Remote Buddy: Brilliant Bit O’ Software for iPhone & Mac OS X

Remote Buddy Dashboard Clipping

I use an AirPort Express to pipe any one of the 17,000 or so tracks from our master iTunes library into my work room / chillout space.

Works great, but getting to the UI just sucks. To select songs or play/pause, I have to wake up my MacBook Pro, unlock the screen, bring up screen sharing, and mess with iTunes. Tedious and annoying.

The moment I first touched an iPhone, I immediately thought “Damn! This would make a great remote for iTunes!”.

And it does!

You just need the right bit of software…

About 2 minutes after grabbing a demo copy of Remote Buddy, I purchased a license. It includes an AJAX based GUI that allows for easy control of iTunes. Way beyond simply play/next/pause/volume, it offers ratings, full access to the library, and — even — the ability to select which speakers to send the music too!

And that is barely scratching the surface. It can also control a slew of other functions on the computer and can even offers screen sharing functionality.

And that is just from an iPhone (without jailbreaking!). It will also integrate with a WiiMote and a bunch of other types of remotes.

(As totally kick ass as the product is, their web site sucks. It doesn’t allow deep linking and, thus, I can’t actually point to the pages on the site that describe the various features. Minor bruise on an otherwise brilliant product.)

Some notes on use (of the AJAX based remote):

  • It works brilliantly in Dashboard, too. However, you will want to add the page after the password page to dashboard — the “launcher” page that contains 8 icons for selecting different major areas of functionality. Any other page will cause problems.
  • Once added to Dashboard, flip the widget and edit (again, only from the launcher/8-icon page). Grow the widget to expand the gradient background in its entirety. Use one of the flat background frames, too.
  • Same goes for the iPhone: bookmark the launcher/8-icon page. The password is encoded in the URL (this is a home LAN kinda service — the password is more there to prevent someone else from casually digging up your Cyndie Lauper collection in an embarrassing context, not for real security).
  • Turn on “Enable Access for Assistive Devices” to allow Remote Buddy to fully control the remote computer (without this, you can’t select different Airport Expresses in the “Speakers” UI, for example).

I showed it to a half dozen people at Apple today. Every single one is going to buy a copy. It is just such an obvious and elegant implementation. There are some rough spots, but no showstoppers.



23 Responses to “Remote Buddy: Brilliant Bit O’ Software for iPhone & Mac OS X”

  1. Stefan Seiz says:

    Gee, lots of PING-Spam here. What a pain.

    I fully agree, just having looked at remote buddy too, this really kicks ass. It is terribly geeky to control a Presentation from an iPhone where the presentation is even mirrored onto. And this even works over EDGE.
    However, i’d wish for some better documentation. I can hardly figure out what some of the icons on the UI will actualy do. For instance the icon that looks like a Monitor (right to the camera icon) on the “Trackpad” Screen. Do you know what that’ll do (it does nothing when i click it)?

  2. John C. Randolph says:

    I agree. This app is the best thing I’ve seen on a phone since Jonas Salling’s original Salling Clicker, which won an Apple Design Award the year that I was one of the judges. 😉

    Very impressive, especially given the constraints of developing for the iPhone before the native SDK is available.

    -jcr

  3. The Master Home Computing Plan gets a wifi remote | by Danny Novo says:

    […] to bbum for finding this first. ShareThis Comments RSS Prev: Nearly Always Fatal […]

  4. dda says:

    Have you tried Dot Tunes?

  5. don delwood says:

    hi bill,

    and just to add a little Christmas cheer, the kind folks at IOSpirit have a discount from 19-26 Dec which reduces price to €7.99. just enter:

    macsanta

    in the promotion line.

  6. SnowLprd says:

    dda: I have tried Dot.Tunes, and I was thoroughly turned-off by the user interface. To make matters worse, the developer appears to be a paranoid megalomaniac. No spank you very much.

  7. alberto says:

    I’m a huge fan of this app and I can’t wait until its native. It instantly made my iPhone so much more interesting. I just disable auto-lock, dock the iphone and use it to control itunes. To answer a question from a previous commenter i believe that icon is for multiple monitor support.

    Remote Buddy also makes a great remote for Front Row. The only issue I’ve encountered with it was in trying to browse my TV Shows in iTunes.

  8. Felix Schwarz says:

    @ Stefan:

    Better documentation is being worked on. If your Mac has multiple screens, tapping the screen symbol will let you switch between them. This way, you can i.e. switch between the presenter view and normal view when holding a Keynote presentation in a dual-screen setup (or laptop screen + beamer setup).

    @ Don Delwood:

    I’m sorry to say, but the promotion code and conditions you posted did only apply to last year’s Mac Santa promotion. IOSPIRIT is also taking part this year, but this year’s Mac Santa promotion has different conditions.

    Best regards,
    Felix Schwarz

  9. Dink says:

    It’s “Cyndi Lauper” and there is no reason to be embarrassed with her jams – she’s great!

  10. Dave says:

    Wow, what an amazing app! One thing I noticed, though, is the password you enter on the remote is sent in the clear in the GET request, so it’s easily scanable over the network. Also, it shows up in the URL window. Don’t use any passwords that you don’t want stolen.

  11. crawlspace|media » Blog Archive » Daily Ma.gnolia Links for December 14 says:

    […] Remote Buddy: Brilliant Bit O’ Software for iPhone & Mac OS X […]

  12. Stefan Seiz says:

    @Dave, yeah, it would be great if it supported SSL with a self signed cert or such. Using it e.g. on an adhoc airport network wouldn’t of course require this, but i can think of scenarios to use this over the internet too — and there, SSL would help.

  13. Stefan Seiz says:

    @Dave, yeah, it would be great if it supported SSL with a self signed cert or such. Using it e.g. on an adhoc airport network wouldn’t of course require this, but i can think of scenarios to use this over the internet too — and there, SSL would help.

  14. Stefan Seiz says:

    Sorry for posting twice — slow link, hitting submit twice…
    What i’d also like to see is zooming in (two finger pinch — dunno if that is doable vie javascript at all) on the remote mac-screen. Remote Controlling (or presenting) a 30″ Mac on iPhone sans zooming is really tough 😉

  15. Brett says:

    I have the demo version…is it possible to connect to an iPod which is connected to my laptop via iTunes…via the ajax remote control. I haven’t found a way yet. I store most of my music collection on the iPod and would love to be able to access that remotely.

  16. Brad says:

    The moment I first touched an iPhone, I immediately thought “Damn! This would make a great remote for iTunes!”.

    And I thought “Damn! With the WiFi, this could be a complete iTunes client, playing anything in my library on my Mac!” I wonder if Apple will ever do this.

  17. drivers says:

    Remote Buddy also makes a great remote for Front Row. The only issue I’ve encountered with it was in trying to browse my TV Shows in iTunes.

  18. Rat says:

    Please send me serial of Remote buddy 1.8 if u can
    i can’t find it anywhere in the www.
    if u can’t then send some old version with serial.
    thanks

  19. bbum says:

    I pay for the software I find useful and delete the software I don’t. So, no, I’m not going to send you an illegitimate license.

    And, since I’m not rich enough to buy everyone licenses, I’m not going to buy you a license either.

    Or were you asking a different question?

  20. michael says:

    Hey there, I agree totally killer app. Do you have any tips for me on how to get it working over edge…I keep getting the “cant find server” error
    Any help would be great.

    Don’t steal apps,thats just lame!

    Thanks.

  21. george j says:

    [Edit: This is nonsense. Most of the stuff in this list are files touched by the system frameworks as a normal part of operations. Much of the list are files touched by the system. My best guess is that “george j” was using an FS events monitoring tool and doesn’t understand the output.

    In any case, I have seen no evidence that Remote Buddy does anything nefarious. From my (fairly well informed) analysis, Remote Buddy is a high quality product implemented with sound engineering practices.

    b.bum]

    not sure about the iphone version, but the os/x version leaves lots of dangerous crud on your system:

    ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences*
    ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist
    ~/Library/Preferences/.*(your mac address).plist
    ~/”.DS_Store *”
    ~/Documents/”.DS_Store *”
    ~/Library/Caches/TextMate/”.DS_Store *”
    ~/Library/ColorSync/”.DS_Store *” (YES REALLY!!!)
    ~/Library/Preferences/cfx(snip)
    ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/cfx(snip)
    /Library/Preferences/cfx(snip)
    /Library/Preferences/ByHost/cfx(snip)

    i haven’t had a proper look yet, but this is a recipe for disaster.

    avoid at all costs.

    [Ed: This is nonsense. See above.]

  22. Toby says:

    Can anyone walk me through setting it up so it works when you are not on wifi (ie iPhone 3g internet connection). I really want to listen to my home itunes via my iphone

  23. Toby says:

    if so please email me at toby.kaplan@gmail.com

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