For anyone who provides free tech support to their entire family...

I found what I am about to show you (not the cat- that's just to grab your attention) a good few yonks ago, but couldn't remember where and I've been searching on-and-off in the interim. Today, though, it popped up as if by magic while I was playing with my new Stumbleupon* account.

My phone number is an unofficial technical support hotline for various branches of family. Some weekends seem to be little more than house calls to multiple relatives to sort out wireless routers, photo printers, mobile apps, email issues and CD player 'play' buttons. I honestly don't mind sorting out these issues and, in the case of the more difficult ones, I actually kind of enjoy it, though I'd never admit that in public. One** thing winds me up, though, and that's someone hovering around behind me asking what the problem is and how to fix it. This annoys me for two reasons:

  1. If they had the experience and associated knowledge and understanding to make any sense of the words I would have to use to explain the problem and its solution, I wouldn't be there trying to work out what the problem is and how to fix it. They'd be doing it themselves. This is nothing to do with intelligence or lack thereof; it's simply an issue of a pathway of interest and experience that is orthogonal to any that they have any intention of ever travelling.
  2. A lot of the time I don't know what the problem is. I don't know what the solution will be. I am making it up as I go along. I am doing things based on a combination of interest, experience, gathered knowledge and, by way of looking at the words, pictures and symbols displayed on screens and buttons, a hefty dollop of common sense.
So, with this in mind, I post something originally posted by the genius behind XKCD***, The Tech Support Cheat Sheet:

I am so, so tempted to print out a job lot of these, laminate them, and hand them out to my entire extended family.

* If you stumble, please follow me (I'm TeaKayB, funnily enough, and I'll follow you back if you let me know you've done so) and "like" this page or any of my other posts if you think they're any good!
** Actually, there are two main things. The other one is the implicit expectation that I'll drop everything I'm doing to go and sort out problems that can often be solved simply by gaining proficiency in the use of on/off switches or remembering, after innumerable reminders, that the little triangly symbol is understood across four galaxies to mean 'play'.
*** "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language"


  1. I have seen that XKCD before - have been tempted to stick it up in strategic locations at work!

  2. I've seen something, somewhere, in the form of a letter, too. I can never find it, though...

  3. i spent most of wed putting a linux os on my housemates laptop... or more accurately trying to get his wi fi to connect after i d put the new os on... after 6 hours we both agreed that getting drunk would be more fun and gave up... the thing i want to know is, why would anybody ask a flippin technophobic artist to sort their computer out?!? i dont even own a tv and i ve still got a cassette tape walkman!!

  4. No TV and a cassette walkman doesn't necessarily indicate technophobia; more often a love of retro! And getting someone else to do technical stuff for you is usually an indication of a combination of laziness and lack of confidence on the part of the asker and a willingness to try stuff out and a love of thinking about things on the part of the do-er.


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