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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/feelhomeicon_thumb.png” /> If you want to have all your data with you at all times, you could carry an external hard drive. You could also take your laptop everywhere. You could even set up an FTP server complete with port forwarding and a static IP address.
Or you could just install and run a single program and access your computer remotely from any web browser.
Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t. FeelHome (alternative link), a relatively new service built on top of a variety of open source projects, makes it possible to access your entire hard drive from anywhere you have access to a browser. You can download and upload any document, from or to any place on your drive. All of this without having to muck about with your router or firewall.
Best of all? You can install this free program on any Linux, Mac or Windows computer and access your computer files remotely from anywhere.
What It Does
FeelHome could be compared to Dropbox, I suppose: you can access your files from the Internet. Unlike Dropbox, however, FeelHome is strictly a way to access files on your desktop. It does not sync your files between multiple computers, and it does not upload your data to a server for you to download from. Instead, FeelHome gives you direct, relatively secure access to files on your computer.
The main advantage of this is you don’t need to upload your data to another server, meaning the service is usable as soon as you install it. The main disadvantage is that you’re limited by the upload speed of your home Internet connection. So don’t expect to download large files like movies from a friend’s house in a matter of minutes, but expect complete access to any file on your hard drive.
Setting up this program is easy. Just head over to Nuxinov and click the “Download” link. You’ll be presented with downloads for Linux, Mac and Windows. Download the package of your choice.
For Mac and Windows users the process should be straight forward: Mac types do their standard Fisher Price Drag ‘n Drop Dance and Windows users double-click to see various prompts which they have to click “Next” for.
Linux users, unusually, have a few extra steps. Before doing anything you need to install FeelHome’s main dependency: libqt4. Ubuntu users can do this by searching their package manager for a package called libqt4-core, or by typing “sudo apt-get install libqt4-core” in the command line and pressing “enter.” If you use a different OS than that, I can’t tell you how your package manager works, but I can say that if you use KDE you don’t need to install anything.
Once this dependency is installed you can run the feelgood program directly from the folder it’s currently in, or you can copy it to your “/usr/bin” folder by opening the Terminal, browsing to the folder FeelHome is in and typing “sudo cp feelhome /usr/bin“.
(Note to the developers: create a .deb package! It would make using your service much easier to Ubuntu types.)
Windows users are lucky, in that they can grab a portable version of FeelHome if they like. No installation here; just run the program and you’re good to go.
Using The Web Interface
Once you get the program up and running you’ll be asked to either sign in or to create a new username. Creating a username is easy: just enter your name, email, a username and a password. Once you create this user profile, and the program starts running in your computer’s system tray, you can connect to your computer from anywhere.
To test this, head over to Nuxinov and click the “login” link. Enter your username and password and you’ll be logged into your computer. You can now browse all of your documents from anywhere on the planet. The interface is really simple to use; it’s almost exactly like whatever file browser it is that you’re used to. Click a folder to open it; click a file to download it. You can even browse to a folder and upload a file to it by clicking the “Save File” button.
This is a great way to get a file onto your home desktop from work, or vice-versa.
Clicking the “Desktop Mode” button will bring up a sort of virtual desktop. Of what use this is, besides being able to open two folders at once, isn’t altogether clear to me, but it’s kind of cool.
Overall, this is a pretty nifty way to access your files from a computer that isn’t your own. But that doesn’t mean it’s without risk.
FeelHome’s website goes to great lengths to emphasize the service’s safety and privacy: your information is never stored on their servers, passwords aren’t accessible to FeelHome’s own team and all transactions are encrypted. These measures are respectable, but it’s still important to consider the security implications of installing a piece of software like this. No matter how good FeelHome’s security is, installing this program means anyone who gets your username and password have complete and total access to your computer.
Don’t take this lightly. Make sure you select a quality password that you’re unlikely to forget and that you change it regularly. You might also consider only leaving FeelHome running when you need it, instead of leaving it running all the time. These two steps could help a lot toward keeping your data safe while still allowing you to enjoy the amazing convenience of FeelHome.
If you want remote access to your computer, but don’t want to set up an FTP server or anything like one, this is a great way to get full access to your computer from anywhere. Best of all, setting it up takes minutes.
What do you guys think? Is this a useful way to access your files from anywhere, or do you know of a better service? Are the security ramifications of such a service too steep, or are you willing to risk a potential breach for the convenience of accessing your data anywhere? We have a comment function; use it!