Written: June 7, 2012

Airport WiFi Done Right and Wrong

This week I traveled from Portland to San Francisco on Sunday, then returned last night. In the air travel lingo we call Portland by its airport code of PDX and San Francisco as SFO.

At PDX they have done free WiFi right, because you can access the Internet and show your boarding pass on your smart phone instead of printing it out on paper only to recycle it again.

 

On the return flight from SFO it wasn’t so simple because I received an email confirmation with a link to get my boarding pass which worked when I approached security however when I clicked the link at the gate then the WiFi at SFO wanted me to acknowledge terms and conditions then didn’t continue on to show the board pass. So, in a Catch 22 I had to ask the United check-in person to instead read my driver’s license to authenticate me.

Talking of travel I discovered two new odd TSA facts:

1) TSA first asks to see your boarding pass and ID, then waives you into a line where you place your bags on the belt for screening. Then the second TSA person at the screening asks to see your boarding pass again, even though it was just checked 10 seconds ago by another person. Is asking to see my boarding pass twice really necessary? Are they just making more work for themselves?

2) I was told to take out my laptop, which I did along with my iPad. The TSA person said, “No iPads, keep that in the bag.” I wanted to stop and argue the point that an iPad was a computer, and that it was probably more sophisticated than my laptop and also from a security viewpoint it was just as easy to conceal explosives. I just remained silent because we all know what happens when you argue with the Federal Government.

Summary

Thank you PDX for offering free WiFi that works with paperless boarding passes.

SFO, you need to come visit the friendly people in PDX to use their free WiFi system instead of yours, because what you have is broken.

 

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Using WiFi and WiMax in my New Office, Less Clutter, Fast Speed

The Challenge
Last month I moved into a new office in Tualatin and decided to start looking for an Internet connection. Several choices were considered:

  1. Pay $65.00 / month to the landlord
  2. Borrow another tenant WiFi connection
  3. Try out WiMAX, $45.00 /month

WiMAX
From the blog title you can infer that I choose option #3, try out WiMax. I’ve been reading about WiMax for years and knew that I could benefit from the fast data rates. At first I just connected my Clear WiMAX modem directly into my MacBook Pro laptop however I didn’t like the looks of the modem sticking out the side of my laptop, instead I wanted to try WiFi.

Wireless Router
Researching a bit I found a company called Cradlepoint that offered a Wireless Router that I could plug my WiMAX modem into and it would create a WiFi hotspot. The added bonus was that I could also plug in my HP network printer into the Wireless Router. Here’s what I ended up with:

Conclusion
So now I have nothing plugged into my laptop and I can connect to the Internet with WiFi and print documents without any USB cable strung across the floor.
I still need to follow up with Cradlepoint and ask about the bandwidth of their Wireless Router because I’m about 2X slower on downloads with the Wireless Router compared to WiMAX plugged directly into my laptop. Perhaps I will learn about some speed settings that can be tweaked.
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TeamViewer vs Microsoft Remote Desktop

I needed to keep a version of Internet Explorer 7.0 on an old Windows XP machine around for web browser compatibility testing however I didn’t want to keep a keyboard and monitor connected to it. Simple solution I thought, why not use the Microsoft Remote Desktop tool?

Within my LAN this worked just fine but then I needed to have access to it from outside my LAN when I’m away from the home office. I found articles that showed how to configure my home Gateway Router and configure the XP machine, yet it just didn’t work.
Next I browsed and discovered a tool called TeamViewer that did the job in 1/10 the effort as the failed Microsoft attempts.
TeamViewer

 

So now I’m a happy web developer as I sit inside a cafe using their free WiFi then control my XP machine at home.
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4 responses to “TeamViewer vs Microsoft Remote Desktop”

  1. Hsiangyi says:

    Hi!
    Have you heard of Mikogo? It's a free desktop sharing tool with remote support features. There is no need to configure Mikogo or adjust your comupter's network or firewall settings. If you would like, please visit Mikogo for more info or please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks!

    Hsiang-Yi Cheng
    The Mikogo Team

  2. Daniel Payne says:

    No, I haven't heard of Mikogo. I did just try LogMeIn.com which also worked well.

    I'll give Mikogo a try.

    Thanks.

  3. braintiller says:

    Another better alternative for remote support is RHUB solution. It has got some great features to ensure complete control of the remote system, such as instant remote control, faster remote access, remote reboot, firewall and proxy-compliance, file transfer, chat and recording. Why don't you try this.

  4. erica m says:

    I tend to favor 3rd party software generally over MS RDS. I think that generally if the MS offering is bad enough to allow for the existence of an entire sub-industry, it will rarely beat its specialized competitors. What I'd like to see is a head to head comparison between teamviewer and proxy networks' remote desktop product.

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