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Log me in, Scotty

February 7, 2010

I’ve been using a remote access service for a couple of years now and I’ve been so pleased with it that I thought I’d give it a post of its own.

LogMeIn logoIt’s called LogMeIn and it does everything I need and then some. I get remote desktop access, remote file access, remote printing and even remote audio (assuming there’s enough bandwidth to make it tolerable).

One of the nicest things is that you can use it free as long as you like (though you do give up some features in the free version). I did that for the first few months to test drive it, before deciding it was well worth its subscription price.

I use it to get to machines in my home office when I’m at client sites and to get to client machines when I’m at home. I use it to support my neighbor’s computer. It works like VNC or WebEx (and unlike Windows Remote Desktop) because it gives you a session that’s concurrent with the logged in user, if there is one.

Naturally, it reminds me of Citrix‘ software. I’ve always liked Citrix’ stuff and have recommended it to corporate folks several times. I’ve done a couple of Citrix Metaframe deployments and have been very impressed with Citrix’ management software. For organizations that need to publish applications or virtual desktops to large groups, Citrix is hard to beat in my view.

But when I tried Citrix’ GoToMyPC a couple of years ago, I wasn’t too impressed. (As a minor point, I didn’t like the lame name.) After the all-too-brief evaluation period I was granted, I didn’t become a paying customer. Part of the problem was the price included things I didn’t need or want.

That’s about the time I came across LogMeIn and it was the clearly better choice for me. I appreciate that this market changes quickly and maybe things have changed since then, but I’m happy enough with LogMeIn that I don’t want to spend the time to re-evaluate.

I’d say the same thing about using VNC. I’ve used VNC packages in the past and liked them. Most of them are free, so they compare well to LogMeIn in a features per dollar contest. But I like the way LogMeIn manages multiple machines in its web interface and I especially like the security LogMeIn provides through the web portal. Again, maybe there are later-model VNC packages out there which provide those features but I don’t want to spend the time searching them out.

So I’ve been spreading the word about LogMeIn and my friends like it too. One day a friend and I were fooling around with it and got this great infinite series of desktops when I brought up a LogMeIn session on the machine I was working at. (You can do that, as pointless as it is.) This is LogMeIn running in Firefox using its plug-in.

LogMeIn infinite desktop screen capture

LogMeIn has been developing a whole line of products since I started using their remote access stuff. I don’t know much about those new offerings, but it looks like they’re expanding beyond simple remote access and support software into the VPN and desktop publishing arenas.

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