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5 Apps for Working from Home This Holiday Season

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on November 26, 2014 12:02 PM

This week is Thanksgiving, and you're going to be out of the office, but you're not really going to be out of the office, are you? Let's face it: Come Friday, you're going to be back on your computer, billing furiously.

Even so, you'll still be at home, trying desperately to overcome the meat sweats induced by the previous night's overindulgence. If you can't be in the office, here are some apps you can use to connect to your stuff remotely.

1. LogMeIn

LogMeIn is one of the many "remote desktop" applications (GoToMyPC is another) that allows you to connect to your work computer (or, indeed, any computer) and manipulate it as though you were there. There's no need to worry about VPNs or any of that nonsense, because as far as your office computer is concerned, you're there in the office. The downside is that LogMeIn is now a paid product, so you've got to fork over some cash if you want it.

2. Windows Remote Desktop

Thankfully for you, Windows has a built-in remote desktop capability, allowing you to control a Windows machine from another Windows machine. The good news is that (1) it's free and (2) Microsoft makes a remote desktop utility for your Mac, too. Is there a downside? Depending on how your office and home networks are configured, the ports that remote desktop software uses might be blocked, or your router might otherwise require some configuration.

3. Google Chrome Remote Desktop

Once again, Google is there to solve your problems. Using a Google Chrome browser, you can connect remotely to your work computer from your Android or iOS device (provided your work computer also has the plug-in already installed). FindLaw blogger William Peacock tried it, and reported that it works pretty well and doesn't lag hardly at all. Of course, it could be pretty awkward to try to use your desktop computer with your finger.

4. VNC

If you're fairly techie, then VNC -- the open-source basis for most remote desktop software -- is a good alternative to LogMeIn and Windows Remote Desktop. All you have to do is install the VNC server software on the computer you're connecting to (your work computer) and the client software on the computer you're connecting from. There's still the matter of your network configuration, but if you're savvy enough to set up VNC, you're savvy enough to figure that out, too.

5. Dropbox/iCloud/SkyDrive/Google Drive, etc.

Really, you can forestall all of these problems by not having them in the first place by using a secure cloud storage solution. By putting your work files in the cloud, you've basically obviated the need to connect to your work computer. The only real reason to do so is because your home machine is a Mac and your work computer is -- hang your head in shame, now -- running WordPerfect. (A little virtual machine action will quickly deal with that, as you can install WordPerfect on Windows in Parallels or VMWare Fusion).

With a little ingenuity, one day we won't even need to come into the office anymore. Excuse me while I go put on my dress underpants.

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