My use of “Remote Desktop Access Software” has a long and storied history. It started years ago with LogMeIn, which is still around, and worked fine, but it no longer [at least to my knowledge] has a Free Option.
But Why Shouldn’t I Pay for Remote Desktop Software?
Here’s a long list of Remote Desktop software. After LogMeIn went behind a paywall, I used TeamViewer for a while, but they did the same thing. I do not use these programs as part of a business. I use them for personal use and to help friends – even before lock-down restrictions – maintain their computers, without pay.
So I need a totally free solution.
But What About Microsoft Remote Desktop?
I have never studied Microsoft Remote Desktop in detail. But my understanding is that it is not “Firewall Friendly”, but is rather designed for experts on both ends who either only use it on their LANS or know how to perform the arcane incantations to spirit connections through Firewalls.
What’s the Big Deal with Firewalls?
In order to be “Firewall Friendly” or in other words to “Allow NAT Traversal” or to Allow Traffic through a Network Address Translation Firewall, requires that the two machines find each other using a server out on the internet somewhere. Here’s where the costs might come in. Just like the Zoom or Discord or other services we use, the traffic must go from one machine, through those servers and then on to the other machine. All the time the connections are open with only 10s of millisecond latency. To be sure, a remote desktop connection has vastly smaller traffic requirements than a zoom call with a half dozen folks.
As you can see from my previous post, I’m fed up with Dish Network raising prices without providing any better features. For an account with local channels and a DVR, the base price is apparently over $100. Sure, you might get a “Starter Discount” but I’ve had my service for more than a Decade. $1200 per year is too much. Time to be a Cord Cutter.
So, let’s naively try to Cut the Cord and see what happens. But first, as all good engineers know, we develop a list of requirements:
In no particular order:
News – Keep up with this crazy world, and find out, within an hour or two whether POTUS has been tossed out, or an earthquake or volcanic eruption has started nearby.
Entertainment – I get most of my entertainment from Netflix and DVD.com [Yeah I know it used to be called Netflix too, but they really want you to forget that they ever shipped you a DVD or BluRay.] for the movies that I can’t stream. But if I’m going to cut the cord I’ll need to get at least one more entertainment streaming service.
Use my new fancy Sony TV. A couple of years ago I got a Vizio P65, and it failed and then after they fixed the power supply, it decided to reboot itself a couple of times a day for no reason. Anyway, I now have a new Sony XBR-65X950H Bravia TV, and I love it. It works just fine and it supports “Android Apps” of course.
So how do we “Cut the Cord” and satisfy these requirements?
What has Dish done for me lately? No new channels. More and more channels are leaving the base package.
So I only have the baseline HD service with DVR. Just keeps going up and up with fewer channels and no additional features. They even want to charge for a “Gallery” of still pictures as a TV Screensaver.
I’m close to just turning this off and signing up for Hulu or some other streaming service in addition to Netflix. At least when Netflix charges more money, I get more Netflix Originals. No such thing as Dish Originals. I think satellites are just too expensive a way to deliver content. Too little choice and too costly.
So, the operation of Credit Cards is apparently stuck in the last Century. The major suppliers of credit cards have not kept up with the requirements of the modern age of online transactions.
On-line Credit Card Fraud is a Major Headache
Case in point: My credit card was used Fraudulently. I have a couple of cards, one for physical transactions where I’m always present – well almost always present. And another that I only use On-Line. Of course, the fraud involved the credit card that was used online. I purchased some Game Currency from a game I play a lot for $10, and less than a week later someone tried to purchase $5599 at Best Buy. There was a lot of confusion about whether the transaction occurred On-Line, but the address was given as Minneapolis, Minnesota. Which is far from where I live. So the transaction was declined, and I was alerted. But that’s not the end of the problem. That card number is now stopped. It can no longer be used. And if this were last century, I could just use another of my few cards to eat take-out at restaurants, or buy groceries.
But this is 2020, and that credit card is in the hands of over a dozen on-line merchants whose computers will automatically try to use it on some random schedule to provide services that I use. These include Netflix, my internet service, my satellite tv service and so forth. I’m “waiting four to five business days” for the new card to arrive. And any of these days one of these many services’ computers might try to use that dead card. To say nothing of the fact that it will take an hour or so to go through all the services’ websites and give them a new card number. I need a better way.