Logging In

Random Errors

By Jeremy Smith
Sun Star Columnist

It’s rare that I can explain something tech-ish to someone and have them not only get it, but also find an immediate benefit thanks to that knowledge. I’ve been using remote access program LogMeIn for a little over six months and I was just getting ready to write about the ways it could be used effectively; technical explanations on remote access DNA and how remote computer monitoring can make life as an IT director easier were potential, yet incredibly boring, approaches. Then I talked to my boss and discovered the perfect usage scenario: fixing a problem from home.

“LogMeIn offers its customers solutions in remote control, file sharing, systems management, business collaboration and on-demand customer support of PCs, servers, Macintosh computers, smartphones and other connected devices.” That’s the definition from their website. Here is mine: they make a computer accessible from nearly anywhere, and anything, with an Internet connection.

First, you need to set up a free account at logmein.com. Then download and install a 15 MB file on the computer you want to control. Once you set a password, you’re done. That computer is now accessible from almost anywhere in the world. Using another computer, or even a smartphone, you sign in at their website, select which computer you want to access and enter your secret password. You are now looking at your desktop. You can monitor resources, stream music, diagnose problems, create private download links and all manner of remote radicalness through LogMeIn’s intuitive interface.

But let’s go back to my boss. She’s getting ready for a month-long trip and isn’t looking forward to syncing everything from her desktop to her laptop and then back once she returns. I said she should try LogMeIn and just access her desktop remotely. After impressing her with the remote audio playback and printing support, she installed the program on her work computer, vowed to try it out herself and left for the day.

When she got home, she realized she had to make a few changes to a presentation.  It was nothing that couldn’t wait, but with an early morning meeting looming, it was hanging over her head. She went to logmein.com using her laptop and connected to the work computer. After making the modifications, she uploaded the final version to the server. It was five minutes of work, with only 30 seconds of it spent connecting. Presentation corrected and peace of mind secured.

I know it’s not a flashy, business-saving tale, but that’s the point. The software worked correctly, the first time, and for free. It was easy to use and felt like a part of the natural computing process. It makes sense to have access to all of your data from anywhere and remote access is a necessity for me as I move from system to system. If more technology functioned like this, we probably wouldn’t have nearly as many obstacles during our daily tech commute.

Jeremy talks and takes on technology at gpfault.org.

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