Friday, January 19, 2007

Things That Work: Remote Access Tools

There are a few tools I use that make my lifestyle possible, and the most important are the remote access tools. Getting inside the firewall and having access to all the networked crap that I would were I sitting at a desk in Maryland is essential, and I have a few things that work really well.

For a long time I was totally devoted to the institutional VPN and XP Remote Desktop. Ah, so secure, so free. It was great, but the VPN killed my bandwidth and made videoconferencing a little too Max Headroom for some people's tastes. But it is good and I can do just about everything on my remote PC that I can do when I'm sitting in the Real Office.

GoToMyPC is a late but formidable addition to my arsenal. It has a few distinct advantages: no VPN is required, great for videoconferencing quality and the ability to fire up the IM Webcam option on the spur of the moment. I do have to pay for it, but the easy login, speed, and file transfer utility are pretty swell.

Once I get into that remote PC, a magic daisy-chain of remote connections takes place as I use a combination of XP Remote Desktop to connect to newer servers, and PCAnywhere to connect to the Windows 2000 boxes in our server room. All together, this stuff lets me be as good as "there" from a server maintenance and get-access-to-the-stuff-that-must-be-inside-the-damn-firewall perspective.

Too bad for anyone else in the house who wants to use the Internet though. With all this fired up, plus VOIP and maybe a little videoconference thrown in for good measure, it's a bandwidth bogarting situation. They should all be at school, babysitters, and work anyway.

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