Monday, January 24, 2011

Techshare:, Pidgin, VNC

This post (and its sequels) are intended to introduce readers to interesting bits of technology and/or software that's available for free that I find useful and/or interesting.

I'm sure that most people have heard of Pandora. It's one of a few popular free online radio services that provides streaming content to viewers (or listeners, if you prefer) and has a built-in recommendation service.

What I've seen less often (except in online communities, of course), is the use of [ ], which is another online radio service that is slightly less accessible than Pandora, but is plagued by fewer ads. Furthermore, it includes a social networking component through which you can compare your tastes to other folks around the internet.

TL;DR: is a cool guy and plays free music. Minimalised advertising and more social networking capabilities.

I'm not so much a chatting machine, but I have a few instant-messaging accounts registered on different networks, to accommodate the rather large number of folks that I connect with online that are spread across different networks.

I previously used [ ] for my multi-network chatting needs. It's a good cross-platform solution that utilizes webpages and an account management interface to allow for multi-network and multi-account usage, but it's a cumbersome webpage and some of the advertising doesn't act exactly as intended- occasionally doing things like covering half of my contact list. Not-so-bueno, to be frank.

I re-discovered [ ] a few weeks ago and have found it to be a much more simple-to-use application for all of my chatting-related needs. It also permits multiple-account and multiple-network behavior without error, and has none of the ads that discouraged me from using ebuddy. I also have the Psychic plugin enabled, so I get notified of people messaging me before they send it. It's probably a bit creepier on their end, but saying "Hey, what's up?" right before they've hit send is often entertaining.

TL;DR: ebuddy's good on mobile devices, pidgin wins hands-down as an open-source application through which account management is relatively simple and intuitive. It also has neat plugins.

Closing this post out, I thought I'd bring up what I think is arguably one of the best remote desktop access applications: VNC. Virtual Network Connection, available over at [ ] is pretty much an all-in-one comprehensive solution. When the server is set up on a machine (networkable through a VPN, which I'll post about later), it permits remote access as if you were sitting at the desk and using the computer. Depending on the connection speeds at both ends, the use of a VPN can permit access from anywhere that has internet access, even if both computers are behind routers and firewalls.

I use VNC to manage a gaming server that I run offsite, and it provides virtually unlimited access- including the ability to lock the local mouse and keyboard out such that one can work remotely while remaining relatively undisturbed.

The connection is encrypted in both directions, so connection-snatching is unlikely unless you are the victim of a man-in-the-middle attack and using an insecure password.

TL;DR: If you need RDP-level access to a machine, RealVNC is an easy, low-hassle solution that only requires the server software on one machine and the client software on another.

That's all for now; I plan on making these sorts of posts semiregular.

What tech would you like to share?


  1. I don't use any online radio like pandora or, and do relatively little chatting, most of it on IRC.

    I have been using Real VNC for over a year for remote access for troubleshooting friends / families pcs. I got so sick of Mum calling with problems and having to drive 20 mins to her house to go and fix them so I installed Real VNC and can now do that stuff remotely.

    Loving the blog, keep it up!

  2. cool, i've been needing a good piece of free VNC software for a while now. I'll check it out.

  3. Skype? Its good for voice, video, or I'ming!

  4. Thats cool. If you know any blog optimization stuff I would love to learn that.

    Following and supporting

    Wanna pick up the ladies?

  5. very interesting, keep it up

  6. Pidgin is new to me. Thanks for the info! (LOVE


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