Now Where Did I *Put* That?

I’ve been using TightVNC to log into my work computer from home so that I can give them an extra day of my life.

TightVNC is a little background application running on my work computer. It monitors activity on an unused port, and serves a copy of my work desktop to a java app in my browser window when I access the port from my home computer. I work in that window, using the mouse and keyboard as if I was sitting in front on my computer at work, but without the 50 min. drive each way. Good deal!

The only problem is that we have Verizon DSL at work… well, actually that presents a number of problems… and a dynamic IP address. The IP address identifies your computer on the Internet so that things like email and web pages – and TightVNC – know how to get to you. A dynamic IP address changes anytime you disconnect and reconnect. And Verizon seems to disconnect a lot.

For the first couple of weeks I would email the IP address home and then maybe I’d be able to remote control the computer for a day or a few hours, then Verizon would disconnect and when they reconnected the IP address had changed. Now where did I *put* that?

So I decided to try out Dynamic Network Services DNS service.

A Name Server is a computer that keeps a table of web page names and the IP address of the computer that hosts the web page. The actual computer hosting for a domain always has the same IP address. So I told my domain registrar that IP address serveral years ago, and I never have to change it. I couldn’t register my work computer with my registrar because I’d have to log in and change the IP address every couple of days. What a pain that would be!

A DNS or dynamic name server automates the process. The DynDNS® Updater sits in my system tray and checks the Verizon IP address at specific intervals. If the IP address changes, the app contacts the DynDNS server and tells it my new IP address. Then I can type something like http://mycomputer.is-a-geek.com:5000/ into Firefox’s address bar from home and there I am – at work!

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