Another Quick Take on Screens VNC for iPad

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Our very own James Potter recently reviewed Screens for iPad and gave a great breakdown of how the iPad can be used to remotely control a Mac or PC. However, I wanted to quickly post on how Screens — and its companion desktop app, Screens Connect — has helped me.

A few months ago, I had invited a really techy friend of mine to help me set up port forwarding on my home router so that I could VNC into my Mac from my iPad. He walked me through how to forward port 5900 for VNC to my Mac, and we also set up port 22 for SSH. I’m still not crystal clear on the specifics, but it’s my understanding that establishing a remote desktop session over VNC is convenient, but doing VNC through an SSH tunnel is even more secure (so the latter was my real goal).

We then set up Remote Login and Screen Sharing within the System Preferences of my MacBook, at which point all was set to go for remotely controlling my MacBook from my iPad. Unlike James, I wasn’t really doing this for productivity’s sake. I just wanted to be able to wake up my Mac so that I could move songs into iTunes Match, or wake the Mac up in order to start streaming videos via AirVideo HD.

I then bought the cheapest and highest-rated VNC app I could find: Remoter VNC. My setup worked nicely when my iPad was on the home network, but I found it confusing when I tried to log in remotely over SSH. There were so many extra settings within the app and a number of in-app purchases that I didn’t totally understand, and so I was stumped for a few weeks. I would tinker with the VNC and SSH settings intermittently after work, but nothing seemed to work.

Then I remembered seeing Screens VNC on a MacStories post, so I reached out to Edovia to see if they could provide a cleaner solution. They got back to me a few days with a code for Screens on my iPad, and I then installed Edovia’s Screens Connect utility on my Mac. James mentioned that Screens makes remote desktop software easy for users without much networking experience, but I wanted to emphasize just how well it does that. All I had to do was make a Screens Connect login, tick a box saying that I wanted to login via an SSH tunnel, and that was it. I logged into Screens Connect on the iPad app, and everything just worked. I was able to login remotely over Wi-Fi from my parents’ house, and even from work while on LTE.

I was previously unsure of Screens and what it really offered for $20, but after seeing how confusing VNC and SSH tunnelling can be for me, I’d now very quickly recommend the Screens as a very big time and hassle saver. Screens is clean and easy to use, and Screens Connect takes all the difficulty out of setting your computers up for remote desktop connection.

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If the iPad Was a Company …

iPad as a company

As I mentioned yesterday, iPad sales numbers for the latest quarter were down a bit, and this has been seen to be a very disappoint result for Apple – even though iPad is still the clear tablet market leader.

Hard times for the iPad would be great times for others – the 13 million iPads sold last quarter likely dwarf the number of tablets that any of its rivals will sell during all of this year.

Here’s another way of putting the iPad’s ‘disappointing’ result into context – Slate has a great post up on the theme of ‘If Apple products were companies’. The chart above highlights some striking numbers if the iPad was a company:

Sales of iPads might be declining slightly, but at almost $5.9 billion they’re still a massive business in their own right, generating more revenue than Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Groupon, and Tesla combined.

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Revolution 60 Now Available for iPad

Revolution 60 for iPadRevolution 60, the first title from dev studio Giant Spacekat, is now out on the App Store. Rev 60 is a good example of mobile-first gaming experiences (which is increasingly common thanks to iOS), and also a great example of a video game with strong female protagonists (which is still quite rare). The mix of action and adventure gameplay in Rev 60 remind me a lot of Bioware’s Mass Effect series and Telltale’s point-and-click adventure games.

I spent a few minutes with the game earlier today, and although some of the animations and sound effects didn’t feel quite as spot-on compared to other triple-A mobile titles, I liked how much effort was put into a fully voice-acted and well-written storyline. I find that really refreshing after the relative silence of titles like Infinity Blade. The art style and colour palette also reminded me fondly of the ReBoot series I used to watch as a kid.

If you’d like to check Revolution 60 out, it’s free to download, and it costs only $6 to unlock the entire game (piecemeal in-app purchasing silliness need not apply).

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iPad Sales Down, iPad Usage Share Still Lapping the Field

2014Q3 Tablet Usage Share

Apple announced their latest quarter’s financial results yesterday afternoon. In among the headline numbers in the results was the figure for iPads sold last quarter: 13.28 million.

That’s viewed as a disappointing number, and is down over 9% from the same quarter in 2013. As Apple Insider reports, Tim Cook seems as confident as ever in the iPad’s future though:

Cook also cited statistics that show Apple dominating the tablet market, and the fact that more than half of iPad buyers are purchasing their first tablet.
He also touted his company’s newly announced partnership with IBM, which will see Big Blue helping to deploy and support iOS devices in the workplace. Combined with Apple’s “legendary ease of use,” he sees great opportunities for iPad growth in the enterprise.

On the same day as the Apple results, the Chitika ad network published their latest quarterly report on tablet usage share. As you can see in the graphic above, the iPad is still dominating in tablet usage share by a huge margin.  The iPad’s share is at 78%, and the second place tablet vendor, Amazon, is at just over 7% – so it’s still a massive gap between the iPad and all other tablets.  Shockingly, those tablets for doing ‘real work’ on have a usage share of less than 2% – again.

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Screens VNC for iPad review: Ideal for Productivity and Pranking!

Mac on your iPad

Mac on your iPad

In my first teaching job, my school at the time had a remote desktop system going where I could use my dodgy old computer at home to remotely connect to a desktop at school which gave me access to all of the programs I needed to prepare my lessons. I remember thinking it was almost like witchcraft – having more than one computer on your computer! It actually worked pretty well in the early days of broadband (despite having to set it to 16 colour mode!). This was a feature that I sorely missed when I moved schools. Jump in the DeLoren and get to 88.8 mph and fast forward to today. Fast connectivity and mobility everywhere means that we don’t have to rely on a meaty central server at a place of work to provide these connections, you can do it yourself at a fraction of the price. This is where Edovia’s Screens software comes in. [click to continue reading…]

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Quick Thoughts On Facebook Messenger For iPad

I don’t use Facebook Messenger often, but I think it’s great that it was released for iPad. Facebook seems like one of the de facto messaging services for a lot of my friends at work and from university, and bringing the Messenger app to the iPad does show some forward thinking on Facebook’s part. Just […]

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