Know How...

Oct 4th 2012

Know How... 14

Set up a VPN

Let's set up a VPN to get two computers to talk to each other.
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Category: Help & How To

We're going to set up a VPN to get two computers to talk to each other and then route our traffic through one of our machines. Even though there was a snag while putting together the episode live, I highly recommend trying to put together your own VPN (just don’t put your info on air).

What is a VPN?

  • It's a virtual private network which connects machines via the internet.
  • It’s like a network, but virtual.
  • Communications between the machines are encrypted - hence the private.

What do you use it for?

  • Getting computers to talk to each other that are far away and security.
  • All your traffic you send and receive on the VPN is encrypted. Even if you’re on some open unsecured network, your traffic isn’t sniffable.
  • Your IP isn’t known.

How do you set one up?

A drop dead easy solution is PrivateTunnel. It's as easy as sign up for a service, download software and run it.

How to network your machines

The easiest solution is Hamachi.

  • Download Hamachi
  • Run it
  • Create a network on your always on machine using Hamachi.
  • On your laptop or portable device, use the Hamachi client to join the network you started.

To route your traffic through your home machine, install Privoxy on your always on machine

Here’s where you have to get your hands dirty so you can send your traffic over Hamachi.

  • On your always on machine: install Privoxy (sends your traffic through another address)
  • On your always on machine, edit the config file.
  • On a Windows machine, right relatively painless in Windows.
  • In your system tray, right-click Privoxy and select Edit > Main Configuration.
  • On OS X, you need to be able to see you invisible files.
  • You can do this in the terminal or use a plugin like Secrets.
  • Edit the config file, which is located in usr/local/etc/privoxy
  • Change permissions so you can edit contents of the containing folder
  • Change the listen-address line to your hamachi address:8118
  • Save those changes.
  • restart home machine
  • On your Laptop (Mac)
  • add web proxy in System Preferences using the Hamachi address and 8118 as the port.


As you mentioned Windows has a built in DVR. But you may also know the file format it records in can only be played back in Media Center. I have found a program that is able to read the Media center recordings and convert them into other formats. Its called MCE Buddy It can be set up several ways , I have it set up and running in the background so as soon as Media Center records something, MCEBuddy then converts it to a MP4 file that I can then play back anywhere including my Archos 5. It also has a commercial skip function. As its converting files it also detects commercials and removes them. I don't use that functions so I can not speak of how well it works tho. This is not the only program there are others but its the one I use and like. Just thought you may want to know about it if you don't already know about it

- Jeff

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