Student creates iPhone app
Carnegie Mellon’s Jahanzeb Sherwani, a Ph.D. student in computer science, has developed a new application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that enables screen sharing and full control of one’s PC or Mac from virtually anywhere in the world. The application, called Jaadu VNC (Virtual Network Computing), allows users to view their computer screen through the iPhone interface and “click” on their machine by tapping on the screen. “The more digitally intertwined our lives, the more we need devices that allow us to remotely control our computers. Everyone now needs these devices,” Sherwani said.
Jaadu started as lark for Sherwani, who, like other software developers around the world, was excited by the iPhone launch in the summer of ’07. This global community of software developers wanted to create different applications for the iPhone and shared their ideas and applications with other iPhone buffs via blogs and websites by working with open source code. Any application created with open source code is released with the code and developers who use it can make further changes and create newer applications.
Sherwani was interested in an application called VNC that allowed screen sharing and used the iPhone interface to control remote computers. The only problem was that the iPhone was designed for fine mouse movements and not for controlling Windows and Mac computers which had bigger screens. The VNC application tried to compress a huge screen and fit it onto an iPhone screen. This made it difficult to “click” on smaller size icons and tabs. Sherwani thought about redesigning the application to solve these problems and using a wireless touch pad to control the remote computer. In Sherwani’s modified version of the application, the picture that comes on the iPhone screen shows parts of the monitor and the controls on the iPhone work like the Mac mouse pad. Jaadu comes with a helper application called Jaadu Connect that configures the computer and router for external access automatically.
His first version of the application, Touchpad Pro, was launched in March 2008 and allowed viewers to control their machine but did not allow screen viewing. This summer, Apple invited developers to create applications for the iPhone and sell them through their online store. He then wrote a new code from scratch and named it Teleport and put it on the App Store. Sherwani received encouraging responses for Teleport. One blog, toysgadget.com, said that Teleport was one of the best applications that had been released so far.
“I realized people were interested in this application,” Sherwani said. He then rewrote the code from scratch and added extra features such as full visual display and control of mouse and keyboard and quietly released Jaadu (magic in Urdu) this fall. Users could buy the full version for $25 or a free version called Jaadu Lite that allowed screen viewing only.
However, Jaadu has not been released for reviews as Sherwani still has some tweaking to do. He wants to add encryption so that when Jaadu connects to the remote computer no one would be able to listen in on the connection.
He is also looking for software developers to work on the application before it is released for reviews. Jaadu won the PASHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association) award for 2008 in the communication category and has been nominated for the 2008 APICTA (Asia Pacific ICT Award).