Friday, June 14, 2013

"My Internet Isn't Working"

Plugging in...

Or so the Tutor's client thought. Opening the Internet Explorer produced an error message, can't view page, something most users have seen from time to time. The client was attempting to open Windows Live Mail to check email. It was set as the homepage and had been working just fine. The key to the problem came from the client: "I found a way around the error and could get to the email". That was telltale: it can't be an Internet problem if one can "find a way around" and get to any other web address.

Two things occurred to create this perfect email storm.

The first: Microsoft has migrated their hotmail and Windows Live Mail accounts to Which led directly to the second thing: the web address for the mail had changed, but Internet Explorer didn't know that. Upon opening the Internet Explorer the error message flummoxed the user and an assumption was made that the Internet wasn't working. The problem was the homepage address set in Internet Explorer no longer worked, because MICROSOFT had changed the address to get to the mail. Kind of like when you move: this was an electronic return to sender, address unknown message.

So, when you open your browser to go onto the Internet, and the page you normally see does not display, do not panic. Go to ANY OTHER favorite or web address to see if it will display. If you are successful, the problem is the HOMEPAGE doesn't work, but the Internet is fine. In addition, if you have more than one browser on the computer (Chrome, Firefox), open it to see if you can go "online". If none of these works, still don't panic, call the Computor Tutor!

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, can you go to other web pages, and is it turned on?


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers?

Plugging in...
Although this tale of almost woe is about an iPhone, the moral of the story applies to most portable electronics.

Saturday night and the dinner was fine. Upon strolling back to the car, a familiar site stared up at the Tutor from the sidewalk. A homeless iPhone, uninjured, but alone, and frightened, begging for a place to call home. Not just any pocket, but preferably the one it fell out of.

We've all seen iPhones, if we don't own one of the millions out there. Many look similar, especially when powered off. And therein lies the lesson. MANY LOOK THE SAME and have no visible or easily identifiable way of contacting the rightful owner. It isn't a question of IF this will happen to you, it's a question of WHEN. And will your iPhone be prepared so that a good samaritan can quickly and easily locate you?

This phone was more the norm. No visible ID on the exterior, not passwrod protected, no "IF FOUND CONTACT" information; no personal contact information in the Contacts list and no ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts in the Contacts list. Now the Tutor had to get a bit personal, looking at the email account settings for the email name, hoping that it wasn't a fun, interesting email name, but a name that one could associate an address or telephone number with. The email address looked like a legitimate name of a person who owned a business. Searched the Contacts list for others with the same last name. And the quest to re-unite began:

The Tutor sent an email to the phone owner as most who have phones also have computers they can check their email from. Copied that same email to the names in the Contact list that had the same last names as the owner. They should be relatives, you think? Called one of the same last name Contacts and spoke to the owner's aunt, in Florida, who said she would contact the owner and have him call his phone. Found a Facebook page for the suspected owner and sent a personal Facebook message to him, indicating that the Tutor had his iPhone, and that it was resting comfortably, not overly concerned anymore, since the sidewalk was no longer "home".

At 5:30am the following morning, the iPhone rang and rang. The Tutor did not sleep with the iPhone nearby and it was disturbing to be called at 5:30am on a Sunday morning. Turns out, it wasn't a phone call... it was the phone's daily alarm. Appears the owner is an early-bird. Note to phone finders: check the clock/alarm and turn it off. Several hours later, the phone rang again, and it was the owner calling. A plan to reunite was contracted. Fortunately, the phone owner was geograhpically local to the phone finder. The iPhone was nearly as thrilled as the owner when they were re-united.

The Tutor prepared several pages of suggested identification strategies that were given to the iPhone owner along with the iPhone. Any bets on the implementation of one or all of the strategies?? How many good samaritans would have spent the time to find the rightful owner?

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, is it LABELED, and is it turned on?


Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Touching" the Monitor

Plugging in...

Who knew that plugging a new, touch monitor into a power source could be so "touchy" - every pun intended.

Some of the new computer monitors no longer have retractable on/off buttons, or rocker style on/off switches. The ON button is no longer a button, but a graphic of an on/off button that one lightly touches with a finger and presumably that is all it takes to ignite the monitor to full on power.

Having worked with monitors for many years, the premise is simple: attach the cable from the monitor to the computer, attach the three-prong power cord from the computer to the power source (usually a power strip or a surge protected power strip), make sure the computer is on, press the power button to turn on the monitor. Yet, it was not so simple for this one client, with two monitors.

A new monitor, a new desktop computer, a new power strip. Power to the strip, check; everything plugged in, check; electricity on in house, check. Monitor on? Nope. Touch on button, nothing. Press lightly, hold, check power cords, take plastic panel with power button graphic off, use various implements to press power source. Nada. Call vendor, return monitor, get replacement monitor. Vendor claimed the monitor worked fine when returned, no problem with the "touch" mechanism. The vendor sent a replacement monitor. And we repeated the sequence: power to the strip, check; everything plugged in, check; electricity on in house, check. Monitor on? Nope. Touch on button, nothing. Press lightly, hold, check power cords. Another nada. Call vendor again. They slowly, and politely begin to explain no "pressing" is necessary (yes, we know, and no, we are not under-educated in touch technology).

The Tutor decides to try one more thing. Instead of plugging the monitor into the brand new, working power strip, the monitor is plugged directly into the electrical outlet. Voila - the touch mechanism works perfectly. The Tutor tries the power strip again (it is new, and everything else plugged into the strip powers on), no power to the monitor.

It appears that this monitor draws a tremendous amount of power, so much so, that the power strip was unable to accommodate the load required for the 21" monitor. Please tell us, dear vendor, where in the documentation for the monitor does it stipulate that a power strip MAY not be able to provide ample power to the monitor? One simple sentence is all we ask.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: before calling for help - is it plugged in, did you try an outlet instead of a power strip, and is it turned on?