Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pocket PC 2010

This Ain’t Your Dad’s PDA

We’ve all been in this situation at one time or another. Perhaps we’re in an important meeting or maybe out on the road assisting a family member with his latest urgent IT conundrum and we need a file or some other piece of information that’s sitting on our personal system. If you have access to another functional, Internet connected PC or laptop and have some sort of remote access software installed on the remote system, there’s no problem. Navigate through a couple of browser windows, and a few clicks of a mouse later, you’re there.

But what if you don’t have access to another PC? How else could you get at those important bits of data? You could always use your smartphone.

Believe it or not, many of us don’t always carry a laptop, and relying on public systems to access personal info is always a gamble. We are power users, however, so we almost always have a smartphone on hand, and those phones have grown exponentially more capable over the last few years. In fact, some of today’s smartphones are so powerful that they can do many things that were once squarely in the realm of the PC, such as remotely controlling other PCs, for example. A number of developers have harnessed the power of some of today’s smartphones and released applications that give users the ability to remotely log in to virtually any Internet-connected PC and access its data as if they were sitting right in front of the system.

We Have Ignition
One of the most popular and user-friendly remote access applications for smartphones comes by way of Log-MeIn ( LogMeIn’s Ignition application as it is known is available for iOS- and Android-based devices, and it works in conjunction with the company’s LogMeIn remote support service. If you haven’t used LogMeIn before, it is essentially a hybrid of Windows’ Remote Desktop feature and a dynamic DNS service. Users of LogMeIn are able to access any PC registered with the service as long as the LogMeIn app is running and the machine is connected to the Internet. There’s no need to muck with IP addresses, ports, routers, and the like, which makes for an extremely user-friendly experience.

Using the LogMeIn Ignition application on a smartphone first requires creating an account and associating a computer (or computers) with the account via LogMeIn’s Web site. From the PC (or Mac) you’d like to access remotely, hit up LogMeIn’s Web site and create a free account. LogMeIn Free actually includes a 120-day trial of the more feature-laden LogMeIn Pro2 service, but the Free edition is still plenty capable and won’t expire. Once the account is created, you’ll be given the option to “add PCs to the service. Adding a PC entails downloading a small application and installing it on the PC. What this app does is keep the machine connected to LogMeIn’s service and accessible via the Web site or Ignition application. Once the LogMeIn application is installed on the PC, an icon will be present in the Taskbar Tray. As long as the system has a working connection to the Web and the app installed properly, you should be ready to go.

Ready For Take Off
Preparing your smartphone for use with LogMeIn Ignition is very straightforward. Simply access the App Store on your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch or the Android Market for your Android-based device and download the application. It’s available for both platforms for $29.99. Once the app is downloaded and installed onto the device, launch it and accept the license agreement. You’ll then be greeted by a menu asking for login credentials. On this screen, enter the email address and password you used to create an account on the LogMeIn Web site. Once you input the necessary credentials, the Ignition app will connect to the LogMeIn service and present you with a list of systems associated with the account. You can then access any of the systems that are online and connected to the service by simply selecting them from the menu.

Once an entry is selected, Ignition will take a few moments to connect to the remote system. When it does, said system’s desktop will be presented on the smartphone’s screen. With touch-enabled smartphones, dragging across or tapping the screen mimics the corresponding mouse actions on a desktop system, and pinch gestures can be used for zooming in and out. If you’re only accustomed to using a keyboard and mouse, navigation takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s fairly intuitive and easy to use once you get the hang of it.

For the most part, LogMeIn Ignition offers a streamlined and smooth user experience: Scrolling, opening applications, and navigating through the system are all relatively quick and painless. Of course, your experience will vary based on the speed of your device and the quality of its connection to the Internet. Although the service works fine over cellular networks, we’ve found that using Wi-Fi whenever possible results in better performance. Virtually all current-generation smartphones offer more than enough horsepower to adequately run Ignition.

Your PC In The Palm Of Your Hand
Having remote access to a faraway PC, whenever and wherever you’d like, is undeniably useful and just plain cool. Whether it’s to perform professional support calls or simply view documents stored on a machine somewhere, being able to access a remote PC from a smartphone opens up some interesting possibilities. And keep in mind, there’s technically no limit to the number of LogMeIn Free accounts you could set up. Link one email address/account to your home PCs, another to your office PCs, and maybe a third for the PC of that family member you invariably end up supporting. Accessing any of these machines simply requires logging in to Ignition using the proper account.

Since we’ve begun using the service, we’ve found ourselves fixing basic problems for friends, organizing music and photos on our desktop systems while waiting for the train or sitting in a restaurant, and performing any number of tasks on our PCs during general downtime. Having the ability to do these things from basically anywhere has been a real productivity booster. If you’ve ever found yourself in the position of needing access to a remote PC from the road and you have a compatible smartphone, do yourself a favor and check out LogMeIn Ignition.

Source of Information :  CPU Computer Power User November 2010
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