Things that are geeky but very, very cool

GoToMeeting has been my, well, go-to virtual meeting/screen-and-app sharing tool of choice for well over a year for very good reason; it Just Plain Works with nearly zero fuss, no matter what sort of firewall my client is behind. They point their browser to the site, click “join a meeting,” and in a moment or two I’m giving them a 9-digit number that connects them to the virtual workspace. (The service has a teleconference option, too, but that’s less often in use since many of my meetings are one-on-one.)

Having something like this Just Work is fucking HUGE, since for years everybody and their brother has been trying to make it happen with often spectacularly awful results. Microsoft’s LiveMeeting/NetMeeting product has eaten more billable time in my career than some projects I’ve been on — people wander into the room, and then everyone spends 20 minutes trying to get the thing to work before giving up and doing without. LM is a little better now — I do business with MS, and they use it — but it’s still awkward and clunky, and completely hostile to any OS that isn’t Windows.

Well, GTM has been Mac-friendly as a participant for a while, but I discovered today that Mac users can now be full-fledged screen-sharing hosts. I don’t typically go this route — I prefer to sandbox my screensharing inside a VM for privacy reasons — but it sure is nice to have the option. I still interact with plenty of other online meeting tools, but GTM seems to be getting better and better all the time. It’s cheap, too — flat fee per month. If you need this sort of thing, it’s a Godsend.

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