Category Archives: iPhone

Replacing Skype with Google Voice

I’ve been looking to move from Skype to Google Voice. To save cell phone minutes (yes I’m still on a family share plan), I try to use VoIP to make calls when I have access to reliable internet. Unfortunately I the Google Voice app for iOS doesn’t support VoIP, even though it has a dialpad. This is only a callback service that uses your normal cell phone minutes. This app looks like it is on it’s way out, as it hasn’t been updated since September 2013 and hasn’t been updated with an iOS 7 look and feel.

Fortunately, the Google Hangouts app has most of the features you’d expect from a calling/video chat app. It allows you to make VoIP calls to US phone numbers for free and lets you video chat with your other Google contacts. The downside is that you still need the Google Voice app to manage a few voice settings, view missed calls, and listen to voicemails.

Yahoo News Digest and iPhone Battery Life

I love the Yahoo News Digest app for iPhone, but hate how it kills my battery life (as of app version 1.1, February 24, 2014). Turning off Background App Refresh seemed to help a little, but only made a marginal difference.

If you want to use the Yahoo News Digest app without draining your battery, you’ll have to manually force the app to close when you’re done using it. Just double-click the Home button, find the Yahoo News Digest app, and swipe up.

Configuring proXPN on iOS

Update: January 10, 2016

With recent changes to proXPN’s setup this guide no longer works. Currently, the proXPN free server is on UDP ports 443, 80, and 8080. With the OpenVPN Connect iOS app, I can connect and authenticate with my free account; however, I cannot ping the route-gateway

Original Post

I’ve been hearing about proXPN on Security Now! and figured I’d give their free (OpenVPN) offering a try. Their free offering limits you to a single VPN server and either 300 kb/s or 600 kb/s of bandwidth (different pages give different restrictions). A VPN is important for protecting unencrypted cookies and other data sent over a coffee shop, hotel network, or other unsecured network.

First of all if you’ve been receiving Transport Error: Transport error on '': NETWORK_RECV_ERROR errors when trying to import a MacOS or Windows proxpn.ovpn file, simply change your remote server to As far as I can tell, proXPN has a specific server for iOS OpenVPN clients and their other server disconnects iOS devices resulting in an infinite connect/retry loop.

If you have no idea what I just said, don’t worry, I have two step by step guides. The first is basic; however, it requires you to install an additional app on your phone. The second is advanced and requires editing of config files.

Basic Setup

Get started by going to proXPN and create your account. If you decide to pay for a account, I recommend using offercode SN20 which supports the Security Now! podcast and gives you 20% off.

On your iPhone or iPad, install the OpenVPN Connect and proXPN VPN apps.

proxpn-exportLaunch the proXPN VPN app. Enter the email address and password you used when setting up your account with proXPN. Tap “Not now…” when offered to upgrade to Premium. Tap “VPN Setup ->” and then tap “Import OpenVPN Profile”.

proxpn-openTap “Open in OpenVPN”.

proxpn-importWait for OpenVPN Connect to open (this takes a few seconds). Tap the green plus to import the configuration.

proxpn-credentialsEnter your username and password, move the ‘Save’ slider (if you don’t want to re-enter your password each time), and tap the slider under ‘Disconnected’.

proxpn-connectedYour traffic is now protected by a VPN. OpenVPN says ‘Connected’ and ‘VPN’ appears in the status bar next to the network signal strength. Tap the slider under ‘Connected’ to disconnect.

proxpn-ipYou can verify that your traffic is being sent through the VPN by opening your browser (Safari, Chrome, etc.) and going to before and after connection to the VPN. will report a different physical location and internet service provider (ISP).

Advanced Setup

Get started by going to proXPN and create your account. If you decide to pay for a account, I recommend using offercode SN20 which supports the Security Now! podcast and gives you 20% off.

On your iPhone, install the OpenVPN Connect app.

Download the Windows Installer or Mac Installer (the downloads start automatically when going to these pages). Install the proXPN desktop client. If you don’t wan to install the desktop client, I’ve heard it’s possible to extract the necessary config file from the source here; however, I haven’t tried this.

With the desktop clients, the config files can be found at:

  • (Windows) C:\Program Files (x86)\proXPN\config\
    • ProXPN.ovpn
    • ssl\ca.crt
    • ssl\client.crt
    • ssl\client.key
  • (MacOS after running proXPN) ~/Library/Application Support/proXPN/Configurations/
    • proxpn.ovpn
    • ssl/ca.crt
    • ssl/client.crt
    • ssl/client.key
  • (MacOS ‘Show Package Contents’) [proXPN Location]/
    • proxpn.ovpn
    • ca.crt
    • client.crt
    • client.key

Open all of the config files in a text editor (I like Notepad++ for Windows and TextWrangerl for MacOS).

In the proxpn.ovpn file, make the following additions:

  • Add a line with remote 443. If you want to follow convention, add this after the prot tcp line.
  • Delete or comment out the ca ssl/ca.crt, cert ssl/client.crt, key ssl/client.key.
  • At the end of the file add:
  • At the end of the file add:
    [ENTIRE CONTENTS OF client.crt]
  • At the end of the file add:
    [ENTIRE CONTENTS OF client.key]

Load the proxpn.ovpn file on your iOS device and open it in the OpenVPN Connect app. You can load the file through iTunes and sending it directly to the app or transfer it using another means (e.g. email, DropBox). Open the OpenVPN Connect app, tap the green plus to import the profile, enter your credentials, and tap the slider below ‘Disconnect’. Your VPN is now configured and active.

Google Wallet Fixes Bug

For any iOS users that gave up on Google Wallet due to the inability to login using an Authenticator, Version 2.0.13611 Released February 4, 2014 fixes this bug. Now that I can authenticate, I happy to have another option to Passbook for the sake of having options and to add my rewards programs that don’t work with Passbook.

This bug made it impossible to authenticated to Google Wallet if you had a single device with Google Authenticator and Google Wallet as well as a long & complex password. Backgrounding the Google Wallet App, would cancel the authentication process, so you would have to copy your Authenticator code before entering your password. If it took longer than 30 seconds to switch apps and enter your password, your code would expire…

Favorite iPhone 5 Case

My favorite iPhone 5 case is the CM4 iPhone Wallet Q Card Case. This case claims to hold 3 cards, but I’m only comfortable keeping a credit card and my driver’s license in it. It securely holds these two cards. I think 3 cards would be secure, but I think they would stretch out the leather. Some people worry about losing “everything”, but I see this as only having to keep track of one thing.

When I need to carry cash or additional cards, I grab my old Kenneth Cole REACTION since it is a pretty slim bi-fold wallet.