VLC Remote (read our review, 4.0/5.0 Taps) puts the control of VLC media player right into your iPhone or iPod touch so that you could sit back and enjoy your media from the comfort of your lazy chair.
What if you are done watching and you want to turn off the Mac (or PC)? VLC Remote doesn’t do that, so you’ll need to pull yourselves up from the lazy chair and walk all the way to where ever your computer might be. If you leave your computer in the basement, then its off to the basement you go!
In scenarios like that, Off comes as a real blessing. It lets you switch off your Mac or PC remotely from your iPhone or iPod touch. Similar to VLC Remote, Off uses Bonjour, Apple’s service discovery technology. If you have iTunes in your computer, you already have Bonjour installed. Also, there’s basically no configuration required to get it working.
Using Off requires a very painless two-step process. Install the Off application from the iTunes Store followed by the Off-Helper application onto your computer and you’re done. A helper application is required here in order for Off to talk to Bonjour on your computer. You are given the option to setup a password in the Off-Helper application so as to prevent unauthorized access. I had no trouble configuring Off-Helper on both my Mac and PC.
Off works through your iPhone or iPod touch’s wireless connection. When you launch Off, it starts by displaying a list of computers found in your local area network that has got the Off-Helper application installed. Tap on any of them and you’ll be prompted to provide the password. Key in the password and you’re good to go.
Off gives you five options – switch off, set the computer to sleep, restart the computer, lock the computer and hibernate. Some computers does not have the hibernate capability, so don’t be surprised if you try it and nothing happens. I tried all five options and they worked seamlessly on both my computers. There’s also a timeout prompt that will be displayed to let you cancel the command for accidental activations. There’s no limit to the number of computers you can control – any of them with the Off-Helper application installed qualifies.
Overall, I find Off a great complement to VLC Remote. It shares a very similar user interface like VLC Remote and is easy to use. This capability could have been built into VLC Remote, but not everyone uses VLC Remote to play their media. No complaints so far as to having both apps in my iPod touch.
Off is compatible with both the Mac and PC. You’ll need to be running Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard or later. If you’re a PC, Off will happily talk to Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.
Rating: 4.0/5.0 Taps