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RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: September 18, 2023 10:47AM
First off, I do love my mother dearly and she is doing very well for being almost 83.

A couple of weeks ago we picked a NOS M1 MacBook when we realized she was limping along on a MBA from 2015. The migration went super smooth and everything was working just fine until three days ago when Messages started asking for her Apple ID info again. FaceTime did the same.

Mom does get confused as to when her mac wants the machine password versus her Apple ID password. I'm guessing she repeatedly tried her machine password. This freaked out the iCloud system and within a day she say she changed her Apple ID password a half dozen times. This is all before she called me.

Mom live about two hours away in a small town that is barely a blip on the map. Typically I use screen sharing via Messages to give tech support. But since she can't log in with her Apple ID, that is not an option. Also, she has never used or installed Zoom.

Consequently, it's been hours of phone based tech support trying to talk her through troubleshooting.
The whole time she gets distracted by an email arriving or a visitor at the door or her dogs barking at something. Love you mom!

Checked off all of the boxes: log out of everything, log back in; create a new user on her machine and try logging in on that user; delete various preferences. None of that worked. Side note...if you have not experienced the fun of talking Mom through using the Go To Folder option to find preferences and then locating specific items to delete...not for the faint of heart!

What did work was creating a new user on my laptop and logging in with her credentials.

I did have Mom call Apple support and she has gone through the first two levels. An engineer is scheduled to call her back today. Also I have a buddy that is an Apple engineer and he has also offered me a lot of coaching on things to try. Overall we have put about 5 hours in on the phone so far.

Honestly, due to a number of issues, Mom really needs to in independent living situation and soon assisted living. I have pointed out several times this week how much easier this would be if she were in Reno and I could be there in 30 minutes to help, and have access to the Apple store. But as is with most parents, they are petrified of giving up what they have. Mom has neuropathy in her feet and poor balance so walking is difficult and very poor eyesight. She shouldn't be driving, but does as it's the only way to survive in her small town. Several of her older friends also rely on her to help.

We shall see how things go with the Apple engineer today, but my guess is I will have to go over tomorrow to do a clean reinstall of her system. Super fun when DSL is the fastest speed available for running updates!

Thanks for listening to my rant. I just needed to vent.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: September 18, 2023 11:10AM
I did some freelance tech support 15+ years ago when my fulltime office job vanished, replaced by whatever freelance jobs they could use me for.

My tech support clients were two neighbors who were nowhere near your mom's age, but doing the support quickly became torture because they were not at all computer-literate, had lousy instincts about it, and didn't want to learn anything. It would have been 10 times more painful trying to get things done remotely. I don't know how phone support people manage to keep their sanity.

It does sound like your mom needs to be in a community where she would not be dependent on having a car (among other things she may need). Do any small towns out in the Heartland offer any sort of elder transport? It seems like there could be substantial demand for it.

Good luck sorting it all out.



My life goes smoothly and in regular intervals
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 18, 2023 11:21AM
I was my mom's tech support too, except her tech was pretty much limited to TV remotes. One of my fondest memories (though not at the time) involved driving 2+ hours after work to her place only to discover the issue was that her TV had come unplugged. That was followed by the drive home the same night.

I'd drive twice as far to see here again. All I can say is enjoy the annoyance, you'll miss it.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias

The German word for contraceptive is “Schwangerschaftsverhütungsmittel”. By the time you finished saying that, it’s too late
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: September 18, 2023 11:23AM
Quote
ka jowct
Do any small towns out in the Heartland offer any sort of elder transport?

LOL...there is a "senior van" but the service is totally unreliable. Instead Mom does the driving for about 5 of her friends. So she is the alternative senior transportation.

emoticon-animal-022

Thanks for the note KJ



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: September 18, 2023 11:31AM
I've found this meme to be a pretty accurate representation of trying to help someone with computing...
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: mattkime
Date: September 18, 2023 11:40AM
I completely understand. Does she have a will / trust and PoA in order?

I've come to the conclusion that most people would rather die independent than to live dependent. At least thats the choice they make even as unfortunate events become more and more likely.

Generally speaking, its a good idea to get into senior living before its absolutely necessary, but not everybody wants to do that.



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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: rgG
Date: September 18, 2023 11:58AM
Been there, done that.
I feel your pain.

To this day, the word “nada” is a trigger for me, as my MIL would use that as the answer to most of my tech support questions. Nada, doesn’t really give one much to go on.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: September 18, 2023 12:31PM
It sounds like it would be wise to have a backup remote access plan for when something like this happens. TeamViewer is the remote desktop access product we use here at work. It offers Mac and Windows versions as well as web-based access.

[www.teamviewer.com]



It is what it is.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Diana
Date: September 18, 2023 12:40PM
Currently there. And I feel you.

Mom’s needs have boiled down to her iPad (two of them, and you never know which one nor which OS), an ancient iPhone (but changes to things are problematic for her), an AppleTV (ancient, but she never watches it and the instructions she had me write out for it are lost/thrown away).

She’s about 35-45 minutes away on the other side of the City; she has no patience and so if something happens you don’t know what state things will be in when you get there, nor what she may have done. She can’t remember. AppleID vs passcode vs password, two-factor authentication… all confuses her and frustrates her.

Please don’t set up 2FA! Disaster will occur.
“I wish Apple…” followed by me saying that these things keep your stuff safe, like your banking safe from people who would steal your money through the internet.

She has changed the AppleID password before, which necessitates logging everything out of the old and back in with the new. Not THAT big a thing if I’m there, but nearly impossible if I’m not. And if she isn’t using something it will get “forgotten” until she sees it again.

Good times :/
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: raz
Date: September 18, 2023 01:00PM
My Mom's 91 and going strong. The tech support calls are about once/month - mostly at the level of "why did the window get smaller".

I count my blessings.



--------------

Embarassing myself on the Internet since 1978.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Numo
Date: September 18, 2023 01:06PM
Thanks for listening to my rant. I just needed to vent.

Anyone who has ever been in your situation will freely forgive your rant. Hats off to you - in the end, you’ll never regret what you have done.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 18, 2023 01:10PM
We understand. My sister and I were Mom's tech support for decades. Rule #1... Mom got a Mac. Family Tech support for a Windows machine is several quantum levels worse.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: vicrock
Date: September 18, 2023 01:15PM
I'm facing the same with my sister who is 89. Fortunately one of her grandsons helps her when he comes home from college for a weekend. I'll be visiting soon - she lives clear across the country - and think I'll try setting up a remote access on her computer - so thanks for the teamviewer referrral!
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: September 18, 2023 02:03PM
My dad was talking about getting a computer when he was in his mid-80s. Fortunately, that never went anywhere.



My life goes smoothly and in regular intervals
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Don C
Date: September 18, 2023 03:11PM
Dad was retired when internet came to Baraboo, WI and he might well have been the first customer to sign up. I am pretty sure that access was a phone dial modem. I totally crashed his mailbox (and with it internet access) when I sent a photo that was too large for the system to handle (I was new to it all too). Fortunately, the tech guys liked him and made the 4 minute drive to his house to sort it out. I think they made several visits while he and they learned how to get it all running smoothly.

My brother would periodically make the 3 hour drive to visit for a weekend and would do tech support for him.

Hope you can take care of Mom without too much additional pain.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: September 18, 2023 03:37PM
I recently made this for my mom b/c her version of how things are connected (or not in many cases) are the "thing" isn't plugged into the other "thing". Not to mention HOW they are plugged into each other (or not in many cases).





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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: RgrF
Date: September 18, 2023 04:26PM
Quote
bazookaman
I recently made this for my mom b/c her version of how things are connected (or not in many cases) are the "thing" isn't plugged into the other "thing". Not to mention HOW they are plugged into each other (or not in many cases).

You have much confidence in your mom, good for both of you.

Both sides of the coin here. For the first decades of Mac I was the go to source as family members either got their first or switched from PC. That started to wane by the time the oldest grandson was in college. I was less and less willing to take on new learning curves, today he resolves Mac issues for me.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: September 18, 2023 04:56PM
One of my tech support clients was very upset one day because her documents sometimes looked different when other people viewed them on their systems. I explained that they would need to have the same fonts on their computer that she had used in her document. She also inserted hard returns to make things look exactly as she wanted on her computer, so of course when font substitution occurred on someone else's computer, the text was sometimes reflowed and ended up with hard returns in the middle of sentences, etc. She was close to tears over this news about how fonts worked, that different fonts had different letter widths, etc.

Nothing I explained to her ever stuck, except maybe the font thing.



My life goes smoothly and in regular intervals



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/18/2023 04:56PM by ka jowct.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: jh
Date: September 18, 2023 06:13PM
My sister's son lives a few miles from her and works in tech support for a large firm. He tells her to get me to help her with her problems (Macs, iPads, iPhone, etc is not her forte)

Having her live next door to me helps me tremendously. wiggle smiley
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: numbered
Date: September 18, 2023 06:14PM
Quote
vicrock
so thanks for the teamviewer referrral!

fwiw I used "free" Teamviewer for years to provide occasional Mac tech support to family. Over the last couple years I found them cutting me off with the claim that I was using it commercially. I had to abandon it.

We have had several discussions of remote support here. I have used Messages very successfully (but the Apple ID point is critical.) Zoom is a good backup if you can configure the remote machine during a visit.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: September 18, 2023 06:28PM
Thanks to all for your support. The third level Apple tech failed today. Looks like I am going for a drive tomorrow to clean reinstall Mac OS



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: rz
Date: September 18, 2023 07:16PM
Been there as well, but for my MIL. She was a math teacher who used computers in school, so I thought it wouldn't be so bad. I was wrong. First, she thought that since I was a "computer guy", that I knew everything about every single computer program ever made. Second, she couldn't follow simple instructions. I worked for years as the manager of a help desk. I've been told by many people that I explain things really well. All that went out the window with her.

She started with a PC, and I finally told her I could no longer help her unless she got a Mac. It's not that I don't know how to use a PC... the software suite for which I was the help desk manager ran on a PC so I had to know quite a bit about Windows.

Switching to the Mac helped, but she still had all kinds of weird issues, mostly related to her ISP. She finally got the hint that I was tired of trying to help her and started asking my wife (her daughter) to help. That backfired when my wife encouraged her to get an iPhone and got her mom on her plan. Well, we had a legacy plan on AT&T that saved us a bunch of money. Her mom called AT&T once and took their advice to switch to a new plan that ended up costing us a lot more money. And of course, AT&T said they couldn't let us go back. My wife was furious. We don't help her anymore.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: rich in distress
Date: September 18, 2023 07:48PM
Try downloading and bringing the necessary installers on a hard drive with you.
I love my memories of mom scanning her beloved photos and watching them on the AppleTV.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: RecipeForDisaster
Date: September 18, 2023 08:21PM
My mom's response of choice to anything I tell her to try is "it won’t LET me!" I love her…
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: Diana
Date: September 18, 2023 09:29PM
What’s fun is when you’re told one thing, and you plan for and get all the things you need for that one thing, and when you get there you find that it was another. Something entirely not related even!

You have to love her, even if you sometimes desire to strangle her. The deeper you go down that road, the more the story changes.
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: September 19, 2023 09:50AM
Quote
Diana
What’s fun is when you’re told one thing, and you plan for and get all the things you need for that one thing, and when you get there you find that it was another. Something entirely not related even!

You have to love her, even if you sometimes desire to strangle her. The deeper you go down that road, the more the story changes.

Sigh. I'm glad I never had to do tech support for my parents: they never had a computer. My brother had a very irritating habit of asking me for advice and then ignoring it. We had to open his PC once (I forget why) and he was stunned that I knew what the hardware in there was (RAM, graphics card, etc.).



My life goes smoothly and in regular intervals
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 19, 2023 02:27PM
Quote
RecipeForDisaster
My mom's response of choice to anything I tell her to try is "it won’t LET me!" I love her…

Ahh Yes. The interactions my mother has with her computer are increasingly adversarial. Frustrating for her b/c she used to be a very fluent mac user, but that was starting from a Classic through a G4 Dual 450. She was fine for several years after retiring and we have kept her mostly up to date with an Intel iMac, and now a MacBook Air M2. She doesn't like using a laptop due to the smaller screen but refuses to try using a dock. Oh, what can you do...
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Re: RANT: Parents and Tech Support
Posted by: datbeme
Date: September 19, 2023 09:21PM
This is a relatable thread, and I know I will read it one day. But my experiences helping my parents are too painful, and the trauma is too raw. So not today.
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