Saturday, 5 December 2009

Powerful magic

I've been experimenting with remote control software, to control my Mac from my PC or vice versa. The first I tried was VNC, which is a tried and well known application. As expected, it works fine to control my Mac - I had trouble connecting from Mac to PC, but in the middle of the night I woke up saying to myself "Windows firewall". I bet that's the key, though I haven't tried it yet. (Update - yep, that was it - now I can control in either direction.)

In the meantime, I have come across LogMeIn, which also allows remote control between machines. The neat trick is that it's web based, and the remote window opens in your browser. I had to install a Firefox plugin, but apart from that and a quick user account setup, it worked first try.
Screen shot shows my PC running Firefox. In a Firefox tab is the screen of my Mac. I have full control, once I've passed two levels of authentication. ( and the Mac account.) I guess Logmein do some clever protocol translations on the way through, but surely the traffic doesn't go via a server in the US - it has to be RDP direct between machines. More investigation required...

If you have a home PC and a work machine, it's worth setting up some way of connecting the two, and Logmein is easy to set up. I frequently get to work and remember a file I want from my home PC - now it's easy to connect and email the file to myself at work.

I suppose that soon we'll be storing data in the cloud, but somehow I think that will be an extra, not our primary data store. I could be wrong, though, habits are changing rapidly at present.

UPDATE - It turns out that LogMeIn's free version is a 30 day trial. An ongoing registration will cost you over $US60 per machine - per year. It's a nifty trick, but I think I'll stick with VNC, thanks.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gregor, thanks for your post about LogMeIn. I'm thrilled you've found our remote access software to be quick & simple.

I wanted to offer some insight on a few things.

As far as the connection between the two computers, all the traffic is encrypted with end-to-end 128 to 256 bit SSL encryption. (This is the same technology used by banks to allow secure online banking).

Also, regarding price: LogMeIn Free is free forever. When you download LogMeIn Free, we offer you a complimentary trial of our Pro2 version (remote access with more robust features like remote sound, remote printing & file transfer). If you opt for simple remote access with LogMeIn Free, you'll be automatically changed to our Free product after 30-days and can continue to use our Free product for free, forever!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Kevin Aries
Community Relationship Manager, LogMeIn Inc.

Red Nech said...

Hi Gregor,
Sounds nifty.
I recall the radio station running PC Anywhere years back so I could dial in from home to kick stuck servers. I think in the dozen times I tried it it worked perhaps... once.

Put the boss here onto Logmein... handy for him as he tries to keep the hawks off his Bishon Freis dogs in Bannockburn.