Google Chrome & Remote Desktop

OK, so it’s been over 8 months since my last post. Well, you’re gonna love me for this one and it’ll all be ok once you realize how great this new service from Google is!

I have been a lover of the Chrome browser pretty much ever since it was released. It’s fast, simply laid out, not full of extra features . . . oh, and did I mention BLISTERINGLY fast?! Not to mention that I can login to my Google account and see all of my bookmarks on any browser I sign in to (including my iPad). Yeah, it’s great living in the Google universe for now, at least.

Enter Google remote desktop
I have fooled around with LogMeIn and other programs that allow you access to your computer from another location. They’re ok and do the job fine, I guess, but I never really liked the logging in time constraints. It just seemed . . . well, not too smooth or enticing. With that said, I am typing this entire post via my desktop computer . . . from my laptop. And, there is absolutely NO lagging mouse or keyboard at this point. I realize I am on my wired network, so this post may change later on as I practice over the internet.

The bottom line is, I no longer have to switch my monitor over to another input and grab my other mouse and keyboard for things I need to do on my desktop. I already feel a huge relief there. What I REALLY am looking forward to is the fact that ALL of my computers can be seen from my Google remote desktop connection. Say I’m at a relative’s house and don’t want to take my laptop, desktop, etc. They’re all right there within the chrome browser to jump on any time I want. AAAAAND, there’s just a pin number to use once it’s all set . . . no search-to-find-login-page-and-enter-username-and-password-and-wait-to-connect-etc. I just click connect, enter the pin and viola, I’m seeing my other computer . . . thank you, Google . . . again.

Try it out below:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chrome-remote-desktop/gbchcmhmhahfdphkhkmpfmihenigjmpp

You’ll need http://www.google.com/chrome browser to access the plugin above.

Carbonite Backup Service

Chances are, within your lifetime, you will have a hard drive crash or get a virus that corrupts your computer. Case in point: I had some weird attack on my laptop a few months back and it crippled my computer. I thankfully backed up my client files and important information to my external drive (I have this set to do nightly . . . whew), so after a good while of restoring, I was back in action.

I always planned on going the online backup route, but all the free (you know what I’m talking about!) services capped at around 25 gigabytes of storage. I have 100’s of gigabytes to deal with, so I figured I’d just stay with my double nightly backup (one to external, then that backs up to my desktop).

However, Thursday I needed a file that I saved on my machine the wrong way and my external file listing was freaky (didn’t show ANY files). After a reboot, I found the files, but this got me nervous.

So, now I’m trying out http://www.carbonite.com. They allow you to backup an unlimited amount of data  for just over $50 per year . . . I figured it’d be worth it if it worked well. I started the service on Friday. I’m almost half way uploaded at this point, but once the files are backed up, each time you save something, it will upload it to the backup server. Now, that’s just cool.

I can access the backed up files from anywhere a browser is handy. So, now I have the peace of mind that all my important information is away from the house (in case of fire, disaster, etc.).

I’ll post a follow up after a while of use, but I think it’s going to be an obvious business expense issue. If you want to try it, enter the code “tnt” for 2 months free. There are other free versions (and I say go for it if you don’t need the space), but if you have lots of data (I’ll upload all my photos next!), this is almost a no brainer!

Update: It’s August 9th and my 100 GBytes isn’t done yet . . . whew. Otherwise, it runs pretty low key in the background. I can pause for an hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, etc. to get some work done. Nice feature.

WeTransfer.com

So, I’ve been recommending Yousendit.com for a while to transfer large files without using FTP. Enter http://www.wetransfer.com – it’s the most bare bones, easy to use system I’ve seen to date. There’s one thing on the screen and it’s as simple as adding files, then entering 2 emails (to and from) and comments.

They fund the system through advertising, but use large, full screen imagery (quite good looking) to promote the advertisers.

Bonus: You can send up to 2 Gigabytes and keep them available for 2 weeks.

Send a Fax Online

So, I’ve been a fan of efax.com to have a fax number that sends to your email. Now, that’s the receiving end. And, while you get 2 free outgoing faxes, once those are out, you have to sign up for the monthly fee to send more. And, how many of us send lots of faxes (other than you law folks out there)?

So, I had to send a fax today. Rather than heading to someone’s office to bum from them or pay the first month’s fee for efax, I knew someone had to have thought of an a-la-carte option. Enter www.faxzero.com. You can send a free fax (with ads for the receiver) or pay $1.99 for one fax without ads. And, the fax can be up to 15 pages.

The site is dead simple and my fax was sent within 2 minutes . . . gotta love that.

Wii Netflix Player

Thanks to great games like Super Mario Galaxy and Wii Sports, our family game system stays pretty busy each day. Recently Netflix released the Wii Netflix player disc free of charge to customers. I, of course, use my Roku box often to view Netflix movies online, but they’ve done and even better job with the Wii. The interface is superb and finding new movies is almost fun. So, the stream isn’t HD, but it’s borderline DVD quality and the convenience far outweighs the resolution difference. This option made the Wii a whole lot more valuable. If you have Netflix and a broadband account (um, and a Wii), don’t pass this up.

Good, Cheap Emailing List with YMLP

If you’ve been on the web for any amount of time these days, chances are you’ve subscribed to several emailing lists. Fortunately, there are MANY great services to get you set up and emailing clients, fans, etc. quickly and efficiently. And I do mean MANY – Constant Contact would be the heavy hitter, but few know about a company I’ve been using for years now. They’re called YMLP (yourmailinglistprovider.com). I started using them way back when for one reason – dirt cheap – to the tune of $3.75/month cheap to start out.

But, they’ve always managed to keep up with all the other big names in email marketing. They have the tracking services, the automated handling of bogus emails, user managed accounts, etc. But they still have that competitive pricing.

I’m not sure why I haven’t mentioned them before, but here ya go! If you need a good, reliable email list host, give them a try. Since I’m a subscriber, I can give you a code to get 15% off your usage fees . . . for as long as you use the service. Just sharing some savings! You can quit the service at any time too – no long contracts.

Click here to get the discounted rate. Enter the promo code FX141J to get 15% off of your order with YMLP.com.

My Life With Roku

Back in November, I wrote about Netflix streaming and the new (at that time) Roku box. Well, Alison took my hints and I recieved my shine (tiny) Roku box for Christmas this past December. Yeah, it’s all I wanted it to be.

After 8 months with the device, I can say (IMHO) that it’s all it’s cracked up to be. Netflix is adding more and more movies to their streaming service all the time. My kids say “Can I watch Roku” instead of “can I watch TV” now. The great thing is, and I hope they keep this up, is that several shows allow you to stream new episodes very soon after their air date. Heroes (NBC) lets you watch the new episode from the Roku player the day after the new showing. Maggie gets to watch Sonny With a Chance and other Disney programs in the same manner.

Aaaaand, many shows are now in HD quality. I never thought it’d get there, but 720p resolution on my 32 inch widescreen looks close to spectacular. I’d like to test it out on a larger Hi-Def tv . . . gotta wait on that though!

Oh, and did I mention that it’s wireless? It used 802.11G wireless, so it’s plenty fast to pull in shows rather quickly and with good quality.

All in all, a great piece of hardware. You can pick them up for $100 at several places. You will need a minimum Netflix package of $8.95/month (that gets you one disc in the mail at a time too). If they keep up the trend, cable might be a thing of the past soon. Oh, and iPhone and Wii are rumored to get Netflix streaming too . . . that’s just too cool.