Air Display by Avatron

28 11 2013

AirDisplay by Avatron Software Inc., USA, transfers the screen content of a Mac or a Windows PC to the iPad or the iPhone if computer and iOS device are within the same WiFi network. Either it’s used as an extension to the computer’s screen showing windows which are dragged into an invisible area on the computer or just control the computer via the touchscreen of the iOS device.

Installation …

There is an iOS app (paid version) and a desktop companion app (free) which have to be installed the devices. Once the app is launched on both devices the screen content of your computer is transferred to your iOS device.

20131127-175452.jpg

Controlling the computer can be easily done by just tapping on controls. The menu of Air Display on the computer allows to select the iOS device on which the computer’s screen is shown.

Applications …

AirDisplay can be effectively used for

  • GTD
    Filling your iPad screen with your utility apps, like iChat, Mail, iCal, and Calculator
    Initiating or controlling tasks on your computer while sitting in another room
  • Business
    Moving your iWork and Office tool palettes and inspector windows onto the iPad, and let your document fill the screen.
  • Office
    Carrying an extra monitor down the hall to a meeting.
    Helping a colleague without leaving the room by looking on his screen.

20131127-190228.jpg

  • Presentation
    Retrieving some information from a computer while sitting in a conference room.
    Note
    If you want the information to be shared with an audience this can be done by connecting the iPad to a beamer with Apple’s Digital AV Adapter.

20131127-180130.jpg

  • Administration
    Copying a locally saved document to a network storage to make it available for colleagues.
  • Writing a short note on the local workstation.

20131127-180415.jpg

  • Medicine
    Let a patient or family member watch a procedure on a wireless video monitor.
  • Real estate or Sales
    Hand a client a mirrored display while you work at the laptop.
  • Programming
    Use the extra display area for such auxiliary development tools as Console, Terminal, and the Debugger.
  • Music
    Use your iPad as the ultimate control surface for Logic or Pro Tools.

AirDisplay 2 …

In November 2013 Avatron released AirDisplay 2 (which is quite expensive but worth buying) with these added features:

  • AirDisplay 2 now connects up to 4 iPads simultaneously to create unique presentations you drive from your Mac to start training sessions or presentations.
    This multi-client support will also be available for Windows in the near future.
  • New streamlined and iOS 7-ready interface
  • Improved performance

Summary …

AirDisplay is a useful tool for establishing ad-hoc connections to computers within the same WiFi network. The mobility within an office is no longer restricted when using AirDisplay on an iPad.

Your desktop is always with you.

Other products of this reliable company continuously updating it’s products are Air Login, Air Sharing, and Print Sharing. See my review of Air Sharing below.

Related links …

Presentation, Presenting with iPad (1)

Air Sharing, iWebDAV Connection

Remote Control, TeamViewer

Remote Control, AirLogin

Thanks for taking my blog into your viewing screen.





Speed Test

25 08 2013

Nature with it’s electromagnetic waves traveling with the speed of light helps us to retrieve information from the internet pretty fast even if the way data is taking is by far not the shortest possible.

Using a link from within an app a website opens after about 3 sec including the opening of Safari browser. It’s quite fast compared to a bus, a car, a high speed train, or even an aircraft.

The speed of light …

If there is a cellular connection to the Internet data can be transmitted without using a medium in contrast to sound which needs the air or the earth to propagate and to transmit information like the cry ‘Help, help’.

Electromagnetic waves transfer data in vacuum at the speed of light. None of Apple’s innovative techniques can make it faster. It’s a law of nature (a universal physical constant) found out by

Ole Rømer first demonstrated in 1676 that light travelled at a finite speed (as opposed to instantaneously) by studying the apparent motion of Jupiter’s moon Io. In 1865, James Clerk Maxwell proposed that light was an electromagnetic wave, and therefore travelled at the speed c appearing in his theory of electromagnetism. In 1905, Albert Einstein postulated that the speed of light with respect to any inertial frame is independent of the motion of the light source, and explored the consequences of that postulate by deriving the special theory of relativity and showing that the parameter c had relevance outside of the context of light and electromagnetism. After centuries of increasingly precise measurements, in 1975 the speed of light was known to be 299,792,458 m/s with a measurement uncertainty of 4 parts per billion. In 1983, the metre was redefined in the International System of Units (SI) as the distance travelled by light in vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second. As a result, the numerical value of c in metres per second is now fixed exactly by the definition of the metre.

Within media like cables it’s slightly slower, about 90 km/second (324,000 km/h or 201,324 miles/h).

With the speed of light you would need

From geostationary sattelite to earth 119 ms
From Sun to Earth 8.3 min
Across the Milky Way 100,000 years

And from Cupertino (Apple’s Headquarter) to Cologne in Germany?
Well that’s a problem. The app Google Maps showed me neither the way nor the distance. But there is a more severe problem: Light propagates linear. So a light beam would’t go the way to Cologne.

Internet connection …

If you connect your device to the Internet data is transferred via a couple of stations.

With the app Nice Trace the way the data takes from source (the server where you get the data from) to destination (your iPhone or iPad) can be reported.

This is the way my website http://iNotes4You.com is transferred to my device.

20130620-073937.jpg

Measuring the speed …

I want to compare the apps

SpeedTest by Ookla, USA

http://www.ookla.com/

Speed Test by Russian Internet Solutions LLC

http://www.appannie.com/app/ios/qip-speed-test/

cnLab Speed by cnLab AG Swiss

http://www.cnlab.ch/speedtest/

20130620-074252.jpg

My home configuration is a Cable Internet Connection from German provider UNITYMEDIA with a Cisco Modem and Apple’s router AirPort Extreme working on 802.11 a/b/g/n standard in the 5 GHz band. The device was an iPad 3rd Gen.

To eliminate ups and downs of the data transfer speed I measured the transfer rate for downloads under the following conditions:

50 repeated measurements
every day for one month at 8 am, 1 pm, and 9 pm

The apps used different test servers.

To compare the results I calculated the mean value of all measurements for each app.

Do the measured values come close to the everyday usage of your device with all the ups and downs of the internet connection?

Yes, they do.

Here is the result of using the app FTP Client PRO by Anders Havn with which I downloaded a file of 305 MB file size under the same conditions described above.

20130620-074509.jpg

Here are mean values of all the results I took over a period of one month:

20130620-074553.jpg

An alternate app …

If you are interested in an app which combines speed test with network analysis try

Net Analyzer by Jiri Techet

This perfect universal All-In-One app gives you all informations about a network including standard tools such as ping, traceroute, port scanner, whois, and beyond providing geolocation for all discovered servers.

Additionally I was impressed of Jiri’s perfect website for mobiles.

See this gallery to get an overview of the features:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Summary …

The results of all apps are within +-4.5 %. Differences may be caused by the different test servers used during measurements. All apps do what they are intended to do but cover just one functionality except Net Analyzer by Jiri Techet.

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





VPN with iOS Devices (2)

13 06 2013

My first article about this topic explained the basics of a VPN connection between a device outside your local area network and a computer inside of it. All necessary settings for firewall and iOS device are explained in this article.

Step 1 Configuring the firewall

Many of the VPN tunnel configuration settings in the VPN client on iOS devices or Mac OS X are not configurable by the user.
So it is very important to exactly configure the settings on the firewall to match the settings required by the VPN client on the iOS device or MAC OS X.

In web-interface of the Watchguard XTM firewall go to VPN – Mobile VPN with ipSec and click Add.

After finishing the configuration of the Mobile User VPN Group users have to be configured in a next step. If you define a user don’t forget to assign him to the group (here ‘Apple’) at the bottom of the dialog.

20130405-220940.jpg

If you want to use a configuration file (.wgm) for mobile devices which can be generated via Watchguard UI, send this file via E-Mail to your mobile device. On the mobile device tap on the attachment and select ‘Watchguard’ from the apps menu of the ‘Open in’ command. This will open the Watchguard configuration app. This app is solely for creating a profile containing the right settings.

I recommend to configure the device manually because it’s easy and a download of Watchguard’s app from Apple’s App Store is not needed.

Step 2 Configuring an iPad or iPhone

Configure the profile directly on the device …

20130405-220251.jpg

App controlled installation …

Tapping on the WGM file attachment opens Watchguard’s iOS app and you can install the configuration as an unsigned profile.

20130405-220304.jpg

Step 3 Testing the connection via WiFi or 3G

To access a resource from outside the LAN via VPN go to Settings on your mobile device and activate VPN. After a successful connection a VPN icon is displayed in the status bar.

When connected your device will behave as if it is part of the LAN. So any app on your mobile device you use inside the LAN can also be used when connected via VPN.

But keep in mind: That’s only valid for accessing files.
What you cannot use are apps which require the device located in the same network.

Example:
Consider the app Printer Pro. You can print documents saved on the mobile device using a printer connected to a computer in your LAN. This won’t work when connected via VPN because apps on your computer do not send information about available printers to your mobile device. This happens only if you are a real, not a virtual member of the LAN.
The option ‘Open on my PC’ provided by the app ‘Fingerprint’ is available if the device is a real member and disabled if there is a virtual connection to the LAN.

20130407-123414.jpg

I myself use the app FileBrowser to access files on remote computers.

20130612-093657.jpg

Summary …

Using a VPN connection provides security.
The participating devices have to authenticate before a secure connection can be established.
All data will be strongly encrypted before transfer over the unsafe internet starts.
To connect you just have to set the VPN slider to ON.

Thanks for flying with http://iNotes4You.com.





VPN with iOS Devices (1)

11 06 2013

Think about masked figures walking on the Broadway.
They are using public roads but you cannot identify them and you don’t know what’s going on inside their brain.

That’s the idea of establishing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) where the data stream uses the public internet highways but cannot be read by anyone. Capsule encrypted information in an ordinary overcoat and decrypt it by using a mutually agreed foreign language.

20130405-210600.jpg

This image shows the requirements of a typical configuration for private or small business use.

  • Firewall
  • Mobile device
  • Free Dynamic DNS account
  • Computer in a LAN you want to have connect to

Apple’s OS X for Mac and iOS for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch include a native Cisco IPSec VPN client. You can use this client to make a secure IPSec VPN connection to a firewall and the devices behind it. To do this, you must configure VPN on your firewall device to match those on the iOS or Mac OS X device.

Following the KISS principle I want to describe how to connect an iOS device with the LAN using the integrated Cisco client.

KISS
KISS = Keep it simple, stupid
A design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960 that states that most systems work best if they are kept simple. Unnecessary complexity should be avoided.
Variations of this phrase are:
Keep it simple sir, Keep it simple and straightforward, Keep it short and simple, Keep it simple or be stupid

Why VPN …

Using a VPN connection provides security.
The participating devices have to authenticate before a secure connection can be established. All data will be strongly encrypted before transfer over the unsafe internet Autobahn starts.

You may think that there are apps connecting you with your devices at home with nearly zero configuration e.g. TeamViewer. That’s true but these apps don’t allow simultaneous connections of more than one device. Others like VNC Server/Viewer allow concurrent connections but their free versions do not support encryption. Additionally the firewall has to be configured for Port Forwarding.

So the best practice is to use VPN without additional licensing costs and nearly the same expenditure of time for setting up the virtual private network.

The basics …

Refer to the following articles about basic terms and functionalities of networking:

Network (1) Addressing

Network (2) Apple Airport router

Network (3) Port Forwarding

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) usually assigns varying IPs. This would prevent a suitable usage of VPN. If this would happen with addresses in real life a postman could not deliver your mail. However there is a simple and free solution by using Dynamic DNS services offered by No-Ip.com or other providers.

From a Dynamic DNS provider you will get a hostname, not an IP address. A device from outside your LAN first contacts the DDNS provider to evaluate your actual WAN IP address. Your mobile device can now locate your LAN in the internet and establish a connection.

It’s quit simple to get an account at No-Ip.
Sign in and you get an E-Mail with a confirmation link.
Fill out the form for Dynamic DNS and you get a hostname like ‘user.no-ip.org’.
This constant hostname will replace the varying WAN IP of your home/small business network.
How does No-Ip get your WAN IP? Well, you have to install the free No-Ip Dynamic Update Client on one of your computers inside the LAN. This client updates your changing IP at No-Ip’s servers. Don’t switch this computer off to ensure that No-Ip knows your WAN IP at any time.

The Watchguard Firewall XTM …

Watchguard Inc. is located in Seattle, USA.
The company I work for uses Watchguard products without any problems since many years.

The firewall serves as a gateway for the LAN managed by Windows 2008 servers. Colleagues must have a secure access to these resources.

A running VPN connection …

The following steps illustrate the principles of a VPN client-server interaction in simple terms found on Wikipedia. For IP addresses refer to the above shown graphics.

Assume a remote host with public IP address 1.2.3.4 wishes to connect to a server found inside a company network. The server has internal address 192.168.1.10 and is not reachable publicly. Before the client can reach this server, it needs to go through a VPN server / firewall device that has public IP address 5.6.7.8 and an internal address of 192.168.1.1. All data between the client and the server will need to be kept confidential, hence a secure VPN is used.

01 The VPN client connects to a VPN server via an external network interface.

02 The VPN server assigns an IP address to the VPN client from the VPN server’s subnet. The client gets internal IP address 192.168.1.50, for example, and creates a virtual network interface through which it will send encrypted packets to the other tunnel endpoint (the device at the other end of the tunnel). This interface also gets the address 192.168.1.50.

03 When the VPN client wishes to communicate with the company server, it prepares a packet addressed to 192.168.1.10, encrypts it and encapsulates it in an outer VPN packet, say an IPSec packet. This packet is then sent to the VPN server at IP address 5.6.7.8 over the public Internet. The inner packet is encrypted so that even if someone intercepts the packet over the Internet, they cannot get any information from it. They can see that the remote host is communicating with a server/firewall, but none of the contents of the communication. The inner encrypted packet has source address 192.168.1.50 and destination address 192.168.1.10. The outer packet has source address 1.2.3.4 and destination address 5.6.7.8.

04 When the packet reaches the VPN server from the Internet, the VPN server decapsulates the inner packet, decrypts it, finds the destination address to be 192.168.1.10, and forwards it to the intended server at 192.168.1.10.

05 After some time, the VPN server receives a reply packet from 192.168.1.10, intended for 192.168.1.50. The VPN server consults its routing table, and sees this packet is intended for a remote host that must go through VPN.

06 The VPN server encrypts this reply packet, encapsulates it in a VPN packet and sends it out over the Internet. The inner encrypted packet has source address 192.168.1.10 and destination address 192.168.1.50. The outer VPN packet has source address 5.6.7.8 and destination address 1.2.3.4.

07 The remote host receives the packet. The VPN client decapsulates the inner packet, decrypts it, and passes it to the appropriate software at upper layers.

Overall, it is as if the remote computer and the server are on the same 192.168.1.0/24 network or in other words as if you are sitting in the office. VPN extends a private network across the public internet. Data are shared as if they were an integral part of the private network.

Continue reading about VPN. My next article describes the configuration of the firewall and the iPad/iPhone.

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





A Small Office Configuration

8 05 2013

iPad may effectively support business activities particularly if colleagues are intensively involved in external relations.

Mind maps are the most efficient way to summarize information about a topic. So I created a mind map which contains many suggestions for integrating iPads and iPhones in the daily tasks of a small business effortlessly.

Small businesses are often forward-looking companies implementing modern technologies to improve sales. Usually they are not supported by technical and organizational assistants and the CEO has to supply the knowledge and to communicate the usage of devices, sharing techniques, and organizational guidelines. Summarized: He has to do everything.

The dream of all CEOs is a maintenance-friendly environment with easy-to-use devices. As tablets are rapidly gaining popularity there are no special training demands required and the company is usually not faced with problems of acceptance as the staff already use these kinds of devices privately.

Let’s discuss some details where the benefits of mobile devices integrated in a suitable environment makes business easier:

  • A colleague has to share a document with another colleague.
    He can do it by E-Mail that means selecting the E-Mail address, writing a short text, adding an attachment and sending the mail. Lots of E-Mails must be managed later by selecting relevant mails and deleting others.

    An alternate way would be to use a cloud storage and an automatic syncing functionality like Apple’s iCloud syncing which is supported by a growing number of apps.

  • A document on an iPad should be printed out in the office.
    You may save the document to a cloud storage, download it on a PC and print it on a network printer.

    An alternate way is to use an PC/MAC application called FingerPrint.
    Every network attached printer will be shown on iOS devices in the print menu. So the document can be directly printed out on any printer in the office.

  • You call a colleague and inform him to call a customer at 15:30.
    The colleague writes it down on a cheat sheet.

    An alternate way is to enter a reminder which is automatically synced with the other iOS devices and reminds the colleague to call the customer. Shortcuts (defined under ‘General – Keyboard – Shortcuts’ like CC=Customer call… with) makes it easy to forward the information directly to the colleague.

The mind map above outlines experiences made in the company I work for.
It focusses on …

  • Easy file sharing between iOS devices and
    other iOS devices even if they are running under different Apple IDs
    cloud storages and desktop computers within the office
  • Fast and easy syncing of
    Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Bookmarks
    Documents, Data stored in a database, and Scanned documents
  • Easy connection to
    computers within the LAN from outside the office
  • Ability to print from anywhere
    in the office via Fingerprint that makes every printer AirPrint-capable
    from outside the office via Google Cloud Print
  • Improving business by using social networking
    via clients for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Using a database
    with essential business information which automatically syncs with all other devices
  • and last but not least reducing the costs of the technical equipment to a minimum

To understand all the experiences I made use this mind map and adjust it to your individual requirements.

Here is a slideshow with details of some branches of my mind map for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool:

Download …

The mind map ‘iPad in Small Office Environments’ created with iThoughts for iOS can be downloaded here:

Map as a PDF

Map in ITMZ file format (iThoughts)

Map in MMAP file format (MindManager)

Map in XMIND file format (XMind)

Visit
The Apple group on Biggerplate
to see and download all mind maps related to Apple.

Thanks for stopping by.
I appreciate your Comments and Likes.





Short-Haul Flight

3 05 2013

iOS Airways welcomes you on our flight from iPhone to iPad.
Please be sure your seat belts are fastened as our captain will go by the speed of light.
If you’re going to leave anything after touch down, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.

The basic idea …

M2M or machine-to-machine communication, or technology that supports wired or wireless communication between devices. An example of M2M technology might be a set of devices that monitor traffic in a city and communicate the information to the city’s traffic lights in order to regulate the flow of traffic.
(http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com)

There are several ways to establish M2M for sending files from one device to another.

  • iOS device – Computer
    Using iTunes File Sharing or computer software like iExplorer which allows access to app specific folders on an iOS device
  • iOS device – Any device
    Send by E-Mail using Apple’s mail client
    A suitable app must be installed on the destination device to open attachments
  • Send to a cloud storage and share the file
    An app with the original file must support server access with built-in access for well-known providers WebDAV
  • iOS device to another own iOS device
    Transmit via iCloud
    Not all apps support iCloud at the time
    Access is only possible if both devices use the same Apple ID
  • iOS device NAS
    NAS (network attached storage) can be a computer’s hard disk or a hard disk or a USB storage attached to Apple’s Airport router or Time Capsule

Examples …

Here are some apps supporting direct transfer from one iOS device to another even if the destination device is running under a different Apple ID:

  • Tap Forms Database
    by Tap Zap Software, Inc.
    WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Safety P+V
    by 83Technology
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Safety Notes
    by 83Technology
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Phone Drive
    by 83Technology
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • GoodReader
    by Goodiware
    WiFi
  • USB Disk Pro
    by Imesart
    Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Air Sharing
    by Avatron
    WiFi
  • Documents
    by Readdle
    WiFi
  • Instashare
    by Lukas Foldyna
    WiFi and Bluetooth

Transfer Methods …

  • WiFi and Bluetooth
    One device acts as a push server.
    Usually the destination device firstly has to accept the connection.
  • WebDAV support
    The iOS device acts as a WebDAV server for a computer.
    On the computer you access the device by entering an URL like
    http://10.0.1.3:8080 (IP address of the iOS device and Portnumber for communication).

Establishing connections …

This description is valid for Phone Drive by 83Technology and explains the different connection methods.

File transfer between Mac or PC

Connect your device to same Wi-Fi network with PC or Mac.
Tap “Sync” icon and select “Mac / PC File Transfer” button to find out your device address.
Web Browser
Enter the IP address on your computer web browser to access file transfer interface.

Mac OS X

Open Finder.
Select “Connect to Server” from the “Go” menu.
Enter the IP address and click “Connect”.
Note : If you do not enable Authentication just select “Guest” and click “Connect”.

Windows

From My Computer click on the “Map Network Drive” toolbar button.
Enter the IP address and click “Finish”.

File operations
Click on “Edit” button or swipe right and select the file you wish to perform operations.
Tap on “Menu view” icon to choose file operations. (Copy, Move, Zip, etc)

File sharing to another iPhone or iPad (Bluetooth / Wi-Fi)

Connect both devices to same Wi-Fi network or enable bluetooth.
On of the device tap on “Sync” icon and select “iOS to iOS File Sharing” button to search for nearest device.
Select the device name that found and accept connection for file transfer.

The UIs of assorted apps …

Rate the developer’s approaches to UIs for transferring files.

Instashare …

Instashare is an aptly named utility that lets you instantly share files between your iOS devices and your Mac and Windows PC (Beta).

Sharing is quite simple. Open the app on both iOS devices.
On a device all connectable other devices appear on the right side and the file list on the left side. You transfer files by Drag and Drop from left to right.

Instashare uses WiFi or Bluetooth. An Internet connection is not required.

In addition, you can transfer files of any file type from a Mac to your iDevice, and vice versa. Files received by a Mac appear on the Downloads folder, while those received by an iOS device can be found in Instashare’s local app folder.

20130502-204138.jpg

Public Wi-Fi …

Sometimes, when using public WiFi for transfering files, problems might occur when starting the file transfer or displaying the list of nearby devices. Instashare is using ports 1000 and higher but public WiFi’s (Coffee shops, Airports, …) may block these ports. Best practice to settle this problem is creating your own WiFi access point which in iOS terms is called ‘Personal Hotspot’.

Personal Hotspot
A Personal Hotspot is one of your iOS devices with a connection to the internet.
This device may act as an access point for an other device that means, the other device does not connect to the internet directly but via the device serving as Personal Hotspot.

Go to Settings – Personal Hotspot and turn the switch to ON.
With your other device you now can connect to the Personal Hotspot in the same way you would connect to any other WiFi network.

Summary …

Instashare is the winner when it comes to a rating of the UI.
Simplicity and intuitive handling is the key to a top rating.

Transfer is only supported for one file at a time.
Selection of multiple files should be offered in an upcoming feature update.

Note (2013-05-02)
At the time I wrote this article PDFs could not be transferred from other apps to Instashare by using the ‘Open in’ command. But this problem was settled by Lukas. So now it works. Thanks Lukas.

Summary …

I myself use the mentioned apps and assessed them all very critically.
Tablets are a new technology (first iPad came in 2007). While the hardware is already grown up the software is still embryonic. Apple’s App Store makes no difference between hobby and professional developers. So for customers it’s not easy to find out the right app. And there is a further problem: the reliability of a developer, the power to refine the product and the energy to survive in the fast growing market of rock-bottom goods.

Most of the users working on an iPad without it’s big brother perceive the desirable features an app should have. But it seems to me that most of the developers are not able to adjust to the market.

Please comment on this blog.
Both, positive and negative comments are welcome.





Apps for File Management

5 04 2013

One year with iPad tells me:
The hardware is grown-up and the software is a bit embryonic.

File sharing is an indispensable requirement for collaborating, backing up relevant files and continue working on other devices.
For my private and business environment the following features should be provided by apps for the iPad and the iPhone.

  • Connection to well-known cloud providers
  • Connection to external storages via WebDAV
  • Connection to storages attached to Windows networks
  • Connection to storages attached to Apple’s routers
  • Connection via SMB, FTP, SFTP
  • E-Mail support for sending and receiving multiple documents from within the app
  • Reading all well-known file formats (Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, etc.)
  • Transfer of files between all connections
  • Organization of files in self-created folders

Some technical information about SMB …

Wikipedia: Server Message Block
In computer networking, Server Message Block (SMB), also known as Common Internet File System (CIFS) operates as an application-layer network protocol mainly used for providing shared access to files, printers, serial ports, and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network.

Not only does SMB allow computers to share files, but it also enables computers to share printers and even serial ports from other computers within the network. For example, a computer connected to a Windows network could print a document on a printer connected to another computer on the network, as long as both machines support the SMB protocol.

Though SMB was originally developed for Windows, it can also be used by other platforms, including Unix and Mac OS X, using a software implementation called Samba. By using Samba instructions, Mac, Windows, and Unix computers can share the same files, folders, and printers. This is great for those Windows-based office networks where there is a graphic designer who refuses to use anything but a Mac and a tech guy who does everything on his Linux machine.

Do the following apps meet the requirements?

  • File Browser (Stratospherix)
  • USB Disk Pro (Imesart)
  • Air Sharing (Avatron)
  • Documents (Readdle)
  • Phone Drive (83 Technology)
  • GoodReader (GoodiWare)

Note
You miss Files Connect by Antecea?
This application is not reviewed any longer as the developer did not fix severe bugs since months. I posted these bugs more than 6 months ago but nothing happened.

File Browser (Stratospherix)

20130205-164535.jpg

Lacks …
No WebDAV support
No FTP support
Support only for Dropbox, Box and SkyDrive

USB Disk Pro (Imesart)

20130205-164550.jpg

Lacks …
No support for SMB protocol
that means network attached storages are not accessible

Air Sharing (Avatron)

20130205-164603.jpg

Lacks…
No support for SMB protocol

Why not, I asked the developers?
Here is the strange, but true answer:

Aaron, Feb 04 12:05 (PST):
Hello Thomas,

Thanks for contacting us with your questions about Air Sharing. I’d be happy to help.

Air Sharing is only able to connect directly to a device that supports WebDAV, SSH, or FTP. Devices like Apple’s Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme don’t natively support these connection methods. As a work around you can still access the files stored on these devices by using your Mac as an intermediary. First, mount the network storage drives on your Mac and then connect to the Mac with Air Sharing to browse the attached volumes.

Currently we don’t have plans to incorporate SMB support into Air Sharing. We have looked into the possibility but have decided that we would prefer to focus on protocols that provide the greatest functionality across all operating systems. Sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Cheers, Aaron, Technical Support
Avatron Software, Inc.

My comment:
If somebody tells me that SMB/CIFS does not provide great functionality he better should not write answers to questions of customers.

Documents (Readdle)

20130205-164616.jpg

Lacks …
No support for SMB protocol
Imtegrated E-Mail client (included in the former version called ‘ReaddleDocs’) is withdrawn; E-Mails with multiple attachments are supported.

Benefits …
Perfect UI
ZIP support

Phone Drive (83 Technology)

20130205-164628.jpg

Lacks …
No support for SMB protocol
No WebDAV support
Only Dropbox and iCloud supported

Benefits…
iOS to iOS file transfer

GoodReader (GoodiWare)

20130205-164644.jpg

20130205-165112.jpg

Lacks …
The UI needs getting used to

Benefits …
iOS to iOS file transfer
ZIP support

Summary …

You remember my introduction?
I talked about embryonic software.

What I cannot understand is that most of the developers obviously do not create a list of indispensable requirements for users of an iOS device. They all know the limitations and restrictions of iOS devices and the fact that Windows is the most widely spread operating system in the world. Is it in line with the market and the requirements of users not to support a suitable file transfer?

So it comes to more or less relevant lacks which force the users to install a couple of apps basically doing the same tasks.

My personal favorite is Documents by Readdle with the help of Goodreader by Goodiware. But you have to focus on your own requirements and I hope this article helps a bit for deciding which app fits best.





iWebDAV connection

2 04 2013

There are lots of utilities connecting an iOS device with cloud services like Dopbox, iDrive or Google Drive. But Usually these apps cannot connect two iOS devices like an iPhone and an iPad.

Avatron Software Inc., USA offers an app where two iOS devices can be connected via WebDAV with some additional benefits like connecting to cloud services and displaying many well-known file formats. It’s called Air Sharing.

See my blog

WebDAV Basics
WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is a method that allows you to edit and manage files stored on remote servers. The comnection is based on the HTTP-protocol with extensions like creating folders and deleting files on the remote device.

for more information about this topic.

The features of Air Sharing …

Remote File Servers

Google Docs
Dropbox
MobileMe iDisk
FilesAnywhere (WebAdvanced account)
MyDisk.se
Other WebDAV servers
WebDAV over secure HTTPS connection when available
FTP
SSH (sftp)
Box.net
Access email attachments (POP3 and IMAP servers)
View documents directly (automatic local cache)
No Wi-Fi required

File Sharing

Auto-detects other users on same Wi-Fi network
Connects to Air Sharing on another device

File operations

Save images to Photos
Browse zip archives without unzipping
Delete, New Folder
Email attachments
Move, Copy, Paste, Duplicate
Get images from Photos
Download from URL (copy link in Safari, paste into Air Sharing Pro or HD
Zip (supports password-protected archives)
Print documents

Document formats

iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote)
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), subject to iOS compatibility
Web archives (web pages downloaded by Safari)
HTML web page
RTF (Rich Text Format) and RTFD (with embedded images)
Plain text (many file extensions) with auto-detection of character encoding
Source code (C/C++, Objective C/C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, XML, shell scripts, Perl, Ruby, Python, and more) with syntax color-coding
Movies, audio, and images (standard iOS formats)
PDF (even password-protected, with Search, table of contents, thumbnails, Go To Page

I agree to the developers announcement: These are tons of features.

An application …

Let’s see how it works, when connecting two iOS devices within the same WiFi network and transferring a document from Apple’s iWork suite from an iPhone to an iPad.

Consider the following situation.
You want to directly transfer a spreadsheet created with Apple’s Numbers to a colleague. The more complicated way would be to save the document on a cloud storage and share it with him by E-Mail. Keep in mind that iCloud doesn’t support direct sharing as it only syncs files across devices with the same Apple ID. The Apple ID personalizes the storage and hence a direct transfer between two iCloud accounts is not supported.

Establishing the connection …

Open Air Sharing on both devices.
The app will automatically connect the two devices using Apple’s Bonjour networking services.

Bonjour is Apple’s implementation of Zero configuration networking (Zeroconf), a group of technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution. Bonjour locates devices such as printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local networking.

Using the Bonjour identification is convenient because it’s independent of the varying IP-Address you automatically get when connecting to a WiFi network.

If Bonjour is not available …
To establish a connection without Bonjour from iPhone to iPad you have to configure a WebDAV connection. Within Air Sharing app tap on ‘+’, select ‘Other WebDAV’ and enter the required data. To identify the remote device you must use it’s IP-Address.

Note
Both, IP-Address and Bonjour-Name are displayed on the remote device when tapping on the WiFi icon.

20130203-134511.jpg

Transferring files …

20130203-142547.jpg

What you see on the screens …

20130203-150324.jpg

Reading PDFs …

20130203-152215.jpg

Summary …

4 stars for a sophisticated app. You may find the missing star in deep space. It’s name is SMB!

A special feature I found very useful is mailing a whole folder. Avatron’s app automatically creates a ZIP-File and opens the mail client.

Thanks for reading my blog.
I appreciate your comments.





iPhone’s dining habits

15 03 2013

Your iOS devices are nothing without waves.

Waves are the food for every mobile device connected to the internet or your carrier and contain the information e.g. needed for your browser to show websites and for a phone call to transmit your voice.

But what are waves and how does this work?

You all know water waves, seismic waves and waves that transmit the sound from one person to another or from speakers to your ear. Sometimes sound waves contain good news or bad news. Whatever is transmitted by waves it’s always INFORMATION.

In case of iPhones contacting your carrier or iPads contacting your wireless access point, waves are Electromagnetic Waves. In contrast to water waves (propagating through water), the sound (propagating through gas) and seismic waves (propagating through the earth) electromagnetic waves don’t need a medium. They also can carry information while propagating through the vacuum with the speed of light (about 300.000 m/sec). That’s pretty fast and helps when transmitting information to your device because there are many disturbers around us and so information has to be transmitted several times before being identified as those destined for you.

Look here for waves in motion

Simple Wikipedia

Properties of waves …

Properties of waves are among others the amplitude (height of cycles) and the frequency (number of cycles per second). Sound waves have a low frequency when we hear a deep tone. The frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz).

20131014-175857.jpg

Image (1) shows an AM (amplitude modulated) wave and Image (2) an FM (frequency modulated) wave. You all know AM and FM if you ever looked on a radio’s dashboard. The more important method is to transmit information with a frequency modulated wave.

Information transport …

A constantly moving wave with the same frequency and amplitude cannot transmit information except a YES (the sender is on) or a NO (the sender is off).

To transmit information we have to vary the amplitude or frequency of the electromagnetic wave. But the information then is encoded and none of our organs of perception can understand what it means. iPhone’s receivers for WiFi and carrier-based signals support us by converting the electromagnetic waves hitting the device into text, pictures and sound.

For example, a radio transmitter turns a human voice into waves by varying the frequency of waves in the same pattern as the sound waves measured by a microphone.

Image (2) shows a FM wave where the frequency is varied constantly. If it represents a sound wave it could be the varying signal of an ambulance and provides us with the information ‘Let it pass’.

Your WiFi is not working?

As I already mentioned there are many disturbers preventing us from enjoying our iPhone.

If you have problems with your WiFi connection a possible reason could be INTERFERENCE. Interference occurs if waves carrying the information disturb each other. In one case the disturbance may lead to a complete extinction so that your device looses the connection to the access point.
Images (3) shows two senders not far apart. Two pins, driven by an electromotor, are tapping on the water and in some regions you can see quietness. The water waves are extinguished.
Image (4) shows this phenomenon in the nature.

That’s what can happen with your WiFi access point while providing your iPhone with information via electromagnetic waves.

Other reasons …

Distance
One of the most common causes of a low Wi-Fi signal is distance. Wireless routers and access points are limited to low-power broadcasts to prevent interference with other equipment, limiting their effective range to around 100 feet indoors.

Construction
If your Wi-Fi signal mysteriously drops off in certain rooms, it may be due to your home’s construction. Especially thick walls and a metallic mesh inside the wall effectively disrupt any Wi-Fi signal passing through, significantly reducing signal strength or blocking the signal completely.

Device Interference
You may also find intermittent signal problems caused by interference from other, non-Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi operates in the 2.4-gigahertz band, as do cordless phones, some remote alarm products and a microwave oven. When active, these devices can reduce your Wi-Fi signal strength due to interference. Additionally, microwaves can produce substantial interference in the frequency range used by wireless devices and can completely disrupt a Wi-Fi connection. Taking care to situate your wireless nodes and equipment away from such interference can help improve signal strength, but repeated problems may require you to replace older appliances with modern, wireless-friendly alternatives or switch to the 5-gigahertz frequency band available with 802.11n products.

Change the Channel …

Another source of Wi-Fi signal problems is interference. Wireless devices feature the ability to transmit and receive on several separate channels (slightly different frequencies in the 2.4 or 5 GHz band), but in many cases, they shift from the factory set to a single default channel. This can mean that several wireless sources in a small area, such as an apartment building, are all competing for signal in the same frequency band.

If you encounter unexpectedly weak Wi-Fi signals and detect other networks operating in your area, try switching to different channels to find a less crowded part of the spectrum.
You can change the channel for your Apple router using the free Airport Utility provided by Apple.

20130124-194807.jpg

Useful links for technicians …

CISCO Myths of interference

Channel frequencies

Thanks for surfing by on your wave.





Device To Device Transfer

10 03 2013

Why should I transfer my data over thousands of miles using an internet connection although my devices are only a couple of inch apart!

Normally nobody takes care of an efficient transfer method but sometimes there is no WiFi or Cellular connection. In this case you cannot transfer data from one iOS device to another except you use iTunes on your computer. That’s certainly not comfortable.

Connections between two devices in general can be established via WiFi, an internet connection (e.g. syncing via iCloud) or a connection method called Bluetooth (henceforth referred to as BT).


Wikipedia
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances (using short-wavelength radio transmissions in the ISM band from 2400–2480 MHz) from fixed and mobile devices, creating personal area networks (PANs) with high levels of security. Created by telecom vendor Ericsson in 1994, it was originally conceived as a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables. It can connect several devices, overcoming problems of synchronization.

While most people think of BT as the way that wireless earpieces get connect to phones, it’s actually a more general purpose technology that allows many kinds of devices to be used.

This post will give you some detailed information about BT and its application from within BT capable apps.

Turning on Bluetooth …

Complete this procedure to connect with accessories for iPad/iPhone e.g. BT Keyboard or BT Headset:

http://ipod.about.com/od/iphonehowtos/a/Iphone-Bluetooth-Pairing.htm

The process of connecting a BT device to an iPhone is called PAIRING. Regardless of what kind of device you’re pairing to your iPhone, the process is basically the same. Follow these steps to complete the iPhone/iPad BT pairing process.

Begin by making sure your iPhone and BT device are near each other. BT signals can only extend a few feet.
Next, put the BT device you want to pair with the iPhone in discoverable mode. This allows the iPhone to see the device and connect to it. Making a device discoverable requires different steps on different devices. For some it’s as easy as turning them on, for check the manual.
Go to Settings, tap BT and turn it on. A list of all the discoverable BT devices will appear.
If the device you want to pair with is listed, tap it.
To pair some BT devices with the iPhone, you need to enter a passcode. If the device you’re trying to pair is one of those, the passcode screen will appear. Consult the device’s manual for the passcode and enter it.

Keep in mind that BT is a short-range connection (distances up to 164 feet/50 meters) and will be lost if you move the connected devices too far apart.

While BT doesn’t drain as much battery as Wi-Fi, keep it turned off when not in use.

Using Bluetooth …

You cannot pair iPhone and iPad.
Nevertheless BT can be used for the ‘Personal Hotspot‘ feature for providing an internet connection for iPad via the cellular connection of an iPhone or vice versa.

Even if you could pair these devices you wouldn’t have any benefit because there are no apps provided by Apple (Photos, iWork, iMovie, Calendar, etc.) which support data transfer via BT.
I may be wrong but that could be the reason why pairing of two iOS devices makes no sense from Apple’s point of view. Anyway, a programming interface is available so that app developers are able to support BT if needed.

Applications using BT …

These apps for example support BT:

Safety P+V (Photos management)
Safety Notes (Notes management)
Phone Drive (File Management)
Wireless Drive (File Management)

How it works …

Let’s have a look on Safety P+V by 83Technology, an app with a perfect UI.
This app is for managing photos and videos in folders which can be created by the user. You additionally may define a password to secure the data. Further features are:
transfer photos from and to the camera roll
move photos and videos from one folder to another
print photos and open them in another app

Here is a description how to transfer photos or videos between two iOS devices.

Note
On both devices WiFi is turned OFF and BT is turned ON.
The devices must NOT BE PAIRED.

  • Open open SAFETY P+V on both devices.
  • Tap the Sync icon on the device which is the sender.
  • Select iOS Wi-Fi / Bluetooth Transfer. The other device is then listed under ‘Devices nearby’.
  • Select the objects you want to transfer and tap on Send.

20130121-151032.jpg

The selected files are transferred into the ‘Image Sharing’ folder from where you can move them into other folders.

Other apps supporting BT …

There are some other apps available in Apple’s App Store supporting a BT connection between two iOS devices. But on my point of view all these apps make no sense.
Why? Consider the following situation:

You want to transfer an iWork document to another device.
If an internet connection is available the best way is to use iCloud as the documents are synced automatically. If there is no Internet and no WiFi connection available you have to firstly transfer the document to the local folder of the BT supporting app via ‘Open In’. Then the file must be transferred from the BT supporting apps local folder via ‘Open In’ to the iWork app.

My rating: ZERO STARS FOR USABILITY

Summary …

BT is a reliable, powerful, fast and secure wireless technology for data transfer with minimized power consumption. Apple’s BT implementation on iOS devices is mostly incompatible with smartphones or tablets from other vendors.
For some inexplicable reason it’s not available as a standard feature for data transfer between iOS devices.

Thanks for reading my post.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 152 other followers

%d bloggers like this: