Posts Tagged ‘Mac’

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Dual-boot remote access – it can be done!

November 20, 2009

Vista busy cursor Just imagine that you have a dual-boot system, say at home, and want to access it remotely over the Internet and also want to be able to switch between the two operating systems.

The remote access part is now quite easy, thanks to Microsoft Live Mesh which has similar functionality to commercial product such as Citrix’s GoToMyPC but is helpfully free.  It also works on the Mac.  Live Mesh is still in beta but is rock solid.  From my office I can access my PC at home over the Internet.  It breezes past the enterprise firewall and proxy server setup as if they weren’t there.

But switching between the two operating systems on the home PC, while accessing it remotely, seems rather harder.  After all, while you can easily force a system reboot remotely, by the time the system is going through its boot-up processes your remote connection will have been lost, so you will have no access to the boot menu to choose which operating system you want to launch. Live Mesh will not restart until after the OS has booted up, so you will always get the default operating system back again.

For Windows users, the solution is a very simple utility called iReboot from NeoSmart Technologies.  It was designed with dual-boot systems in mind, to cut out the effort involved when switching between systems.  Once running, it lives in the notification area of the Windows taskbar.  Using that icon you can force a reboot into the OS of your choice, rather than having to make the OS choice from a boot menu at restart time.  That means you can choose the OS to boot up in when accessing the PC remotely.  I don’t think NeoSmart created iReboot specifically to help remote users of dual-boot systems, but it certainly can be used for that purpose, in combination with Live Mesh, GoToMyPC or similar.

Of course, Live Mesh will still lose contact with the PC while it goes through its reboot process, but you can connect again once the chosen OS has booted up, provided you had installed Live Mesh (with saved password) on both operating systems.  Provided both systems are Windows based, and you have iReboot installed on both, you can switch back and forth to your heart’s delight however many thousands of miles away you are.

The one complication is with Mac/Windows dual-boot systems, because iReboot is Windows only and there is no equivalent of iReboot on the Mac.  Having said that, if you make Windows your default OS and force a straight reboot from the Mac side of the system it will still boot back into Windows, and from the Windows side you can use iReboot to get to the Mac.

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This iPhoneless Life #10 – Almost enough to make me buy an iPhone

August 10, 2009

iPod As I have been documenting over the last few months, I have got my WM6 phone pretty much doing all the same things as an iPhone but with the added advantage of wireless stereo Bluetooth earphone support.

Of course there are some downsides.  The device, an HTC TyTN II, is not as svelte and elegant as an iPhone and the user interface, being based on Windows Mobile, is not as slick and well integrated as the Apple equivalent. Also, the looser software/hardware integration of Windows Mobile devices, and in particular the greater reliance on third-party utilities, is more likely to cause grief.

A case in point is the clash between Windows Media Player Mobile (WMPM) and Audible.com’s player. For reasons best known to themselves, Audible will not allow their audiobooks to be played on WMPM, instead requiring users to install Audible’s proprietary audiobook player. Maybe it’s because WMPM does not support bookmarking. It  would not have been that much of a problem to have to use two separate applications for music/podcasts vs. audiobooks were it not for the fact that they conflict with each other causing the phone to crash.

The culprit appears to be the Audible player.  Once it has been run, it seems to result in some persistent locking of resources which interferes with the operation of Windows Media Player, even after the Audible player application has been closed.  You can still open and use Windows Media, but when you try to close the latter down, as you would if say updating your podcasts or synchronising your music, the phone locks up and requires a time-consuming soft reset.

I have tried installing various bits of kit to try to troubleshoot or debug the problem, but whatever it is has its hooks too deep down within the operating system and I cannot fathom it.  It is very annoying but I guess I’m stuck with it for the foreseeable future unless anyone has any bright ideas.

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