NBRemote : Newsbin Pro Remote Control

December 5, 2011 update: after using NBRemote from time to time over the last couple weeks we enjoy the app even more. You should definitely check it out and let us know what you think.

Earlier this year we started using Splashtop to remotely access Newsbin Pro.  Which was ok but Splashtop is a remote desktop app for iOS.  So it wasn’t integrated with the Newsbin client features in an iPhone / iPad rich interface.  Today that all changed as Newsbin released their own remote control client.  NBRemote let’s you control Newsbin from your iOS device.  It’s available in the App Store for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch for $2.99.

NBRemote First Impressions

In a moment we’ll dive into the installation, configuration and features of NBRemote.  Before we do though I’d like to share some thoughts on the new app.  As I know some won’t want to read this whole post to decide whether or not to spend the $2.99 for the app.  In short if you use Newsbin Pro and have an iPhone or iPad we highly recommend you download NBRemote.  Definitely a solid effort and well worth supporting.  So read on to learn more about NBRemote and then download your copy and enjoy controlling Newsbin remotely.

NBRemote Prerequisites

In order to use NBRemote you will need a registered copy of Newsbin version 6.11 or later.  So if you’re currently on the free trial version you’ll want to go ahead and purchase a license.  The cost has been lowered from $35 to $20 and that includes free upgrades for life.  You might also consider Newsbin Internet Search.

NBRemote Installation

As mention make sure you have Newsbin Pro version 6.11 or later.  We tested on the latest beta release which was Newsbin 6.20 RC2 Build 1500.  After you’ve got that taken care of hop on into the App Store from your iPhone or iPad and purchase NBRemote.  The app is only 3.1 MB so it doesn’t take long to download.

Newsbin Configuration

Before launching NBRemote you’ll want to configure some related settings in Newsbin.  To do so fire up Newsbin and go to Options – Options – Remote Control.  Which will bring up the following screen:

Check the box to ‘Enable Remote Control‘ and set a password.  You can make the password anything you want.  It will be used to connect from NBRemote.  You can change the port or leave it as 118.  Note: if you change it make sure to set the port number in NBRemote to match.  Now you’re ready to launch NBRemote.

NBRemote Configuration

The first time you launch NBRemote you’ll need to go in and setup a connection to your system.  Using this guide will make it a breeze.  We’ll walk you through it here as well.  To get started you’ll want to know the IP address of your host computer.  To find out you can drop to a command prompt (cmd) and run ipconfig.   Here’s a helpful video if you have any trouble finding your IP address.  You will also need your Newsbin serial number.  From inside Newsbin click on HelpAbout Newsbin Pro to obtain your registration code.

The first time you launch NBRemote you’ll need to add the connection back to your computer to access Newsbin remotely.  To do so go to Settings and then Add Newsbin computer:

Fill in the Computer settings screen as follows:
  • Description:  Any name you want for the connection.
  • Server address:  The IP address or your computer.
  • Server port:  Only change if you chose a port other than 118
  • Serial number:  Enter your Newsbin Pro registration code
  • Password:  Enter the password you chose a moment ago in Newsbin Pro.

When your finished hit the Test connection button.  If all goes well you’ll see ‘Connected Successfully’ after a few seconds.  In my case I got another message the first time around.  An error stating ‘Authentication required’.  As usual I had fat fingered some information.  In this case the serial number.  A quick fix followed by ‘Connected successfully’.  The other common error you might see is ‘The connection timeout has expired’.  In that case confirm the IP address is entered correctly.  Otherwise you’re ready to use NBRemote.

Launching NBRemote : Connecting to Newsbin

The first thing you want to do after opening NBRemote each time is connect to your Newsbin remotely.  To do so tap on Computers and then the name you gave to your system.  Note that you can set up NBRemote to remotely control more than one computer.  Once connected we went right to the Search area.

NBRemote Search Functionality

I expected that NBRemote would support the Newsbin Internet Search feature and it does quite well.  However, I was surprised by the other Usenet search options including Binsearch, NZBMatrix and Nzbs.org.  I tested both the Newsbin search and Binsearch.  Here are some screenshots:

I searched for ‘Ubuntu’ using Newsbin internet search and Binsearch.  Because let’s face it.  You can never have too many Ubuntu distros.  We played a little with the filter options for the Newsbin search and then tested out Binsearch which is one of our other favorite Usenet search engines.  Next it was time to download.

Downloading with NBRemote

I chose a Ubuntu distro from Binsearch and created the NZB file.  Then downloaded it to my PC remotely from NBRemote.  Later I downloaded a picture of a train directly to the iPhone and opened it.  In the files area you can view local files (on your device) or Newsbin files (on your computer).  There is also an optional setting to integrate NBRemote with your Dropbox account.

Browsing Newsgroups with NBRemote

Along with searching for Usenet content by topic the NBRemote also lets you browse through newsgroups.  As you would from inside Newsbin.  Simply tap on ‘Groups’ from the NBRemote home screen.  We chose the alt.binaries.pictures.railroad group to test and found a number of results after tweaking the filter options.

By default the NBRemote filter is enabled and set to only show posts between 0 and 1 day old.  We noticed the same when testing hte Newsbin internet search feature.  Since that didn’t net many results from the train group we extended the filter out to it’s max number of days which is 720 days.  Then we got nearly 3,000 results.

In the future I look forward to diving deeper into NBRemote.  Some of the other features include Dropbox integration and an option to add any search site you like.  Basically you add the name and URL to the search menu and use the engine of your preference.  You can tell a lot of planning went into the app.  Especially at such an early stage.  Definitely a fun project to track and an app we will use.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my review / guide / ramblings about NBRemote.  It really is a cool app to remotely control Newsbin.  I hope you’ll try it out and let us know what you think.  As always you can visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet and follow us @NewsgroupRevs to share your thoughts.