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iGet 2.6 review


Review Date: 29 Mar 2007

Price when reviewed:

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

Having many Macs is both a blessing and a curse.

On one hand, you have all the geeky joy of playing with more than one machine running on OS X. On the other, you have all the geeky horrors of keeping all of them synchronised, backed up, properly updated and maintained.

There's also the fact that stuff you want to use invariably ends up on some other computer, not the one you're using right now. You're going to have to log in to that other machine and find the stuff you need. That's assuming you can remember where on that hard disk it is.

Nakahara Informatics' iGet 2.6 is designed to skirt round all these problems. It offers fully secure connections to remote Macs, over which you can search for the files you need and transfer them elsewhere once found.

Take note of the words 'fully secure' - that's one thing that sets iGet apart from the Finder's own ability to connect to a remote server. While the Finder does an adequate job, iGet does it better and a little faster, too.

The interface has been kept simple, which makes this an easy application to get used to. Having connected to your remote Mac (knowing its host name or IP address is as technical as you will need to get), you get a very Finder-like window in which you can do all your searching and browsing.

Because iGet is very like the Finder, it's possible to dive straight in and feel pretty comfortable. There's only one minor drawback, and that is the view is restricted to a list format, with no option to switch to the icon or column views that many people prefer.

File transfers are simple and, best of all, they're safe. Every connection is made using the Secure Shell (SSH) system that's built into OS X, but which is normally only reached after some determined messing about in Terminal.

What's more, the computer you're connecting to does not need to be running any special software. The only requirement is that the remote machine has Remote Login switched on in its Sharing Preferences. With that done, you need an account on the machine with which to connect to it, which can be your normal user account or a separate one created purely for file transfers.

Remote searching is done using Spotlight and is remarkably swift. The search results can be sorted by a number of attributes, including some (such as file path and permissions) that aren't on offer in the Finder.

Another benefit over standard Finder network connections is that iGet copes very well with interruptions. If one of the machines you're using (at either end of the connection) goes to sleep, or gets shut down, iGet will resume the connection and any file transfers automatically when the connection is re-established. A standard Mac-to-Mac Finder connection will usually result in the spinning pizza of doom in similar circumstances.

iGet is not one of those must-have utilities that every OS X user is going to need. Most of the time, you will probably be able to get by with what comes with your Mac. But for anyone with a large network, or with access to Macs in different locations, or for whom security or speed matters more than anything else, iGet is a useful tool at a reasonable price.

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