The display above is my Mac OS X Server at home, but I'm looking at it on my iPad. The magic that makes this happen is a great FREE App Called Mocha VNC Lite and of course the built-in Screen Sharing in Mac OS X (Mac OS X Server NOT required). It's amazingly easy to setup. Just turn on Screen Sharing and assign it a password in Mac OS X and open up Port 5900 (or other custom port of your choice) on your router and have it point to the internal IP address of that Mac (or PC if you run VNC software on your PC). Note your current IP address assigned by your ISP and boom you can connect to that Mac or PC from just about anywhere on the internet. I first started using this great App on the iPhone! Yep, I would fire up Mocha VNC Lite on my iPhone and even over a 3G connection I could see and control my Mac at home. Now granted, the speed of the display is only going to be as good as your internet connection both ends, but the times when I've need to check on something, copy a file to remote disc or change a setting, this App has come in extremely handy. Needless to say I was thrilled to see it updated for the iPad. The iPad's larger screen size is a natural for this App! Mocha VNC Lite supports up to 6 different computers/configurations to Connect to. Your finger becomes the mouse and you can bring up the on screen keyboard anytime you need to do text entry.
Although I don't use this App every day, the times I've needed it it has never failed me. Since your computer can hold way more information that your iPad or iPhone ever will this App is great for allowing you to look things up that you left behind. Although the App works exactly as advertised and there is a paid version, I'd like to see some more options in the paid version. I'd like to see a file transfer ability. Currently I can bring up a file on screen and email it to myself on the iPad by using Mail on the actual Mac I'm controlling, but I'd like a more direct way built-in to the App.
For the price you can't beat it! It's FREE grab it here:
I'm a fan of having multiple web browsers on my Mac. I have Safari of course, but I also have Firefox and Chrome right next to it in my dock. So of course I had some interest in checking out the newly released Opera Mini Browser for iPhone. It's always nice to have a backup browser just in case you run into a website that doesn't display properly on your main browser/Safari. Although this is what I do on my desktop/notebook computers, I never actually thought I'd see Apple allow browser competition in on the iPhone/iPad platforms. Will wonders never cease? Opera Mini Browser is available on the App Store as a FREE download. My first impression when I downloaded it, but only had just a minute to play with it was that I didn't see any real advantage to it over Safari. Unlike your Mac or PC, Safari is not only the default browser, but it's tightly integrated into the iPhone OS (this is starting to sound familiar). So while you can certainly launch another browser and use it, the Apps are primarily going to open Safari instead by default unless Apple allows you to change this behavior some day.
It wasn't until I dug a little deeper into the features of this browser that I got really excited
Like I said, on the surface Opera seems just like another browser. Although they boast about it being faster, in my unscientific testing, which involved loading the same sites in both browsers, it only seemed to be about the same speed most of the time. Some sites loaded slightly faster, however many sites loaded SLOWER. Also at the small size looking at the full page, it's impossible to read anything until you zoom in. So at this point I wasn't impressed. Then I brought up the settings and that's when I said WOW! Opera gives me some of the features I've always wanted on the iphone like real tabbed browsing and a Search Feature (Find in Page) on the web page itself! VERY COOL!
Delivery Status on my iPhone is one of my favorite Apps. I get packages all the time from different carriers. With Delivery Status I'm able to easy track them and known when they are due to be delivered. So as you can imagine I was quite happy to see Delivery Status get updated for the iPad. The Delivery Status App is a singe App that is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. I love it when developers choose NOT to charge separately for the iPad Apps. The iPad update is amazing from a visual standpoint. Not only does it give you the traditional information about your package in the text display, but it actually shows you WHERE your package currently is via a very nice Map.
Works with your Mac or works alone
If you're a Mac user, you can also download the Delivery Status Dashboard widget. This Widget allows you to enter package information and check it via your Mac, and it also lets you sync this info via the Junecloud "cloud" so that all of your devices running this App are updated. So whether you enter your package information on your Mac or on your mobile device, the information will be in sync. The account is FREE on their servers. Usually when I receive an email letting me know that my package has shipped, I copy and paste that tracking info right into Delivery Status. Anytime I want to know where my package is I just fire up the App OR the Dashboard Widget. If you don't have a Mac, no worries. The App works great as a stand alone App and there is NO requirement to sync with the cloud unless you want to. Once the item has been received you can simply delete it from the App.
Like I said, this is a MUST Have App! In most cases it beats the Apps by the individual shipping companies.
I've been wanting a Native Netflix App since day one! Don't get me wrong, I know that there are lot's of good Netflix Queue managers out there for iPhone and iPod touch, however the one thing that they all suffer from is the ability to get in and manage your account. It's not their fault. They can only give you access to what Netflix allows them to give you access to. That being said I knew that a "Neflix" branded app would give me what I wanted. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the Netflix App introduced on the day the iPad shipped!
More than just a queue manager
Although I got what I wanted from a queue management and account access stance, the added bonus and probably the biggest reason to use the App is that you get the ability to stream Netflix movies directly to your iPad. That's right you have access to your "Instant Watch" queue and you can watch any movie you want any time you want directly on the iPad. Of course an internet connection is required since the movies stream and don't download. Once I asked a movie to start playing it started in about 20 seconds. The video quality was better than I expected. Maybe slightly less than DVD due to the compression, but certainly very watchable and to date no stuttering or stopping. YMMV based on your internet connection.
The Movies – Now keep in mind that you can't watch just any movie. It has to be one of the over 12,000 that they have available for streaming. Their hands are tied by the movie studios on what's allowed to be streamed and what's not.
Get it here from the App Store for FREE.
Opera, the browser maker, announced today that their version for the iPhone and iPod touch has been approved into the app store, bringing Opera Mini on as an alternative to Safari if you want and according to Opera, you will notice an uptake in speed, especially on slower networks when using the new Opera Mini.
You can expect a review coming shortly on this to test whether this is really as good (or better) as using Safari. You can get the free app from the AppStore.