Category Archives: Web

The 8000 mile tech. support call with Skype and Crossloop

It has always amazed me how complicated vendors make it to set up a WiFi network at home. Case in point. I am currently in Saudi Arabia. My sister lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She recently received a new laptop and wanted to connect to her WiFi router. When I was out there in 2008 I had set up their home network for them and written down all the important passwords such as the router administrator password and the network key. That was over a year ago and things get misplaced. Thanks to Skype I was able to talk to her about some of the things to do, but without those key passwords, there was skypeonly so far I could go. So I took the last step of resetting the router and proceeded to set up her home network for her. Usually this could have been a very long process if I had to describe this over the phone to someone who is not technical. Trying to explain to a non-techy how to enter http:// by itself can be confusing for some. But I was using Crossloop which allowed me to connect to her laptop and do all the work as if I was sitting right there. Now I know that the latest version of Skype allows you to share screens, but when you are rebooting routers, you loose the connection. So I was using Skype to call her land line. With Skype subscription service, I pay $3 a month for unlimited calling to North America.

crossloop

Crossloop is a very simple program to use. You go to Crossloop.com and register an account. The registration and use of the software is free. Then you download the application and start it up. You have 2 tabs depending on which end of the call you are on. If you are the one needing support, you click on the Share tab. You will be given and 12 digit number. The person doing the support clicks on the Access tab and enters your 12 digit number that you give them, and clicks on connect. After a few seconds the person getting the support is asked if they want to connect, they click on the connect button and say yes they want to allow the person giving the support access to view their screen. From then on it was like was sitting there on the computer in Vancouver (except for the +25 degree difference in temperatures). Crossloop is very secure as it generates a new code for each connection. So there is no need to worry about the support person dialing back in and downloading data. Once the session is ended, the code is no longer valid.

So thanks to technology, a happy ending to the story. My sister is happy and everything is working fine with her new laptop and home network. I wonder what the fee would be for a tech. support call from 8000 miles away?

Instant Messanger within your Browser

Meebo is an online Instant Messenger application that allows you to run the application from within your browser. This is perfect for those times when you are traveling and need to use an Internet Cafe, or a locked down PC at work that does not allow you to install applications. I wrote about Meebo previoiusly.

To further integrate Meebo into your browser, Meebo has just released a Firefox extension. This adds a pane to the right side of your browser and lists all of your buddies online. You can also ‘disconnect’ the pane and have it work as if it were a stand alone application.

Podcamp Toronto 2007

podcamplogo.jpgI just came back from Podcamp Toronto 2007. All I can say is WOW!. This was an excellent event. I would like to give a huge thanks to all of the organizers. This was no small feat to pull this off.

    Leesa Barnes of Podonomics – Organizer, Media Liaison.Â

Podcamp was a collection of sessions for the novice to advanced podcaster. Podcasters and Podcaster wannabees from both the US and Canada came out to learn more about marketing, branding, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), improving audio quality and building your community and traffic. Several of the sessions are available to view at the Podcamp Wiki.  Mitch Joel’s presentation on branding was excellent. Julien Smith’s discussion about Google couldn’t care less if you have a podcast was both entertaining and enlightening. Christopher Penn gave 2 sessions on the tools needed to expand your audience. There were many other sessions that you can review on line.

The one area that seemed to be missing was Podcasting for newbies. From a showing of hands in a few sessions it appeared to be 20-25% of the attendees had not produced a podcast. Contrast this against some of the attendees who had been podcasting for 5-10 years. (I wonder what podcasts were called before the iPod?). I offered my services to put together a presentation for the next camp to talk about all the steps I have learned over the past months about podcasting. I also offer my knowledge to anyone who has questions about Podcasting. I will be doing a series of posts over the next few weeks precisely about this topic. So if you have a question, leave me a comment.

Bookmarks Sync

I posted about this previously, but I can’t say enough good things about 2Go’s Syncit product. This is an application that resides in your system toolbar. Every time you make a change to your favorites in your browser, it syncs with their server. Then on every computer have have their syncit tool loaded, you will have your favorites synchronized.

Now, I know there are several other products out there that do the same thing. There is Foxmarks and Bookmarks Synchronizer, which are both extensions for Firefox. There is also Googles browser sync and their toolbar favorites sync. But, if you use Firefox and home and your company has standarized on IE, then you would have to use 2 different utilities to synchronize.

2Go’s product works with all of these:

2go

IE, Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox and Opera.

The greatest thing about this software is that it just works. I have used it for years. The other feature it has it that it backs up your favorites and will keep deletions for 30 days in a separate folder. So when you wake up one day and find out that you accidentally erased your Favorites folder. You can go to the website and take the deletions out of the recycle bin and you’re ready to go. So if you have multiple computers, you can’t go wrong with this product.

Holiday Gift Guide

‘Tis the season, and this year there are many choices for the geeks out there. Rather than list all the stuff, below are a number of links that you can check out for yourself.

For the gadget nut, one of my favorite sites is:

They have a wish list for him and a list for her. (come on ladies, find that inner geek that’s inside of you!!)

For the iPod fanatics, you have to see the annual gift guide from iLounge This .pdf download not has a ton of product information, it also gives great review and talks about the technology available along with tips for your iPods.

For the hard core techie, there is Chris Pirillo’s 50 Geek Gift Ideas.

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Fitness while travelling

When I travel one of the more important features of the hotel I choose to stay at is whether they have good gym. I have stayed at some hotels that say they have a gym. Only to find out, once I got there, that they converted a meeting room into a gym by adding a couple of treadmills and some dumbbells.

Now there is a web site that can help with, not only the hotel selection, but also running routes, local gyms and their policies on guests and healthy places to eat. It is Athletic Minded Traveler.

 The site has reviews of several cities, including the main Canadian ones. If you check now, they have a free preview for Toronto. There is a charge for the service. It is $20 a year or $3 a month. But if you don’t want to put your fitness schedule on hold while you travel, it is worth it.