Sunday, February 27, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Without any doubt the best hamburger in Strasbourg can be found in the picture above and IRL (well, almost) at the location disclosed below:
(For some unknown reason, you will only find their contact information in the yellow pages if you look for "Diable Bleu")
Update as of July 8, 2011: this place doesn't serve the best hamburgers in town anymore. For the best hamburgers, go to "Le Pied de Mammouth" or "231 East St."
Friday, February 18, 2011
A long time ago, the now long forgotten Braschhhnyyyi language was the most common language on earth. It is, actually, thought that it was the first language spoken and that, through the Morphogenetic Field Of Consciousness, it was instantly shared and spoken by all human beings at the very second it came into existence.
Ten years ago, thanks to my own designed meditative technique that essentially consists in absorbing large quantities of melted cheese (in this case on a "Cordon Bleu"), I reached a state of bliss only augmented by the consumption of a few beers with the aforementioned cheese. One could argue that the absorption of such high quantities of cheese full of the amino-acid tryptophan might have led to a supercharge of serotonin in my brain hence leading to the state described above and granting a pseudo-scientific explanation for what comes next.
What happened that day was that I instantly became fluent in Braschhhnyyyi along with a few friends that were sitting at the same table with me. We talked Braschhhnyyyi the entire evening up to the point where one of us (whose identity won't be disclosed because we're talking about me) literally had a cheese-running nose.
As I cherish the knowledge that was gifted to me on that precious evening, I wanted to share it with the world so that generations to come will remember what it meant to speak Braschhhnyyyi when humankind was just another species on earth with an uncertain future.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Installing a VPN service can be challenging for many of us but the advantages of using a VPN service are well worth the pain it causes to make things work. First of all, using a VPN service makes your internet more secure than it already is by tunneling all traffic through an encrypted channel to the location of your VPN provider. From there, the traffic will be redirected to its intended destination. You will hence be free of geolocation restrictions and should you use your VPN service on a wifi hotspot your data will be safe.
So, let's assume you bought an Asus RT-N16 router (one of the most powerful yet moderately priced router out there) and want to configure your home network to use 12vpn. Make sure before and after every firmware upgrade that you reset your router using the 30-30-30 sequence (press the wps button for 30 secs while router is on, keep pressing and unplug it for 30 secs, keep pressing after plugging it back for another 30 secs). Now, here is my step-by-step guide:
1. Make sure you download all the necessary firmwares mentioned in step 1 before your connect your router to your computer through an Ethernet cable (as you will then lose Internet connectivity) on one of the 4 LAN ports.
2. Go to this blog and follow the instructions on how to flash the factory firmware with a different one. Instead of using the Tomato firmware, use the initial dd-wrt firmware located here (Otherwise go to: http://www.dd-wrt.com then Router Database then type Asus & choose Asus RT N-16 & Image for Initial Flashing). After following the steps in order to install this firmware, you should install the last firmware through the dd-wrt web interface (by logging in to http://192.168.1.1 and going to administration). Here is the location of the latest firmware: choose the " firmware. Once you're done with that, you will need to login again to the newly flashed firmware administration web interface (http://192.168.1.1).
3. Start by disabling the firewall by changing the router password and going to Security->Firewall->Firewall Protection->SPI Firewall: Disable
Save and Apply.
4. Disable Wifi as it is activated and open by default
Save and Apply.
5. Configure LAN like this (don't update the WAN configuration yet):
Local IP Address: 192.168.0.210
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Gateway: 192.168.0.1 (This is your DSL or Cable router address, change it accordingly)
Local DNS: 0.0.0.0
DHCP Server: Disable
Save and Apply.
In this example, I'm using 192.168.0.210 as the url to access the router assuming your DSL or Cable router address can by accessed at http://192.168.0.1. In case your DSL or Cable router has a 192.168.1.1 address in order to access it then you should change all 192.168.0.xxx addresses in my configuration example to 192.168.1.xxx addresses.
I'm using a xxx.xxx.xxx.210 address assuming it is not already taken by another device on your home network. It can basically be any non already used address but if you have a DHCP server running I suggest an address close to xxx.xxx.xxx.200 to make sure it won't be attributed by the router to another device.
6. Disconnect the router from your computer and connect it through Ethernet on one of its LAN ports to your DSL or Cable Router. You will now be able to access the configuration of your dd-wrt router through your home network by entering http://192.168.0.210 in your browser.
7. Configure WAN as in the last screen capture.
WAN Connection type: Static IP
Wan IP Address: 192.168.0.200 (not the same address than 192.168.0.210)
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Gateway: 192.168.0.1 ((This is your DSL or Cable router address, change it accordingly)
Static DNS 1: 188.8.131.52 (Google DNS for better performance)
Static DNS 2: 184.108.40.206 (Google DNS for better performance)
Static DNS 3: 0.0.0.0
Save and Apply.
8. Go to the Services tab and OpenVPN:
Start OpenVPN Client: Enable
Server IP/Name: CHECK 12vpn.com to choose the server you want to use
Tunnel Protocol: UDP
Tunnel Device: TUN
Encryption Cipher: Blowfish CBC
Hash Algorithm: SHA1
Use LZO Compression: Enable
nsCertType verification: ticked
Advanced Options: Enable
Enable NAT: Enable
Bridge Tap to br0: Disable
TUN MTU Setting: 1500
Mss-Fix/Fragment accross the tunnel: 1300
TLS Cipher: OFF
TLS Auth Key: Leave Blank (other configurations might require ta.key)
Additional Config: Leave Blank
CA Cert: copy & paste ca-vpnservices.cer
Public Client Cert: copy & paste vpnxxxxx.crt2.pem
Public Client Key: copy & paste vpnxxxxx.key2.pem
(For certificates copy & paste between BEGIN and END)
9. Connect an additional Ethernet cable from your DSL or cable router to the WAN port of your Asus router
10. Configure any of your home computers, consoles or Apple TVs like this in order to use the VPN connection:
ip : 192.168.0.2xx (use an unused address for each device)
subnet mask : 255.255.255.0
gateway router address : 192.168.0.210 (this is the Asus router address)
DNS address : 192.168.0.210 (sometimes 220.127.116.11 might work better notably with an Apple TV)
11. If you don't want to use the DD-WRT VPN then configure your computers to use the DHCP server (automatic default configuration) from your DSL or Cable router and your connection will be exactly the same it was without any VPN service or Asus router. You can also switch back and forth according to your needs.
12. You might want to automatically reboot the router everyday to ensure continuous connectivity.
The added beauty of 12vpn is that they allow simultaneous connections from your home router and an iDevice (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) using IPSEC/L2TP. This means you can be connected at home and also from a wifi hotspot or 3G connection on your iDevice. The configuration on an iDevice is straightforward by following the steps mentioned on the 12vpn website.
Voila! Enjoy it!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
This newly opened restaurant in Strasbourg features classic French food. I had their "inspiration" menu and really liked it. Foie Gras was excellent, Lobster original, & the Veal Piccata was fabulous! I finished this delicious meal with cheese and dessert and will definitely go back!
All and all, it looks like famous chef Philippe Bohrer did an excellent job with this new venue! Should you find yourself in Colmar, feel free to visit its eponymous sister location.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Let's face the truth: we all love American TV shows and we all watch them (even if some of you might not admit it). Why? Because they're the best! Why? Well, they have the best actors, the most budget & the best writers! There is, however, a huge problem: only Americans can watch American TV. There is almost no legal way of watching American TV shows without waiting a long time for them to be available outside the US. This is absolutely nonsense in this day and age. Almost everyone has broadband and there are so many illegal ways to download content that it is just crazy of the TV industry not to make their content available to the world for a fee or at least targeted advertisement. So what happens? Well 90% of the people choose to download content illegally. It is easy, free and fast!
But what if, you wanted to go the legal way? Well, there are possibilities although one might argue that the're not entirely legal as almost all services mention in their T&C that watching outside the US is illegal. So here are your possibilities:
1) If you're located in Europe, you could subscribe to the excellent British satellite TV channels known as SKY. Although technically reserved to UK residents, it is possible to find companies on the web that will take out a subscription for you and send you a satellite receiver and viewing card for a fee. SKY TV is home to many American TV shows and movies that are aired with not too much delay compared to the US and you can receive it from almost everywhere in Central Europe (satellite dish size may vary depending on your location). You will get top notch HD quality and hundreds of channels!
2) Use a VPN service. As you might have realized, most American TV channels have the option on their website to watch the latest episodes of their shows on the web. If you hook up a computer to your widescreen TV, this can be a great option. The only problem is that the aforementioned websites check your location disclosed by your IP address and won't allow you to watch anything if you're not in the US. There is a way to circumvent this by using a VPN service. Technically such a service will channel all your Internet traffic to one of their servers in the US (or a different country depending on your choice). Then all traffic will be dispatched to its destination. The bottom line is that the website you reach will think you're located where the VPN server is! In this case, it will think you're in the US and hence grant you access!
The necessary software to use a VPN server can be installed on a computer or a router (such as the Linksys WRT54GL flashed with the Tomato firmware for instance). Bear in the mind that the Linksys WRT54GL has limited resources and a faster router such as the ASUS RT-N16 will give you better download speeds. The cool thing is that if you use a router, then any computer on your home network can use a US IP address. Even a Playstation 3 or Apple TV! Think Hulu Plus (available on PS3) or Netflix (available on the Apple TV). Both services will let you subscribe and pay with a prepaid credit card that can either be bought online or in supermarkets in the US (think about it on your next trip there). Netflix won't work on a PS3 although it is available on this platform as it will check for the region code of your videogame console. So if you didn't buy your PS3 in the US, you won't be able to access Netflix from it even if you use a US IP address and official subscription!
VPN services are relatively inexpensive: less than US$ 100 a year for unlimited bandwidth. Some of the most known VPN providers are Witopia, Ace VPN, 12vpn etc...
Hulu Plus and Netflix subscription price is US$ 7.99 per month each.
3) Use the US iTunes Store. As a matter of fact, the US iTunes store has loads of shows and movies to be watched from, either a computer, iDevice or Apple TV. The latest generation of the Apple TV will let you rent TV shows and movies whereas the first generation Apple TV won't allow for TV show rentals. But how can you access the US iTunes store? Well it is relatively easy: buy a US iTunes store gift certificate on eBay (a US$50 gift certificate can usually be had for US$55) or in an Apple store on your next trip to the US. You will then be able to create a US iTunes store account using any valid US address and Voilà! You will, from that point on, be able to buy US iTunes store apps for your iDevice or rent movies & TV shows from the US iTunes store for your computer or Apple TV. The great thing about the US iTunes store is that it does not check your IP address for your location so you can rent and download content using the full speed of your broadband Internet connection! Many shows and movies are available in 720p HD with Dolby Digital sound and this is just great!
4) Subscribe to Habu.TV or A2BTV. These services will subscribe to cable TV in the US for you and hook up your cable box to a broadband router in a datacenter in the US. You will then be able to access and control your cable box remotely from anywhere in the world using a SlingBox. This is, on the paper, the best solution as you will have live access to American TV. It however, requires, a very good broadband connection on both sides. In my limited experience using a demo account, I wasn't able to achieve HD video quality but barely VHS quality. The good think is that you can subscribe to absolutely any TV channel that you're interested in in the US.
If you use any of the solutions mentioned above you will pay the same price for content than any American resident and will therefore not "steal" content. If you use a VPN service, you will, however pay a little bit more for this part of the solution.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
This might be old news for many of you but since I hadn't mentioned it earlier on my blog, I had to make sure this precious info reached all of you! So, yes finally it is possible to use AirPlay with a first generation Apple TV. For those of you who don't know what AirPlay is, it is an audio & video sharing feature that lets you send media from a computer or iDevice to an Apple TV. It was initially only available with the Apple TV Take 2 (first generation Apple TVs had the ability to receive audio only through AirTunes) but thanks to RemoteHD hack, you'll be able to enjoy it on your old Apple TV. Keep in mind you'll have to purchase RemoteHD in order to activate the hack and of course it will only work on a jailbroken first generation Apple TV!
Here's the complete tutorial:
RemoteHD brings AirPlay to your old AppleTV