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    Remote control of PCs

    November 10th, 2008

    Have you ever wished you could see your client’s PC from your own office? Or wanted to help a family member figure out how to make some edits to an Excel spreadsheet?

    There are several tools that you can use to control another PC remotely. I have used these three:

    VNC tends to be faster than all the rest, but is much more technical and complicated to set up and run. It works great, I recommend UltraVNC as my VNC choice.

    PCAnywhere was used by one of my former employers. It worked well, was fairly easy to use, and fit into our corporate network. It did require the client to provide the help desk with the IP address of the PC we were going to control. That could sometimes be difficult. You could have multiple sessions open to help multiple users at the same time. Additionally, the licenses are not cheap for occasional usage.

    I use LogMeIn to help family and friends with their PCs. Once the client software is installed on the remote PC, very little maintenance is required. The remote user can disable the software if they would prefer not allowing remote access without their permission or authorization. Additionally, there are settings to require permission from the remote user to access the PC.

    LogMeIn has several premium versions that have a subscription fee associated with them. I have used the free version for several years with great success.


    • Free
    • Works with firewalls that I have used. (Norton, Kerio, SPF)
    • Only requires browser for the local PC
    • No IP address information needs to be relayed.
    • Several security options are available.


    • Enable/Disable feature on remote PC is not perfect.
    • Requires account password to install remote client (might want to change it to something you can share while installing it, then changing it to something more secure for yourself)
    • Data travels through LogMeIn’s servers, it is not point-to-point.
    • File transfer is not available on the free version.

    I suggest that you try out LogMeIn and judge for yourself.

    A couple of things to remember:

    1. If you are installing on a “remote” PC that you will not be sitting in front of while it the client software is installed, you will have to provide the person working on that PC your LogMeIn user id and password to start the installation.

    2. Depending on the configuration of the remote PC, you will need to set up an access code. If the PC is setup for users with passwords, those end up being the access codes. Therefore, the remote PC might need to have an additional user id added to it for you to use to access it. This will depend on the security setup on the remote PC and your relationship with the PC’s owner. For example, since I maintain and support my parent’s PC, I have the user id’s and passwords for their PC’s. They don’t have an issue with that. In the case of friends, I have had them set up a user id for me that they can disable later.

    Let me know how LogMeIn works for you. I’m a satisfied, free, customer.

    Social Bookmarking

    November 2nd, 2008

    I have used social bookmarking primarily to keep track of places on the web that I want to visit later or keep track of.

    The option to share those links with other people is good, as long as you remain fairly organized.  Just bookmarking for bookmarking sake is will not be helpful for other people.

    The ability to search the bookmarks for keywords and find things you want to share with others is cool too.

    While Delicious is a favorite of many, I have been using for several years.

    Bookmarks and favorites are a great way to store and access frequently used locations on the Internet. Furl is designed to archive (as well as share) anything you read online. You may have tens of bookmarks but thousands of Furl entries. If you read your local newspaper online every morning, bookmark it. If you read several fascinating news articles every week, Furl them. You can Furl items from work and home. You can search for them later from any browser, and share them with friends.

    My Furl page is at

    Furl allows me to bookmark pages and share what I would like to share and keep private bookmarks I would like to keep private.

    Try it out.  Add some topics, comments, clip a section, and add keywords.

    Let me know how it works for you.

    Yahoo! Messenger Status on a Blog

    October 30th, 2008

    Yahoo! Messenger is a very popular choice for IM.

    It easy to use and chat with your co-workers and friends in real time rather than email.

    I realized that sometimes I may post something here that needs further explanation.  One way to allow me to interact with my readers is to post my online status right here on the blog.

    So, how do you put a Yahoo! Messenger online status button in your blog?  You can see mine in the right hand column as an example.

    It is fairly simple, you need the following code:

    <a href=”ymsgr:sendIM?YAHOO_MSGR_ID”>
    <img border=”0? src=”> </a>

    Carefully replace the YAHOO_MSGR_ID with our Yahoo! Messenger ID.

    For example, my Yahoo! ID is WheatonTech.  The code I am using in this blog is:

    <a href=”ymsgr:sendIM?wheatontech”>
    <img border=”0? src=”> </a>

    There is a choice of 3 different styles.  This is set by the “t=” portion of the code.

    Style "1" is
    Style "2" is
    Style "3" is

    Each style is chosen with a number, set the "t=" to the number matching the style you want to use, I used "2".

    Just copy this code and insert it into your website or blog HTML and you are on your way.

    When you are logged into Y! Messenger, your website should show the online picture.  Try it out!

    If you have a question or comment, post it here.  If you would like to chat about this post, see if I am online!

    Technology for “us” and RSS Feeds

    October 29th, 2008

    On Thursday I attended the Technology Leaders Association monthly networking meeting.  Jim McGee spoke about Technology for “us”.

    One of his points was that many new technologies require you to use them before you can understand them.  I tend to agree with him, much like you cannot really understand baseball until you play it.

    A tool that I have found very useful for me, yet I find few friends or co-workers who use it is RSS.

    As of today, Wikipedia defines RSS as:

    RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video – in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.

    I call it a way to simplify how you interact with the web.  This is a way to get content, or content summaries, delivered to you without cluttering up your mailbox.  Think of it as a newspaper box.

    I subscribe to many web feeds, some are published daily, weekly, monthly, or only occasionally.  Subscribing solves at least two problems:

    1. It keeps a list of the publications I like to read on a regular basis.
    2. It tells me when there is something new to read, I don’t have to go to the web page each day to see if there is something new, or, for example, remember to go every Monday to see the latest article.

    Confused?  Actually, I expected that.  This is something that has to be used to be understood.

    There are at least two tools–actually there are many tools, but here are two–you can use to subscribe to RSS feeds:  A stand alone feed reader like FeedReader, or my favorite, the Google Reader.

    Once you have set up your reader, you can find links on websites for RSS or web feeds.  Generally all you need to do is click on the link to begin the subscription.  To subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed, click here.

    I find the Google Reader my favorite.  It is portable, you just need web access to get to it.

    As you begin to find more and more RSS feeds, you will find that your reading is organized in one place.  You may have to click through to the primary site for the article for many of your feeds, but you knew it was ready to read.

    Here are a few of my favorite feeds:

    Download Squad – Software Reviews and Tips

    Chicagoist – Blog about the Windy City

    Curt Cavin – IndyCar Blog

    Notre Dame Observer Newspaper

    Since I use the Google Reader, I could share my favorite feeds with you on a daily basis.  If you are interested in seeing what feeds I have *shared*, leave me a note and I will consider it.