Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Tech Support Generation

Slashdot | The Tech Support Generation. prostoalex writes "Newsweek technology columnist Brad Stone is looking forward to the Thanksgiving dinner with his family next week, spending time in candle-lit rooms, preparing holiday shopping lists and... let's admit it - fixing the folks' computer. 'We are the Tech-Support Generation. Our job is to troubleshoot the complex but imperfect technology that befuddle mom and dad, veterans of the rotary phone, the record player and the black-and-white cabinet television set. Next week, on our annual pilgrimage home, we’ll turn our Web-trained minds and joystick-conditioned fingers to the task of rescuing our parents from bleeding-edge technology on the blink', Brad Stone writes. In related news, what other products besides Google Desktop Search, Spybot Search & Destroy, Google Toolbar and Service Pack 2 are Slashdotters installing on their parents' Windows machines?"

-- Oh, how true it is! It only makes sense. I see family and friends most often during the holidays (as compared to any other time of the year), and being the resident Geek of the family, I am called upon repeatedly and endlessly for tech support.

My mom actually doesn't have a computer right now - though she's waiting for me to save up a few bucks, so that we can do a little deal. I'm building her a new computer, with my existing AMD Athlon XP 2200+ mobo/cpu/memory, and then replacing my board/cpu/memory with a nice new AMD 64 combo (probably the 3400+ in the 939 pin format). So I need to come up with that cash, so that I can afford to rip out my mainboard to give to her. So, that'll be a big thing, building her new system, and presumably then supporting her as she learns to use it. She has had very little exposure to computers, though has been a trooper about it when she has access to one.

As for other things that us members of the tech support generation install on our parents' machines - Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird for email!!!! And antivirus software. I also like to populate the bookmarks with useful sites to start people off with. Another thing I do on Windows boxes - organize the start menu into nice neat categories: Internet, Office Productivity, Games, System, etc. I tell them "don't go in the System folder! Just leave those programs alone! Anything else you can use." Helps make people feel less afraid of messing things up, when the stuff that is Greek to them is all in one easily avoidable place.

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