A remote computer access solution, fast gaining attention among the netizens, is the tool CrossLoop.

This edition of NetSpeak profiles the latest tools available for accessing/operating desktops of remote computers.

Computer trouble-shooting is always easier if we have access to the machine’s desktop. If you are away from the machine that needs your attention, you need some means to handle it remotely.

Of course, a remote access/control of a desktop opens up several other possibilities as well — not just trouble-shooting an ill-behaved machine. For instance, you can collaboratively browse with your physically distanced friend. You can show his/her a few tips to efficiently unearth valuable information from the Net. Or you can use it to teach a couple of Maths lessons. So the potential is enormous.

In the past, this column has discussed a variety of tools that enable one to access/control a remote machine (like UltraVNC). Here, we introduce a couple of tools recently released in this realm.

A remote computer access solution, fast gaining attention among the netizens, is the tool CrossLoop ( http://www.crossloop.com/).

The advantage of this free tool is its operational simplicity. The only requirement to access a remote machine with this tool is that both the machines should have the CrossLoop client software installed/running on them.

When one starts the CrossLoop software, it presents two options: one for accessing the remote machine (Access) and the other (Share) to allow a remote user access the local machine.

If you wish a remote buddy to access your desktop, click on the ‘Share’ button. Now, you will get an access code; send it to your friend and click on the ‘Connect’ button. Your friend in turn has to select the ‘Access’ option (from his CrossLoop client) and enter this code.

Once this is done, you will get a small window, prompting you to permit the remote friend to access your desktop. Once the permission is granted, a window that reflects your desktop will pop-up on the remote machine. From this point onwards both you and your remote friend will have equal access to your machine.

And if you wish your remote client only to view your desktop (not willing to give access to your mouse/keyboard), the ‘View only’ option of CroosLoop would come in handy.

Apart from the facility to access a remote desktop, CrossLoop lets both you and your remote client to exchange files too.

It allows the participants to switch roles as well — that is, in this case by switching the role you can access the remote user’s desktop (provided he agrees).

Instant House call’s free remote support ( http://www.freeremotesupport.com/), a service recently stumbled on by this author is another product worth a test in this space.

If you wish to provide support to a client from a remote location, first download/install the client software and register an account (specialist ID) with the service. Now, run this program, pass on your ID to your client and request him/her to access the ‘Get remote support’ option available at ‘Instant House call’ site with this ID. Once your client invites you in this manner, you will get a ring on your machine along with a pop-up window to accept the invitation. On acceptance, your client’s desktop will become visible on your screen. Now you can do whatever you wish on the client’s machine.

Recovering passwords

Nirsoft ( http://www.nirsoft.net/) is a place, where you can find several nifty tools. Passwordfox is one such tool available for free download. Browsers like Firefox stores the user authentication details to help users from repeating the data entry process each time they access a web site. One trouble with this solution is that we may forget the authentication details (as we rarely enter them). Now, you can easily recover such passwords lost from your memory with the free software Passwordfox ( http://www.nirsoft.net /utils/passwordfox. html).

280slides.com

It is common knowledge that several web based presentation applications are in place. If you wish to create a PowerPoint type presentation on-line with a few mouse clicks, take a look at the new free presentation application: http://280slides.com/. No need to create an account with the service to generate a presentation. Once a presentation is created you can download it to your desktop as a PowerPoint file (2007 or 97), or as an Opendocument or as a PDF file. Of course, if you wish to save this presentation on the service’s server, you need to register with the service.

J. MURALI

He can be contacted at: jmurali@gmail.com