VNC and Monitor Antics

The thing about real life is that, well, it happens. So I’ve been back from the beach (much) earlier than expected and spent some time running various errands of a personal nature, of which I can mention replacing the (freshly deceased) monitor that was hooked up to the home server with an HP w17e.

The monitor was moderately cheap (Eur.179 at the local supermarket), and I picked it because:

  • All of a sudden, monitors below 17” vanished from retail outlets (otherwise I’d have gotten a much smaller one).
  • It has a very low pedestal that lets it fit inside the server closet without major rearrangement of shelves.
  • It is mercifully devoid of any stupid design frills (it is a typically boring, reliable, unobtrusive, HP design).
  • It has stereo speakers (not by any means stellar, but which may come in handy if I ever need to use it on another machine).
  • It is not glossy. At all.

Thing is, it has a 1440×900 native resolution which the mini won’t (by default) allow you to select, so I’ll be playing around with /System/Library/Displays/Overrides soon. There’s no real hurry, since the monitor is going to be off 99.9% of the time (it being used only when I really need to be at the console or when I need to hook up an external monitor to one of the laptops).

And yes, I know all about DisplayConfigX (which I know at least one of my buddies uses) and SwitchResX . I’d rather learn how to do it myself, or pester someone at Apple to improve their support for this kind of configuration and at HP for them to start acknowledging that the Mac exists.

Anyway, a word about how I access the machine remotely: I am now using JollysFastVNC, which I mentioned the other day. In fact, I’ve just downloaded the latest alpha, and not only does it smoke in terms of speed, it now works properly with the Portuguese keyboard layout when connecting to the (much vilified, and rightly so) Apple VNC server.

For some reason the previous alpha didn’t do it for me when connecting to a Mac, but this one does.

It isn’t working out with Ubuntu’s vino, though (regardless of what I set the options to), but I think this may have more to do with keycode translations on the Ubuntu side, since vino has been known to be somewhat temperamental on occasion – although I have usually been able to use RealVNC on Windows to connect to Linux boxes and gotten correct keyboard behavior. But alas, I have no Windows box while on vacation, so I can’t figure it out just yet.

Regardless, I hereby pronounce JollysFastVNC to be the best VNC client available on the Mac, period. Go out and grab it now.

Minor note regarding US developers’ laziness and navel-gazing – of course it had to be an “European“European developer to finally fix international keyboards in VNC, after years and years. And people wonder why some US software doesn’t sell in “Europe“European…