AMITIAE - Tuesday 27 August 2013

Cassandra: Backups, Security and a Forgotten Firmware Password (2) - Connection with iFTP Pro

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By Graham K. Rogers


We all make mistakes sometimes. I have long learned the need to backup my data after my house was burgled and I lost my PowerBook. I almost got it back as it was tracked using Undercover. Part of that tracking worked because the firmware password was in use. I forgot this once on my previous MacBook Pro but that was unlocked at Maccenter. When I forgot the firmware password for my current Mac, I was not so lucky: Macs have changed inside.

To have the Mac opened up so I can run some repairs, I had to leave it at the branch of iServe in Amarin Plaza, so for a couple of days I am restricted to working on the iPhone and iPad. Although I am happy enough using WriteRoom for my normal output, especially as it uses Dropbox to sync between my Macs and iOS devices, when it came to marking up the text for web use, I was less convinced.

I also needed an app for FTP transfers to the site. I searched the iTunes App Store and settled on iFTP Free. I noticed that the search results also showed (among many others) the $0.99 iFTP. When I began using the free app, it looked as if the upgrade would do the job, but the app took me to iFTP Pro, a version for $1.99 - two plates of rice instead of one.

What had interested me as much as the FTP capabilities was that the app allowed me to write and code quite easily as well. I was able to import already created html files, make new ones and edit fairly easily, although I did find that - on one occasion at least - there is no auto save. I left iFTP Pro to work in another app and when I returned the (unsaved) text I had been working on, was gone.

Nonetheless I was able to work quite easily on text and. HTML in the app, albeit a little slower than I would have done on the Mac. I finished an item on the problems I had caused for myself and the move to the iPad and left that with the comment, "If you are reading this, I succeeded."

Well, not quite. Making the FTP part work was not as easy as I had expected and it took a little more work. To cut corners, when I arrived at my office, where I had the account details for my site, I cheated and used a browser to upload the files. Then I started on iFTP Pro.

I first logged in to a part of the site that I did not recognise. I came out of there quickly and checked with the hosting service. With the suggestions that were made, I was eventually able to log in and access the correct part of the site to confirm that, when I was ready, I would be able to upload files. The key, of course, is in having the right formation which includes the correct folders to access as well as the full login details. Once these were entered, the doors were opened.

iFTP Pro is able to work quite nicely as an FTP app for upload and download of files. It has the additional advantage that a user can edit files within the app, although there are some limits. For example I am unable to find a way to create a text shortcut. On the other hand there are well over 100 options for encoding, including ASCII, MacThai and WindowsVietnamese. I have been unable to find a way to view the page as it would look in a browser.

There is access to the Photo Library from within iFTP Pro, but I have not yet worked on how to edit and rename images so that I can include them with the html page. I am still feeling my way through this fairly sophisticated feature set that iFTP Pro gives me.

There are also the additional options of Dropbox and iCloud access. By saving (or copying) a file into the iFTP Pro folder that I now have in Dropbox and another copy into iCloud, there is increased access for where I can create and work on files, providing not one solution but solutions for user flexibility. As an additional bonus, iFTP Pro was also installed on the iPhone. I have not yet set up the server access there, but files saved in the Dropbox folder were available and I can work with that now.

Moving my workflow to the iPad or iPhone, which I sometimes use as short-term solutions when away from the computer, is not easy for someone like me who is so used to a computer - the screen, the keyboard, and its desktop organisation. Typing is slow. A colleague at work can type amazingly fast, but I am still hunting and pecking on the iPad keyboard, although I do have a Bluetooth keyboard as well and that gives me more screen space to work on.

The last couple of days have brought me a little closer to the efficiency levels I need, particularly with the new access to iWork in iCloud: I already have the Keynote app, but not Pages or Numbers, while I have the complete suite on the Mac.

Lack of a proper FTP app had been a barrier that I had not properly investigated in the past. I had looked in the iTunes App Store a few times, but had never decided to download one of the apps available. Loss of access to the Mac for a couple of days forced my hand and iFTP Pro is a solution that is working for me.

See Also:

Cassandra: Backups, Security and a Forgotten Firmware Password (1) - Withdrawal Symptoms

Cassandra: Backups, Security and a Forgotten Firmware Password (3) - iFTP Pro and Images

Cassandra: Backups, Security and a Forgotten Firmware Password (4) - iFTP Pro from the iPhone

Cassandra: Backups, Security and a Forgotten Firmware Password (5) - Tidying up and Final Comments

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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