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Remote Desktop Father’s Day

Today for Father's Day I used Remote Desktop to tap into my parents' computer. I built a quick, simple web page for my dad and left it open for him in Safari. Of course, my mother gave him the presents I'd bought a few weeks ago, and I called later in the day.

Remote Desktop is interesting. I'm so tempted to just peek in on my parents from time to time, not because I care what they're doing but because I care how they do it. They could be like my own little usability lab. "Here mom, try this" and then I silently watch as she tries to figure it out.

But that'd be wrong, and I don't do that. I'll stick to creating lame little greeting card web pages.

3 Responses to "Remote Desktop Father’s Day"

  1. Do you use Remote Desktop only to help out your parents? My mom occasionally needs help "fixing" a mess that she's created. Back on OS 9 I used HouseCall from Netopia.

    http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=05509

    The pricing was cheap (and the doctor end of the software free) and perfectly met my needs.

    On X, it seems I can't get equivalent functionality (Timbuktu and Remote Desktop actually provide more than I need) for less than ~$300. (I'd need 3 Timbuktu seats - home, office and mom.) None of the VNC solutions seem to work well enough over my LAN, so I've never tried them out with mom's machine.

    Did you spring for Remote Desktop for other reasons? Is there a cheaper licensing option I'm missing, or do I either have to pony up or do without this? (It would be convenient at times, but not so convenient that I'm willing to pay $300 to do it.)

  2. I use Timbuktu to manage my Mom's and my brother's Macintoshes (and have, well, since they got ADSL connections). It's a life saver, them being on the other side of the Atlantic and all. What also helps a lot is to setup DynamicDNS clients on their computers, so you can connect on fixed hostnames.

  3. I use my parents for "usability studies" as well, sorta.

    For example, I tried switching them to Firebird and Thunderbird (they're on PCs) and it stuck. Switching to FreeBSD and Gnome didn't.

    It's also kind of interesting watching them do things. Only last week did I see how user unfriendly iTunes was in comparison to Windows media player (something I can't see myself, but became instantly apparent when they were faced with it).


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