How do you do the thingy with the thingy?
November 28, 2013 10:22 AM   Subscribe

 
Because of you are reading this then you are tech support.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am knee deep into this at the moment. There are 14 people downstairs, right now, as I type this, and I am hiding up here, in the office, at my desk, for a momentary reprieve before I wade back down into it the thick of it.

I DON'T KNOW WHY SOMETIMES YOUR PRINTER DOESN'T WORK AND WHY SOMETIMES YOUR COMPUTER SEEMS SLOW AND I DON'T KNOW AND I DON'T KNOW AND I DON'T... FUCK.


please stop.


please.
posted by kbanas at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2013 [12 favorites]


"Now here’s the tough part, sit your family down and explain that Internet Explorer is gone. It’s living on a farm with a nice family. " Heh.
posted by maudlin at 10:38 AM on November 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


If general printing issues continually plague your family members, set up Google Cloud Print to print to a designated printer from anywhere.

There will be only a slight delay while GoogleScraper combs through the documents for any interesting information.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:44 AM on November 28, 2013


Between this and a couple of "How to argue with your right-wing uncle" articles I saw through Twitter, I am reminded to be thankful that most of my relatives are dead.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:47 AM on November 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Fortunately we're at my brother's, and they're pretty tech savvy.

Unfortunately, though, this also means that the most troublesome electronic items in the house are a toy dog and a toy fire engine which the babysitter gave my niece and nephew yesterday. The adults have resorted to hiding the fire engine in the washing machine a couple times, and I think during the 20th time "walking" the dog around the living room with my niece is when my brother silently handed me a very full glass of wine with an apologetic look.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


You should send them links to the best help forums. The one I use answers dumb questions. They have even answered my own dumb questions. These guys are amazing.

(if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day &c.)
posted by bukvich at 11:10 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Between this and a couple of "How to argue with your right-wing uncle" articles I saw through Twitter, I am reminded to be thankful that most of my relatives are dead.

I'd give just about anything to argue with my conservative Dad about politics one more time.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:14 AM on November 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Because of you are reading this then you are tech support.

Or European (other non-US continents & Canada are available). I celebrated this Thanksgiving the customary way, with an extra ten percent discount at the American Book Center for the hardcovers I needed to buy anyway and of course the traditional Steam sales.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:25 AM on November 28, 2013


> "Now here’s the tough part, sit your family down and explain that Internet Explorer is gone. It’s living on a farm with a nice family. " Heh.

The weird dimension where "Internet Explorer" = "Internet"
posted by Tom-B at 11:36 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fortunately I am at the point where my mom is starting to transition from getting tech support from her kid to getting tech support from her grandkid. He just gave her an I-Pad Air for her birthday and I don't do Apple. (He works for Apple but we can be civil around the dinner table.)
posted by pbrim at 11:38 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "I don't do Apple" stratagem seems a pretty sound one.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


My uncle's new girlfriend, upon learning that I was a filmmaker, just asked me what kind of lenses would be best for capturing paranormal activity. Answer that, Wired. (I said Infrared).
posted by nathancaswell at 12:24 PM on November 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Remember to use flash at all times to capture "orbs".
posted by Artw at 12:25 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I don't do Apple" doesn't seem to work for me.

Like, I say it, and then they give me a blank stare and just repeat the question, but more slowly, like playing at speaking to someone from a foreign country.
posted by kbanas at 12:27 PM on November 28, 2013


"Under the terms of the plea bargain, I'm not allowed to interact with anyone else's electronic devices, except for those of my employer and my financial institution, for the next 5 years. But because of a National Security Order, I can not disclose any other details of the trial."
posted by radwolf76 at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


I am the default tech support person for all of my extended family, because I've worked for two huge tech corporations in my life. It doesn't matter that my job functions were largely administrative.

But what really sinks me is that I have a 100% success rate by just recommending they turn it off and then turn it back on again. Works every time, so I'm some kind of electronics wizard.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:02 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


My family is pretty small here but I do tech support for my mom all the time. Home for the holidays becomes more about arguing politics and relaxing.
posted by andendau at 1:12 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Opens browser. Loads google as default home page. Searches for "yahoo.com". Clicks first result. On yahoo, searches for "Facebook.com". Clicks first result. BOOYAH FACEBOOK!
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:13 PM on November 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


The "I don't do Apple" stratagem seems a pretty sound one.

"I don't do Windows" used to be even better, but now the people who still have plain old computers know how to use them. I generally use the method described in this XKCD.
posted by TedW at 1:24 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am housesitting at two separate houses today through the weekend. At one house I have to walk the dog 4 times a day. At the other house, I have to feed the cats twice a day, upgrade the Macbook Air to Mavericks, and fix the new HP laser printer that works via USB but not via AirPrint. I have been running back and forth between the two houses and Tech Support Central (my home) all day. Fortunately nobody is around to watch over my shoulder during this process. Hey looks like Mavericks is about to reboot. She forgot to tell me her password, I guess I'll have to reset it so I can run the updates. Oh crap I have to go walk the dog and feed the cats. I guess Mavericks can wait.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:47 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


For years and years, my dad has called with tech support questions. I've been able to dodge many of them using the ole, "I can't do anything if I can't see it" routine* but he recently purchased an iPad. And he loves the iPad, he's 91 and taken to it like a duck to water and calls me daily for FaceTime chats where we discuss stuff like how slowly his hair is growing back after his most recent haircut. However, earlier this week he figured something out, the rear-facing camera. So now when he calls, the chances are better than even that my view is of his finger jabbing at his Windows laptop's frozen screen, while his disembodied voice narrates the problem he's having and now that I can see it, surely I can fix it.

*He's entirely too security-minded to allow remote access.
posted by jamaro at 2:50 PM on November 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


If you have an ipad then Splashtop is theoretically a good way to do remote diagnosis/repair.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:23 PM on November 28, 2013


Because of you are reading this then you are tech support.

Oh well, in that case, you can help me. My computer won't start properly. I have it plugged in, but no matter what I do the screen stays dark. Also, the lights in my house won't go on- is this an interwebs problem?
posted by happyroach at 5:50 PM on November 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is there anything worth getting at the Steam sale? It seems like a barren wasteland of meh. Anything worth getting was purchased during the summer sale.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:38 PM on November 28, 2013


"I double-click on the Internet and nothing happens. What's up with that?"
posted by parki at 6:45 PM on November 28, 2013


Amazed the fuzzy netflix one doesn't mention having their roku or whatever connected with composite cables.

My partners parents have a super nice brand new samsung LED smart tv(which irritatingly only accepts a $70 wifi dongle, so they use none of the smartness). Like, a 70 inch one. 240hz 1080p, all that jazz. It obviously cost a fortune. They watch cable on a comcast box connected via coax, and an antique brick like DVD player from the 90s connected with composite cables. Everything is a blurry mess of 4:3 480i stretched out to 16:9.

I feel like that sort of setup is the case at nearly everyone's parents or extended families house.
posted by emptythought at 6:45 PM on November 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


...and if you're a programmer everyone in your family pitches their idea for the next Facebook and asks you if "it's possible"
posted by hellojed at 7:30 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]




Sadly, I am not only the tech support guy for my family and friends, but also a large chunk of the residents of a public housing project. You do the math.

Currently, I am trying to convince a bunch of XP users to use Linux.
posted by Samizdata at 7:53 PM on November 28, 2013


My answer these days is:
"Sorry, I don't know anything about how windows works any more."
posted by empath at 8:31 PM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Phone calls will still cost you extra, but when’s the last time you made a phone call?

Um, today. You think I'm going to be the one to teach my tech-unsavvy relatives how to Skype?
posted by Spatch at 10:58 PM on November 28, 2013


Everything is a blurry mess of 4:3 480i stretched out to 16:9.

Ack! 4:3 stretched out to 16:9 is the televisual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. Not too long ago, I was over at my parents watching an old 4:3 programme on DVD on their big widescreen LCD telly, and they were appalled when I adjusted the stretched 16:9 image to 4:3, as if this was a gratuitous waste of two big rectangles of screen real estate.

"But people don't look like that!" I cried, gesturing to the bizarrely squat and out of proportion world that was playing out on the screen after I had changed it back. And they didn't care! Did we consign the likes of pan and scan to televisual hell for this?
posted by pinacotheca at 2:36 AM on November 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Awesome. I set my dad up with an Instagram account last week, and yesterday he took some photos of my daughter on his iPhone. He asked me to show him how to upload photos, which I did. This morning when I woke up I checked his page and it seems he has posted an insanely grainy closeup and apparently had not noticed that it looks super weird. I just sent him an email asking that we schedule a remedial how-to session. (Not phrased llke that in the email.)

I have also taught him (sort of) how to use Word and dictation software, and set up his domain and email, and fixed a variety of settings on his laptop. Shockingly (ha!), there have been mixed results. My favorite was when his outgoing email wasn't working, and he drove to my house to explain what was going on; it turned out that he hadn't entered the SMTP server. At all.
posted by miss tea at 3:31 AM on November 29, 2013


Hey. HEY. These aren't ironic.
posted by Skyanth at 5:48 AM on November 29, 2013


Ack! 4:3 stretched out to 16:9 is the televisual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for me. Not too long ago, I was over at my parents watching an old 4:3 programme on DVD on their big widescreen LCD telly, and they were appalled when I adjusted the stretched 16:9 image to 4:3, as if this was a gratuitous waste of two big rectangles of screen real estate.

I hate it too, but it's not my parents who stretch things out -- not deliberately, anyhow. It's my 20 year old sister. We are careful what we watch together, because it's like those black rectangles are agony to her (even though she's wrong and stretching out a show is bad and black bars are fine).
posted by jeather at 5:55 AM on November 29, 2013


Somehow black rectangles top and bottom are fine but left and right set people off...
posted by Artw at 7:19 AM on November 29, 2013


I changed my sidebars to grey and they don't seem to bother people nearly as much.
posted by TedW at 8:02 AM on November 29, 2013


Currently, I am trying to convince a bunch of XP users to use Linux.

So you're in need of hard liquor, is what you're saying.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:19 AM on November 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would advise getting them macs or win7 or even win8 over this course of action unless you like pain.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on November 29, 2013


Chrome books are nice.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2013


This is missing the question "Should I get cloud?"
posted by ridogi at 7:15 PM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's always funny to listen to techies bemoan the way lay-people interact with technology...As if it's the lay-people's fault and not the technology itself (or, more accurately, the way techies designed the technology itself)
posted by Thorzdad at 10:39 AM on December 1, 2013


My father very proudly told me about how he fixed a tech problem "on his own." His new laptop ran a couple updates which un-defaulted the default printer; the first time it happened, he called "that guy at Geek Squad" and asked for help, and allowed them the remote access.

"But," he said, "I also watched what he did. But then, a week later, the printer wasn't working again, so I called the geek squad again and asked for the same guy, but I couldn't get him, so they said they'd give me to someone else and I was on hold...and then I remembered what I saw the other guy did, so I tried it, and....it worked! So I hung up!"

They can learn!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:31 AM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


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