"Out in the woods or in the city, it's all the same to me, when I'm driving free." When The Who wrote "Goin' Mobile," I doubt they had any idea how easy it could be to work while away from home unless you were a traveling salesman or rock band. Well, guess what? It's no longer a vision of the future. Many of you, no doubt, already use your Blackberry, Treo, etc. to access the Internet while working away from the office. But how would you like to be able to access any file on your computer as if you were sitting in front of it even if you're in another state?
With the advent of such great software as GoToMyPC.com, PCAnywhere, FilesAnywhere, LogMeIn.com, RealVNC, etc. we can take our work with us anywhere! Sure you can get an external hard drive and back up all your files on it or use your trusty thumb drive to have the most important files available to use from another computer, but what if you wanted to work on another computer while you're away from home just as if you were sitting right in front of your home computer?
I have to do just that when I visit my husband for extended periods of time. Because my husband has taken a position with the government in the D.C. area and we are still in Augusta, GA waiting for our middle daughter to graduate from high school, we often travel to visit him. Since I can't stop working just because I'm not at home, I had to find alternative ways to access all my files while away from home.
I've used gotomypc.com to access clients' computers so I could add email signatures, update their computers and so on. It worked fine, although it's slower than actually working from my own computer. I then heard about LogMeIn and its free version. I like free. So I thought I'd give it a try. I've got to say I had some trouble getting it to work on my laptop. I contacted customer service and they were very helpful in troubleshooting ways to get it to work.
Because this is our portability issue, I thought I'd share with you the different software that's available for accessing your computer while away from home. Below, I've provided a quick overview of the most popular programs out there. I have quoted from their sites.
"GoToMyPC is for individuals needing remote access to 1-20 PCs. It's an easy and secure remote-access solution that enables you to conveniently access email, files, programs and network resources from home or the road. Get unlimited access to your PCs from any Web browser anywhere." They do offer a trial version good for 30 days.
"The ultimate in mobility, freedom & flexibility. You're always looking for ways to make your schedule more flexible - it's the key to work/life balance. And the key to flexibility is access to your computer. LogMeIn Free lets you get on your computer without physically being there.
With access to your PC from anywhere, you can go wherever, whenever:
- open remote files
- check your email
- run programs
- run system diagnostics
- access from any browser
- access from wireless Pocket PC
- easy-to-use interface
- 100% free to use"
"Symantec pcAnywhereTM 12.0 is the world's leading remote control solution.* It lets you manage computers and resolve helpdesk issues quickly, and connect to remote devices simply and securely.
Now pcAnywhere adds support for Mac OS® X. And new gateway functionality enables remote users to quickly find the hosts they need through firewalls and routers with minimal setup."
"PCNow gives you the ability to access your PC anywhere, anytime. Conveniently access your files, programs and email whether you're at work, at home, on the road or on vacation."
"VNC (Virtual Network Computing) software makes it possible to view and fully-interact with one computer from any other computer or mobile device anywhere on the Internet. VNC software is cross-platform, allowing remote control between different types of computer. For ultimate simplicity, there is even a Java viewer, so that any desktop can be controlled remotely from within a browser without having to install software.
The open source version of VNC has been freely available since 1998, and more than 100 million copies of the software have been downloaded. The software has also appeared on numerous magazine cover disks, and for several years all popular versions of Linux have included VNC. It is in active use by many millions in industry, commerce, education and at home. Virtually all Fortune 500 companies use VNC, and installations of VNC across thousands of workstations are commonplace. For the free download, click here."
Installing and using these programs is easy
If you want to work directly on a remote machine from some other location, just sign up for one of the programs I just mentioned.
Your home computer has to be connected to the Internet all the time so just leave it on while you're away. (It's a good idea to protect your computer during a storm or other power outage by having it plugged into a power surge protector.) Then, access your computer while away from home by using any computer that's connected to the Internet such as your laptop or someone else's computer. To access your computer back home you simply log on to the Internet and visit the login page of the program you downloaded. You can then initiate a session by logging on with your user ID and password that you created when signing up for the service.
It's that simple! Now you're ready to work from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection! I love this capability; without it I would have a much harder time trying to work from my husband's townhouse while visiting him.
Give it a shot; what have you got to lose?