Are you a local geek? Do friends and relatives often call you for help when they cant figure out how to upload their pictures on the web or how to create that simple 4×4 table inside a Microsoft Word document?
If your friend is staying next door, you can always walk down to his place to assist him but what are the options when he is staying in another city or even another country?
Today we look at some very exciting tools that are absolutely free and they enable you to help others without leaving your desk.
Option A: Screencasting with CamStudio
Your grandma wants to upload some digital pictures on Flickr so she needs a step-by-step tutorial or someone to walk her through the uploading process. Thats where Screencasting can help you simulate the steps on your own computer, the software records your actions and creates a movie file which can be either sent over email or uploaded to YouTube.
CamStudio is one popular software for creating screencast videos. Its free (open source) and can output in either AVI or SWF files which are generally very small due to better compression. If you need more features, there are tons of other screencasting software like Camtasia Studio, Qarbon ViewletBuilder and Demo Builder.
Option B: Remote Desktop Control with CrossLoop
Don’t let the term remote desktop control scare you. With Crossloop, it gets something as simple as running Windows Notepad or Microsoft Excel application.
CrossLoop is an innovative piece of software, built over TightVNC technology, that allows you control the computer desktop of a remotely located friend using your own keyboard and mouse.
The only condition is that both of you must be connected to the internet at the same time.
The CrossLoop option comes in handy when the problem is too complex (like you want to diagnose some Windows Error message) or your friend needs assistance for installing some software on his machine. You can take control of his machine and fix the issues while he has gone to grab a cup of coffee.
Option C: Web Conferencing with Skype and Unyte
In the case when both parties are tech-savvy, you often want to discuss issues over phone before tackling the actual problem.
WebDialogs Unyte is a free Skype plugin that lets you share desktops and conference over Skype simultaneously. You can think of Unyte as a small cousin of enterprise solutions like WebEx or Adobe Connect thats free and will get your work done most of the time.
WebDialogs Unyte lets you share documents, selected applications, or even the entire desktop like you do with CrossLoop. Participants click the Unyte URL sent by you to automatically join your sharing session. You may invite up to four participants to join your session.
Finally, if if you want to turn this “helping hobby” into a side-career, open an account with Ether and charge clients based on the exact time you spend fixing their computer problems.
Feature image from zeebarf.com.
[Amit Agarwal writes for Digital Inspiration]