A long time ago I used the built in ftp support for emacs to be able to remotely edit files on another system. This gave me all the convenience of a local editor (especially on slower links), with the ability to do edits right in place on other systems. On whim I did a quick search to see if there was a way to do this over an encrypted session while trying to fix some php templates.
Low and behold, there is. It only takes the following 2 lines in your .emacs file:
12 (require 'tramp)(setq tramp-default-method "scp")
Then you just open /servername:directory. Relative directories base off your home dir, absolute do what you would expect. This is just far too handy, and I can't believe I've gone this long without knowing about it.