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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Networking > Remote desktop solutions

Remote desktop solutions
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jbleisure
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Apr 6, 2009, 10:49 AM
 
My sister is planning on getting a computer for my elderly and non computer using parents!!

I'm pushing for her to get an apple for lots of reasons.

I'm also beginning to look at how I can administer or help them remotely. Remote desktop looks great but I don't want to fork out $300 for something essentially that I wont use much - but I really like the functionality.

What are my (other) options?
     
Simon
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Apr 6, 2009, 11:10 AM
 
You can do this all for free.

Screen sharing is built into Leopard. For pre-Leopard systems there's VNC. The server is already built into OS X. Several clients are available for free. My favorite is JollysFastVNC. Remote sessions through routers are no problem if you forward the necessary ports through an ssh tunnel and make sure the router forwards ssh calls to the appropriate client on the LAN.
     
Hg2491
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Apr 6, 2009, 11:20 AM
 
What are they going to use the computer for?
     
ibook_steve
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Apr 6, 2009, 11:36 AM
 
I also like LogMeIn: http://www.logmein.com. It's free and very easy to set up on both ends.

Screen Sharing through iChat also works well.

These days, you really only need Remote Desktop from Apple if you are administering many machines. If it's just one, the solutions presented here are much better (and cheaper).

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
wrambro
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Apr 6, 2009, 07:33 PM
 
Yuuguu is another option.

http://www.yuuguu.com/
     
turtle777
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Apr 6, 2009, 09:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by ibook_steve View Post
I also like LogMeIn: http://www.logmein.com. It's free and very easy to set up on both ends.
Seconded and thirded.

I have tried VNC for years, it was far to unreliable. Port issues, updating the IP etc... It sucked mostly, and it was often slow.

Tried Hamachi, which is a nice concept, but yet again, unreliable. Too many issues with loading the kext etc...

iChat should work in theory. I have tried it have a dozen times, it keeps disconnecting me after 1 or 2 minutes, and I had to re-initiate the connection.

The *ONLY* thing that consistently worked w/o a single hitch evar was LogMeIn.
I would not even bother trying anything else these days.

-t
     
besson3c
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Apr 6, 2009, 09:33 PM
 
The fastest remote desktop solution I've seen is NoMachine, but this would probably not be the most appropriate option here because it requires X11.
     
turtle777
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Apr 6, 2009, 10:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The fastest remote desktop solution I've seen is NoMachine, but this would probably not be the most appropriate option here because it requires X11.
And it requires port mapping, plus, it requires some sort of DNS - IP mapping service.
It's just too many links that can break down.

-t
     
Simon
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Apr 7, 2009, 03:02 AM
 
Which part of that should break down? Port mapping is defined once. SSH forwarding is defined once. DNS updating is taken care of by installing a single daemon that's auto-launched from then on. These things don't just break. They're maybe a tad complicated for a newcomer, but they hinge on well established and stable services.
( Last edited by Simon; Apr 7, 2009 at 03:09 AM. )
     
turtle777
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Apr 7, 2009, 10:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Which part of that should break down? Port mapping is defined once. SSH forwarding is defined once. DNS updating is taken care of by installing a single daemon that's auto-launched from then on. These things don't just break. They're maybe a tad complicated for a newcomer, but they hinge on well established and stable services.
1) People travel, and use different ISPs. Completely breaks all solutions other than iChat and LogMeIn.
2) DNS auto-update. I used several different apps / daemons, every now and then, they would stop working. Sometimes, a reboot would fix it, sometimes, installing and updated version. Bottom line: it;s not user friendly, especially if on the client side, you have people with 0 computer skills.
3) Port mapping: you won't believe how often my mom manages to "break" the network settings. Suddenly, she uses a DHCP profile, and all the ports you mapped go to hell.

Again, none of these items are hard to fix, but it's just way to finicky for my taste.
LogMeIn just works. That's what you want when you are supposed to do remote tech support for a completely un-savvy user.

-t
     
jbleisure  (op)
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Apr 8, 2009, 05:41 PM
 
What are they going to use the computer for?
It remains to be seen - emails perhaps. Maybe iChat/Skyping with us so they can see their grandaughter, viewing photos of her in iPhoto too.

I mean they are old and completely computer illiterate at present so we don't even know if they will be abe to navigate around or how long a basic induction will take....my guess is some time.


Thanks everyone for the great help with this :
     
Hg2491
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Apr 8, 2009, 06:06 PM
 
Well for Skype there's this videophone that might be easier to use than a computer itself.
     
   
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