Some say that the iPad is a magical device. I won’t go that far, but it is kinda cool, though it does have its shortcomings — especially when you compare it to a desktop or laptop computer. There are just many things done much better on a computer than on an iPad, which is why it’s neat that there’s computer remote control software for the iPad.
One of the easiest I’ve found to use is LogMeIn Ignition. Part of the LogMeIn family, Ignition lives on your iPad (or iPhone, or iPod Touch, or Android) and allows you to control any computer you’ve registered with the LogMeIn service.
Here’s how the process works:
1. Get a free LogMeIn account
2. Install LogMeIn Free client software on every PC/Mac you want to control
3. Register those computers with your LogMeIn account information
If you stop here, you now have the ability to control any of your registered computers from any other registered computer (that’s running the client software), or through the LogMeIn web interface (which is very slick!).
4. Install the LogMeIn:Ignition client on your iPhone/iPod Touch or iPad
And you’re done. You can now control any of your computers via your iPad.
It’s a managed service, not a direct connection
The LogMeIn service is a bit different from other remote control software applications as it’s really a hosted service that sits between your iPad and the computer you want to control — it manages the connection between your devices.
The LogMeIn application maintains knowledge of the various connections, and when you want to connect to one of your systems, figures out the best way to do it and makes the connection. Simple.
It’s like being there…sort of
Once you’ve made the connection, anything you can do while sitting at your computer, you can do through the remote control connection.
One caveat; Since the display has to be sent to the remote device, screen refreshes are at the mercy of your Internet connection. Don’t try to play videogames or watch video through LogMeIn: Ignition. It can be done, but it’ll be like watching a very slow slideshow. Oh, and the audio will only play on the remote computer — which could freak out the cats or other residents if they’re not expecting the computer to start doing things on its own.
One other thing. Moving files between the remote computer and the iPad is not supported in Ignition — but there’s a very easy workaround for that. Simply install Dropbox (what? You’re not using Dropbox yet?) on all your computers and on the iPad. Then, use Dropbox to manage the file transfer amongst devices.
Impress Mom and Dad
Ok, sure, remote computer control isn’t for everyone. But if you’re the techie in your family and you’re the one who supports your parent’s computing experience, then LogMeIn:Ignition may make the job easier for you, especially if you are likely to be doing it from various locations or hardware.
This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.