Tech Support Phone Calls: Knowing What to Say – Online Backup Reseller Notes

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How to Talk to Tech Support

No matter how experienced you are with your computer and its programs, sooner or later, you’re going to call tech support.

Remember that what you say, and how you say it, are important factors in getting your problem solved quickly.

Here are some tips for efficient (and polite) interactions with tech staff.

1. Have the courtesy to do what should probably be obvious: Restart your computer. After restart, make sure you have no other programs opened, other than the one causing problems. Try to reproduce the problem.

2. Check for system and program upgrades and install them. Now try to reproduce the problem.

3. Write down what operating system you are using and the name of version of the software you are using. (“Windows” is not the answer to either question.)

4. Clarify in your mind exactly what the problem is. Lots of things might confuse you or concern you, but they are probably not the problem. You might think you know what the problem is, but try to state the symptoms first. Be prepared to state simply what the symptoms are.

On this point, remember that a simple statement is not the same as an empty statement. Do not contact tech support and say: It doesn’t work. That is not stating the problem. Do not attempt to make the tech support person play 20 questions with you before he can even get to the point of the call. You might find out that less-than-patient tech support persons can and will waste your time, too, and then nothing will be solved.

5. Remember that 99 percent of the time the problem is not with the computer or the program. The problem is most likely with the user. So, put your frustration aside, adopt a humble, business-like attitude, and treat your tech support person with respect.

6. Be open minded and patient. The support person likely will have several theories about solutions and will walk through them with you. Even if you have used the program or computer for years and never had this problem, try to be open to possible solutions the tech support person offers. You may have never, ever had a problem with your CD drive, but it is at least possible that today is the day you are having one.

7. Offer context when it seems relevant. If you just added new hardware to your computer, and your problem is with the computer, tell this to the tech support person. If you opened an email attachment, and now you are having problems, tell this to tech support.

8. Stow the attitude. Accusing support of dishonesty, incompetence or suspicious lineage, doesn’t solve the problem.

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How to Increase Your Chances of Surviving a Disaster – Online Backup Reseller Notes

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Surviving a Disaster

How will you respond to a fire or natural disaster? Some people freeze and do nothing. Others refuse to believe its seriousness in the important moments after it happens or it begins.

  • When fire strikes, people who have taken part in fire drills are more likely to survive, especially if the fire is in a large building. Just knowing where the stairs are can be an advantage.

In the Twin Towers, Rick Rescorla of Morgan Stanley security insisted on fire drills from their 73rd floor offices. People didn’t like them, but on Sept. 11 he was able to lead his people out.

When fire broke out in the Beverly Hills Supper Club near Cincinnati, most of those inside continued to sip their drinks even as they were warned to leave. Club employees did what they could to move people out, but 168 died. Always consider an exit plan. Use it.

  • When it comes to a natural disaster, preparing for the kinds that could strike your area is basic. Leadership can fall to you, so be prepared with a plan. Urge people to go to a shelter when a flood, tornado or hurricane is predicted.
  •  On board a ship or ferry, listen carefully to emergency instructions. Know how to put on your life jacket and know more than one way from your stateroom to the upper deck. Sometimes, passengers refuse to believe a ship is sinking and do nothing.
  • Most airplane crashes are survivable. Listen to the safety instructions so you get out as quickly as possible in an emergency. Stewardesses are now told to shout, “Get out! Get out!”

The best way to improve your performance in an emergency is to practice. If you live in a tall building, take the stairs occasionally so you know how to do it. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, have a suitcase ready and make a plan for evacuating.

Read The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why by Amanda Ripley.

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September is National Preparedness Month – Online Backup Reseller Notes

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Online Backup – Is Your Customer Data Prepared?

No part of the country is immune to natural or man-made disasters.

During September, the Department of Homeland Security joins with national, state, and local agencies to encourage Americans to prepare their homes for disasters of all kinds. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), engaging citizens in disaster preparedness is a critical first step in effective response and recovery efforts.

In other words, if you know what to do when a disaster is predicted, what to do when it occurs, and what to do afterward, you will be in a better position to save yourself and your home before help arrives.

While there are obvious differences in preparing for a hurricane and preparing for a forest fire, but there are similarities in preparedness for all types of disasters. You should know where you will go to escape, what your mode of transportation will be, and when you should leave. (It’s never a good idea to let your car be almost out of gas.)

Assemble important documents to take with you including copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account numbers. Use a waterproof container and include some cash.

It may not be necessary to leave your home. Do what you can in advance of a storm or earthquake to make it safer. Remember the basics of survival: water, food, clean air, and warmth.

Consider the amount of water and non-perishable food your family will need to stay in place without power for at least three or four days. Always have extra batteries for portable radios. Use cellphones sparingly so they last.

For peace of mind, your important computer data and customer data should be backed up offsite.  Online backup proves to be a great disaster recovery option as your files are stored safely in another geographic location.

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No Idle CPUs! – Online Backup Reseller Notes

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Your Computer Can Help Humanity

Do you know what your computer is up to while you are at work or school?

If your online backup is complete, it is probably just standing by or sleeping the day away when it should be working. Not to worry. Lots of new projects on the Web will keep your computer off the streets and out of trouble when you are gone.

First, your computer can help in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). All you have to do is download some software and when you aren’t using your computer, it will be busy analyzing 107-second slices of radio telescope noise.

The noise, which originates from a radio telescope in Peru, is part of the SETI project in Berkley, Calif., which searches constantly for ET, under the assumption that ET is using a radio to search for us. Go to setiathome.com.

If space is your bag, you can also put your computer to work searching for spinning neutron stars (pulsars).

The Einstein-At-Home project uses data from gravitational wave detectors. Headed by University of Wisconsin professor of physics Bruce Allen, this is a World Year of Physics 2005 project. Go to einstein.phys.uwm.edu.

For those more concerned about affairs at home, your computer can help predict the climate in the 21st century. In this project, you download a “climate model” and watch world weather patterns evolve. This project attempts to predict global warming and its consequences. Go to climateprediction.net.

 

 

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Microsoft Unveils New Email Service – Online Backup Reseller Notes

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Outlook.com – Email Services in the Cloud

The new Outlook.com service aims to reduce email clutter while giving users a one-stop shop for not only sending and receiving email but also engaging with peers via outside services, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Add to that, integration with Microsoft’s Office Web Apps, SkyDrive, and Skype coming in the near future.

It gives business users a taste of what’s coming in Outlook 2013. The new service pushes Microsoft’s Hotmail to the back burner as the company tries to increase its share of users. Hotmail presently has 41 million, which makes them third behind Gmail with 68 million and Yahoo Mail with 84 million users. Microsoft downplays ads in its new service. Social integration is a big part of the experience. You can populate your address book with friends from Facebook, Twitter and others. Status updates and tweets are visible in a side panel, and Microsoft plans to let you make Skype video calls from your inbox.

Outlook.com is tied into free Web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note, letting you make edits from your inbox, says Edward Baig, USA Today’s tech guru. Microsoft is giving Outlook.com users unlimited email storage and up to 7GB of storage on its SkyDrive cloud service.

Google, meanwhile, has brought Google+’s popular Hangout video-chat tool to Gmail, along with new features enabling users to share screens, collaborate on documents, and view YouTube videos together. These deeper ties among Gmail, Google+, and Google Apps mark a big step in the company’s overall ambition of providing a more integrated and personalized Google experience.

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