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T O P I C R E V I E W
Posted - February 07 2008 : 01:06:42 Hello and welcome to podcast #6 for September 19, 2006. I’m your host, David Anderson. And no, I wasn’t on Willie Nelson’s bus when he got arrested, although someone with my name was. I see that Dell, and you know we’re no fan of theirs, has begun running ads for a service they call Dell Connect. These are interesting ads, showing a bicycle that arranges its parts into the exploded view to ease assembly, and some other images like that. But the ads have a line of fine print that may be missed… it says something to the effect that not all problems may be addressed with this service. I couldn’t find out what problems weren’t addressed on Dell’s website, but I can’t imagine they can solve problems related to accessing the Internet. This is one of the most common types of problem we get. What are the requirements for using this service? First, the computer must still be under warranty. Second, you must have a broadband Internet connection. Sorry, dial-up users. But is it necessary? Windows XP has a built-in facility called Remote Assistance that allows you to request help from anyone, not just your computer’s manufacturer. Most people don’t use the feature, even though it’s there. To access it, on your Windows XP computer, click “Start”, and then click “Help and Support”. At the top, under “Ask for Assistance” you should see “Invite a friend to connect to your computer with remote assistance” With this facility, as long as your Internet connection works, and isn’t behind a corporate firewall that prevents access, you can invite someone to help you and both of you see the same screen and chat in real time. With your permission, your friend can take over the mouse and keyboard to show you what to do. I don’t know for certain if dial-up is supported with remote assistance, but it doesn’t appear not to be. And, as always, with dial-up, be ready for it to be agonizingly slow.
Because of this facility built into Windows, and because more often than not, the kinds of problems we encounter here are of the “I can’t connect” variety, we haven’t implemented remote diagnosis & repair software. I really don’t expect that Dell’s offering will be that much more useful, even though the ads make it look good. Well, I hope this helped you. Call a friend and try the built-in remote assistance feature. Let us know how it turned out. Email your experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m David Anderson, thanks for listening.