Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SOFTWARE: Cairo Calling ...

I am a fan of Crossloop, the little remote access and viewing software that solved my problem with helping Dad through his computer problems, even though he was 200 miles away and not all that computer literate. A zero configuration answer to a problem that had plagued for years.

But I still use Remote Desktop Connection, the internal Microsoft remote software for most of my pro work. Partially, that's out of habit. Partially it's due to the layers that have been added to Crossloop over the last year. There's a (voluntary) login, a survey at the end, and endless ZoneAlarm questions because I don't allow anything but a temporary allowing of the program to bypass the firewall. Nothing regarding remote control gets out of or into my computer without my acknowledging that it's doing it.

Still, it's awfully nice to have Crossloop around for the unanticipated situations. Such as the call I received from half-way round the world recently. I got the call and a familar voice growled into the phone, "I've got a problem." No formalities, just a statement of fact. It was my friend Doug. And he was calling from Cairo, Egypt.

I don't get many calls from Egypt. Can only recall one in the past, when I was running PR for the American Contract Bridge League and talked to an Egyptian journalist about the Epson World Pairs. But I digress. Getting a call from Cairo was a different kind of start to the day.

Doug used to employ me before he sold his company to American interests and retired to go gallivanting around the world. He's semi-computer literate, knowing enough to be dangerous with his laptop. I continue to provide computer support for the sheer entertainment value. He's incredibly creative when it comes to computer problems. I yell at him. A LOT. It's cathartic.

At any rate, we couldn't solve his initial problem because he couldn't access the internet in the middle of the afternoon Cairo time (which was seven hours ahead of Brampton time). We agreed to make a second try later in the day, nearer late evening there.

And Crossloop worked perfectly, if a little slowly. Probably the effects of the Egyptian secret service watching our every move. Or so I would like to believe. I fixed his issue in short order and told him to call me when he got back to Canada to report on whether the fix stuck. He did. It did. And that was that.

I was struck later by the whole matter-of-factness of the whole situation. It was no different than when he would call from his Toronto home with some problem or another. Ten, fifteen minutes later, thanks to the immediacy of being able to see what he saw, the problem would be fixed. Toronto, Cairo? No different in actual terms these days.

Good on you Crossloop. Oops, that's how I would say it to my Australian friends. Good FOR you Crossloop!

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