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Sometimes you need to access your computer from a galaxy far, far away. Or at least from the beach. We used to like TeamViewer, but it got too complicated. Now we like the free AnyDesk.

You can use this from any laptop, tablet or smartphone. In our tests, all went well. On a Chromebook, we used AnyDesk to control our Windows computer. It was only in the next room, but in theory it could have been far, far away. After clicking on the AnyDesk icon and typing the secret code, we clicked on familiar icons to browse the Web, edit anything we had written, and play Peggle, our favorite game. In PowerPoint, we added a slide to our "History of Entertainment" presentation at the University Club, all as if we had been sitting at our Windows desktop. The code you need before you access another computer is found in the AnyDesk app on that computer.

Another way to reach a far away computer is with Chrome Remote Desktop from Google. The app is available from the Chrome Web Store. It's free and gets good reviews. However, we ran into a surprising problem when we tried it. From our laptop or phone, the only desktop listed for access was a machine we gave away a year ago. A screen message said it was "offline." Boy, when you no longer have the machine, that's really offline.

What struck us most and best about the new AnyDesk program is its speed. Back in days of yore, controlling another computer could be clunky and slow.


Searching "huge list of texting and online chat abbreviations" will turn up 1,500 abbreviations for texting. "SMH" means "Shaking My Head." "IKR" is "I know, right?" "511" means "too much information." That's 100 more than 411, the phone number for directory assistance. "SWL" means "Screaming with Laughter." FOMCL is "Fell off my chair laughing." (Regular English is on its way out.)

"68 year-old sings 'Highway to Hell'." Google that for an amazing performance. A woman in a dowdy sweater, long skirt and glasses takes those off to give a hip rendition of a rock song and wins the TV show Britain's Got Talent.

"25 Essential Drives for a U.S. Road Trip." It's almost summer and time to hit the road. Googling that phrase will reveal a photo slideshow from National Geographic Traveler magazine. A run along the Top of the Rockies Byway looks pretty scary.


A blind woman contacted us about the free Seeing AI App for iPhone and iPad users. It helps blind people identify labels, signs and currency. It speaks what it sees using the device's camera. Besides recognizing U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars and Euros, it can tell you the color of objects. It has a bar code reader, scene describer and text reader.


We're amazed at the popularity of laptops. They give us both a crick in the neck, and Bob totally refuses to use them. Experts say we're right. Thank heavens. (Will Rogers said the definition of an expert was anyone who lived more than 50 miles away.)

If you're a full-time laptop user, it can cause neck and back pain, headaches, and more. One solution is to attach a larger monitor to the laptop; they're cheap these days and plug right in. Then plug in an extra keyboard and put the laptop off to one side.


A reader wrote: "When using Firefox, if I do a search in either Bing or Google, the results come back in Yahoo!!!"

It turns out there are two versions of Firefox, and the reader had accidentally installed the version called "Mozilla Firefox optimized for Yahoo!" We suggested he uninstall Firefox and get the other version. It's available at and its free.

Also be sure your favorite search engine is set as the default. In Firefox, click the three stacked lines in the upper right and choose "options," then click "search." Next, choose Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo or whatever you like. In Chrome, click the three stacked dots, then "settings" and then choose something under "Search Engine."


Watch out for people who set up a Wi-Fi account for an older friend or relative in a retirement home. They may not think to connect the person's phone to Wi-Fi.

Our friend in a retirement home didn't notice when her phone was no longer connected to a Wi-Fi signal. So without realizing it she started using her data plan, which can cost a lot of money. Even worse, this guy changed her user name and password without telling her; apparently, he figured she would never need it anyway. He even set up a security question she's never used or thought of before.

For his final foul-up, he spelled her name wrong for the sign-in.

Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at and

Business on 05/12/2018

Print Headline: Connect with home computer remotely with free AnyDesk app

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