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Controlling your kiosks remotely

June 15, 2010 by
Filed under: Monitoring 

Kiosk Remote AccessVirtual Network Computing (VNC) software makes it possible to view and fully interact with one computer from any other computer or mobile device, anywhere on the Internet.

Setting Up the VNC Server – The computer that you want to control

Mac OS X is shipped with the VNC server component, so you just need to turn it on. Here are the steps. You will need administrator privileges.

  1. Open up System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Click on the Sharing icon in the Internet and Wireless category.
  3. Select Remote Management from the list of items. Note the IP address.Remote Management
  4. Click on “Computer Settings…” and check VNC viewers… and specify a password. Click Ok.Remote Access Control
  5. Click on Options and select what the client can access then click Ok.Remote Access Options

Your Mac is now set up as a VNC Server, so you can now close the System Preferences.

VNC Client – Computer used to connect to the remote computer

For the client side, there are many options but JollysFastVNC seems to be a popular one. Simply download JollyFastVNC, copy it to your Applications folder, and run it. Select the computer to control, enter the VNC password specified at the VNC server and it should connect. More info is included in the help file that comes with the VNC client if needed. Selecting the computer to control is straight forward if working within a local network but less so over the Internet.

Accessing a kiosk over the Internet may be a challenge

Most Internet connections use a dynamically generated IP address which is assigned by an ISP (Internet Service Provider) and changes frequently. A solution to this problem is to use a service likeĀ DynDNS. This service lets you choose from a list of domains (e.g. webhop.net) to which you can add a hostname to create a unique DNS record (e.g. kiosklocation1.webhop.net) that is available to the whole Internet. You then run a small free application on the kiosk to monitor the dynamic IP address and update the DNS record at DynDNS if it changes.

In most cases this public address takes you across the Internet right to your router, but once there, you need to be routed to the particular kiosk. In most cases you need to configure the cable or DSL modem. They usually have a configuration interface that is accessed as a web page. Visit DynDNS for more info on setting this up or visitĀ LogMeIn for a different approach. Good luck.

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