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Articles: Help Yourself

School of Blue Fish

There’s an old proverb that goes:
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.”

As a vegetarian, I say leave those fish alone in either case. Teach him to grow veggies!

Although as someone in technical support, I can appreciate the concept as it applies to technological frustration, maintenance, and repair. Just this morning, two of my tech calls had fixed their own issue in a span of the 30 minutes it took to return their call, and I couldn’t be happier.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore my role as a Technical Support Specialist. My favorite part of this multi-faceted position is helping customers find solutions to their technical difficulties. Still, when I hear one of my customers figures out their own solution, I’m really proud of them.

In fact, the very reason I’m now a “Technical Support Specialist” is because I figured it out for myself for the past twenty years. I got my hands inside a computer. I exchanged hard drives, built networks, installed PCI cards and RAM. I dealt with software conflicts and kernel panics and repetitive crashes.

I taught myself, and you can too.

The Internet is a magnificent resource, and Google is your best friend when it comes to many things, including a way to find solutions to your technological woes. I’ve recently learned that Googling is actually a marketable skill. That is, finding relevant search results quickly using Google or another search engine. The key word there is relevant. Many people I know find Google baffling. They put in vague search terms, or worse, an entire sentence, and page with increasing frustration through dozens of irrelevant results, all while cursing the internet. Over the years, search engines have become smarter, so search terms can have a wider span now (and even be misspelled).

The next skill is quickly scanning the first 10 or so search results to see if your search terms are getting the result you need. If not, alter your terms based on what you see. For example, if you type in the words “Mac help,” and are getting results for Mac makeup rather than Mac computers (or vice versa), revise your search terms to “Mac computer help” or “Mac makeup help,” whichever is relevant to you. The more specific you are in your search terms, the better your results.

Let’s take a common reason people call in for technical support. I probably get more calls asking for help to wipe a hard drive, migrate data, or backup to Time Machine than any other topic. In fact, I recently wrote an article on these topics called “Travel Back in Time” and “The Great Data Migration.”

Still, if you wanted to find additional help and step-by-step directions on how to do exactly what you want, Google will help you find it. Like “transfer data from pc to mac” or “erase hard drive mac.”


Perhaps we can create a new proverb:

“Google it for someone, and you solve their technical issue for a day; teach someone to Google, and you’ll solve their technical woes for a lifetime.”

Still, if you don’t feel like Googling it yourself, I am more than happy to help. Like I said, it’s my favorite part of the job, and it’s what I’m here for! Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any of your concerns, questions, or frustrations. Besides, if you get too good at Googling technical solutions for yourself, I’ll be out of a job!


ChristineChristine is a Technical Support Specialist and Content Writer for PowerMax. Follow her articles as she takes you “Behind the Sasquatch: A Look Inside PowerMax,” an inside look at the day-to-day operations from the perspective of a Woman in Tech. She’ll also post great Tech Tips, helping you get the most of your Mac apps as well as write about some common technical issues and how to fix them. Finally, Christine will periodically post some Tutorials that teach readers how to do things like make podcasts and iPhone apps. Find what you’re looking for in the categories on the right. 

If you have a tech question or issue, please don’t hesitate to contact Christine for help.

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