This week’s tech tip is in response to all the telephone calls, emails and anxious faxes I’ve received requesting tech support – not from Certified Legal Nurse Consultants, but from my parents. Prices on computers keep falling and some legal nurse consultants out there may have succumbed to the temptation of purchasing your parents a computer for the holidays or at the sales that follow. If you haven’t yet done the deed, you may want to think twice or even three times about it.
Here’s the Tech Tip for this week: DON’T BUY YOUR PARENTS A COMPUTER UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO BE THEIR HELP DESK FOR LIFE! If you have the time to leave your legal nurse consulting business at a moment’s notice, live close enough to drop in 3-4 times a day and explain how to stop pop-ups, patch programs, where to type a URL, download an Adobe® Flash update or find a lost LOLcat, then go for it. Otherwise, a reasonable alternative is to consider purchasing them a third-party tech support service agreement from a local (to them) computer company or a national service such as GeekSquad. You’ll need to check out the rate sheets but this may be more economical. This will help avoid any additional causes or symptoms of FDD (family dysfunctional disorder). You might even consider a similar plan for your own legal nurse consulting business.
I thought buying a computer for my parents would be a nice gesture and it was well received. My parents can get online, stay in touch with their friends, spend hours each day learning rumors, watching YouTube and LOLing at LOLcats. In return, I get to spend a good part of any visit to my parents’ home patching up, cleaning out and generally servicing their computer. I also get photos of my niece and nephew printed on regular paper with the dregs of their last color cartridge instead of photo prints (my niece apparently has a bad case of jaundice to judge from her color in the photos). Plus there’s the added bonus of talking to my parents more often, getting lots of questions about how to format a Word® document, how to get on and off the Internet and how to pay for their antivirus program as well as their Internet service provider.
With great deals on computers, any Certified Legal Nurse Consultant considering a computer purchase for their parents should first take into consideration their age and then their computing ability. I have friends whose young-ish parents could tech-support circles around me and others whose parents have trouble using a cell phone. You have to decide which category your parents are in.
You also have to remember that computers are now shipping with Windows 7 and if you’ve never used it, you may have trouble supporting it. You could have it dropped back down to XP® which may make things easier for you (that’s what my parents are running). One last tip is to sign them up for a computer course at a local community center or community college, although that may generate more questions than answers.
Remember, a computer is a gift that keeps on giving (and taking and taking).