I have been predominantly using three different types of remote desktop sharing programs, to either send files, or to help people with their pc problems or for just video/voice chat with some remote desktop usage (like shared whiteboards etc). I would like to point out those software here for reference so that others may benefit from it.
NetMeeting from Microsoft
This software by far has been the most common one I ve used until date for voice/video and remote desktop tech support. While I do like this software, I find that the remote option is extremely lethargic, slow and sometimes quite unintiutive. For more details you can visit here
CrossLoop is the name of a startup software company who are also into enabling remote desktop sharing and collaborating. Their software however is NOT a video/voice chat application. Their application is quite simple with either an ACCESS option or a SHARE option. While the former grants you right to access other's machines, the latter grants you rights to enable others to access your machine. However it is to be noted that this application uses codes of some sort (typically a 12 digit unique code for that session), which has to be pre shared via other means to the second user to enable collaboration. I find this pretty unintiutive by nature. Take a look for yourself:
Once the codes are accepted both sides, then the software behaves pretty much like netmeeting itself. I must say here that it is slow however and has some fixed IP issues.
These days the routers that are used at home, have fixed local IP addresses. This means your IP address for the router is 192.168.1.1 and your PC/Laptop, etc could have addresses like 192.168.1.2/ 192.168.1.3, etc and so on and so forth. What this means is that there is a network created within the home, which is totally local. This also means all the devices on this network need a gateway address to access the internet outside. This is nothing but the address of your router (192.168.1.1). Your actual IP address could be something different such as 220.127.116.11. When a friend residing elsewhere tries to connect to your computer using the address 192.168.1.2, etc the connection is NOT established for obvious reasons that this address is local to you and cannot be reached from outside. So then if we try the address 18.104.22.168 to connect to (which is the real address of your system) even then remote desktop sharing software fail. In earlier days, we only had a USB modem which was assigned the actual IP address and hence people could remotely connect to you. But with routers the game is more difficult. So how then do we do remote desktop management ?
This is where services such as LogMeIn surface to help you out.
LogMeIn is a browser based program that links two computers anywhere in the world. How you use it is very simple. Just go to their website (www.LogMeIn.com) sign up for a user id, and then get into your account details. Here you can see a list of computers known to you. To add your friend's computer, simply click on Add computer and you can add any computer you wish with logmein support. Also you can search for other people's computer provided they have logmein installed. Click on the image below to see more:
Once you add a computer, and can see that computer on your list, connecting to it is very simple. Just click on it, enter a computer access code that you already know, choose connect and Viola!! You can see your friend's desktop right within your browser and you also get to control it! I tried this website (under trial version) to urgently solve some critical connectivity issues on my aunt's PC (thanks to the great aunt who let me experiment with her pc! ) and I could successfully access her PC with least effort and at the same time could solve installtion issues on her PC which was 350 miles away. It was a reassuring experience for my aunt no doubt. I did find the browser interface slow for refreshing, but I believe thats the bane of remote desktop management applications. There is too much of graphics to load each time a mouse movement even is made!
Here is the final proof of the pudding: (click for a bigger image)
To conclude, remote desktop sharing applications have come of age since the older NetMeeting, but nevertheless they have their own new age pros and cons that one has to be fully aware of. Its on a matter of time that these applications are hacked into by the new age crooks!
Help a friend, solve their problems using a tool such as LogMeIn. Teaching hands on will never be the same experience again.