How to remotely access your VPN-connected computer with Dynamic DNS

By using a dynamic DNS service in conjunction with some static routes on your home computer, you can access your home network, files and computers remotely, even if your main computer which reports your IP to the dynamic DNS service is permanently connected to a VPN.

This is a problem that I’ve been trying to crack for a long time now. I want to be able to access my home network remotely. The problem seems simple enough, but there were a number of roadblocks stopping me from doing this.

Firstly, my Internet connection at home has a dynamic IP address. This means it’s hard to target it because the IP address changes regularly. The solution to this is to use a Dynamic DNS service. The way these services work is to run a utility in the background on your computer and report its current IP address back to the Dynamic DNS service. It ties this IP address to one of its own domain names or a custom domain name that you ascribe to them.

I started to pursue this option. I purchased my own domain name and got an account at Dynu, one of several free dynamic DNS services and attached my domain name to it. I installed the IP Update Utility on my home computer, added my account credentials and successfully started reporting my IP address back to Dynu. However, there was a problem…

My computer is always connected to a VPN. Thus, whenever the IP Update Utility retrieved my IP address, it was getting the IP address of my VPN, not my public IP address. Thus, if I tried to use that to access my home network, I’d instead end up at the servers of my VPN service. Continue reading “How to remotely access your VPN-connected computer with Dynamic DNS”

How to say sorry

It’s taken 30+ years of life experience and 10+ years of marriage to realise that there’s a LOT more to apologising than I ever thought possible, and frankly, most people kind of suck at apologising.

“I’m sorry” is one of the most common phrases in the English language, but probably one of the most misused.

Before I got married, I didn’t understand any of the art of how to apologise. I thought you did something, you recognised that it was wrong, you said sorry and you perhaps asked for forgiveness. I was missing out on huge swathes of psychology, intricacy and emotion behind the phrase.

Since getting married and learning both by experience and by reading, I have learned that there is so much more to apologising and I was certainly doing it incorrectly in the past. A quick rundown of some of the things that you’re probably doing wrong when you try to apologise: Continue reading “How to say sorry”

Greg Davies: perhaps my favourite comedian

Greg Davies is now a household name in the UK, where his down-to-earth comedy makes you feel like you’re having a laugh at the pub with your mates.

I just finished watching Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog by Greg Davies again and I realised that he may well be my favourite comedian.

Those of you outside the UK probably have no idea who he is, so for the uninitiated, he’s a middle-aged man that used to a be a teacher and found his calling as a stand-up comedian in his thirties.

He’s clearly a very funny man and I think that perhaps the most endearing thing about him is that he’s still just like the funny guy in your group of friends, who laughs his way through his stories. There’s no persona, he freely makes fun of himself, and you just want to be his best friend. Genuine bloke. Continue reading “Greg Davies: perhaps my favourite comedian”

OMG-so-good vegan biscuits & sausage gravy

Marti and I have tried many recipes for biscuits and gravy since becoming vegan, but they never really did the trick. However, we finally found the perfect recipe for each and they’re hands-down the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had (even ones that aren’t vegan).

We’ve been vegan for a good number of years now and, living in The South, we have an affection for biscuits and sausage gravy.

This calorie-laden carb-fest is usually served at breakfast or brunch, but I’d be lying if I said we didn’t just have this for dinner…

Biscuits and gravy is something that we’ve tried numerous incarnations of since becoming vegan and have always convinced ourselves that there’s a few recipes which are good and rival the conventional ones, but it wasn’t until I put this dish together tonight that I realised I was lying to myself all this time. This recipe is out of this world and is easily the best biscuits and gravy we’ve ever had, vegan or otherwise. Continue reading “OMG-so-good vegan biscuits & sausage gravy”

New terms for certain times of the day

Our current library of terms for describing certain periods of the day aren’t adequate enough in my opinion, so I’ve taken the liberty of creating a couple of new terms that fill this gap.

I’m going to propose a couple of new terms that fill a gap in our available descriptions for certain times of the day.

For example, you want to meet someone at 4 or 5 pm. Would you say that you’re meeting them in the afternoon? In the evening? Over dinner? No. The first two don’t really represent the general time period that you have in mind and over dinner might suggest (perhaps incorrectly) that there’s food involved. The solution?

af·ter·ning

It’s a portmanteau of afternoon and evening that adequately describe the grey area between the two.

Similarly, but a little less elegantly, perhaps the period between what is clearly morning and what is clearly the afternoon should be called the mor·ner·noon.

Or, perhaps, I use portmanteaus a little too often and humanity has gotten us this far without such words available to them…

Adverbs and Americans

Adverbs have all but disappeared from American English much to my dismay. Thankfully, at least for now, the Brits are holding on to them.

One thing in particular that bugs me about what Americans say and how they say it is their complete disregard for adverbs.

For those who have forgotten since fourth grade, adverbs describe how something is done. The very name is a portmanteau of adjective (describing how) and verb (something is done).

For example, if I run down a hill and I do so with some speed, you might say that I have run down the hill quickly. I did not “run down the hill real quick“. Similarly, if I don’t know the rules of grammar, you might say that I don’t know how to speak properly. It is not the case that I “can’t speak proper“.

Adverbs help add color and imagery to an otherwise factual description of something. They are distinct from adjectives and should be treated as such. I can be quick and I can run quickly, but I cannot run quick.

Why institutional trust has vanished and distributed trust is soaring

Uber, AirBnB and Bitcoin are at the forefront of a trust revolution, where we’re ditching our faith in institutions like banks, governments and churches in favour of trusting complete strangers that we can reliably put our faith in.

I love a good TED talk. Every now and then, one resonates so well with me that I feel compelled to post it here to share it with other.

Rachel Botsman’s recent talk was one such talk. She discussed how trust has moved through three distinct phases in history: local trust, where our trust was knowing those in the village, institutional trust, where we relied upon banks, companies and governments to determine who and what could be trusted to the recently emerging distributed trust, where our behaviour, reputation and globally accepted practices and technologies dictate what we can trust today.
Continue reading “Why institutional trust has vanished and distributed trust is soaring”

Coming to terms with Trump

Preface: I’m keenly aware that as someone who has no voting rights in the USA, my words carry little weight, however, I’m also raising children (most notably, a daughter) in this environment, so I’m exercising my voice on behalf of my children who will one day have the ability to shape the world in which they live.

I’ve very much come to terms with the fact that Trump will be the next President. It’s done and I accept that.

What is much harder to come to terms with is the fact that people think this town jester who:

  • mocks the disabled,
  • lusts after and assaults women like an immature and dangerous college student,
  • considers “religion” to be an appropriate factor in determining one’s suitability for entering the country,
  • perpetuated the longstanding lie that Obama was born in Kenya
  • adjusts his limp backbone based on the response he gets from the people,
  • claims business acumen when his wealth would be double what it is today if he’d have retired in 1982 and invested in the S&P500,
  • derides people based on their looks despite looking like an orange-tinted, wig-adorned, plump corpse himself,
  • etc., etc. ad nauseam

is someone that a (near) majority of the people consider to be fit to serve in the highest office in the USA. It’s an absolute mockery. Continue reading “Coming to terms with Trump”

“Donald Trump didn’t come out of nowhere”

Donald Trump is the product of years of political stunts, extremism and a wide variety of differing right-wing political stances that have caused big chasms in the Republican party.

I typically try to stay out of political discussions, mostly because the opportunity for meaningful, thought-provoking and intelligent discussion has all but evaporated these days and because as a British citizen, I am little more than a bystander in American politics.

On a broader note, I saw this video this morning of a speech that President Obama made, where he criticised the GOP for creating an environment in which Donald Trump could succeed, abandoning him at the eleventh hour because openly bragging about sexual assault is apparently one step too far, and then trying to benefit politically from ditching him.

He brings to light the fact that the GOP has promoted, fostered and cultivated such extreme and disparate positions that there is simply no unity in the party anymore. Donald Trump is the prime example of this, saying what his brain tells him to and then recanting, flip-flopping and swerving in response to popular consensus, rather than stating his honest views and sticking by them. Continue reading ““Donald Trump didn’t come out of nowhere””

Because I said so

“Because I said so” stops conversations dead in their tracks, and that’s how we intend it: to shut our children down and expect their obedience without their understanding. This robs them of an opportunity to learn, develop and become more capable, functional people.

“Because I said so” is one of those phrases that drove us crazy as kids, that we swore we’d never utter and yet slips out of our mouths almost unconsciously.

Conventional parenting says that children are to be seen and not heard, which makes phrases like “because I said so” acceptable. They’re our last line of defence in a conversation that we’re seeking to end without any further explanation or inquisition. We expect full adherence because we’re in charge and what we say, goes. Continue reading “Because I said so”