In response to Harry Marks’ post over at Curious Rat, this is for everyone who needs help with these crazy things we call computers.
I cannot guarentee you 100% success, or success on the first try, but I will help you fix your computer to the best of my ability.
I’ll help you set up your wi-fi the first time, and give you instructions on what to do when something goes wrong, but if something does go wrong, understand that I can’t come over at a moment’s notice.
Instructions are annoying, because they are complicated, and sometimes I know a better way to do it. However if I give you instructions, read them, keep them in a safe place, and try testing them from time to time in order to learn.
You know my phone number, but just know I might not always answer it.
Before you ask me for help, have you Googled possible solutions? Have you tried any of them? Googling a question/problem is often the best thing to do. Remember how you used Google to find that recipe or directions for changing the oil? I promise it’s exactly the same.
Do you own a Mac? Remember you can take it to the genius bar if it’s not too far away. They are better than almost any support retail outfit.
Do you own a Windows PC? Don’t trust those people at the store you bought it, they are just incentivized to sell you crap. If you can’t wait for me, I’ll give you the number of a professional you can pay for.
The dialog box contains text. Read it and select a button based on what it says. Don’t just look at me and ask me which button you should click. Really, there is no excuse for not reading it. It may be gibberish, but don’t expect any person to be able to help you if you can’t tell them what the gibberish was.
Please describe the situation as elaborately as possible and use correct terminology. No matter what medium you use, the more specific you can get with a problem, the quicker things will be. Otherwise it will just take longer. If you can’t give me specifics over the phone or in email, you’ll have to wait for me to have time for a visit.
Let me show you how to do this. Now, here are step by step instructions on how to do what I just said. I recommend reading them and practicing them when you get a moment. If you don’t want to do it yourself, I’ll stop by sometime in the next 6 months.
You have virus problems? Here’s the closest Apple Retailer. Do not listen to the mainstream tech media about viruses and Macs, they are scaremongering. If you insist on a PC, here’s my favorite free virus scanner. I’ve set it up to update automatically. Here are my instructions on how to use it. What, you can’t access some sites since I visited? Can you tell me what they are? No? Thought not, that’s because I blocked them, they spread viruses, please stop visiting them.
I would love to remote access your system and “just take a look.” I can usually figure out the problem in just a few minutes if you just show me what the problem is. But if I don’t have time now, you’ll have to wait.
You say your computer is “slow” but you don’t know why. I have a complete suite of things I go over to fix that. My fee is a batch of cookies or a six pack of my favorite beer and it will require a day on the weekend we are both free. I’ll also tell you why was slow to try to help you in the future. Try not to install stuff that you don’t know what it is. Also if your computer is more than 5 years old, I may make it only slightly faster, if at all.
Just because someone has a blog doesn’t mean they know “computer stuff.” But I know computer stuff, because that is what I do for a living. So come talk to me.
No one will build you a website for free, not even me. If you just want to write, here are some free and easy places you can check out that can give you a place for your thoughts.
I don’t know Photoshop, but I can help you install it and find someone who does.
This is Snopes.com. Please consult it before re-posting that tweet/blog article/Facebook status to your own Twitter/blog/Facebook status.
I know some good apps, but it depends on what you are looking for. Let’s compare phones.
As your friend/husband/son/relation I am always happy to help, because that what we should do, help each other. The world is a complicated place and we all specialize in certain things so we should cooperate to the best of our ability so we all get stuff done and have fun. Unfortunately my help has limits. If you need more professional help that’s available on demand, I suggest contacting a company that can do so.
Our relationship is special. When I help you, I won’t ask for it, nor will I expect it, but it would be nice to feel the gratitude in any way. If you wish to show no gratitude, or you think you might take undue advantage of this relationship, I would refer to you back to Harry’s post.
Don’t make things more complicated for yourself than they need to be. Go at your own pace. This is the best way to make sure you don’t need me constantly.
If you just need email and web browsing, get an iPad, iPad Mini, or Nexus 7. Do NOT get a PC or Mac.
If you just need a phone, get an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, or a galaxy S3. Do NOT get the Android phones that come free with a contract, they fall apart when you sneeze on them. If you want a challenge, get a Nexus 4.
It is not called a “MAC”, nor an “Apple”. And an iPod touch is not an “iTouch”. That just sounds gross. Harry is totally right about this.
Unless it’s an emergency, there’s no reason you should be checking your email, responding to a text, or taking a call while we’re talking. It’s rude. And put the phone away at the table. I understand your urges, really I do. I fight these same urges every day, but Harry is right about this too.