iTwin promises easy remote file access
By Ben Coxworth
March 18, 2011
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.
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.