App of the week: Screens VNC


If you rely on VNC protocol to access your desktop computers remotely on your iPad or iPhone, then Screens VNC is as best an app you could get. Screens VNC is pricey at $19.90 for an iOS app, but the app gets it right by implementing features that make it easy to use touch based interface to maneuver the cursor on the desktop. Screens app is an universal app with iCloud and AirPlay integration. And a free Screens Connect helper app enable you to access your desktop from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Screens VNC on App Store

Delete images from iCloud Photo Stream in iOS 5.1

Prior to iOS 5.1, photos uploaded to Photo Stream in the iCloud are read only and can not be deleted. Apple fixes this annoyance with the release of iOS 5.1. You delete Photo Stream photos in the same manner as you would delete photos in the Camera Roll album:

  • To delete a single photo, select the photo by tapping the photo when you are inside Photo Stream album. Then tap on the Trash icon to remove it.
  • To delete multiple photos, on the main Photo Stream screen, tap on the action icon. Then tap one after another to select the photos to delete. And then tap on the red color Delete icon to remove the selected photos.

Using Reader feature in mobile Safari

Apple greatly improved mobile Safari app with iOS 5, bringing a number of features previously found only in Safari for OS X. Beside improved performance, Reader is another welcomed new feature especially when you are reading on a small iPhone screen.

Reader is a feature where Safari displays only the main content of the web page, sans the flashing advertisements and sidebars on most web page. It is not so obvious how to access Reader as not all web page can be rendered in Reader. When a web page can be viewed with Reader, a Reader icon will be displayed at the address bar.


Tap on the Reader icon. The Reader page will pop up to display the web page content. And you can adjust the font size with a tap for an easier read.

As mentioned, Reader is not available for all web pages. Based on our experience, a web page needs a certain number of paragraph of texts for the Reader feature. Most blog posts, reviews and articles page will be able to rendered under Reader, but not forum or search result pages.

How to remove photos in Photo Stream

With Photo Stream enabled in iCloud settings on an iDevice, a copy of the photo you just snapped will be automatically uploaded to Photo Stream. You can then access the photos in Photo Stream folder from any devices including the Mac.

iCloud will store only the last 30 days of photos. Older photos will be removed automatically by iCloud. There is no way for you to manually remove individual photo in Photo Stream. You can however reset your Photo Stream which will remove all your Photo Stream photos from iCloud.

To reset Photo Stream, you need a browser. Go to website and sign in using your Apple ID.

icloud reset photo stream

Click on your account name at the top right corner of the page.

icloud reset

On the Account setting screen, click Advanced, and then click Reset Photo Stream. Click Done to close the Account screen.

9 new features in iOS 5 camera and photo apps

The new 8MP 1080p camera with its low-light capability is one of the highlighted feature of iPhone 4S. Camera in smartphone is now a capable replacement for your point-and-shoot camera. Hardware asides, it is the iOS 5 that makes the camera really shines. And older iPhone that runs iOS 5 can take advantage of the improvements Apple made in camera and photo apps. Here are the 9 new features:

1. Photo Stream. Photo Stream is an iCloud feature. When you enable Photo Stream in your iCloud settings in your devices, a new “Photo Stream” photo album will be created. From then on, when you snap a picture, a copy of the picture will be automatically stored into “Photo Stream” and then sync to iCloud. Each devices with your iCloud account will then be able to access the photo in the same “Photo Stream”.


Photo Stream can be viewed as temporary buffer for your current photos. iCloud stores photos for 30 days only and will remove older photos automatically. There is also a limit of 1000 photos that you can view on Photo Stream. You can setup Photo Stream on Apple TV, and iPhoto and Aperture on the Mac.

2. Organize with photo albums. iOS 5 finally brings the ability to add and delete photo albums. Great way to organize your photos.


3. Access camera from lock screen. When you double tap to unlock your phone, a camera icon appears at bottom corner for quick access to the camera app.


4. Swipe from camera app to camera roll. While using the camera, you can swipe from left to right to switch to the camera roll. A quick way to check whether the last taken picture is good or not.


5. Grid lines. Grid lines are helpful to get horizontal alignment of objects right for the shot. It is also an essential guide for framing your subject. To turn on grid lines, tap on the Options button on the Camera app, and then toggle the “Grid” switch.


6. Use Volume Up button to snap. You can now use the Volume Up hardware button to snap a photo while in Camera app.

7. AE/AF Lock. When you touch and hold on a spot while taking a picture, the Camera app will apply Auto-Exposure and Auto-Focus lock on the spot. The exposure reading and focus position will then be used for your next snap.

8. Pinch to zoom. While taking picture, you can now pinch to zoom instead of using the slider at the bottom to zoom. You might find it a much simpler and quicker method.

9. Photo Editing. The Photo app now comes with built-in editing features. You can rotate or crop a picture. An auto-enhance mode can be used to apply automatic improvement to the color and tones of the picture. And there is a red-eye removal tool.

photo editing in iOS 5

PC-free features in iOS 5

With the introduction of iOS 5 and iCloud, it is possible to use your iPhone and iPad without owning a Mac or PC. In iOS 5, a number of features are introduced to fulfill the “Post PC” era of iDevices.

Activate from within device. Instead of having to plug your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad into an iTunes running Mac or PC to activate the device, iOS 5 allows you to activate directly from within the device.


OTA (Over-The-Air) Software Update. OTA Software Update will make it possible to update iOS system software wirelessly. When Apple release a new update let say iOS 5.1, just go to Settings > Software Update to upgrade. No iTunes and Mac/PC required. Apple implements delta update mechanism. Instead of the whole iOS, you only download what’s changed, which significantly reduced the size of the update.

Purchased apps, music and books in the cloud. Apps, music and books that you purchased from the iTunes store are now in iCloud. You can re-download them into your iDevice without relying on iTunes backup.


Backup to iCloud. When you enable backup to iCloud, it backs up daily over Wi-Fi your photos and video in the camera roll, device settings, app data, home screen and app organization, ringtones and text/MMS messages. This backup can be used to restore your phone data and settings such as when changing a new phone.

Where is Reminders app in OS X Lion?

Reminders is a useful new todo app in iOS 5 with its location aware alerts and iCloud support. You can view your reminders on all iOS devices and on Mac OS X Lion.

There is no Reminders app for OS X Lion. Instead Apple has taken the todo lists found inside the old iCal and change it to be Reminders. It is not so obvious at first as Reminders by default is not shown on iCal’s main window.

In order to view the same Reminders as in your iOS devices, you need to enable iCloud on OS X Lion. This feature is not available on OS X Snow Leopard as OS X Lion is the minimum OS X for iCloud.

Next, under System Preferences->iCloud, check the “Calendars” to enable iCloud sync. And wait for a moment for the sync to complete.


To view Reminders on iCal, select from menu View->View Reminders or toggle Reminders on/off using Option Command T. Reminders will appear as a right side pane on the main iCal window.


To create a reminder, right click on the Reminders pane for a popup menu and select “New Reminder”. Or press the Command-K key. Check off reminder by clicking on the checkbox. Command-Delete to remove reminder. And double click on a reminder to bring up the edit window.