Random observations, teachings and musings of a well trained cubicle superhero.

Friday, August 31, 2007

August 31, 2007

Be there or be square - Breaking into the world of Config-free remote access

Tech Mate
techyJay, a.k.a. “The Cubicle Superhero”, is a self-professed tech junkie with a passion for music and culture Email Jay

Have you ever been working late on, I don't know, say…your Tech Mates article due the next day? You're happily tapping away, listening to your LaunchCast stream, and enjoying a healthy beverage. Just as you finish off you're distracted by, say…an ad for the new Heroes box set, and find yourself surfing away to the checkout page, having forgotten to email off the finished piece to someone important, to someone like, say ... your editor?

Fast forward to the next morning when you (I) realize it. Oh Hiro, I wish you were here!!

A family affair
Now wouldn't it be awesome to have access to your files remotely?

If you're within your home network, setting up file and printer sharing between the two machines connected to a home or wireless router is a fairly simple process. Rogers has put together a great primer on the basic principles and security considerations.

For a more in depth look at the actual configuration of file sharing within a home network, Microsoft itself has two documents on the subject one for Windows 98-XP user here, and for you new school Vista cats, you can view your instructions here.

The Remote Control You Can't Lose
That's fantastic, but doesn't help me in my current predicament. What I need is remote access to my machine running in my apartment. This access is called different things by different software developers, but it refers to the same process; login and control of a remote "host" computer by a local or "client" computer. The end result is a window displaying the screen of the remote machine in real-time that allows you to use the mouse and keyboard in front of you, as though you were there.

After a full review of the options, I've come across a few clear winners for the novice, or those not interested in making modifications to their router configuration.

Depending on the level of access, these options work with your current security and connect the two machines through an external invitation system.

Logging you in for free

LogMeIn offers a fully functional free version of their remote access solution. After signing up at LogMeIn.com you'll first need to name your connections, and install the free software on each of the machines you will be accessing later remotely. It uses a "mirror driver" to capture the video displayed on your screen, and ports that out to the Internet.

This process does cause issues with some graphics cards, so be aware. After logging in, clicking on any machine in your list of active and online computers will log you in (hence the name). This is where we hit the second password prompt. You'll need to know the Windows logon password for this machine, or you'll be stuck at this point. Completing this last login will grant you full access to your machine. A full review of the product in action can be found here. PC Mag has also done a nice review here.

The Cadillac of Remote Access
GotoMyPC, although not free, is the granddaddy of them all in the realm of remote access. Having recently been acquired by the corporate applications leader Citrix Systems, the performance of the already feature rich GoToMyPC has improved even further. The strength of this solution is user experience. Audio played on the remote machine is ported to your local speakers, but muted remotely as not to frighten curious housepets. Need to print a document? It quickly adds the printer on the machine you're currently using. File transfer is as quick as your connection allows and is fully drag and drop in both directions. The dual password system mirrors the LogMeIn process, but "shortcut" links will launch the connection directly you're your desktop.

The only disadvantage? Cost. The basic service package cost is currently advertised at $24.99/m or 242.99/yr.

New Life for Old Machines
This access offers more than just access to files. It also opens up the possibility of using the current machine you're on as a sort of thin client, or front-end to your host machine.

The thinking here is a lower-powered machine equipped with a small hard drive and limited RAM would be used to access the host machine only. This is what I do with one of my older laptops. Software that ordinarily would not run on the older machine, such as MS Office or Photoshop is instantly accessible. All the actual computing would be done on the more robust remote host machine.

A few weeks back, I was asked what applications I couldn't live without. Instant access to all my computers, including my parents for remote tech support makes life much simpler. Remote access came a close second to TV. That's what I watch Heroes on.

Incidentally, a roundup of the rest of that "must-have" technology list will be covered in an upcoming article.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Circa Nightclub - here we go!



Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Donkey Kong Documentary & Twist ending

In Theatres: August 17th, 2007
Heres the movie: Follows a middle school science teacher as he battles a hot sauce mogul for the Guinness World Record on the arcade classic Donkey Kong.

Here's the Twist...

Is Hank Aaron's home-run record the most besieged stat in sports this year? Only if you don't consider "Donkey Kong" to be a sport.

On Thursday night, former "DK" arcade champ Billy Mitchell contacted MTV News to announce that he had reclaimed the top score with a record 1,050,200 points. He has witnesses, including someone who's willing to take a polygraph test to prove the run was legit.

"It's authenticity on a scale like never before," Mitchell said. He wanted to clear all doubt about his mastery of "Donkey Kong" and honesty as a player.

Mitchell's achievement, verified live by a senior referee from the classic gaming record-keeping group Twin Galaxies, comes just four months after rival gamer Steve Wiebe claimed the crown. It comes just a few weeks before the nationwide release of a documentary, "The King of Kong," that portrays Mitchell as a cocky, meddlesome, score-denying villain (see "'Donkey Kong' Record Holder Says New Flick Settles His Score" and "Ex-'Donkey Kong' Champ Finally Speaks After Getting Bruised By New Doc").

The new score tops the recently verified score Wiebe set last summer of 1,049,100 by a narrower margin than Mitchell had initially intended. But he decided to keep things close. "I'm not Steve Spurrier," Mitchell said of the legendarily aggressive football coach. "I'm Billy Mitchell. I don't need to run up the score. I just want to put one in the win column. I want to make it competitive. I didn't want to make it too tough."

Mtv Article - http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1565744/20070727/id_0.jhtml

Documentary http://www.billyvssteve.com/
Trailer http://www.apple.com/trailers/picturehouse/kingofkong/trailer/

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