How to Get iOS Devices to Work with Windows Servers

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 Jeff's iOS devices and Windows servers blog-3

A while ago a client asked, “How can I use my Apple iPad with my documents at work?” 

Initially, it seemed like an easy question. Windows computers and iPads are both very popular products; of course there would be an easy solution. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be.

These two large competitors are not very interested in working together. My client, who had his shares on a Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 Server and wanted his Apple iPad to access those shares, had presented a challenge.

There were obvious solutions. You could use any number of remote desktop apps, such as Teamviewer, to get into your company’s terminal server, to work on the server’s desktop. But my client did not want to remote-in to anything. He wanted to access the documents without needing any device. He wanted to be able to use his domain credentials to authenticate and access shares.

I realized my solution needed to be broken out into a few parts. The first was to get an iOS device onto a Windows domain network. That’s actually the easiest part out of this entire process; every iOS device has a VPN tool built-in. As long as your network has RRAS (PPTP on port 1723), you can join the device to the network. If you are inside the network and have WiFi, even easier. To find the VPN tool on your iOS device, go to Settings –> VPN. It will request your information for connecting, simple as that. WiFi is in the exact same location (Settings –> WiFi).

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FileBrowser

Once connected to the network, you need to browse SMB shares. Unfortunately, Apple decided not to build this portion into their devices. You need a separate app. I tried out many, but the one I liked most was FileBrowser ($5.99). For any business looking to complete this task, it’s worth the price. FileBrowser allows you to set up locations in your iOS device, called Remote Servers, and connect to see all shares to which your domain credentials have access. For my example we joined a VPN, then mapped a “Remote Server” to an internal IP address where his file server existed, and then reviewed the various shares related to that file server.

If you have your shares locked down in the appropriate security groups, you will only see the shares to which you have access. (FileBrowser doesn’t get around any security flaws that could be present. It’s all based on your domain credentials.

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Google Docs

My client loved this, but he added one last piece to the puzzle. His company didn’t want to just view the files, they wanted to edit them, too. After much searching, I found the best tool for this job in another app (a free one) called QuickOffice, by Google (later replaced by a more powerful version of Office editing, Google Docs.) With Google Docs you can pull up any of the FileBrowser-searched documents, edit them with tools very similar to Microsoft’s Office suite, and then place them back on the server.

Although it sounds complicated, all the apps worked together seamlessly to allow my client’s company to review and edit files in their Windows environment, thus allowing them to integrate Apple devices into their Windows domain. And in the end, my client was happy.

For more information on how you can integrate your Apple products into a Windows domain, call Everon at 1-888-244-1748.

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Why You Might Want to Turn Off Your Phone’s Location Services

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 Tim - phone location blog - 2

How well do you know your Facebook friends? Would you want any — or all — of them knowing where you are, at any given time? Chances are, they can. Your smartphone logs everywhere you go, via location services. These are usually defaults in applications. If you don’t manually turn them off, others can find out where you are. Or where you’ve been. Common ones are Apple’s “Find My Friends” and Android’s “Locate My Friends!” apps. Your Facebook friends can use these to track you. Additionally, there are so many sub-services to location services that there are many, many more apps like these, which can “find” you and invade your privacy. (Note: this is different from the GPS tracking services used by maps, or methods the Feds can use to track criminals, etc.) Here’s how to turn off location services (and any sub-service) on Android, iPhone, and Windows phones.

Android/ Google Users:

If you’re an Android user, Google’s location services is broken down into two features:

  • Location Reporting is the feature that gives apps like Google Now, Google Maps, Foursquare, Twitter, and even your camera app access to your position. Whenever an app shows you something nearby, suggests local businesses, or helps you find the closest gas station, it’s using Location Reporting.
  • Location History is the feature that keeps track of where you’ve been, and any addresses you type-in or navigate-to. It’s how Google figures out where “Home” and “Work” are, so Google Now can estimate your commute time or give you traffic information for those places. Turning it off will still give you traffic information, but it means Google won’t try to guess where you’re going based on your previous searches.

To disable Location Reporting or History in Android:

  1. Open the App Drawer and go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap Location.
  3. Scroll down and tap Google Location Settings.
  4. Tap Location Reporting and Location History, and switch the slider to off for each one.
  5. To delete your phone’s location cache, tap “Delete Location History” at the bottom of the screen under Location History.
  6. Repeat this process for each Google Account you have on your Android device. 

iPhone Users:

To disable location services in iOS:

  1. Open the Settings App.
  2. Scroll down to Privacy, and select Location Services.
  3. Disable all Location Services by swiping the slider at the top, or scroll down to disable location services for specific apps, including Google and Google Maps.
  4. Select System Services to deny location data from specific features, like location-based advertisements, turn off Frequent Locations, or disable the “Popular Near Me” feature

Windows Phone users:

This is for Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some options and features may not be available.

To turn Location Services on or off

  1. In the App list, tap Settings –> Location.
  2. Turn Location services on or off.

To turn the Location icon on

You can see when an app is accessing your phone’s location information by looking for the Location icon. To make sure this icon is turned on:

  1. In the App list, tap Settings –> Location.
  2. Select the Show icon check box.

For more help with your smartphone, or for other computer help with your small-to-medium business, please contact us at Everon: 888-244-1748 or info@everonit.com. We are your virtual IT department.

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Turn your old smartphone into a webcam!

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Tim's dogs

Sometimes I need to keep an eye on these guys.

 

Have an extra smartphone laying around that you’re not really using ? Make it into a web cam! This is an awesome tool when you want to keep an eye on your pets at home, for example. First off, however, you’ll need a Google account (sign up for free at google.com). Now, follow these simple steps:

1. Download the free application WebOfCam from the app store on your phone (for android, iphone, and ipad devices)
     a. Install the app to your old smartphone
     b. Then login into your Google account on your old smartphone to configure the app
     c. Select “camera” when it asks you to choose between camera and viewer options
     d. Place your new camera (old smartphone) in a good location.

2. Now install the same app on new smartphone
     a. Use the same Google account to login and select viewer

There you go, pairing completed. You now have a makeshift webcam!

Website Building: Adding Google Analytics to your WordPress Site

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I wrote a blog a bit ago about my professed love for WordPress, after my failure in trying to build a site using DotNetNuke. One of the aspects that really helped me push forward, and is a must for any developing website designer, is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics gives you up-to-date information about how many hits your website generates, the type of traffic it is generating, the most viewed pages, etc. There is a ton of information in here, and to be honest, I haven’t even touched the surface of what it can do. However, installing it was surprisingly easy.

Your first step is to go to Google’s Analytics site and sign up for a free account (there are paid/premium accounts, however I am just using the free account). Once you are signed up, you can now access your Google Analytics page. You will not see any data until you connect it to your website. In order to connect it to your WordPress site, you must download a plug-in called “Insert Headers & Footers.” Once your WordPress plug-in is installed and activated, you are ready to configure the plug-in.

Choose to edit the plug-in, and you will be shown a page similar to this:

HeadersFootersYou will need to enter code that is given to you by the Google Analytics page into this code. The location of the code you need can be found on the GA page, under Admin ->Property ->Tracking Info ->Tracking Code:

TrackingI scrolled to the bottom and inserted my code. Once I posted the tracking code into the bottom of my own code within the ‘Insert Headers & Footers’ plug-in, I clicked Update File, and that was it! If you just want to begin getting traffic tracked for your website, this is all that is needed. But of course, there is WAY more you can do with Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that every beginning web developer needs to consider putting in place, and WordPress makes it VERY easy to set up!

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Get any app FREE on Google Play with Google Opinion Rewards!

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Calling all Android power users!  Calling all Android power users!

I have been using Android phones for almost 5 years.  My first Android phone was the HTC Nexus One released back in 2010.  I have seen the platform grow and evolve, quite literally in the palm of my hand.  The main thing that I love about the platform is the always growing Google Play store.  There are new and incredible apps being developed every day. While the apps are fairly inexpensive, sometimes the cost can still be a barrier in my decision, if I don’t “need” the app.

That’s where Google Opinion Rewards comes into play.  Simple Idea:  answer a one-to-five-question survey once or twice a week, earn free Google Play credit. Too good to be true, right?!

james - image2tempFileForShare

 

I assure you this is real. I have been using it since 2013 and have since collectively earned ~$24.  The surveys arrive to your device randomly, around 1-2 per week.  The maximum payout for each survey is $1.00 and the credit you earn expires in a year. But hey, its free! Check it out: Google Opinion Rewards.

And Merry Christmas, early. ;)

[Note: James was not compensated by Google for this blog post. His enthusiasm for the product is purely his own.]