The downside of having both Tech Skills and a family … is that sometimes you become the family helpdesk. Before you know it people ring you up to fix their computer, and for some (like my mum in law and my wife’s “Ubuntu” Granny) a smoothly running computer is VERY important. But sometimes when the phone rings i’m wearing my PJ’s and don’t feel like hopping in the car and driving over. Or sometimes the people I need to help out live halfway around the planet. Time for my 5 favorite tools for digital omnipresence. All I need is a computer, a fast pipe and these tools and “Killroy 2.0 is .. everywhere”
Teamviewer : When it comes to cross-platform remote control of systems over the internet, Teamviewer takes the cake. Because I love to control all kind of systems without having to bother about the OS, Teamviewer is the perfect tool for the job. On demand or unattended remote control sessions, a chatbox and file transfer. Teamviewer does it all. I install teamviewer on all the systems I manage for remote control without needing to bother with open ports or IP addresses.
Dropbox : Suprising as it might seem, I use dropbox for a lot of my remote work. The Ubuntu granny has her pictures and document folder stored on her dropbox accounts. That ensures simple but effective backups. But with access to her dropbox account I can drop or pickup files she needs. Picture from her grandchild not opening ? Strange attachment ? Dropbox is the perfect tool for remote file management.
Skype : (auto Answer) : Sometimes it helps if you can talk to the people you are helping out. I use Skype to do just that. The combination with teamviewer is excellent and it allows me to talk and type at the same time. The difference with “being there” is very slight indeed.
No-ip.org : When the ‘remote person’ has a dynamic IP address its sometimes hard to “find them back” on the internet. If you google “what is my Ip” you get just that, but to avoid that extra manual step, its nice to bind a domain name to a dynamic ip. Dyndns used to offer this service for free, but not anymore. No-Ip.org does do this and gives you a choice of several ‘client’ applications to install on the remote systems.
SSH : When it comes to remote controlling systems via the command line, sending files back and forth or even piping through X or VNC sessions , SSH is ‘tha bomb’. Versatile, secure and a great way to tunnel through the internet for remote omnipresence.