Computer All-In-One

I'm not lazy. I prefer to use the term "convenience connoisseur" to describe me.

Bearing that in mind, you won't be surprised that I do have a universal remote control. Searching under sofa cushions for the "right" remote control is WTMW (Way Too Much Work).

I'm delighted that my car's headlights turn on automatically at dusk and turn themselves off when I walk away from the car. I find having to remember such details to be far too taxing.

My email pops onto my Blackberry wherever I am. Having my email messages fly into my pocket this way is so much easier than finding a computer, scooting a chair up to a keyboard and logging on.

There is a motion-sensitive night light plugged into my hallway so when I get up in the middle of the night for a "break" I'm spared any groggy fumbling for a light switch.

Occasionally, my wife, sitting comfortably downstairs, will email me when I'm upstairs -to ask me a question. You might label this convenience as a bit overboard, but ask her which is easier: a typed sentence or climbing a flight of stairs!

Being a technology geek, I have two or three computers in my home. (OK, five computers -but two are for decoration.) In the old days, I would have to walk from computer to computer in order to operate each. Then, someone invented a beautiful tool called a KVM switch (Keyboard, Video & Mouse). This is a box into which you can plug the cables from two or more computers in order to operate each computer while using only one keyboard, monitor and mouse. This solution was effective, while clunky.

Now, instead of extra cables and a KVM switch, software can consolidate control of multiple computers onto only one.

I can control all the computers in my home from only one by using a free utility available for download. It is called Real VNC. (realvnc.com) and works for both Macs and PCs. After a quick, ninety-second install, VNC can help you connect to, and control other computers on your home network. The free version of VNC is suitable for use only within a private home network. To connect to a computer from outside the home, Real VNC's personal edition ($30 one time) is recommended because its connections include important encryption for privacy and security. A minimal amount of technical skill is required to install Real VNC, however, documentation for this product is excellent.

Another product (for those with a marked absence of computer savvy) is a product called GoToMyPC.com. If you wish to have the ability to connect to your computer at any time from any other Internet-connected computer in the world, GoToMyPC.com will do it for you. GoToMyPC.com's service is a monthly subscription that begins at approximately $29/mo after a free 30-day trial. While the cost is significantly higher than Real VNC's, setup is a snap, completed in minutes and foolproof. This product offers a solid way for business travelers to use one computer no matter where in the world they go.

Remote controlling of multiple computers from one computer is a fantastic convenience for me. Now I await a much-needed improvement in computer voice-recognition technology because I must tell you, my typing fingers are spent!

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