LapLink 2000

With previous versions of LapLink, getting connected involved figuring out and entering IP numbers. Now the program lets you assign your PC a text address (your e-mail address is recommended to ensure a unique identifier). I tried this out by clicking Publish My Internet Address in the connection menu and then choosing a directory server - which can be LapLink's own or any other you can access. On the road, I dialled up AOL, launched LapLink 2000, and entered the address, as well as the user ID and password I'd assigned myself for security. After a longish pause, I was connected.

The new feature has some major limitations, however. The biggest: it's not meant to be used over corporate firewalls. True, I was able to use it on my corporate network, but you may not be able to, depending on your organisation's security configuration. In addition, if you have installed software that overwrites the Windows 95/98 files that make Internet connections work, you may have to reinstall the original files. The program also seemed slow to load and to make connections.

Still, LapLink 2000 offers a full complement of cable, modem and network connection options for transfers and remote control. It now comes with parallel and serial cables; you don't get both with most competitors. And when it worked, the Internet access feature was the easiest way I've tried to date to connect to my office PC. LapLink 2000 is still one of the best remote-access packages you can buy and is a worthwhile upgrade. But unless LapLink.com (the new name of Traveling Software, which developed LapLink) makes it easier for prospective users with networked PCs to figure out if they can connect over the Internet, I can't recommend it wholeheartedly.

LapLink 2000

Price: $270, $145 upgrade

Distributor: Pacific Mobile Link

Phone: 1800 129 535

URL: www.pacificmobilelink.com, www.citysoftware.com.au; www.laplink.com

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