Windows Software: FTPing made easy with NetDrive

NetdriveMost ISP’s offer a small amount of storage space on their servers that you use to set up a webpage. This space is often included for free as part of their plans. While many people don’t want to create a website, you can still use the space for whatever you would like. You could place your most important files in their as a way of offsite backups, or share files that are too big for email with family and friends.

FTP clients are a great tool for people who spend a lot of time uploading and downloading files from websites or online storage space, but they can be complicated to use if you are not familiar with them. There is an easier way to access this storage space.

Netdrive is a utility that will allow you to show this storage space as a mapped network drive on your computer. This means that you can drag and drop straight into it using the standard Windows File Explorer, bypassing the need for any fancy FTP programs.

Netdrive sits in the system tray, but should only need to be accessed if you would like to add a new site, or change settings.

NetDrive is easy to setup. Once it is installed, create a new site and add in your FTP server settings. You may want to enable load on startup as that will make Netdrive very hands-off in the future. Once the machine is on the storage space will be mapped automatically.

You can then proceed copying and pasting to and from it just like you would with any of your other files or folders.

I have recommended this to a couple of friends, and they have experienced their internet occasionally dropping out while this software is running in the background. Because of this, you may want to load up Netdrive as you require it, rather than loading it at startup.

NetDrive is available from Netdrive.net and is free for home use. Novell also offers a program called Netdrive that does exactly the same thing, with a few less bells and whistles. This is available from Peter’s Useful Crap.


Wake on LAN from the command-line with mc-wol

Waking a machine up through a LAN connection can be very useful to turn on a computer if the power button is a pain to get to; say if you have a computer under your desk. It is also handy if you want to turn on a group of computers.

There are a number of Magic Packet senders that will wake a computer up over a LAN connection, but these are usually stand alone programs that need to be opened up and have data entered into them before they work. I wanted a more customizable solution.

Mc-wol is a command line utility that enables you to wake up a machine on your local area network. Being a command line utility, it is easy to utilize in a shortcut on your desktop, place into a batch file, or use it in a scheduled task.

Don’t let the command line scare you. The syntax is really simple. To launch a computer, type mc-wol followed by the mac/ethernet address. i.e.:

mc-wol 91:34:eb:de:45:32

Mcwol

Wake on LAN software only works on computers which are in standby or hibernate modes.

Mc-wol is free and available from Matcode.com. You will also find a bunch of useful information on the page about simple settings you will need to check before WOL will work.


Windows Software: Be informed when webpages have been updated, using WebMon

WebmonRSS feeds are a great way to see all the latest updates on your favourite websites. Unfortunately, not all sites offer RSS feeds, and sometimes it would be inappropriate for them to do so. So how do you know when sites have changed their content without having to constantly visit them?

WebMon is a small utility that sits in your task tray, and alerts you if any of your predefined websites have been updated.

You can set it up to monitor any number of websites, and then define the frequency that each of your websites will be checked for updates.

WebMon stores a copy of a web page, and then after a predefined time, it will download another copy and compare the two. If there have been any changes, you will be alerted with a sound, or a pop-up.

WebMon is going to be great for me as I look at the same sites regularly doing research for this site, only to find no updates have been made. I will no longer need to visit each site individually or repetitively, thanks to this program. I read how someone else uses WebMon for alerts when the box office opens. Now he can buy tickets as soon as they are made available. 

WebMon couldn’t be any easier to use. It is also highly customisable. The only concern I have with WebMon, is that it is downloading pages regularly in the background. This could chew into your monthly bandwidth. You can specify how often the sites are checked for updates. Setting your update checks to happen every few days instead of every few minutes, will ensure your bandwidth is not wastefully consumed.

Get your copy of WebMon for free from Colin Markwells website

Thanks for the tip Matthew. This will be program I wondered how I ever did without.


How-to: Remotely shut down your computer

Difficulty: 2

SwitchThink of this scenario; You are lying in bed and just finished watching a movie that you were streaming from a computer downstairs. You want to sleep, but you need to head downstairs to turn the computer off. Save some time, and do it from the computer upstairs.

There are a number of ways that you can restart or shutdown remote computers. You could use a remote desktop connection, but there are quicker ways and we will look at them today.

This article will show you various methods you can use to shutdown or restart computers on your network. We will look at:

  • Command Line/Shortcuts
  • Windows Tools
  • 3rd Party Applications

As well as looking after the environment and your pocket by saving electricity, it is surprisingly easy to achieve. This article is very much aimed at a home user. Most server operating systems have much more powerful tools available.

I have learnt a thing or two researching for this article.

Read the rest of this entry »


How-to: Setup a simple web server with SimpleServer:WWW

SimpleserverA web server is a system that helps you deliver pages from your computer to other computers via a web browser. Inspect My Gadget is delivered to you through one. If you want to host your own material from your own computer (perhaps photos or music to share with friends and family), you will need to setup a web server on your computer which will do this task. Setting one up doesn’t need to be too daunting or expensive.

There are a number of free web server packages available, but I have not found any which are as easy to use as SimpleServer:WWW. Once you download the tiny 187k installation file, you can launch the installer. You can have a fully working web server up and running in less than 2 minutes. I wouldn’t suggest to my grandmother to try and install Apache, but I reckon she could handle this one.

There really isn’t much to this program – looking at it from a users point of view. SimpleServer sits in the tasktray. There is a start/stop button to enable or disable the server. The only other control it has is a browse button so you can select which folder the server will host. SimpleServer can be launched with Windows by placing it in your startup folder.

SimpleServer is a great web server. The only thing it lacks is security. The website will be open to anyone in world who knows the address. This shouldn’t be a huge issue, but if it is running and you are serving up a lot of music or movies, be aware that they might end up in the wrong hands. Unlikely, but worth mentioning.

If you have a home network, you will probably need to set up port forwarding in your router. For more information on this, check out this article. If you want to access this site from a computer out of your home network, I suggest you sign up with DynDNS so that you don’t need to remember your IP address everywhere you go.

Get your copy of SimpleServer:WWW for free from AnalogX

AnalogX has made a number of useful utilities which are all available for free. I have used a number of these utilities over the years and they have all worked flawlessly for me. It is a shame that the site doesn’t appear to be updated anymore.