Fully Access And Control Your Windows And Mac Desktop From Your iPad Over WiFi And 3G

Splashtop Update: Although Splashtop states Internet Discovery as an experimental feature, I have found it to be highly reliable. I have a Windows XP Pro desktop and a Windows 7 Ultimate laptop both running Splashtop Remote client and Internet Discovery always locates both computers on WiFi at home and on 3G when I’m outside. It no longer matters whether you have static or dynamic IP address!

There are far more uses for these two Apps than I care to mention and if you take the time to read their exhaustive list of features, you may even think surely they’re too good to be true.  What did it for me was simply the confidence I got from strong positive reviews from happy users so taking the plunge wasn’t as daunting an experience as what many remote desktop software in the past had failed to inspire. If you’re an iPad user like me who takes work on the road a lot working out of coffee shops, hotel lobbies, overseas assignments sometimes you have an urgent need to access files stored on the home computer.

LogMeIn Ignition works on iPad/iPhone, Android and Windows

Once the iPad and Windows desktop client apps are correctly set up, accessing folders and files is a no-brainer affair. You can see the greyed-out file management boxes at the bottom. Unlike Splashtop, LogMeIn lets you Copy/Move files into the iPad among other file management possibilities.

By files, I mean digital images, Microsoft Office documents, etc. We all know how incredibly powerful and convenient the iPad 2 is so there’s no need to get into all that brochure talk. But instead, I recommend LogMeIn Ignition and Splashtop Remote Desktop. I have both and use one or the other depending on whether “access” means simply browsing the files/documents online or downloading them for offline use later. Best part is their desktop “agent” Apps happily co-exist so they can be left inconspicuously running in the background.

Similar to Splashtop Remote Desktop, LogMeIn allows the user to access and control applications remotely.

Splashtop Remote Desktop works on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and WebOS

This is the ONLY remote desktop app that streams video and audio from your PC or Mac, allowing you to interact with your PowerPoint, Keynote, Word, Excel, Outlook, Quicken, IE, Firefox, Safari, World of Warcraft, and other PC / MAC applications. — Splashtop on iTunes

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A shot of my trusty Dell Dimension's Windows XP Pro with minimal number of applications that I had reinstalled from an unrecoverable crash several months back. Here, you get to run any application remotely including Word, Excel (work on proposal) and even Flash is supported natively.
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Give you an idea of how Windows keys are integrated into the iPad key pad. Very smooth and easy to use.

LogMeIn Ignition which is priced a lot higher than Splashtop Remote (6 times more to be exact) has the advantage of working on both WiFi and 3G network connectivity. The folks at Splashtop Inc has done an excellent tutorial to help those with Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router connect from outside via 3G.  There’s a small catch — static and dynamic IP address. If you’re a home user, chances are Dynamic IP is part of your data plan (those with Static IP need not read on beyond the step-by-step guide. If you one of the majority like me who has to deal with ever changing IP address, there’s a way to overcome this shortcoming by using DynDNS service (I’ve prepared my own tutorial to walk you through this).

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Using the name, password and newly registered domain name from DynDNS and configuring the Linksys Router to use this service, the problem associated with Dynamic IP addresses is a thing of the past. DynDNS service now handles the changing IP addresses automatically.

On a side note, if you’re looking for a way to print a document on your home printer over 3G from the iPad, you’ll have come across many reports that this is not possible. This is in fact possible and I’ve done it to share with you.