Doing Tech Support For Your Parents

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This comic is too real. TOO REAL! I am baring WAY TOO MUCH of my actual true soul pain with this one. I spent the better part of the first decade of the 21st century trying to build computers faster than my mom could destroy them. It’d be neck and neck for awhile, but she always pulled out ahead eventually. She went through at least a half dozen computers (I count 50% internal component replacement as a “New Computer”) in under 10 years. Things got simpler when we finally bought a new in the box laptop, instead of me constantly building and rebuilding various Frankenstein’d desktop machines, but not by much. As of early this year she has a decent Macbook Pro, and the tech support needs have dwindled to all but naught.

Technology woes also decrease exponentially (not just for her, but for everyone) when you realize that no one has ever developed a usable and fully functional desktop printer. It’s just a thing that doesn’t exist. A myth. The Great North America Wood Ape, or Sasquatch of PC accessories. Nothing but blurry pictures and folklore. “Ol’ Jeb says he saw a inkjet printer what didn’t jam and had no trouble connectin’ to any computer ya threw at it. USB or wireless, so says Ol’ Jeb. ‘Course Ol’ Jeb’s blinder ‘an a stack of butts and twice as dumb, so…” Just admit defeat before you even join the battle and only have your photos, reports and various paper whats-its printed at copy shops. Their $150,000 laser printers make nicer prints and work better (which is to say they are only down about %40 of the time) than any paper ruining contraption you have access to. If you factor in the cost of the home printer, and the CONSTANT influx of replacement ink that somehow costs MORE than the actual printer, thus negating the logic of buying the ink instead of throwing the printer away and buying a new one… where was I? Oh yeah. FUCK printers. Don’t use them. They are poison garbage.

SHARKSPLODERS: Please relate your “tech support for the family” nightmares. Were raccoons involved? I bet raccoons were involved.

Technically Support

My friend Boyan‘s trusted laptop blew up while he was on vacation, so I made this comic to make fun of him him feel better. “It’s smoking,” he said. “Smells like burning plastic.” / “These are VERY bad signs,” I said with comfort. “VERRRRY BAAAAD SIGNS,” I continued, providing still more comforting comfort. “Turn it off, remove the battery and throw it away,” the comfort continued to pour from my lips like so much delicate comfort.

The HijiNKS ENSUE Store seems to have gotten a makeover.

He had his data backed up, and other than removing the drive and putting it into a new machine just to ensure data integrity, burny smells and smoke are not really “symptoms” of a laptop problem. They are more of an invitation to by a new laptop. Depending on the circumstances, they are also an invitation from the Universe to go fuck yourself right in the eye. Perhaps, when not on fire, laptops should emit a calming aroma of potpourri and cinnamon. Maybe sandlewood. You know, just to reassure you everything is ok.

COMMENTERS: Are you the go to tech support guru for your friends and family? What are your personal tech support triumphs and horror stories?

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Comments (32)

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Bob 's avatar

Bob · 97 weeks ago

I felt pretty good about setting up an obi device with my google voice number so my parents can call me while I’m stationed in the UK.
PS Found out that 8-bit Theater creator Brian Clevenger has a kickstarter going on for his comic Atomic Robo. Ends in 4 days.
Nicky's avatar

Nicky · 97 weeks ago

Never stir rice. You’re going to ruin it.

2 replies · active 97 weeks ago

nenslo's avatar

nenslo · 97 weeks ago

What about risotto?
You never try to explain a joke. You’re going to ruin it.
seriously's avatar

seriously · 97 weeks ago

Tell him to cover the vents in the side of the computer with cardboard and lots of duct tape. It’ll keep in the MBS for sure.
Leshka's avatar

Leshka · 97 weeks ago

OMG, thank you for the advice! I thought my laptop was going to explode, so I closed the top. Luckily I kept all that MBS in there instead of letting it all out! And it’s a MacBook Pro, so it’s big enough to keep a good amount of that in there!

Thank whomever is in the sky that I’m still friends with my ex-husband. He knows everything I need for my electronic needs. He even bought the Pro for me (2 years later, and I’m STILL paying him back.) He must have known about MBS.

My mom is convinced that, because my sister and I know the most basic computer repair procedures, we should go into IT. She is completely ignorant of the fact that most IT people work tech support, which is in fact a circle of Hell.

Also, when confronted with examples of computer problems and or awesomeness, I just say it was demon magic.

1 reply · active 97 weeks ago

IT is easy. Just tell them to turn it off and turn it back on. The problem is that they’ll ask you for help every two minutes…
Chaucer59's avatar

Chaucer59 · 97 weeks ago

You only stir the rice once when it comes to a boil. Then turn it down to a simmer and cover it.

Unless it’s Arborio. Then, you’re making risotto. You pour in stock a half-cup at a time and stir until it’s absorbed. Repeat until al dente and creamy.

Chefs are nerds of a different color.

Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 97 weeks ago

My parents had bought a new laptop and called me saying they could not open it. There were ‘buttons’ at the front but they didn’t seem to do anything. After failing to solve the problem by phone I went over to their house, looked at the laptop and realized they’d been trying to open it from the wrong side.

I laughed for at least 10 minutes.

2 replies · active 97 weeks ago

seriously's avatar

seriously · 97 weeks ago

That beats the time my aunt complained that the screen on her new laptop was frozen for like four hours no matter what she did. Turns out she never peeled the protective plastic off the screen when she got it home.
That is astounding.
Kryss's avatar

Kryss · 97 weeks ago

We used to run a computer support company. We found a dead mouse in one once. And I was chatting with a friend online when a live mouse popped out of his printer for a moment before running back inside. Yep, inside, not behind; it came out where the paper does. That kind of interrupted the chat for a bit, lol.
I used to be the “Go To” guy for tech gadgets.
But once you call me and say…
“This was working fine until you worked on that other thing three months ago”…
Than I tell them they had better call a specialist.
I refuse to be the reason why all of their future problems happen because I was the last person to help them.
MrLibearian's avatar

MrLibearian · 97 weeks ago

The sock in the third panel looks kind of like a dick. Or maybe the dick in the third panel looks kind of like a sock. It’s cool either way, because I’m like a huge fan of dicks and stuff.

2 replies · active 97 weeks ago

PallidaMors's avatar

PallidaMors · 97 weeks ago

Was wondering if that was a secret Wheaton Comic Dare- work an obvious cock into a panel somewhere…
I think you guys are seeing what you want to see.
DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 97 weeks ago

I solve most of the computer questions that come my way be answering “I don’t know, I use a Mac!”
The others are often solved by saying either, “I don’t know, I don’t use Facebook” or “I don’t know, I don’t use hotmail.”

All of these things are true, and seriously cut down on the number of problems I need to solve. –And then there are the smartphone questions… Yes, I have one. Why do you think I’m an expert who can help you?

zathael's avatar

zathael · 97 weeks ago

Risoto by the sound of it. You don’t stir most rice dishes.
you guys are fucking killing me with the stirring.
Notebooked's avatar

Notebooked · 97 weeks ago

There was the time my computer’s fan chopped like a jet engine into which a flock of geese had been thrown. I thought the problem was dust, so I tried to clean it out, but there wasn’t a lot of it. Mostly I murmured sweet nothings and whispered to it soothingly when the fan got choppy. It worked! After I bought a new computer.
Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 97 weeks ago

That reminds me of a story I heard from a tech support guy at a printer-sales company. A customer called to troubleshoot. After several standard questions, the guy asked if the printer was plugged into the power outlet to which the customer replied “no, it’s not.. it’s a wireless printer, right?”
Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 78 weeks ago

I work in IT tech support too. Had a guy call in. Took me a bit to figure out the issue but in the end, it went like this: The guy was on a more expensive package but hardly actually used any bandwidth at all. In his mind this meant he didn’t have to pay his bill. When he’d run up nearly a grand they cut him off for non-payment, at which he got really, really mad and returned his modem us.

Then he went home and called tech support to find out why he couldn’t get online. No joke.

Came to work one day to find a coworker telling us about a call he just took. After ten minutes of trouble-shooting (HA!) it ended up that the modem had stopped working because the customer had gotten ticked off and shot it. With a gun.

And then, predictably, called in to find out why shooting it hadn’t fixed it. Seriously, these people. My trainer had once taken a call from a guy who chopped his modem in half with a chainsaw. And we had someone call in recently with a modem that was ON FIRE. No, he hadn’t called 911 yet; it was our equipment so he thought he should contact us and find out what to do, first.

My dad had installed MSN Poker on his machine complete with desktop shortcut that immediately took him to the site. One day he told me he wanted to get rid of that and put the normal Internet Explorer shortcut on his desktop, but the previous owner had deleted it. Easy enough, I did that in seconds. Then he asks:

“Okay. Can you make MSN Poker my home page?”

1 reply · active 97 weeks ago

Kryss's avatar

Kryss · 97 weeks ago

Hey, at least he knew what a home page was. I work in tech support in the Internet department and I had a caller the other day who whose home page had gotten reset somehow so when IE opened, it was just going to a blank page. They thought their Internet was broken.

Or the person who called saying they couldn’t get online because their Internet was broken. I spent a few minutes trouble-shooting the modem only to conclude that everything seemed fine, and asked them to confirm that by opening up IE and going online. “I can’t,” I was told; “My Internet is broken! I told you that!” Ends up IE had crashed and needed to be restarted.

lou's avatar

lou · 97 weeks ago

When my parents first turned on our Sony Blu-Ray player, they freaked out at the interface of the Home Menu. I, being familiar with it from the PSP and PS3, calmly and almost Zen-like told them which feature does what, especially the one that plays the Blu-Ray you want to watch. Now they think I’m some kind of wizard (unfortunately, not of the Pinball variety).
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