Being the resident “Geek” in my family, most of the tech support issues that crop up in my immediate family tend to fall on my shoulders. As you may have read in my earlier post about buying a Mac mini, I’ve moved away from the Windows platform so I don’t have to play games with my OS to keep it updated and virus/spyware/malware/RATware/crapware free. I’d rather focus on using my computer as a tool rather than fighting with it in order to get it operational.
While I’ve been able to successfully move away from the menial updating tasks in my everyday computing life, I still have to deal with my family and their desire to buy the cheapest Dell they see advertised in the paper on Sunday. I’ve already set my mom up with a good base of spyware removal and blocking tools (AdAware, Spybot and SpywareBlaster), additional firewall software (ZoneAlarm), a virus scanning and removal tool (AVG Anti-Virus) and a more secure browser platform (FireFox of course).
This seems to have kept her secure for the most part; the only real problem with this set up is keeping it up-to-date with patches and new definition files. Usually this takes me an hour or so every month since my mom has no idea how to operate any of this software effectively. The best thing about this is my mom is always nice enough to feed me every time I go over to her house to help with her routine maintenance.
I’m sure there are more “geeks” out there who are, by default, the main tech support facilitator for their families. It’s not a bad thing, but I sometimes find it hard to comprehend that my mom or dad didn’t grow up doing this and they don’t care to learn about it as much as I do. They just want it to work. From here on out, I’m recommending all of my family members buy a Mac when it comes time to upgrade. That will take the burden off me after I set them up initially.