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I have been investigating the possibility of using my PC to control my soon to arrive Mac Mini when on the move. I can't afford and hope you don't give me answers suggesting buying a MacBook. My Mac Mini is the high end type.

Now I have seen that the only viable option seems to be VNC.

But how does this work if I am not on a network?
Does VNC work with an ad-hoc network?
Can a PC be connected to a Mac on such a network?
Can this network be configured once at home and then be available on startup on the move?

If I have an iPhone, can I use it as my wifi? But then, how would I start the Mac Mini to make the connection, since it wouldn't have a screen on the move?

Finally, are there any small portable screens one can carry in a bag?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

But how does this work if I am not on a network?

It doesn't. You need some sort of network connection.

Does VNC work with an ad-hoc network?

Sure, an ad-hoc network is just like any other network.

Can a PC be connected to a Mac on such a network?

Yes, as long as they're on the same, it's not a problem.

Can this network be configured once at home and then be available on startup on the move?

First, set up the ad-hoc network using your PC. You should enable some security, at least WEP, if not WPA2. VNC is highly insecure when sent over a non-encrypted line. I can't give you specifics about setting this up on a PC, as I'm just a Mac user.

Ideally, you would set up your Mac to

  • log into your user account automatically, and also
  • automatically connect to the ad-hoc network
  • activate screen sharing

Therefore: Set it up at home, see if the Mac auto-connects, and then you can do it without a display later on.

If I have an iPhone, can I use it as my wifi? But then, how would I start the Mac Mini to make the connection, since it wouldn't have a screen on the move?

I don't know about the iPhone being able to create a WiFi hotspot. If it's possible, then it's the same as using your PC's ad-hoc connection.

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Thank you for your help. Cant wait to try this out in the next few days –  Jjunju Oct 28 '11 at 12:11
    
@Jjunju I hope it works out for you, if not, just get back to me (we can also talk on chat or something). –  slhck Oct 28 '11 at 12:11

There's small USB connectable screens that might work for your purposes (as long as its post booting), based around a technology by displaylink.

I've done VNC point to point over a wired connection, and it works fine, and other than latency, that shouldn't be any different than an ad hoc network, though you might need to set up the ad hoc network initially, and that would need a monitor. You can set vnc on the mac mini, set up the ports, and it should work

If its real remote access (like from somewhere else) , you might want to consider something more optimised than VNC, but since i'm not a mac user, i have no ideas on what exactly. VNC isn't very good outside LAN in my experience

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TeamViewer works fine on the Mac. –  slhck Oct 27 '11 at 10:15
    
stuff like this is why i need to brush up my mac skills ;) –  Journeyman Geek Oct 27 '11 at 10:39
    
Thank you for the answer –  Jjunju Oct 28 '11 at 12:11

After trying several VNC alternatives, I have come to the conclusion that maybe Mac-Mini and VNC from Windows wasn't such a good idea.

Team Viewer is so expensive that it makes buying a small mobile monitor feasible, but most of the small monitors are USB and can't be used as primary monitors. So, the mobile solution I had hoped for seems to not be feasible.

In addition, the adhoc network thing did not really work out, so I guess I will keep looking for a small monitor since I still can't afford a proper Mac-Pro. I love the machine I have, though, but I'm dissapointed. If only Apple could come up with a remote-desktop equivalent... As a new Apple user, i think they are a bit over-rated on some things!

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