From time to time my father calls me with a computer related problem. On Sunday he needed help with a memory card that had gone FUBAR. The card was supposed to be full of pictures, but now it only contained four pictures along with two files sized roughly 900 megabytes and 1.8 gigabytes. Interesting, since the capacity memory card was a mere 256 megabytes.

There are ways to fix this, Jpegdump is an excellent tool, but it’s command line based and since my father is used to Windows' point-and-click interface and I wasn’t up for the thrill of trying to guide him through cmd.exe, I wanted to get Remote Desktop access to his computer working.

Easier said than done.

He is on a broadband line and his IP was not accessible from the outside world. Remote Assistance didn’t work very well either, since he was unable to connect to MSN for some reason. I’m not sure if it would’ve worked anyway. Luckily RealVNC came to the rescue. With it’s excellent listening viewer functionality, he was able to invite me to get remote access to his computer and the pictures were safe and sound ten minutes later.

As a side effect of the rescue operation, my father is now on MSN. How the hell do I talk to my father on MSN? Should I use smilies? For some reason, it feels damn unnatural to do so. I don’t know why, it just does. To be honest, I’d never imagined him being part of the “MSN-generation”, but I guess technology just caught up with him. It’s not like he is unfamiliar with the Internet, if you’ve had anything up for sale on QXL, there’s a good chance he has placed a bid or two.

But MSN? Never crossed my mind.