Web Developer & Photographer

I imagine if you stumble across this you already know what a VPN is, so I’m not going to bother going into it here. If you’re curious what a VPN is and why you may need it, this article should answer that. I’ll post another tutorial in the future on using a VPN for remote access and screen sharing to a Mac.

After a bit of research last weekend, it was apparent NETGEAR has not updated their documentation for setting up a VPN on macOS with their routers. I tried using Tunnelblick per their recommendation and it wouldn’t work. Additionally, the default VPN configuration files for macOS from the router do not work correctly.

Before we get started, please note that I’m using a Nighthawk AC1750 router, which shouldn’t matter because the steps are similar with other VPN enabled NETGEAR routers. Hopefully these instructions should make your setup easy and headache-free:

  1. Unless you’re a business and can get a static IP from your ISP, you’ll need to set one up with a third-party. NETGEAR recommends No-IP. Go ahead and setup a Dynamic DNS (DDNS) through No-IP.com
  2. I’d recommend the Enhanced Dynamics DNS ($24.95/yr) so you don’t have to bother confirming your hostname every month
  3. Go ahead and download the Dynamic Update Client for Mac. This checks for an IP address change. When a different IP address is detected, it updates your hostname to the correct IP.
  4. Once you’re finished, have your Host Name, User Name, and Password ready for the next steps
  5. Make sure you’re connected to your local internet or Wi-Fi network
  6. Login to your router by going to or routerlogin.net
  7. The default login credentials are “admin” and “password”, which you should have changed by now ;-)
  8. In the router settings go to Advanced > Advanced Setup > Dynamics DNS
  9. Check the box for “Use a Dynamic DNS Service”
  10. In the Service Provider drop-down menu choose “www.No-IP.com”
  11. In the fields below, enter your Host Name, User Name, and Password from No-IP
  12. Click “Apply” to save this information
  13. Go to the VPN Service tab which is right below Dynamic DNS on the left side under “Advanced Setup”
  14. Check the box for “Enable VPN Service”
  15. Leave the Advanced Configurations to their defaults:
    • TUN Mode Service Type: UDP
    • TUN Mode Service Port: 12973
    • TAP Mode Service Type: UDP
    • TAP Mode Service Port: 12974
    • Clients will use this VPN connection to access: Auto
  16. For the OpenVPN configuration package download, please click “For Smart Phone”
    • Don’t worry, the config file for smart phone will work on macOS. You have to use smart phone config file because the “For non-Windows” (aka Mac) version is outdated and won’t work properly.
  17. When you open the smartphone.zip file, you should see 4 files:
    • ca.crt
    • client_phone.ovpn
    • client.crt
    • client.key
  18. Now, you need to download the latest version (3.0.2) of OpenVPN client for macOS from here
  19. Once you install OpenVPN, open it up. You should it in the menubar.
  20. Click on “Install Profile”
  21. Drag and drop the “client_phone.ovpn” file onto OpenVPN
  22. Rename the server hostname if you’d like
  23. To use your VPN, connect to a different network other than your local, like a mobile hotspot for example
  24. Once you’re on an outside network, go to OpenVPN in the menubar and click on “Connect”
  25. Now you’re all set!

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One of the greatest time wasters today has got to be social-networking websites. More specifically, Facebook and Twitter. I found myself spending unnecessary amounts of time on both of those websites when I had nothing else to do. Let’s not lie, it’s an addiction, and many people are guilty of it besides me. Fortunately, there have already been temporary solutions such as SelfControl, a  freeware application developed by Steve Lambert. In the past I used SelfControl because it was simple and allowed me to setup a time frame that I could block out Facebook and/or Twitter. For students, I can almost certainly recommend using that application during finals week or when preparing for any exams in general. However, I wanted to stop frequenting Facebook on my Mac, so I needed a more permanent solution other than deactivating my account because I still want to be able to access Facebook from my iPhone. With a view commands in Terminal, this can be done in no time!

  1. Open up Terminal in /Applications/Utilities.
  2. In the command line, type in "sudo nano /etc/hosts".
  3. When asked, type your admin password.
  4. In the screen that will appear, you’ll see the host database for your computer.
  5. Using your down arrow, go to the bottom, right under where it says, " localhost".
  6. Type in " hit ‘tab’, then enter facebook.com”.
  7. On a new line, type in "" hit ‘tab’, then enter www.facebook.com"; this is for extra measure.
  8. Now, hold down Control + “O”. This will save the changes to the host database.
  9. Hit “Return” and then Control + “X” to exit the screen.
  10. Remove the existing cache by typing in "sudo dscacheutil -flushcache" in the command line, this refreshes the existing cache on the host database.
  11. You should receive an “Unable to connect” error message when you go to Facebook.com now.
  12. Now, back to doing something more productive…

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mamp icon

Recently I was working on a website using an eCommerce platform, which requires a database. In a situation like that, where I’ll need PHP and MySQL, I prefer to use MAMP for its simplicity. It’s a great application for the Mac that enables you to setup a local server environment in a matter of seconds. Yet, I came across a rather bothersome problem the other day when I opened up MAMP and noticed a red circle for the “MySQL Server” status, which prohibited me from being able to work on the website. Fortunately, with Activity Monitor or Terminal, there are two very quick solutions to this problem.

Using Terminal

  1. First, if MAMP is currently open, go ahead and quit it.
  2. Open up Terminal from the Utilities folder within Applications.
  3. In the command line, type in "sudo killall mysqld".
  4. Type in your admin password when asked.
  5. If you open MAMP, you should now see two green statuses.

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Using Activity Monitor

  1. First, if MAMP is currently open, go ahead and quit it.
  2. Open up Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder in Applications.
  3. Look for “mysqld” under the list of processes currently running.
  4. Select it, and click on the red “Quit Process” button in the top left corner.
  5. Choose “Force Quit” when the drop-down window appears.
  6. Now, when you open MAMP, there will be a green status next to MySQL Server.

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One of the biggest annoyances when I am doing a Skype video call with a friend is when I hear a notification of a message. Yes — I know — it’s nice to be able to know when a message has been sent, however when I am chatting with someone, that noise is very distracting (especially when you’re messaging with another person while doing a video call). Luckily, there is an easy fix for this.

  1. Open Skype and login with your username and password.
  2. Go to Preferences under Skype menu.
  3. In the Notifications section, go to “Message Received” under the Event drop-down menu.
  4. Beneath, uncheck “Play sound” and the notification sound will no longer occur.
  5. (Repeat step 3 with “Message Sent” as well).

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In the most recent release of iTunes, the layout has had some major interface changes. One of the most obvious being the close, minimize, and maximize buttons (red, yellow, and green buttons) being in a vertical layout instead of a horizontal layout. Here’s how to fix it:

  1. If iTunes is open, please quit it.
  2. Open up Terminal in the Applications/Utilities folder.
  3. Type "defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -boolean YES"
  4. Now, open iTunes and you’ll see that the red, yellow, and green buttons are horizontal.

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