Not being able to see an application or operating system takes away all of the visual reminders that help you know where you are going. When asked to help someone with unfamiliar software over the phone, it can be difficult to guide the person to the correct spot. Chasms and Network Overload are two sites that provide interactive documentation of software, operating systems and others which makes walking somebody through some steps as simple as visiting a website.
NetworkOverload provides “simulators” for using different operating systems and applications. Windows 8.1 – Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.7 – 10.4 are all covered with 10.9 on the ‘Coming Soon’ list. They also have a variety of security software such as Avast Antivirus, Norton, AVG, Trend Micro, Microsoft Security Essentials, Malwarebytes, and more. Web browsers are a bit dated but cover the big four: IE, Firefox, Chrome, and IE. The networking category covers router web interfaces for a variety of Cisco, D-Link, and Linksys models. Email is the final category with simulators for different versions of Mac Mail, Outlook, Windows Live Mail, and other email clients.
Chasms provides a wider variety of simulators and they tend to be more current. Chasms covers different versions of Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu as well as email clients, browsers, and security applications. The site also branches into devices with tablets, handhelds, game consoles, networking equipment, and others.
The simulators might be a series of screenshots to show different windows or they might even be interactive to emulate the real thing using mouse-over points and roll-over images. It can certainly help get you on the same page as somebody you’re working with and give you the benefit of seeing the system in front of you without having to buy or install these different setups.
Image credit: Arjun Kartha