Camera beaming

17 04 2013

Sometimes you have to watch what is happening at another place. You can do this with a camera installation or with an iOS device and the app AirBeam by Appologics UG, Germany.

AirBeam for iOS is a Universal App that means if you buy it in the App Store it can be installed on all of your iOS devices without buying it for each device.

AirBeam turns the camera equipped iDevices or Macs into a flexible remote monitoring system. You can use it as a baby phone, a surveillance camera, a fly cam in your remote control toys, an ad-hoc video observation of a running machine, etc.

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If there is only one iOS device available (the recording device) the camera input of this device can be viewed with any browser by entering the IP address displayed on the iOS device where AirBeam is installed.

It works within a WiFi network as well as from far away locations via an internet connection to a device in a LAN by using Port-Forwarding.

AirBeam FAQ Port Forwarding
AirBeam’s autodiscovery mechanism only works when all your devices are in the same local WiFi network. If you want to connect to your camera at home from anywhere in the Internet (or from a cellular network), you first need to configure Port Forwarding in your WiFi router at home. Otherwise the router’s integrated firewall will block all incoming connections from the outside world. There are two ways to configure Port Forwarding:
AirBeam can automatically configure Port Forwarding within your router. Prerequisite is that your router supports and has enabled Universal Plug and Play (UPNP) or Apple’s NAT-Port Mapping Protocol. In this case just switch on “Port Mapping” in AirBeam’s general settings page. If successful, a small cloud icon on AirBeam’s camera view will indicate that the camera is reachable in the Internet and you will see the public addresses by touching the icon. Just use a browser or AirBeam’s “manual connect” button to connect to these addresses from anywhere. As the public IP address of your WiFi router might change from time to time (depending on your Internet Service Provider), it is recommended to use a free dynamic DNS service like http://www.no-ip.com to be able to access your camera with a constant hostname.

For the recording device a motion and audio detection can be activated. If an object starts moving or the microphone detects audio signals a video recording on the receiving device can be started.
Furthermore an E-Mail with an optional attached video can be sent automatically to a recipient whose E-Mail address is configured in the Settings of the app.

On the iDevice receiving video and/or audio signals the integrated camera light can be turned on and off.

The controlling device may connect to different other devices. Each recording device is displayed on the controlling device and you just have to tap on the device’s icon to switch to it’s camera.

On the Mac …

With AirBeam Pro you can share your Mac’s camera and microphone and follow it remotely in a browser or with AirBeam for iOS on your iPhone, iPad or iPod.
Besides camera sharing, AirBeam Pro brings also all other features known from the iOS App to your Mac, for example motion or audio controlled video recording in HD quality.

How it works …

In this description iPhone is the recording device and iPad the controlling device displaying the camera input of iPhone. It works vice versa as well.

  • Install AirBeam on an iPhone and an iPad.
  • Open AirBeam on both devices.
    On the main screen both devices will show the message ‘Searching for cameras…’.
  • On the iPhone (or iPad) tap on the camera icon.
    This activates the camera and sends a Ready-Message to the other device with the devices name.
  • On the iPad tap on the name of the recording device.
    In this example it’s the iPhone and you will see what iPhone’s camera is recording.

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Options on the controlling device …

To control the recording device the following options are available:

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Settings …

An overview of the Settings of AirBeam shows you some more details about different purposes you may use the app for.

Summary …

After checking all announced features the app gets a rating of 5 stars.
There is just one bug which has to be fixed. After connecting to a device the brightness of the controlling device is set to it’s minimum and you have to reselect the preferred value.





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.

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Transferring files …

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What you see on the screens …

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Reading PDFs …

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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).

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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.

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Useful links for technicians …

CISCO Myths of interference

Channel frequencies

Thanks for surfing by on your wave.





Facts about iMessage

3 03 2013


Apple talks about iMessage …

If you’re a texter, you’ll love Messages on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Now they all come with iMessage, a service that’s an even better kind of texting. Because it’s free for you and anyone texting over Wi-Fi using an iOS device or Mac with iMessage. And it’s unlimited. So say as much as you want.

This is the link to Apple’s website iMessage

iMessage is accessible through the Messages app on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or later or on a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion or later. For users who have an active data connection, Messages will check with Apple if the recipient has iMessage set up. If so, Messages will seamlessly transition from SMS to iMessage.

The recipient must use an Apple device as iMessage is an Apple service and not based on services of your carrier.

iMessage is not tied to a particular device or SIM card – it uses an Apple ID.
Consequently the Apple ID you entered during the device set-up phase will be the one used for iMessage by default. The Apple ID can be changed from within the Settings app, but more importantly you can also set up “proxy” E-Mail addresses through which you can receive iMessages. These proxy addresses act as gateways through which iMessages can be funneled into your Apple ID, which is what actually stores your messages. If you have an iPhone your phone number is also added automatically to this list of “proxies”.

Notes
A PROXY is a computer system or an application that acts as an intermediary for requests. Servers of your provider for example are proxies as they receive information and send them to you.

If you don’t have a SIM card inserted (e.g. in an iPad) iMessages can be sent from your device if you are connected to the internet. But if the recipient cannot receive iMessages you cannot contact him via Apple’s Messages because automatic switching from iMessage to SMS service is only possible with a SIM card.

Activating iMessage …

During activating iMessage there are several messages coming up which I don’t describe here because they are self-explaining.

  • Turn on iMessage.
    A popover with your Apple ID comes up.
  • Enter your password.
    If you activate iMessage Apple will send a confirmation for your phone number to the UK (+44 7786205094) to register this phone number in the global catalog for iMessage capable devices. You have to pay the normal fee for this SMS. In Germany its 0.28€.
  • From then on your phone number and your Apple ID are used for iMessage.
  • If you use further Apple devices all the information is pushed to them. So you just have to turn on iMessage on other devices.
  • The whole procedure is also valid for Facetime activation.

You may add further E-Mail addresses.
Each entry will be verified by Apple through sending an E-Mail to this address. It contains a link ‘Verify E-Mail’ for verifying this particular address.

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Wit the release of iOS 7 in Sep 2013 Apple adapted just the layout of iMessage and added the new feature ‘Blocked’ with which you can choose a contact from ‘Contacts’ and block any iMessage communication with selected people.

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The whole setup procedure, the system behavior, and the restrictions remained the same. iMessage is still not available for establishing connections with devices of other vendors. This is quite understandable because it’s an Apple service and requires an Apple ID.

Restrictions …

If the recipient does not use iMessage (because he owns no Apple device, deactivated iMessage or cannot connect to the internet) your message will be sent as a usual SMS unless you turned off the option ‘Send as SMS’ in Setting – Messages.

Features and behavior …

From the users point of view iMessage works like sending an SMS with the following exceptions and additional features:

01 Appearance

  • On your screen iMessages you sent to the recipient appear in a blue, usual SMS in a green bubble.

02 File Attachments

  • With iMessage you can send file attachments like photos, screenshots and videos. When using WiFi videos are compressed to 360 x 480 pixels and cannot exceed 100 MB. If you use the Cellular 3G connection the quality of videos is strongly reduced. A video should not be longer than 90 sec.

03 Group Chat

  • If you select more than one recipient to send your message to iMessage starts a group chat.
    All consecutive messages are sent to all members of the group chat. Within a running chat single members cannot be excluded.

04 SMS

  • If an iMessage cannot be sent double tap the message and select ‘Send as SMS’ from the context menu. You may also let iMessage do this automatically if you go to Settings – Messages and turn on ‘Send as SMS’. Carrier messaging rates may apply.

05 Text length

  • A message with more than 960 characters will be cut into pieces. Each part contains up to 960 characters. The maximum length is 4000 characters.
    You can activate ‘Character Count’ in Settings – Messages to see the length of your message.

06 Encryption

  • Messages sent via iMessage are unlike usual SMSs Point-to-Point encrypted.
    To my state of knowledge Apple did not publish details of the encryption protocol.
  • Corporate security is compromised when users who rely on iMessage are unable to transmit messages via Apple’s platform, as iMessage may revert to sending a regular unencrypted text message (SMS). A single finger swipe allows users to exchange public encryption keys, encrypt text messages, and protect text, audio, video, and picture messages from eavesdroppers by going through a carrier-based network instead of through the cloud.

07 Delivery confirmation

  • A ‘Delivered’ note next to each message indicates a successful delivery and there is also the option of sending ‘Send Read Receipts’ – these simply allow the other persons sending an iMessage to know that you have read their message.

08 Editing and Status informations

  • Tap on the Edit icon of an iMessage to forward a message or delete it.
    During a conversation iMessage displays a bubble with three points when your partner edits his new message.

  • A profile for iOS devices is available for logging all iMessages on the device.
    The installation is on one’s own responsibility.

    iOS Profile for Logging iMessages

09 Transmission time

  • iMessages reach the recipient meanly within 2 sec while an SMS usually needs 5 sec.

10 Notification

  • Go to Settings – Notifications – Messages and use appropriate settings for notifications.
    If you only want to be informed about an incoming iMessage in the Lock Screen turn off ‘Show Preview’.

11 Further devices

  • iMessages are automatically pushed to all your other iOS-Devices where iMessage is activated.

12 Different SIM Cards

  • If you frequently visit foreign countries the use of a local SIM may save costs.
    But what happens with iMessage?
    As iMessage is not carrier-based you must not do anything. Your phone number is admittedly different from that you used when activating iMessage. But your Apple ID remains the same and is alternatively used when your phone number has changed. But keep in mind that in this case iMessage only works with an internet connection because your new local phone number is not registered in Apple’s iMessage address pool.

Thanks for reading this post.
Please comment or use the contact form on the ‘About’ page.
With positive comments you feed the blogger, with negative comments you goose him to improve the quality.





Trip the users up

16 01 2013

Wrong credentials?
No, I swear black and blue.

An application or a website should remove all following space characters from a string.
If it does not, you may get a problem which makes you crazy even annoyed.

Many years ago there was a similar problem in Microsoft Access when saving a record with a field containing following space characters. Microsoft reacted and newer versions of this product cut the contents and strips off all following space characters the user entered in a field.

About what are we talking?

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Note
The E-Mail address was entered as a shortcut in
Settings – General – Keyboard – Shortcuts
with the phrase apple.id@icloud.com and the shortcut aid.
If you use the shortcut iOS appends a blank, 1Password saves it and Apple’s website informs you about wrong credentials.

Using shortcuts on Apple’s devices is a frequently used and highly comfortable feature.
And adding a blank after using a shortcut is a sensible behavior of the operating system.
So Apple certainly cannot bear the blame.

This problem with following blanks does not occur in all cases. Some apps or websites ignore following blanks as anybody would expect. What should a blank character be for? Nobody can see it.

From a more technical point of view a string with a following blank and a string without are different contents when saved to memory. From the users point of view it makes definitely no sense to handle usernames in such a way.





My first blog

4 10 2012

My name is Thomas and I will write blogs about Apple’s iOS-Devices.

You will find many detailed descriptions about how to use Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

As a sample you may download the following document containing a short description of scanning and sending documents for private, business and professional use.

20121008-141900.jpg Scan+Send using iOS-Devices
Properties 2012/10/07 EN .PDF iDrive .keynote on request

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