I should tell you about a very good experience I’ve just had with an extraordinarily useful web service. Fog Creek’s Copilot is a fantastic little tool. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “you know, not having to talk my parents through the dozens of dialogs I need to look at to fix their email problems over the phone is worth money to me right now”, this is where you can spend that money.
No screwing around with ports on firewalls, no config files or install processes, nothin’. Just some clicky, and suddenly I can fix my parents’ computer in a different city without having to talk them through a long, slow, hit-and/or-miss process. It’s shockingly elegant, from both the local and remote ends, and definitely the best five bucks I’ve spent recently.