Sunday, March 23, 2008

iChatAV Desktop Sharing

Yesterday before heading down to Microcenter I spent a couple hours over at my parents' house showing my mother how to do various things on her Mac. E.g., how to setup rules in Mail and installing a few programs in her XP virtual machine. I also set her up with an AIM account, mainly so she could see my daughters when my folks are away on a trip.

After I got home she called me with a few more questions. I started explaining things to her when I remembered the desktop sharing feature added to iChatAV with Leopard. So, I initiated a sharing session by sending her a request, and was able to get her issue squared away in about half the time that it would otherwise take.

I've used a variety of remote control programs on Mac, Windows and Linux, including telnet, ssh, pcAnywhere, Remote Admin, and several flavors of VNC. IMHO, iChatAV's desktop sharing feature is by far the easiest remote control tool to use for someone who is calling someone else for technical support. Neither party needs to know the other's IP and it seemlessly worked through two firewalls which do NAT and SPI. On top of that, it automatically opens up a voice chat session so you don't need to keep a phone call going during the course of the support call.

If you're a Mac user and you support other Mac users frequently, or need to get remote support help frequently, this feature by itself looks like it could justify upgrading to Leopard.

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