Sam Weir wrote:I guess my and their IP addresses are dynamic, since we both use cable modem.
This part shouldn't be a problem. I use DynDns
for SSH access to my linux box. It's pretty simple to set up and my router keeps DynDns up to date autmatically. There's plenty of (free) software DynDns clients out there though. They're probably of more use to you with cable modems.
Sorry, I can't help with the remote desktop issue though. I'm in the same situation with my parents machine. I can do a lot with SSH and a terminal, but a full GUI would be nice sometimes!