Shameless Plug: Fog Creek Copilot

I had another opportunity to use Copilot last night, helping out a relative with a cranky printer. What is Copilot? I'll sum it up as "Remote Desktop for Dummies," but I mean that in the best possible way. Basically, it's a tool to let a geek get at a non-geek's computer quickly and easily, without having to deal with firewall hassles, etc.

The first time I used Copilot - not long after it came out - there were some decidedly rough edges. The Fog Creek folks were very receptive to my bug report, and made sure I was happy with the outcome of the bug finding/reporting process.

This time, the experience was much smoother -- partly due to the 'target' machine being newer, no doubt, but still a definite improvement. The visual performance/experience isn't up to what I'm used to with RD, but considering the nature of the solution (Copilot uses an intermediary server so neither end sees the traffic as "incoming" and thus firewalled), and given the trivial purchase and setup, it's well worth the tradeoff for the 'friends&family-tech-support' role.

I'm a big fan of software that "just works". Copilot wasn't there yet when I first tried it, but it may just be there now. I'll have to investigate this monthly plan they're offering now...

Comments (2)
  1. tzagotta says:

    Not a service I would pay for. Seems it would be better to fix the problems with firewalls (in the long run) so that RDC could be used.

  2. CRathjen says:

    Well, the problem is that the "problems" with firewalls aren’t really "problems" – that’s what a firewall is designed to do.

    Making firewalls allow traffic on various ports by default would be unwise (and you’d still have to setup port forwarding to the machine(s) behind the firewalls.

    It’s a tough nut to crack without a server "in the cloud" as Copilot does. And of course, Fog Creek has to recover the cost of providing that server somehow…

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