How to create a VPN Connection on MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard

How to create a VPN Connection on MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard

This is a step-by-step guide on how to create a VPN Connection on a MAC OS X 10.5 Leopard System.

I recently had to do this again for some of our remote staff, so I thought I’d post it as a reminder to me and maybe help others who have asked in the past.

1. Go to ‘Apple’ –> ‘System Preferences’

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2. Select ‘Network‘ from system preferences

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3. In ‘Network‘ system preferences, click the ‘+‘ icon on the bottom left cover of window to make a new VPN Conection.

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4. As shown in the image below, a new window appears. Click on the ‘Interface’ menu and see the list of choices and select ‘VPN’.

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5. Next, Change the ‘VPN type‘ from ‘L2TP over IPSec’ to  ‘PPTP‘. And then In the ‘Service Name’ field, type in ‘VPN Office’ or ‘Company Name VPN’ or make one up. Once you have done, Click on ‘Create’

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6. Next, we need to make a configuration. Select the ‘Confguration’ drop menu and select ‘Add Configuration’

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7. A window will pop up, asking to name your new configuration. Type you ‘Company Name VPN’ here and then click ‘create’

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8. Next, enter in your company’s ‘Server Address’ example; ‘server.domain.com’ or ‘72.14.213.x’ and ‘Username’, for example ‘administrator’ or ‘LarryHolmes’ or what ever

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9. Next, Select the ‘Authentication settings’ button

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10. Enter in Your ‘password’ and click ‘OK’

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11. Next, Click on the ‘Advanced’ Button

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12. Make sure that ‘Send all traffic over VPN Connection’ is unticked. Then Click ‘OK’

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14. Once you have done that, click ‘Apply’. And connect to your New Vpn Connection by clicking on ‘Connect’.

There you go…

Cloud Storage Tools and Tips

Google’s new feature, announced earlier this month, has gone live. It gives everyone with Google Docs [if you have Gmail you have Google Docs] a 1GB space to store, and share, files of any kind, with the ability to share folders, this can easily be used to share any kind of media. This is very easy to use.
Here’s a look at how it works.

There is also a service offered by Microsoft for users of their Hotmail and Live services called SkyDrive which lets you share files and folders.
Microsoft increased the free online storage limit for their Skydrive “storage in the cloud” to 25gb.
The individual file size limit is 50mb! Looks great for those larger files. Plus you could also ‘zip up’ larger files to pieces smaller than the 50mb limit.
I like SkyDrive for putting up to the web utilities and documents for me and those I support. By creating folders and protecting them by providing different ‘networks’ that individuals can access, I am able to who sees and gets what. Much like an FTP but it’s not my server and I don’t have to do some massive training for the less technically inclined.

Neither of these two services are  ‘live synchronization’ programs like Dropbox, LiveSync or LiveMesh.

I think if more people new about and also how to use LiveMesh, they would. And they would start now.
It is like Dropbox on steroids! I know there are people who love Dropbox, but have always felt it was way too limited for me.

LiveMesh can be used on Windows and OS-X.
I am a new convert to LiveMesh. With LiveMesh you can have your files easily synchronized between a large number of devices, including phones, AND online in the cloud providing a backup.
Plus you can also use LiveMesh as a remote access tool too! It provides for a ‘virtual desktop’ a’la Windows Remote Desktop.
Here is a very good walk through. It is long but well worth watching the entire thing.

With tools like these there is really no reason you should not be ‘without’ important files or documents no matter where in the world you are.
Which ever you use, and you should use at least one of them, you will be secure in knowing your files are ‘backed up’ and available at any time.

[For the more geekier folk, like myself, who have multiple Hotmail and Live accounts, you can configure some ‘super tricky’ file synchronization. It just requires ‘signing on and off to different ‘Live’service accounts in the ‘Mesh’ task manager. But be carefull to keep your main account logged in most of the time so your important files are kept up to date.]

Super Windows remote support tools

When doing tech support I often find it is nearly impossible to figure out what people are trying to explain is ‘happening’ with their system and what real problems they are actually having.
Trying to solve technical problems over the phone or via a back and forth chat or email is like trying to give a haircut over the phone. To properly diagnose and resolve an issue I have to be ‘there’ sitting in front of and interacting with their system to actually solve the problem.
Here are some of the solutions I use.

I am a huge fan of LogMeIn for users that I frequently need to access their systems.
[Read family and close friends.]
I have a few paid pro accounts for my personal and business use and lots of free ones (under family and friends email/login credentials) for continuing ongoing occasional support. I can’t say enough about the quality of the LogMeIn service. It is superb. It lets me access my PCs and Macs anywhere – even from my phone!
Becuase of the Mac support from the same interface I find this tool to be the best I’ve used.
It has proved worth the subscription cost hundreds of times over.

For others that I won’t need always on or ongoing access I use TeamViewer. For ‘one off’ logins it is simple fast and easy.
I simply have the end users download the TeamViewerQS component and I can access their systems quickly.

Another method is to have the user use one of the following tools and ‘show me’ what they are talking about and what exactly they are doing by providing me with a ‘recorded session’ of their actions and the problems.

The newest and so far easiest to use is Windows 7’s built in tool.
Called “Problem Step Recorder”. Just type “psr” into the win 7 start menu, and you will find it. It too works very well.
PSR works like a camcorder to capture a user’s mouse movements and keystrokes into a file that can be played back later for problem analysis.  This helps me to recreate or ‘see’ the problem situations.
Here is a great walk through of how to use it from the Winhelponline blog

But what can people who run XP or Vista do?  There’s no built-in feature to do the PSR work, but there is a free download available on TechNet that does the same thing. It’s called “Screenrecorder” and is a very easy-to-use screen-to-video capture program, developed on top of Windows Media Encoder, that lets you easily capture what is going on to a small video file, which you can then send via e-mail to the appropriate person.
The TechNet description is here.
The actual download is here.
And finally I just learned of a new application that may do the same thing as the PSR and Screenrecorder but is even simpler to use. It’s called “Show Me Whats Wrong”.
Sounds really cool and I am sure to try it soon. Have a look.
Video demonstration is here.
And the site is here.

Another Great Remote Support Tool

I have been using premium and free versions of LogMeIn for years and have been very happy with their products and services.

I looks like they are adding another great tool calle LogMeIn Express.
[sorry for now only WinXP and above – no Mac yet]

LogMeIn Express is a screensharing tool from the makers of the popular remote-desktop software, LogMeIn. With this new offering, sharing your desktop is as simple as sending your friend or associate a URL.

Only the person doing the screensharing needs to download anything. The sharer only requires a small application from LogMeIn, the viewer only needs to visit the LogMeIn Express site and plug in the number that the sharer has given them.

Once they plug in the number you’ll approve them for viewing and—if you desire—remote control. You can send them files, chat with them via the LogMeIn Express control panel, pause the screencasting, disconnect individual users, or shut down the screen sharing all together.
The connection is secured using 256-bit SSL encryption and you can share with up to 100 users.
The Logmein Express page:
https://secure.logmein.com/US/products/express/Default.aspx
More info:
http://www.downloadsquad.com/2009/12/14/logmein-express-offers-simple-screen-sharing-solution/

Have fun and be productive.