How To Guide: Stress Free Gadget Set Up

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Once the wrapping paper is piled in the corner and the toys have been wrestled from their packaging, you’ll realize that now you have to figure out how to get all your new gadgets and gizmos set up and configured. Talk about a post-holiday letdown. Before you send your spouse out to quiz the neighborhood teenagers about their experience with electronics configuration, there are some great online how to guides to help you get all of your new holiday loot up and running, without turning to the leftover eggnog for comfort.

Whenever I’m tempted to throw an overly cryptic user manual across the room, I turn to eHow, a site boasting over two million free how-to videos and articles. I’ve found that video tutorials are far easier to follow and recreate at home than a list of instructions, no matter how detailed. They have an extensive list of categories, including computers, computer software and electronics. Their electronics section covers everything from cell phones to TVs to cameras, but before you attempt to navigate the dizzying list of articles in each category, use the search box to find articles and videos specifically suited to what you need. The article “How To Set Up Kinect for Xbox 360” provides you with numbered step-by-step instructions for set up, including a video and additional links you may find helpful, such as how to set up a wireless controller or calibrate your Kinect sensor. While these helpful resources are free, the site is not advertisement-free. Be careful that you’re clicking on a site generated video or article, not an ad that will lead you to a different website.

For a more technical resource you can trust to be thorough and accurate, look no further than CNET. There’s a how-to section covering phones, tablets, computers, and home theater, and their reviews of products and articles are typically very detailed. Their tech experts test products and create tutorials to help consumers get the most out of their gadgets. Some of their how-to’s are in article format, while others describe a step-by-step process, and they suggest links to additional topics that you might find helpful. Once you review the article about how to set up your HDTV, you can explore why even if you set it up properly, your TV may not be displaying the image in HD (often it’s because you need to get an HD package through your cable or satellite company). Most articles have a video or contain detailed pictures to add to the experience. The only drawback is that the selection is more limited than eHow, but what they do cover involves less advertising than most other free resource sites.

If you find yourself struggling with a really specific problem that general articles and how to guides aren’t able to navigate you through, check out Youtube before spending several hours on the phone with the manufacturer’s tech support. A simple search for how to set up an X-Box Kinect yielded 2,000 results. The volume of material contained within YouTube allows you to use very specific search parameters. Search for the specific model number of the product you’re having trouble with and you’re still likely to find a video that can help you with your issue. Heck, the likelihood that someone else in the world has had the same problem you’re having is pretty high, right? One word of caution: no one screens content for accuracy. While ‘Joe’ may have had the same issue you are struggling with, there’s no guarantee that the solution he’s suggesting won’t destroy your device or your home’s wiring, so don’t try anything that seems shady.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the manufacturer’s website. Many now offer a Live Chat option so that you can talk to someone right away, and there’s often a user generated frequently asked question or blog section.

If you’re still considering sending your new tablet back to the store, drop us a note at We can help you find the resources to get your toys to toe the line.

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Ryan from Nerds On Call. And today, we’re gonna talk about stress-free gadget set-up.

Now, one of my favorite times of year is Christmas, when I get a bunch of new gadgets and I get to rip through them and set them all up. I can spend hours, if not days, getting a new iPad running just the way I want. But most people aren’t like that. So, you need to find online resources to help you out. Well, one of the best places we like to go is There, you’ve got how-to videos from subjects on how to set up an iPad or a laptop, to how to back up your system, to how to set up that new HDTV.

Another great online resource is If you navigate to their how-to section, you can see all kinds of videos from how to use your smart phone better, how to take better pictures or which cameras to buy. Lastly, if we can’t find what we want on eHow or CNET, you can always go to good old YouTube. There, you’ll find homemade videos from all kinds of different people, showing you how to set up a home network, setting up your home theater system or even installing a car stereo. Finally, your last op can always be the manufacturer’s website. That’s the best way to find out how to set something up to manufacturer’s specs.