If you’re at all tech savvy, then there is always going to be one phone call you dread. That moment when the parent with the computer calls you up unexpectedly to say “I think I might have done something to my laptop.” Or worse, “it’s gone funny.” And then expecting you to do something about it. Sadly, I don’t have enough command-line-fu to be able to drill into their file system over VPN and figure out what they’ve managed to do. Although getting them to delete the hundred gigs worth of material in the trash often work wonders.
I met Rev Sherlock for a livener yesterday, and he took the opportunity to wave his iPad at me, the dirty bugger. He loves watching me trying to explain why my netbook was really a much more sensible choice while the big WANT sign above my head flashes and klaxons. I hate Rev Sherlock.
Over the course of the conversation, we commiserated with each other over the endless hours and unpaid tech support we’ve done on behalf of our parents. The conclusion was reached that actually, an iPad isn’t such a bad idea for the person who thinks that file structure is something to do with building a cabinet. There’s very little you can do to the inner workings of the device, but it’ll get you online, playing music and videos and even handling basic word processing in a trice. All the primary boxes ticked. It’s just a shame that you need to hook it up to a machine with iTunes to manage the media.
Potentially, the new Google Chromebooks could solve our tech support woes. Putting content onto the cloud and running a minimal hard drive solves that annoying sync issue. However, depending entirely on the interwebs has its own issues, and gods help you if the wireless goes down. Might be worth splashing the cash on a 3G model. Dunno about you, but the prospect of troubleshooting a hinky wi-fi over the phone fills me with chills.
It’s good to be a geek, but there are times when it’s good to get the computers out of computing. Especially when you find that you’ve spent an evening troubleshooting your parents instead of repartitioning your significant other. So to speak.