Happy Valentines day 2015!

I hope everyone has a fantastic valentines day!


10 tips for dealing with and getting past internet censorship in China (The Great Firewall of China).

If you are reading this, it likely means that you are planning on going to China or you currently are in China and have already found a way to bypass China's great firewall. If you are not in China but planning on going, these 10 tips will help make your life easier once you get there. If you are already in China, chances are you have already done a few of these things but it will be good to look through this list to see what you can still do.

Quick refresher on the internet in China: China censors almost all of the most popular websites common in the US. This includes, Facebook, Twitter, anything Google owned (Youtube, Gmail, Google search, Google Docs, Android services etc), and most blogging platforms. 

In order to survive in China, you either have to learn how to live without using these websites or you will have to get a VPN or proxy. 

Below I have listed 10 tips that will hopefully make your internet life in China a bit easier.

VPN Review - ShadeYouVPN

ShadeYouVPN has all the standard features you would expect from any good VPN service provider. With ShadeYouVPN you can connect using the usual protocols and can download custom software as well to make connecting a breeze. The service and fast and reliable.

The thing that sets ShadeYouVPN from all the rest is the price! At $2.17/month (with yearly subscription) ShadeYouVPN is definitely one of the cheapest VPNs money can buy. Aside from this incredible price, you can connect up to 5 devices at once. That makes ShadeYouVPN the cheapest VPN I have seen for the price per device.


Tip of the Day - Check if your remote control batteries are working using your smart phone camera

Most nice remote controls have an LED that will blink when you use it. This lets you know that the batteries have a charge and the remote is probably emitting an infrared signal. So what happens when your remote does not have an LED and you need to know if the remote is transmitting a signal or not? Simple; point the emitter at a digital camera (like the one on your smart phone) and press a button. If it lights up, you are good to go, if not, you probably have a dead battery.


How to bulk download Youtube videos from playlists or channels (Windows, Mac, and Linux).

While many programs have been created to help you download Youtube videos, most of these programs do not allow you to download an entire Youtube channel or playlist. It turns out that doing this is actually quite easy and only requires a browser you most likely already have (Firefox) and a couple of add-ons (BYTubeD and DownThemAll). Because Firefox is cross platform compatible, this means you can do this in any OS (which is great for people like me who use Linux).


Create a Time-Lapse Video in Linux using OpenShot

Before I start this tutorial, I want to make one thing clear: I do NOT recommend you use OpenShot to make a time-lapse video. It is certainly possible, but far too buggy in my opinion. I have done another tutorial documenting how to do the same thing using Kdenlive, and it is MUCH easier to do. You can view that tutorial here.

Create a Time-Lapse Video in Linux (or Mac) using Kdenlive

Time-lapse is a fun thing to do. Whether looking at clouds, plants, or in my case, cooking food, time-lapse is a way to make things a bit more exciting. Fortunately, it is quite easy to do in Linux.


SecuriTales (Internet Freedom) Review

Over the past few months, I have been very happy to use SecuriTales service to bypass "The Great Firewall of China." SecuriTales is unique in the fact that unlike a VPN or Proxy, you don't have to install or configure anything on your computer.

SecuriTales is super simple and just works.


How to install Freegate in Linux using PlayOnLinux

I have already talked about how much I like Freegate. Basically, if you are in China and would like to access Facebook or Youtube (for free) then you should be using Freegate.

In the past I have used Wine in Linux to install Freegate, but lately I have been having problems installing it. Today I decided to install Freegate using PlayOnLinux (which to be clear is still using Wine) and was very pleased with how easy it was and how well it works. I had a bit of trial and error but have documented all of the steps below so you don't have to struggle like I did. (Note, I used PlayOnLinux version 4.2.4)


VPN Review - VyprVPN

Vyprvpn is unique from other VPN services in that they have their own in house protocol created by their developers that allows users to defeat VPN Blocking via Deep Packet Inspection. You can read more about their "Chameleon" protocol here. This is especially useful for users in China or other countries where websites (and VPN services) are heavily monitored by the government.


The Best Free VPN and Proxy Services

While almost all VPN and proxy services have a fee, there are some ways to use a VPN or proxy for free. Warning to the wise: these are still companies who need to make money somehow. Some depend on donations while some (or all) may make money selling your browsing information. I am not saying this is the case, but I am saying you should certainly exercise caution.

How to make powdered sugar using your blender and granulated sugar.

Well. That is basically all there is to it. Add granulated sugar to a blender, blend it up, and you get powdered sugar.


Homestarrunner is back!

After more than three years, Homestarrunner.com has finally updated with a new toon!


Freegate Logo (Free proxy for Windows, Linux, and Mac)

Freegate is a free proxy that can be used in China to bypass the "Great Firewall of China." I use this software in Linux using Wine. Because I can only use it in Wine, when I add the icon to the toolbar, it shows up as gears and I must manually select an icon. Doing a simple Google search for "Freegate logo" brings up some less than stellar results. So I decided to make my own logo (so hopefully next time when I do a Google search, I can at least find this logo).

Below are the icons I created if you would like to use them. I created them in Inkscape, and included the SVG (Inkscape) file here as well.


How to make your ownCloud server sync 5-10 times faster

I have been running my ownCloud server for just over a week, and for the life of me I could not figure out why on earth my syncing speeds were so slow. Here is the answer:

Don't use a SQLite database, USE MySQL.

Sorry for the use of caps and bold, but I just wish that someone had mentioned that before I set it up. If you have already set up ownCloud and are using a MySQL database, you can now commence your laughter and finger pointing at my naïvety and move on. If however, you have not yet set up ownCloud, it might be worth your while to read on.


VPN Review - IPVanish

IPVanish is a multi-award winning VPN service with hundreds of servers throughout the world. IPVanish offers all of the standard features of your typical VPN service provider, but offers greater speed, selection, and reliability than most others. IPVanish has their own Tier-1 network to enable the fastest speeds on the market. If you are looking for something reliable and fast with no hassle, look no further than IPVanish.


How to use Bitcoin to transfer money from one country to another while making money (China to USA)

Ever since I have lived in China, I have been looking for an "easy" way to transfer money from China to the US. I also have been looking for a way to do this without paying excessive transfer fees, conversion fees, or withdrawal fees. This month, I found out how. Not only am I not paying fees, but I ended up having about $600 MORE just by transferring the money.


How to make pancakes from scratch the lazy (and delicious) way

Because I live in China, I cannot go to the supermarket and buy a pancake mix so I have to make it from scratch. After using various recipes for the past few years, I decided that I would make my own recipe that was easier to make, remember, uses fewer cooking tools, and tastes delicious!


Happy 2014 Valentines Day!

Here are my valentines for the year 2014. I hope everyone has a fantastic Valentines Day!

You can view all of my past valentines here, or go to my tutorial here for how to make these.


VPN Review - PureVPN

If you want a no-hassle, easy to use VPN client, then PureVPN is the way to go! PureVPN makes using a VPN so simple that you often might forget you are using a VPN at all. With more than 40 servers all over the world, you are certain to find a location that works fast and consistent no matter where you are.