FTC shuts down massive “PC cleaner” scam

Every year, tens of thousands of consumers spend millions of dollars on services that purport to “clean” their computers, and protect them from spyware and malware. In reality, many of these services are elaborate scams involving fake tech support and sleazy tele-marketers.

Survey says: Apple customer service a secret weapon

I dropped my iPhone 4 from three stories up. Less than a day later, I walked out of the Apple Store in Philadelphia with a brand new iPhone 4. The journey to get there was very impressive and partially explains, anecdotally, how Apple keeps customers.

Supporting Millennials in the enterprise

We surveyed 400 of the newest generation, the Millennials, ages 20 through 29, on their attitudes and behavior around at-work technology and tech support, communications preferences and problem-solving styles. Here are the trends IT needs to address to make these workers productive and avoid potential problems.

Supporting Millenials in the workplace

There’s a shift happening in the workplace. A significant and growing proportion of the workforce is now made up of “Millennials” But how can businesses support Millenials at work; how do they expect to communicate, collaborate and get things done?

Apple “Genius Squad” in the Works?

Over at Patently Apple, Jack Burcher Purcher reports that Apple (s aapl) is applying for a trademark called “Joint Venture.” The trademark application indicates that this will most likely be some kind of new service offering by Apple. Might Apple start providing on-site service just like Best Buy’s (s bby) Geek Squad?

The key clauses in the patent application seem to indicate this just might be the case:

“International Class 037: Maintenance, installation and repair of computer hardware, computer peripherals, computer networks, and consumer electronic devices; information, advisory and consultancy services relating to all the aforesaid.”
“International Class 042: Technical support and consulting services pertaining to computer hardware, computer peripherals, computer software and consumer electronics; troubleshooting and computer diagnostic services for computer hardware, computer peripherals, computer software and consumer electronic devices; consulting services in the field of selection, implementation and use of computer hardware and software systems for others.”

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How-To: Remotely Support Your Parents with Screen Sharing

We’ve all been in the situation. Your mother calls you with a computer problem and you know it’s going to take at least an hour to walk her through the steps over the phone. Then she yells at you when you sigh out of frustration.

If you have parents who use Macs then these calls happen less often but they still happen and usually at the worst time. This is how I use iChat and Snow Leopard’s Screen Sharing app to remotely control my parents computer and quickly solve their dilemmas.

Apple’s Screen Sharing is based on VNC and it is very powerful. Generally to remotely control a machine, you need to configure the host machine and open ports on the firewall. The genius behind Apple’s solution is that they use iChat to initiate the session and no other configuration is necessary. If you can talk them through setting up iChat for their account, you’re home free. Read More about How-To: Remotely Support Your Parents with Screen Sharing

How to Prevent Tech Support Nightmares

456956_call_centre_daveFrom our hardware and software, to our telecom subscriptions, there are many aspects of our web working lives that may require us to contact tech support at some point; sometimes you can’t be your own tech support. Since I have many friends that work as tech support agents, I hear many stories about customers who make the problem worse or blame everything on the agent. Frustrating as it may be sometimes, resolving a tech issue works both ways. The support staff has to provide you with solutions, but at the same time, you need to make it easy for them to do so. Here are some tips on how you can do that: Read More about How to Prevent Tech Support Nightmares

Web Work 101: Be Your Own Tech Support

Hammered phone I’m not suggesting you crack open your computer to fix it, but with a few of the tactics outlined in this post you can solve many of your computer problems on your own.
Besides, wouldn’t you rather solve your problems instead of waiting for a live support person to pick up the phone and sweeten you up, telling you how important you are and how the company wants to provide you with the very best service possible. Yadda yadda … just ask me what my problem is already!
Here are 10 steps to becoming your own Mr. or Ms. Fix-it: Read More about Web Work 101: Be Your Own Tech Support

Does Intuitive + Easy = Dumb and Dumber?

512 Finder LeopardThere is a problem with making technology – particularly computers – easy to use. The simpler and more foolproof they become, the less technically-proficient users tend to be. There’s that line from Rick Cook’s 1989 book The Wizardy Compiled; “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”

Apple (s aapl) has made usability and user-experience a core part of the design philosophy in everything they produce (Well, almost everything. That’s right, I’m looking at you, MobileMe web apps). Mac OS X and, more obviously, the iPhone OS are shining beacons of the right way to design user-friendly, accessible, easy-to-use software. Read More about Does Intuitive + Easy = Dumb and Dumber?