Archive for October, 2009

Running Windows Applications on your iPhone

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Ever run across a Windows app you really wish you could run on your iPhone? I did, just the other day, planning a 1-day kamikaze trip to Disneyland with my 3 kids. There’s an excellent program called RideMax, that helps optimize your day to minimize wait times and hit all the best rides. The idea is to make a plan, print it, and more or less stick to it. Clearly the developers don’t have kids – no plan survives 3 kids for long. What I really wanted was the ability to run it again a couple times during the day with the remaining rides we want, and get a new plan each time. But that would mean running it on my iPhone.

You can’t really run Windows applications on your iPhone without cheating somehow, so I cheated. I loaded the free LogMeIn client to my desktop PC at home, and bought the $30 LogMeIn Ignition iPhone app. This worked amazingly well – I was able to log in to my desktop and control RideMax just as if I was sitting there. And it was especially great when I ran it while waiting in line at the Alice in Wonderland ride (which was a last-minute addition by my 4-year-old) to figure out if we should do Splash Mountain or Space Mountain next. I’m confident the program saved us at least an hour of line time, and re-running it during the day was a key factor.

One complicating factor for me is my iPhone is a 2G and I’ve canceled the AT&T service so it’s essentially a first gen iPod Touch. To get online, I used the nifty Verizon Mifi that I have for my laptop. The technique is described in more detail in this Verizon iPhone article. So I was running LogMeIn on the iPhone to control RideMax on my home desktop, connected via wifi to the Mifi, which connected via the Verizon 3G network and the internet to my home DSL, and through my internal network to my desktop. There were lots of moving pieces, but in this case they all actually worked together nicely, and the result was a great day at Disneyland with the kids.