[Echovnc-users] Re: vnc good, but usability problems
Scott C. Best
sbest "at" best.com
Sun Aug 21 22:22:00 2005
Heyaz. First off, yes: EchoVNC does this. Similar to GoToMyPC,
you use EchoVNC to login to a echoServer becoming a member of a
"connection group" on that server. An echoServer can have one or more
connection groups, each one with its own password, but only one is
really needed; demo.echovnc.com, for example, has just one group with
just one password: "demo2005". Once connected, any two members of the
same connection group can establish a VNC connection with each other
(at least, they can get to the VNC password prompt). Unlike GoToMyPC,
though, the echoServer itself is terrifically affordable download
meant for the help-desk operators, professional and otherwise. :) It
also supports other p2p applications besides VNC...
As far as VNC being a difficult to use remote-desktop solution
over the Internet for non-technical people, I also agree. A lot of
companies attempt to make it easier to use by tying in some sort of
web-based "relay server", for example:
http://www.copilot.com -- A recent release by the Fog Creek guys.
SSL-secured VNC, with an easy to use web
http://www.laplink.com -- Uses a "firewall service" as a partner
discovery, leading to a server-initiated
connection back to an awaiting Viewer.
http://networkstreaming.com -- Uses a "Gateway Appliance" for NAT
http://www.teamviewer.com -- Uses DynGate to pass thru firewalls.
http://www.SupportAnyPC.com -- VNC for only $150! :~}
I'm sure there are others, none of which -- in my experience --
are as good as my second-favorite remote access tool, LogMeIn:
http://www.LogMeIn.com -- Totally free web-based remote-desktoping
(once you get past the free trial of the
Pro version) of Windows PC's from any other
OS. Few reasons to not use all of the time.
In my opinion, the reality is this (the VNC guys may disagree
with me, which I'm okay with): VNC isn't really meant to be a really
good Internet-based remote-desktop tool for Windows PC's. What it is
meant to be -- and what it is -- is a really good same-LAN (or via VPN)
remote-desktop tool for any-OS to any-OS. If you're a network admin
with multiple flavor of OS's on your LAN and you want to be able to
remote-desktop all of them...VNC is your tool. But if you're trying
to connect to a VNC server across the Internet, VNC has fairly
primitive (by today's standards) connection capabilities. Of course
it can be done by the techies, products like EchoVNC can help even
further, and web-services like those listed above can pull-in
But is this hampering VNC adoption? Hardly; RealVNC does ~100k
downloads a week (according to 3AM Labs who make LogMeIn). TightVNC
and UltraVNC on Sourceforge do another ~120k combined. If there's
something hampering VNC adoption, it's doing a lousy job. :)
Just my two-cents. Eager to hear any other perspectives.
> I agree. I am still learning how best to use VNC and a couple of things
> have helped me:
> 1) If you are connecting to other less techy people, have them install
> RealVNC w/o changing any options and then have them do a reverse connection
> to you and then you can set the options for them. Yes, this still can be
> challenging for some users but it does eliminate access to their router as
> a problem.
> 2) EchoVNC. It sounds like this might do what you want. The real downside
> to this, IMHO, is that groups need to be set up by an administrator ahead of
> time. Either you need to set up a different group for any two people that
> want to connect to each other or you need to set up generically named groups
> and give out the passwords to everyone. Or am I missing something?
> At 12:35 AM 8/21/2005, you wrote:
>> I love VNC. I recommend it to all my friends and
>> relatives. I use it to remotely administer their
>> machines. But... I'm a network hacker, and I
>> find it easy to do things like figure out peoples'
>> IP addresses by looking at their email headers.
>> It turns out that's important when using VNC widely,
>> and this is a problem.
>> People somewhat less technical than me have lots
>> of trouble using VNC, and I am forever having
>> to help them get it up and running again.
>> These same people have no problems using GotoMyPC,
>> and they tend to give up on VNC and use GotoMyPC,
>> paying the $5/month, just because it lets them
>> get work done with less hassle than VNC.