AirPort Extreme Base Station and VPN over PPTP

Updated 06/17/2011: Before you get too far into this post I wanted to point out that I didn’t find a solution to getting a PPTP VPN connection to work with my AirPort Extreme Base Station. I switched over to using L2TP instead.

Updated: 08/03/2011: I’m moving to a different solution to bring PPTP back to my network setup, but you won’t like it. The step I’ve taken illustrates how inconvenient this problem can be.

Overall, I really like the new Airport Extreme Base Station that I purchased recently. The only problem I’ve had, and unfortunately it’s a major problem, is a loss of the ability to connect back into my network remotely over PPTP  via Windows 7 (I prefer to connect to my VPN when staying in a hotel).  I forwarded the appropriate ports but I was only able to use my network for about 20 seconds at a time. After that time was up I could no longer do anything on the network and the connection would usually close within a minute or two.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a true solution to this problem but I did find an acceptable work-around. I suspect this is a problem with the Extreme not properly passing the PPTP connection, though I don’t know for certain.

I started looking at using other VPN servers. Previously, I just had Windows 7 configured to accept VPN connections. I tried OpenVPN via a VMWare appliance in Fusion, but aside from configuration issues the larger problem was that I could not connect to the VPN using my iPhone or iPad.

My solution, which seems to have worked, was to purchase a copy of MacServe’s iVPN and move the VPN handling directly into OS X. Cost in USD was around $25. It hooks into existing OS X software but provides a simple GUI for management. This option turned out to be very easy to manage and works with all of my devices. Rather than using PPTP I moved over to L2TP.

On the Airport Extreme I setup three UDP ports to forward to a specific system within my network: 500, 1701, 4500

Currently, it sounds like OS X Lion may include similar capabilities, but I simply could not wait until the release of Lion.

Super Mario Bros 3 Lives & Items Cheat (Super Mario All-Stars Wii)

I discovered an interesting cheat for Super Mario Bros 3 in Super Mario Bros All-Stars for Wii. Perhaps this is a bug or maybe even something that was by design. It may have existed in the SNES version though it’s been so long since I played it that I don’t remember. While running through World 1 I decided to save and see what happened when I reloaded the game.

When I reloaded the save I was disappointed to see that I would have to go through the levels again. But then I noticed that I had the same number of lives and the same items from before. I proceeded to play through World 1 and then stopped and saved before I got to the castle.

Using this trick I ended up with three warp whistles in World 1! I probably could have gained more but since I didn’t really plan to use them I instead started stocking up on items and lives. Using the old infinite lives trick on 1-2 it wasn’t long before I had several items and a good stock of lives before moving on to World 2.