Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio April
BY RODMAN MARYMOR, CMP, AND
JEFFREY RASCO, CMP
Handling Technical Difficulties
PC problems are invevitable; why not learn to solve
If you have a computer on your desk,
something is bound to go wrong sometime. Your PC won't boot up, the
software doesn't complete a calculation, you can't seem to send
documents to the printer the possible problems are endless.
If you're having a technical problem, remember the golden
rule of tech support: RTFM, or "read the fabulous manual." If that
doesn't help, the next best place to seek assistance (or sympathy)
is the manufacturer's Web site. Many have lists of FAQs (frequently
asked questions) or indexes of common problems and solutions.
Sometimes you can e-mail your problem to tech support. You
should get an answer within 24 hours.
WHEN THAT DOESN'T WORK....
Of course, you can't access a Web page if your hardware is on the
blink. Luckily, most computer products come with a convenient phone
number for support (sometimes even toll-free) printed in the manual
that you probably discarded with the box. Next time you buy
something, write that number down before recycling. If there's an
option to buy extra tech support when you purchase a
computer-related item, do it. That way, you're covered until you
get the hang of the new product.
Once you reach a real person, help is close at hand,
especially if you signed up for the service contract. If you
didn't, have your credit card ready. Then a friendly technician
will be glad to solve your problem or find another manufacturer to
blame and send you on to them for answers.
As a last resort, if you can't find the manual, the phone
number, the Web site or any other quick relief, call for local
help. Most computer retailers can point you to a highly paid
22-year-old consultant who will make a home or office visit and
have your problem resolved before you can say "$285 plus parts and
GET A GEEK
If your company has an information technology department, take a
different tack altogether. Every office, no matter what size,
should have a designated geek who is willing or able to fix
technical problems for everybody else. Bring him a double latte
with cinnamon every once in a while so he'll be happy to dole out
pearls that will keep your computer running smoothly.
The biggest problem in a small organization
is that the geek's role as tech support may be secondary to his
real job in sales or some other revenue-generating department.
Eventually, and inevitably, he won't have time to devote to his
real job, because he is spending all of his time resolving
technical dilemmas, calling manufacturer support folks and nipping
old problems in the bud by ordering new stuff. Finally a brand-new
position will be created for him and he'll be making more money
than you are.
ASK THE COMPUTER
You can always take a pre-emptive strike before yelling for help
by using one of the many diagnostic software packages like Norton
Utilities or Uninstaller to analyze and repair what is causing your
problems. You can also use the system tools in your accessories
folder and defragment or scan your ills away.
While this solution can sometimes have good results, you
must know what you're doing to get them to work. Again, RTFM. These
tools are software, after all, and you have to be able to figure
out how to make them work correctly before using them to fix
THROW MONEY AT IT
There is usually a remedy for just about everything that goes
wrong with computers. If you simply don't like the way something
works, you may need to trade it in buy the upgrade or a competing
product. If your computer reminds you of your aunt's old '64
Lincoln, get more RAM, or just buy a new computer. You'd be
surprised how much firepower $2,000 can put on your desk. If Web
pages appear on your screen like slugs crossing a sidewalk in
summer, get a faster modem or pay for extra bandwidth (ISDN, cable
modem or ADSL are the standards).
When it comes right down to it, no matter what's in your
computer arsenal, it won't be a useful weapon much longer. It will
break, become obsolete, or some new technology will come along that
you just can't live without. But that is the way things are today.
Learn all you can, plan for new developments, and you will always
lead the charge.Rodman Marymor, CMP, and
Jeffrey Rasco, CMP, are partners in San Francisco and Austin,
Texas-based HMR Associates, providing technology solutions for the
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