Tech Follies

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Adventures in Family Tech Support, Easter Edition:

Posted by Office-Bob on 23 Apr 2019 | Tagged as: Rants, Tech Follies

When I make a trip to visit my parents there’s usually some sort of technical glitch which they want me to look into; I knew ahead of time that the WiFi extender was not working properly but I didn’t expect to be spending so much time on other things.

Here’s the breakdown of How I Spent My Easter Vacation:

1) Got the WiFi extender working again by literally turning it off and on again. Ah, if only the rest of the weekend were so easy…

2) Mom had been having “problems” with the downstairs TV (I didn’t bother asking for details because I knew I wasn’t going to be told anything better than, “I don’t know, it just stopped working!”) and in order to get the main Dish programming back up she disconnected the DVD player and VCR; while she had paired each disconnected device with their respective cables, apparently the model of Joey now connected to the TV was a newer version with different aux inputs than the previous model, plus they were using an external sound bar instead of the built in TV speakers, so I only had enough cables to get either the DVD or VCR connected again. Since Mom couldn’t tell me which one she preferred I decided to go with the DVD player.

3) Dad was unable to print PDFs but I managed to resolve that after everyone else had gone to bed; I spent some uninterrupted time with his computer and got things working though a combination of upgrading Acrobat Reader and removing the extra paper from the printer (he overloaded it in anticipation of being able to print the entire freaking Mueller Report). Fortunately, the excess paper hadn’t gotten stuck inside the printer but instead had just gotten pushed against the feed area so paper couldn’t feed. I printed the first page to verify it was printing properly but waited until the next morning to show him how to print, how to select 2-sided printing (he didn’t know the printer could do that, so I managed to at least save a couple hundred pieces of paper) and explained about the paper overload. I then left him to print the damned Report and told him it was his responsibility to monitor the progress and put more paper in the printer as needed.

4) Helped my sister install batteries and a memory card in her new camera…this sounds like a simple task, but the battery compartment door must have been designed by Lemarchand after he decided that creating the Lament Configuration just wasn’t evil enough. RTFMing was useless because the user guide just tells you to open the compartment, and shows it open, but doesn’t tell you which combination of lever movement and door sliding will release the Kraken. I did a search on YouTube for a tutorial video and found one, then had to scrub through 6:30 minutes of the 8:30 minute long video to get past the yammering of the woman who, I was hoping, would tell me how to open the thrice-damned battery compartment door, so I could then watch the < 10 seconds of actual instructions. Mission finally fucking accomplished.

I have no idea what was on the rest of the video; I wasn't about to stick around to find out.

5) Assisted my sister with setting up the laptop she got a year or two ago; this involved getting up email accounts (Gmail and Comcast) and uninstalling the McAfee crapware which came with the laptop and was whining that it wanted to be fed (Pay to update the AV files or I will harass you until the end of time oh shit she found someone who knows how to ununstall me NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…).

6) Mom comes in, almost in tears, saying that Dad did something to the downstairs TV and now it doesn’t work any more. This was the point where I lost it and blurted something on the order of Goddammit, this is why you can’t have nice things…went downstairs, Mom turned the TV back on, it was working just fine.

(Yes, I did apologize to Mom for my outburst)

7) Typed up my notes on how to use the DVD player for Mom and Dad because anything more complex then single button operation requires detailed instructions - I jot down what I’m doing as I set things up, run through the notes after I’m finished to ensure they’re valid, then edit and clean them up. Rather than print them out myself I email the instructions to my parents so I have a copy on file should they become lost.

8) When I got up on Monday morning and began to pack for departure I found a set of RCA cables which would have allowed me to get the VCR connected but ain’t nobody got time for that when we are trying to head home; that can wait until the next visit - and I’m sure that by Christmas there’l be more stuff to deal with.

Sigh.

I love my parents, but sometimes I wish they were complete Luddites and not just tech-impaired.

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