Where can you go when technology is not working for you?
Success with technology is a not necessarily of function of what you know already, but in knowing where to find it.
This is one list you are may want to tape to your fridge:
OK, there's something happening here, and you don't know what it is. WHATIS.COM is the leading online IT encyclopedia and learning centre. This week alone "VOIP" came up in conversation for me at least three times. I finally excused myself, ducked outside, and logged into WHATIS.COM on my Treo. I waltzed back into the meeting knowing full-well that VoIP (voice over IP) is an IP telephony term for a set of facilities used to manage the delivery of voice information over the Internet. Who knew?
Experts Exchange (www.experts-exchange.com)
This is my personal favourite. This site connects you to a large collection of geeks organized by technical specialty. You can ask them ANY question. They just love to answer your queries because they are awarded points for giving you the right answer. These geeks have points ratings the way eBay sellers do, and some of them have scores in the millions. Most of the time your question has already be asked and answered, so first look for a solution in the large archive of answered questions. This site is not free, but its the best place I know for help at deepest levels of technology. Most Google searches for tech issues will take directly to this site. It's that good.
Microsoft Support (http://support.microsoft.com/)
This should be your first stop if you need an Office or Windows solution. There is a huge knowledgebase you can search. If you want to take Microsoft support a step further check out the MVP (Most Valued Professional) sites. Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are recognized, credible and accessible individuals with expertise in one or more Microsoft® products who actively participate in online and offline communities to share their knowledge and expertise with other Microsoft customers.
Ask Dave Taylor( www.askDaveTaylor.com)
At the other end of the scale we have Dave Taylor, who is a just one guy with a web site. You can post a question about just about anything and he will answer it. You can even ask him how to limit the volume on your kid's iPod (there is a volume limit setting). Kind of like viewer email...
Speak with a Geek (www.speakwithageek.com/)
Maybe you just need to speak to someone. For a monthly fee of $34.95 you can have 24/7 access to high-level professional tech support, willing to work with you to solve almost anything. Another provider of this type of service is Computer Help SOS (http://www.computerhelpsos.com/).
Trend Micro (www.trendmicro.com)
In the "old days" most tech issues could be solved simply by restarting your computer. (It was a good thing they didn't fix airliners that way.) While I find Windows to be running a little better now chances are pretty good that the wonky behaviour of your system is due to adware or even worse, a virus. You can be infected even if you are running protection software like Norton Antivirus. I like Trend Micro's site, because they have online checks you can run for free, even if you only want a "second opinion".
A great tip site, dedicated to helping you manage your information and time. Editor Gina Trapani, coder and computer expert, saucily deciphers the latest in personal productivity technology and reveals the million ways hardware and software can improve our busy lives.
If you are considering any move in a technical direction then definitely check out one or more of these sites for all the buzz you need to know. Think of these three as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post of technology.
Geek Culture (www.geekculture.com)
In the words of Steven Covey, we should "seek first to understand, then to be understood". What better way to understand your own tech sherpa better than to check out THE site for geeks. They even have their own comic: "The Joy of Tech". And if you were wondering where to find that Matrix screensaver...