Activating OSX Remote assistance via an IM chat
June 26, 2006 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I need Apple's Remote desktop to be as easy as Remote Assistance in Windows

Firewalls, routers, explaining to non tech people tech items.

Rarely do I want a feature that exists in windows. Here's one.

When I use MSN Messenger, I have the ability to have my friend "ask me for assistance"...and it (usually) works out the piping for the Remote Assistance product.

Is there a way to get the same sort of easy functionality in OSX? I have remote desktop, and it works great on a LAN, works great with a fixed IP...but I want it to "know' the ip of the person that's IMing me...and permit me to control their machine.

VNC isn't going to cut this (It's already built into fact Remote desktop uses some of this.)

I'm looking for the "Invite someone else to control my computer" in a single click, without having to deal with network BS.
posted by filmgeek to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Not quite what you're looking for, I know, but some VNC software (such as UltraVNC) allows the server to add a client by connecting to a VNC viewer software that's waiting for a connection.

Thus if you're trying to get help from someone who knows their own IP address, they could tell you and you could punch that into the VNC server - all the firewall problems would be a the other end, since you'd be initiating the connection.


Another option would be to install Hamachi on both machines (supports linux, windows and OSX) which gives you a VPN IP address via a new virtual network adapter. Hamachi works with all but the most anal firewalls and then all you have to do is use the VPN IP that Hamachi gives you (and displays) to connect directly - with the added benefit of encryption that's not on most VPN software by default.
posted by tiamat at 12:22 PM on June 26, 2006

I'd write an AppleScript that looks up the remote IP and pastes it into the iChat window. I'm not sure if ARD has a protocol handler, but if it does you could wrap the IP in that and it'd be one-click for you.

All you'd have to do is ichat the script to the other person and tell them to "click this"
posted by bonaldi at 1:11 PM on June 26, 2006

Response by poster: bonaldi - good idea, but it'll repsond the private network info.
Same problem tiamat.

The 'getting' a neophyte user to figure out their actual IP, and have redirection done for their specific router is a mess. Just too many instructions.
posted by filmgeek at 1:13 PM on June 26, 2006

You may want to check out Timbuktu -- it can connect via the user's e-mail address, IIRC, and I think it can do reverse connections as well. They used to have Timbuktu HouseCall, a product specifically for remote assistance, but it looks like it has been discontinued.
posted by kindall at 1:23 PM on June 26, 2006

I was thinking more of curl and grepping a whatismyip type page, which would get you the right address.
posted by bonaldi at 1:28 PM on June 26, 2006

As for the Firewall though --- how does Windows get around that? Apart from by not having one.
posted by bonaldi at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2006

remote desktop doesn't do port hopping.
posted by machaus at 2:28 PM on June 26, 2006

well, would it be possible to make the script even more complicated and wrap an ssh tunnel around the ARD traffic? It only uses a few ports, IIRC.

Then, this being the mac, you could get shareware cash for it.
posted by bonaldi at 3:25 PM on June 26, 2006

FWIW here is a bit of shell voodoo that works in OS X to return the user's external IP

curl -s | awk '{print $6}' | awk ' BEGIN { FS = "< } { print $1 } '/code>

can't remember where it's from

posted by unSane at 3:55 PM on June 26, 2006

fuck. I swear it previewed okay. Here it is without CODE brackets

curl -s | awk '{print $6}' | awk ' BEGIN { FS = "<" } { print $1 } '
posted by unSane at 3:57 PM on June 26, 2006

The ARD protocol already encrypts its data. There is no need for the overhead of SSH tunneling unless you go with strict VNC, which does no encryption whatsoever.
posted by Mr. Six at 5:05 PM on June 26, 2006

It's not for the encryption, it's to get out via a known open port.
posted by bonaldi at 5:10 PM on June 26, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all...I think I'm going to mark this..."unsolved"... if there was such a thing.
posted by filmgeek at 9:18 PM on June 27, 2006

This looks like it might do what you want:
posted by arathorn at 4:47 PM on August 25, 2006

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