Foster’s Weekly Guide To Apps, Tech & Programs You Should Know About
By: Foster Scott (Contributing Editor)
With the start of 2011 upon us, I thought one of the ways I could help MRT Subscribers to start off the New Year, is to start a Weekly Geek Guide. One that would help you to find the Apps, Tech & Programs that are worth your time and/or money (but really focusing more on saving you money). Sure, you like, I mean love (Jenna works so hard, so it had better be love, hint, hint) the giveaways, but for this guide I wanted to give you something everyone could use or tell to their family and friends for them to use (not just our lucky winners). I may even let my Daughter write about her favorites Apps from time to time and those her friends like, or “can’t live without”. You never know when you need advice on an app or tech for the teenager in your life. Plus, a great thing is all of you can comment below and email me with your free or cheap Apps and Tech that you too can’t live without so I can pass them on to everyone else in future installments.
So now that you may have your new iPod, iPhone or iPad fresh from the holidays (Angry Birds, Mega Jump and Words With Friends will be covered next week) I wanted to bring you an App I use almost daily and is not a game.
This free App from Logitech is just as it sounds. It turns your touch device (iPad, touch or phone) into a WiFi-linked wireless TrackPad (Mouse) and Keyboard. Use this mouse all over your house! Connecting over Wi-Fi and not Bluetooth for example, lets you be anywhere in your house or connect to any Mac or PC in any room as long as it is on your Wi-Fi Network. Perfect for those out there who have a PC connected to a TV or for my case, a larger monitor plugged into my laptop for viewing Netflix streaming to my front room. I will get more into that in a minute.
The App does need one bit of software installed on the device you want to connect to, but that is also free. It is needed to enable the App to find the PC or Mac and communicate with it. It was simple to set up and worked on the first try for me so I would expect it to be similar for you.
So you installed the free software and downloaded the App from the Apple Store, now what? Well, now you can sit back on your couch and control your next Netflix movie. Then, say you are sitting away from your computer and wanted to type a quick entry for Twitter/FaceBook or search YouTube for a musician who just popped into your head. Launch the App and Pick the server you set up for that computer or enter the IP address. That simple! Now you have control over your mouse to move it to the space you want to type. Tap it to select the space and then tap the Keyboard icon so now you can type right from your hands. You also get to see a few seconds of what you just typed so you don’t have to keep looking up or need supervision to see the monitor across the room as you type.
Here are a couple of Pros and Cons that might help you decide if you will get as much use out of this app as I do.
Pros: Starting and Pausing Netflix, YouTube and some general web surfing and typing on a laptop or computer that is sitting on a desk or connected to a large TV that is away from you, and doing so while you are on the couch can be fun and easy. Similar to using the remote controls for your TV. Even easier if you have used a touch pad on a laptop already.
Cons: I have noticed when dragging my finger across to move the mouse, there are times at the end of the swipe when I lift my finger as in to swipe again, what results is the same as the act of clicking the mouse button. Wherever the mouse is at the time when I lift my finger is sometimes selected or clicked. Not a big issue but can be a little frustrating at times if you try to use it as a mouse for long periods of time.
My Reality Verdict: If you are sitting in front of your computer, this will not replace your mouse or touchpad if, say your laptop already has one. What I call a minor glitch is still enough to keep you from using it for long periods of time. Still, if you watch a lot of Netflix or want to do some light YouTube surfing from your couch then you should get this App. If you have a computer attached to your TV or a large Monitor and want a small keyboard and mouse to control it then get this App. If you only use your computer when seated next to it or only use your laptop while it is actually on your lap then you may not have a need for this. For free, you may still want to get it just to play with it or mess with your friends by controlling the mouse while they are on the computer and you are in another room.
Most important is for you to comment and let me know if you want to see more posts like this and give us any you think are worth sharing. There might even be a few surprise giveaways for those that comment with the best helpful or fun item for me to share… who knows! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and comment on Facebook as well! Those entries count!
For more information: Logitech