Friday night topic: holiday family tech support joy

Do you act as the unofficial IT support guy (or gal) for your family?

I just finished up a session with the in-laws involving two iPhones, an iPad, a MacBook, and AT&T customer service. The outcome: lots of iCloud settings verficiations and explanations, an iOS 6-to-7 upgrade, and a potential $20-per-month savings for the same service with a plan change.

Not bad, all things considered.

I think family tech support has gotten somewhat easier with the rise of tablets and smartphones, but it's also grown in volume considerably. There are just many more devices of different types to support, multiple things per person that require sorting out. Also, unlike PCs, a lot of devices have the potential to be broken in ways that I cannot fix. That's both a blessing, since I won't be going on a three-hour registry editing expedition, and a curse, since I may not be able to help provide a fix.

I also spent a lot of time this year explaining the differences between—and making custom, user-focused recommendations about—specific phones, tablets, and services.

What about you? Were you given tasks this year that you carried out dutifully? How have those tasks changed for you in recent years? Are things easier, harder or just different?


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