Mac equivalent to NetMeetings?
November 22, 2006 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Is there a Mac OSX equivalent to NetMeetings to share a document/desktop over the internet?

We have offices and people spread all over the place and every day we all get on the phone to review a common spreadsheet of metrics. We've used NetMeetings in the past to do this but we all use Macs, so we have to either have another PC on our desks or go to a conference room with a PC to do this. Since the meeting itself lasts about 5 minutes that's a pain in the ass to do every day. There must be something with the same "Share my desktop" functionality for Macs as NetMeetings, which comes built-in to the PC, right?

We don't need video or audio conferencing. Big corporate solutions like WebEx seem too big for our pretty simple needs. And I'm not going to be able to get approval for any ongoing payment, though I might be able to get a one-time low-cost software purchase approved. Obviously, free would be ideal. We're a combination of Panther and Tiger, but could all be on Tiger if required.
posted by marylynn to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Stay tuned for the new version of iChat in OS X Leopard (10.5), which will have this feature.

Failing that, enable the free, built-in web server and add your files to your home folder's "Sites" folder.

If you're on an Intranet this should be a fairly safe option.

If you need per-user authentication, to protect the files you're sharing, enable WebDAV with the web server, with mod_SSL support, and add users as needed.

If you have a OS X, Linux or other UNIX workgroup server you can probably do this for all your users centrally, as opposed to on a per-machine basis.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:01 AM on November 22, 2006

If I'm reading you correctly, Adobe Acrobat Connect does what you want. They have a free trial version.

I just sat through a very long demo of this product so I'm glad that I get to use that knowledge somehow.
posted by loiseau at 10:22 AM on November 22, 2006

Not sure what version of Mac OS X you have, but you might be able to enable VNC in the Remote Desktop.

System Preferences / Sharing / Services / Apple Remote Desktop

Click on it. If on the right hand side you have an "Access Privileges..." button, click that.

Middle of that page that pops up: If you have "VNC viewers may control screen with password." then you can use VNC do share out your desktop.

Just put a check next to "VNC viewers may control screen with password." and put in a simple password (don't leave it blank).

Hit "OK".

In the Sharing Services window, make sure that Apple Remote Desktop is checked off in the list on the left.

At the bottom of the Services window you will see "Others can manage your computer using the address..." with the address that they can all reach your computer.

What THEY need is a VNC viewer. If they are all on Macintoshes, they can download something simple like Chicken of the VNC, connect to your machine and view the document.

I'm not entirely sure how many people that can handle coming in. It's designed to assist help desk technicians more than anything else, so I'm not sure how many people you're talking about.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:40 AM on November 22, 2006

It sounds like Google docs does exactly what you want. Bonus: it's free!
posted by myeviltwin at 10:46 AM on November 22, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm going to try them out with my colleagues after we get back from the holidays. It turns out that one of the locations is working from a Windows machine but my boss is willing to get them a Mac for their desktop as well.
posted by marylynn at 2:50 PM on November 22, 2006

You can conduct virtual meetings and share desktops with webhuddle. The open-source client runs in a web browser and requires no installation. Best of all it's free.
posted by squink at 4:56 PM on November 22, 2006

The no-hassle option is Netopia eCare. I had a freelance client of mine hook me on to this and was pretty blown away -- it's much faster than VNC, and it can be used to share screens from either direction (either you're helping someone do something on their computer, or they're watching you do it on yours). It has a chat client and other NetMeeting-like things. The only thing I don't see is price -- which means it's probably out of your price range. But still, neat.
posted by kindall at 8:59 PM on November 22, 2006

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