Going home for X-mas… to me it means family, most likely the extended family. People you might not spend so much time with anymore, in my case. I try to visit a couple of times every year, but X-mas is special. It’s a tradition, just like the annual airings of Donald Duck on X-mas morning. And another tradition is “Can you fix and/or update the computer(s)?” It’s not such a drag, but fixing computers is not the funniest thing to play around with either. Although finally we academics can make ourselves useful for something. More often than not, it’s a bit difficult to “fix” stuff. Is it drivers, errors, hardware, software, modems, firewalls, whatnot.
Of course, the owners of the computers are not that likely to be interested in maintaining their own computers, hence, the returning son is up for it. I have found a few useful things to help me out with things like this.
I usually install CCleaner (former crapcleaner), so that it’s easy for my parents or siblings to do a medium thorough clean-up. In addition, I install Ad-Aware and maybe Search & Destroy. They attack spyware, adware, and things like that. Another program I like is Revo Uninstaller – it’s very thorough and removes stuff other uninstallers don’t.
But what happens when you are not there…
When home, I go to ninite.com and make a tailored installfile (very easy!) for my relative. Just tick the software you want them have and what you know they already have. You download a small file, and tell your relative to run it once pr. month! This will then fetch the newest and updated versions of everything you have chosen, it skips toolbars and other crap, and just update what is needed. Pure genius. This is extremely handy when someone in your family gets a new computer!
On other occations it might be handy to control the computer of your relative remotely. Many options exist, Teamviewer LogMeIn etcetera. I landed on the free Crossloop Connect. Very simple to use. Your relative calls you tells the code the program gives you, and you input it on your computer. You then get their screen on your screen and can control their computer almost as if your own. (And head to java.com, because that is always were my relatives refuse to pay an interest! 🙂
So off we go, into 2012, hoping I can fix some more problems, and not only when I visit my parents 🙂 Happy new year!