Your iPhone 2.0 Tip Sheet

By eWEEK Labs  |  Posted 2008-07-17

Your iPhone 2.0 Tip Sheet

In the comments section below, we would be happy to see your own suggestions for squeezing more out of the iPhone-and if you have handy tips for other mobile devices, we would love to learn about those, as well.

Capture iPhone Screenshots

As product reviewers, we at eWEEK Labs find frequent occasion to grab screen shots in order to illustrate the software and services we cover. The PrtScn key is our pal, but not every screen we wish to capture rides on a keyboard-toting device. We've resorted at times to photographing device displays, but those pictures tend to turn out poorly.

In previous iPhone tests, we hacked the device to install a screen shot application, of which there were a handful in the unofficial software channels. When the App Store came online, we disappointed not to find an Apple-blessed screen grabber, but it turns out that the iPhone's new 2.0 firmware includes a built-in screen capture function.

To capture screens on your iPhone or iPod Touch 2.0, hold down the home button on the front of the iPhone, and press the on/off button at the top of the device. Your display will flash briefly and your screen capture will appear in your Photo store.

We spent some time trying to find a type of screen that the application would not capture-a playing YouTube video, or a moving progress indicator, for instance-but every screen image we set out to capture was duly grabbed.

Put iTunes on a Diet

Put iTunes on a Diet

With iTunes 7.7, Apple has given Windows administrators a little more flexibility in how the music and device synchronization manager can be installed. Not only can administrators control which elements of iTunes get deployed, they can also push the software out to desktops via Microsoft's Active Directory Group Policy.

Although Apple has made it easier to synchronize certain data (e-mail, calendar and contacts) to the iPhone without requiring a direct connection to an iTunes-enabled PC, administrators will find that iTunes is still necessary is some cases. iTunes will continue to be needed for further iPhone software updates, to unlock iPhones that had an illegal passcode entered too many times or to add homegrown enterprise software to the devices.

To streamline the operation of iTunes just a little to fit the new role Apple hopes it will find on the enterprise desktop, the iTunes setup file now supports option flags that can be run from the command line as part of the setup command. The command takes the form of:

iTunesSetup.exe NO_FLAG1=1 NO_FLAG2=1

In order to maintain version control across desktops, iTunes can be installed without its update engine (flag NO_ASUW=1). A check box for the feature will still appear in the setup wizard interface, but the installation will ignore the value set here.

To avoid iTunes use of Apple device discovery and file-sharing protocol, administrators can set the Bonjour flag (NO_BONJOUR=1), and avoid all the network chatter that comes when iTunes tries to automatically share its music directory to the local subnet.

Or if you already have QuickTime installed on your workstations, you can skip that part of iTunes setup with the flag NO_QUICKTIME=1.

Home users without an iPhone could instead choose to install iTunes without mobile device support (NO_AMDS=1).

The iTunes 7.7 setup file can actually be broken up into pieces. Using your favorite unzip program (although I could not get the Windows integrated unzipper to do it), unpack iTunesSetup.exe to a temporary folder. You will find six Windows Installer (.MSI) packages-AppleMobileDeviceSupport, AppleSoftwareUpdate, Bonjour, iTunes, QuickTime and SetupAdmin-that can be appended to a software installation policy via Microsoft's Group Policy Management Console.

Keep in mind that, as a minimum for iPhone device support, iTunes requires QuickTime and Mobile Device support, so make sure to include those two packages plus the core iTunes installer when deploying remotely.

Administrators can also lock out the use of some iTunes features via the registry, allowing them to control the use of some iTunes services like Internet Radio or access to movies or TV shows.
For more information, check out these two documents: Apple's iPhone Enterprise Deployment Guide (PDF) (Chapter 4) and Windows OS Managed Client: How to Manage iTunes Control Features.

Control Your Desktop from Your iPhone


Control Your Desktop from Your iPhone

One of the App Store's most popular pieces of software is Remote, an application that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to control iTunes or Apple TV from their beloved devices.

If you wish to extend your iPhone-based control beyond those applications to your desktop as a whole, you'll be pleased to know that a client for the popular VNC (Virtual Network Computing) server. The client, called Mocha VNC Lite, is freely available from the App Store and is fairly easy to use.

The Remote Desktop features of Apple OS X and of the GNOME and KDE open-source desktop environments are based on VNC, so viewing and controlling these desktops from Mocha VNC requires only that the Remote Desktop option for these environments be enabled.

On Windows machines, you must first download and install a VNC server-in the past we've used TightVNC, which is freely available, and RealVNC, which costs $30.

We tested Mocha VNC Lite with a GNOME-based Ubuntu desktop, and were fairly pleased with its performance. We could zoom in and out with the standard iPhone pinch and spread gestures, and pan around the display with a finger. The client's interface carries buttons for activating the keyboard or mouse on your remote machine.

The keyboard function worked surprisingly well for regular typing, but since the iPhone on-screen keyboard lacks a "delete" key, there's no way to hit ctrl-alt-del to access a locked Windows desktop.

There was one other major bug that we encountered, which, pending a fix at least, will curb our use of this handy VNC client-while the client supports password protection of VNC sessions, we could not connect to our Ubuntu desktop without disabling the password requirement. We didn't test with a Mac, Windows or KDE box, so perhaps this bug is Linux- or GNOME-specific.

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