MOTHER’S DAY—Tech Treats just for Her

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California, (May, 2012) We’ve discovered that technology typically falls into two categories: that which makes our life easier (by making us more efficient, helping us to connect with loved ones, etc), or that which makes our life harder (by taking too much time to learn, use or master).  We’ve discovered that some of the items which fall into the first category for us might fall into the second category for mom.  This makes Mother’s Day a great opportunity to share the gift of time to help mom get comfortable with a procedure, web resource, or gadget that we know will make her life easier too.

Create it for Her:  There isn’t a mom we know that doesn’t want to be more connected with her kids or grandkids.  But taking the leap to create a social media profile through Facebook or Google+ may be a little daunting.  Consider creating an account for her.  You’ll need to have an email address to authenticate her profile.  Now may be a good time to establish a new spam-free email account for her as well.  Create her account, fill out her info, add a photo, and set her privacy settings so that she doesn’t have to discern what “friends-of-friends” means and determine whether or not they should see her comments.  Send out some friend requests to your siblings and her close buddies so that on Mother’s Day all you have to do is show her how to log in to see all of the photos and updates from her friends and family.

Show Her how:  Even if mom’s already stalking you on Facebook like the rest of the parents out there, there’s surely a process that she regularly calls you to walk her through.  Whether it’s how to transfer photos onto her computer, how to print out photos, how to video chat, how to run her antivirus or how to backup her data, consider creating a personalized video tutorial for her.

For the quick and easy approach, write yourself some notes so you don’t forget any important steps, set up your tripod and record away.  Mom won’t care that your video is unedited and shaky – she’ll get a kick out of watching you muddle through your tutorial.  If you have some time and a perfectionist nature, consider downloading a screen capture tool like Snagit from TechSmith (www.techsmith.com/snagit).  It will allow you to easily insert screen shots in your tutorial, even overlay active arrows and graphics to demonstrate where to click. While purchasing the software will set you back about $50, they offer a free trial.

If you’re not feeling especially photogenic, or the idea or creating a video is more than you want to take on, there are alternatives.  If you live near enough, carve out some time to sit with her to walk her through the process and leave behind a written reference guide.  Check online how-to resources like eHow and www.dummies.com to see if they have an easy to follow video or written walk through already created.  Make sure the demo matches up with her hardware and software though, or it could just make a somewhat difficult process even more complicated.

Help Her Save it:  We know mom has boxes of photos from before the days of digital cameras.   To ensure that they’re safe from the wear of time and possible loss, consider having some favorites scanned into a digital format.  Scanning images yourself is certainly an option if you have a photo quality scanner and some familiarity with photo correction software.  However, we like the ease of Scan Digital (www.scandigital.com).  For about $.50/image, they manually scan prints, slides or negatives, enhance and correct color to repair image degradation, and post your images online so that you can save them or print additional copies.  Photo processing is done in the U.S.  Services which require images be mailed overseas make me nervous about losing irreplaceable memories.  They also transfer videos and reel-to-reel film to digital format.  If you’re not sure what photos mom would want to immortalize, they offer gift certificates.

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 callnerds.com/andrea/.
About Nerds On Call: Established in a spare room in Redding, Calif., in March 2004, Nerds On Call offers on-site computer and laptop repair services to consumers and businesses. Nerds On Call provides trouble-shooting for PCs and Macs, home and office networks, printers, iPods® and MP3 players, handheld devices and cell phones, home theaters and game systems, and virtually every other form of digital entertainment. In 2009, 2010, & 2011 the company was named to Inc. magazine’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies. With 7 locations across California and Oregon, Nerds On Call serves more than 40,000 satisfied customers per year. For more information, visit callnerds.com or call 1-800-919-NERD.