August 07, 2011

[OT] Mac remote access & Mail advice?

Greetings from rural Illinois, “The Land Connectivity Forgot,” where I’ve just set up my parents’ new iMac. We’ve had some minor hiccups (e.g. repeatedly explaining that an “app store” is neither a physical place nor something that mails you CDs; realizing that N-finger gestures are going to be the source of many panicked “Oh, Jaahn, it disappeared” calls), but overall things are good.

In particular I’m delighted with how well FaceTime is running. I don’t know whether their ISP splurged and added a second upstream cocktail straw, or whether the combo of new hardware/compression has done the trick, but it seems to be a vast improvement over our excruciatingly laggy iChat sessions.

Two questions, though:

  • I want to connect to their machine, wake it up, and drive anytime, regardless of whether they’re around. (Yes, they’re cool with this.) iChat requires someone to accept my screen-sharing request. What’s a more robust alternative? Do I have to spring for Apple Remote Desktop? I’ve occasionally used VNC clients, but do those require me to know the other machine’s (static) IP address?
  • Why, for the love of God, can’t Mail on Lion import a mailbox (.mbox) from Mail on Leopard? I’ve tried every method I can think of (archiving, exporting), but I always get a “some [meaning all] messages could not be imported” error. I’ve even tried dragging everything into my mom’s Gmail account, thinking I could upload from the old machine & download it onto the newer one, but the messages never seem to reach the server. I’ve tried downloading the new Outlook, but it requires 10.5.8, and the old iMac won’t accept its admin password (needed to run a system update).

Yes yes, #firstworldproblems, to be sure, but any advice would be most welcome. Thanks in advance!

Posted by John Nack at 11:02 AM on August 07, 2011
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