I mentioned CrossLoop before, as a tool for remotely helping someone out. It uses VNC to share desktops.
The last time I looked, it was Windows only. Now there’s a Mac client too.
I had to use it to help my father out in Dublin. Somehow he had managed to delete both Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash—I haven’t figured out how.
It was painful, painful, painful. The connection was dropped repeatedly and the link couldn’t begin to keep up with the amount of graphical data being transferred. Even though CrossLoop reduces the color depth, actions like switching tabs in Firefox cause huge amounts of data to be sent. I couldn’t tell why the connection was being dropped. There are so many places where things could go wrong: my client, my connection, the CrossLoop server, his connection, his client, some random router.
All in all, it took about 90 minutes, but it would likely have been even longer and more confusing without a shared desktop.