Home > Computer, Smart Phone > Teamviewer gets it right!

Teamviewer gets it right!

Using your phone to control your home computer seems like it would be terribly useful.  Recently, the place I worked started allowing the iOS and Android Citrix clients for remote access to work. The Citrix client displays the screen of the application you are interacting with, and you tap where you would normally click the mouse.  As you can imagine, this works pretty poorly on a small phone screen. It was usable in a (very desperate) pinch, but it really pretty much sucked.

Like most technically savvy people, I have a number of computers that I have adopted tech support duties for. (Yeah, that sounds better than saying support of these computers was forced on me…)

No matter how much I wear this, no one takes the hint

My Mom (laptop, netbook, and now, against my wishes, Android phone; I TRIED to get her to get an iPhone instead!), Mother-in-law (two laptops and a non-color nook), Uncle (really really old desktop), Sister (4 or 5 laptops, although, usually, they just call and ask me questions, I rarely directly do anything to them), etc.

I live between 30 minutes and an hour away from each of these people. I used to spend a lot of time trying to walk them through things on the phone so I wouldn’t have to drive to their house to fix their computers.  That worked about as well as you can imagine.

About like this, but WAY more painful

So, if they are having issues, but they still have Internet (you know, and if their computer isn’t so choked by adware, spyware and other malicious software that it is still usable), I prefer to remote into their computer and deal with the issues remotely.  They all run Windows I run on Macs, and none of them have the version of Windows that supports hosting an RDP session. (Somehow, all 9 computers seem to have a different version of Windows, but that may just be my imagination.) A friend recommended Teamviewer and once I got it installed on each of these PC’s and set them up as partners, I am able to remote into their PC, see what they see and help them fix their problems. I have been using Teamviewer for a couple of years, and it has done a fabulous job. The Mac and Windows versions seem to play nice together, it is relatively responsive, and it really beats having to drive to someone’s house to help them with a problem. It’s also free for personal use. Not so shameless plug for Teamviewer! Everyone should use it!

So, recently, I saw that Teamviewer had released a mobile version of their app. After my experience with the mobile version of Citrix, I wasn’t expecting much. Boy was I ever wrong! They created an interface that is the best I think you can hope for on a mobile device, and it just works so well, I’m actually considering remoting to my Mac and then from there to Citrix the next time I need to log into work while away from home.

What did they do? They LEFT THE MOUSE CURSOR THERE! What a concept.

See it there?

Why try converting the little fields on a desktop display to make them tapable, when you can use the mouse pointer? How do we control the mouse cursor? Think of your phone’s screen as a track pad. You swipe on the screen and the mouse pointer moves. It doesn’t jump under your finger, it tracks the same direction as you move your finger, just like a track pad. And if you are zoomed in so you cannot see the whole screen, the screen scrolls when you move the pointer so that it’s like looking at a little window of your desktop. Tap with one finger and it does a left-click. 2 fingers is a right-click. There are buttons along the bottom to bring up the keyboard, click the mouse and change the zoom level. It works so well, that in a lot of cases, I can leve it zoomed all the way out and see the whole screen and still interact with my computer. It is about as useful as I think this could be, and it just feels so natural to use, because it’s just a track pad, something we’re all comfortable with.

If you are looking for a remote access solution, I can’t say enough good things about Teamviewer. If you are looking for a remote access solution that you can access from your smartphone, I can’t say enough good things about Teamviewer!!!

Categories: Computer, Smart Phone
  1. Rob
    May 3, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I like TeamViewer as well, use it to support my parents in another state.

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