Your friend has called. They have a problem with their computer and are asking for your expertise. You want to help, but it’s a bit difficult to assist your friend if you can only rely on their limited oral description and your imagination. Everything would be so much easier if you could see what’s on the screen, and if possible take control of their computer from your computer.
You can probably think of several other occasions when you would need to share computer screens and maybe do something on the remote computer. There are several applications – both desktop and online – that can help you to do that. But join.me is probably the easiest of them all. It’s the simplest way to have a web conference call between computers. The product comes from LogMeIn, the name behind LogMeIn Express.
Let’s Start The Conference
To start a web conference, all you have to do is visit the join.me website from any Windows or Mac computer and click on the orange “share” button. Registration is not needed, but you can register for the paid pro version if you need more bells and whistles.
If this is your first encounter with join.me, you will be asked to download a little application/java applet to your computer. The applet will be your main interface to access the web conference.
After the download has finished, the application will open and connect to the web. You will see a set of numbers in a link that will identify your conference session. The link is called the “viewer link“. You can copy the link to the Windows clipboard to be used later or send it via email to your friends. The numbers will change every time you start another conference.
Now you are ready to have a web conference.
There are five buttons on the interface: The first one is the “Get conference number” button, followed by “Chat“, start/pause “Share screen“, “Participants“, and the last one is the “Share control” button.
Let’s Join The Conference
Joining a conference is also easy. On the right side of join.me’s main page, put the viewer number in the “join” field and press the arrow button. If you are the one who started the conference, share the viewer number to your friends so they can join your conference.
The conference application will open after you click the green button. You’ll notice that the color of the buttons is green on the participant’s side. The features are almost the same. The only difference between the orange and green side is the middle button.
The number on the fourth button shows you how many participants there are in the conference. Clicking on the button will show you a list of attendees. You can edit your own name on the list by double clicking on it and retyping the word. However, you can’t edit other people’s names.
Now that everybody has arrived, what’s next? What can you do with join.me?
For a start, if you are the host and you have more than one monitor, you can choose which monitor you want to share with the others. To do that, click the small arrow button on the right.
The chat button allows you to send messages to one of the participants, or to everybody. Click the button to start, then use the dropdown list at the bottom to choose the recipient(s).
You can also send files to the participants. Click the “Participants” button and hover your mouse over one of the names. Then click the square button in the middle.
To let other participants control your computer, click the “Share control” button and choose one of the names. Only participants who access the conference from a personal computer can take over another’s computer. Those who access the conference from a mobile device can only monitor.
Let’s Go Mobile
Other than web access from a personal computer, join.me is also accessible from mobile devices. At the moment, the mobile access is only available from iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. But the developer has promised that the Android version is on the way.
After downloading and installing the iOS app, open it, write down the viewer code, and tap on the green button.
The shared screen will appear on your device’s screen. But there are only three features available via mobile access: Conference number, Chat, and Participants.
This kind of arrangement is good if the one with mobile access will only give comments and advice to other participants without the need to take control of another computer.
The End Of The Conference
To end the conference, click the small “X” button on the application. First time users will be asked to install the app so future meetings can start faster.
So if you need to set up a quick web conference call with your friends, try join.me and tell us what you think about it. But please note that the quality of the conference will really depend on the speed of your Internet connection.
If you know or use other similar services and applications, such as TeamViewer, AlmostMeet, Dimdim or Crossloop, please share them using the comments below.
Image credit: join.me