How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 3

Product Review – In the prior articles of this series I described in “How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 1” how you can access your Desktop Mac from a MacBook when they are both on the same network and in “How to Remotely Access Your Mac – Part 2” I outlined how you might be able to use Back to My Mac to access your Mac from a remote network. But Back to My Mac does not work for everyone. There is an easier solution though – “TeamViewer“.

TeamViewer is a third party solution with the parent company having been launched in 2005. The focus of the product is to provide online support and collaboration. Some of the statistics claimed on the website for TeamViewer:

  • has been installed on over 1 billion devices (each device generates a unique ID)
  • creates 750,000 new IDs every day.
  • has over 20 million devices online at any given time
  • speaks your language with the software and support in more than 30 languages
  • 90% of Fortune 500 companies rely on TeamViewer to bring colleagues together across all platforms and all devices

TeamViewer IS a commercial product:

  • Single user business license $49/month
  • Multi-User Premium license $99/month
  • Corporate Team license $199/month

 

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HOWEVER, it is completely free for personal (computers and devices that are not being used for business or other commercial tasks) use. Per their website:

100% FREE for personal users! If you’re a student or are using TeamViewer to help friends and family, it’s completely free FOREVER. You’ll never be charged.

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To install, go the website and click on the TeamViewer 13 Download button. This will download the TeamViewer DMG file onto your Mac. Double click on the DMG file to mount the volume. Then simply double click on the icon in the window to install the package on your Mac and follow the provided instructions.

To make my discussion a little easier I will henceforth call the Mac I want to remotely access the ‘server’ and the Mac I want to access it from as the ‘client’. You have to install TeamViewer on both the remote ‘server’ and the local ‘client’ Mac.

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Once you have TeamViewer installed and running on the ‘server’ Mac, a blue icon will appear in the Menu bar. To set the Mac up for remote access, click on the icon and a drop-down menu will appear. Click on the “Setup unattended access.”

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Use the resulting panel to set the name and a password for remote access on the ‘server’ Mac. Make the password something you will remember or write it down in a secure location. You will need this when you attempt to access the ‘server’ Mac remotely.

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Now click on the TeamViewer icon again and select “Show TeamViewer” from the drop-down menu. In the column headed “Allow Remote Control” will be the ID for the ‘server’ Mac. For me, this is a nine-digit number similar to “123 456 789”. Write this down as you will need it when you attempt to access the ‘server’ Mac.

Now install TeamViewer on the ‘client’ Mac and run it. Click on the TeamViewer icon in the Menu bar. In the “Control Remote Computer” column enter the ID of the ‘server’ in the “Partner ID” field. Leave the selection as “Remote Control”. Now click on the “CONNECT” button to connect to the ‘server’ Mac. When prompted, enter the password you set up on the ‘server’ Mac for unattended access.

A window will open with the login screen for the ‘server’ Mac. You can then access the ‘server’ as if you were sitting at its keyboard.

If you are going to use TeamViewer I would suggest that you set up both the ‘server’ and ‘client’, then verify that the remote connection works while you have physical access to both. It is much easier to work out problems when you have both machines in front of you.

I have used TeamViewer a few times now to access the Mac Mini in my office in Round Rock, Texas from Henderson, Nevada. While it isn’t as efficient as being there, I can certainly access the data stored on the Mac and run Apps.

Having used it now a few times, I would consider TeamViewer a requirement for my Mac Toolbox on both my home desktop and my MacBook.

 

Pros

  1. Free for personal use
  2. Gives you complete access to your remote Mac

 

Cons

  1. Depending upon connection bandwidth, the response can be ‘laggy’
  2. Depending upon connection bandwidth, the image in the ‘server’ window can pixelate
  3. Third-party software

 


Read my other macOS articles


 

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The Macintosh Story on Tech Stuff

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As I have mentioned before I regularly listen to several podcasts. One of those I follow is Tech Stuff and I recently listened to their three-part episode on the Macintosh. These three aired on June 2, 7 and 9 of 2017 (Yeah, I am way behind on my listening). These comprise about 3 hours and 40 minutes of information on how the Apple Macintosh was conceived, how it developed and where it is today.

If you are interested in the Mac, you may want to download and listen to these three episodes.

macOS New App Release – Version 2.7 of BookMacster, Synkmark, Markster, ​and Smarky

Product Announcement – In time for what appears to be the final shutdown of Xmarks next week, Sheep Systems of San Jose, California has published version 2.7 of BookMacster, Synkmark, Markster and Smarky, its bookmarks management apps. (The four apps are built from the same code and are updated simultaneously with the same version number.)

  • Synkmark ($16.95 USD) is the app which most directly replaces Xmarks.
  • BookMacster ($22.95 USD) is geared toward power users who don’t mind a little more cognitive overhead. For example, it supports bookmarks collections in multiple documents instead of a single “shoebox”.
  • Smarky ($11.95 USD) is the manager for Safari bookmarks only.
  • Markster ($16.95 USD) takes a different approach, providing a central store of bookmarks which is accessed directly, bypassing the built-in bookmarks of web browsers. Markster users can sync with the browsers’ bookmarks, but only manually.

“To our knowledge, our four apps are the only non-Apple apps that can properly sync with Safari bookmarks in iCloud,” says Sheep Systems’ Chief Engineer Jerry Krinock. “And most users nowadays *are* using iCloud for Safari, because iCloud is the only way to sync Safari bookmarks on iOS devices.”

Unlike Xmarks, these apps do not sync your bookmarks to a Sheep Systems server. “We work in *tandem* with iCloud, Firefox Sync, *Sign In* to Google and Opera Sync”, Krinock explains. “There is no sense duplicating services built into web browsers, which most users are using at least one of anyhow.”

Instead of funding its operations by pushing featured websites, Sheep Systems “pays its bills the old-fashioned way, by selling the apps.” BookMacster, Synkmark and Smarky get frequent updates due to frequent changes in web browsers, and occasionally Sheep Systems charges for major upgrades. The last such upgrade was in October 2015.

These native Mac apps offer additional manual management tools not found in web apps: sorting alphabetically, finding and eliminating duplicates, find, search and replace, removing URL “cruft”, changing insecure bookmarks to https://, and, of course, verifying that bookmarks still work.

The main change in version 2.7 is elimination of the Selection menu, moving its items into the Edit menu, and adding missing actions to it. Krinock continues, “Contextual menus, which are accessed by performing a secondary click (most people hold down the ‘control’ key) on a target item, should offer the same actions available in the main Edit menu. But many apps challenge users’ muscle memory because there are some actions available in the main Edit menu but not in the contextual menu, and others vice versa. Version 2.7 gets that right in our apps. Users get the same actions whether they hit the main Edit menu, or the contextual menu.”

New users will be prompted to get an anonymous 3-day Demo license after using one of the apps. A second Demo license may be obtained, providing six total demo days. The apps work in macOS 10.10, 10.11, 10.12 or 10.13.

Mac Keyboard Shortcut – Print

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A keyboard shortcut that I use, probably most everyone uses, frequently is the keyboard sequence to print:
CMD + p.

I probably don’t need to include this shortcut, but for completeness I have. In just about any App that has printable content, the CMD + p sequence will open up the Print dialog screen and let you print it.

This doesn’t save a huge amount of time, but again it is one of those quick keyboard sequences that will save you a few seconds each time you use it. Every little bit helps when you are trying to make your day more productive.


See my other Mac and Keyboard Shortcut articles


 

Review of “Lady Death”

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Book Reviews – “Lady Death” eBook was published in 2018 (I believe that a Russian version was published much earlier, but I have not been able to determine when) and was written in Russian by Lyudmila Pavlichenko. The English version was revised by Martin Pegler. Mr. Pegler had published 16 non-fiction books, all of which deal with the history of firearms.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story covers the years of World War II at various locations on the Eastern front. It is told from the perspective of the autobiography author, Lyudmila Pavlichenko.

Pavlichenko was the most successful Russian female sniper of World War II with 309 confirmed kills. Some believe her actual total was closer to 500. This is her story, beginning with her as a girl before the war, then covering her exploits during the war and a little of her life afterward. No doubt her academic training as a historian helped immensely with her autobiography.

Her story is filled with a great deal of loyalty to and patriotism for Soviet Russia. I thought that this was a very interesting look at World War II. The Easter European Front is not one I have read a great deal about. Her story is remarkable. Her time with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt while touring the US was very interesting. For a historical autobiography, this read well. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Podcast – 99% Invisible

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Podcasts – As I have mentioned a few times, I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of the more recent additions to my playlist is “99% Invisible“. I like podcasts that delve into the unusual history of things, and this one fills the bill. As they say on their website:

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With over 250 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and is available on RadioPublic, via RSS and through other apps.

Episodes of the show can range anywhere from about 20 to 45 minutes in length. This might be a great little podcast to add to your playlist.

Review of “Seven Days of Infamy”

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Book ReviewsWWII – “Seven Days of Infamy” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Nicholas Best (http://www.nicholasbest.co.uk). Mr. Best has published more than 20 books and novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story covers the days just before and then following December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Perl Harbor.

While I have read several accounts of the Perl Harbor attack, this non-fiction book brings a different perspective. Most of it focuses on various people around the world and what they were doing when they heard about the attack. These come from a wide range of sources from diverse backgrounds, some Allied and some with the Axis powers. The book touches on many lives with their perspectives on the attack and how it impacted their lives.

A couple of stories are good examples of the variety. One tells of author Edgar Rice Burroughs who was in Hawaii at the time of the attack. He is handed a Springfield rifle and spends the night guarding a group of Japanese civilians aboard their small boats. Another tells of the Japanese embassy officials in Washington DC trying to type out a 15-page document that includes a break in diplomatic relations with the US. This document was supposed to be delivered just before the attack, declaring war. Because of security concerns, typists were not used on the document, but an official who could only “hunt and peck” with two fingers had the task of typing it up. As a result, the declaration was late, delivered well after the attack.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this non-fiction account from World War II. While the was definitely a historical account, this read very easily. This is definitely a book I recommend for anyone interested in World War II. I learned many interesting facts about the attack. The cover art is a reasonable choice. I give this book a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – TopXNotes 1.8.5

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Product AnnouncementTropical Software of Atlantic Beach, Florida has released a new version of TopXNotes for Mac, an app that helps you to create a note by typing, dragging, or importing, has been updated to version 1.8.5. The upgrade provides performance enhancements, a few new features, and bug fixes. TopXNotes 1.8.5 keeps your notes synchronized between TopXNotes for Mac and TopXNotes for iOS.

Get Organized with TopXNotes:
Tired of all those loose bits of information spread all over your hard drive in multiple documents requiring opening multiple apps to see them? Opening many apps sucks up your valuable Mac memory and slows it down. Are you tired of trying to remember which note was written in which application and where you put it? Use TopXNotes to import all your notes and organize them in one place with the option to password protect and encrypt sensitive information.

TopXNotes – Your Personal Information Organizer:
Use TopXNotes advanced drag and drop to create notes from any other text application, or to drag to import text and/or RTF documents. Or copy/cut and paste from other applications. Once the information is created, use TopXNotes’ category system to create categories that meet your needs, or file in folder-like groups. Have one for home, one for office, and one for school, or a car project, or recipes, or anything at all.

TopXNotes – Your Personal Information Organizer:
As a Mac user, the Mac’s desktop Finder is familiar to you, so you will find our NoteOrganizer highly intuitive. To improve that experience, we have moved beyond the Finder to allow you to build your own Categories (with names, icons and colors) to customize the experience for your needs. You will use the TopXNotes NoteOrganizer to organize your notes and quickly find things. TopXNotes NoteOrganizer lets you filter your notes by name, note page number, date created, date modified or category. You can also rapidly reverse sort or instantly switch between multiple NoteOrganizer display layouts.

TopXNotes – MultiView Convenience:
Use TopXNotes’ unique MultiView feature to view more than one note at once in adjacent views. Think of it like opening a book to multiple pages at a time.

TopXNotes – MultiView Editing:
Using MultiView speeds up note editing by simplifying comparing notes, rearranging information from one note to another, combining notes, separating a long note into 2 or more notes, and other tasks. While you work, TopXNotes sliding Text toolbar automatically hovers right above where you are typing.

TopXNotes – MultiViewing:
In addition to helping edit your notes, TopXNotes MultiView allows you to show multiple notes on a theme at once. For instance, you might have a shopping list, budget and websites in adjacent notes for shopping. Alternatively, you might organize your day by having a list of calls, a list of errands, a project outline, and today’s To-Do list side by side by side by side. There is no end to the combinations you will find useful.

TopXNotes – QuickNotes at your fingertips:
Once you have your notes organized, prioritize them with TopXNotes QuickNotes feature. Just click to check the QuickNotes category for your most critical information. Now you will be able to instantly access that note from the QuickNotes menu. Whether you have many windows open or the TopXNotes main window minimized, your QuickNotes are always instantly accessible from the desktop or from the TopXNotes Dock menu for your convenience.

TopXNotes – Security & Dual-Encryption:
Once you have your notes organized be sure to use our password protection to encrypt those notes with sensitive information, or you can set a password to shield all your notes from prying eyes, or you can do both (our unique “Dual-Encryption”). In this fashion, you have easy access to all your information, including the sensitive items.

TopXNotes Sync – Notes “On the Go”:
Use TopXNotes Mac and its mobile partner, TopXNotes for iOS (for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) to take those notes with you that you want while you are away including shopping lists, to-do lists, directions, or anything you want.

TopXNotes – Reviews:
TopXNotes was awarded 4 out of 5 mice by Macworld magazine in their “Summer of Mac Gems” series of reviews, by Macworld Australia, and later by Macworld UK. TopXNotes was rated “9 of 10” by Macsimum News (now part of MacTech), and highly rated by the Macintosh Guild, Macworld, Macworld UK and Mac360. Dennis Sellers rated it 10 of 10 for Apple Daily Report. TopXNotes has been critically reviewed with high marks on many occasions and you can find links to all the reviews on our website.

TopXNotes – Macworld Review:
Macworld praised the TopXNotes “clean, single window interface that puts controls for highlighting and marking up your text right at your fingertips,” as well as for its “killer” QuickNotes feature.

TopXNotes – Mac User Group Review:
Sue Beal, president of the Upper Keys (Florida) Macintosh Users Group called TopXNotes “Inexpensive, unobtrusive, and just plain handy.”

TopXNotes – Mac360:
Ron Mc Elfresh, of Mac360 stated: “I’m a notes freak. I have notes on everything. From to-do items to code snippets to tasks and projects to article ideas. Here’s an understated, unloved, deceptively powerful notes app worthy of some Mac love…it’s loaded with user features that set it apart from other note taking apps. TopXNotes is deceptively powerful and flexible, probably because the interface is immediately familiar.”

Release Specific Information
TopXNotes 1.8.5 has the following changes:

New Features:

  • Mac OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) Ready
  • The Tropical Store version of the app now requires a minimum MacOS version of 10.6, the same as the Mac Apple Store version requires

Changed Features:

  • Allow Find to start in NoteOrganizer
  • Highlight rectangle after Find “Hit”

Fixed:

  • Fix crash on File/Export Note Group… to prevent too long export file names
  • Fixed problem of Sync creating empty notes if iOS TopXNotes contained blank, untitled notes
  • Fix to insure large data files open reliably

Try Tropical’s reliable TopXNotes 1.8.5 to “get organized” today! TopXNotes 1.8.5 is available for $39.95 (USD) from the Tropical Software web site, the Apple Mac App store, Amazon, and other select Macintosh software resellers. TopXNotes 1.8.5 is a free update to customers who have already purchased version 1.5 or later. Existing customers with an older version (previous to 1.5) can upgrade to version 1.8.5 for only $19.95 from the company’s website.

“MacBook Pro Guide” Book

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Product Announcement – Tap Guides of Poole, United Kingdom has announced its latest book: MacBook Pro Guide. Brought to you by the expert team at Tap Guides, and written by best-selling technology author Tom Rudderham, MacBook Pro Guide is packed with top tips and in-depth tutorials. You’ll learn about exclusive MacBook Pro features such as the Touch Bar, discover how to use macOS High Sierra and its built-in apps, plus much more. The book is available in both eBook and Paperback formats, exclusively through the Amazon Store.

In many ways, the MacBook Pro is the ultimate Mac. It’s powerful, yet small enough to carry comfortably with one hand. It features a Retina display which makes images, video, and the web look pin-sharp. It can be plugged into a 5K monitor and used as a desktop computer. It’s also a beautiful device to behold. MacBook Pro Guide is the perfect companion for your new Mac. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be an expert in nearly everything MacBook and macOS related.

Inside you’ll discover:

  • Everything you need to know about MacBook Pro & High Sierra
  • How to set up your Mac
  • How to use the Touch Bar and TrackPad
  • Detailed app tutorials
  • How to edit photos
  • Essential settings and configurations
  • Troubleshooting tips

Device Requirements:

  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Windows, & Kindle Devices
  • eBook Pages: 218 Pages
  • Paperback Pages: 184 Pages

MacBook Pro Guide is $5.99 USD in eBook format, and $11.99 in Paperback (or equivalent amount in other currencies), and available worldwide exclusively through the Amazon Store in the Computers category.

Product Review of TripMode

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Product Review – I had read about TripMode, but it was a discussion of it as a recommended utility on the Mac Power Users podcast #386 Must Have Utilities that convinced me to purchase it. TripMode is a Mac utility that allows you to (per their website) “Easily block unwanted apps from accessing the Internet the second you connect to a hotspot“.

The utility is very useful when you are operating your MacBook over a hotspot instead of WiFi (IEEE 802.11). As I have found while traveling, there are many Mac software packages that are constantly trying to use the Internet. If you have a limited monthly data allocation for your hotspot device, you can very quickly find it used up in just a few days. I recently found that I had used 90% of my monthly 15G allowance in just six days! While my connectivity doesn’t end when I hit the 15G limit, my access speed is severely constrained.

TripMode seems to be the answer. I purchased ($7.99 from their website) it yesterday and put it to work on my MacBook. With TripMode in place, I was able to both monitor and control my data usage.

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Data monitoring is an option not enabled by default, but I wanted to see how much the various applications were using so I enabled it through the TripMode settings.

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You can create as many profiles as you like, giving each a separate name. You have can then choose which Apps are allowed to access the Internet in the profile by checking those you want in the list (Safari is selected in the image above).

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TripMode shows up in the Menubar at the top of your screen. The icon blinks red every time an App attempts to access the Internet and is blocked. When the TripMode icon is clicked you get a drop-down list of the Apps with an indication of which are enabled in the current profile and their data usage. This drop-down also lets you switch between profiles (the profile currently in use in the image above is ‘writing’.

You can set up the usage monitoring to start on any day of the month and to last for periods of a single day, a week or a month. Using TripMode I have been able to keep working over my hotspot, yet limit which Apps are using the limited resource. TripMode remembers which WiFi access points it has been turned on for in the past and automatically activates when one of those access points is used in the future.

Now that I have used this App, I consider it a must-have App for my MacBook. If you ever use a hotspot while traveling, this is an App you need to consider.

 

Pros

  • Easy to install and configure
  • Multiple profiles user definable
  • Profiles for different operating situations
  • TripMode starts as soon as you connect to Wifi
  • Vendor claims there is no tracking of Internet sites visited
  • An abbreviated user manual is available through the App

 

Cons

  • The $7.99 seemed a little high, but it was worth it
  • No indication of which App is being blocked when the icon flashes red

See my other macOS articles