a measure of the amount of current and time that a battery can be expected to deliver. The higher the mAh rating, the longer a battery can be expected to last.

While this applies to non-rechargeable batteries as well, the higher price of rechargeable batteries will often times have people shopping for a bargain, without paying attention to how long the batteries can actually be expected to last.

Below are some mAh ratings taken from batteries that I have here. As you can see, there are some significant differences in the mAh ratings for these batteries.

 

AAA batteries

EPT Battery 300 mAh

Energizer Recharge 700 mAh

Duracell Rechargeable 1000 mAh

 

AA batteries

Rayovac Rechargeable: (not listed on battery)

Energizer Recharge: 2300 mAh

Energizer Rechargeable: 2500 mAh

 

If you have some rechargable batteries, please check the mAh rating printed on the battery and feel free to post it, or any other comment, below.

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