How-To: Share your Internet connection between multiple computers (Ad-Hoc)

If you’ve ever been in a situation similar to mine where you have multiple computers, one Ethernet cable and no wireless router then don’t sweat it. You’re still in luck!

If one of your computers has at least two network cards, for example an Ethernet port and wireless capabilities, then you can connect one computer via the Ethernet connection and broadcast that same connection over that computer’s wireless card so that other computers can connect. I’ll show you how below.

I will be walking through the steps in Windows Vista, but the steps should be the same across all platforms. If you’re using a different platform then just try to find the same dialogs and options on that system and everything should work fine.

  1. Open the Control Panel. To do this, go to Start->Control Panel
    If you’re in Windows Vista and your Control Panel window looks like this:

    You will need to click on the option labeled “Classic View” in the upper left corner of the window. This will change the layout of the Control Panel so that I don’t have to rewrite this How-To in multiple different directions. After changing the layout, your Control Panel should look like this:
  2. In the image above, the icon for “Network and Sharing Center” is selected. Double click on this option. When the window changes you should see a list of tasks in the left column. Click on the item from the list labeled “Manage network connections“. This will open a new window that should show the network cards available on your computer.
  3. Make sure that your Ethernet cable is plugged into your computer and your Internet source and that the Internet connection is working fine on that computer. Now right click on the option labeled “Local Area Connection” and select “Properties” from the menu (User Account Control will most likely ask you if you wish to continue and just agree and click continue if it does).
  4. The Properties window will open on a tab labeled “Networking” with a list of items that the connection uses. Just ignore all of that and switch to the tab labeled “Sharing.” The options on the “Sharing” tab should be selected as follows. Enable the option labeled “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” Disable the option labeled “Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection.” After matching these settings, click “OK” to save the changes.
  5. You can now close the window for “Network Connections” and reopen the window for “Network and Sharing Center.” If you have already closed this window by accident then you can follow steps 1 and 2 again, except this time instead of clicking on the option to “Manage network connections” you want to select the option to “Setup a connection or network.
  6. When the “Setup a connection or network window opens, it will have a list of networks that you can setup. The one that you want to setup is selected in the image above and is labeled “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network. Setup a temporary network for sharing files or an Internet connection.
  7. When the “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network” window is open, it will explain a little bit about the network. Just click “Next” until you get to a form that is empty and looks like the form below:

    You need to give the network that you are creating a name that you will be able to recognize and it can be anything that you want!

    You also have the option to add security to your network. I highly advise this as you have more control over your network, so just select the option for “WEP” and below it enter some form of a password.

    You can click the option to “Display characters” while you are entering the key/passphrase. This will make it easier to make a new key for your network.

    Don’t forget to also enable the option to “Save this network” if you plan on using it later!

    If you hover the text box for the key/passphrase, you will see a notification tooltip that explains how the passwords work. You should follow those instructions to create your password and make sure it is the correct length as specified in the tooltip.

  8. Click “Next” to complete the setup and close any open windows. Your Ad-Hoc network is now setup and you should now be able to see a wireless signal on your other computers. Connecting to your network will require the users to know the key/passphrase that you entered, but once connected..all of the other computers should be able to browse the web and connect to instant messengers…anything you need!

If you have any questions then please ask them in the comments! Just remember to follow the steps closely before asking. Enjoy!

Gmail: Server Error 502

Well, Gmail has been down for a while today. I’m hoping it will come back up pretty soon, but if you’re also getting an Error 502 message then you may be waiting for a while as well.

I did a little research (google is your friend..unless it’s Gmail with a 502 message, haha) and it looks like it happens fairly often to people. One person reported not being able to login for up to 4 days!

I also read that sometimes logging in with a different browser will temporarily fix the problem, but it didn’t work for me with Opera, Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Hopefully everyone else is having better luck.

UPDATE: It appears that the Gmail outages were indeed as wide spread as I had assumed. Webmonkey.com even covered the issue in their blog (hours after I released a post about it, haha) and got the following statement from Google on the issue:

Since about 2 p.m. Pacific Time today, many Gmail users have been unable to access their email. We are very sorry for this interruption in service. The issue is being caused by a temporary outage in the contacts system used by Gmail which is preventing Gmail from loading properly. We are starting to roll out a fix now and hope to have the problem resolved as quickly as possible. Even though you may not be able to get to your inbox right now, your mail is safe, including new incoming messages.

We will post an update in the Gmail Help Center ( http://mail.google.com/support/ ) when more information is available.

Gmail seems to be back in order now and apparently came back online around 8pm EST. Hopefully no one is still affected by the outages.

Widget coding: Google Translator

google translatorIt’s been a while since I’ve worked on the widgets that I submitted to Opera Widgets. So I spent the last few days in my spare time just working on one of my most popular widgets…Google Translator. For the longest time it was handy, but not very well designed and the layout was poor…just a quick solution.

If you do translations from time to time or even often then you may find my widget very useful! You can convert text to and from many different languages and even web pages. The translations are done using ajax in the widget to fetch results from Google’s Translate service.

This widget, which is currently only available through Opera and Opera Widgets, happens to be a very popular widget and downloads count some where near ~82,000 at the moment.

I just uploaded version 2.1 yesterday, but the Opera team has to inspect the widgets to make sure there are no problems or possibly fraudulent activities going on in the background (kind of annoying since they don’t go live immediately and end up taking days, but worth the security).

Anyways, v2.1 included several improvements over the previous 1.42 (a.k.a. 2.0). An update notification is now included, the tabs are redesigned to match Gmail’s design a little closer, jQuery effects are now tied into the widget to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, options were moved from a sloppy and quick side panel to the footer of the widget and can be toggled on and off, a more menu was added to pack in several more features that didn’t fit anywhere else (similar to Gmail’s more menu), useless images that could be replaced with css have been removed and a stylesheet has taken the burden off of inline styling which was never intended to be permanent..but a quick way to get the layout fixed right.

There are actually many many more changes and if you want to see a list then you can take a look at the changelog here.

I actually went above and beyond v2.1 almost immediately after publishing it. After creating a stable version (2.1) it was time to push the widget further, so v2.2 has many more fixes and updates. Optimizations are in progress and going well to reduce wasted code and duplicate elements that are not needed. There is actually a “Beta” version of v2.2pre1 on my Google Translator site. You can go a head and check it out if you want and see some of the updates from 2.1. It should be stable enough to use, but it’s not finalized just yet. 😉

Anyhoo, just wanted to update everyone who reads my blog! Hope you’re all using Opera or at least gave it an honest run. 😉 It’s a great browser, but sometimes you just can’t break away from the chains that tie you to another piece of software (most of us that would be Microsoft, lol).

Stay cool!

phpBB 3.0.2 released

Only an hour ago phpBB 3.0.2 was released to the public! If you’re like me and always decide to upgrade your blogs and forums to the latest stable versions immediately when they are released, then you may enjoy a post I will be putting together on the update process from phpBB 3.0.1 to 3.0.2.

Since many of us, including myself, tend to search around from time to time online for simplified and quick guides for these tedious little tasks…I will be writing a simplified list of steps or at least explainations to the steps that are already provided with the upgrading packages.

Maybe my explanations to some of the steps will help you understand just a little bit better what is going on when you are updating phpBB.

Well, I’ll keep you posted here with a link to the guide when I complete it. Until then, don’t break your phpBB 3.0.1 forums. 😛

[solved] Stop WordPress Spam Registrations

I’ll bet all of you out there have dealt with your fair share of spam. Everyone gets it, in their email, blog posts and lately even WordPress registrations! I have a tool for handling spam comments on my blog, but what do I do when I get 10’s to 100’s of spam user registrations on my blog with names and emails like BuyCheapMeds and FreeSoftwareDVDs@some-russian-website.ru?

Well, thank goodness the WordPress Extend site has so much to offer! After asking in the WordPress forums how to completely disable new user registrations…and getting little response…I decided that I would have to edit some of the WordPress files to ignore new user registrations in a fashion to fit my needs. I wanted to keep them open from the admin panel so I myself can add new users, but block outsiders from registering so I could control the spam registrations.

To my surprise I got a response in the forum thread that I started with an example plugin that could be used. I looked into the example plugin, but I found myself confused at the description and uncertain of how the plugin actually worked. Who wants to install something on their site when they have no clue how it works!

I dug a bit deeper and searched this time for only 5-10 minutes and came across two plugins that were capable of handling my needs and one that was just plain cool.

To control your spam registrations I would suggest the following three plugins which are ordered according to the order that I would choose them.

  1. Register Plus
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/register-plus/
  2. Sabre
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sabre/
  3. Referrer Bouncer
    http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/word-press-1-5-plugin-referer-bouncer/

If you’re wondering why I sorted them this way then I’ll try to explain quickly.

Referrer Bouncer was the one that was suggested to me in the forum thread, but I found that it was a bit more involved than the others and it required the user to create a file called “referer.txt” and add domains that should be blocked (at least I think it was for blocked domains…not a clear description or how to 🙁 ) and it just made more sense to go with a different plugin rather than tracking down all of the referring sites that I needed to block.

Sabre does exactly what I wanted to do. It was like it knew what I wanted before I asked, haha, but I decided to go with Register Plus in the end because it allows me to create invitation codes so that I can easily leave the registration open to the public, but they will need to contact me and request an invitation.

Why did I chose this method? I figured that most people would prefer not to register in the first place. Nothing at kyleabaker.com is restricted to the general public that is open to the registered users…it’s all the same. So if you wanted to post then you can freely post comments here. The invitations are for friends and people that I know so they can register if they wish and I know they won’t be spamming me. 🙂 Except maybe Dan…he’s done it before. 😛

The third plugin that I found (the Referrer Bouncer was found by someone else and posted in the WordPress forums for me) was one that allows users to login via OpenID! This is really cool because it doesn’t require a user to actually register at your site and waste space! They can register at any website that offers OpenID such as Yahoo, WordPress, Flickr (also Yahoo) and many more!

I didn’t go with WP-OpenID because spammers can still register via OpenID and login on your site. They wouldn’t be spamming the registrations, that’s one plus side, but they are still encouraged to test out my comment filtering system..and they always jump at chances to piss people off like that. 😛

So I suggest you look into my “research” if you’re having similar trouble! Enjoy!

Well, it’s been a typical Friday

Except for the fact that I got my stitches removed today! All ~40 of them. 😛 They just put tape on the scar for now, as extra support to make sure it doesn’t open up (boy that’d be bad).

In other news, Google changed their favicon today (or was it yesterday evening?). Well, I personally don’t care much for the new favicon. It’s a lowercase “g” instead of being uppercase.

Old Favicon:

New Favicon:

Twitter’s down yet again: Twitter is over capacity.

For all of you Twitter fans out there, I’m sad yet not surprised, to tell you that Twitter is down yet again.

As if it isn’t bad enough that Twitter has been the target of much critism lately due to their poor site stability, they are down again!
twitter-down-again-2008-05-25

Twitter went down tonight at approximately 1:00 AM EST without warning. I personally am not a major fan of Twitter, mainly due to the fact that it is down a large percentage of the time when I would use it lately.

Thanks to Digsby, I was able to see exactly when my Twitter connection was lost and am able to tell you about the poor uptime that Twitter offered us tonight.

twitter-down-again-2-2008-05-25

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to find an alternative!

UPDATE: Twitter is now back online. My last check was at 1:40 AM EST.

What’s New..

Well, I think you’ll all find this useful at one point or another. I’ve implemented editing for user comments, finally. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while and correcting some errors here and there, but now you can correct your own or add more to your comment. However, there are just a few things you will need to know:

  1. You will not have the option to edit your comment unless your ip address is the same one that was used when you posted the comment. It is best to edit the comment soon after originally posting it since ip addresses do change frequently for some.
  2. You cannot edit your comment after a specific time period from originally posting it. I will use a 48 hour interval to start out with. This interval may change, but I’ll keep you up to date.

Off to finish F.R.I.E.N.D.S. on TBS!

UPDATE:
Quoting is also an option now! Both of these features rely on javascript and will be improved greatly in the near future. They are just kind of 1.0 versions I guess, or maybe alpha. 😉 Enjoy.

no-www.org and kyleabaker.com..

nowwwSo you might be wondering what this post is all about with such a weird title. Basically, me being the little web developer that I am, I’m pushing myself to learn new standards and actually use these standards as I further my knowledge of web design. I mean this both in the visual sense as well as the behind the scenes or backbone coding sense.

I strive to apply standards to everything that I have on this site. It is actually evolving as I learn more and understand how to implement some of the standards that I’ve learned. I know by now you’re wondering what this has to do with No-WWW and kyleabaker.com, so I’ll break it down for you..

I just recently (as in today) did some server side work to force a domain redirect from www.kyleabaker.com to kyleabaker.com. This is in theory how most all websites should handle the www sub-domain. The reason being that it is redundant for most all websites. For example, with my website I have no other sub-domains served to the public. When visiting or browsing this site you will never need to enter a sub-domain to navigate this site. Therefore the use of ‘www’ is understood. This is how the majority of public websites on the Internet are today. The exceptional websites would be sites such as yahoo, google, ms, etc…that actually take advantage of sub-domains such as ‘mail.blah.com’ or ‘search.blah.com’. However, it is still understood that when visiting Google.com for instance that the ‘www’ can be left off. If you’ve ever seen websites do this in the past then it was probably because they had a crafty URI and wanted it to stand out by removing the ‘www’ automatically.

If you would like to learn more about No-WWW then visit their website at no-www.org. You can also test your site there to see what class level your site is in. The most common is Class A, but the small editing that I did moved mine to a Class B. Class A means that the site is accessible with and without the www, however, it does not redirect to the non-www URI (or from the non-www to the www for that matter). Class B means that the site does redirect to the non-www from the www sub-domain. Class C (which is very strict, but according to standards is how websites should be designed) means that visiting a site with ‘www’ at the beginning will get you a 404 file not found page, but non-www version will pull up the site perfectly find. If you want to see one of these sites in the exact opposite form then try visiting the following links (their implementation is the strict like Class C, however they have the allowed sub-domain and blocked sub-domain backwards.):

http://ncsecu.org <- Should work, implemented wrong
http://www.ncsecu.org <- Works for them

If you have any questions about this or any other standards (this one being supported less than most) then please do ask questions or feel free to look into their site and find a bit more information!

New site design under way..

I’ve been working on redesigning the site a bit so it doesn’t feel so cluttered. I’m not finished yet and still have a bit of cleaning up to do. However, I wanted to get some comments, feedback and constructive criticism. Please let me know the goods and the bads. If you can..please give a suggestion or 20. 😀

I don’t want to officially launch the design yet, so I’m waiting for reviews. I’m curious if it’s better or worse and what is better or worse about it. I haven’t gone as far as setting up cookies or passing the css tag, so the style sheet will only apply on pages with css=2 appended to them. If you view another page and would like to see how it looks with the style sheet then just add ?css=2 at the end and press enter. Here are some links to get started..

https://www.kyleabaker.com/?css=2
https://www.kyleabaker.com/archive.php?css=2
https://www.kyleabaker.com/news.php?news=71&css=2

Check them while their hot! I’ll be removing this feature/option soon and these links will be disabled. 😉

UPDATE:
New design is up. I’m still tweaking it and working in the comments and suggestions. Thanks for the feedback!