Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

App of the Week: Lighthouse

This is the 5th instalment of a weekly look at an application that I have been using and would recommend to others.
Lighthouse is a very useful little application which makes up for Mac OS X’s lack of support for UPnP – a network technology that allows your computer to talk to your router. This comes in most use when running programs that need to be able to receive connections from an internet, such as servers, peer-to-peer clients and instant messaging clients.
Lighthouse sits quietly in the notification area and does most of its user communication using Growl. It has built-in support for a number of programs like Transmission and iChat and other programs can be added easily. When these programs are launched, Lighthouse will tell your router to open the relevant ports on your firewall to allow these programs to communicate – and then close them when you quit the program.
Besides this, Lighthouse lets you easily copy your router’s IP address to the clipboard and can tell you when it loses contact with the router – a sign that you have a problem with your network.
I’ve actually been using Lighthouse for a couple of years and it’s been great when downloading updates for World of Warcraft, or when conducting video chats on iChat. It’s a wonder why Apple didn’t include support for UPnP in OS X, but Lighthouse does an admirable job of filling in. It’s shareware and costs USD $13 to buy.

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