The 3 Ghosts of Christmas Family “Techspertise”

If you are your family’s resident geek, you get a lot of tech-related questions. They can range from tech support to questions about what you think the future of tech looks like. Here are a selection of questions of holidays past, present and future you either have encountered or will encounter, and some possible answers for each.

Questions of Holidays Past

What virus scan software do you use? I was asked this question so many times I had to come up with an answer for the PCs in my life. So I looked around, and thankfully, Patrick Norton on The Screen Savers (yes, that long ago) once reviewed AVG Free, so I tried it on an XP (s msft) machine and started answering “AVG” when asked this question. On a Mac (s aapl), well that’s a different story entirely.

How often do you defrag your hard drive? While a common practice on Windows, I haven’t performed this task very often on Mac, at least not in the same way as on a PC.  I do recommend executing the Disk Utility’s “Repair Disk Permissions” as well as purchasing a tool like Micromat’s TechTool Pro.  Keep in mind that if you did purchase AppleCare, then you did get the deluxe version of Micromat’s TechTool product.

My hard drive crashed and I don’t have a backup; what can I do? In most cases, nothing, you’re out of luck.  It’s always good to have a solid backup strategy.  Here’s an area where there are a lot of options on a Mac like Mozy, Carbonate, Backblaze or CrashPlan. Some options like Time Machine are very easy to set up and use, not to mention it ships free with every Mac.

Questions of Holidays Present

When do you think the iPhone will be on Verizon? The new Mac vs PC battle has been replaced with the Android (s goog) vs iOS battle.  Many have speculated that this battle is really an extension of the AT&T (s t) vs Verizon (s vz) battle, which Verizon already really won a long time ago.  While AT&T’s exclusivity isn’t going to last forever, it’s still not certain when exactly other carriers will be selling the iPhone.

What apps should I get for my iPad? The market between smartphone and laptop is, at least for the time being, totally owned by the iPad.  For me personally, the best apps for the iPad are for the kids. Perhaps productivity is more your thing, or games, but there are just too many out there to say what’s best for all.  The best accessory for the iPad is an Apple TV, and then the best app would be Apple’s own Remote.

Do you really get eleven hours of battery life? Yes, yes we do.  Well, some of us at least.  Those of us running iPads and those of us not running Flash on the new MacBook Air. While the iPad is advertised at being able to watch videos for ten hours straight, others have been able to keep their Macbook Air running for just about as long.

Question of Holidays Future

What ever happened to Google’s (s goog) Android? This isn’t to say Android won’t exist in the future, because it will. Rather, I think it’ll less and less be Google’s Android alone. It’s very likely we’ll start seeing greater divides between device manufactures, carriers, marketplaces and even the third-party apps themselves.  Not even Google has it straight about where and when to use Android and where and when to use Chrome OS.

So this holiday season, when you’re asked for your assistance or opinion, give it freely. The time is coming when the average consumer will know enough about Apple to carry on an informed discussion anyway.  What sort of questions do you think you’ll be asked this holiday season, and what are some of your favorites from times past?

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