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Old 07-18-2007, 22:38   #1
PBCounty
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Question for computer guys....

Hello,

Anyone know the best way for me to go about getting the following ability? (I know there is a "tech talk" type forum somewhere - but GNG gets so much more traffic and I'm on a time table.)

My home PC would run a database program. I would like to leave my home PC running 24/7. I would need to be able to access this program from other PC's....random PC's from various locations - even other states. I would only need to view the database program, not make any edits / updates. So the other PC's would not have any particular sofware, just an internet connection. What would be the best way to go about doing this? Carrying around a laptop is not an option.

Thanks for any suggestion.
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Old 07-18-2007, 22:43   #2
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Remote Desktop (if you have XP pro or better). Barring that, Logmein or Raindance will work too. There are others, but these are free and most computers would have the remote desktop client on it to use (or you can get it on it). Logmein or Raindance is probably better though since you just need an internet browser.

For remote desktop, you'll have to forward ports on your router probably.
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Old 07-18-2007, 22:44   #3
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Some programs like PCAnywhere would do this for you for a nominal fee. When I was searching for such options to use with my Palm Treo 700p phone and my home computer, I stumbled upon this.



Free. Enjoy.
http://www.realvnc.com/
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Old 07-18-2007, 23:12   #4
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As far as database programs go if you're running Windows Access would work well. For remote access there is software available however the host computer has to have it on it, and the computer you are trying to connect too must have a fixed (static) IP address. Thats the case with PCAnywhere and RealVNC anyway. We use both of these at work.
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Old 07-18-2007, 23:16   #5
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Old 07-18-2007, 23:25   #6
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What type of database? Access? Excel? Big Honkin' Text File?

You may be approaching this from the wrong angle. Have you considered carrying it around on a thumb drive instead of trying to wrangle a remote connection with the associated technical hurdles, iffy remote connectivity, and security risks?

If you insist on remote access, then...

VNC is a solid and free option, but you need to be savvy enough to have your router at home forward the required ports to the host computer.

An FTP server is also solid and free, but again you have to be savvy enough to set it up and again, it will be a target for those scanning for security vulnerabilities.

Neither of the previous two options are necessarily secure, meaning that if you're at Starbucks using wifi and I'm sitting there listening to the unencrypted stream, you've been owned. You'd need to set up a VPN server at your home so that everything goes through a secure tunnel, which again requires a knack for these things.

Oh, and if I'm determined to get access to your computer and you either 1) don't use an EXCEPTIONALLY strong password or 2) don't UNDERSTAND and RELIGIOUSLY APPLY patches as security vulnerabilities are found in your server programs, then I will be able to take control of your home PC.

See what a pain it is? I do it, and enjoy it, but I probably never got nearly as many dates as you do. I recommend you look into just carrying the blasted thing on a thumb drive. They're cheap, like under $20.
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Old 07-19-2007, 01:17   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wog
What type of database? Access? Excel? Big Honkin' Text File?

You may be approaching this from the wrong angle. Have you considered carrying it around on a thumb drive instead of trying to wrangle a remote connection with the associated technical hurdles, iffy remote connectivity, and security risks?

If you insist on remote access, then...

VNC is a solid and free option, but you need to be savvy enough to have your router at home forward the required ports to the host computer.

An FTP server is also solid and free, but again you have to be savvy enough to set it up and again, it will be a target for those scanning for security vulnerabilities.

Neither of the previous two options are necessarily secure, meaning that if you're at Starbucks using wifi and I'm sitting there listening to the unencrypted stream, you've been owned. You'd need to set up a VPN server at your home so that everything goes through a secure tunnel, which again requires a knack for these things.

Oh, and if I'm determined to get access to your computer and you either 1) don't use an EXCEPTIONALLY strong password or 2) don't UNDERSTAND and RELIGIOUSLY APPLY patches as security vulnerabilities are found in your server programs, then I will be able to take control of your home PC.

See what a pain it is? I do it, and enjoy it, but I probably never got nearly as many dates as you do. I recommend you look into just carrying the blasted thing on a thumb drive. They're cheap, like under $20.
Do you think that the risks that you describe exceed the risks of loosing a thumbdrive or putting it into a foreign PC?
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Old 07-19-2007, 01:26   #8
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I use Ultra VNC to access my home pc when I am away.

http://www.uvnc.com/

The most complicated part of installing it is opening up a port in your firewall if need be... otherwise it is simple to use, and the remote application can be put on a thumbdrive.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:18   #9
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pay for some webhosting and host your database there. you could password protect the website
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:10   #10
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It isn't rocket science.

It isn't rocket science.

Setup a web site with a database package on Yahoo's hosting service for around $50.00 to start and $15.00 a month.

The host gives you 24/7/365 as a basic guarantee.

Don't put a lot of whistles and bells on the site.

Have the home PC update the web site at regular intervals.

Build security into the web site and keep it basically an unpublished site for private use.

It is accessible from most of the internet.
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Old 07-19-2007, 03:24   #11
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Re: Question for computer guys....

Quote:
Originally posted by PBCounty
My home PC would run a database program. I would like to leave my home PC running 24/7. I would need to be able to access this program from other PC's....random PC's from various locations - even other states. I would only need to view the database program, not make any edits / updates.
The first question you need to ask is, what kind of data is it and do you need a specialized program to look at it?

I'd go with the thumb drive suggestion, remote login is really only for people who have to make changes. If you're not going to be editing the data you can just carry it with you. Heck, buy a big thumb drive and bring along the install files for the DB program if you need it; 2gb thumb drives are under $50 now I think.

May I ask why a laptop isn't an option?
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:08   #12
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First get a static IP from your provider.
Then you can just do some port forwarding.
I would go with a router that does VPN personally. If it's critical/sensitive data I wouldn't access it via an open wireless hotspot.

If you go the thumb drive route and worried about losing it, you could always encrypt your data
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:12   #13
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Run your own web site. Web enabled database programs are all over the place.
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:18   #14
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Thumb drive sounds like the way to go (unless you've got some really exotic DBase that wont run on the satellite machines).

Attach it to your keys.

Encrypt if needed.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:09   #15
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Instead of paying money to get a static IP...

Go to http://www.no-ip.com/ or http://www.dyndns.com and just get a free dns.

You'll have to install a program on the main computer so it will periodically update the ip, but its a cheap easy solution to never having to bother remembering you ip again.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:01   #16
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Definitely thumbdrive w/encryption. Why all the other gymnastics?
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:41   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by philkryder
Do you think that the risks that you describe exceed the risks of loosing a thumbdrive or putting it into a foreign PC?
YES.

I have control over my thumbdrive. I can write-protect it for use on untrusted machines or better yet, don't plug it in.

If there's a security vulnerability in my VPN server, I may not know about it or get around to it until someone has scanned my subnet for vulnerable hosts. They do that even when I'm away from home, asleep, etc.

Would you rather put your money in an iron cage in the middle of the street, or in your pocket? You can't be there to protect that imperfect cage at all times, but you sure as heck can be discerning about what you do with the thumb drive.
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Old 07-19-2007, 13:41   #18
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone...I'll check each of them out.

I should have mentioned, the reason the thumbdrive and laptop are not options is because on occasion someone else (also from a variable location) would also have to be able to log on and view the data.
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Old 07-19-2007, 14:40   #19
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If others are going to be using it. I would definite look into some web hosting application
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Old 07-20-2007, 00:00   #20
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