Use your computer’s files on your Fire with Tonido
Thanks to my reader, Deb Schmalz, for the heads-up on this one!
Many of us have desktop computers with a lot of files on them. They might be pictures, music, Excel spreadsheets…all kinds of things.
We simply aren’t going to take all of them and put them on a Kindle Fire. For one thing, there is only 5.36 GB of memory available on Amazon’s table for that sort of thing.
On the other hand, it would be great to be able to quickly and simply show off those pictures, listen to that music, and consult that spreadsheet with the easy portability of the Fire.
Well, Tonido lets you do that…for free.
I didn’t write about it until I’d had time to test it a bit. While there are some limitations to it, I’m very pleased with it.
Let’s go over the concept first.
You are going to set up a free account using your computer, and download software to that computer. That software is necessary to turn your computer into a “broadcaster”. When you install it, you’ll be given a server name for that computer.
Then, you download a free app to your Kindle Fire that enables it to be a “receiver”. You enter the server name for your computer and log into the account.
That gives you access to your computer’s files.
Built into the app you download is a music player and a picture viewer.
For other files, like Excel spreadsheets, you’ll need an app on your Kindle Fire that can open them (just as you would if you put the file on your Kindle Fire using your USB cable or by e-mailing it to the device).
The process was all pretty easy…I was able to listen to music, see pictures…and edit an Excel spreadsheet with an app (I tested the last one at Starbucks).
Okay, here’s the process:
on your computer (not your Fire).
Download and install the software (they have different versions for different operating systems, including Macs).
Once you install it and set up the account, you’ll have a server name and a password. You’ll need those for your Kindle Fire app. One nice thing: the app will remember the account credentials, so you won’t have to enter it every time you want to use it.
Next, get this free app in the Amazon Appstore:
You want to install that one as well.
If you are on your Fire, go to the Apps tab. Tap on Cloud. You may need to do
Settings Gear – Sync
to get it to show up.
When you log in, remember that the server name and the password are the ones you got at the Tonido site…not your wi-fi.
Once you get in, you’ll see your computer’s folders. Tap a folder to open it, tap a file to launch it.
To go back up a level, use your Kindle Fire’s normal Back arrow at the bottom of your screen. That is a change I’d like to see: some indicator to go back a level on the screen in the app, and a way to go back to Home easily. There is what looks like a home icon, but it didn’t seem to work for me. However, it is easy enough to just use the arrow key.
When you open a file, it may ask you which of a list of programs you want to use to open it.
At the bottom of the screen, there is a toolbar. Your choices are
To listen to music, you need to first open a folder on your computer that has music. That may be the biggest negative I saw: no search capability.
Tap a song. You’ll see the music player open up. You can play it, or skip to the next song with the double chevrons (arrows with out the sticks) on your right. The songs will play in the order that they are in your folder. I didn’t see any option for a shuffle mode, Tap the Files button at the bottom to get out of the music player..your music will continue to play. If you want to stop the music, you do that within the player. If you go Home on your Fire, the music still plays. You’ll see the notification number at the top of your Kindle Fire screen near the name of your Kindle. Swipe down, then tap the Tonido banner…that will take you back into the app so you can stop the music.
To see pictures, first open a folder that has pictures.Then, you can either tap a picture to open, and then swipe to your left to see the next picture, or tap Menu at the bottom of the screen (horizontal lines in a box) and then tap Photo Gallery. You’ll get little incomplete thumbnails, but I could tell what they were.
You can add individual files or folders to your Favorites within Tonido by “long pressing” them (hold your fingertip on stylus on it for about a second. That makes it much easier to get back to a pictures or music folder, for example. You just tap Favorites at the bottom of the screen.
You can also download files…that’s great! You’ll find your downloads within your Tonido app…you do not need to be connected to wi-fi to use them.
I’ve been using it with
I got it as a Free App of the Day: it’s currently $9.99. You don’t need to have it to make Tonido work, but if you want to edit or view Office programs, you’ll need something.
Overall, I think this is impressive. Unlike
which I’ve reviewed previously and lets you actually use the applications on the other computer, this didn’t seem laggy at all. Splashtop does more, but honestly, it was an effort to use.
I can see huge possibilities for this. I’ll have to see if they will let me install it on my work laptop. I would so love to be able to show a (handheld) PowerPoint to somebody on my Fire! I tested that from home computer to my Fire with OfficeSuite…it was cool! It even let me mark up the slide (draw a red circle, for example) while the show was running.
Well, if you do try it out, feel free to let me know what you think! My Fire just got a lot more useful. :) Thanks, Deb!
Update: one of my regular readers and commenters (and an invaluable resource on the Amazon Kindle forums) logically asked about security concerns with Tonido. I’m going to reproduce my response here, since I know not all of you see the comments and this is an important point:
“When I worked with people designing databases and such, I would always tell them that there is a balance between security and convenience. Generally, the more secure something is, the less convenient it is to use.
For example, most people send e-mail without encrypting it…which means that it can be read by many people you don’t intend (as it bounces off their servers). Even encrypting it certainly doesn’t prevent unwanted eyes.
In the case of Tonido, they address this openly…and some research shows that they have a pretty good rep on that.
Here’s some of their information on it:
I also think this one is helpful:
“How secure is Tonido?
Tonido has been built with security and privacy in mind. Tonido has been audited and tested by a independent security firm that specializes in application security. Furthermore, Tonido is constantly updated to protect against any potential vulnerabilities. Tonido UI is accessed via HTTP protocol and, for a fee, SSL certificate for HTTPS access is also available allowing secure access to Tonido. Tonido to Tonido communication using P2P engine is completely encrypted using AES 256 bit encryption.”
Naturally, if you use a weak password, you are more vulnerable to someone hacking your account (not hacking Tonido). If someone steals your Kindle Fire, you could be in real trouble (since you don’t have to enter your password each time).
Ideally, of course, you don’t keep any crucial confidential information on an internet-connected computer. For example, if you do your taxes on the computer, save your files on an SD card or jump drive, and disconnect it from the computer. You are still vulnerable to physical theft, of course. Another simple thing: don’t leave your computer connected to the internet when you aren’t there or while you are sleeping.”
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.