With all love and respect, I can honestly say that no one I’ve ever met can mess up a computer faster than my mother (and I’ve worked with and for a lot of people for whom learning computer skills is a seemingly impossible proposition). Less than a week after moving Mom from Windows to OS X, she informed me that she had “messed up her network” and that all her mail was missing, though she swore she had not deleted anything.
And now I am kissing myself for thinking ahead and installing Apple Remote Desktop before handing over the box. After getting her back online over the phone, she read her current IP lease to me, I typed it into the ARD admin tool with user/pass, and bam! – I was controlling her desktop from home. Screen redraw was slow, but the fact that I was able to both correct the problems and educate her at the same time was invaluable.
Beyond simple remote control, the real power of this tool is that it freed us from the usual frustration of getting her to describe what she sees on screen, or to understand my requests for information. She was able to watch her mouse move magically, to see what I was doing as I described it. God, it was satisfying.
And the missing mail? She had been exploring menu options, just as I had encouraged her to, and had found one I didn’t even know was present on Entourage’s View menu – “Unread mail.” Her mail was there, it was just hidden from view.
Especially trippy was to send her email, then click her “Receive Mail” button and watch it roll in to her inbox, then watch her mouse go to read and reply to the message. Then, to make sure everything was as confusing as possible, I alternated lines with her as she responded to me – using Entourage and ARD in combo as a real-time chat app.