This is a guest blog post by Sherman Nicodemus. This is my fifth post in a series this week on “Moving at the Speed of Creativity.” If you have questions about this post I’ll be glad to answer them via comments here.

Demonstrations of iPhone and iPod Touch applications for groups can be awkward. The AV cables sold by Apple for the iPhone and iPod Touch support TV out, for playing videos users have saved in iTunes and have available for playback via the iPod functionality of their device, but screensharing for other apps is NOT currently supported with these cables. (Two cable types are available from Apple: A composite video out cable and a component video out cable.) Since neither of these cables can, with Apple supported software and functionality, support screensharing, most presenters must use a document camera to demonstrate applications on either device when using a LCD projector or large format television. This can work, but can be tricky because of iPhone screen lighting and document camera exposure settings.

The homemade Elmo close up

This disabled iPhone / iPod Touch presentation application situation is not as it should be. The beautiful applications and functions available on the iPhone / iPod Touch deserve a much more professional presentation mode, and thankfully one is available via the applications ScreenSplitr and DemoGod. Both are free, but do require a jailbreak since the functionality requires ScreenSplitr to run in the background. Backgrounder apps are not supported on the iPhone and iPod Touch at present by Apple. For more about jailbreaking, including legal aspects, see my post from earlier this week, “Tethered iPhone Internet Access with iPhoneModem (Jailbreak required.)”

To install ScreenSplitr and DemoGod:

  1. Jailbreak your iPhone (if you have not already) using Blackra1n or the iPhone Dev Team’s QuickPwn software.
  2. Use Cydia to search for and install ScreenSplitr on your iPhone or iPod Touch.
  3. Download and install DemoGod on your Apple computer. (Sorry Windows users, DemoGod is currently just available for Mac folks.)
  4. Connect both your Mac computer and your iPhone / iPod Touch to the same wifi network.
  5. On your iPhone or iPod Touch, launch ScreenSplitr to start screensharing.
  6. On your Mac, launch DemoGod. It should detect / find your iPhone or iPod Touch running ScreenSplitr and let you click on the name of your device.
  7. On your iPhone or iPod Touch, click ACCEPT to allow screensharing.
  8. All iPhone or iPod Touch screen selections should now be “mirrored” on your laptop or desktop computer, with a minimal amount of delay.
  9. Press the ScreenSplitr icon again to turn off screensharing, and simply quit the DemoGod application on your Mac laptop/desktop when you are finished using the program.

This screensharing method does NOT require the use of any cables: The iPhone / iPod Touch screen is shared wirelessly over the shared wifi connection. The frame rate of the shared video is only about 15 fps, however, so full-motion games and even videos will seem a bit jerky. For most demos, however, this method works great. If you have either of the Apple video-out cables, you can alternatively use them to share your device’s screen. The frame rate for iPhone / iPod Touch screensharing with a cable is the same as it is for the wifi sharing option. If you use a cable, you just need to enable/start ScreenSplitr on your iPhone, DemoGod software is not required.

I’ve run into some trouble using ScreenSplitr and DemoGod in some locations where the wifi network was setup more securely. I suspect certain ports were blocked on the wifi network for sharing, and that prevented ScreenSplitr and DemoGod from working together. It should be possible to setup sharing with an ad hoc wifi network connection, but I have not tried that successfully. In the future, I may bring my own wifi hotspot to a presentation when I want to use ScreenSplitr and DemoGod, and connect a wired ethernet cable to that access point. By using my own, non-port filtered AP perhaps some problems might be averted. I don’t consider ScreenSplitr and DemoGod to be foolproof demonstration options, but they are FANTASTIC when they do work and a personal AP could significantly increase the liklihood they’ll work fine. My Airport Express is ideal for this purpose.

Steven Chi‘s five minute video tutorial on YouTube explains how to install both ScreenSplitr and DemoGod.

Have you had positive or negative experiences using ScreenSplitr and DemoGod for presentations to date? Hopefully we’ll see Apple formally approve backgrounder apps like ScreenSplitr in the near term, so this can become an “officially approved” app store download.

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  • http://twitter.com/jwindsor Jeff Windsor
  • Gary B. Roberts

    I have a promising 18-year old freshman who’s an expert with iPhone and iPod apps — he’s created his own company The iSchool Initiative (http://ischoolinitiative.com) and is getting quite a bit of traction etc. I’m helping him form some key alliances–mostly with other students and also integrating him into my Students in Free Enterprise Team (SIFE) which has an educational mission.

    We’ve done a number of seminars on campus for students about Apps on the iPhone and iPod and also two seminars last semester for faculty where we had over 40 professors attend on “Teaching with Apps” and have just about finished a 24 minute video of the seminars that’s very good (Final Cut Studio quality), and were about to make it available, hopefully via Moving with the Speed of Creativity etc.

    But…we used a jail broken iPod to project the iPod onto the screen for teaching purposes. (Blackrain/ScreenSplitter/DemoGod and my Mac Mini). My student has been told that if we release this video to YouTube or TeacherTube that Apple will vindictively blackball him within the App community and that no App developers will work with him! He’s not an App developer and has signed no agreements with Apple, but wants to partner with folks who have. He’s scared right now and we have an educational video that would contribute significantly (with about 40 hours of work invested) that I don’t want to use because, if what they are telling me, that Apple would “blackball” these kids in the future. My wife, the attorney, says this is suspiciously like “constraint of trade” but who knows.

    Is this true — what should I tell him and can Apple actually control what we do in the classroom to the extent that they will act punatatively regarding this issue? The last thing I want to do is hurt these 18-year olds’ promising entrepreneurial efforts. Apple can take its best shot at me, but I’m a tenured full professor with a lot of academic freedom protection.

    Who do you know at Apple that I can ask about this? Any advice?

    Thanks

    Gary

  • http://iphoneauctions.com.au/ jolie styvers

    Using these applications can come handy but just like what you have said, there were some presentations that I had difficulty in sharing it with the others as it keeps on lagging. I just hope Apple would release a much stable application in the near future for content sharing. As this would be a very useful app that anyone can use especially for those who are in a business meeting.

  • Freeman

    fps is too slow…

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