1. tony's Avatar
    I've been going back and forth between buying a Redfly (CN8) or a netbook. I understand the power of a netbook is limited and doesn't approach the power of a full laptop. Friends with netbooks say they are realistically only suitable for browsing, email, light writing--nothing too intensive as they are slow. So I don't see loading my mapping (GIS), image editing or vector drawing programs on the netbook. So I'm thinking in a pinch I can run those programs remotely via Redfly and LogMeIn free. But is this a realistic expectation that I could operate such programs a remote PC? This would be a more demanding task on the remote connection than just logging in and checking on the status of a process running on the remote PC. My connection would be CDMA or if available, wifi.

    HTC Touch Diamond on Telus in Canada.
    11-08-2009 12:42 AM
  2. jwebb56's Avatar
    Probably theoretically possible but remember with a REDFLY you are not just using a your phone's internet connect, you are also using its processor. My guess is performance would be unacceptable.

    I have no experience with a remote connection so take this as an unsubstantiated opinion. I would recommend trying such a remote connection with a Netbook tethered to your phone because if that setup doesn't perform well, the REDFLY wouldn't have a chance of working well for you.

    My experience is the REDFLY works well doing tasks that your phone can perform but would be enhanced by a real keyboard and a larger display.
    11-08-2009 06:53 AM
  3. graham.hughes's Avatar
    As a rough guide to comparing netbook speeds with laptop/desktop speeds, an Atom processor roughly equates to a single-core Celeron of half the clock speed. Popular wisdom seems to be that you should upgrade whatever you get to 2Gb (making sure you have that option before choosing the netbook!), and choose the newest model of Atom you can (so, prefer an N280 to an N270 - the difference might be slight, but you can use all the benefit you can get).

    I'd suggest you try remote access using your phone without a RedFly (if you haven't already). At least you'll see how much slow-down you get from the limited bandwidth and the limited processing power of the phone. On top of that, the RedFly will introduce an additional slow-down (more so when using Bluetooth than USB). Rapidly changing images are particularly a problem, which is why playing video is lousy.

    11-08-2009 07:02 AM
  4. tony's Avatar
    Hi Graham and jweb56,
    Thanks for the input and suggestions. I installed the LogMeIn app on my phone (discovered it's only available if I use pocket IE and not Opera as the browser).

    I can successfully log into my PCs at home and control them by clicking on the phone's touch screen. However, I'm unable to send any text to the remote PC. I tried the on-screen soft keyboard and an external bluetooth keyboard. No characters appear on the remote PC.

    For connection, I tried my cell's data connection and home wifi connection. The response rate was pretty good but definitely not as responsive as when doing remote PC going PC to PC.

    I was hoping to do as others have described: use the web browser on the home or office PC. The advantage is faster response on the PC and only the screen display needs to be sent back to the cell phone. I can envision doing that when on a trip and needing to find the next accommodation or to check a schedule. I achieved that on our last vacation by phoning my sister back home and she surfed the web and called us back.

    So realistically, I think what Redfly will give me is more screen real estate and longer run-times when travelling light (I already have an external, full sized bluetooth keyboad). I was hoping I'd be able to remotely access my office PC but I think realistically I'll just be able to check on running processes and pass on some mouse clicks but nothing like remote PC (VNC or LogMeIn free) going PC to PC. If I think I'll need access to my files, I'll just take a copy of all my work files on a 2.5" harddrive in an external enclosure.

    I'd be interested if others are able to realistically operate a remote PC from their cell phones and have a reasonable response time that it's similar to sitting in front of the remote PC.

    Despite the setback in remote PC operation, at this time I'm still leaning towards a Redfly instead of a netbook.

    - Tony
    11-09-2009 01:23 AM
  5. graham.hughes's Avatar
    Since your phone's screen is 640x480, and the redfly is 800x480, you don't actually get much more screen real estate... you just get a bigger picture. Well, you get a little more screen-width, and this does improve the web browsing experience.

    The main traveling problem I've had with the redfly is the lack of a wired network socket. I quite often find myself in a hotel where the internet in the room is wired, and wifi is available only in the lobby. If I'm outside the UK (usually the case), then GSM data becomes charged at international roaming rates, which I'd prefer to avoid.

    11-09-2009 06:17 AM
  6. tony's Avatar
    Thanks Graham. Right, it's the larger screen I'm after. I thought I'd give RDP a try as it's not browser based as is LogMeIn free. But I'm unable to connect to my laptop. I've spent better than 3/4 of a day on this, most frustrating.

    [Update] I spent more time on this and am finally able to connect. I don't know the exact magic touch as I tried all sorts of things. I think it was a combination of finding all the settings in ESET Security to open up. Also I had signed up for a static domain name pointing to my dynamic IP home office IP address and it took a while to propagate to my cell phone provider's servers. But I don't think that was it entirely as I also tried the numeric IP address of my router and the IP address of the PC internally on my network.

    The other thing was I don't have a password on my PC and remote desktop on the PC won't allow a connection without a password. I couldn't see this at first on the tiny screen (wish I had a Redfly), but discovered it mentioned on the web. Now I'm in.

    The response rate with RDP is quite fast, better that LogMeIn so I might be in business after all.

    The other thing I discovered is in RD on the cell, all I need to put in is my computer name and the domain name (not even my Windows user name). (See below, I was putting the wrong info in theses fields).

    What a day. I might as well just buy a Redfly, I've already invested three or four times the price in lost billable hours researching the device (OK, just trying to justify the purchase, help me out folks).


    Update I spent more time trying to get RDP to work as my initial connection was shortlived, I couldn't re-connect again. I tried using a more obscure port number and it worked once, then not again. So I've gone back to port 3389. Secondly, there are no clear directions on the web on what goes into each of the four fields in RDP. Here's what I learned:

    Computer: the ip address or dyndns or no-ip static IP address name (I thought this was just a field for any old name to name the connection like "home laptop").

    User name: a valid windows log-in name

    password: the password for the login name

    Domain: Can leave blank (this is where I had put the IP address. Funny it worked sometimes, but not consistently).

    My next challenge is setting ESET Security Suite to let RDP client past the firewall. I have to click on the host machine and allow each new instance of a remoter client connection. This won't work if I'm connected to new ISPs when travelling. And I won't know ahead of time what ISPs and their servers I'll be using to connect to the Internet.

    This whole RDP thing can't be this hard. It has promise, the responsiveness of RDP is very fast, better than LogMeIn which is unusable. I'd use VNC but can't find a version for WinMobile 6.1.

    I discovered those dollar store +1.75 cheapo reading glasses really make the HTC Diamond's screen very readable!

    I'm gonna get this working....

    Update Nov 16/09 Finally got it working. I had to un-install the firewall (ESET Security Suite) and re-install, then let it re-learn what was friendly and foe. RDP works fine now, the response rate is better than LogMeIn from the phone both over the cell's data connection and over wifi at Starbucks.
    Last edited by tony; 11-16-2009 at 12:21 PM.
    11-09-2009 04:58 PM
  7. tony's Avatar
    The main traveling problem I've had with the redfly is the lack of a wired network socket. I quite often find myself in a hotel where the internet in the room is wired, and wifi is available only in the lobby. If I'm outside the UK (usually the case), then GSM data becomes charged at international roaming rates, which I'd prefer to avoid.
    Hi Graham,

    Same issue for me, if I travel in the USA, the cell phone data connection cost goes up to $8/MB, so I have to find wifi or a wired Internet connection.

    When I travel, I take along a Linksys WRT54GS travel router. It's got an ethernet jack where you can plug in the hotel's wired Internet and broadcast a private access point (or wide open if you don't set any security). It's handy at meetings when there is one Internet jack in the room and the device will broadcast wifi for all. The device also acts as bridge for an ATA into which I've plugged a desk phone for VOIP. My cell phone weighs a couple hundred grams, the gear bag weights 2 kg. I'm not sure I've cut out much weight overall.

    11-09-2009 06:42 PM
  8. tony's Avatar
    I quite often find myself in a hotel where the internet in the room is wired, and wifi is available only in the lobby. If I'm outside the UK (usually the case), then GSM data becomes charged at international roaming rates, which I'd prefer to avoid. Graham.
    Hi Graham,
    I responded previously, but it seems any posts with links don't get posted. Anyways I take along a WTR54GS travel router on trips. I can connect it to a wired Internet connection and broadcast wifi. In a meeting room with only one Ethernet jack, I can plug in the travel router and provide wifi to meeting participants.

    11-11-2009 12:02 AM
  9. graham.hughes's Avatar
    Tony... thanks for your PM. Someone mentioned a Dlink wifi access point in this thread, which looks quite a handy piece of kit. The downside is, you're adding price and weight (a decent netbook is only a couple of hundred grammes heavier than a RedFly). If you already have a gadget like this, then at least you don't count the cost. And of course, a wifi point means you can also use your phone for stuff like skype (without having to start up and connect a netbook).
    11-11-2009 03:23 PM
  10. mknollman's Avatar
    I have used RD and logmein on both the RF and my netbook. On the Redfly - it is only good for the novelty of showing it off - not at all an option for productivity.

    On the Netbook - very functional - use it all the time to control my home media server from outside the house. I use logmein free from my acer aspire one with the atom n270 @ 1.6g running win7 - it HAULS and mulititasks for basic things very well. I do use it for mapping and simple image editing. Just keep those raw images from getting too huge or you will have some issues.

    My vote: netbook.
    11-11-2009 10:47 PM
  11. graham.hughes's Avatar
    My vote: netbook.
    I have to agree. The limitations of the RedFly are too many, and the benefits too slim.
    11-12-2009 06:27 AM
  12. tony's Avatar
    On the Netbook - very functional - use it all the time to control my home media server from outside the house. I use logmein free from my acer aspire one with the atom n270 @ 1.6g running win7 - it HAULS and mulititasks for basic things very well. I do use it for mapping and simple image editing. Just keep those raw images from getting too huge or you will have some issues. My vote: netbook.
    Hi mknollman,
    Thanks for the recommendation (netbook). I've scaled down my expectations. Here's how I see how a Redfly might work for me. Is the following realistic? Essentially, I'd use it as an external keyboard and monitor for the cell phone (as per jewb56) and drop the idea of doing remote desktop except in a pinch, then only for very short durations.

    Personal travel/vacation. We travel light, one carry-on bag only regardless of length of trip (weeks). No checked luggage. I see this as the real advatange of the RedFly.
    - Redfly + cell phone: do email and a bit of browsing to research travel options or check when the hours of a place we're going to visit.
    - If when I'm away and a client calls and ask for me to email a document in which case I'd RDP back to the office, compose the email on the office PC and send off the document.
    - If a client asks for edits on a document, I would RDP to the office PC and email to myself, disconnect RDP and work on the document with Redfly on the cell.

    For business meetings or business travel I take my laptop anyways.

    Last edited by tony; 11-16-2009 at 12:50 PM.
    11-16-2009 12:18 PM
  13. jwebb56's Avatar

    Honestly even for the scaled back usage you mention I'd go with a Netbook. The email and browsing you'd do would work with a Redfly assuming you mean light browsing. Remember, you will be limited to the browser running on your phone and it is nowhere near full featured. But what will really drive you to a Netbook is both of those client called and you want to do serious work tasks. Depending on the Redfly/Cell Phone combo to do them risks putting you in the unemployment line IMO.
    11-16-2009 07:01 PM
  14. mknollman's Avatar
    I would not even count on using remote for document creation or editing - it is just too laggy. You can use the mobile versions of Office on your phone with the RF, but there is a wicked typing delay with some phones. Still I say - netbook - same battery life now, same footprint, almost the same weight - WAY MORE FUNCTIONALITY.
    11-16-2009 09:35 PM
  15. graham.hughes's Avatar
    The RedFly does have a certain appeal for travelling, because it's cheap and feels very rugged. You won't be worried about shoving it in an overhead locker, even knowing that someone who gets on after you will have brought their entire life in their handluggage, will arrive late (when the overhead bins are already full), and will proceed to stuff their huge bags violently into the locker your laptop is in.

    That said, I agree entirely with Messrs Webb and Knollman. Even the cheapest Linux netbook will have more power than your phone, and will have a better browser. The cheapest won't have the same battery life, but that doesn't sound like an issue for you. Spend a little more and you can have more power, more battery life, more everything.

    However... if you want to buy a second-hand C8... let me know! :)

    11-17-2009 06:05 AM
  16. tony's Avatar
    Hmmm, I'm not sure where my posts go, sometimes they get posted immediately, sometimes not, sometimes they appear several days later. I'll repost here, and will delete one if my previous post appears later on. [Edit. This post appeared immediately]

    Anyways, thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback. In the calm light of morning, I've decided to go with the consensus recommendation and go with a netbook (Asus EEE 1005HA-P).

    Weight was a primary criteria and I see that the net books are coming in at 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg) versus 2.5 lbs (1.13 kg) for the Redfly, so not that significant a difference, the difference is about the same as the weight of a 250 ml apple juice box.

    The main things I see a net book doing for me are:
    - I can run full installations of OpenOffice or MS office and be able to fully edit my presentations. In Documents to Go on the cell I could only change the text in presentations but not the layout nor the graphics.
    - For my fieldwork, I can download my GPS tracks and waypoints, and a net book is small enough I can use it in a vehicle for real-time tracking of our position in progress.
    - Some of my software allows for a second copy to be installed on a laptop, as long as both copies are not used at the same time
    - Real browser and ability to accept browser add-ons
    - Better response time for remote PC control (and more flexibility on programs--LogMeIn, VNC, RDP)
    - Upgradable operating system or the ability to switch to something like Ubuntu.
    - Net book battery time is similar to that of the Redfly
    - Some of the arguments for Red fly was lower total cost of ownership. I do my own IT and with open source software, I'm not expecting the operating cost to be too high. On my cell phone, I estimate I've invested about $5,000 in time, software, in researching devices like Redfly.

    So I have an Asus EEE 1005HA-P on order with N280 1.66 Ghz processor, 250 GB hard drive, Windows 7 starter, 2 GB RAM, and the 10.5 hour (rated) battery. Cost will be about 50-60% higher than the Redfly.

    I think there's a place for Redfly, but for what I need to do, a netbook provides more flexibility and I expect to be able to do 90% of what I would do on my laptop on the netbook.

    11-19-2009 11:00 AM
  17. tony's Avatar
    Post trip update. We had a great trip to New York and Washington DC. The Asus netbook worked out great. Easily 5 hours use on the plane with still 3 hours left on the battery. My minimal kit included the AC adapter, and a short Ethernet cable.

    For my needs the netbook worked perfectly. I loaded most of the same software I have on my main PC including GIS (mapping) and LogMeIn. Where the software licenses only allowed one copy, I loaded open source software (e.g., GIMP). Most of my clients didn't know I was away from the office for 2 weeks. I was able to keep their projects humming along.

    Thanks everyone for putting things into perspective re: netbook and Redfly. There is a place for each device. Ultimately, my needs were more PC like.
    03-02-2010 04:23 PM