Have you ever found yourself away from home, wishing you had your desktop machine with you? Have you ever wished you could show someone, remotely, how to do something instead of talking them through it over the phone? These things and much more can be done with a nifty little freeware utility called Virtual Network Computing, or VNC.

What VNC does is this: it enables a remote user (who knows the password) to take control of your machine via the internet. They can view files, run programs, delete stuff, etc. -- in other words, they can use your computer exactly as if they were sitting in front of it, although a bit slower. This might sound a little frightening, and it is, except that you have a good deal of control over the situation. You set the password, you can kick them out if they abuse it, and you have to be online already & have VNC Server running for anyone to access your machine. In reality, you‟ll usually be setting up sessions specifically, or acting as the remote user yourself.

Another nifty thing you can do with VNC is letting someone else watch your screen, but disabling their control over your computer. This is great for showing your newbie friends how to do things -- get them logged on, and do it while they watch. It‟s a lot easier than explaining it over the phone. The best part about this is that they don‟t need anything special -- just a Java-capable web browser.

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