About Adam

Adam Stout works in the technology field and is currently located in San Diego, CA.




Recent Entries


My family has used Skype for several years now.  Making free video calls across the US and around the world has helped us stay a part of each other's lives even though we live different time zones.  It even allowed my Grandfather to stay in contact with his brother even though they lived on different continents.  It is amazing technology, but at this point, I'm ready to drop it completely.

The one thing it had going for it over Google Hangouts was that it ran in the background and you didn't have to be on the site to use it.  Now with the Hangout client I talked about a few days ago (which is really just Chrome running in the background), that is no longer a difference.

Now that Skype and Hangouts can compete on features, the balanced has shifted way over to the Hangout side.  This one picture says a lot for me:

Here we have my son and I video conferencing with his Grandmother (located a few cities away), his Great-Grandfather (2,000) miles away, and his Aunt (in the room next to his Great-Grandfather).  Skype can do this, but you have to pay for it.  In Hangouts it is built in.

Add to that, the ability to take pictures during a Hangout (like where this came from) and my son loves to play with the hats and other things you can digital add to people and you get a great family oriented video conferencing system.

There is also the ability to use remote desktop in a Hangout which is a great feature since you don't have to deal with firewalls or other issues that have caused me problems with the past when connecting to help people, but that is the subject for another day. 
While do have my own web server, I prefer to use Gmail for my email client rather than maintain my own.  However, I want to be able to switch mail services when ever I want, so I don't give out my Gmail address.  I have configured Gmail to send mail via my server.  This allows you to get rid of the "on behalf of" message that Gmail will add to out going messages if you send the mail through Google's servers.  This defeats the whole purpose of using your own server since now people will have your Gmail address and email you there.

I don't run an open relay, so there is a little more configuration to ensure safe communication.  

If you would like to have Gmail send email through your web server and not have that annoying "on behalf of", here is how to do it:

1) Click on Options in the Top Right corner

2) Select Settings

3) Click on the Accounts tab

4) Click Edit Info for the account you want to edit

5) Enter your name as you want it displayed

6) Select “Send through YOURDOMAINHERE SMTP server.
Enter your SMTP server (smtp.YOURDOMAINNAMEHERE.com).  
Select “Secured connection using SSL”
Enter Port 465

Your email will now be sent from Gmail through your server with no traces of Gmail for the average user.

Setting up Google Hangout Client

Posted: Oct 15, 2013
In our family, we use video conferencing a lot.  With family across the US and around the world, everyone like to see each other as well as hear each other (especially with our son).  For years we have used Skype, but over the years it has stayed the same and just hasn't kept up with other technologies.  Lately I have become a fan of Google+ Hang Outs.  The quality has been better than Skype and the ability to conference call with multiple people with multiple cameras is the killer feature.

The big own side is that you have to be in a browser to see a Hangout.  This is ok for me since I always have a browser open, but this has proved a problem for older members of my family.

There is a solution.

I don't know why Google doesn't make a bigger deal about this.  There is a Chrome plug in from Google that basically runs Chrome in the background of your computer all the time and allows you to get instant messages and Hang Out requests even when you aren't in your browser and while other applications are running.  Now we have a Skype killer.

Here is how to set it up:

1) Open Chrome

2) Go to http://www.google.com/hangouts/

3) Click on “Available for your computer”

4) When prompted click yes

5) You should now see a Google icon in your task bar.

6) You can control whether you are signed in or out by clicking on the icon from the taskbar .

7) You will now see Hangouts popup even if you aren’t logged into Google+

Do you Care?

Posted: Jul 12, 2010
I was flipping through some news the other day and read a story about how a BestBuy employee was expecting to be fired after releasing a video which in didn't mention BestBuy, didn't he was an employee of BestBuy, and didn't even mention his name.  For this, I figured I should at least watch the video since he gave up his job for it.

This classic tale tells the story of an typical Apple customer asking for an iPhone and can't tell you why or listen to any evidence that the iPhone isn't the greatest thing ever.  Well worth the three minutes to watch it.

On a related note, if you don't watch Futurama, you should.  The last episode, "Attack of the Killer App" was awesome.  They really got the essence of the nonsensical hype that is apple.

This isn't the best part, but I love the observations that since it is Twitter and not Tweeter, a message isn't a tweet, it is a twit, right?

FuturamaThursdays 10pm / 9c
The Twit Worm
Futurama New EpisodesFuturama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

iPad Printing

Posted: Apr 17, 2010
iPad Printer
In case you got home with your new iPad and then realized that you can't really do much with it, there is some hope.  Although Apple doesn't think you need to be able to print anything anymore (they are very forward thinking remember), HP has created a new all in one printer/scanner/copier that is compatible with the iPad.  While not officially supported by Apple, it is your best option for printing from your iPad.

Enjoy your iPad!!!
Lots of blue boxesThe iPad has now been released now and as "neat" as it is, I'm not sure why people are putting down $500 to $1000 for a new device that doesn't replace anything and just sets you up to spend more in the future.  Lee Brimelow, a Platform Evangelist at Adobe put together a great graphic demonstrating the "entire" web that Apple delivers.  One point that he hit in his rant against Apple is this, "APPLE DOES NOT WANT THE FLASH PLAYER TO PERFORM WELL. They don’t want you to go to Hulu or play Flash games because they worry that you won’t buy their apps."

I'm really not sure why people think Apple is so great, they are all about restricting choice, limiting functionality, and above all crushing their competition by any means possible (except of course by letting consumers decide).

For those of you who are planning on buying a new iPad, here is what you have to look forward to...

If you have a few minutes, I recommend reading Lee's article.
Last fall I purchased a network storage device (NAS) to store all of my music and pictures in my house.  This allows for Jenny and I not to duplicate what we have on our computers and instead share everything.  This is also a great place to run our backups to.  The NAS is running RAID 1 so my data will be safe even if one of the drives fails.  Hard drives will fail so you need to plan accordingly.  Anyone who writes their data to only a single drive (especially an external drive that they move around) is just asking for trouble.

Once I got this online and moved my data and my backups to the new NAS, I felt much better knowing my data was secure.  However, I realized that a fire or flood would destroy both drives as well as my computers so I still wasn't really safe.  One feature that I'm glad I had on my NAS was a built in FTP server.  Actually, me having it is nice, but my brother's NAS having FTP is what is really great.  With a built in FTP server, I'm able to FTP my really important files to his NAS in California and he is able to do the same to D.C.  It is really pretty cool that we are able to do this without any real cost.  Now even if one of us has a fire and we lose everything, we will still have some important files (like insurance documents or scans of important paperwork).  Now except for Clan Warfare, I'm pretty ok.

One really important component of my remote backup plan is the use of Cobian Backup.  I first found out about Cobian while at school at Carnegie Mellon.  I figure if it is used there, it must be decent.  It is a great freeware backup program (no longer open source, but Cobian seem to be well supported none-the-less).  In Cobian, I setup a job to backup everything on my computer to the NAS each night as an incremental backup with a full backup once a week (and since I have the space, I keep a few full backups).  I then setup another job to do a full backup once a week with differential updates each night that is zipped up, encrypted, and FTPed to my brother's NAS.  It seems to work pretty well and it was surprisingly easy to setup.  So easy in fact, my brother and I are setting up our parents' and grandparents' computers to do that backups as well.

Now if you don't have someone you can trust with your backups, you can always use a service like Mozy or Carbonite that allow you to backup to the cloud.  This seems like a good option as well, but at around $60 a year, it is cheaper to just backup to back up to a friend's NAS that is already paid for.  If I had a lot to backup, the unlimted space that is offered by these companies does seem to be reasonable priced.

Another alternative that a friend of mine mentioned was using a GMail Virtual Drive to backup to.  If you created a new GMail account just for your backups, this would give you 8GB of free storage.  The down side to this is that this may not be compliant to the terms of service of GMail, but since they haven't stopped this ustility from working in the past five years, you should be ok.  If they do turn it off, you should still have access to the files, you just wouldn't be able to write any new backups to GMail.

To the point, spend the $0 and get Cobian (or something like it), and do a remote backup somewhere either to Google or to a friend NAS that isn't in your house.  If you run a business, this is even more important.