By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
The chances are that if you are the computer-literate member of the family, you’re probably constantly getting hit on for free IT support. You know the situation – the parents who think it’s “interesting” to install every font they can find and then wonder why it takes 30 minutes for Microsoft Word to open. Or clueless but well-meaning friends who get an email attachment called “ToplessBritneySpears.exe” and eagerly open it, only to wonder later why they can’t access their email accounts (and why there’s no photos of Britney Spears to be found – dammit!).
The problems start however when that family member or friend is nowhere near where you live and you have to rely on them telling you over the phone about “a little black box thingie next to a sort of bar….what-da-ya-call it?”. It’s descriptions like that which can make you smack your head in despair on that nice new keyboard of yours.
But with a remote desktop program like Crossloop, you can now tell that relative or friend to cease their crazy ramblings and you can see for yourself first-hand what is going on in that PC of theirs.
Now I know what you’re going to say : “So what? Windows has had remote desktop access for ever!” and of course you would be right. Remote desktop access is nothing new in the slightest. But being a bit of a geek, I have a healthy distrust of anything connected with the big kid on the Redmond block and so I much prefer third-party apps such as Crossloop. It’s easy, free, secure and even the pet dog can operate it. Just make sure that the Crossloop app is already pre-installed on the repeat offender’s computer beforehand – along with a huge desktop logo so they know where to find it. An icon title such as “CLICK HERE!” would also probably help.
So when the time comes when your mother is describing “pretty little flashing thimmy-ma-jig boxes” to you, tell her to open the Crossloop application and choose “host”. She should then tell you the name and access code. On your side, choose “join” and enter the details that clueless Mama just gave you.
Clueless Mama will then get a warning box on her computer telling her that you are attempting to take over their computer (which will probably scare the living daylights out of her – “another flashing box-thingie! Help!”). Get them to calm down and accept the program request.
When they start this for the first time, they will have to approve Crossloop on the Windows Firewall (which may involve explaining what a firewall is!). This just involves clicking the “unblock” button. In fact this is one of the most appealing features of Crossloop – the sheer simplicity of it. There are no difficult configurations to take care of. It’s just click and you’re in.
Once you get past Mama’s firewall then you now have total access to her computer. But be nice because there is a big red “disconnect” button which she can use to cut you off! So just delete her 500 toolbars and then get out of there.
What I REALLY like about Crossloop is that there is a file transfer facility which allows you to send files to the other PC. So while you’re trying to figure out why your father has set up 50 email addresses in Mozilla Thunderbird, you can send him some reading material to keep him quiet!
Is there anything about this app that is bad?! I think not!