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Been crank­ing on a new project. A cowork­er asked if I had Shared­View when we were doing some knowl­edge trans­fer. I'd nev­er heard of it but down­loaded it and final­ly got a chance to try it out last night and it is AWESOME. If you reg­u­lar­ly get calls from rel­a­tives that start off "I'm on my com­put­er and I'm try­ing to...", you NEED this util­i­ty. Where "Remote Assis­tance" falls flat on its face, Shared­View shines.

We used it last night to track down some code issues. The ses­sion host is able to share a sin­gle appli­ca­tion or their entire desk­top to all oth­er par­tic­i­pants (up to 15) in their ses­sion. Ini­tial­ly the ses­sion host con­trols the mouse and key­board, and oth­er par­tic­i­pants get a col­or-cod­ed read-only mouse cur­sor. When read-only par­tic­i­pants click on things, it draws a cir­cle around their cur­sor to draw atten­tion to it. The ses­sion host can eas­i­ly hand over con­trol to anoth­er par­tic­i­pant (and just as eas­i­ly take it back). There's "hand­out" func­tion­al­i­ty if you need to exchange files and it has min­i­mal chat func­tion­al­i­ty, but we most­ly used IM to talk. I was host­ing the ses­sion, but the oth­er par­tic­i­pant said per­for­mance was fast when view­ing, and a lit­tle bit slow­er when con­trol­ling but noth­ing major.

Most impor­tant­ly, set­ting up a ses­sion is pret­ty pain­less. It auto­mat­i­cal­ly gen­er­ates a ran­dom pass­word for your ses­sion and pop­u­lates it into a link you can IM/email to oth­er users to join in. That's about all there is to it. Like most every­thing Microsoft now-a-days, it does authen­ti­ca­tion based on a Live account, so you'll need one to have one even to just to watch a session.

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