Control PocketC.H.I.P. Remotely with VNC, Create Custom SysAdmin Tools, or Emulate the TI-99/4A

Use VNC to graphically interface with PocketC.H.I.P. from remote devices

Use VNC to graphically interface with PocketC.H.I.P. from remote devices

Pocketeers are ditching the command-line and finding new ways to control of their PocketC.H.I.P.s using graphical interfaces. Others are reliving their first computer experience through emulation on PocketC.H.I.P.. Here’s the scoop.

Pocketchipfan (nice handle btw) recently wrote installation instructions for VNC, a client-server program that lets you control a remote computer using the hardware of a local one. 0xicl33n is working on a graphical interface for controlling system services like VNC and SSH so you don’t have to venture to the command-line. And romanaThree is reliving the early days of personal computing with a TI-99/4A emulator.

Remote Controlled GUI

Emdkay's PocketC.H.I.P. VNC Setup

Emdkay’s PocketC.H.I.P. VNC Setup

Using SSH to connect to remote devices is a great way to access them securely and efficiently, but the command-line interface can be a mysterious environment if you’re new to Linux. Pocketchipfan has a quick and easy solution: setup a VNC server on PocketC.H.I.P., which only requires two command-line commands, and then you’re . VNC (short for Virtual Network Computing) enables you to use a local computer’s keyboard, mouse, and display to control a remote machine as though you were sitting in front of it. Pocketchipfan posted VNC setup instructions in the forum and others have pitched in with additional tips and tricks.

Developed in the late 1990s, VNC is cross-platform, open source, and a great way to graphically control a remote device. Above is a shot of Pocketeer Emdkay with VNC in action. In this setup, PocketC.H.I.P. is running a VNC server and Emdkay’s iPad is running a VNC client. Any typing or touching done on the laptop will control PocketC.H.I.P.. It’s like turning the iPad into a PocketC.H.I.P.!

Customize the PocketC.H.I.P. menus


Once you’ve installed services like SSH and VNC on PocketC.H.I.P., you’ll have to manage them through the systemd systemctl utility. 0xicl33n “didn’t want to be bother with that.” Instead, using Python 2.7 and a bit of code, 0xicl33n created a graphical front-end to start and stop system services.

The project is a work in progress, but you can track the development in the forum thread or the Github repository. And if you see a way to incorporate 0xicl33n’s code in your next project, make sure to make a mention of it in the thread. It’s always good to cite your sources. ໒( ͡ᵔ ▾ ͡ᵔ )७

Relive the 16-bit Future with a TI99/4A


The TI-99 was the first 16-bit home computer. Released in 1979, the 99/4A was powered by a blazing fast 3.0Mhz processor, offered a full line of plug-and-play peripherals, and had a catalogue of about 100 games! C.H.I.P.ster romanaThree had one these machines back in the day and took the time to prepare a compiled version of a 99/4A emulator. You can grab a copy in the forum thread.

This brought back memories for Solarmax, since the 99/4A was his first computer and he lugged to college with him. These days you don’t need to haul around gear to use the 99/4A, or at least emulate it. PocketC.H.I.P. is more than up to the challenge emulating the software, plus it fits in most pockets. Just remember not to sit on it!

TI-99 and its full line of peripherals

TI-99/4A and its full line of peripherals


Was your first computer a TI-99/4A like Solarmax or were you a 386 whiz kid?
Make sure to share your first computer memories in the comments below. And while you’re at it, make sure to share all your project photos on Twitter, Facebook, or in our forum.

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That’s a TI99/4 in the picture. It is rare. The 4a is still common on eBay for about $50. The 4a had a much better keyboard and a nifty “peripheral expansion box” so the, uh, “full line” of peripherals could better fit on or under the table.

The TI99/$ is rare? I have one, right next to my desk in fact, with most of the accessories like the tape recorder. I also have the regular white one. A bunch of games as well, cool to know some people still like it. I can post pictures if anyone is interested.

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