Remote Control with iPad

30 01 2013

There is much more sector-specific software available for computers running on Windows than on Macs.
Windows based software cannot be installed on iOS-Devices. But there are several options for using it on an iOS-Device.

You just have to connect both devices with the help of connection software which establishes a secure connection between the devices via internet.

I took a glimpse at the free app versions of these competitors:

An important criterion for fast and easy usage are the extensions to iPad’s default keyboard.

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What you should expect from connection software …

  • Encryption for remote usage and file transfer
  • Support for different platforms
    (Mac, Windows, Linux, VNC + RDP Servers)
  • File transfer from and to the remote computer
  • Support for iOS dictation
  • Bluetooth keyboard support
  • A well designed keyboard for all the additional keys which are by default not available on iOS-Devices e.g. F1, Esc, Ctrl etc..
  • Optional control via Touchscreen or Mouse pointer
  • Support of combined keystrokes like or Ctrl+Alt-Del
  • Rebooting the connected computer and establishing a new connection automatically
  • Wake-On-Lan support

About the usage …
Remote-controlled working with iPad is not recommended for intense working. But it is a fast and comfortable way to control and manage tasks and to support colleagues without the need of using a laptop. It can be done from anywhere and anytime.

20121231-164820.jpg

Auditors evaluate mainly enterprises regarding their accounting and internal auditing (risk management, corporate governance, etc.). Mostly away from the office a connection to special software products is indispensable. So iPad with its Retina display is the perfect mobile device to do the job as it more than offsets larger displays.

Summary …

The winner is TeamViewer because of

  • Zero-Configuration except fixing a password
  • Performance
  • Stability of the connection
  • Clear and customizable outline of connections
  • Overview of current connections, partners and menu for connection functionalities
  • Support for copying photos directly from the camera roll to your remote computer

Thanks for flying with http://iNotes4You.com.
I hope you will come back soon.





Release of iOS 6.1

29 01 2013

Updated (2013-01-29 07:00 UCT +1) …
(see below)

Apple released iOS 6.1 as an OTA (Over The Air) update.
That means you can install this update by downloading it directly from your device and do not need iTunes. Go to Settings – General – Software Update and you will see the announcement screen.

20130128-204815.jpg

Tap on ‘Update’ to start the download and installation procedure.

After finishing the download go through the following 8 steps …

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20130128-205144.jpg

Notes …

Apple provides the following informations

  • LTE support for more carriers
  • Purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri (US only)
  • iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud
  • New button to reset Advertising Identifier

And …

On the privacy side, the update also adds an option to reset Apple’s advertising identifier option, the “non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier” feature added as part of iOS 6.

Note

Ad Tracking
iOS 6 introduces the Advertising Identifier, a non-permanent, non-personal, device identifier, that apps will use to give you more control over advertisers’ ability to use tracking methods. You can reset a device’s Advertising Identifier at any time. And, if you choose to limit ad tracking, apps are not permitted to use the Advertising Identifier to serve you targeted ads. In the future all apps will be required to use the Advertising Identifier. However, until then you may still receive targeted ads.

Other, minor changes in iOS 6.1 include new boarding pass behavior in Apple’s Passbook software, tweaks to Safari, reworked music playback controls from the lock screen, and a back-end change in Apple’s mapping software.

All the above mentioned features are of no importance for me and I think that’s the case for many other users. So let’s see which bugs of former versions are fixed.

Sorry, Apple.

What about the WiFi problem?
What about attachments for Apple Mail?
What about …?

The WiFi problem …

is still going on.
The are more than 196.000 views on this topic at Apple Support Communities.
iOS 6.0.1 already should fix the problem!

jimmynetstep
Toggled Airplane Mode off and on
Reset Network Connections
Reset All Settings
Factory Reset Iphone
Unable to connect to work wifi, but Mac and Ipads connect flawlessly.
I am able to connect to my home wifi after I disabled all security on my network.
Anything else I can do to get my iphone issue resolved (besides praying?)?

applevictim
Pray harder!
Il Neuro Nerd
4 MONTHS NOW!
SHAME, APPLE! SHAME ON YOU!

Rock Lady
APPLE Why do we have to lower our router security to allow IOS6 to connect?
Please step up, take responsibility and clean up the mess you’ve created.
Let us rollback to Ios5 until you get this sorted or put out an update for IOS6 that covers the iPad2.
Apple Test your updates before you push them onto us.

These comments are subjective but the intention seems to be clear.
As I have the same WiFi problem with my iPhone 4S using an Apple Airport Extreme router in the office let me check it out tomorrow. I hope the bug is fixed.

Updated (07:00 UCT +1) …

Here is the result after checking out the WiFi issue with iOS 6.1. The bug seems to be fixed. The WiFi connection works but only with these settings (Settings – WiFi – your network):

20130129-070622.jpg

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iCloud Backup fails

28 01 2013

The last backup could not be completed.

This message may occur if you back up your iOS-Device on iCloud.
It’s unrewarding like many other error messages shown on any devices.

I get this message every time I delete the last iCloud backup for my iPad or iPhone going to Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Delete Backup
It never occurred on any later incremental backup regardless of whether it was started manually or automatically.

At the time you cannot find any support document on Apple’s support website explicitly mentioning this error message.

Apple iCloud: Troubleshooting creating backups

Apple never publishes support documents about not fully investigated issues.

For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available.

So it is not fully investigated and there are many potential reasons for failing backups.
If the involved hard- and software works normally and there is enough free space in iCloud it’s usually a problem of accessing one or more files on the device or on Apple’s servers.

As iCloud backup is an incremental backup access problems are rather likely especially for temporary files created by iOS apps. This problem is well-known also on Windows PCs (Office leaves a temporary beginning with ~).

An incremental backup is one that provides a backup of files that have changed or are new since the last incremental backup; it is one that backs up only the data that changed since the last backup. When a full recovery is needed the restoration process would need the last full backup plus all the incremental backups until the point-in-time of the restoration. Incremental backups consume minimum storage space and are quicker to perform than differential backups.

A test from Jan, 2013 …

The test environment

  • Backup of data of all apps configured
  • iPad and iPhone both connected to power supply
  • Backup size: iPhone 1.9 GB / iPad 2.7 GB
  • Backup started simultaneously on both devices

The results …

20121231-111043.jpg

On both devices the error message was displayed.
After repeating ‘Back Up Now’ the error was still displayed on both devices.
After rebooting both devices and repeating both backups one after another both backups were completed successfully.

Note
While backing up iPhone showed a reminder, got 2 new mails and one phone call.
Nevertheless the backup was completed successfully.

Solutions from forums around the world …

  • Do not include data stored in the Camera Roll
    Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options – switch the slider to off
  • Restore the device from an iTunes backup and start the iCloud backup
  • Exclude data of ALL apps and back up
    Add data of apps back one by one and back up manually to find out the offending app
    Note
    This process may last until Apple presents its new device!

Best practice …

Do not believe all these statements in the forums.
They are all not really verified and based on special prerequisites and therefore not necessarily valid.

I start a manual backup every month since the release of iOS 5 after deleting the backup via Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Delete Backup. The following procedure works since more than one year.

Reboot the device and start a backup manually while the device is connected to the power supply and locked. If the backup fails repeat it. If it fails one more time repeat it.
Don’t worry. Retaking a backup will only last some minutes unless there is already stored data of former attempts.

Note
When you back up the device shows an estimated time to finish.
You should know that these minutes are measured in DAMs (Dynamical Apple Minutes).
An Apple Minute may last an old fashioned minute or two or just 30 seconds.

Attachments …

Reducing space of backups

  • Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Exclude data of apps you do not need any longer.
  • Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Delete Backup
    Current backup sizes: iPhone 1.6 GB/iPad 3.2 GB
    Backup sizes after deletion: iPhone 1.2 GB/iPad 2.5 GB
    Deleting the complete backup for my 2 devices saved 1.1 GB

Rebooting an iOS-Device

Press Sleep/Wake button and Home button simultaneously.
Keep holding the buttons until the Apple logo appears.
Release the buttons.





Safari+Shortcut+1Password

27 01 2013

If you use the password keeper app 1Password you can immediately open this app from within Safari by entering a command in the address field of Safari.
To improve the usability of entering the command first define a shortcut.

A shortcut on iOS devices are some letters or numbers which expand into a word or phrase as you type it.
Shortcuts are often used to expand some characters to the complete E-Mail address.
For example:
Define aid as a shortcut and my.appleid@icloud.com as the phrase. If you then type aid anywhere on your device it’s expanded to the E-Mail address.

Go to Settings – General – Keyboard – Shortcuts.
Tap on ‘+’ and enter
javascript:window.location=’op’+(window.location.href);
for the phrase and pp for the shortcut (or any other shortcut).

Go to Settings – Safari and make sure that Javascript is enabled.

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Open a website in Safari.
Go to the field which contains the website’s address. Tap on the Cross to remove the content and enter your shortcut pp and tap on Go.

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1Password opens and displays the website with its own integrated browser.
In the app you can now define a new login for this website with its credentials.

Problems with shortcuts …

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When typing a shortcut you have to tap on the space bar to expand it.
If you use a shortcut in an input field e.g. 1Password’s field ‘username’ within the ‘Login’ category the app transmits the entire content of this field to the website including the following space character (blank) added by using the space bar.
Apple’s website for example then informs you about wrong credentials due to the following blank. You can only see where the problem is if you mark the whole input field. The marker shows you the additional blank and you have to manually delete it.
This is definitely not user friendly as most of the usernames today are E-Mail addresses and shortcuts are used to automatically fill in these addresses.

1Password and some website developers should fix this like Microsoft did it many years ago with input fields in Microsoft Access forms. They stripped off all following blanks as it makes no sense to save them.





Printing from iOS-Devices

25 01 2013

When people are evaluating mobile printing solutions, one of the options is to buy a new printer.

If you already use a printer (even if it’s not AirPrint capable) it cannot receive print jobs from your iOS device. FingerPrint by Collobos addresses this problem.

The application finds your printers automatically and makes them available to your iOS devices.

How to …
Consider a network with an attached printer and an iOS-Device in the same network. Install FingerPrint on a Mac or PC connected to this network.
For your iOS-Device no further action is needed that means no special app has to be installed.
FingerPrint finds all network attached printers automatically and they can be selected on the iOS-Device the SELECT PRINTER dialog of every app which supports printing.

This image shows the situation after selecting ‘Open On My PC’ in the printer dialog of the iOS app (e.g. printing from Apple’s presentation app Keynote).

20121229-184144.jpg

Open On My PC …
Whenever an app features the PRINT button you can choose any of your printers attached to the same network.
‘Open On My PC’ will open a document stored on your iOS-Device with the appropriate app on your Mac or Windows PC.

Virtual Printer …
Normally we think of printing as sending a document to paper. With Virtual Printers FingerPrint can send documents to locations e.g. Dropbox.
To do this a new virtual printer has to be defined just by setting the property ‘Folder’ to the location of a synced Dropbox folder on your desktop computer. The virtual printer is then available in all iOS apps by tapping on PRINT and selecting this virtual printer. The document then is saved to the specified folder and synced with the cloud storage via Dropbox client application. This is very useful for apps which do not support your special cloud provider.

iWork …
iWork cannot directly save to Dropbox because Apple only supports WebDAV access which at the time is not available for Dropbox.
As an alternative use iDriveSync (7GB free) which supports WebDAV and even a client for Macs and PCs is available.





iOS 7 is coming, dead sure!

22 01 2013

But with a complete redesign?

Apple has spent years and money creating the familiarity that everyone has with iOS and what makes the success. Flush it down the toilet and start fresh? A no go for leading OSs. Nobody really knows how the market reacts because the requirements of customers are extremely different. iPhone and iPad may be used as gadgets or business supporting devices.
Additionally there are customers having former versions of iPad and iPhone. At least some of new implemented features should be available for older products.

If you talk about a Post PC era you need to enable the era to take place.
So on which way Apple will move forward? We all don’t know.
But we all, as customers, have a voice in the chapter.

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My personal wishlist …

iCloud
iCloud with client-side encryption in transit (while uploading) and at rest (while stored on Apple’s servers) Apple should give the key back to the customers

A clipboard queue
Tapping on COPY moves an item into a clipboard queue with up to 10 entries. Tapping on INSERT inserts the first item of the queue which was the last which came in. Double tapping on INSERT opens the queue for selecting a specific item.

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Public folder
A public folder with creatable subfolders where every app may save (e.g. iWork apps) or open (e.g. the mail app) documents

20121229-124235.jpg

NAS
Support for direct access to network attached storages (e.g. access to HDDs attached to routers)

Bluetooth support

At the time iOS 6 does not support Bluetooth except for Personal Hotspot and connected accessories like headsets, keyboards etc..
My suggestion …
File transfer between two iOS devices via Bluetooth as a standard feature

20130121-163233.jpg

Mail
Unlimited number and type of attachments with access to the new public folder

Calendar
Ability to copy an event
Activation of the swipe-right gesture for deleting entries

Contacts
Ability to individually set the order of entries

Keyboard
Keys to navigate from character to character and from word to word.

20130106-130641.jpg

Settings
Ability to individually set some recently used functions

iMessage
Answer or dismiss iMessages from the lock screen

App Icons
App Icons anywhere on the home screens grid

Thumb gesture app switcher
iPhone/Touch specific multi-touch gestures that work on the smaller screen. e.g. swipe to open the task bar app switcher

Local Siri Commands
Dial a number via SIRI without an internet connection
Open the task bar with one short word
Words for enabling (when disabled) or disabling (when enabled) BT, WiFi, DND)
Customizable words for commands (like shortcuts for writing)

DND
Additional ‘Do Not Disturb’ sets
The time I don’t want to be disturbed is not the same on the weekend as it might be during the week so there should be an ADD button to set specific times for specific days like in Clock – Alarm

Notifications
Slide to delete individual notifications in the Notification Center
Resized Notification Center for iPad
Borrowing from Android I would like to see a different notification center on the lock screen by swiping down with two fingers. One that has toggles for BT, WiFi, Do Not Disturb and the volume of sounds.
A notification light in the home button additionally to the flashing LEDs for alerts
Ability to turn off notifications during phone calls

Ability to delete native apps
I have never used the native stocks, weather, compass, or newsstand app so why can’t I delete it? I understand the core apps like Phone, Calendar, Messages, Safari will have to stay for the basic use of the phone. If grandma’s stock or weather app was deleted I don’t think she would miss it.

Home Screen
Placing of app Icons anywhere on the home screen grid

Task Bar
Deleting all apps from the task bar with one gesture

The clash of the titans …

It will be exciting to see what comes up on Apple’s side to slow down the ongoing improvement activities of Google.
Isn’t a blessing watching this kind of hand-to-hand combat instead of all the other quarreling in the world?

I appreciate your comments with additional ideas.





Documents replaces ReaddleDocs

20 01 2013

An updated version of ReaddleDocs now called Documents was released on Jan 16 for iPad.
For iPhone there is no updated version available at the time.
I checked ReaddleDocs in October 2012 and published the results on my page Documents. Its always interesting to see if an app update is a step forward or only a modification of the UI.

Main features of Documents by Readdle …

The app is a helper app for managing files with access to many well-known cloud providers and the ability to configure WebDAV connections to providers which are not pre-configured. Pre-configured clouds are:

Dropbox, SugarSync, Box, GoogleDrive, Office 365 Sharepoint, SkyDrive, MyDisk, filesanywhere, Storegate, and CloudMe
Others like iDriveSync (my recommended Cloud Storage) have to be configured using a WebDAV connection.

Note
A WebDAV connection is a connection to a cloud storage using the WebDAV protocol. To establish a connection you need to know the WebDAV address (ask your cloud provider) your username and your password.
More about WebDAV … iNotes4You: WebDAV Basics

A browser with download capabilities is integrated.

Supported file formats are
.pages, .keynote, .numbers, .doc/.docx, .xls/.xlsx, .ppt/.pptx; .odp, .ods, .odt; .rtf, rtfd, .txt; .html, .htm, .webarchive. .txt .pdf. .bmp, .gif, .ico, .jpeg, .png, .tiff, .xbm. .3gp, .l16, .m3u, .m4v, .mm, .mov, .mp4, .scm. .aac, .aif, .aifc, .aiff, .amr, .au, .I16, .m3u, .m4a, .m4b, .m4p, .mp3, . pcm, .wav.

The version from Jan 16 had massive problems to manage .numbers documents showing this error (often but not always):

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Direct competitors regarding file management are
GoodReader, FileBrowser, USB Disk Pro and others

The app is available here

Apple App Store: Documents by Readdle

Differences between both versions …

The new version does not support the configuration of E-Mail accounts.
What’s still available is to select a couple of files and send them as E-Mail using Apple’s Mail app.

Both versions support direct connection between iOS devices connected to the same WiFi network. That means you directly can access the apps document folder of another device and send files without using a cloud service, iTunes File Sharing, E-Mail or http-access via a computers browser. Other iOS devices are automatically listed in the Network section under ‘Available Devices’. The benefit is, that you can immediately exchange documents between devices running on different Apple IDs where a common iCloud access is not possible.

Bluetooth connections are not supported.

The UI …
That’s the first impression you have after installing an update.
The positive or negative impression is what remains in your memory for a long time. A negative first impression can only be replaced by highly powerful and error-free features.
As I reported before the UI of ReaddleDocs is nearly perfect and I see a minor improvement in the new version with its ‘Recent’ network connections and accessed documents.

This is a comparison of the UIs (new version in the foreground).

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The new UI is a bit more plain than in the older version.
The last three recently used Network Connections are listed for fast access.

What I expect and what I am looking for …

  • Apple published the ‘iOS Human Interface Guidelines’.
    They have to be adequately taken into account by developers.
  • Users of an iOS-App expect
    quiet colors, plain design, acceptable size of controls and easy to use functionalities.
    Configuration options should be reduced to the needs of 80% of the users.
  • Controls have to be arranged in a single toolbar at the top or the bottom of the screen.
    Controls with images instead of text must be self explaining.
  • The first look is important and has to invite users to tap, explore and work with the app.
  • For apps managing files, the following requirements are mandatory:
    Access to all well-known servers
    Support for WebDAV, FTP, AFP, SMB
    Filetransfer from server to server, device to device and device to external storage
    Support of file transfer to network attached storages like USB at Apple router
    Support for common file-formats like PDF, iWork-Formats, Microsoft Office-Formats
    Syncing of selectable storages
  • No app provides all functionalities which users need when working intensely.
    Because of the restrictive iOS-Filesystem they have to be supported by other apps.
    So the ‘Open in…’ (another app) is a MUST.
    To avoid redundancy of files when using the ‘Open in…’ – Command it would be a great idea, if an app logs where the files are flown. But this is a feature I did not see anywhere.

    For those who are not experienced in the filesystem of iOS devices see my post iNotes4You: ‘Every app is an ‘iLand’

Summary …

This update was claimed to be a great step forward.
I cannot agree with this especially because of incompatibilities with iWork file formats.
There is still no support for SMB protocol that means, you cannot access a USB storage or a hard drive connected to your Apple Airport Express, Extreme or Time Capsule.
There is no access to the camera roll and the photo stream. That’s really poor particularly if you use the camera for scanning documents.

What makes me musing is the fact that Documents replaced the paid version of ReaddleDocs on the iPad. Documents is a free version. Up to now I have never seen that a paid version ever was replaced by a free version. Is there a Documents PRO in the pipeline for which you have to pay again?

From my personal point of view these disadvantages are criteria for exclusion.

Thanks for reading this post.
Please comment or use the contact form on the ‘About’ page.
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