Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Copilot vs. LogMeIn for supporting your parent's Mac

I hope this is what I asked for some time ago -- a version of Copilot that will let me control my mother's machine whenever I want, without her having to do anything or even know about it ...
Copilot OneClick for Macintosh - Joel on Software

... The new Copilot OneClick feature lets you preinstall the software on all the computers you connect to frequently, so every time your dad calls up needing help with the accounting software running his Ponzi scheme, you just click one link and you’re logged onto his computer.

As usual, it works through all kinds of firewalls, proxies, and NATs without any configuration, it’s protected by 128-bit SSL, and there’s never anything to configure.

Today, the Copilot team released the Macintosh version of the OneClick feature, so all the Copilot goodness is available on Windows or Mac, or both (you can control Windows computers from Macs and vice versa). And it’s cheap, by which I mean, inexpensive—I don’t mean that you can just buy it two drinks and take it back to your apartment and expect to be taking a bubble bath with it—most people get the $19.95 unlimited plan; it’s even free on weekends when we have lots of unused bandwidth.
Copilot uses VNC, so it's very slow. Nowhere near as useful as Citrix or Windows Remote Desktop. Alas, for OS X VNC is about as good as it gets. It's enough for troubleshooting if you're patient and if the screen sizes are reasonably similar.

Update 1/8/09: See also - Computer support for persons with special needs.

Update 4/25/09: As advised in a comment on this post, I ended up using the free LogMeIn instead. I installed the LogMeIn client on my mother's dual core Mac Mini running 10.4. I then installed the (theoretically optional but actually essential) controller client on my MacBook running 10.5. It's quite slow, but I'm able to control her computer with no action required on her part other than turning on the machine. Copilot wasn't price competitive, and it required my mother to do too much. With LogMeIn she has only to turn on the computer.

Update 6/7/10: LogMeIn stopped working. When I upgraded the Safari plugin on my MacBook running 10.5 it crashed Safari. There's still no 64bit support for Safari on OS X 10.6. I think LogMeIn has given up; I uninstalled them. I reviewed CoPilot again, but there prices for what I want have gone up a lot. I don't have any working solution at this time.


Anonymous said...

Why not use Screen sharing on Mac (at least leopard)? Yes, it takes a little configuration, including knowing the IP (or setting up a dynamic IP). But not much more than that.

John Gordon said...

It's the configuration stuff that's the hurdle -- also that my mother's on 10.4 and I'd rather not upgrade her unless there's a real value until we get to 10.5.7 or so.

I really need something that requires no action on her part at all.

Michael Rose said...

John, have you considered LogMeIn Free? It should let you connect to her without her intervention.

I love Copilot and MacHelpMate, but LMI has managed most of what we've tried to throw at it.

Anonymous said...

Would you like to try LogMeIn again? Here's a very recent post about LogMeIn on Mac OS X:

Eugene Goldman said...

This is also good.
Works well, doesn't require installation or specific config, works behind gateways NAT as well as within one LAN.