LogMeIn Revisited — Multiple Computer Nirvana

I have an unusual setup in Mobile Tech Manor, with a plethora of computers just waiting to get used to full advantage. There is no telling what gadget I might be using at a given moment, or what platform it might be running. One disadvantage to the platform agnostic mobile worker, and I count myself in that group, is that often I find myself needing a given file or document that is currently residing on a computer that is not at my disposal. This has prompted me to take another look at LogMeIn, and I am happy to report it’s working well.

I used LogMeIn (s logm) way back when and it did a good job for me. Where I found it to fall short was in the Mac (s aapl) realm, as the Pro version did not work on the Mac. That meant I could not perform file functions across platforms, and that was a killer for me. Recently it came to my attention that LogMeIn Pro now works on the Mac, so I grabbed a 30-day trial account and have been using it heavily. It is rapidly becoming an indispensable tool in my software toolkit.

LogMeIn provides a lot of different functions, but the two I use most are the remote control and the file management. Remote control lets me run any computer in Mobile Tech Manor from any other computer I have configured with LogMeIn. This control takes place in the web browser, and it turns the computer at hand into a remote terminal to my other computers. This is useful as I can log into the MacBook back in the office, and run any program or perform any Mac function from whatever computer I happen to be using at the time. It’s not as fast as if I was sitting in front of the MacBook, but it’s certainly fast enough to be useful.

I also use the file management functions of LogMeIn — in fact I do this more than remote control. I am prone to grab any notebook when I head out the door, and as a result it is common for me to realize I need a file or two from another computer to use in my work. With LogMeIn, I can connect to the other computer, and fire up a graphical file manager with a dual pane displaying files on both computers, the remote one and the one at hand. Copying files is a simple process, and finding the files I need is easy to do in the file manager.

It is liberating to be able to grab any computer for a remote work session, and having LogMeIn around makes that painless. I no longer find myself stuck due to not having the files or programs at hand to get the job done. It’s a simple matter to tap into any system and grab what I need. That’s heady stuff, I am finding.

I also have LogMeIn Ignition on the iPhone, but I don’t use it very often. It’s cool to run the equivalent of a full computer on the little iPhone, but frankly I don’t really need to do that much. The iPhone app is quite expensive ($29.99) too, so unless you have a glaring need for this function it’s too expensive to just play with. I can see IT folks might find a real benefit with this app though, and the ability to remotely access a computer on the go. It is also available on a number of smartphone platforms, although I haven’t tried others.

I know there are other programs that do this, but I am happy with LogMeIn. It handles everything I need it to do, and I find it worth the $70/ year for one computer. I’ll likely pony up the cash when the trial is over, at least for the MacBook. That way I can access the office stuff from any other computer using just the browser.

A fun benefit that doesn’t have much real use but I like to do, is tap into the MacBook from the ThinkPad x200 Tablet. It is downright cool to run the ThinkPad as a Mac, complete with full touch controls. It shows what a Mac with a touch screen would be like. As I said, fun stuff.

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