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iTwin promises easy remote file access

By

March 18, 2011

Using two interlocking flash drive-like USB sticks, iTwin allows two remote computers to a...

Using two interlocking flash drive-like USB sticks, iTwin allows two remote computers to access one another's complete hard drives via a secure internet connection (All photos courtesy iTwin)

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A lot of us have one "mothership" desktop computer, along with a laptop or notebook that we take on the road. Many of us also use one computer at work, and another at home. Inevitably, there are occasions where we're using one computer, but wishing we could access a file on the other. While there is remote access software that allows you to do so, the iTwin system offers what seems to be a much simpler solution - two flash drive-like sticks that plug into either computer, and let them communicate for free over a secure internet connection.

To use iTwin, after establishing a link between the two computers by interlocking the sticks, you just pull them apart and leave them in the machines' USB ports. As long as both computers have internet access, they will have access to each other's complete hard drives via an AES 256-bit encrypted connection.

This arrangement opens up various possibilities. When you're on the road, you can use a notebook with relatively little memory or features, and you won't have to debate which files to transfer onto it before leaving. Memory cards from cameras can be freed up on a daily basis, home-based music and video libraries can be accessed, and the possession of a zip or flash drive becomes less crucial. You and a co-worker can also be linked, so that changes to files can be made directly to the files themselves, and not relayed through emailed updated versions of those files.

Should one of the sticks get lost or fall into the wrong hands, it can be remotely disabled.

Using two flash drive-like USB sticks, iTwin allows two remote computers to access one ano...

The creators of iTwin point out that remote access software needs to be configured on both computers, often requires a monthly fee, and passes data through a server where it could potentially be accessed by a third party. Cloud storage, they say, has some of the same drawbacks, and only allows access to whatever has been uploaded to it.

It should also be noted, however, that iTwin currently only works on Windows machines. It can also only link two computers (although a multi-machine setup is in the works), which limits its applications for collaborative projects.

The iTwin costs US$99.

UPDATE 19/9/2011: It's just been announced that iTwin is now compatible and interchangeable with Mac OS X. If you have one already, the OS X update can be downloaded at the iTwin site.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
9 Comments

I still don't know why no one has designed a simple USB lead to connect 2 PCs that enables file transfer.

Australian
18th March, 2011 @ 03:57 pm PDT

Meh. Would be much better if there was some standardized protocol for doing file transfer locally via wifi. This so that one did not have to mess around with ssh or something to get the job done.

Hell, if one have two computers this close, a usb file transfer cable is probably a better solution.

And since it is using the net anyways, sign up for a free dropbox account or something.

digi_owl
18th March, 2011 @ 04:35 pm PDT

WOW actually this is a really good idea. Its true there is a lot of ways to connect via the internet, but for some this could be a great solution.

Michael Mantion
18th March, 2011 @ 06:00 pm PDT

Might as well enable remote control and make it a full feature package. Also an iPad version would be very handy.

dwood
21st March, 2011 @ 06:35 am PDT

This seems like a solution in search of a problem. I use the TeamViewer application, which is free for non-commercial use. You can run the ap on two or more computers and it permits full remote (or limited) control of the partnered PC, as well as permitting file transfers, all over a secured internet connection.

I find remote control a superior solution to file transfer when updating data is involved, as it eliminates data integrity issues by leaving all the data on one PC.

But when I need file transfer, that's supported too. Look for this on CNET Downloads.

Loving It All
21st March, 2011 @ 03:52 pm PDT

How long are you supposed to hold up a laptop, or two desktops for that matter, next to one another while they 'link'?

Software is already capable of doing this, cross-platform, and for free: Windows Live Mesh 2011. I couldn't live without it these days.

Mhocking
22nd March, 2011 @ 05:49 pm PDT

I'm not a huge tecchie, but can someone explain to me why it is not possible to simply use USB cables to tether two computers together and share hard drives? Currently I use proxy networks at work, but I think everyone would agree that it seems like it should be possible to just use one computer as en external hard drive for another computer. But why not?

Lena
28th March, 2011 @ 04:05 pm PDT

I'm not a huge tecchie, but can someone explain to me why it is not possible to simply use USB cables to tether two computers together and share hard drives? Currently I use proxy networks (http://www.proxynetworks.com) at work, but I think everyone would agree that it seems like it should be possible to just use one computer as en external hard drive for another computer. But why not?

Lena
29th March, 2011 @ 01:49 pm PDT

You set up by plugging both half's into one pc (say the "home" pc). After the set up you take one half (travel half) with you anywhere in the world. Plug travel half into any other pc and you have access to your "home" files. Person at "home" can still use the "home" pc, your not controlling the "home" pc, you just have access to "home" files. Both pc's need to be turned on and both need internet connections to be on. Files are send encrypted. No monthly fees.

tktim
31st March, 2011 @ 04:18 pm PDT
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