Some useful smatterings of information, and some more substantial ones too, to help make your working life easier.
Support Using Remote Access
Ever had a problem with your computer that just wasn't very easy to describe over the phone? Ever been given instructions that weren't that easy to follow? Ever wished that the person on the other end of the phone could simply fix the problem for you? They can with remote access!
Remote access means allowing someone to gain access to your computer over the internet. They see on their screen exactly what you see on your screen. You can control the mouse and keyboard to demonstrate something, or they can control the mouse and keyboard to test something.
Remote access to your computer can be achieved in a number of ways. The simplest way is to use an internet-based remote access provider. Here at Software-Matters we have been using LogMeIn® for some time now. This is a straight-forward and secure system that takes only a couple of minutes to set up. They provide a free version as well as several more advanced subscription versions.
We find remote access extremely helpful in supporting our systems. Do you want a change to your system? We can install it for you ourselves. Do you need us to look at some data? We can log in and see the data directly on your computer, and you can show us exactly what you need to do to it. Is your system not behaving as you expect? Remote access allows us to log in to your computer, see any unexpected behaviour or error messages for ourselves and, in many cases, immediately identify the problem area.
We've also used remote access to explain our systems to a new customer and to get to grips with their existing systems. We can access your computer and you can show us what you have in place already and what you are trying to achieve. However the system itself remains on your computer; once we have logged off, we can no longer see or access your system. This allows us to see what you need without you having to worry about sending us copyrighted or proprietary information - we never receive any files and we can't copy them to our system.
Another use is if you have a particularly large file that you want to show someone. Is the file too large to send by email? Unless they need their own copy, simply have them log in to your computer and look at the file there instead!
And of course remote access allows you to log in to your own computer remotely as well. Working from home and need to see some files on you work computer? Log in to view and even edit them, then just log off when you're finished. As long as your computer is switched on, you can gain access to it from any computer on the internet - anywhere in the world!
Clearly allowing other people into your computer has potential security risks. However only the simplest precautions are required to keep you and your network safe. Firstly, you have control of the usernames and passwords required to log into your computer - only give these out to people you trust, and if in doubt change your password. Secondly, you have control of the remote access software; you can turn it off, so that noone can log in remotely - to allow people back in you would have to enable the software again.
And even if someone is already using remote access, you are in control. You can take control of your computer even when someone is logged in simply by moving your mouse or typing on your keyboard - your own instructions to the computer will always take precedence over those coming from a remote access user. And, when taking control, you can kick the remote user off your system.
Want more information? Check out this issue's offer for details of how to contact us and get a fantastic deal on your support costs!
If your PC is set up so that we can log into it remotely, don't forget to disable the remote logging software when it's not needed to prevent anyone else logging in - even if they have the passwords.
per·son·al·i·ty ( pзr-sə-'næ-lı-ti ):
n. (pl. –ties)
1. the sum total of all the behavioural and mental characterisitics by means of which an individual is recognised as being unique
2. the distinctive character of a person
[5 other definitions]
Collins English Dictionary 10th Ed, 2009 ©William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., ©HarperCollins
Our Personality Types
Working as a team and understanding how your colleagues think is very important in business to work efficiently, improve communication, and to create an enjoyable working environment. Here at Software-Matters we recently used a simple personality profile test to learn a bit more about ourselves and each other. The test, which groups people into 'colours', was devised by The Colour Works. An easy-to-use version of the test can be found at Nine 5 Three.
You may expect that, as we are all in the same line of work, the Software-Matters team will all fall in the same section of the wheel. Indeed this is what we were expecting before we each sat down and thought about it. Interestingly though, our team of four is spaced fairly evenly around the wheel. We work well together not because we think in similar ways, but rather because we each have something different to offer.
| Appropriately, Philippa is a Director. Directors are resolute, assertive and focused. They set a goal and then work out a plan to achieve that goal. This skill serves Philippa well when she is putting together Specification documents for new systems. Philippa says, "I think I'm naturally more 'blue', but between running a household and a business I've developed the 'red' side of my personality." Indeed, Philippa also demonstrates some Reformer characterisitcs; her determination and disciplined approach have been key in building Software-Matters into a successful company.
| Motivators are enthusiastic, optimistic and, unsurpisingly, motivated. Their eagerness and positivity encourages those around them, as well as driving them to achieve their own goals and dreams.
| As an Inspirer with strong Helper tendencies, James is the people-person of the group. Inspirers are persuasive, creative and sociable. James' creative side means that he generally approaches problems from a different angle to the rest of us, often coming up with innovative solutions. He is suited to receiving information piecemeal, giving him a chance to absorb ideas as they're presented.
| Helpers are adaptable. They work well in a collaborative environment as they naturally share ideas. In their desire to help others and understand their needs, they learn to be flexible in their approach.
| Supporters are loyal and put a lot of emphasis on the team. They are attentive to others and try to work in a cooperative manner.
| Robin falls between the blue and green categories, which makes her a Coordinator. Coordinators are thorough, reliable and organised. They are good at logistical planning. Robin's 'blue' side is analytical, however her 'green' side means that she tends to bring an intuitive approach to problems. She is attentive and sensitive to others' needs.
| Katherine tests as decidedly blue, and therefore is an Observer. Observers are analytical, factual and precise. Katherine works well with computers as she can think in very black and white terms. She has an eye for detail and can spot patterns in data; she works best when provided with all the available information at the start.
| Reformers are systematic in their approach and prefer to quantify any data they are presented with. Their disciplined approach instils them with a determined attitude towards work and life.
Software-Matters Team Quiz answers
Check out the answers to last issue's Software-Matters Team Quiz. Did you guess who said what? Can you now see the influence of the personality types above?
What book are you reading at the moment?
Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
- Plum Island by Nelson DeMille - James
- Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad by Bee Rowlatt & May Witwit - Robin
- Enigma by Robert Harris - Katherine
What colour are your eyes?
- Yes (if they have laces!) - Katherine
- Not always - Robin
- Not normally - Philippa
- No, but that's because I don't tie them up when I put them on! - James
What sports do you like to watch?
- Brown/grey - James
- Greeny-brown - Philippa
- Grey - Katherine
Parachute jump or bungee jump?
- Cricket and tennis - Robin
- Rugby Union and Formula One - Katherine
- Cycling - James
Favourite ice cream?
- Parachute jump - James & Katherine
- No thank you! - Philippa & Robin
- Black cherry - Katherine
- Raspberry ripple - Robin
- Creamy Cornish vanilla, in a cone with a flake - James
- Yellow - Robin
- Black - James
- Blue - Katherine
- Green - Philippa
… you can reach us by
phone on 01747 822616.
Or use the Contact section
our website to get in touch.
The new year is a good time for looking ahead and sorting things out.
Do you have something we could do for you that would make your life so much easier if only you got round to sorting it out? Call us on 01747 822616 before 31st January 2011 to ask us to undertake such a project and we will set up LogMeIn® with you free. (And then if you do want support from us you will save again because it will be quicker and cheaper!) Just quote Smatterings9 during the call to be eligible.
Don't know whether remote access is the right support solution for you? Take a look at this article at the beginning of this issue of Smatterings.
(Reasonable terms and conditions apply. Just ask us for details.)
If you know someone else who might benefit from this offer or anything else in Smatterings, please feel free to pass on the information to them. Just give us the necessary details here and we'll send them a link for you.
PS: Don't forget about our referral scheme. Refer someone new to us and choose a crate of beer, bottle of wine or champagne, box of chocolates or £20 cash as a thank you - and they'll get a 10% discount off their first project too!