Last month, following my epic discovery of Splashtop Inc‘s incredible iPad App called Splashtop Remote I couldn’t help but feel obliged to post a review to highlight the App’s ease of use on the iPad. Since then, I’ve been showing it off to friends just how easy it is to access files on the desktop PC remotely and reliable the technology is today even when accessing my home network via 3G wireless network.
A Win XP PC with a 2TB disk rigged with remote access capability technically gives me a 2TB 'cloud' when I'm outside http://bit.ly/p8pkrN
Positively inspired with Splashtop Remote‘s simplicity I had an epiphany when thinking of possible uses of this implementation. Looking around the studio, I found a retired 2MP Autofocus Logitech webcam with Carl Zeiss optics that had been gathering dust for a few years. Instinct said this would work and it would be just a matter of whether the video streams would be acceptable for real-world use. I’m happy to announce that it works just fine!
Before you can access your Windows PC, you need to install the Splashtop Streamer client available for Windows and Mac.
On a side note, Logitech recently announced a new security app designed to allow iPad users to monitor activities around their home or office. The app, named Logitech Alerts (launches iTunes App Store) “will allow users to keep an eye on things in 720p high definition video, when paired with one of the “Logitech Alert” security cameras sold by Logitech.” Goes without saying that if you have the financial means and a need to simultaneously monitor more than one location, this is the cool solution for you.
I have just a single point of interest to monitor — the heartbeat of Shimworld. I downloaded the latest Logitech software and made sure it supported the Carl Zeiss webcam locally. As long you have an existing working webcam, Splashtop Remote simply opens the door on your iPad to remotely access the application that turns on the camera.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
Wow! Remote printing from iPad to home printer over 3G cellular network a reality. Just got it setup successfully! http://bit.ly/ogFfuP