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Take Control of Screen Sharing in Leopard
This book has been replaced by Take Control of Screen Sharing in Lion.
This ebook has been replaced by Take Control of Screen Sharing in Lion. The new edition still has plenty of details about 10.5 Leopard, and it has more current info about Skype, MobileMe, iCloud, 10.6 Snow Leopard, and iOS apps.
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Glenn Fleishman is editor and publisher of The Magazine, an electronic periodical for curious people with a technical bent, and he hosts The New Disruptors, a podcast about fundamental changes in the economy of making art and making things. He also writes for the Economist’s Babbage blog and the publication’s print edition, plus he is a contributing editor at TidBITS, where he built the content management software.
Table of Contents
Read Me First
This book will help you master sharing a remote computer’s screen in Leopard and teach you about the options needed to get a reliable connection with the greatest versatility. It was written by Glenn Fleishman, technical edited by Dan Frakes, edited by Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
I remember the first time I used a remote screen-sharing program. Working from my desktop computer, I accessed a system that was in a server room but which had no monitor attached. It was magical. I could work with the server just as if I were directly connected with a keyboard and mouse, using its programs and manipulating objects on its desktop, but I didn't need to sit in the server room and have the inconvenient extra hardware attached to the server.
That sense of wonder still pervades me when I use screen sharing 18 years later. Instead of using a 10 Mbps (fast!) local Ethernet network or 2,400 bps dial-up software to make the connection, I use broadband feeds over the Internet to reach computers across town, 15 miles away, and 3,000 miles away.
Screen sharing gives you access to applications and data stored on another computer, even though your keyboard and mouse aren't connected to that computer. It also gives you the freedom to switch between computers in different locations without using individual remote-control applications, most of which are wonky or slow when used over the Internet.
Leopard extends the use of screen sharing from something you had to install or figure out how to use in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and earlier versions of Mac OS X to being part of the system, available on tap.
In Leopard, screen sharing comes in several forms, each of which I explain how to use in this book. In some forms, you need to be in control of each machine you want to access remotely, having an account and password on that computer. However, one particular method—Screen Sharing over iChat—requires just a buddy who gives you permission to access his or her screen.
I also cover VNC, a technology that's built into many different programs for many versions of Mac OS X and other platforms, and which is the basis of much of Leopard's screen-sharing capability.
This book teaches you how to set up a computer for remote screen sharing, using built-in features in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, as well as an alternative, VNC, that works with many operating systems.
If you are the happy-go-lucky sort whose Back to My Mac connection work smoothly and you don't have in-depth questions about the service, then, yes, it will answer all your questions. However, if you can't make the service work with the basic advice in this ebook, or if you want a fairly deep understanding of how a Back to My Mac connection is made or of security concerns relating to the service, then what you really want is Take Control of Back to My Mac.
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
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January 2012 -- We have replaced Take Control of Screen Sharing in Leopard with Take Control of Screen Sharing in Lion, which covers both Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard, and 10.7 Lion. Buy that edition instead..
—Tonya J Engst
September 7, 2009 --
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard appears to break the Screen Sharing application for Bonjour, Back to My Mac, and direct connections by displaying a black or frozen screen on connection. However, I've discovered any easy fix. From the View menu, choose either Full Quality or Adaptive Quality, whichever item isn't checked. This allows screen sharing to flow again. I imagine that Apple will fix this problem in a minor update soon. [According to Glenn, the problem appears to have been fixed in 10.6.2. —Tonya]
August 12, 2009 --
The release of Skype 2.8 brings yet another option for remote screen sharing to Mac OS X. This update lets two Skype users with 2.8 or later, or the beta of Skype 4.1 for Windows, share a screen with each other. The screen sharing lets you share your own screen with someone else, but doesn't work in group chat or call situations. It's set up for viewing, not remote control, too. Uniquely, you can define an area of the screen you want to share, and change that shape during a session dynamically.
I wrote about this new feature in depth at TidBITS —along with another feature for per-minute Wi-Fi hotspot access—in Skype 2.8 Adds Screen Sharing, Per-Minute Wi-Fi.
August 7, 2009 --
Apple slipped in a mickey in the Mac OS X 10.5.5 update. In the Screen Sharing application—as noted on page 35 in the book—you could use Rob Griffiths advice in Macworld to add buttons to the application's toolbar for various extra features, including controlling bit depth (number of colors). Apple has disabled this hack and removed the buttons.
Rob points out at Macworld on 16-Sept-2008 that to get these options back you would have to pay $300 to get a five-user bundle of Apple Remote Desktop 3. This seems awfully churlish of Apple. There's no way to obtain a single-user copy at lower cost, either. The Screen Sharing program is still useful without these extra controls, but substantially less convenient.
[The extra features remain disabled in 10.6 Snow Leopard.]
February 19, 2009 --
I was just made aware that the tip on page 12 of this book about obtaining a free iChat account via MobileMe is out of date. When Apple converted its .Mac service into MobileMe, it also eliminated a long-standing policy of allowing a trial subscriber to retain a .Mac account for use with iChat even if the trial user didn't sign up. That's still true for any old mac.com account you may be using in this fashion. However, with MobileMe, your account is active for only 45 days after the end of a trial or after the account expires. Then the account is disabled, and the account's name may be used by another subscriber if they request it. There's a way around this, though, as Apple still offers free .Mac accounts if you know where to sign up for them. TidBITS editor Jeff Carlson explains how to create such an account with in iChat in Get a Free, Non-Expiring .Mac Address for iChat.
The advice about setting up an AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) account at no cost for use with iChat is still valid, however.
Thanks to fellow author and TidBITS editor Joe Kissell, author of Take Control of MobileMe, for explaining the MobileMe change, and to Jeff Carlson for his advice on .Mac free accounts.
June 17, 2008 --
Reader Jack B. wrote in recently to remind us that you can transfer files via iChat, though not with the iChat screen-sharing feature. To accomplish a transfer, just drag a file from your Finder and drop it on a buddy's name in the AIM Buddy List window. (Presumably you could also drag a file to a name in the Bonjour List window.) In our email exchange, I commented that I'd found the iChat file-transfer feature to sometimes not work. Jack noted that he has to zip folders before he can transfer them and that JPEGs don't seem to be working for him under Leopard, though they did previously. He also suggested if the drag-and-drop method doesn't work, choosing Buddies > Send File or having one or both people involved in the chat quit and relaunch iChat.
—Tonya J Engst
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