When it rains, it pours

That’s both adapters in 24 hours. This one was hooked up to my laptop.

Dammit.

Dammit.

I knew I should have looked for monitors with DVI/HDMI connectors instead of HDMI/VGA so I wouldn’t need these damn adapters.

Technically, it was still plugged in

My second monitor on my primary computer went out. Checked the cable on the monitor and it was attached. Checked the cable on the PC side and…

Uh…

…the plug had separated from the case and was hanging by one row of pins. Had to pull the plug out of the DisplayPort socket out with pliers.

Guess it’s time to find some better hardware.

FNL goes to Moab

Despite being a “nerd blog”, the FNL crew enjoys spending time outside. Last Saturday, naucum, nathanthefake, my girlfriend and I took my Jeep Cherokee XJ down to Moab for Easter Jeep Safari. We did the Seven Mile Rim trail with about 30 other Jeeps, one Land Cruiser, one Toyota truck, and an FJ Cruiser.

The entire Seven Mile Rim crew. Naucum is busy raiding my trail mix.

The entire Seven Mile Rim crew. Naucum is busy raiding the trail mix.

The trail had a little bit of everything – slickrock, sandy double track, creek crossings, and rocky terrain. Overall the trail was relatively mild – Red Rock 4-Wheelers (who organize the Easter Jeep Safari) claim it can be done with stock tires and no lockers, but having a mild lift definitely helped me get up some of the more interesting obstacles.

When all else fails, use more throttle.

After watching a TJ get a little tippy trying to climb this wall, naucum decided that when it was my turn, the best place to be was Not In The Jeep.

My favorite moment of the day was climbing through a narrow rocky section – I got up over one of the rocky shelves and paused for a second, and the spotter said “Just keep going”. What’s that? Use more throttle? DON’T MIND IF I DO.

A WK2 Grand Cherokee completed the entire trail, but unfortunately suffered some body damage – he clipped a rock, denting his rear quarter panel and knocking off the rear flare. Apparently he also smashed his front air dam trying to climb over a rock. Dude definitely earned the “Trail Rated” badge that adorned his Jeep.

All in all, a good day was had. I think I’ll plan on coming down for Easter Jeep Safari next year – but I’ll definitely be out in Moab before then.

Oops.

For some reason, I didn’t see the problem with releasing the IP of the machine I was connected to.

Setting Up A VPN (or: I’m an idiot)

Someone I know is going overseas and was looking for a way to secure his network connection – basically route his traffic to some US-based node that he knew was secure (well, more secure than some public AP).  And I thought, “I know! I’ll set up a VPN! It can’t be that hard!”

I’m not a network guy, nor am I a sysadmin. I’m just a software developer with enough working knowledge (and patience) to set up a JBoss server, make sure it works, and then start throwing .ear files on it. I don’t even use Linux like the rest of the FNL crew – all four of my home rigs run some form of Windows. This VPN was going on Win8.1, with the client being Win7.

So after trying and abandoning OpenVPN (read: I got tired of editing config files and ragequit), I ended up downloading the SoftEther VPN Server, which presents a nice GUI setup, easy certificate generation, a built-in dynamic DNS system if you’re hosting at home (like me), and some… other settings I don’t really understand (to be fair, the Virtual Layer 3 Switch Setting basically says “don’t touch this unless you know what you’re doing”, which sounds ominous). I got an L2TP/IPSec VPN running in 10 minutes or so, created a couple of test users, punched some holes in my firewall (ugh), and tried to test it. Which is where things went sideways.

Failure 1: I tried to test the DDNS… while on my own network. Doesn’t work like that. Took me like 20 minutes to figure that out.
Failure 2: Tried to get nathanthefake to connect to it to test. I don’t think I ever gave him the passkey. Probably why he got that “security error” message. (Sorry.)

Eventually, I realized I could set up a VPN connection on my phone, and that seemed to work. I also connected to the VPN through the built in Win7 VPN client (though connecting to your own LAN seems silly). The Win7 client doesn’t default to L2TP/IPSec, but SoftEther provides instructions.

And that’s how I spent my Sunday night.