Just call my name, and I’ll be there

Have you ever found yourself away from home when you needed a file from your computer? Does your mother call you because she needs help booking a flight for your nephew? Would it just be cool to look in on your own or someone else’s computer while you’re away from home?

NEMT IT Magician Andrew Clarke

In the last week I’ve experienced the first two. Thank goodness for (free) remote control software. Now you can always pay for GoToMyPC if you want, but why throw away good money?

My favorite remote control software package is Teamviewer (www.teamviewer.com). Teamviewer is free for personal use, and you can access your computer or someone else’s from either a PC or smart phone. There is also an option to set up the program so that it runs whenever you start your computer, so you don’t have to explain to your 650-year-old mother how to give you access. The only drawbacks to this program are the pricing model (if you want to purchase it, there is only a lifetime license option, and it’s not cheap) and the fact that if they suspect commercial use, your connection time will be severely limited (which only happens to people like me).

ShowMyPC (www.showmypc.com) is another option for remote control. This program can also be used from a PC or smart phone. There is an Android app but no iPhone app. The site, however, gives instructions on how to use it from the iPhone and iPad. Unlike Teamviewer, the free version does not allow you to set up a computer for automatic or unattended access (sorry, Mom). Someone always has to let you in, but it’s very easy to do.

My least favorite remote control software program is Join Me (join.me). It’s my least favorite because of its limitations when accessing a PC from the iPad, where no mouse control is allowed. The reason is because this program runs completely in a browser and it relies on Java, which the iPad does not support. I list it, however, because it allows access to some computers that are not accessible by the other products due to security settings.

For those who like to hold online meetings, all these products work well. Strangely enough, the best option for online meetings, in my opinion, is Join Me because it requires the least amount of “installation” on the user’s part and unlike GoToMeeting, it’s free!

Now you can tell your friends that all they have to do is call your name, and you’ll be there … electronically, of course.

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