Ubuntu Enters the Smartphone Arena

With the CES kicking off in Las Vegas next week there is much buzz around new consumer electronics. We recently got wind of Canonical's plans to release Ubuntu for smartphones. The advantage of Ubuntu running on a high-end, multi-core handset is that it becomes a full PC and thin client when docked. Canonical claims, “Ubuntu uniquely enables a new category of convergence device – phones that dock to become full PCs and thin clients – enabling enterprise IT departments to replace phones, thin clients and laptops with a single secure corporate device."

The UI relies on swipe gestures similar to Windows 8 on a tablet or Web OS, instead of a touch interface we commonly think of on a Android device or iPhone. Each edge of the phone has a distinct purpose- which makes apps, content and settings easily accessible.

Apps for the device will be native or adapted web apps - which mean all big apps will be available to Ubuntu at launch. Canonical states, “A complete desktop solution needs a full range of desktop applications. While a mobile OS carries no deep desktop software catalogue, Ubuntu offers thousands of applications, all designed for the desktop.”

Cononical has yet to land a deal on a device with a specific manufacturer but rumors suggest a device will be launched early 2014.

Posted by Anna Morgan at 10:58 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | Remote Support | ScreenConnect

Automatically Update ScreenConnect Unattended Clients

Keeping your ScreenConnect unattended clients updated ensures new enhancements and allows you to have the best overall experience. We work hard to maintain a basic level of compatibility with older clients, but non-essential functionality is often broken either partially or completely. In ScreenConnect 2.5 we have introduced an automatic update of old clients when the server installation is updated.

In the past builds clients had to be updated independently of your ScreenConnect upgrade. You were given the option to manually update them or use the automatic update feature from the Host screen. You still have this option, but in ScreenConnect 2.5 you can opt to update your clients automatically with the server installation. With this, upon the upgrading ScreenConnect, your clients should automatically reinstall and update to the latest version.

To do this you add the below code to the appsettings section of the web.config file in the root of the ScreenConnect server program file directory.

<add key="AutoReinstallOldVersionClient" value="true" />

To check to see if an unattended client has completed an install check the session information screen of the unattended. This can be accessed by the clicking the magnifying glass next to the session from the Host screen. You should see a guest initiated reinstall-disconnected-connected series that will indicate the update has been completed.

Please note that auto-updating could in some situations have undesirable results. Someone could update the server with the incorrect build, you might be testing a pre-release version of our software, or a different situation not outlined here. In most standard situations we see this as a very useful feature. But we also see the potential for issues and we want to make sure our customers are aware of those concerns. We will continue to look at this functionality to see what sort of fail-safes can be implemented.

Posted by Anna Morgan at 7:53 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | ScreenConnect | Support

Parameter Passing with ScreenConnect

We often get questions regarding integrating ScreenConnect with other products— such as ticketing systems, RMM, MSP, etcetera. Integrations can be useful as they can provide a means to instantaneously launch remote support sessions or connect to unattended systems from within an application. There are two primary methods of standard integration with ScreenConnect, link creation and pass parameters, and a third less common process of running scripts.

The most common means of integration launches other products or connects to the web application via an active link. This process designates a specific URL for each machine. For example, in the past LogMeIn Free allowed customers to connect to their unattended clients via a LogMeIn free link within Labtech (Desktop Shortcut). The user could click the link from the Labtech application and quickly navigate to the desired machine. We learned just recently LogMeIn restricted access to their Desktop Shortcut feature for Labtech (and possibly other third-party applications). Users clicking on the link would be taken to a page that talks about Desktop Shortcuts and that the feature is now part of LogMeIn Pro-only. ScreenConnect can be setup in a similar fashion, by putting in your link/folder name/computer name into the Labtech application. Then from within the Labtech application you can jump straight to the desired machine in your ScreenConnect folder. Many tools enable this functionality.

Notice the URL in the picture below, the URL displays the path to the machine inside your ScreenConnect installation. The "live.teekie.com" would be the path to your ScreenConnect installation, "Host#TeekieComputer" is the folder, and the "/dublin" is the computer name in the folder. **Now that we have shown the name teekie as a URL path we know everyone is going to go out and register that subdomain tomorrow!

Another popular method allows software to pass parameters. This allows you to use a generic URL as opposed to a specific URL for each system. Here, you only have to put a single link, such as https://support.my.company.com/Parameter1/Parameter2. You then define each parameter within that link. For example, Parameter 1 is the “$Customer" or "$Folder Name” and Parameter2 is the “$ComputerName”. Passing variables like this is a fairly common practice and many of the big solutions provide easy setup. We are currently investigating applications to see whether they have the means to integrate with ScreenConnect by way of this method.

The final method is a bit more complex as it requires specific collaboration with the other party. For this, the tool provides integration by way of a button or link that runs a script that calls into ScreenConnect’s API. This can be beneficial as it can provide more functionality. An example is that you can automatically launch and create sessions to bypass a web application altogether. While we don’t currently have any integrations available using this method we do see this as a powerful alternative that we hope to explore in the future.

Posted by Anna Morgan at 6:50 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | Sales | ScreenConnect

Meet ScreenConnect 2.6

ScreenConnect 2.6 will feature some exciting new updates including remote meeting capabilities and a redesign of the host client. Remote meetings will utilize many of the same features already in the ScreenConnect repertoire along with some new features that are unique to meeting software. The new host client will have a streamlined design that will incorporate the new feature set for remote meetings. Please stay tuned for additional news and the ScreenConnect 2.6 release!

Update: We have had a few questions about the new look of 2.6, the icons, etc. Please note this is a conceptual look as to what it could look like as we move forward. We are looking at a more intuitive menu for selecting features, we do want to maintain a very slim footprint, and we want to give users the ability to dock certain controls to the right of the screen. But the actual design is still being tweaked daily, our hopes is that we will have something for everyone to play with in September.

Posted by Anna Morgan at 3:00 PM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | ScreenConnect

Remote Support of Mobile Devices

We frequently receive questions concerning remote support for mobile devices. While we do offer mobile clients for the technician to use when supporting customers; the ability to actually control a mobile device is a bit more elusive. The two big operating systems right now (iOS and Android) along with the related mobile device manufactures limit the ability for remote support tools to control or even view the screen of their devices. The exception lies with devices that are jailbroken or rooted, this practice permits tools to be installed at the root level where they have access to control and view the display.

Several remote access solutions including Bomgar and LogMeIn Rescue provide limited connectivity to the file system, chat, and various diagnostics such as email configuration and internet settings. But remote control of the screen is restricted unless the mobile manufacturer has pre-installed the client or the device is jail broken/rooted. This is an industry wide concern, that each remote desktop/remote access/remote support solution is encountering and no-doubt looking for a resolution. These restrictions and limitations imposed by the mobile operating systems have slowed the development in our respective industry. Hopefully through the constant prodding and requests by the vendors and users, options will be implemented so all remote support companies can provide a remote support client that can be used to support these devices.

So what are our plans moving forward? We are looking at what options are available and are considering various mobile clients for our future builds. We are constantly talking with our community to determine what features are necessary and what would be nice to haves. We will continue to evaluate the mobile OS market and do our best to provide the most comprehensive and compatible remote support solution available. And when the mobile operating system providers expose the necessary components to view and control their devices, we will certainly be one of the first to release a full featured client.  If you have thoughts, opinions, or ideas about how we can improve our mobile clients for the technician and eventually the customer please contact the ScreenConnect sales staff. And if you work for Apple, Google, or one of the respective mobile phone manufacturers we would love to talk with you about how to get our ScreenConnect client installed and working so that our users can continue to help make the migration to your devices easier.


Posted by Anna Morgan at 6:10 AM       1 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | ScreenConnect

The Sharpest Tool is the Toolbox

With ScreenConnect 2.5 right on the horizon, we’ve divulged a few new features you can expect to see in the upcoming release. The most highly anticipated improvements are the enhancements to the toolbox. In previous builds, the toolbox was limited to the host’s windows machine. In 2.5 we’ve had a complete toolbox overhaul!

The first thing we addressed is the physical location of the toolbox. In 2.5, you have the option to store files and applications on the server as opposed to the host’s client. This allows for shared access to for important utilities and executables.  Imagine having one click access to run your favorite utility from anywhere in the world!  Furthermore, since the toolbox is now housed on the server we’ve opened it up to Mac, Linux, Android and iOS users.

Remember, the toolbox feature is unique to ScreenConnect. It is a powerful tool that allows a technician to run diagnostics on a customer machine without the need to transfer or install files. There is nothing else like it on the market and we are proud to unveil it to our entire customer base.

Posted by Jeff Bishop at 9:53 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Development | Remote Support | Sales | ScreenConnect | Support

Educational IT, the 1-2-3's

Educational institutions from K-12 schools to universities allow access to their network by third-party contractors for various reasons such as maintenance or software installation and updates. Common practice is to grant access using the contractor’s remote support portal to tunnel into the school system’s network. This process is viable and secure, but in each instance, the administrator has to set permissions and securities based on the software and client. Managing each contractor connection through a different remote portal can be timely and a headache to maintain.

To offer an easier solution, many of our educational patrons employ ScreenConnect to manage access to their network. Using role-based securities, administrators can easily predetermine permissions and control security for each third-party vendor they allow into their network. The vendor connection will appear in a stored list of unattended connections for easy, one-click access and management. This saves time and puts administrators at ease when providing a secure remote access connection to their network.

ScreenConnect not only saves time for their customers, but also money. As the US economy and government face huge cuts, educational institutions are burdened and having to make budget cuts across the board. An excellent way for institutions to save money is to invest in software that doesn’t have reoccurring monthly fees. ScreenConnect is a one-time payment, once you buy it, you own it, forever! Please contact us or your local IT partner about setting up ScreenConnect at your educational institution.

Posted by Jeff Bishop at 10:18 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | ScreenConnect | Support

Simple Resx Editor for language controls

We've had several users tell us they've found Simple Resx Editor useful in assiting with their local translations for the ScreenConnect web application.

Resource files allow one to store localized values for controls. The localized values are based on language and culture. At runtime the executable can select the appropriate value stored within the resource files.

Simple Resx Editor is a valuable application to simultaneously view, edit and translate resource files. The simple drop and drag interface allows you to load multiple .resx files and highlight differences and coincidences. Since resolution files contain objects other than just text, Simple Resx Editor has the ability to only show rows that contain text, thus simplifying your search for strings to translate.

Simple Resx supports a variety of languages including English, Spanish, Italian, French and Russian among others. A short demonstration of the auto translation feature of the tool can be seen here.

Posted by Jeff Bishop at 5:33 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | Support

Gemini IP, LLC v. Computer Sciences Corporation et al

On November 3, 2010, Gemini IP LLC filed a lawsuit against various technology companies, including Citrix Systems, Inc., LogMeIn, Inc., Best Buy Co., Bomgar Corporation, AT&T, Inc., Xerox Corporation, Symantec Corporation, Sony Corporation of America, and ScreenConnect. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleges patent infringement and seeks an unspecified amount for damages and injunctive relief.

Gemini IP LLC is owned by Erich Spangenberg, who is often referred to as a “patent troll.” Patent trolls are individuals or companies that buy up patents, even though the individual is unlikely to be an inventor and the company is unlikely to have any operations. Then, these patents are used to sue other companies for patent infringement. The process works quite well for the patent trolls, especially since the high cost of litigation forces smaller companies to settle to avoid going to court.

Currently, the case is still pending and no presiding judge has been decided.

More information about the case...

Posted by Kat Palacios at 6:29 AM       0 Comments       Share
Categories: Remote Support | ScreenConnect