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FarFinder remote access tool: on sale and iPhone savvy


I'm a sucker for anything that allows me to get secure remote access to my home machine, so when I saw that FarFinder, the remote access tool from FlyingMac, was on sale for US$20, I jumped on the chance to buy it. It'll be on sale until October 22nd, so if you want to get the application for US$15 less than the normal price, you'll want to head over to the FlyingMac site right now. The family license is US$20 off during the sale, and is available for US$45.

The last time someone at TUAW wrote about FarFinder was back in 2008, when blogger Mat Lu referred to it as "your Finder on the web." That's a perfect way to describe FarFinder, since it makes your Mac's files and folders (plus any network-attached or external drives that are mounted) available to you from most web browsers and your iPhone (see screenshot at right).

FlyingMac offers a 20-day free trial of the application. One thing I really like about FarFinder is that once you've purchased it, there are no extra subscription fees. That means that US$20 price will give you service forever...or at least until there's a major upgrade you need to purchase.

FarFinder not only gives you web access to your Mac, but also provides a lot of other services as well. One of these services is the ability to send files from your Mac to any email address -- remotely. Say, for example, that you're on the road and get a call from a co-worker who needs a copy of a document that's on your home machine. From your iPhone or a web browser, you can simply log into your Mac using a secure http connection, find the file on your Mac, and then email it to that person from FarFinder.

I often find that I need to look at documents that I've created on my Mac when I'm visiting clients. With another computer -- whether it's another Mac, a Windows machine, or even a Linux netbook -- you simply open up the web browser and connect to your home Mac. Once you've connected, it's a simple matter to double-click the file on the remote machine and open it for viewing. Some documents may need to be downloaded to your remote computer, which is accomplished by clicking a download icon.

Other services allow you to upload a file to your home Mac, do Spotlight searches of your Mac to find files, and even take pictures using your Mac's built-in iSight! The latter could be a lot of fun if you want to keep track of your pets or kids when you're on the road.

One thing I particularly like about FarFinder as opposed to other applications is that it does not allow you to control the screen on the remote Mac. Why is that a good thing? Well, FarFinder is very fast since it's not sending screen information over the Internet. Instead, it's just providing file information and displaying that on a web browser or iPhone screen.

The free iPhone app [iTunes Link] is essentially a mini version of the web application, performing most of the same functions with the unfortunate exception of not being able to do uploading. I'd love to be able to grab something from my Mac using the iPhone app, upload it to my iDisk, then use Quickoffice to download the file for editing on the iPhone. As it is right now, if the file isn't already on my iDisk, I can't do anything with it.

At US$20 for the next two weeks, FarFinder is a steal. It's a fast, secure, and easy-to-use remote access application, and well worth the minimal investment if you have more than one Mac or a Mac and an iPhone.

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