The article is spot on when he reviews recreating the error for tech support. It is critical for you to be able to communicate to the person helping you to fix your computer what is happening. A lot of the help desk is guess work and, honestly, we don't always fix things, we just make them stop giving you that error message. I have been luck enough to be able to remotely log in and view what is going on to the afflicted computer when something is going terribly wrong using VNC (Virtual Network Computing) software. This ability is worth it's weight in gold to the technician. The technician can view the problem and in most cases, fix it on the spot. There are even solutions for home users. If you need help from that geeky friend/family member (which is me or my Dad in my family) there are many free services which let you do this from your home PC, including just using VNC. And (if you can excuse the selfless plug) you can contact BrainCase to log in to your computer and fix it from where you sit.My only point of contention with the piece was that he suggested fixing the problem yourself. I am all for creative thinkers and do-it-yourselfers out there in the world but there are a lot of people who don't know when to quit! Often times the issue in a corporate environment can not be fixed by the average user. Most of the time you have to have our higher level of access to address the issues going on or check something on the server and I fully do not expect your average individual to fix those things. But this is a quick check list of things that you can do (other than reboot as listed above) that will make your tech support experience better. Do not take offense by these. I am not trying to berate anyone but we actually get calls about these things.
- Check ALL connections! This includes the power cord, network cord, mouse/keyboard connections, and the monitor cable. I get too many calls of people not checking the basic things like this. All computers need power to be on and a network cable to communicate with the outside world (i.e. your corporate network, the Internet, etc.).
- Make sure there is paper in the printer, it does not have any status lights/error messages, and it has toner/ink. At least one call a month is on this subject.
- Ask the nearest tech savvy person in the office or the closest young person. I am not ageist but there is a trend with older people (40+) to have no clue as to how the box on there desk works. Grab that young person who's checking out YouTube video's and Twittering his friends about what he is up to and find out what is up with your computer.
- Finally, the best thing you can do in a network situation is to simply do nothing. Go grab a coffee refill or a snack and see if the problem goes away when you are back. Often times the issue was not your computer but the slow network connection or those crazy techs working on the system.
I hope that my generalizations didn't offend anyone to much but I notice these trends in my day to day life and understand that they are not a universal constant. If I did offend you, let me make it up to you by providing you with a way to circumnavigate those pesky proxy blocks on your network and let you check that blocked website from work. If nothing else read it and click on the link to download the free software that can help you fix your own computer at home or work and turn you into a power user. Good luck and enjoy your work day.--Brian