Apple

Take documents on the road with FileHound

Scott Lowe demonstrates how to use Splashtop FileHound and Streamer to connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC for file manipulation.

There are different ways out there to carry your files around on your iPhone, but many of them require that you consider in advance exactly which files you wish to bring with you. Dropbox, for example, asks you to specify a folder into which you place the files you wish to sync. There comes a time, however, when you may find yourself needing a file that you didn't consider ahead of time... a realization that hits you while you're sitting at the airport. Enter FileHound, a tool provided by Splashtop. I discussed their Splashtop Streamer product a while back, too.

FileHound actually leverages the Streamer product that the company provides. It allows you to connect your iPhone or iPad to your PC for file manipulation purposes. With it, you can work with any file you need from wherever you happen to be.

The deployment process to make FileHound work is pretty straightforward and consists of four primary steps, shown in Figure A (courtesy of Splashtop). Figure A

The install process for FileHound.

Install the FileHound app

You will find the FileHound app available for download in the Apple App Store for $4.99 (USD). Start by purchasing and downloading the app to your iPhone. When you initially launch the app, you'll get the welcome screen (see Figure B). Figure B

Welcome to FileHound.
The welcome consists of a couple of screens — Figure C and Figure D — that give you a quick look at the app. Figure C

Create a Security Code (you'll set a passcode later).
Figure D

You're now ready to move on.

Install Splashtop Streamer on your PC

As I mentioned before, FileHound leverages Splashtop's Streamer PC- and Mac-based "server" app. FileHound then connects to this app, which runs all the time and works its magic. If you're connecting from the same network where the Streamer app is running, FileHound connects directly. Otherwise, you use your Google credentials to log in to Streamer and FileHound, and then the connection is made. Let's see how this is accomplished.

The process starts by downloading and kicking off the Streamer app installer, shown in Figure E. Figure E

Install Streamer on your PC.
Then, accept the license agreement (see Figure F). Figure F

The product license agreement.
To protect your system from unauthorized access, you need to establish a security code that you'll use to connect to your PC (as in Figure G). Pick something complex, but that you can remember. Figure G

Establish a security code.
Click the Finish button to proceed (see Figure H). Figure H

Click Finish to complete the process.
Here's a look at the Status page for the server component. As you can see in Figure I, the system is listening on all available IP addresses for remote connections. The only one that really matters is the Local Area Connection, since that's the one that can access the Internet. Figure I

The network addresses that are listening for connections.
In order to enable connections from outside your local network, you need to provide your Google credentials (Figure J). Although I'm not a fan of Google as a company, sometimes using their services is unavoidable; with Splashtop, there are no other authentication mechanisms available. Figure J

Log in to your Google account

Connect to your PC from your iPhone

So far, you've installed the FileHound app and installed the Splashtop server application. Now, it's time to connect FileHound to the server and work with a file. Because my PC and iPhone happen to be on the same network, FileHound discovered my PC right away (Figure K). Figure K

My PC was found on the network.
You won't always be on your local network, so you need to create another mechanism that allows connectivity. In Figure L, you'll see a Settings page that shows that Internet discovery isn't working because I'm not yet signed in, a situation I can rectify by signing in (Figure M). Figure L

I'm not yet signed in.
Figure M

To sign in, provide Gmail credentials.
Once that's done, you'll be signed in (Figure N). Figure N

I'm now signed in.
To connect to my PC, I simply tap on the entry for the PC (shown in Figure K earlier). I'm asked to provide the security code that was previously established (see Figure O). Figure O

Enter the security code you created.
In Figure P, you can see the browseable contents of my PC. To move through the folder list, simply tap items. Figure P

e

Screenshot of my PC.
Eventually, you'll get to the folder that holds that file you're looking for. For me, this is shown in Figure Q. Figure Q

The folder that holds the files for this article.
To open a file, simply tap it. In Figure R, you can see that the file opens right in Microsoft Office Word and is fully editable. The file is not downloaded, but you are interacting directly with the Word application and the file on your PC. Figure R

Work with your file.

Summary

FileHound is a very good way to make minor edits to files that you may need to modify while you're on the road or otherwise away from your PC. It's not that expensive and leverages the more comprehensive Streamer app, which is also quite good. Do you use FileHound? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About Scott Lowe

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

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