Tech support for your parents
If your parents use computers and you want to help them out, this is a must read.
Besides the usual advice, the ones I liked were on the last page -
Very important to remember! Especially useful for Indian techie chaps! The IT gap is way larger between generations!
- Do no harm. You might be tempted to help them by tweaking their computer to work the way yours does. Don't. Your parents might have a reason for their different way of doing things, and even if they don't, they might just be used to it. To really help, adapt yourself to their computers and don't force them to work like you do.
- Listen and learn. Your parents may do the same things with the computer or the Internet that you do but in a different way. And they may call it different things. Yahoo may be "the Web." Microsoft Word might just be called "Microsoft." This isn't the time to correct them. Learn their lingo and explain things in terms they already use.
- Don't think you know more than they do. Age is not a handicap when dealing with computers. You may be surprised how adept an octogenarian is with instant messaging, Quicken, photo sharing, or even Doom 3. Experience and wisdom can breed stubbornness, and it can also breed flexibility. Just try to understand the issue from the other perspective.
And thanks to Rafe Needleman, a long time favourite, who writes Rafe's Radar, who posted the ZDNet Article