Keep in touch with online computer support

When you're out of the office, 01 Communique's I'm InTouch 6.1 lets you access your computer from afar. With I'm InTouch 6.1 installed on a Windows XP or Vista host computer, you can access that host computer from any remote Windows computer support on the internet via a web browser.

Now you can take control of the host's desktop, view its attached webcams, access its files and print them to your local printer. There's an option to access the host in Stealth Mode, which is handy when you want to check up on people. One impressive feature is the ability to access the Outlook inbox on the host via a webmail-style interface, which is more responsive than using the full remote desktop.

You would be better off setting up webmail access to your email on the server, but I'm InTouch could be useful if your email provider doesn't provide remote access to your inbox.

New features in version 6.1 include audio support and multi-monitor configurations, letting you view all of the host's displays even if your remote computer support services has only one monitor. When you take control of a host you can choose to view its desktop or a Windows Explorer-like view of the hard drive's contents. When you're viewing the desktop, a small drop-down menu lets you access features such as file transfers and switching to full-screen mode. I'm InTouch is also designed with hand-held devices in mind and is optimised for Pocket PC and Blackberry devices. A

long with remote access, it offers basic collaboration features such as chat and a whiteboard. Up to 10 remote users can access the same host simultaneously, which means you could use it for training sessions and online meetings - although if this is your primary requirement you might be better served by dedicated offerings from the likes of Citrix Online or Cisco's WebEx. One of I'm InTouch's drawbacks is that it is very Windows-centric. Not only are hosts restricted to running XP or Vista, but 01 Communique only supports remote users running Windows using ActiveX or Java via Internet Explorer or Firefox.

We managed to access files on our Windows XP machine from Safari and Firefox on our Leopard MacBook, and Safari on our iPhone but we couldn't view the host's desktop. I'm InTouch does the job but its biggest problem is that competitors such as LogMeIn and Citrix Online's GoToMyPC are more user friendly, more flexible and offer remote connections from more platforms. For example, unlike LogMeIn and GoToMyPC, I'm InTouch's web interface doesn't show you a list of all your host computers and their status (we're told I'm InTouch Premium will offer this, available in June). Nor does I'm InTouch's web interface make it easy to add new host computers.

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