Today has been a fairly typical day for me. I’ve been to five different homes east of Ipswich to help with the owners’ computers.
I started the day with two new customers in Woodbridge – a long retired couple who wanted advice about getting online for the first time. They’ve owned an old Windows ME desktop computer for many years. While it still works fine as a word processor, we all agreed they really needed a new machine for their new online life. We discussed options and by the time I left, they knew exactly what they needed to buy and what broadband to order. I shall be returning soon to set up the new laptop and broadband when ready, teaching them how to use it all as well.
After catching up on missed calls, I drove to my next customer, in Ufford – another new one from a personal recommendation. This was quite a rushed visit as I had to be in Rushmere St Andrew by 11.30, but within thirty five minutes her antivirus and email problems were solved.
On to my next customer, I listened to missed calls but had no time to respond. An hour later I was back in my car, having secured a wireless router and sorted out a few software issues on two PCs.
I just had enough time to grab some lunch at home in Kesgrave before dashing off to Bromeswell for a teaching session. I had been to see this customer ten days ago after a friend of hers suggested she give me a call. She has owned a computer for a year but never really become comfortable with it and felt she needed someone to help her understand it better. In our first session we covered email and printing. I also fixed her sound problem and helped order new printer ink cartridges online. Today I installed one of the cartridges for her, explaining as I went. We did some ‘advanced’ printing and I taught her a few tricks for browsing websites more effectively. I left after finishing with a brief explanation of Twitter and Facebook.
My last customer of the day was in Great Bealings. Again, someone I had been to before, this was a follow up visit. I’d been called out originally because the laptop she runs her business on was getting very slow. Immediately on that first visit, I set up a reliable backup system, just in case the hard drive was giving up the ghost. I pointed out that a lack of RAM was the more likely cause and ordered a suitable upgrade. My return today saw me fit the additional RAM, which really did improve the performance. It was also a good opportunity to test the backup system, which I’m pleased to say was working flawlessly. Before leaving, I also installed Internet Explorer 8 and updates to Java and Adobe programs.
Arriving home at 5:25 (half an hour earlier than usual) I was able to catch up on the day’s missed calls. Looking back on the day, I’ve realised every customer I’ve dealt with has come to me via word of mouth, which is very satisfying.
Next week is going to be even more tightly packed. Already most of it is booked up, so I’m going to have to get through jobs very quickly in order to squeeze in the urgent requests for help that will inevitably come in the next few days. I’ve not had time to get to my office once this week, and only look likely to on Thursday next week, as I’ve booked a PC repair in then.
There’s one thing to say about being a computer expert; you’ll never run out of work!
Where would we be these days without our wired and wireless internet connections? So many of our devices simply won’t work to their full potential without them.
I’m regularly called out to connect people’s devices to the internet; usually computers, but the list of things I connect is steadily growing.
In the last year, I’ve connected the following;
I have also connected countless printers to home broadband routers to enable wireless printing. This is something I’ve seen many people struggle to set up or get the most from. Many is the time I’ve had to explain that a wireless printer can be used from any computer in a home, not just the one that plugged into the old printer!
An increasing number of the above connections are wireless. While better than a few years ago, wireless connections can still be awkward to set up. Either people are not sure what to do, or obscure technical problems get in their way. That’s usually when they call me.
Once connected, I will often show people how to make the most of their new devices. iPod Touch and iPhone users find this particularly helpful, as a little guidance goes a long way to getting the most out of them.
Gone are the days when a “computer man” only helped with computers!