Vysor

Recently, I was looking for apps that would do approximately what ‘Samsung SideSync’ does – which is to allow a remote, VNC-like connection, with our PCs or Laptops as clients, and with the Android device as our Remote Host. But I was looking for solutions that run under Linux, which SideSync does not.

And so another possibility which I ran in to, was This Solution. The main problem with “Vysor”, is that some users don’t understand what it does. It creates a remote session To one’s Android device alright, but by default, requires that we have ADB drivers installed on the PC or Laptop, and that we have a USB cable connecting that computer to our Android…

Actually, The Best Way to access Vysor, is first to install the Chrome Extension, which will act as client. In order for this to work, we first need to make sure that WebGL Is Enabled on our Chrome For Linux.

And then, if we still want to use Vysor, only without the USB cable, we may need to install This Additional App, which acts as an ADB-over-WiFi bridge, on the Android side. On the PC or Laptop side, we nevertheless need to have the ADB drivers installed.

IF we can get all these components to work together, then we’ll also have an Android-session over WiFi, BUT, there is a problem. It represents a security risk. By exposing the full ADB capabilities of our phone to whatever WiFi network, we’d also be allowing other potential hacks to take place.

I did not go as far as described, before deciding that this was less-than-ideal for me. Other people – mainly devs – find this to be a good replacement for the Emulators they’d normally use to debug their Android apps, since it allows those devs to do so, directly via their Android devices. If you have a farm of those…

Dirk

 

Why AirDroid holds promise for me, after all.

There exists a higher-quality solution to this need, known as ‘Samsung Side-Sync’. But a big problem in my own desire to use this Android app, is the fact that its client-program is only available for Mac or Windows – while I mainly tend to have Linux installed on my PCs and laptops.

The capability which the app delivers, is to turn the Android device into a type of remote, VNC Host, or Server, on which a client seeks to establish a session, in which the properties and resources of the host, are displayed on the client-computer, remotely, as if the user of the client was in fact sitting in front of the host.

This is not so strange an idea, as various types of VNC / RDP already exist, by which a remote session is created on a Windows or a Linux PC as host, such that the client – even if that client exists as an Android client – can seem to have a remote session.

Because I was intrigued by making the Android device the host for a change, and by the possibility of using a Web-interface as client, I decided to give an app a try, which is called AirDroid. After all, even Linux computers have Web-browsers which would be powerful enough to run as clients.

I installed the app on my up-to-date Google Pixel C Tablet, But was initially disappointed, in the apparent observation, that AirDroid just did not seem stable enough to trust with such an objective.

(Last Updated 08/09/2017 : )

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NoMachine NX

When people connect to their VPN, this could simply allow them to access shared files. But alternatively, this could also mean that they wish to create a virtual session, on the remote desktop of one of their servers. The latter exists under the terms VNC, RDP, XRDP, and several others.

On my main Linux server named ‘Phoenix’, I have the XRDP service installed, which is the Linux equivalent of RDP. But one main drawback of this method, of remotely accessing a desktop, is the fact that XRDP does not allow file-sharing, specifically in the version of this protocol that runs out-of-the-box from the package manager. I have read that certain custom-compiled versions support this, but do recall that this service is a mess to custom-compile, and to set up in such a way that it runs reliably. So I stick to the packaged version for now, and do not obtain file-sharing.

There exists a closed-source application named , which we could use to bridge this gap. But while their paid software subscriptions are very expensive (from my perspective), their Free software version has some big disadvantages.

First of all, even their Free version can be run in client or in server mode. I think that this is terrific. But in server mode – which affords access to the local machine desktop from elsewhere – there is no built-in support for SSH protocol. There is only the unencrypted NX protocol, for which their service listens.

Secondly, not every computer is strong enough to run in server mode. On the computer ‘Phoenix’ I have a fragile X-server, and this service has actually crashed my X-server. Not only that, but allowing this service to run on reboot, consistently prevents my X-server from starting. It gets its hooks into the session so early on boot, that the X-server crashes, before the user is even asked for a graphical log-in.

On the plus side, there are ways of solving both problems.

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Routine OpenVPN Test Successful Today

On my Home LAN, I host a VPN. Contrarily to what the term might suggest, “OpenVPN” does not stand for a VPN which is Open, nor which anybody might have access to for free. OpenVPN is just one possible protocol for implementing VPN, and is stuffed to the gills with security measures and encryption, which keep unauthorized people out, and which ensure the privacy of the VPN tunnel, which a Client can invoke from outside the LAN, into the LAN.

I possess an OpenVPN client for my Tablet, that receives updates from its developers from time to time. After several updates to the app, I need to test whether it still works, even if at that moment there is no practical need for me ‘to VPN into my LAN’. And just today I found, that indeed this Android app, as well as my server at home, still work 100%.

In order to verify that I have meshed adequately with my LAN, I typically make it a part of the test to ping a computer on that LAN, which is not itself the VPN Server, and to make sure that I get normal ping responses. This also tells me that my specific routing implementation works, beyond the VPN tunnel to the Server itself. My average ping time today was 37 milliseconds.

A VPN is not really a Proxy. If I wanted to change certain settings, I could redirect all my traffic to the Internet at large, through my VPN at home, which is currently still configured to be routed directly from where my Client is located. I was performing my test from a public WiFi hot-spot, so my regular Internet access was still taking place directly from there.

And, because my Home LAN is located in the same jurisdiction as that WiFi hot-spot was, there would also be zero benefit, to my redirecting all my Internet traffic through the VPN, because doing so would gain no special access privileges, geographically, to Internet content anywhere.

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