DD-WRT: Password Protect Your Status Page To Increase Network Security

DD-WRT is an excellent firmware alternative for your network router, whether your router is used at home for at your business.  One of my favorite features of DD-WRT is the router status page, shown below.  The DD-WRT status page is very useful for looking at real-time information.

This status page is shown by default when you enter your router’s IP address into your web browser.  Information included on this page is the WAN IP address of your router, the MAC addresses of your LAN, WAN, and Wireless connections, router memory usage, and partial MAC addresses of client users (which have been hidden by default.)

If you are looking to add some extra security to your DD-WRT enabled network, consider password protecting the status page.

How to Password Protect The DD-WRT Status Page

Step 1: Log-in to your DD-WRT enabled router by entering it’s IP address in your web browser (usually

Step 2: Click on the Administration tab.

Step 3:  Scroll down to the Web Access section.

Step 4: Check the Info Site Password Protect box, as shown below.

Step 5: Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Apply Settings.

Once the settings have been saved, close your web browser, re-open it, and return to your router’s IP address.  You are now presented with a box to enter your router’s username and password.  Entering this information will allow you to login and see your router’s status page.

Do you use the DD-WRT firmware on your router and have any tips for securing your network?  If so, share them in the comments below!

Office 2010: Fix Word Not Saving Default Settings

In a previous article, I wrote about how to change the default font and document settings in Word 2010.  I recently ran into a frustrating problem on a computer where even though I was saving the settings as default like shown in the mentioned article, when I would close Word and then re-open, the old default setting still remained.

Every new document that you create in Word is actually based off of a generic template referred to as the Normal template.  Each time a new default font or other document setting is changed for all documents, you are really editing the Normal template in Word.  I found that sometimes old or corrupt copies of the Normal template may remain and cause the problem of not saving new default settings for documents.

After some searching, along with a little trial and error, I was able to resolve the problem as outlined below.

Before starting, make sure that Word and any other Microsoft Office programs are closed.

Step 1: Start by navigating to C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates.

You will see a couple of folders along with a file named Normal.  Make a copy of any Normal or NormalOld files in-case something goes wrong.

Step 2: Select and delete the Normal (and NormalOld files if they exist).

Step 3: Open Word and you will see that the default font and document settings have returned to their default settings.  In deleting the Normal template and opening Word, a new Normal template is created and saved to the Templates folder.

Step 4: Use our guide to changing the default font and other document settings.

When you close and re-open Word your new default settings now save and are applied to any new documents.

Have any other tips for using Microsoft Office?  Share them with us by commenting below!

Have any other tips for using Microsoft Office?  Share them with us by commenting below!

Optimize Your MySQL Server With the MySQL Tuner Script

MySQL is powerful, open-source database software. When joined with PHP or another programming language, the uses of MySQL are almost endless.

The ability to use MySQL in an unlimited number of ways is both a blessing and a curse. While MySQL can be used for just about anything, there is no single proper way to configure a MySQL server. The amount of system resources such as memory and processor to allow the server to use depend on the application. For example, the settings that you would use for a small web server running a single WordPress site would be significantly different from if you were using MySQL with a whole network of WordPress sites.

MySQL Tuner Script

The MySQL Tuner Script is a Perl script that analyses your running MySQL server and makes configuration recommendations based on past performance of the server.  Making the changes suggested by the MySQL Tuner Script can help improve the performance and stability of your MySQL server along with any applications that are using it.

Step 1: Start by downloading the Perl script from http://mysqltuner.com/mysqltuner.pl.

wget http://mysqltuner.com/mysqltuner.pl

Step 2: Make the script executable.

chmod +x mysqltuner.pl

Step 3: Run the script as any user.


Step 4: Enter your MySQL username and password when prompted.

Step 5: The script shows the values of current global MySQL variables.Any good values are shown as [OK] and bad values are shown with [!!].  Example output is shown below.

[user@mysql-server Desktop]$ ./mysqltuner.pl

 >>  MySQLTuner 1.2.0 - Major Hayden
 >>  Bug reports, feature requests, and downloads at http://mysqltuner.com/
 >>  Run with '--help' for additional options and output filtering
Please enter your MySQL administrative login: root
Please enter your MySQL administrative password:

-------- General Statistics --------------------------------------------------
[--] Skipped version check for MySQLTuner script
[OK] Currently running supported MySQL version 5.5.13
[!!] Switch to 64-bit OS - MySQL cannot currently use all of your RAM

-------- Storage Engine Statistics -------------------------------------------
[--] Status: +Archive -BDB -Federated +InnoDB -ISAM -NDBCluster
[--] Data in MyISAM tables: 43M (Tables: 103)
[--] Data in InnoDB tables: 48K (Tables: 3)
[!!] Total fragmented tables: 16

-------- Security Recommendations  -------------------------------------------
[OK] All database users have passwords assigned

-------- Performance Metrics -------------------------------------------------
[--] Up for: 2d 19h 17m 51s (769K q [3.176 qps], 102 conn, TX: 301M, RX: 238M)
[--] Reads / Writes: 2% / 98%
[--] Total buffers: 288.0M global + 9.9M per thread (50 max threads)
[OK] Maximum possible memory usage: 784.9M (9% of installed RAM)
[OK] Slow queries: 0% (0/769K)
[OK] Highest usage of available connections: 24% (12/50)
[OK] Key buffer size / total MyISAM indexes: 64.0M/46.2M
[OK] Key buffer hit rate: 99.8% (8M cached / 19K reads)
[OK] Query cache efficiency: 62.1% (34K cached / 56K selects)
[OK] Query cache prunes per day: 0
[OK] Sorts requiring temporary tables: 0% (0 temp sorts / 2K sorts)
[OK] Temporary tables created on disk: 6% (33 on disk / 517 total)
[OK] Thread cache hit rate: 82% (18 created / 102 connections)
[!!] Table cache hit rate: 15% (163 open / 1K opened)
[OK] Open file limit used: 6% (285/4K)
[OK] Table locks acquired immediately: 100% (727K immediate / 727K locks)
[OK] InnoDB data size / buffer pool: 48.0K/128.0M

-------- Recommendations -----------------------------------------------------
General recommendations:
 Run OPTIMIZE TABLE to defragment tables for better performance
 Enable the slow query log to troubleshoot bad queries
 Increase table_cache gradually to avoid file descriptor limits
Variables to adjust:
 table_cache (> 2048)

[user@mysql-server Desktop]$

Step 6: To change the values of the variables you will need to edit the [mysqld] section of your my.cnf file, usually located in /etc/my.cnf, but this may vary for you.

Step 7: Make the changes to the global variables suggested by the script and restart your MySQL server.

/etc/init.d/service mysql restart

You can run the script again, but it is suggested that you wait 24 hours to see how the my.cnf changes affect the performance.

Have any tips for optimizing the performance of your MySQL server?  Share them with us in the comments below!

How to Manage Stored User Names and Passwords in Windows Credential Manager

A convenient feature of any operating system or software application is its ability to save login credentials so you don’t have to repeatedly enter the same user name and password. Although it may be convenient, there are some potential security concerns with saving login information on your computer, especially if it is shared with others.

Windows manages a user’s login credentials through the Credential Manager. The Credential Manager in Windows stores login information for any servers, network locations, mapped drives, websites, and various other software that you may access during the day.  Follow these steps to access the Credential Manager and find out what user names and passwords Windows is currently storing for you.

Start the Credential Manager by opening the Control Panel and navigating to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Credential Manager.

Here you can see the locations that Windows had stored the login information for a couple of network shares I have connected to.

Expanding each entry shows more information about it.

You can edit an entry to change the user name or password.

Or alternatively, you can delete saved login information.

The Credential Manager also allows you to backup and restore your saved credentials.  Simply click the Back up Vault button to save your login information to a .crd file.  This same file can be used to restore your saved credentials in the event of a problem.

Another way to access the Credential Manager is through the command line.  This works with both Windows XP and Windows 7.

Start by opening  a command prompt.  Type the following into the command prompt window and press Enter.

rundll32.exe keymgr.dll, KRShowKeyMgr

The Stored User Names and Passwords window will open, allowing you to perform the same functions as the Credential Manager outlined in the above steps.

Tectonicus: A High Detail Map Renderer for Minecraft

If you haven’t heard (or you are a gamer that has been living under a rock), Minecraft is an extremely popular sandbox indie video game being developed by the Swedish company Mojang.  Currently available in both a free Classic version and a paid Beta version, Minecraft has exploded in popularity with over 10 million registered users and just over 2.7 million sales.  And the game is only a development version!

Checkout this fan-made trailer to get a glimpse of Minecraft.

One of the neat things about Minecraft is that the game worlds are never-ending.  As you keep walking and exploring more of the world, more of the map is generated. This can lead to some pretty vast maps, especially for multiplayer games where many individuals are constantly exploring the block world of Minecraft.  That’s where Tectonicus can help.


Tectonicus is a mapping application that can generate maps of your Minecraft world.  Tectonicus is different that other Minecraft map renderers in that it creates multiple zoom levels for your map using the same technology as the Google Maps website.  Take a look at a sample map rendered using Tectonicus.

To get started rendering your world, head over to the Minecraft forums and download the latest version of the Tectonicus.  Since Tectonicus is written in Java, it works on Windows, OS X, and Linux as long as you have the Java Runtime installed.

The second thing you need to use Tectonicus is a configuration file.  A sample configuration file is available for download.  The configuration file works after a couple of required settings are changed.

Some of the settings in your configuration file that you should look at first are:

outputDir – The location where your rendered map is saved.

minecraftJar  – This is not the minecraft.jar you downloaded from the Minecraft website, but the one in C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft\bin on Windows and /home/USERNAME/.minecraft/bin on Linux.

texturePack – Unless you have a custom texture pack, simply set this the same as the minecraftJar setting.

logFile – A file that contains information about each render.

worldDir – The location of your Minecraft world files. Located in C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft on Windows and /home/USERNAME/.minecraft on Linux.

With the newest version of Tectonicus you are able to render multiple layers of the map including day views, night views, and caves, along with the ability to render the Nether.  One word of warning though, each layer is rendered separately, increasing the amount of time to render the map and consuming more storage space on your system.

Other options you can change to customize the render process are camera angles, zoom levels, lighting levels, and texture packs.  A list of settings that you can change in the configuration file is available at the Tectonicus Minecraft wiki page.  Be sure to read through the available list of settings for the configuration file and understand what each does before implementing in your setup.

To render your map from the command line, use the command following command:

 java -jar /path/to/file/Tectonicus.jar config=/path/to/file/layerConfig.xml

Once you have configured and rendered your map, open map.html to see your Minecraft world in your web browser rendered in high detail.

The first time you render your map is the longest if you set up a cache in the configuration file.  With a cache, each render after the initial one is very quick since only the changes must be rendered.  If your Minecraft world is constantly changing, look at setting up a Scheduled Task in Windows or Cron job in Linux to automatically render your map on a certain schedule.

A few words of warning: It can take a few tries to get a properly working configuration file.  Be sure to check the Tectonicus log file for more information about any errors that you receive.  Also, rendering your Minecraft map with Tectonicus for the first time is a very intense process and may take a couple of hours to finish a large map.  Finally, the maps you render can consume large amounts of hard drive space, with each layer of a fairly large map consuming around 5 to 10 GB of disk space.

If you are looking for a cool way to view your Minecraft world be sure to give Tectonicus a try.  Do you have any maps rendered with Tectonicus?  Share the links in the comments below!

Enjoy Mindless Gaming With SkyBurger for iOS

Everyone loves Angry Birds, that is pretty clear.  The problem I have with Angry Birds is that it takes two hands to play – one hand to hold my iPod Touch and the other to slingshot those little feathered creatures across the screen.  Sometimes what I need is a game that takes very little skill and very little movement from me.  Sky Burger is perfect for this.

Sky Burger

Sky Burger is a free iOS game available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad that takes very little skill to play.

When you start a new game, you receive an order for a burger, with each burger having an interesting name and a very unique set of ingredients.

As you begin to fill the order, all of the possible ingredients begin falling from the sky.  Your task is to build the requested burger with the correct ingredients by tilting your iOS device back and forth to gather the ingredients in no particular order.  When you have built your burger, top it off with a bun.

The more ingredients you get correct, the bigger your tip is.  Add an incorrect ingredient or too many of an ingredient and your tip percentage goes down.

As you continue to make burgers correctly, the number of ingredients increases, as does the speed of the falling ingredients, making each subsequent burger harder to make.

Don’t get the top bun too early otherwise you will fail and need to start over.

Every few burgers you make increases your chance to make a “Sky Burger”.  This burger contains an unlimited number of ingredients (“The sky is the limit”).

Keep building to get a higher dollar burger, larger tip, and move up in rank.  As you can see from the first screenshot, I’ve played enough Sky Burger that I’m now a Regional Manager.

I don’t recommend that you try to make one of these burgers in real life though – unless of course you are training to go up against the “Man v. Food” host.

Sky Burger is a great game for iOS that can be used to easily pass the time.  Give Sky Burger a try by downloading it from the App Store today.

100 Mbps Broadband Internet Coming to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota

Recently, people in the upper-Midwest region of the United States have seen commercials for the website xisnext.com that was potentially hinting at 100 Mbps broadband internet coming to the upper-Midwest (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota).  I received a reply from Midcontinent Communications confirming that this is indeed true.

Midcontinent Communications has launched MidcoNet Xstream® Wideband to over 250,000 users in the upper-Midwest.  MidcoNet Xstream® Wideband will provide users with 100 Mbps downloads and 15 Mbps uploads, speeds far exceeding other ISPs in the region where 3 Mbps is the average.  Recent upgrades to digital cable and DOCSIS 3.0 technology have made these speeds possible.

“MidcoNet Xstream® Wideband is ultimately a shift in technology,” says Jon Pederson, vice president of technology at Midcontinent Communications. “Data expansion provides the capacity and speed necessary to view rich Internet content, from streaming video to online gaming, concurrently on multiple devices throughout the home.”

Midcontient recognizes that the industry is changing and that stable, high-speed internet has become an important part of our lives.

“The demand for streaming online content is skyrocketing,” says Pat McAdaragh, president and CEO of Midcontinent Communications. “The rate of Internet usage increased 116 percent last year and has increased more than 300 percent since 2009. Speed is important, but with multiple devices connected to the Internet, capacity is essential. MidcoNet Xstream® Wideband delivers both the speed and capacity to meet customers’ needs.”

Speeds available to residents are as follows:

  • MidcoNet Xstream® Wideband 3.0 will offer up to 100 Mbps downloads and 15 Mbps uploads – $104.95 / month
  • MidcoNet Xstream® Wideband 2.0 will offer up to 50 Mbps downloads and 10 Mbps uploads – $64.95 / month
  • MidcoNet Xstream® Wideband 1.0 will offer up to 30 Mbps downloads and 5 Mbps uploads – $44.95 / month

“At Midcontinent our goal is to stay ahead of customer demand and to deploy the most appropriate technology to insure an outstanding customer experience now and well into the future. That, at its core, is MidcoNet Xstream®,” says Pederson.

You have made me one happy internet user, Mr Pederson.

Midcontinent Communications is the Upper Midwest’s leading provider of cable television, telephone, broadband Internet and cable advertising services for approximately 250,000 residential and business customers throughout the North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota and is a 50%-50% partnership between Midcontinent Media, Inc. and Comcast Corporation.

What are your thoughts on the launch of this high-speed internet?  Will you be signing up?  Let us know by commenting below!

Subsonic: Now Able to Stream Movies and Videos

I previously wrote an article introducing you to Subsonic, the open-source, cross-platform software that can be used to stream your personal music library anywhere across the internet. In the time since that article, few changes have occurred to Subsonic.  But recently, a feature was added that really puts Subsonic at the top of my list of favorite software – the ability to stream not only your music collection, but your movie, music video, and personal video collection.

Setting up Video Streaming in Subsonic

To start streaming your videos with Subsonic, ensure that you have the most recent version installed.  A version of at least Subsonic 4.3 is needed to enable video streaming.

Once you have installed or updated Subsonic, login and navigate to the Settings page and select the Music Folders section.

If you already have Subsonic installed, you will already have a music folder added. For example, I currently have a share named Music with the file path /media/PattersonHD/Music.

To enable Subsonic to stream my video library I simply have to add another share here. My newly added share is named Movies with the file path /media/PattersonHD/Movies.

Do this for each subsequent share or stream source you wish to add to Subsonic and click Save at the bottom of the page.

Streaming your Videos

Once you have added the video sources, navigate back to the Home page in Subsonic. You should notice a new drop-down on the left index of your Subsonic web page named All Folders. Under All Folders, all of your shares are listed together alphabetically. Select just the share you wish to stream to separate the sources.

Select the video and streaming will begin in the right side of Subsonic.

Final Thoughts

Subsonic is able to stream large video files due to them being transcoded (converted on-the-fly) before being streamed. It should be noted that transcoding can be a very  system-intensive process. Along with this, streaming large amounts of data may cause network slowness and affect the quality of the streams.

Do you use Subsonic to stream your music and movies?  Let us know by commenting below!

How To Change Default Font and Document Settings In Microsoft Word

The release of Microsoft Office 2007 brought some major changes to the popular office suite.  Many did not care for these changes at first, but users soon started to enjoy the newest features of Word, Excel, and other Office 2007 programs.

One feature in Office 2007 still seen in Office 2010 is a change in the default font from Times New Roman at Size 12 to Calibri at Size 11.  While the new font may be an improvement, many users have been frustrated if their documents must by typed in a particular font and they are constantly needing to change from the current default.

In this guide I am going to show you how to set some of the default document settings in Microsoft Office Word 2007 and 2010.

Setting the Default Font

Step 1: Start Word.

Step 2: Click the small arrow at the corner of the Font section of the Home ribbon to open the Font dialog box.  You can also right-click the document and select Font… from the menu.

Step 3: Set the font and font size you wish to have as the new default settings and click Set As Default in the bottom corner of the window.

Step 4: Confirm that you wish to make the changes to All documents based on the Normal template and click OK.

Step 5: Close and re-open Word and your new default font is set.

Setting the Default Indents and Spacing

Step 1: Start Word.

Step 2: Click the small arrow at the corner of the Paragraph section of the Home ribbon to open the Paragraph dialog box.  You can also right-click the document and select Paragraph… from the menu.

Step 3: Select the alignment, indentation, and line spacing you wish to have as the new default settings and click Set As Default at the bottom of the window.

Step 4: Confirm that you wish to make the changes to All documents based on the Normal template and click OK.

Step 5: Close and re-open Word and your new default alignment, indentation, and line spacing settings are set.

Setting the Default Margins

Step 1: Start Word.

Step 2: Select the Page Layout ribbon and click the small arrow at the corner of the Page Setup section to open the Page Setup dialog box.

Step 3: Select the margin, orientation, and paper settings that you wish to have as the new default settings and click Set As Default at the bottom of the window.

Step 4: Confirm that you wish to make the changes to all documents based on the NORMAL template by clicking Yes.

Step 5: Close and re-open Word and your new default margins, orientation, and paper settings are set.

Have any other tips for using Microsoft Office?  Share them with us by commenting below!

How To Add Greasemoney and Other Scripts To Opera 11

When I recently made the switch from Firefox to Opera, there were a couple of things I had to work out with my new web browser of choice.  One of my favorite add-ons for Firefox was Greasemonkey, which allows for the installation of scripts that modify and enhance web pages on-the-fly.  There is no version of Greasemonkey for Opera available since custom user scripts are supported out-of-the-box with just a little setup by the user.

In this guide I am going to show you how to enable, install, and use custom user scripts in Opera 11.

Adding User JavaScript to Opera

Step 1: Open Opera and enter about:opera into the address bar.

Step 2: If User JavaScript is enabled, a User JavaScript folder entry appears under the Paths heading.  If it does not, you need to enable User JavaScript in the next step.

Step 3: Navigate to Menu > Settings > Preferences… in Opera.

Step 4: Select the Advanced tab.

Step 5: Click Content in the left menu and press the JavaScript Options button.

Step 6: Select the folder where you wish to store your new user JavaScript files and click OK on the next two windows.  If you enter about:opera into the address bar like in Step 2 you can now see the User JavaScript folder under the Paths heading.

Next, we need to download and install some JavaScript.  Navigate to Userscripts.org and find the JavaScript enhancement you wish to install.  Once you find the script, right-click the Install button and select Save Linked Content As… and save the JavaScript file into the folder you specified in Step 6.  I would recommend giving the JavaScript a name other than the default provided so you can easily distinguish between JavaScript files.

What are your favorite user scripts for Opera or any other web browser?  Let us know by commenting below!