This may not seem all that interesting at face value but there are a LOT of people in higher education who have workstations that use public IP's. There is a secure way to connect to your machine remotely. Here's how to setup your Windows Vista workstation to accept new incoming VPN connections. This was also available in Windows XP but you have to know where to look in Vista to enable it.
Start - Network
Open the Network and Sharing Center
Click on Manage network connections
No using your keyboard, press Alt and select File or do an Alt+F to open the File menu and choose New Incoming Connection.
Approve the UAC prompt.
A new wizard opens to walk you through the process. First select who should have access.
Select how they may access the machine.
Select the protocols that should be available and click Allow Access.
The conclusion screen provides details. You can print the information if you need it.
Very nice, it adds a new icon on your Network Connections page.
If you view the properties dialogue you can manage the settings you choose in the wizard.
Out of those dialogues, these are the settings I found to be most interesting.
IOW, encrypt the connection and don't let the VPN connection interfere with connections from handhelds.
That's it, you now have a VPN connection available. To connect, setup a new VPN connection on your other workstation from the Network and Sharing Center.
Select Connect to a workplace.
Create a new connection.
Choose Use my Internet connection (VPN).
Provide the name or address of the machine you are connecting to.
Provide the username and password for the account you selected on the first machine. You may also need to provide the computer name as the domain name.
I choose to let the wizard go ahead and connect when finished.
The new icon on Network Connections shows the VPN connection. In the future you can right-click on this icon or use the Connect To button on the Start Menu.
On both machines you will be prompted to set the network profile. Work should suffice.
The connection and remote user appear on your host machine's Network page. If you right-click on the username, you have the option of disconnecting them from the host.