Being the most computer savvy one in the family is a tough life. Sure, it has its advantages like usually being the smartest one and feeling validated by the fact that your loved ones “need” you. However, that need should only go so far. Friends and family tend to solely rely on the computer guy for their technology needs that they never try to actually do the tasks themselves. Their computer skills stagnate and they turn into technology babies. Did I mention that I hate kids and babies?
Imagine receiving late night phone calls with vague questions like, “Where did my music go?” or “Why can’t I connect to the Internet?” I don’t know how those technical support agents do it, but kudos to them. I am in awe at their patience in diagnosing and fixing problems over the phone without even being on site (or seeing the computer screen for that matter).
Well, I’ve had enough! I just don’t have any time or patience for that. I’m tired of people asking me, “Does this sound like a good deal on eBay?” I’m tired of people requesting me to remotely diagnose their computer problems over the phone. At the very least, I need to see what you are seeing. First, I need a screen!
Luckily, there is a function in the VNC protocol that lets servers directly connect to a client. This means that your mom’s can just input your IP address and the VNC server will establish a session with your VNC client. At the same time, it bypasses her firewall and router since the connection was initiated from the inside of her network. Therefore, you don’t have to go through explaining port opening and forwarding to your mother.
But, what about your clueless grandparents? How are you going to tell them to install VNC? There is a version of VNC called UltraVNC Single Click. Basically, it is the VNC server and a script wrapped in one simple executable file. All you have to tell your technical support “clients” is to download the program you email them and open it. The embedded script will take care of the rest. It will automatically connect their VNC “server” to your IP address, where you can easily setup a VNC listening client.
Read the instructions on the UltraVNC SC website for details on how to customize your script. For the lazy, I’ve written basic instructions on how to get a quick and easy executable file without any bells and whistles.
This past week was the first time I used this program “on the job.” My friend called and asked me to walk him through buying a plane ticket online; he had never done something like that before. I wasn’t about to guess what he was seeing so I fired him the UlatraVNC Single Click executable file. It worked perfectly and he purchased his airfare successfully. After that experience, I decided that I will never remotely help anybody again … until they download this program first.
Please leave any questions, comments, or suggestions below! Have fun helping!