hello world?
August 29, 2012 7:10 PM   Subscribe

I have a home imac and a work mac mini. I would like to drive the mini via the imac, while the mini is connected to a VPN.

I have an imac and a work mac mini. I would like to drive the mini via the imac. In the past (previous home computers) I have used kvm etc, but I dont think there is any port on the back of the imac to plug the screen into. I've tried VNC that works fine, until the mini has to connect to the VPN at which point it gets a new IP and I lose the connection.

There must be some way to make this happen, but it seems like the whole point of VPN is to make it invisible to the rest of my network...
posted by H. Roark to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
At least some iMacs support being used in "Target Display Mode", where they can be utilized as a screen for other devices. According to Apple, "iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011) and iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011) support Target Display Mode via Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt cable (2 m) when the source is another Thunderbolt-equipped computer."

Other than trying that out - why not speak with the IT folks at your business/organization? They might be able to help you figure out a solution, or may be able to give you privileges to use something like LogMeIn or an equivalent remote access solution.
posted by BrandonW at 7:38 PM on August 29, 2012

Response by poster: Im running a mid-2010 one so I think the thunderbolt stuff came later. I cant really figure out if something like this will do what I want or not.
posted by H. Roark at 7:47 PM on August 29, 2012

If the two boxes are next to each other, you can probably work something out by turning on an additional connection, such as a Bluetooth PAN, a Firewire connection (if available), or whichever of wired/wireless you don't use to get out.
posted by Mad_Carew at 7:53 PM on August 29, 2012

The "target display mode" option was available as early as 2009 on the 27" model, but I'm not sure about the 21.5" one.

I think that the device that you linked will only work with the pre-2010 iMac models that support target display mode, but I'm not really sure.
posted by BrandonW at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2012

Set up your VPN client (or do it manually after you connect) to keep a route to your home network on the physical interface. i.e. everything goes over the VPN except traffic to (or wherever your imac lives) and you can use VNC locally at the same time everything else goes to your office. This is simple to do with OpenVPN but YMMV.
posted by junco at 11:16 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

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