A little background: Salon Transcripts (STX) is a Salon Management program for Mac’s. It is used by salon’s all over the country, small and large shops. The site they have is basically for sales. Tech support is 18 dollars per call/email, etc. They don’t have much for documentation, much less connecting remotely. I was tasked with getting it working remotely.
My first step was get remote access to a machine inside the network. For this I did 4 things.
1) Install DynDNS client for Mac
DynDNS (Dynamic DNS) allows you to create a faux domain name for an IP behind a NAT, and the little client will update DynDNS service so it is always up to date. Basically make a dynamic IP static. I installed this on a computer at the salon that is always on.
2) Install Vine VNC Server for Mac
Vine is a VNC server, I installed this on the same computer as the DynDNS client on the internal network
3) Install Chicken of the VNC for Mac
On the client computer (laptop) I installed Chicken of the VNC (love the name). Read somewhere this was the best VNC client for Mac, so I went with it.
4) Port Forward Port 5900 on the AirPort Express to the Machine Internally
Using the app in the Utilities folder on the Mac internally, AirPort Utility, I forwarded port 5900 (vnc port) to the computer with Vine and DynDNS
So far so good. I could then connect to the server on the internal network, change any settings, open more ports, etc. I could just use STX on the server machine, but it was really slow over VNC. Initially I was going to just have them use VNC and then FolderShare or email PDF reports back to the laptop so they could print them remotely, but just to slow.
I decided to get STX on the laptop to connect remotely over the Internet to the server on the internal network. Since there is NO documentation on this, I had to do some digging. First, what ports does STX use, and what is the STX server IP internally? Getting the IP is trivial, there is a setting in STX->Preferences->System where you can set the IP, so I had that. Finding out the ports, I fired up Terminal on the server, and ran
netstat -na | grep ESTA
To see what connections were established
As you can see there are 3 ports that were going the server (the server was 10.0.1.100) – 9090, 4000 and 20260. These are the 3 ports you need to open up on a router and use port forwarding to the server to connect STX remotely.
Once again, the ports to use Salon Transcripts (STX) remotely are:
Those 3 tidbits would have saved me some time 🙂
After port forwarding those to the server, I tried connecting the laptop client over the net to my DynDNS host and it worked!
One thing I noticed though is running reports is VERY SLOW over the Internet, almost locks up STX.