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Author Topic: Family Tech Support  (Read 3146 times)

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Carlos del Vaca

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Family Tech Support
« on: August 09, 2010, 06:30:04 pm »

(Apologies if this is a rehash of an earlier thread.  I couldn't find one like it.)

So, I spent much of last week traveling to visit family members.  And you know what all our parents are getting for Christmas this year?  MEMORY.  Gigs upon gigs of memory.  Because I am tired of being asked "Can you tell why my computer is so slow?" and the answer is "You are running 512 MB RAM, and you need at least 2 GB for things to not suck in this day and age."  My mom's computer had some random number, like 448 MB, and it basically couldn't do anything.

Also, I had an entertaining conversation with my mom.  She has a new wireless router at home that the dude from the cable company set up for her.

"Ma, does your new network have wireless encryption?"
"No, nothing like that.  The installer said that he could see my neighbor's networks, and they were unprotected, and he would set it up so no one else can get in."
"So what you're saying is, he set it up with wireless encryption.  Do you have the key?"
"There's no key!  There's no password or anything!  It just works!"
"MOM.  One of us manages IT projects for a living.  The other one does not.  Trust me, please.  Did he give you a piece of paper with the network name?"
"Oh yeah, here."

One guess as to what else was on that piece of paper.
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CortJstr

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 07:35:41 pm »

So, I spent much of last week traveling to visit family members.  And you know what all our parents are getting for Christmas this year?  MEMORY.  Gigs upon gigs of memory.  Because I am tired of being asked "Can you tell why my computer is so slow?" and the answer is "You are running 512 MB RAM, and you need at least 2 GB for things to not suck in this day and age."  My mom's computer had some random number, like 448 MB, and it basically couldn't do anything.

This is my mom's computer. I did some poking and found out that she doesn't have a video card, so the on-board graphics dealie built into the mobo steals some of the RAM for itself, which makes Windows report a weird looking number of RAM as installed.

About two years ago I went to my parents. Take my stuff up to the computer room where I sleep when visit, go downstairs and ask
"when did you get wireless."
"Like when did we first get cell phones?"
[15 minutes of explaining wireless internet]
"We don't have that."
"Then why do you have a wireless router attached to your computer?"
"Huh?"
"The two-foot tall black box with the antenna sitting on your desk."
[Mom walks upstairs and looks]
"I've never seen that before. The Verizon guy must've put it in when he was here a few months ago."

So she's seen this brand new piece of equipment daily for 3 months and never actually "saw" it. Within a week she'd thrown out all 3 copies of the WEP key I'd given her and told her to never ever lose.
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pmcd9

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2010, 08:36:32 pm »

Visiting my mother yesterday.  "Can you download movies from the disc?"  "Are you talking about a commercially released DVD?  It can be done, but you need some software."  "No, I'm talking about my DVD's (from her camcorder)."  "Uh yeah, I showed you how to do that awhile back.  I spent about 8 hours over here one day figuring out the process, downloading software and then walking you through the process.  I even watched you do it once on your own to make sure you understood."  "Oh, I don't remember that."  "I even made you promise that you would do it again the next day so you the knowledge would imprint, but when I called you the next day you hadn't done it and you never did and now, obviously you don't know how to do it at all or remember having ever done it."  "In the meantime I have forgotten how to do it too because it's not my job to do and I haven't given it any thought since that day."  "I could spend the time and figure it out again and show you how again, but what's the point if it's just gonna go in one ear and out the other?"

I think I need to call my mom and apologize for being mean to her.
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miles

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 01:08:40 am »

My dad is just as knowledgeable about computer stuff as I am, if not more so. Partly because his work has required it, and party because he's just a really sharp guy. We had a computer in the home nearly as far back as my memory goes. I can still remember our Macintosh Plus, and I think we had one before that. And my mom generally knows her way around a computer. In fact I'd often ask her for help with Excel in college on those rare occasions I had to use it. My grandmother though, well, teaching her how to use anything on the computer is a Sisyphean ordeal. She has a Sony Reader and an email account with yahoo, and every time she wants to use either we start from square one. It doesn't matter if the last time she used it was the day before or months ago. But what are you gonna do.
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fanta

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 08:19:53 am »

My mom has trouble keeping the tires on her minivan properly inflated, partly because she persistently side-swipes curbs partly because she's often hyperfocusedly upset about shit instead of being focused on her driving.  I think she has some sort of mood disorder.  It wouldn't be surprising if she did, given that both her children have been diagnosed as bipolar. 

So anyway, I was visiting her, and I told her one of her tires looked completely flat, and she said she checks it with this pump that has a built in tire pressure gauge.  Well it was one of those electric pumps that has a cheap gauge that isn't really anything close to accurate, especially in the low PSI range that a car tire takes.  Something you find for sale in Big Lots that's so crappy that no even semi-reputable place would sell it.

So I got her a tire gauge when we were at walmart for a few bucks.  She was completely unable to use it, because she lacked the coordination necessary to apply the gauge to the valve stem correctly.  She applied it crooked, so each time all that would happen is a bunch of air would hiss out.  The reason she lacked the needed coordination is that she immediately became extremely pissed off, she cursed the society which would foist such technology on it's members, and refused to attempt to master it.  I'm sure if she weren't pissed off, was calm, and tried it a few times, she could probably master it easily.  She doesn't lack physical strength, doesn't lack hand eye coordination, she is getting on in years a bit, but she routinely engages in all manner of do-it-yourself stuff, so, I mean, I don't think that using a standard tire gauge would be beyond her level of capability.

My mom is totally senile in the sense that she can't remember the difference between a router and a modem for more than 2 seconds, and can't even begin to grasp the architecture of the computer (such as the abstract conceptualization that would be necessary to know the difference between when and where to enter one's OS login password versus when and where to enter one's e-mail password.)  She just wants it to work, but of course, it never does, because she doesn't grasp any of this stuff.  Yet she reads books on various non-fiction subjects and discusses them in her book clubs, she can follow complex political discussions, and so on.  She's not stupid, yet, inexplicably, she's essentially senile in some respects...

She blames it on her age, but I don't think that's it.  She's just senile, not because of her age, but because she has a fairly significant case of ADHD.  Her senility has really strained our relationship, and has totally destroyed her relationship with my sister.  This 'senility' as I call it has been there for as long as I can remember.  Both my parents suffered from it, and as such, would routinely find themselves doing stuff like replacing the engines in their cars instead of checking the oil level now and again.

It's certainly annoying when my mom can't grasp concepts such as username/password, but of course this isn't a big deal in the general scheme of things.  It's just, when this level of senility is applied to every aspect of the management of a social relationship with someone, that relationship tends to get strained over the years, to put it mildly, and in some cases, it breaks.

I'm currently pushing my mom to seek counseling.  She's rather opposed to the idea of her seeking counseling, because there's no reason for her to seek counseling.  It's the numerous people who don't get along with her who have the problem, not her. 

So anyway, I relate all of this to say that while I do appreciate the need for tolerance of those who are technologically challenged, it may be in some cases that there is a veritable behavioral health disorder at work feeding the technological illiteracy.

ADHD combined with a mood disorder is some fucked up shit.  I can see that as one starts to ebb into senility in one's old age, the ADHD and mood disorder would probably greatly accelerate the process, given that with ADHD & mood disorder you are essentially halfways to three quarters there already.

Asherdan is absolutely correct.  And if there is an underlying behavioral health disorder which interferes with the process of mastering new technology, which impedes the patience and flexibility of mindset needed to grapple with and grasp new concepts, then that underlying behavioral health issue should be addressed to enable the mind to exercise it's self with as much vigor and variety as possible.

I've got no experience with geriatric psychology and counseling.  Yet unfortunately this is a path down which I guess I must tread if I'm to rehabilitate both my relationship with my mom (and eventually perhaps her relationship with my sister) and also her relationship with technology.
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AugustWest

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2010, 01:37:36 pm »

It's the numerous people who don't get along with her who have the problem, not her. 


Sounds like you and your mom have a lot in common.
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fanta

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2010, 07:02:49 pm »

pretty much yeah.  But I get along with people now a lot better than I used to.  Medication + rational emotive behavior therapy.
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AugustWest

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 09:27:40 pm »

pretty much yeah.  But I get along with people now a lot better than I used to.  Medication + rational emotive behavior therapy.

Keep on truckin'
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fanta

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2010, 05:11:18 am »



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TripperDay

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2010, 10:05:27 pm »

My mom just got a Mac ordered by my brother-in-law, which means the BIL has to fix it if she can actually screw up a Mac.
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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2010, 11:10:33 pm »

My mom no longer has to manage her internet access because she lives in my brother's basement apt, which means I don't have to deal with it every month when I fly through town. I should give my brother fifty bucks every time I see him for removing that headache from my life.
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Carlos del Vaca

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 03:44:23 am »

Today's adventures in Family Tech Support:  Cleaning out a bunch of stupid toolbars and obnoxious apps.  "I didn't install them!  I don't know where they came from!"  Oh, I'm willing to bet you installed one of them, and then all the other crap came along for the ride.  Fortunately, they uninstalled easily enough, and a malware scan after came up clean.

Then, there was the hacked e-mail account, from which fifty or so "US Ambassador to Nigeria" e-mails had been sent.  NEWS FLASH:  A password consisting of four numbers and two letters isn't secure enough.
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Carlos del Vaca

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2015, 02:57:05 pm »

Mother-in-law was having trouble printing. Before I got to the computer to look at it, I asked "What are you printing? A Word document? A PDF?"
Her response: "Yes, a Microsoft Word PDF."

Yeah yeah, I shouldn't be so judgy. It made me laugh inwardly, actually.
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jaydub

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2015, 06:20:57 pm »

"Yes, a Microsoft Word PDF."
Somewhere, an Adobe coder is sobbing into his pillow.
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pmcd9

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Re: Family Tech Support
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2015, 05:51:06 pm »

Somewhere, an Adobe coder is sobbing into his pillow.

To be fair, you can create a PDF with Word.
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