I vant kontrol, total kontrol...
February 2, 2010 12:12 PM   Subscribe

OS X - I have a PPC mini running Tiger 10.4.11 and my new iMac is running SL 10.6.2. There is not enough room on my desk for two monitors, two keyboards/mice etc. I need to control my mini entirely through the iMac. How do I do this?

The mini and the new iMac are on the same router (both wired).

I think target mode merely turns the mini into a hard drive, so that's out.

KVM switches not an option - flaky plus bluetooth trouble (new iMac keyboard and magic mouse, both wireless).

I can't do screen sharing because the mini doesn't support that (Tiger 10.4.11). I don't want to upgrade the mini to Leopard, cause that runs slower than molasses on PPC (and SL won't run on PPC at all). I like Tiger 10.4.11 on my PPC mini, it's rock solid.

Right now I'm trying VNC - Chicken of the VNC + Bonjour (I've done JollysFastVNC, but it doesn't perform any better and costs $40 these days).

Chicken is making me lose my mind - not only is everything incredibly sloooow, but worse, when using the mouse I don't have the right click (just doesn't work) for some reason on the mini when I access it through the iMac Chicken (control + left click doesn't work either), and that's 100% unacceptable. Btw. I'm on cable internet, fast connection, both computers are wired to the same router and get good speeds on their own.

I am aware of the existence of something called Apple Remote Desktop (which I can get ahold of), but I have no idea if this is going to be an improvement at all (never used it).

What are my options? How can I control my Tiger PPC mini entirely from my SL iMac, and do it with speed and ease (Chicken is not cutting it)?
posted by VikingSword to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
Apple Remote Desktop works pretty well. I use it to manage a group of machines (10.3 through 10.6). It will give you the same performance Screen Sharing would have given you. Not the kind of thing I'd use to work all day, but it's useful to fix problems. It's a bit expensive though (300$).

Have you tried controlling your Tiger machine's VNC server through Screen Sharing ? I'm doing it with Windows boxes. I don't know if you'll have your right click back, but it's worth a try !
posted by agregoire at 12:21 PM on February 2, 2010

Thanks, agregoire, maybe ARD is worth a try - IF it performs better than Chicken. Screen sharing is not an option, because it doesn't work with Tiger (my mini is on Tiger).
posted by VikingSword at 12:34 PM on February 2, 2010

ssh? What are you doing on the mini?
posted by GuyZero at 12:34 PM on February 2, 2010

Teleport. Note that you'll need to install the older version on your Mini.
posted by mkultra at 12:34 PM on February 2, 2010

If you don't have room for two sets of kb/mice, but do for another monitor, check out Synergy.

It can be kind of a pain to set up but then it lets you use one keyboard and mouse to control two machines with the second machine acting as a sort of second monitor.
posted by CharlesV42 at 12:35 PM on February 2, 2010

@GuyZero - The mini is going to act as a torrent box, and a music server. Having said that, I will still need to access a browser on the mini to connect to some websites.

@mkultra - teleport looks interesting. Hopefully it works better than Chicken. I'll try it out, thanks!
posted by VikingSword at 12:44 PM on February 2, 2010

@CharlesV42 - thanks, however, I absolutely do not have room for another monitor. I must be able to control the mini 100% from the iMac.
posted by VikingSword at 12:47 PM on February 2, 2010

Ack, ya know what? I forgot Teleport still requires 2 monitors, like Synergy (which I'm pretty sure Teleport is based on).
posted by mkultra at 12:48 PM on February 2, 2010

It's a shame you're ruling out a KVM as they're perfect for this sort of application.

That or give serious consideration to upgrading your hardware. Honestly, sticking with ancient and no-longer upgradable hardware is often a huge waste of time and effort. Yeah, yeah, "it works, why fix it" except now it doesn't work for what you want to do with it. Pitch it and get with the current gear. Secondhand intel minis can be had reasonably cheap.

But if you must use bluetooth then I believe Gefen makes a KVM capable of supporting wireless keyboards and mice. I've not used one so I can't comment further.
posted by wkearney99 at 12:53 PM on February 2, 2010

I would use Vine VNC server running on the mini. Then command-K from the other mac (anything 10.5 or greater) and just open vnc:// (where the numbers are the mini's IP). Worked for me before controlling a G3, so I'd expect it to be quick enough.
posted by pompomtom at 1:00 PM on February 2, 2010

You can use a KVM to switch the video, and Synergy to use your iMac's Bluetooth mouse and keyboard on the Mini.
posted by zsazsa at 1:02 PM on February 2, 2010

wkearney, it's 2010, you make it sound as if we are living in the IT middle ages, where nothing is ever possible, no matter how simple, without extraordinary resources and effort! How freakin' complicated can it be to have one computer control inputs on another, without building a space shuttle. The PPC mini is from 2005 - that's only 5 years ago, and the operating system is only two iterations behind (if we even count SL as a full iteration). Really, I should be able to stick one wire between them and be ready to go. Networking in 2010, boggles the mind. 50 billion in sales, and Apple does not have a trivial solution to this penny ante capability?
posted by VikingSword at 1:07 PM on February 2, 2010

I would strongly suggest you consider upgrading to Leopard on the Mac mini. It would be the easiest way, and if you're having performance issues, add more RAM if you haven't already maxed it out. This is the setup I have, sort of (except it's a current generation x64 Mac mini). I control the Mac mini which I use as a HTPC over the LAN on my iMac using Screen Sharing and it works extremely smoothly. One of the key benefits is adaptive display quality where it will reduce the rendering detail if things are moving along too slowly which would solve the problems you're having with UltraVNC and Chicken. Remember, Chicken hasn't been updated in years and have quite a few bugs.
posted by cgomez at 1:17 PM on February 2, 2010

Have you tried LogMeIn?
posted by wongcorgi at 1:23 PM on February 2, 2010

VikingSword - Apple's bread and butter is hardware. They have no incentive to make a simple fix that would solve your problem but cost them a potential hardware sale. For what it's worth, I have a 1st gen PPC Mini running Leopard, and yes, it is slow. I access it on my home network using screen sharing. I use it as a backup hub, and nothing more, so the speed is acceptable (it runs my external backup drive and makes it accessible on my home network, and I don't need GUI access for anything other than occasional times when I don't feel like trekking to the basement to use the keyboard).

A newer Intel Mini would solve some problems. But I understand your "ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy here. If you decide ARD is the way to go, THEN buy a new Mini, because at $300 you're not that far off from purchasing a Mini outright anyway.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:33 PM on February 2, 2010

I think agregoire's suggestion is probably the simplest, and free to try. Screen Sharing.app (on 10.5 & above) will connect to ARD on 10.4 - see here. From memory, I think the right-click on ARD may be mapped by default to ctrl-shift-click rather than ctrl-click, but that can be changed in prefs.

Frankly, all VNC's are a bit clunky & slow - that's just the nature of transferring whole complicated raster images over a network, even with compression &/or palette limiting - but if you're finding it "incredibly sloooow" (for reasonable values of "incredibly" ;-) over a wired ethernet connection, I'd be taking a look at your network throughput or routing.

If the mini is used primarily for torrents, does your torrent client have a web interface? That might alleviate some of your problems.

caution live frogs: "[Apple] have no incentive to make a simple fix that would solve your problem …"

And yet they do it anyway - it's called Screen Sharing / Apple Remote Desktop ;-). MS's solution - RDS - is in many ways better, thanks to their relationship with Citrix, but it's pretty much just as clunky.
posted by Pinback at 5:00 PM on February 2, 2010

OMG, Pinback! You did it! It worked! Weird, I read specifically that 10.4 will not do screen sharing... guess that was wrong! Pinback, you saved the day (and week and month + a ton of cash!) - thank you ever so much. It's working so, so much better than Chicken. I wouldn't call the image drawing fast (but that's to be expected), but everything else is "snappy", and I regained my right-click. Whew, what an ordeal - but blame my ignorance (and relying on authoritative seemingly articles wrt. screen sharing).

All the answers helped here, and it's hard to pick any one person, but Pinback's contribution is particularly outstanding. A hearty thank you to all, and Pinback in particular.
posted by VikingSword at 5:51 PM on February 2, 2010

We're definitely still in the middle ages, clearly demonstrated when users don't like the advice they get, especially when they already have the solution present on their machine. What you want to do it's necessarily easy, that it upsets you doesn't make it anyone else's fault. So lighten up with the insulting tone.
posted by wkearney99 at 7:58 AM on February 12, 2010

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