As soon as you embark on a career in IT - you get classed as a free technical support resource for all your friends and family - it's the norm. I got this email from a friend of mine (Richard Hagemeyer - a prof. in CompSci at Algonquin College) who got roped into a support call while visiting family on the return trip from EnergizeIT in Toronto.
Has this happened to you? Do you cringe when you are visiting relatives and the question comes up? What's your worst / funniest story of Family Technical Support? Post a comment with the details.
A funny thing happened on the way home last weekend. I was planning to stop over for the night at my parent's home in Cobourg, ON on my way home from the EnergizeIT conference; a nice relaxing 24 hour visit after a few charged days in Toronto. Oh well, the best laid plans and all that.
John Oxley, who is the Director of Community Evangelism for Microsoft Canada Co. asked the 1600 or so attendees during his opening comments “Who here isn't tech-support for their family?”
Well, after letting me get a good night's sleep and feeding me a breakfast that rivalled breakfast the day before with Microsoft Canada President, Phil Sorgen, my mother finally let it out. “So, when are you going to install Vista on my computer?”
Now, I did have a spare copy of Vista Ultimate ( with SP1), and well, she is my mother, so I downloaded and ran the Vista Upgrade Advisor on both my mother's Dell desktop and my father's Toshiba laptop. The results indicated that my mother's machine could run Vista, but not with the new Windows Aero premium desktop experience. My father's machine didn't have a compatible video card and had to stick with XP SP3. And although the advisor indicated that the memory on each machine was sufficient, I knew better! After all, to mis-quote Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor you can never have too much memory or too many CPU cycles!
A quick trip to Staples and we had enough memory to max out both machines (I also slipped in a nice Logitech blue-tooth mouse for my own laptop).
I quickly popped in the new gig stick on my father's laptop and moved on to my mother's desktop. The Upgrade Advisor pointed out that some applications may need some care and feeding after the upgrade, but when queried, my mother said she didn't use most of those programs anymore. So to free up a bit of space and be kind to the upgrade, I uninstalled a half dozen or so applications.
I then proceeded with the upgrade, first booting XP and then feeding in the Vista DVD. Everything looked good until I reached the screen informing me that the system couldn't be upgraded! Not good!
The problem indicated that FrontPage Server Extensions was preventing the upgrade. Hmmm, I not sure how it's related (well, MS is moving from FrontPage to SharePoint, but I still don't see the connection to an upgrade), but it's also a feature my mother doesn't use. So I popped over the Control Panel, Chose Add or Remove Programs and modified Microsoft Office, deselecting FrontPage. Bob's your uncle and I'm off and running.
Now, this process, while relatively quick, did score me a wonderful smoked meat sandwich from Dunn's in Ottawa (my folks picks up vac-packs of Smoked Meat whenever they can) and a Montreal style “All-Dressed” Pizza from Jim's Pizza Palace in Cobourg for supper. Did I say I grew up in Montreal?
So John, my answer to you is, “Ain't it the truth, ain't it the truth!”