Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Spot Fake Facebook Profiles + More

You may find it hard to believe, but I spend hours calling in for tech support..

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I have found it a common notion that computer nerds Über Geeks never have to call the Tech Support number, and spend an hour on hold, climb the phone trees, and go through “tech support” *heck* like mere mortals do.
But most do.. well, let me rephrase that: I have, and do.

Generally, I am calling on behalf of a client (I have spent a lot of time talking with ISP techs..) but also do when I need to. Just because I am a whiz at PC’s doesn’t mean I know what to do when a Garmin GPS unit won’t update it’s map library, or that Canon digital camera stays on the logo in the LCD ‘viewfinder, or what that one particular QuickBooks error might be.. (I don’t use QB.)

And no. I don’t ask to speak to the supervisor right away… but I have learned a few lessons from being on both sides of the call. Here’s a couple of my personal tips for a smoother, quicker, and hopefully more pleasant “tech support call”.. the next time you have to bite the bullet.

1) These people HAVE to follow a certain process, or they get fired.

1a) The first step of that process is to ascertain that you are a REAL owner of their product/service – that means you will have to identify yourself (perhaps, by knowing an account number..?) so be prepared.

1b) Their next step is ascertain if the product/service is still covered under their warranty policy/terms of service. Usually this is done by telling them the serial number and model number, so be prepared. These numbers are often found on stickers on the back or bottom of the device.
And these numbers are quite long, contain 8’s that look like B’s.. or maybe 3’s. Do both of you a favor and get the flashlight now, and the magnifying glass, and grab a pencil and scrap of paper, and crawl under that desk and get those numbers and write them down.

Now we can talk about the trouble.
2) No, tech support types do not assume you are an idjit, and didn’t think to check the batteries/reboot/look to see of a wire came loose. The truth is we would be idiots if we didn’t ask you to do those things. Those things are Step 1 of almost every troubleshooting situation. And if you do not do them.. well, I imagine a tech would feel darn silly when after 3 hours of trying all the hard fixes, they tell their client, “your unit needs to be replaced”.. and the client then says “uh.. wait a minute.. is this blue cord supposed to be plugged in?”

2a) The tech you first speak with (called “Tier 1”) WILL get fired if they call over a supervisor for an assist, and they have not crossed off the loose wire/reboot off of their checklist. Supervisors do not have time to ask “did you try rebooting it?” That – in a nutshell – is Tier 1’s job description: screen out the easy ones.
So just play along. Humor the poor Tier 1 – just say, “okay, hold on..” count to 3 in your head, and then say “nope, still the same.” Now Tier 1 can get down to more advanced techniques, or call over the supervisor/Tier 2.

3) Remember that these people are human beings and that they answer calls like yours all day, every day, all week, all month. (Try to imagine doing that..)
Yelling at them may relieve some of the frustration are feeling, but it won’t get your problem fixed any faster.
And they might just tell you to right-click on C: and select “format”.


I kid!


Let’s review: Be prepared to provide the ID they want, and be forearmed with the serial number (the S/N) and play the game (um.. “follow the process”) they have to follow (or get fired). And be polite.
Tech support is not a “cushy job”, it is stressful.. and makes one’s hair turn gray.
(I could tell you stories..)

Or, instead of calling them, you can hire me.

Alright.. now to today’s title:

How to spot a fake Facebook profile

How do you spot a fake Facebook user? People have many strategies, including looking at the content on their Wall, checking their mutual friends, and/or just scanning for anything out of the ordinary. Security firm Barracuda Networks has taken it a step further in a study titled “Facebook: Fake Profiles vs. Real Users.” Read more..

These are interesting…

Facebook, Twitter more addictive than alcohol, tobacco

What’s more addicting than alcohol, tobacco, and coffee? Apparently, your desire to check social networks and to stay employed trumps all else, including urges to sleep and have sex.Read more..

(Written by a Linux blogger, this next hits the nail better than any other article I have seen yet..)
Five reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Vista will have several things in common: Both are unwanted operating system updates that will flop in the marketplace.” Read more..

And.. last but not least:

10 threats to The Golden Age of the Internet

Have we been taking the Internet for granted? See why we might soon find ourselves reminiscing about the days of unfettered use and free access.Read more..

But wait! There’s a bonus! How would you like $800 worth of software, free?

• A reader wrote in with a tip for where to get some valuable titles – FREE! To see what I mean, read their comments here. (And thank you, Dear Reader.)

Today’s quote:What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” ~ Yiddish Proverb

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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February 7, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, free software, Internet, tech, Windows 8 | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crazy People

Have you ever noticed? Some people are just not right in the head.
* Catching Snowflakes, Photo courtesy of

Of course, by “not right in the head”, I mean they don’t view the world the same way I do.
And over the years I’ve discovered.. there’s a lot of those.

There is no doubt in my mind that the young lady in this picture is — at least temporarily– insane.
And probably.. not very bright.
She’s clearly completely out of touch with REALITY. (aka “nuts”/”bonkers”/”cuckoo”)

It is perfectly obvious that this person has chosen to ignore the FACTS.
* Snow is the cause of fatal highway accidents.
* Snow requires strenuous exertion to shovel (or plow, or blow) out of your way. Which can waste hours of your precious time.
* Snow cost us $ millions a year in salt and Highway Maintenance crews and specialized snow removal equipment. Not to mention the damage to our vehicle’s undercarriage that road salt does..
* Snow and ice interferes with commerce.
* Has she ever had to put chains on her tires???!!!???
* Snow buries people alive and kills them in sneak avalanche attacks.
* Snow is wet and it is dang cold! Frostbite cold.

Yes. In my view, snow should be outlawed. Banned. Or.. at least, Feared and Respected.
Look at that picture again, will you? You agree with me.. right? Nuts?

Tip of the day: Let’s “get right” today, people. Let’s not be like this young lady. Let’s all start becoming more in tune with the FACTS of this planet we live on.
Step 1: Watch the infotainment (oops! I meant “News”) religiously. I don’t mean just the Evening news.. or the “Top of the Hour” news headlines. I mean, start your day with the news; eat your lunch to the news; and eat your dinner to the evening news.
Then watch the World News. The 10 o’clock news, and the 11 o’clock news. You have a lot of catching up to do.
(In a pinch, such as a power outage, you can read a “newspaper”.. but choose one that has lots of gory pictures of catastrophe.)

Step 2: Reprogram your car’s radio preset buttons. Get rid of the music, and start listening to NPR, at least one All-News-All-The-Time station, and both a left, and a right-wing talk radio station (one for even numbered days, the other for odd).

Step 3: Frown and avoid eye contact everywhere you go. (If you do Step 1 properly, this will be easy to do..) This shows the world that you are a sane and responsible person. And it’s infectious. You can help others become sane and responsible with a really professional frown (ask any mom).

Today’s free download: CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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December 1, 2008 Posted by | advice | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments