Ring Video Doorbell – ding dong ditch?

I’m sure you guys have heard of Ring Video Doorbell by now, seeing as they have so many commercials, and the bell has been out for a while. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s okay, just watch the video above to get a description of the product or visit their website. It’s basically a doorbell with a camera on it, that is connected to your wireless network. Every time someone ring’s the bell, your phone will buzz/notify you that there is someone at the door. At which point you can pick up your phone, and answer (or ignore) based on who it is at your door. You can speak with the person directly through your phone as well. The best part is the person at the door can’t see you, so you can tell the you’re out somewhere. Here is the “Ring Story” (from the box):

..If not for my wife, the Ring Video Doorbell would not exist.
Inventors come up with a lot of bad ideas and she has heard them all. One night I shared my idea for reinventing the doorbell.
She loved it! Not just for the obvious convenience, but for the security of now being able to safely answer the door from anywhere. She said, “This is like caller ID for the front door.”
I hope that you enjoy the Ring Video Doorbell as much as we do, and I look forward to hearing your stories about the product
. — Jamie Siminoff, Inventor

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Arduino Kits – Which one should you buy?

There are so many Arduino kits in the market which you can purchase. If you are new to Arduino, the choices can be overwhelming. They have kits on Amazon and kits on Ebay, but where do you get started?

I recently read a great article over at pretzellogix.net before making any recommendations. There are 4 kits the site compares:

    Kits

  • The Official Arduino Starter Kit
  • The Sunfounder Super Kit
  • Sparkfun Inventors Kit
  • The ARDX Starter Kit

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DashCamPro – As Seen on TV. Worth it?

I actually wasn’t interested at all in purchasing a car dash cam. I was in the market for a Go-Pro to take some action shots. I ended up seeing the commercial for the “DashCamPro” and I figured it was pretty neat, especially for the price. But I have had experience with similar “As Seen on TV” products, and they do not generally work as advertised and/or die quick because of poor/cheap-quality materials when manufacturing. Generally the commercials market these items and make them look better then they actually are. The video quality was amazing in the commercial, but I’m sure I missed the small font, “screen images simulated” somewhere during the commercial. It seemed too good to be true:

This is the ad from their website. $39.99!

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Make Dropbox Sync any folder on your PC

If you use Dropbox, like me, it can sometimes be annoying that it will only sync folders/files that you specifically place in the “Dropbox” folder.  This can get annoying at times when you have a folder in another location that you wish to also have backed up to Dropbox, yet do not wish to move it physically.  It turns out, there is a really neat trick that you can utilize to allow you to sync any folder with your Dropbox folder.

All you really need is the Windows Command Prompt.

How to Sync any folder with Dropbox:

You need to make sure you do not make any typo’s because you will have to use the Windows Command Prompt.  I will first have you setup the command in a text editor, such as Notepad.  (I will be using “Sublime Text” – which is practically the same thing only better.)

Open Notepad/Sublime Text:

01

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Add apps to right-click menu - Windows

Tutorial should apply to Windows Vista/7/10

Please be careful when editing the registry.  Create a backup in case you accidentally delete/modify the wrong value — it can damage your Windows OS.

When you right-click an file, such as a .txt file, Windows will give you a few options you can perform with the file – this is called the Context Menu.  I currently have Notepad++ as my default text file editor so all my text files open with Notepad++.  However, sometimes I prefer to open them with my new, favorite editor “Sublime Text.” It is an awesome text editor, especially for coding.  Currently, right-clicking a .txt file does not give me the option to open it with Sublime Text.  (of course I could always make Sublime Text my default text editor, however this tutorial is about showing you how to add any application to the right-click context menu).

Currently if I right-click my .txt file I get the following menu:

context-menu

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Adding applications to "Send to" menu - Windows

Send To

When you right-click a file, a context menu pops up for that file. The “Send to” option in the menu allows you to send the file to printer, or open with another program you don’t normally use. All you have to do is add the program to the “Send to” option in the menu. There are already some programs that appear in the default send to menu, however most of the time the application you want isn’t there. Below, I am going to show you how to add items to the right-click send to menu.

To remove or add your own items (shortcuts) easily, simply navigate to the following directory to find all ‘Send To’ items:

C:Users\[YourUsername]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo

Navigating to this directory can be a headache for some. The quicker way to access the ‘Send To’ directory is:

  1. Hit [WIN]+R keys – this should launch Windows Run
  2. Type “shell:sendto” in Search/Windows Run without the quotes and hit [Enter

sendto

Powerful "power user" menu - Windows

Are you a power user?

Although I have been using Windows since Windows 95, this feature is relatively new (atleast to me) so I thought I would share.

The Power User Menu is available in Windows 8 and in Windows 10. It is a menu that allows you the user to access management/configuration/etc. “power user” Microsoft Window tools.

To open the Power User Menu, just press the WINDOWS + X (WIN+X):

power-user-menu
[win] + X – Power User Menu
The above menu should appear in place of the start menu.  The menu can also be customized by modifying the contents of the various folders located here:

C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WinX

Or, by accessing the Windows registry (run > regedit.exe) and modifying the contents here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell\Compatibility\Inbox\App.

That being said, please be careful and backup your registry if you do make any changes.  I am not responsible if you end up changing the wrong items in the registry.

God Mode – Windows Vista/7/8/10

I recently built a computer this past December (2015) — I will share more about it in later posts.  Anyhow, I decided to put Windows 10 on it to see how I would like it compared to Windows 7 — I wasn’t a big fan of Windows 8.  Anyhow, I came across this neat trick I thought I would share with you.  This should work with Windows Vista/7/8 & 10.

The trick is called: GODMODE.

No, not like god mode in video games.  God Mode in Windows basically is a collection of settings, all in one place.  Settings such as:

  • Administrative Tools
  • Backup and Restore
  • Color Management
  • Devices & Printers
  • Fonts
  • File History
  • Indexing Options
  • Personalization
  • Region
  • etc.

Almost like the Control Panel — But on steroids:godmode

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rdp banner

Configure multiple computers to use RDP

What is RDP?

A lot of people use the default Remote Desktop application provided with Microsoft Windows.  I am not going to get into the details of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), however a Google search turns up the following:

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft, which provides a user with a graphical interface to connect to another computer over a network connection. The user employs RDP client software for this purpose, while the other computer must run RDP server software.

Setup RDP to work on Multiple computers on your LAN

rdp

The issue is that when you have multiple computers on your Local Area Network (LAN), and two of them are using RDP.  RDP uses port 3389 by default to connect to computer.  You must setup port-forwarding so your router knows which computer to send the connection string to.  When you have multiple computers, connected to the same router, the router must be able to distinguish which computer the RDP request is going to (when attempting to connect from outside the network).  When you are inside your Local Area Network (LAN) and you want to RDP to a computer, you can just use the different IP addresses the router has assigned to the computer (192.168.1.12, 192.168.1.13, etc.), but from outside the network, you will only have IP address (in most cases).  Therefore, the router must know which computer to send the request to based on PORT NUMBER.
The rest of this article will show you how to configure your port number and forward the connection request to the correct computer.

One computer can use the default RDP port number (3389).   The router will know to send all RDP requests for default port to that computer.

Any other computer, you must change the default RDP port, and change the router settings to forward requests to the correct PC.

To change the Port number:

  1. Open the Windows Registry Editor.  On the Start menu type “regedit” and hit ENTER
  2. Navigate through the folders on the left to find the RDP-Tcp folder in this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMControlSet001ControlTerminal ServerWinStationsRDP-Tcpregistry
  3. Double click PortNumber in the right pane and then select Decimal for the Base type

We’re looking to change the DWORD (32-bit) Value for PortNumber:.

rdp

The default value is 3389 but you can change this port number to anything.  In the figure above, the port 3388 is selected.

The default port for this computer has been changed.  Now you may need to configure Windows Firewall or any other Firewall to create rules and  allow traffic to pass to the computer. (Not covered here)

Now need to assign port number in router settings.  The next task is to point the new port number to the specific internal IP address so that outside requests are understood properly.

  1. Open browser and navigate to router login page: http://192.168.1.1.
  2. Look for Port Forwarding section
  3. Enter new port number and local/internal IP address of the computer

To find the local IP address, run command prompt and use “ipconfig”, or you can get this information from the router page.

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Local IP address is listed as IPv4 Address

Now you should be able to connect to the computer using the new port assigned. Open Remote desktop from a computer outside the network and enter the information in the following format : [COMPUTER_IP]:[PORT]

Example: 74.212.14.137:3388

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