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Remote control your Mac or PC using your BlackBerry PlayBook

LogMeIn on the BlackBerry PlayBook
By Joseph Holder on 31 May 2011 05:36 pm EDT
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Geek Pro rules are simple. Accomplish the most complicated of tasks in as few steps as possible; bonus points if you can do so without getting up from the couch. TeamViewer and LogMeIn are two remote management programs that allow you to access your computer.... well, remotely. Similar to Go to My PC, both of these services allow you to control your connected computer through any web browser. Unlike GtMPC, both TeamViewer and LogMeIn are completely free for non-commercial use.

By now, you've probably figured it out. Your BlackBerry PlayBook is ready, willing, and able to use the web interface for both of these products. The web interface uses the client application already installed on your home or office computer to communicate using their respective websites. In your PlayBook's browser, you'll be able to control your computer almost exactly like you were sitting in front of it.

You'll first need to register with one or more of the sites and install the client. This client will run on your computer at all times. Without it, you won't be able to remotely connect to your computer. Once you've signed in and accessed your computer, you'll be able to use your it as if you were sitting in front of it. You can open files and folders, move files around, and even email yourself that presentation you forgot this morning. All from your PlayBook's browser.  

TeamViewer on the PlayBook 

There are only two issues - as I see it - with using the web interface on the BlackBerry PlayBook. You can't double-click, and there's no way to right-click. Double-clicking (double-tapping) in the flash interface toggles full-screen mode; thankfully, you can always touch and item and press return on the virtual keyboard to get the same effect. For the time being, the best way to right-click would involve installing a virtual keyboard on your computer.

Certain keyboard combinations (such as Windows key - L) can't be done using the PlayBook's keyboard, but they generally can be done with menu commands on the website. I should also point out that the virtual keyboard does not seem to function when either web interface in is full screen mode. Swipe down from the top of the screen to exit the full screen mode when you need to type.

LogMeIn Keyboard

Typing in the two web interfaces is not without its difficulties. At the LogMeIn site, the window for the remote computer shrinks down to a tiny size whenever you use the keyboard. You'll have to close the keyboard to find out that CrackBerry.com is not spelled with a G. TeamViewer is not without its faults as well. With the keyboard open, the window remains the same size.  But for whatever reason, capital letters and some punctuation doesn't translate; leaving you with a sentence that reads "go team111".

For us Geek Pros, these are but trivial annoyances.  The power of being able to remotely access your home or office computer from anywhere with WiFi far outweighs any detriment. Remote management offers so many different uses; though some are more geek-tastic than others.

The other night, I wanted to watch a full-length video on the big TV. The video was on the PlayBook. Sure, I could have attached the microHDMI cable (Type D), but that's not geeky enough. From the sofa, I logged into my TeamViewer account and accessed my computer. Over the wireless network, I transferred the file from the PlayBook to the PC. After waiting only a few minutes for the transfer (at nearly 3 megabytes/second), I started PS3 Media server and was watching my high-definition video a few moments later on the big screen. I never had to leave the couch. Bonus points; Geek Pro!

No Bonus Points 

Not Pictured: Bonus Points 

Reader comments

Remote control your Mac or PC using your BlackBerry PlayBook

21 Comments

Awesome !!! NOW this is what im talking about Playbook ! most of the time i was using TeamView for my clients ;) Also CrossLoop is a good Web Interface ;)

So is there a download for Team Viewer that works on the Playbook now? I have been using Team Viewer for over a year now with my Mac and it works awesome. Since buying my PB, I haven't noticed on the TV site that they offer a PB download. Am I missing something?

From your PlayBook's browser, visit TeamViewer.com or LogMeIn.com.  After you log in to your account, you'll be able to control any of your connected computers through the web site.

There is no app for the PB yet, they're talking about the web interface through the PB browser, honestly this is one of my most wanted apps for the PB.

What software do you install on the PB? I can't find an app. Do you just install their mobile app? Would this work on the PB?

I couldnt see my taskbar on the bottom of the screen, so I tried logmein. Using logmein, I couldn't type anything at all, anywhere, in Word, Firefox, Windows Explorer, etc. anyone know how to fix this with either program?

My guess is that you've started full screen mode.  The keyboard will not work in full-screen.  Login to whichever service you use and connect to a computer.  Don't go full screen.  See that slider bar next to the Add Bookmark button.  Touch it to make the browser full screen.  That should let you see your toolbar.

I just tried, got logged in my computer at work. But I really could not do anything. Only half of the screen showed up. Tried again and was able to see full screen but I still could not do anything. It was not responding to touch.

We use Logmein constantly at work and at home, but I'd hardly call it useable on the Playbook.

We actually were planning to purchase over 10 playbooks if Logmein and Dropbox were ready out of the gate. Not happening. :(

(Note, I still love the Playbook!)

Cannot type ANYTHING in LogMeIn. TeamViewer is actually pretty good. I tried them both as soon as I saw this post. The only thing that I wish TeamViewer did that LogMeIn does, is the computer lock on disconnect.

Hmmm, I don't agree. These services represent a potentially great but currently wasted opportunity for awesome PB use!

I would rewrite the following:
"For us Geek Pros, these are but trivial annoyances. The power of being able to remotely access your home or office computer from anywhere with WiFi far outweighs any detriment."
to
For us Geek Pros, these are major annoyances. The power of being able to remotely see the screen of your home or office computer but not actually interact with it in a usable way is a major detriment that mercilessly teases the Geek Pro with undelivered potential.

This article should have been a call to someone (anyone?) to develop a proper polished usable client for LogMeIn, TeamViewer, GoToMyPC, Remote Desktop, anything... The closest to usable is aVNC, and it still needs some work (and doesn't address the need for a secure connection from outside your network).

You could always try the On-screen Keyboard. Go to 'run' on the start menu and either type 'osk', or 'osk.exe' (minus quotes). If it works, you could always setup a shortcut on your desktop.

So I tried LogMeIn and still learning but with an app this is golden. For the hell of it I decided to try to pull up firefox and open up Netflix. Guess what? I worked, but there was no sound arrg. I know this was a long shot and with all the channels I was going through some lag. But still kinda neat for the min or so i was watching sound free Netflix on my PB haha.

Using your playbook browser, visit rhubcom.com. Once you create your account, it will allow you to connect to your online meetings, allow file transfer, free audio conferencing etc.