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Remote, Really Remote, Assistance

January 1, 2007

Arun worked on my computer yesterday. He quickly took a look at my problem (my Microsoft Outlook email would not open), fooled around with a few of the settings and in a few minutes had solved my problem. Arun lives in Bangalore, India. I live in Broomfield, Colorado.

Arun’s “house call” happened via the magic of the Internet. It cost less than the gas it would have taken for the Super Chitos Squad to drive to my house, wonder what the heck was wrong with my computer, mess it up some more and charge me an impossible amount of money. Arun works for Microsoft. When I place the call to Microsoft’s technical support yesterday it was one hour before midnight and the New Year in Bangalore. Arun was hard at work, thank goodness.

Here’s an email note he sent me immediately as he began work on my computer, “My name is Arun and I have taken ownership of your support case in order to help you obtain the fastest resolution to your Outlook issue.” It also included his contact information, his working hours and a way to reach his boss if I somehow had a problem with the service he provided me. Not likely.

A few days ago Charles H. Green wrote an open and honest blog post called “The ABC 20 Question Rule” about a New Year’s Resolution he was going to make. In his typically honest way, he admitted he hasn’t always practiced what he preaches. I resolved right then to practice more of what I preach in 2007. So here goes.

In 2007 I resolve to do a better job of collaboration with my customers, partners, business associates, relatives and friends. The Internet makes this a snap because the tools are there. I just don’t use them enough.

Did you know that there is a program in Windows XP (and I’m sure Windows Vista) that will allow you to work on someone else’s computer? It’s called Remote Assistance and it gives you the ability to help friends and relatives with their computer problems without being there. You just log in like Arun did on my computer and your relatives can sit there and watch their little mouse arrow scurrying around and diligently fixing their problems. Assuming, of course, you know what the heck you’re doing.

Or, let’s say you need to compare and share documents and files with your customers or business partners. Try out programs like Vyew.com, Google Docs and Spreadsheets or the new Windows Meeting Space.

Vyew.com will let you work with other folks (even if they are in Bemidji) on files and documents with whiteboard annotations, real time chat and a bunch of other cool editing tools. And Vyew’s basic service is free. No software to download. It’s one of those sites they refer to as Web 2.0, which is technical talk for “plays well with others.”

Google Docs and Spreadsheets also provides a quick and easy way, again without downloading software onto your computer, to team up on the wording of a new marketing piece or keep track of attendees for an upcoming conference by sharing a spreadsheet.

And, the new Microsoft Vista operating system offers something called Windows Meeting Space. We’ll have to get Arun to tell us more about that program.

There are many more ways to connect via the Internet to collaborate with your customers, business associates, friends and relatives. The purpose of this note today is not to teach or review all of the programs that can help you do those things. It’s to make the resolution. That’s all it takes really. You can learn to do anything when you know how you might put it to use.

Resolved in 2007 – to see if I can be of as much use to someone else as Arun was to me yesterday. I promise to try.

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2 comments

  1. Hi, this is Arun from Microsoft. It was a pleasure working with Michael. The remote assistance that we use is, as mentioned is a gem of a help. It makes pros like me to get perfect understanding and get things done faster. Also it is an easy to use tool that anybody can make use of to access data that are required from anywhere in the world. That means no matter where you are, you can be at home. Try for yourself and you will feel it


  2. Arun from Microsoft is not going to let me off the hook and is going to make me deliver on my New Year’s Resolution. Now, we need someone to work with remotely. Clearly, you don’t have to be in Denver to “hook up” with us to get a little remote assistance. Shoot us an email or post on this blog if you’d like to be featured in the next chapter of “Michael and Sheryl Go Remote!”

    We’ll tell your story in our upcoming workshops – including the one called, “But I Already Know How to Google! 77 Ways Internet Search Skills Make You Smarter—and Richer—Than the Average Yahoo” at the National Speakers Association Winter Workshop in February.

    I’m pretty sure you do need to have Windows XP installed, but that seems to be the only requirement. That, and an adventurous spirit. Any takers?



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