Using iPad as a 2nd Monitor–Duet Display

Within this year, I see myself spending more time outside of my office than in the office which is rather something that I am looking for. There are times when I just needed one more monitor than just the laptop itself so that I can cross-reference some documents on Excel Spreadsheet along with what is being displayed on the main monitor especially when I am meddling with the system configurations of the customer systems.

Ideas have been storming into my mind all these while but every time a new idea emerged, I will start to think of the Pros and Cons. I did remember my good friend Matt Hitchcock has recommended to me the ASUS MB169+ which is an awesome piece of gadget! However, there are many constraints that prevented me from getting one of those external monitors that are powered by USB.

  1. I am using a HP Elitebook 840 G3 which comes with Two USB ports. I am generally happy with this machine as I have upgraded it to 16GB and it has built-in SSD which makes running a full lab that able to simulate the whole Condeco Enterprise suite of products.
  2. Although I am using a TUMI Alpha 2, it does have space limitation too although it is really huge! Moreover, I didn’t want to intentionally carry a truck full of loots with me each time I travel from place to place.
  3. Do I really need to lug around a 15” monitor with me all day long?

Therefore, I did a search online and chanced upon this software known as Duet Display. This generally fits into my use-case as I recently just upgrade my iPad Mini Generation 1 to a refurbished set of iPad Air 2 which I am really happy with till now.

Duet Display is free to download on your Mac OS X or Windows computer as the licensing is count towards the device you used as the additional screen. In terms of pricing, it is on the high side of an iOS application as it is priced at SGD 28.98.

Nevertheless, being productive at whatever one is doing is getting more and more important to me. I aimed to be able to improve and increase productivity for not just myself but for all the people around me who are keen to do so. On the flip side, the money spent on the App isn’t that significant anymore because I always believe that if one can splurge on good meals, they should be responsible for their own productivity. Therefore, one should invest in their well-beings. In the past, I have used other application which taps on the Wireless Network in order to connect as a secondary screen but the disadvantage of that would be it is always dependent on the wireless strength.

The setup of the application and have it connect to my Windows 10 laptop isn’t that difficult and can be done swiftly within 10 minutes including the time taken to download the application. Connect the iPad with the lightning cable and everything works like a charm. Here is a photo of the end result.

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Below is the step of step setting up of the application on my iPad after downloading from the Apple App Store.

1. The Application is easily found in the Apple App Store.

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2. Welcome screen

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3. Guide you to install the necessary software on your Mac OS or Windows computer.

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4. Typical application behaviour where they will ask you for permission to allow notifications to be shown. One thing that caught my eye is that it will keep track on how many hours that the software provides in terms of Productive Hours. This just co-relate with, how much frustrations has been saved and how much time was saved just by able to be more productive.

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5. Next is the signing up of marketing emailers.

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6. Now the most essential part where it is awaiting for the iPad to be connected.

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Once the iOS powered device is connected, it will automatically launch iTunes (if you have it installed) and automatically it will connect and display as a secondary screen as shown earlier in this post.

Some of the highlights of this Application is the help screen which generally gives me a very neat feeling.

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If you have an Apple iPad and wish to increase your productivity by having an additional screen, please go ahead and try out Duet Display.

Cheers,
Milton

Securing Your Connection using VPN–TunnelBear

During my last trip to Lombok, Indonesia, I was thinking of ways to secure my connection to the content that I accesses from the other side of the world. Therefore while searching for a reliable VPN provider, I pondered on a couple of them and ended up with TunnelBear.

Setup Process

Although most of the VPN providers provide very easy means to get started but what TunnelBear really buy me in is the aesthetic side of things. Let’s take a look on Android platform. You can easily obtain the TunnelBear VPN mobile application from PlayStore via here.

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This is the start. Usually in this era of mobile application design, on first load of an application will be the guide to make sure you get on how to use the application in general in a few swipe and short sentences.

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Once you are done or you maybe a professional in just swiping through, click on “Get Tunneling!”.

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On the first look, what I really like about TunnelBear mobile application is that, it serves the following:

  1. It tells me where is my location (although it is obvious that I should be knowing that!), but who knows shits may happen and the internet gateway that you may be connecting is already routing traffic from another provider or worst, another country. Can you imagine where you are in Singapore and your network routing always route to Hong Kong before it gets your request out? (I wouldn’t want that!)
  2. Just tell me whether my VPN is Connected or NOT.
  3. On just one-click, I am able to get a list of the endpoints that I want to connect to.

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Security prompt: It simply ask you for permission on whether you trust that this application is making changes to your mobile phone.

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What I am trying to explain here is that, I really appreciate how some small animation would buy me in that I have bought something that I prefer. The animation as shown when attempting to connect to an endpoint is that the Bear itself will dig down into the ground from your present location and dig underground all the way till the destination endpoint before coming up from the tunnel that was dug.

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Now I am connected to the Japan TunnelBear server and thus all my traffic will be routed through the connected VPN by TunnelBear.

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A little thing to read while connected via VPN. Although this are just some fun facts but it just tells how much a Service Provider is trying to provide to their customers.

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Here is a list of VPN endpoints that you can choose from and I really like the option where if you don’t know in term of geographically which country is nearer, you can always select the “Closest Tunnel”.

Pricing

I really hate providers who have many different plans which usually made people confused and don’t know which plan to select from. While TunnelBear only has 2 Plans (1 – Free, 1 – Paid) and further boil down to whether you want to pay Month-to-Month or on a yearly basis.

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There is promotion on-going right now! Go for it!

Any Other Device?

TunnelBear supports Android, iOS and Windows. So let’s take a look at the iOS version.

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It is almost the same as setting up for Android, just that it required installation of the VPN Profile in iOS as shown.

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I have no idea why the Profile isn’t signed. Kind of interested to know why too. I only did an installation on Windows 8.1 on my Toshiba Encore Mini 2 and it also get installed and connected easily without much effort.

Testing

I did a simple verifications after connected using my iPad running on iOS.

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Verifications completed to show that my IP address is from the US instead of Singapore.

I highly recommend the readers of my blog to give TunnelBear a try-out!

Cheers!
Milton Goh

[Consumer Review] – AirServer

Recently, I find myself needing to mirror the image from my Apple iPad to my computer during presentation so I went on searching for a tool that can help complete this task. As I uses Apple Mac at work, so I need something that is friendly to Mac but at the same time friendly to Windows too (Kill two birds with one stone).

Happened to chanced upon AirServer when I did an online search so decided to give it a spin since they offered 7 days trial. You may want to give the application a spin by hitting here. (You are not seeing the wrong thing, the link is a referral link that was assigned to my account. Well, I believe in a win-win situation. Definitely, you have all the freewill to hit the download section via the site directly as it doesn’t affect me at all.)

Installation Process

During the installation process on a Windows 8.1 computer, I encountered that there are more pre-requisites that is required as compared to installation on my Mac. Hereby, I will walk through the differences.

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As you can see, since I giving the software a spin and I want to be able to enjoy every single bit out of it. I wish to enable both AirPlay and Miracast.

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This is simple, downloading another driver to get it installed is easy matter since concise instructions was given. Just download the Bonjour Print Services from here and get it installed. Alternatively, if you have iTunes installed, you would have installed the Bonjour Print Services in one way or another.

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Second item on the list flagged out because I have selected Miracast is complex because I am installing it on my Intel NUC and Ethernet Lan was used all the time since I did not add Wireless Card in it. Well, too bad, I will just remove Miracast then.

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Run the check again to make sure all pre-requisites are installed and move ahead by clicking on “Next”. Agree to the EULA and continue.

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If you have downloaded the application via the site, you would have been prompted to either Sign-Up via logging into FaceBook or fill in the basic details to sign-up. Either way would have an Activation Code created on the screen.

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Change to the desire folder to install the AirServer but usually I will just leave it as default.

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This is rather a special way to phrase it. I always get options such as “Do you want to make this application available to yourself.” or “Do you want to make this application available to everyone?”. Something different at once… Click on to get the application installed.

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Usage

After installation, the AirServer application is launched and I am welcome to this screen.

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I seriously thought that I have entered the Activation Code once during registration and it seems like it hasn’t been registered. (To the AirServer Team, is this a bug?) This is the part where Internet Connection is needed as the application will hit back to one of the server at AirServer to make sure that the code entered is valid and not expired.

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Hooray! It is running now! Now time to give it a spin…

I was suppose to get it working by mirroring my iPad display to my Windows 8.1 screen but doesn’t seem working presently. However, all audio that are playing on the iPad are routed to the Windows 8.1 computer via AirServer.

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I don’t think this should be rocket science to setup but definitely doing it on an Apple Mac is way easier compared to Windows.

 

Compatibility

Operating System: Compatible PC / Compatible Mac
Sender: AirPlay Compatible Device or Miracast Compatible Source Device
Network: Source and Destination to be on the same Network. (Be it Wired or Wireless connected)
Internet Connection: Required only for Software Activation.

For this, I am so entice to get Miracast compatible source device. (I promise to write another blog post after I tried AirServer with my newly purchased gadget.)

 

Pricing

As you can see from the chart below which I have grabbed it from AirServer website.

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It just cost US$14.99 in order to enjoy the full function for life (perpetual license). It is not expensive at all for all the convenient it gives you.

Will you give this a spin or you have something better to recommend? Share with me via the comment box or drop me an email.

Cheers!
Milton Goh

My Ez-Link Mobile Application–Convenient at a cost.

The company that take care of all our electronic card (EZ-Link) that commuters used on a daily basis while commuting has released its own mobile application for mainly the Android and iOS platform. The mobile application has been sitting on my phone for awhile and until just yesterday I decided to give it a spin again. In the past, I used it mainly to check the values that is remaining in my card as I am a lazy commuters who doesn’t bother looking at the gantry indicators whenever I go through.

Let’s roll over to the mobile application itself.

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This is the start screen of the application. To get things started, there is a need to scan the EZ-Link card to know what other functions is available.

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Once I place my EZ-Link card at the back of my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with NFC enabled, I will be able to get all the details.

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OK, previously I have scanned this card and save this card as per identified as “Milton’s Ezlink” as usually one card is tie to one person. However, there is no ruling that one person cannot own more than one card but that isn’t something that I required as of now. (I have intentionally replaced the CAN ID so that it is not known, I personally do not know the implications if someone knows my card ID but just want to be on the safe side). This application gives me a break down of my last few trips made or rather the last few transactions that was performed using this card. This actually reminds me of the past where I commute using Bus / MRT during work and we will need to access one of the machine at the nearest station to print a transaction receipt so that I can claim it from the company. Although it is just less than a dollar or two but when things adds up, it could foot the bill for a meal for one easily.

So is there any situation where you are about to leave home for work or anywhere else and you wish to take the public bus but to realize that your EZ-Link card runs low on value? On top of that, you have run out of coins to use to pay off the bus fare and aren’t willing to throw in a two-dollars note to pay off a ride that may only cost you 90-cents or one-twenty?

Here the mobile application come to your rescue! Touch the “Topup Card” feature as shown in the previous screen image then you are on your way to top-up your EZ-Link card using E-Payment such as Credit Card.

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Select the desire amount you want to top-up and continue. My recommendation here is to select the highest amount available! Will come to it shortly.

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Now do you see why? Do you see that greeny weeny “Convenience Fee” that the Credit Card merchant is going to impose for helping you to make sure you don’t lose out? Be it $10, $20 or that mean option of $5, you will still need to pay for the thirty-cents “Convenience Fee”! So be wise, since you paid for the convenient, utilize it fully!

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From the back of my mind, I do not remember that I have keyed in my date-of-birth anywhere when I set this whole thing up, but nevertheless, I couldn’t have forgotten about when I was hatched from the egg. Go ahead, enter the value and proceed. (Maybe I would try to provide false information and see what the application will prompt me)

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Lastly, enter the Credit Card information and proceed… Hooray! EZ-Link card topped up! (Oops, I didn’t continue because I still have values in my EZ-Link card but wonder would I ever fall in such trap where I do require to use this feature!)

In the current era, technology has advanced so quick that providing convenient to consumer is on the top priority. Integrating many solutions into one so that to leverage on expertise from different field or industry.

Have you used this application before? If yes, share with us how it goes for you. If no, why not? Would you give it a spin like what I did? Perhaps, that one day you would really need this?

Find this Android Application over here.

Cheers.

Milton Goh