(photo credit: Wikipedia)

SMS has been with us from the very beginning of the so-called “mobile revolution”, and yet many of us still don’t use it to its full potential. Maybe we’ve been conditioned to avoid the draconian limits and overage charges from the mobile overlords, but strangely these days carriers are the handing out unlimited messaging plans like it’s going out of style. What else could they do? They’ve been gouging us over for years, charging for a service that costs them next to nothing to deliver (don’t get me started on the international text plan racket) and in response people have shifted their methods of communication to more data-centric options like social media, apps like Kik, or the ever-awesome (and free) Google Voice. They’re losing profits and I say serves them right. Now they’ve changed their tactics to making data their cash cow; tiered data plans, or “unlimited” data for “just a little more”. And while it’s hard for us consumers to quell our ever-increasing data addiction, it’s easy for the frugal masses to find a cheaper route.
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Success! After a month of trial and error (and more error), I’ve finally found a way to reliably turn on Trinity over the internet. Wake-on-LAN—you know, that feature where your computer’s onboard ethernet adapter listens to the internet for a magic packet of data telling it to wake up your computer. Why do I want to do this? I want to access Trinity on the go and on command via LogMeIn, without running her 24/7. That wouldn’t be very green now would it? I was really close after reading a guide on lifehacker, but somehow I couldn’t crack it. I could only achieve my goal from within my own wireless network at home, not very useful when I cross the pond. It seems after a period of about thirty minutes, dormant devices disappear from the router’s ARP cache, making it invisible to magic packet bursts sent from the outside of your home network (or so I’ve read). The solution? I needed better tools.

The stock Linksys firmware of my WRT54GS2 is ok, but it lacks several advanced features, mainly WOL. TomatoUSB is free*, open source firmware, written by third parties giving you greater control of your router’s settings and capabilities. I’ve heard good things about DD-WRT, it seems to reign in popularity, but TomatoUSB is a bit simpler to install so—yea, I went with TomatoUSB. The great thing about it is there’s a WOL feature built right into the interface. Simply log into the router, click the “WOL” heading, find your machine, and click on it to wake it up. Easy peasy. It seems the trick to doing this from outside your network is setting up remote access to your router. Doing so requires knowing your external IP address, the one given to you by your ISP [You can check it at whatsmyip.org]. The other problem with that is, sometimes they change it without telling you, and if you’re not at home to spot the address change you’ll be essentially locked out. No matter, that problem has been solved.

Want to know how to do this for yourself? Read the rest of this entry »

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