Remote access to my computers is something I can’t live without. I travel frequently and discover I’ve left files behind on a computer at the office or at my house. My home and office are separated by a ferry ride, so if I happen to forget something in one location or the other, there’s a 90-120 minute round trip to get the forgotten file. While there are a ton of remote desktop solutions to choose from, the one I find easiest to use is LogMeIn. The software installs on each computer you want to enable for remote access and runs in the background. You can connect from any other computer, securely connecting through the Web to the computer you left behind. All your data is encrypted in the connection, so there’s no chance you are risking exposing your data to hackers, although it’s always a good idea to be cautious regardless.
While there are a number of different versions of LogMeIn, I haven’t found a good reason to use any of the versions that cost money. You get the ability to copy files between the computer you are on and the computer you are connecting to, but when I need a file my solution is simply to move it to my Dropbox folder on the remote computer, which then causes the file to show up on my local computer.
Because LogMeIn works in a browser, you can use it to connect from Mac OS X, from Linux, or from any modern version of Windows, making it a simple cross-platform solution for getting to your data when you need it. There’s also an iPad version of LogMeIn, called Ignition, which costs $30, but allows you to remotely control your computer from your iPad. This is a good backup plan if you want to travel with an iPad as your only computer with the flexibility of all the power a full-fledged operating system provides.
The one potential downside to using LogMeIn or any remote computer access solution is the remote computer needs to always be on. For the sake of convenience, this is certainly well worth it, at least for my needs.
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