Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Download Of The Day Review: CrossLoop

I found out about CrossLoop yesterday from one of LifeHacker's "Download of the Day" posts. I gave it a quick test and then made a comment on LifeHacker's site about the program. CrossLoop personnel then saw my comment on LifeHacker and then questioned why I had a bad encounter with the program. As said in my rebuttal from Mrinal's comment, I really think it says something about the program when they come this far (2 sites) to get down to just why an individual user, such as myself, had this bad encounter and what they can do to make this a bit better. Thus the reason for this post.

Just a bit of background, I have just recently started a small business where I help out people (just friends so far) with their home PC's, laptops and home networks. As an incentive to call me up instead of someone else, I though that it would be a great idea to throw in some remote access assistance from time to time. Which lead me on a quest to find a good, if not great, remote access program. One that I was most familiar with was LogMeIn, but I am always open for testing out something new. And when I saw LifeHacker's post about CrossLoop, I couldn't wait to give it a test run when I got home that day. The results, however, as you can see from my comment on LifeHacker, were not that good.

[Results of full review after the jump]

Now, cutting to the chase, I'll give a short list of things that turned me away from CrossLoop. Quick heads up, I will be comparing this to LogMeIn. So you can just assume that if the feature is not in CrossLoop it is in LogMeIn, but I'll just stick to the CrossLoop side of the discussion as to not possibly confuse anyone.

So, first on my list of things that didn't float my boat about CrossLoop is that the connection was very slow. There was an extremely noticeable delay when doing anything. You also are not able to use any windows shortcut keys, such as the windows logo key, alt+tab or ctrl+alt+delete. If you do any of these things while in your CrossLoop session you will just be doing them to the computer that you are on and not to the computer that you are connected to. I did implement a download on the computer that i was connected to and then the connection crashed. The person that i was connected to had AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) running and i was downloading the LogMeIn setup executable at the same time. I was also connected to a laptop that had a weak connection to a wireless network. I am pretty sure that it was a combination of all of these things that created the crash, mostly the weak connection to the internet, but the laptop never lost the internet connection. After asking the person that I was connected to if she lost her internet connection, she said no. You are also not able to adjust the session window size. It stays the same size depending on what the resolution is of the computer you are connected to. The window does not go off of your desktop, it just has the adjustable bars on the right side and bottom so you can scroll all over the place to get to where you need to go on the desktop. An adjustable zoom feature would be extremely helpful in this situation. Another small pet peave is that it removes the background image of the person you are connecting to and does not put it back when the session is done. And my last issue that i noticed was that the whole "host" "join" thing seemed a bit backwards. If you are the host, then people connect to your computer and see what your doing, not the other way around. I think that it should be changed to say something else, like "Professional" and "User", or something a bit better, it would make it a bit more understandable.

This is just one users point of view, please do not take this post as an excuse to not give this program a test. My experience may be completely different than someone else's. I also encourage your feedback from both this post and your experience with CrossLoop or any other remote access program for that matter.

It was pointed out to me that CrossLooop is also a sort of open source application. I say sort of, because it uses TightVNC and then CrossLoop has their application wrapped around that. Yeah, sounds confusing doesn't it? I'll let Techknight's blog post explain it better for you. I'm not sure what the benefits to us as a consumer that this level of open source would be. Since they are using TighVNC open source code wrapped up with propriatary software, it definitely would be cheaper once all of the bugs have been worked out and there is a pro version. I'll let readers point out the other benefits.


Mrinal said...

Thanks for the kind words Ryan but I still want to ensure that you have a good experience :)

Let me know how another attempt goes!

All the best on your new business and do stay close to our blog (URL against my name) since you will like what we are planning to release soon - it will be my private invitation only.

Ryan said...

Thank you for the kind wishes!

I actually did one test on a friends laptop that live around the block from me and another one on my wife's laptop. In the case of my wife's laptop, my pc and the laptop were a few feet away from each other and there was no connection loss. So I think in the case of my friends laptop the connection crash was due to other circumstances outside of the control of CrossLoop.

I hope that this review helps out with the ideas and creations of future releases and updates of CrossLoop. Please keep me posted on new revisions. Thanks!

Techknight said...

Just wanted to make it clear that CroosLoop is not Open Source. No where do I mention that CrossLoop is similar to Open Source or is Open Source. I would have liked it if CrossLoop would have made it open source I guess they would have been better able to develop and grow that way. They did have some ambiguity in their license and usage of Tight VNC with their proprietary software though which I think they worked at.