iPhone as a Remote Control for XBMC (Xbox Media Center)

March 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Home Entertainment, iPhone, News, Video

While searching for the ultimate FREE home media center application, I came across XBMC (Xbox Media Center). XBMC was originally created for the first-generation Xbox game console, but it is now available for Linux, Mac OS X (Leopard, Tiger, and Apple TV), Windows (Vista, XP). There is even a live CD version called XBMC Live.

XBMC plays most video formats, and I find it the ultimate player for playing HD movies. For additional features and recommended hardware, please refer to the official XBMC site.

I currently have XBMC installed on my Windows Vista Ultimate (x64), and it is running absolutely flawlessly. My windows machine is connected to my Mitsubishi HC1600 HD DLP Projector, and oh boy…do I have a movie theater in my living room?

After appreciating this set-up for a few weeks, I decided to create a similar one for my bedroom (less the projector), and this time I wanted to use my Mac Book. Fortunately XBMC has a build for Mac OS X, but for a greater positive surprise, I found that there is a XBMC port specifically designed for OS X: Plex. Plex works absolutely amazing and it utilizes both cores of the Mac Book, which is crucial for watching HD Movies.

Now that I have a fully functioning home media center in my living room and bedroom, I couldn’t wish for anything else but a remote that will control them all.

Being an iPhone addict, I searched for XBMC on App Store and was pleasantly surprised. There is an application called XBMC Remote that allows you to control XBMC (or Plex) through your WiFi. That was exactly what I was hoping for and installed the software immediately. XBMC Remote costs $2.99, but is worth every penny. In addition, there is an application called xbmcontrol which is free, but XBMC Remote works better for me.

Setting up XBMC to work with your XBMC Remote is very easy and it takes about a minute:

1. Open XBMC (or Plex) and Navigate to Settings. Write down or remember the IP address.

XBMC Config

2. Enter settings and scroll down to Servers

XBMC Server

3. Highlight (arrow right) Enable Web Server and enable it (hit Enter). Port 80 is preselected and you may leave it as is unless you have a web server on the same subnet accepting connections on port 80. Adding a password is optional.

4. Go to App Store on your iPhone and search for xbmc remote. Install the application and open it.

5. You’ll have to first configure it, by adding a XBMC Host. Select Add Host

XBMC Remote - Settings

6. Enter a title of your choice. Enter the same port number you used on your XBMC or just leave it 80 if you didn’t change it. For Host/IP enter the IP address of your XBMC (the one you remembered from step 1).

XBMC Remote - Config

Select Done and you are all set. Tap on your newly created host, select more and tap on Remote. Now you have a fully functional remote control for your XBMC or Plex. The remote could be used with Buttons or Gestures.

XBMC Remote - Buttons

Useful network apps for your iPhone

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under iPhone, Mobile Phones

One of the greatest inventions of today’s tech world is the iPhone OS. It is the operating system that your nifty iPhone or iPod touch runs on. Based on the same kernel found on the Mac OS X it is capable of supporting bundled and future applications from Apple as well as third party software developers. Being a *NIX based system, it is capable of running your favorite network apps and utilities. Besides iTunes additional packages could be installed via Installer or Cydia. In addition, there is a linux utility written in Python called iDebMaker which could assist in an easy creation of Debian (.deb) packages for use with your iPhone/iPhone Touch.
I would like to share some of my favorite ones, which help me on a daily basis at home and work:

Terminal

Available through Cydia – Free

Mobile Terminal is a terminal emulator for the iPhone. It is a must have for anyone requiring a sysadmin feel of the iPhone. It supports Backspace, One-Finger Swipe, Single Keyboard, Config Screen, Ctrl-C and more.

Nmap

Available through Cydia – Free
With Nmap you can analyze and scan remote networks, along with your current WLAN. It is run from the terminal as root.

StumblerPlus

Available through AppStore – Free
Stumbler Plus is a very useful information that allows you to scan wifi networks and gather information such us MAC address, longtitude and latitude of the accesspoint, accesspoint manufacturer and more.
Network Ping Lite
Available through AppStore – Free
Network Ping Lite will help you in maintaining and debugging network problems on a LAN. It features:

  • Single IP ping
  • Ping a subnet
  • Traceroute
  • Telnet console
  • Display the iPhone IP

More functional version is available for $3.99.

zsrelay

Available through Cydia – Free
This is the best solution of using your iPhone as a modem. It requires SOCKS connection and despite the unsafe connection between your Mac and the iPhone your data is safe and encrypted by SSH. This will allow you to use 3G network when WiFi is unavailable.

Minicom

Available through Cydia – Free
Serial communication software for your iPhone.

OpenSSH

Available through Cydia – Free
OpenSSH allows you to login securely from and to your iPhone. This is a must have if you need to access your servers or desktop remotely. It works great over 3G, Edge and WiFi. Windows users may access the iPhone through Putty or WinSCP. Both available for free.

Remote Desktop (lite)

Available through AppStore – Free (paid version available as well)
rdesktop is the open source client for Windows Terminal Services. It works with XP, but does not support Vista yet.

SOCKS Relay

Available through Cydia – Free
This is a simple SOCKS 4/5 proxy server. It is run from the terminal as root.

Wget

Available through Cydia – Free
Simple HTTP file transfer client. Run from terminal and get any file available on the network or internet.

SubnetIT
Available through AppStore – Free – Requires 2.1
SubnetIT is a very useful app for the network administrator. You specify a network address and subnet mask it will calculate Network address, Broadcast address, First and Last host in the subnet and max number of hosts. Displayed in decimal, hexadecimal, and binary notation.

Gameloft Wins iLounge’s “Game Developer of the Year” and “Game of the Year” Awards for iPod/iPhone Development

November 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Gaming, Mobile Phones, News

NEW YORK, October 31, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ — Gameloft, a leading developer and publisher of video games on mobile phones and consoles, was selected today by the editors and readers of iLounge as the “iPod and iPhone Game Developer of the Year” for its outstanding contributions to iPod and iPhone gaming. Editors also chose Gameloft’s Platinum Sudoku as the “Game of the Year” for iPhone and iPod Touch.
“We are proud to receive this honored distinction,” explains Michel Guillemot, president, Gameloft. “The iPhone has been a revolutionary device in the mobile gaming industry allowing us to truly maximize our production qualities and deliver a stellar gaming experience to audiences worldwide. This competitive award reaffirms our dedicated efforts in creating fun and entertaining titles that leverage the iPhone’s unique capabilities.”
“Gameloft’s awards this year are notable in that they came from both our editors and readers,” said Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief, iLounge. “Everyone agreed that this was an outstanding year for Gameloft, which transformed itself from an impressive developer of Click Wheel iPod games into a powerhouse for iPhone development. We cannot wait to see what it has in store for 2009.”
Celebrating its fifth anniversary, iLounge’s 2009 iPod + iPhone Buyers’ Guide annually recognizes the world’s best iPod and iPhone hardware, accessories, and software in an extensive, consumer-focused publication. Other games featured in the buyer’s guide ‘100 Best iPhone and iPod Touch Apps and Games’ include Brain Challenge, Asphalt 4: Elite Racing and Real Soccer 2009.
This is the inaugural year for Reader’s Choice Awards, in which thousands of users cast their votes online. Winners were announced in the Buyers’ Guide on October 31, 2008.