iTeleport can turn your iPhone or iPad into a mobile touchscreen interface for your main computer.
App of the Week: iTeleport puts house computer in pocket
We geeks grapple with a lot of "First World problems" that make us wail like spoilt children when the Digital Age fails to meet our high expectations. It makes us hard to tolerate in mixed company, especially if we forget to pull the plug that connects our brains to our mouths.
"Why can't I maintain a 4Mbps or better internet connection?"
"Why did Google Earth mislabel half the buildings in my city?"
"Why do my mobile phone calls drop every time I lean 15 degrees to the left on my sofa?"
"Why does everyone end up on the opposite side of the room when I'm at parties?"
These are mostly rhetorical questions, of course, although the first three go a long way towards answering the fourth.
But one of the most repeated laments about our so-called tortured existence is: "Why can't my smartphone do everything, I mean everything, my home computer can do?"
Lament no more. The makers of iTeleport (Dh92) have created an application that opens up a powerful wormhole between your computer and your iPhone or iPad (Android users might try a similar app called androidVNC).
The iTeleport app turns the tiny wireless computer that goes with you everywhere (yes, even the bathroom) into a miniature touchscreen interface for that big anchored house computer that only moves when your lease is up.
It works over both WiFi and 3G networks, meaning you can tap the versatility and power of your home computer from anywhere in the world (at least anywhere in the world a geek would want to go).
First, iTeleport requires you to have a free Gmail account to register. Second, you need to install a small application, iTeleport Connect, on any computer that you want to access remotely. Third, your computer must stay on - not in sleep mode - with the internet running.
Fourth, it needs sturdy internet connections to avoid several-second delays between pushing a button on your mobile device and seeing it actually "push" on your home computer's screen. Fifth, it does not yet support audio.
Still, what it can't do pales in comparison with what it can. It allows you to run any desktop application from your mobile device, transfer anything to anywhere and browse Web pages that use Flash video (even though your iPhone/iPad is notoriously allergic to Flash). You can also remotely flip on your computer's webcam for some out-of-home, in-home surveillance.
There are other products that offer some of these features, from Dropbox to GoToMyPC to join.me. But all require more behavioural adjustments, more teamwork or monthly fees. Once you set up iTeleport, however, you'll have complete access to your main computers through your iPhone or iPad, as long as your base machines stay turned on and tuned in to the internet.
Finally, some good news for geeks to share at the next party - just ease back over to where the people are and maybe they won't scatter this time.
Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at firstname.lastname@example.org