AiO Remote by Hewlett Packard

24 03 2014

Printing documents seems to be old-fashioned in the modern era of digital communication. But occasionally printouts of documents are necessary. I for example use it for if I have to look on two or more documents to compare the contents which is pretty uncomfortable on an iPad because of the One-Window-Technique.

AirPrint

Apple is known for simple and user-friendly solutions.
In cooperation with Hewlett Packard the company developed the AirPrint technology.

AirPrint is a feature which is implemented in Apple products starting with OS X Lion and iOS 4.2 in November 2010, for printing using a wireless LAN, either directly to any AirPrint compatible printers (such as HP’s entire ePrint range, Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Gestetner, Hewlett-Packard, Infotec , Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Savin, Xerox and more) or to non-compatible printers through a MS Windows, Apple Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux PC. AirPrint does not require printer-specific drivers.

The current list of AirPrint compatible printers (at the time more than 1000) can be found on

Apple Support HT 4356

Manufacturers supporting AirPrint with their printer products are

Brother, Canon, Dell, EPSON, Fuji Xerox, Gestetner,
Hewlett Packard with 95 Printers
Infotec, Kyocera, Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, NRG, NTT, Oki Data, Olivetti, RICOH, Samsung, Savin, Sharp, TA Triumph-Adler/UTAX, Toshiba, Xerox, Zink

A number of software solutions allow for non AirPrint printers to be used with iOS devices. For such printers, AirPrint support can be achieved by configuring such support on an intermediary system already having such printers configured for local printing, shared on the same network. Since AirPrint is driverless, such a configuration compensates for the lack of native AirPrint support by using the drivers on the intermediary system instead.

Note
The simplest solution for all platforms is to create a new Bonjour Service that tricks iOS clients into believing they’re talking to an AirPrint device.
Presto by Collobos Software Inc. is an example for such a desktop application which allows printing from iOS devices to every printer connected to the same network.

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 network using multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) service records. Bonjour comes built-in with Apple’s OS X and iOS operating systems. Bonjour can also be installed onto computers running Microsoft Windows.

AirPrint in details …

My home configuration consists of an Apple Airport Extreme Router and an HP Photosmart 6510 which is AirPrint capable. That means the printer has just to be connected to the power supply. In a further step the connection to the WiFi network is established via the iPhone-like control panel by entering the networks password.

After connecting the printer to the WiFi network it appears in the print menu of every printing-capable app. No installation of drivers, no cables, no additional software which usually comes from an installation CD and is nothing more than ad of the manufacturer.

AiO Remote app by HP …

There are two ways to connect an iOS device to a HP printer:

  • 1 HP wireless direct allows you to connect your iPad directly to your printer wirelessly, without a wireless router. The printer must be equipped with HP wireless direct, and HP wireless direct must be turned on to connect to any iOS device.
  • 2 When connecting to the printer over a WiFi network, you are connecting to the printer using a wireless router. The printer might be wirelessly to the router or with an Ethernet cable. A connection is established after entering the WiFi password.
  • The features …

    • 1 Take a photo and automatically transform it into a PDF.
    • 2 Scan pages placed on the device by using the control buttons on the printer’s display or controls displayed in the app. Save scanned documents in the app specific folder on your iOS device or in the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Photostream, or many other cloud storages like iDriveSync via WebDAV).
    • 3 Copy documents using the control buttons on the printer’s display or the controls shown in the app.
    • 4 Show printer details like settings, comnections, supply levels, and print reports like network configuration, wireless test report, or print quality report.
    • 5 Automatic upload of new documents to iCloud and syncing documents across all your iOS devices.
    • 6 As already mentioned AiO Remote can be connected to different cloud storages. So it’s also possible to download documents from there. They can be printed, saved locally, sent by mail, or transferred to other cloud storages.
      Unfortunately Apple’s iWork file formats are not supported.
    • 7 Optional usage of the HP ePrint Service which allows to send print jobs to an E-Mail address registered on the HP ePrint website. If the registration process is finished your printer gets an E-Mail address from HP. Print jobs can be sent to this address and the printout is done if the printer is turned on. So you can print documents from anywhere by sending an E-Mail to your printers E-Mail address. All these print jobs can be managed using the HP ePrint app or the HP ePrint website.
      The HP ePrint service can also be used to print documents on nearby HP ePrint centers e.g. hotels. Nearby centers are shown within the app if Apple’s location services are turned on.

    Document management …

    I summarized some features of the configuration by taking screenshots.

    1 AiO Remote home screen if the printer is turned on

    20131219-093914.jpg

    2 Multipage scanning with a special feature, rearranging pages with Drag+Drop

    20131219-094056.jpg

    3 Saving the scanned document to a cloud storage or mailing it

    20131219-094156.jpg

    Non-AirPrint capable printers …

    When people are evaluating mobile printing solutions, one of the options is to buy a new printer. If you already use a non-AirPrint capable printer it cannot receive print jobs from your iOS device. Presto (former name FingerPrint) by Collobos Software Inc. addresses this problem. The application finds your classical printers automatically and makes them available to your iOS devices if both, printer and iPhone or iPad, are in the same WiFi network.

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

    See this video for a short description of Presto by Collobos.

    Summary …

    AiO Remote is a continuously updated app from a reliable developer with outstanding features. UI and UX are perfect and the iCloud integration lets you take photos of documents with your iPhone which already arrived when you come home and use your iPad for further actions.

    Related links …

    HP Mobile Printing

    HP ePrint Center

    Thanks for stopping by.





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.

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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/

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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.

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

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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.





Apple Wireless Network

11 08 2013

Apple AirPort Extreme is Apple’s router for Internet access. It’s directly connected to a modem and provides wired as well as wireless access for computers, mobile devices like an iPhone or an iPad, printers, and media devices.
Apple offers three different routers (Airport Express, AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule) which can be connected to either a DSL or a Cable modem.

A complete wireless network build with solely Apple products follows the the company’s strategy to provide users with a perfect experience regarding design, setup, and reducing features to those which are necessary. KISS is the motto.

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

The hardware …

See this mind map which summarizes all properties of Apple’s hardware for wireless networking with mobile devices. As you can see Apple built it’s own ecosystem where components perfectly work together.

Remark
The router hardware was replaced by new versions on June 10, 2013 on occasion of Apple’s WWDC.

Here are the main features of Apple’s routers summarized in a mind map.

20130603-090815.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Please visit

The Apple group on Biggerplate

to see and download all mind maps related to Apple.

This more realistic view shows the kernel with a modem and the router as well as some examples of wirelessly connected hardware components for interactive usage.

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The integration of all you need for a perfect user experience goes along with limitations when using non-Apple hardware. It’s Apple’s strategy to say NO to some features other vendors offer and to say YES to a seamless integration of its hardware with its custom-built software.

Professionals may argue that performance, configuration options, and price is not what should be expected. On the other hand the running system convinces users who see the technology as as a serving and not an experimental environment. So do I after many years with other configurations not following the motto ‘It just works’ or ‘Buy, connect, and use it’ for the tasks you want to use it for.

A complete configuration …

Follow these steps in the order specified.

Step 1 Connect the modem to the multimedia connector with a coaxial cable.

Modem
A modem (modulator-demodulator) is a device used to connect a computer or router to a telephone/cable line to allow the computer to connect to the Internet. It modulates a carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data.

Step 2 Connect the modem to the power supply.

Wait until the LEDs indicate a functioning connection to your ISP. It may take up to 30 min.

Step 3 Connect the APE to the modem with an Ethernet cable.

Ethernet cable
Ethernet cabling is standardized. If you go to a store you may find a variety of “categories” of cabling. These categories tell you the quality of the cabling. The quality determines, essentially, how much the cable can handle. Recommendation: Cat 6 – works for 10/100/1000Mb.

Step 4 Connect the APE to the power supply.

Here we go.
The configuration with any iOS device and the helper apps Settings and AirPort Utility starts.

Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad and tap on WiFi.
The APE already is sending signals so that your device suggests the set up of a WiFi network.

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Tap on the right-pointing arrow to set up an AirPort basestation.
Enter a name for your network and set a password. Other users like your neighbors, if not too far away, will see this name as an additional WiFi network. Use a strong password for joining this network.

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Tap on Next and that’s all.
Your new WiFi network will connect all your devices with the internet after entering the password you set for your network.

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The utility app …

For controlling the network Apple offers an app called ‘Airport Utility’ which is available for iOS devices, Macs, and Windows PCs.
The slideshow shows the usage of this app when configuring a wireless network with an Airport Extreme router connected to a cable modem.

The most important configuration options can be controlled with the app for iOS devices. For some less important options like adjusting the signal strength Airport Utility for computers must be used.

The benefits …

Apple’s ZEROCONF technique minimizes your efforts to install a usable internet access.

Zero configuration networking (zeroconf)
is a set of techniques that automatically creates a usable Internet Protocol (IP) network without manual operator intervention or special configuration servers.
Zero configuration networking allows devices such as computers and printers to connect to a network automatically. Without zeroconf, a network administrator must set up services, such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name System (DNS), or configure each computer’s network settings manually, which may be difficult and time-consuming.

Apple does not permit the AirPort Extreme to engage in channel bonding on the 2.4GHz frequency band. This is a very neighbor-friendly policy, because only three channels in this band—channels 1, 6, and 11—don’t overlap. A router engaging in 2.4GHz channel bonding can hog more than its share of bandwidth and will likely interfere with other 2.4GHz routers operating nearby.

The AirPort Utility also makes it very easy to update the router’s firmware. The AirPort Extreme is so much easier to set up than any other router of the many competitors.
The reason is that if you stay in Apple’s ecosystem you will benefit from all the efforts Apple did for an easy-to-use experience.

The performance on 802.11n standard transmission technique is high.
The APE is powerful even if thick walls hamper propagation of electromagnetic waves.

Interference …

In physics, interference is a phenomenon in which two waves superimpose to form a resultant wave of greater or lower amplitude. Interference usually refers to the interaction of waves that are correlated or coherent with each other, either because they come from the same source or because they have the same or nearly the same frequency like electromagnetic waves sent from WiFi networks.

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If you get problems with interference or the performance of your network is slow which may be caused by interference follow these guidelines:

Apple about potential sources of interference

Macworld, Troubleshooting Airport Interference

The Airport Utility …

Apple’s ZEROCONF technique minimizes your efforts to install a usable internet access.

Zero configuration networking (zeroconf)
is a set of techniques that automatically creates a usable Internet Protocol (IP) network without manual operator intervention or special configuration servers.
Zero configuration networking allows devices such as computers and printers to connect to a network automatically. Without zeroconf, a network administrator must set up services, such as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name System (DNS), or configure each computer’s network settings manually, which may be difficult and time-consuming.

Look at the details to get a deeper understanding of what happened when configuring the network.
To see the details of your own WiFi network go to Settings – WiFi and tap on the right-pointing blue arrow of you network. Go to the bottom and tap on ‘Manage network’. This will open the Airport Utility. Airport Utility can be used to individualize the configuration.

Regarding to my blog Network (1) from April 20 you will now understand the configuration details set by the APE:

  • DHCP ON
    the APE acts as a DHCP server and assigns private IP addresses (10.0.1.x) to all devices joining the WiFi network after entering the password.
  • NAT ON
    the APE does the network address translation that means, NAT converts your private LAN IPs into a external WAN IP
  • Security
    the APE encrypts all WiFi network traffic with WPA2
    (Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) is a security communication protocol developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance to secure wireless computer networks)

This slideshow shows all settings displayed in Apple’s app AirPort Utility:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In addition to the automatic configuration I entered the following settings:

  • Reservations for IP addresses
    the APE reserves an IP address for all devices. Reservations are useful if you want that the DHCP feature of your APE assigns a fixed IP to your devices. Otherwise DHCP is free to assign any free IP address in the range 10.0.1.2 – 10.0.1.200 every time you join your network.
  • 5 GHz network
    The APE works in the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency band. The iPad is able to connect on the 5 GHz band and I named this (second) network as ‘Apple Airport 5 GHz’.
    If you have interference problems with other WiFi networks you may vary the channel or move over to the 5 GHz network.
  • With the help of Airport Utility for PCs I additionally limited the signal power to 50% which is enough to get connected in all rooms and hampers other WiFi capable devices outside my home to detect my network.

The result is a working internet connection checked by the app Fing which is available at Apple’s App Store.

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The disadvantages …

The AirPort Extreme has only one USB 2.0 port, so it can share either a printer or a storage device over your network. This is in the line with Apple’s strategy that printers should be connected via AirPrint. I miss the support of USB 3.0.

Apple’s design decisions help its product blend into a home’s décor and so the old version of AirPort Extreme was designed to rest flat while the new version was redesigned in June 2013 due to an improved output power. It’s still an eyecatcher.

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Related links …

Airport Extreme Tec Specs

Airport Extreme User Guide

Airport Extreme Easy Setup

Setting up your wireless network

Cisco, 20 Myths of Wi-Fi Interference

Thanks for visiting my blog.
Wireless as well as wired connections are welcome.





Photo Syncing

30 07 2013

iOS devices are frequently used to take photos of objects or documents.
If iCloud is turned on photos are automatically synced across all iOS devices using the same Apple ID in the so-called Photostream.

A direct transfer of photos from the camera roll or the photostream to an external storage or another device using a different Apple ID is not possible.

Sharing photos via Apple’s Photostream (by E-Mail) is followed by substantial loss of quality. Sharing via a cloud client is time-consuming and not recommended if the destination device is in the same WiFi network or can be connected to the source device via Bluetooth.

I have often wondered why Apple didn’t offer a seamless transfer from one iOS device to another. Regarding this point Apple did not follow it’s own strategy of seamless usage.

With iOS 7 Apple will eradicate this flaw by introducing AirDrop.

Sending a photo or a document to someone via text or email is fine. But if that someone is right next to you, a text or an email suddenly feels like too many steps. Enter AirDrop for iOS. It lets you quickly and easily share photos, videos, contacts — and anything else from any app with a Share button. Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required. And transfers are encrypted, so what you share is highly secure.
(Apple on its website)

Unfortunately AirDrop is not available for previously supplied iPhone 4S, 4, etc. and iPad 3rd Generation, iPad 2, etc. So there will be still a need for an app which does the task seamlessly.

There is an app available in Apple’s App Store named PhotoSync (by German developer touchbyte GmbH) which offers many options to transfer photos wirelessly in a simple way with a perfect UI (user interface) as well as a perfect UX (user experience).

Just select multiple photos from the camera roll, photostream or self-created albums, select the destination device or cloud storage and you’re done. Sending will continue in the background – even if you receive phone calls or do other things with your device.
The maximum transfer rate is up about 2.5MB/s that means about 2-3 photos/s (depending on device and network).

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Using Bluetooth I transferred 23 images with total size of 17 MB within 81 s which is a transfer rate of o.21 MB/s compared to a transfer rate of 0.68 MB/s when using WiFi with an Apple Airport Extreme router.
So the maximum transfer announced by the developer is a dream.
Nevertheless it works fine and it’s much faster than any transfer via a cloud storage (device – cloud – device).

The main Features …

  • Transfer to
    allows transfer to Dropbox, Picasa/Google+, Facebook, SmugMug, 500px, Flickr, Box, Zenforio, (S)FTP, WebDAV, SykDrive, and Google Drive
  • Quick transfer
    allows to set a default computer (or other service) in the settings and then just transfer all new/selected pictures to this default computer/service by pressing and holding the sync button.
  • Direct transfer between iOS devices
    allows transfer from one iOS device to another with a different Apple ID if both devices are in the same WiFi network or Bluetooth is turned on.
  • Transfer to computer
    allows Wi-Fi access to your photos/videos wherever you are – from any computer on the same WiFi network by just opening a web-browser
  • Services
    supports transfer directions: Device to Computer (WiFi), Computer to Device (WiFi), Device to Device (WiFi + Bluetooth), Device to Web Services (WiFi + 3G + 4G)

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See this video with PhotoSync in action

UI impressions …

It’s always a good idea to see some screenshots before deciding to download an app from the App Store. There is still no way without stumbles to give an app back and get a refund if it’s not the right app or it has severe bugs.

The settings screen shows you some options as well as supported external storages.

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The running app shows that there is an understandable and informative feedback for users.

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iOS device to Android device …

PhotoSync is now available for Android devices. A step forward because if there is no computer available the only way to transfer photos between these galaxies is to use the Jacob’s ladder that means:
copy to cloud + share with recipient + download from cloud
That’s the price you have to pay when contacting extraterrestrial Androids.

NAS …

If you are fully integrated in the Apple hardware ecosystem you may own an Apple router like Airport Extreme. The APE has a USB port but unfortunately PhotoSync cannot communicate with an USB storage connected to the APE. This is called Network Attached Storage (NAS). So there is no chance to copy photos from your iOS devices to the USB storage.

The only way to do this is to install another app like FileBrowser by Stratospherix. Configure a new connection with the option TC (Time Capsule, Airport Extreme), enter the local IP address of this device as well as your username and password for WiFi access.
FileBrowser then allows copying photos from your iPad/iPhone to the attached storage.

Companion apps …

PhotoSync Companion for Mac OSX or Windows is a FREE utility to support the best transfer performance (unlimited number of images, background transfer, etc) for picture and video transfers from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to your Mac or Windows PC with the PhotoSync app.

Further information …

  • Supported transfer directions: Device to Computer (Wi-Fi), Computer to Device (Wi-Fi), Device to Device (Wi-Fi & Bluetooth)
  • All Exif data, GPS data, and file date is preserved for photos/videos in Camera Roll
  • Full support for RAW images and photos/videos imported with iPad Camera Connector
  • Requirements for FREE Mac-Companion: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher (Intel and PPC supported)
  • Requirements for FREE Windows-Companion: Windows XP SP 2 or higher, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Web-Browser-Access requires modern browsers with JavaScript-Support enabled
  • Transfer Rate up to 4 MB/sec (depending on device and network)

Notes …
In iOS 4 and iOS 5 location services must be enabled to use the application! In iOS 6 Apple changed the access to photos from ‘location services’ to ‘photos’.
For best transfer experience and performance, we recommend installation of the free PhotoSync Companion Software.
Supported wireless connection depends on transfer target: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi – transfer from iOS device to iOS Device; Wi-Fi – transfer from/to computer; Wi-Fi and 3G /LTE – transfer to web-services

A competitor …

There is another app for seamless transfer of photos from one iOS device to another available.
It’s Safety P+V by 83 Technology with the additional feature to protect use of the app and access to all photos and videos stored in the app’s local folder by entering a password.

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Related links …

Long-Haul Flight

Short-Haul Flight

Device To Device Transfer

Thanks for visiting http://iNotes4You.com.





Air Mail by Apple

27 06 2013

Printing documents seems to be old-fashioned in the modern era of digital communication. But there are some cases where an occasional print out of documents is necessary. I use it for example when I have to look on two or more documents to compare the contents which is pretty uncomfortable on an iPad because of the just-one-window-display.

My articles ‘Air Mail by …’ explain the different possibilities to print from an iPad or an iPhone as there are Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, HP ePrint.

If both, a printer connected to a computer and an iOS device, are in the same WiFi network a classic printer can be used for printing from an iOS device. This case was discussed in my post Printing from iOS-Devices

Here is a brief overview of the topics discussed in my series ‘Air Mail by…’ with details about Apple’s AirPrint.

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Apple AirPrint …

Apple is known for highly simple and user-friendly solutions.
So let’s start this series of articles with the AirPrint technology developed by Apple and HP.

AirPrint is a feature which is implemented in Apple products starting with OS X Lion and iOS 4.2 in November 2010, for printing using a wireless LAN, either directly to any AirPrint compatible printers (such as HP’s entire ePrint range, Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Gestetner, Hewlett-Packard, Infotec , Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Savin, Xerox and more) or to non-compatible printers through a MS Windows, Apple Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux PC. AirPrint does not require printer-specific drivers.

The current list of AirPrint compatible printers (at the time more than 500) can be found on

Apple Support HT 4356

A number of software solutions allow for non AirPrint printers to be used with iOS devices. For such printers, AirPrint support can be achieved by configuring such support on an intermediary system already having such printers configured for local printing, shared on the same network. Since AirPrint is driverless, such a configuration compensates for the lack of native AirPrint support by using the drivers on the intermediary system instead.

The simplest solution for all platforms is to create a new Bonjour service that tricks iOS clients into believing they’re talking to an AirPrint device.

Fingerprint by Collobos Software Inc. is an example for such a desktop application which allows printing from iOS devices to every printer connected to the same network.

AirPrint in details …

My home configuration consists of an Apple Airport Extreme Router and an HP Photosmart 6510 which is AirPrint capable. That means the printer has just to be connected to the power supply. In a further step the connection to the WiFi network is established via the iPhone-like control panel by entering the networks password.

After connecting the printer to the WiFi network the printer appears in the print menu of every printing-capable app.

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Suggested additional software …

HP offers an app called HP Printer Control which allows to fully control the printer and it’s features like scan, copy, capture, file management and some utilities. The file management feature additionally supports access to well-known cloud providers like Box, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, or cloud providers supporting WebDAV connections.

The latest version of this app has a perfect UI and is near to apps for file management like Documents by Readdle.

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Features of HP Printer Control …

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  • Document control from virtually anywhere
  • Seamlessly move between paper and cloud-based files with intelligent mobile scanning and easy control of your HPe-AII-in-One from your iPhone or iPad.
  • Create high-quality documents from the camera-enabled intelligent mobile scanning feature or send scans directly to your mobile device from your HP e-AII-in-One. Then print or share your device or Cloud-based files online or by E-Mail.
  • Intelligent mobile scanner technology automatically processes images taken by your [Phone or iPad’s camera to create high-quality documents.
  • Documents can be saved as PDF or JPEG to share, store or print from your device.
  • Access cloud document storage services such as iCloud, Box, Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive or social media site including Facebook.
  • Use your mobile device’s large screen to control scan, copy and print functions of your HP e-AII-inOne.
  • Print photos, PDF, web pages, email attachments, Microsoft Office documents and more from virtually anywhere.
  • Compatibility
    Print, copy and scan with Apple iPad, iPhone and iPad.
    Mobile scanning feature supported by iPhone 4, 4S, 5, the new iPad and iPod 5G (iOS 5.0 or later) or later with 5 megapixels or more camera with autofocus.

How to print with HP Printer Control …

  • Download a document from the cloud and print.
    Even if you are in another WiFi network or just 3G connected you can send the print job to your own printer by using your printer E-Mail address.
  • Use ‘Open in’ e.g. from within Apple’s spreadsheet app Numbers and select Printer Control from the apps menu to print.

Using HP Print service …

If you are not connected to another WiFi network you even can send a print job to your printer connected to your home or office network by using the HP ePrint Service.

Sign in to HP ePrintCenter, register your printer by entering the unique printer code (supplied by HP for every printer; shown in the Web-Service-Menu of the printer’s control panel). You can then create an E-Mail address for your printer. It looks like name@hpeprint.com.

20130419-132245.jpg

If you send a document to this address HP ePrint Service will send a print job to your printer at home or in the office which is assigned to this E-Mail address.
You can protect this service by entering E-Mail addresses from which it is allowed to send print jobs. Furthermore Google Cloud Print works together with HP ePrint Service. For example you can print Google docs without waiting for Google’s service to create a printable document.

Related links …

AirPrint Basics

HP ePrint Service

HP ePrint Data Sheet

Thanks for dropping by.
Comments, positive or negative, are appreciated.





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.





Network (3) Port Forwarding

25 04 2013

Parts (1) and (2) of my articles about networks gave you some basic knowledge about networks and discussed the possibility to connect from the LAN to the WAN or in other words from the devices at home to the webservers in the outer world.

The reverse way, connecting from WAN to LAN, is basically not possible. Only in case of requests from a device within the LAN data goes the reverse way, e.g. entering an URL like http://iNotes4You.com as the request and getting the answer (the website content) delivered by WordPress.com servers.

The main reasons why a WAN-LAN connection won’t work:

  • 1 Most of the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) assign varying IP addresses to your connection so that it is not possible to keep a stable connection over the time.
  • 2 For security reasons nobody should be able to compromise your LAN.
    So a Firewall/Router will not accept incoming requests which were not initiated by a device within the LAN.

20130223-103821.jpg

The solution is Port Forwarding an applications communication with another application.

Dynamic DNS …

The first problem of varying WAN IPs can be solved by using a service called Dynamic DNS (DDNS). Some companies offer this service without charging.

For example you can register at no-ip.com. After completing the registration process you can define a hostname and download the so-called DUC software (Dynamic Update Client) which has to be installed on the computer you want to connect to.

20130404-162705.jpg

The main idea is to get a HOSTNAME which can be used instead of the varying WAN IP. The DUC client on the computer inside the LAN frequently determines the actual WAN IP and transmits the result to the DDNS provider. Your request from outside your LAN first is transmitted to your DDNS provider via the HOSTNAME. DDNS returns the actual WAN IP of your LAN and a connection can be established.

So DYNAMIC DNS SERVICE provides a constant ALIAS for a varying WAN IP of your LAN.

Opening the firewall …

You already know that data on the Internet is sent to and from IP addresses. Sending or receiving data is done on ports. Ports are virtual pathways on which Internet data flows.

For a Watchguard SOHO Firewall a custom service has to be defined and the related traffic has to be allowed. The service must include the definition of an IP of the computer you want to connect to as well as the port for communication.

20130223-113321.jpg

While things may differ slightly depending on your Firewall’s/Router’s firmware, the below mentioned fields are pretty standard:

  • Application or Service Name
    The name of the application you’re forwarding this port for. You can use any descriptive text you want—this field is here to help you remember why you set this up; like the name suggests, you normally want to use the name of the application you’re setting up port forwarding for. I’s a good idea to also include the computer’s name along with the service if port forwarding is used for the same applications on different computers.
  • Port to
    ‘Port to’ is the port on your local IP address. If you were setting up VNC for a local computer, you’d fill this in with 5900 as that’s the standard port number for VNC services.
  • Port from
    ‘Port from’ is the port on your external IP address. Generally you use the same port as entered in ‘Port to. This works just fine when you’re configuring only one machine for one type of service. But say you wanted to be able to remotely access two or more computers using VNC. If you used 5900 on a single, external IP address they would be in conflict. The router would see a request for port 5900 and not know which Local IP address should handle that request since the port forwarding table has two. To solve this problem, you can use the standard port for one and not for the other—kind of like an apartment building has a single address but multiple apartments. You can use port 5900 for one and 5901 for the other computer. In that case you have to first set the port (the computer you want to access) when using VNC on an external IP address. This way you can set up identical services with a single External IP and different Local IPs without conflicts.
  • Protocol
    This is where you specify whether or not your service uses the TCP protocol, UDP protocol, or both. When you look up your ports you’ll also want to make note of the protocols used. In most cases it will just be TCP.
  • IP Address or Service Host
    This is where you specify the LAN IP of the computer you want to access. You can easily find this information in your computer’s network settings. The IP address will generally be in the 10.0.x.x, 192.168.x.x, or 172.31.x.x format. Because these IP address are generally dynamic (changing over the time), you have to set up static IPs or so-called DHCP reservations.
  • Enable
    You need to enable the port forwarding rule (on Watchguard routers you do it by setting the rule to ALLOW). By using DENY you are able to save the rule but it won’t be active or function in any way.

The firewall is now opened for authorized incoming traffic to a specific computer using a specific port.

The communication is done by the VNC Server software which can be downloaded from the RealVNC website.

After installing the DUC client software from No-Ip and the VNC server software from RealVNC on your PC it looks like this:

20130223-123521.jpg

VNC viewer on an iOS device …

To configure the VNC Viewer app on an iOS device you just have to enter the HOSTNAME, the PORT for communication and the credentials you defined in the VNC Server software on your computer.

20130223-122829.jpg

Summary …

The connection to a computer inside a LAN from an iOS device outside the LAN works with a

  • Dynamic DNS account and an Update Client (DUC)
  • Configuration of the firewall for a specific computer and a specific communication port
  • Server software (VNC Server) on the computer
  • Client software (VNC Viewer) on the iOS device

In a typical small office environment, a router assigns private network addresses to internal computers while the router gets a public IP from the ISP.
If the public IP is not static, Dynamic DNS services must be used to configure the VNC Client
by using the Dynamic DNS address instead of an IP address.

Connection to a computer in the LAN requires an installation of VNC Server software.
A unique port number must be assigned to each computer that should be reached from outside the LAN.
20130223-134054.jpg

Useful links …

Former articles about networks

Network (2) Apple Airport Router

Network (1) Addressing

If you want to use Port Forwarding you should visit

Portforward.com

Port Forwarding VNC on Apple Airport

You will find the settings for many Soft- and Hardware products as well as a software product called PFConfig which supports automatic configuration (29.29$).








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