What's in your bag? More report on the iPad journey

You are the person I need to talk to! I rarely need to access my iMac when I’m out, but on very rare occasions it would be handy. I used to use LogMeIn until they started charging a recurring fee. Since I may only need this over a two week period each year and even then just a little, it simply wasn’t worth it. I’d rather pay one time up front and be done with it.

I’ve seen a number of tech bloggers say good things about Screens. Didn’t see anything about recurring fees. I’d just want to access my iMac from my iphone 6s and from my two ipads. But I’m not clear about how it works. That is, do you have to buy one copy for each iOS device that will access the iMac or do the extra “screens” options" about allowing you to access multiple computers rather than using multiple iOS devices?

You need to open up port 3389/TCP. That’s the port RDP uses. I suggest you pick another port on the public side and have it route to your internal windows box’ 3389 port. So something like:

router: 3999 -> windows box: 3389

Some kiddie scripts scanning your IP may recognize 3389 as RDP and attempt to hack you accordingly. This may fool some, but not entirely. Same with things like ssh, where you could do something like:

router: 8222 -> ssh box: 22



You just pay for the one iOS purchase as it is a universal app. Once you purchase iOS Screens you can download a free app from Edovia called Screens Connect for Windows, Mac or Linux to access your machines from outside your firewall using iOS Screens. As far as the Mac OS X version of Edovia Screens, I never bought it because there are plenty of free ways to access your computers from your Mac OS X.

Read more about iOS Screens here. Screens For iOS User Guide.


Screens seem like just another VNC client. Is there something better about it than RealVNC, which is what I occasionally use?

To somewhat answer your question, VNC communicates through port 5900/TCP. So, you need to open up that port if you have just one server. Then you run the second server off port 5901, third off port 5902, etc. So, let’s say you want to VNC into multiple Macs at home, so you have:

iMac (with VNC server running on port 5900)
Mac Mini (with VNC running on 5901)
Mac Pro (with VNC running on 5902)

You then port forward on your router like so:

router: 5900 -> iMac: 5900
router: 5901 -> Mac Mini: 5901
router: 5902 -> Mac Pro: 5902

Then with a VNC client like RealVNC, I can create profiles for each of the Macs I want to access, and VNC into them. I would think Screens, being a VNC client could do the same.

The only gotcha in something like this is that you’d need a static IP for your home Internet. Otherwise, if you have dynamic IP, you need something like noip running on one of your Macs. Or get a Raspberry Pi, and have it running on that all the time; saves tons of power. But then again, your Macs would have to be on anyways for you to be able to access it anyways…


I have no idea. Don’t really know much of anything about VNC stuff other than, as I recall, setting up LogMeIn was simple. Don’t recall doing anything with opening ports, but it was long ago. I fon’t see RealVNC in the iOS or Mac stores.

I see the $20 price for iOS Screens, but the Screens listing for the Mac is $30. So, I guess if you are staying with the same program, it would cost $50 total! Otoh, the free alternatives for the Mac could be more complicated to work with since we’d be talking about two different programs. Don’t really know since, like I said, I just don’t know how all this stuff works.

[quote=“dabigkahuna, post:21, topic:1725”]
You are the person I need to talk to! I rarely need to access my iMac when I’m out, but on very rare occasions it would be handy. I used to use LogMeIn until they started charging a recurring fee. Since I may only need this over a two week period each year and even then just a little, it simply wasn’t worth it. I’d rather pay one time up front and be done with it.[/quote]

When LogMeIn went for a fee, I just use Teamviewer now. It has 2FA on your account and secures your logins to your computers that way. I have it for remote support of my parents (because remote supporting parents PCs that are in Japanese is just FUN AS HELL). No real complaints. Its great if you just need occasional access to something remotely.

Sorry, it’s just called VNC viewer on the app store:

And for Mac:


Note: the above are CLIENTS. VNC server is built into OS X, using System Preference->Sharing->Screen Sharing.

After reading the descriptions, I see that Screens IS a VNC client that make it easy to do things like port forwarding, which could be a pain for some.

If you want to tinker and/or want to go the free route, take a look at this article:

There is no need to put screens on your iMac and the $20 for iOS Screens seemed reasonable as it is a Universal app so you only need to pay for one iOS copy. Screens like LogMeIn did will manage your home IP address for you with it’s free Mac/Win/Linux Connect program.

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In addition to the TextBlade (probably in pocket), my future bag will have a NexDock, Nexus 6P (actually in pocket), ChromeCast, and a Raspberry Pi (3 or zero+WiFi?). I can throw in an iPad mini as well, but I don’t really need it.

The NexDock acts as a power bank, but add in a purpose built power bank/WiFi router like the HooToo wireless travel router running OpenWrt.

I’ll need a couple of reliable USB/Bluetooth HID dongles and look forward to WT’s “Imagine if the NanoCharger becomes the NanoDongle.” mentioned on May 15th, 2015.

This collection lets me consume any interesting media, do Linux-based work on the go, remotely access any of my systems, and plug into any local systems using my preferred keyboard and display. The NexDock has a track pad, but I might want to add a proper mouse.

Can I replace the Pi with Termux on my phone? An Intel Compute Stick and a ChromeBit are tempting but unnecessary.

[the Amazon links have a theoretical commission for me, but in over ten years I have yet to receive one cent.]

…and I’ll need at least one USB charger.

$20 USB Charger
40 HooToo travel router and power bank (running OpenWRT)
40 Raspberry Pi 3
82 ASUS Chromebit CS10
100 Misc, micro SD card(s), USB cables, USB/Bluetooth HID
100 TextBlade
160 NexDock + shipping and tax
499 Nexus 6P
524 Intel 2nd generation Compute Stick Core m5 vPro Processor (no OS)

Depending on how you count, that’s up to 5 computers.

So for me, electronic gadget-wise, this is what I have in my handbag and shoulder bag:

  • iPhone 6 with Apple Smart Battery Case (in handbag)
  • iPad Pro 9.7" with silicone case, smart cover or smart keyboard (in shoulder bag)
  • Apple Pencil (inside my pencil case in my handbag)

So far, I have found Note Plus (by Viet Tran?) gives the best handwriting output. The way it reads my writing really imitates how my handwriting does come out on paper. Alas, the handwriting recognition is not so good (and I’m not sure it is able to learn).

I will play around with other handwriting apps.

Here is a [third party USB charger.][1] 0.7" thick so only half the thickness as Apple’s cube but it has two full powered USB ports on it! $7 free shipping, but only one review so far.

[1]: http://amzn.com/B01DM0D2I6

I’d love to hear this! If I could get vpn working, and find a good Dev editor (I use eclipse now) that supported sftp, I’d be golden…

The iPad doesn’t offer a wide range of VPN, but it works well enough with our Cisco. At least the config was uneventful, IIRC.

As far as Dev editor’s concerned, you may want to look at Textastic. It sort of follows the philosophy of the now defunct TextMate. It allows (S)FTP, WebDAV, and Dropbox connections to shuffle your code around. Using SFTP works and is quick from the few times I’ve had to sftp. But I prefer to use a combination of git, Dropbox and the Raspberry Pi to pull, push, clone, etc. Textastic is no Eclipse, which may be a good thing. Not even Sublime. More like Textmate Lite. But it seems to have everything I need, and even has pretty good syntax highlighting and a good set of usual themes you’d expect from code editors these days.

I’ll do a rundown of some of the software I have on my iPad when I get some time. I’ve purchased and tried a bunch, so maybe I can save some people money.


I was lucky enough to pick up splashtop before they moved to a subscription model and they’ve been nice enough to not take our anywhere access away. It works really well.

Textastic, Working Copy and Prompt are an excellent combination. Add to that Pixelmator, Transmit, and Coda for additional capabilities. Using these tools it is possible to work against a remote machine and get work done but it isn’t pleasant (yet). Textastic provides the best text editing experience (imho) but it doesn’t have a plugin architecture like sublime or atom so its fairly basic. The integration between Textastic and Working Copy is getting better all the time, it works extremely well with my github account. Transmit gives you the file manager aspect and it is quick and easy to use. Prompt is excellent but due to ios restrictions it has to timeout if its not in the foreground, which is annoying if you are for instance editing text in Textastic for 10 minutes. Sidefari is perfect for testing websites because it doesn’t seem to cache the way Safari does. I still havn’t found a nice way to use visual studio remotely on an ipad so that aspect of my work is still tied to the desk, there are plenty of options but the actual code, test, debug cycle is too painful to be productive. Hopefully xcode for ios will be announced at wwdc, i think that would give the independent developers the confidence to invest more.

Hi. I’m picking up my thread that evolved organically from a first impressions post. I’ll continue my discussion here.

I found the case I want for my 12.9" iPad Pro. The Pipetto Origami Case is the smallest and lightest I can find, plus I LOVE the design. As a comparison, I have the Kindle Voyage with the origami case from Amazon. I love that very much. This seems pretty close, though I don’t get both portrait and landscape viewing. I don’t think I need to see it in portrait though.

I’ll put this in a sleeve that can also hold my accessories. Once I have it all, I’ll post my before and after bags. I think I’ll be shedding about eight pounds and a ton of bulk. I’m ordering my case now…

For anyone following this thread, I decided to try Splashtop in addition to Jump Desktop. Splashtop is $9.99 plus $17/yr subscription to access anywhere. I’ll try it on my home network first, which is free.

For now (I don’t know how long), there is a special promotion in the App Store and Splashtop was free to download! You still need the subscription to use it anywhere, but you can get the app for free right now.

The app did say Splashtop for iPhone, and I haven’t tried it on the iPad yet. I’m hoping it’s the same thing. So, grab your free copy now while you can!


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Quick tip:

Here is a screenshot of where to click so you can choose the default screen resolution. Handy for making the text appear larger on your iPhone or iPad.



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It looks like there are two versions of Splashtop Personal on the App Store and I cannot figure out what is different. They have the same version number.

Splashtop Personal
Splashtop Personal for iPhone

Both look like they support both iPhone and iPad. Any ideas what this is about?


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