Dealing with constantly changing IP Addresses

I just wanted to take a few moments to publish a quick tech tip with anyone who’s struggling with their IP Address constantly changing.

To facilitate remote access, I have VNC installed on my desktop in the cases when I need to access my desktop system.  To help me from needing to remember my IP address, I use a sub-domain from, which has worked pretty well over the years.

When I was with Comcast I went months with the same IP address.  Since moving to Qwest DSL however, my IP address changes at least 3-4 times per week.  I think the longest I’ve gone with the same IP address was five days.  With changing IP’s as frequently as I was, I needed a way to monitor my IP address and be notified when a change occurs.

I found the perfect utility: Gateway IP Monitor.  This is a freeware utility that runs in the background and simply monitors my IP address.  If it changes, IP Monitor fires off and email to a filtered Yahoo mailbox. The next time I hop on VNC and can’t access my machine, I just check my Yahoo account and the new IP address is there waiting for me.  At that point I reconfigure no-ip, or if I’m impatient will just enter the IP address manually.

I just wanted to put this out there if anyone else had a similar issue, give Gateway IP Monitor a try!

Vista Experience: 16 days later

Sixteen days ago, I upgraded my desktop machine to Windows Vista, and so far, so good.  Let me put it this way: I haven’t been driven to uninstall the machine yet.  I’m not necessarily happy with Vista, rather just content with the OS upgrade.

My original motive to install Vista was based on my purchase of an Xbox 360.  I would like to use the Media Center capabilities to stream video over to the Xbox, and my version of XP Home wasn’t cutting it.  While I do have XP Media Center available to me, I decided to bite the bullet and do the install.  My desktop is a decently powerful machine, purchased about 18 months ago.  It’s a duel-core AMD box with 3GB of RAM.  After the initial install performance has been pretty decent.  It wasn’t as fast as a brand new install of XP, but it’s speed hasn’t diminished after loading all of my software (note to self: post list of computer-setup software), as it has on my laptop.  I also have a mid-range nVidia graphics card, so the Aero Glass features weren’t a problem as well.

For the most part I’m satisfied with my machine, but there are definitely a few quirks.  Originally when I installed the beta, I was frustrated with the changing of the keyboard commands, especially with the start menu.  I think this still may be an issue, but it’s been mitigated with my use of Launchy.  I used to use VNC for remote administration, but it runs horrible on Vista, basically being unable to filter out the Aero effects (despite my “low-resolution” settings, etc).  I still have VNC running, but am primarily using MS Remote Desktop to remotely administer the machine.  That runs really well, but has no web client the way VNC does.

Speaking of Remote Desktop, the other gripe I would have is that after logging in remotely and logging out, the next time I log in locally it resolves a blank screen.  My only workaround has been to press WindowsKey + L to lock the machine, Ctl+Alt+Delete to start the unlock, enter my password and be done.  I’m not sure if this is a glitch with my graphics card (although I have a mouse cursor on the blank screen), but it could be a Vista bug.  It’s definitely an annoyance and if I wasn’t so keyboard savvy I’d probably be screwed.

The local desktop experience is beautiful, and I do notice that I’m enjoying working on things in that environment.  I haven’t had any software issues the same way I had when the beta was out.  As for hardware, I had a little trouble with my printers, and I haven’t plugged in the scanner – I need to do that soon.

So far over two weeks in, I’m sticking with Vista.  We’ll see how it is at the end of the month, but it’s definitely not as bad of an experience as I was fearing.