Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Senior Tech Group House Calls

As a service to our fellow homeowners/residents, the appropriate/available member of the Senior Tech Group visits the homes in the community to try to help with problems that cannot be resolved in our clinics.  The following is a condensed compendium of the problems that have been referred and resolved by our Admin Team. 

As of June 2013, the Senior Tech Group has made hundreds of House Calls.  So many that we stopped logging them on this page.  When you look at the categories, you can see that there are not many technical issues that we cannot help you with when it is necessary to come to your home.  There are still problems that we find that are unique, and outside our expertise, but it's a good idea to call us first before you contract with the professionals to solve the problem.  We are happy to try to help our residents in the community we serve.  

Working with pictures
General Computer Issues
Home Networking
WIFI Setup and Problems
Computer software problems
Viruses and Malicious Software
Use of  Computer Applications
Computer hardware issues
Hand-held Computer Device Support
Home Systems other than Computer issue
Comcast/Cable provider issues
Verizon/FIOS Issues
TV – General Problems
TV – Video streaming
TV – Home Theatre  
Cell Phone Issues  


Working with pictures

  • Helped get digital pictures organized on the computers of several residents, using the free Picasa photo management software provided by Google.
  • Resident wanted to copy pictures from his computer to a DVD-RW disk so he could load the disk into his Blu Ray DVD player and show them on his high def TV.  Thought that he had written a few to the disk, but was unable to open the disk on the Blu Ray or in his computer.  After reviewing the process he was going through and finding no easy solution, advised him to bring the disk and his Blu Ray manual to the clinic the following Monday.  At the clinic we verified that there was nothing on the disk, although the program he was using said that it had burned the pictures.  Using Picasa, we were able to walk through a process that created an image of the pictures and burned the pictures to the disk.  Confirmed that the disk could be read by any computer with a DVD drive.  Advised the resident to try the disk in the Blu Ray player and let us know if it could be read.  Still would not read in the Blu Ray player.  Resident called to tell us that he had tried a different type of DVD writeable disk as we had advised earlier and everything is working OK now.

General Computer Issues

  • Resident called saying that she only had a black screen on her laptop computer.  Showed her how to do a "forced shut down" of the computer by holding the power button in for 4 to 5 seconds.  It turned off.  Then restarted the computer and all was well.
  • Resident lost access to the internet on her laptop.  Confirmed WiFI was working properly and the the laptop could not see WiFi.  Restored her computer to an earlier date and all came back on line.
  • Resident has a Mac Book computer and could not download the Adobe Flash Player update that was needed to view a video sent by a friend in a email link.  Fumbled around for a while to get used to the Mac protocols, but finally found the way to download the software update.  All is now well.
  • Laptop was not able to access the Internet wirelessly or to send documents to the wireless printer in their home network. Analyzed a connectivity problem, which was cured by restarting the laptop.
  • Resident called saying that all the wires had been removed from their main laptop computer and didn't know how to replace them.  Replaced the cables and the wireless mouse adapter and all came on OK.  Noticed that the display had been changed to low resolution.  Restored it to provide full screen displays.  Demonstrated access to web sites and functions of interest to them.

Home Networking   

  • Set up a resident's home network to share a desktop-connected printer.

WIFI Setup and Problems

  • Multiple resident calls to install a replacement WIFI router.
  • Resident has Verizon Fios, with the Verizon WiFi modem, but did not know the security (WEP/WPA) code that visitors had to know to use their Internet service over the WiFi.   It had been installed by Verizon, but they had not been informed about the security setup.  Used their MyVerizon account to access the information and confirmed that the WEP code was the same that is listed on the label on the Verizon WiFi modem.   Found that their service was not password protected.  Changed their WiFi to Security Enabled withthe proper WEP code.

Computer software problems

  • Resident puchased a new HP All in One printer, which worked fine by istself, but the computer could not communicate with it.  After exploring the software in the computer and exhausting all logical problems, found that they had not plugged the connecting cable into the right set of jacks on the computer.  Removed  files for the older computer and tested Word and Picasa.  All is working fine now.
  • Resident could not print email messages after making software changes.  Restored the computer (Vista Operating System) to a prior date and set options that were blocking the print function.  Also removed his current anit-virus software and installed Windows Security Essentials.  Tested all functions to assure that all was now well.
  • Resident reported that he was having printer problems.  Printer would operate, but nothing appeared on the page.  After testing was able to determine that the printer ink cartridges were empty.  Resident thought that he had installed new ones, but apparently some old ones got mixed up with his new ones.
  • Resident could not open a file forwarded in a email message with an .xls extension.  Downloaded Open Office (FreeWare)  to his computer, which allowed him to open the Excel-based files.
  • Computer slow to startup and load web pages.  Cleaned the Start menu, removed Norton AV installed Microsoft Security Essentials  fixed issues.

Viruses and Malicious Software

  • Resident was getting messages that she had viruses, and was denied access to the Internet until she bought their software cleanup service.   The messages were from a “trojan horse” program and the viruses that they indentified were phony.  Started her computer in “safe mode” and restored it to an earlier date.  Then used a Malwarebytes scan to clean out any suspicious software.  All is now OK. 
  • Resident keeps getting popups from a company selling their backup software services.  Found that a program had inserted itself on his computer.  Deleted the program and problem was cured.

Use of  Computer Applications

  • Assisted new resident in logging onto the web site.  They had been trying to get to it with a space between Coldstream and Village in the site name on the address bar.
  • Assisted resident to revert from Gmail to AOL (reluctantly).
  • Assisted multiple residents with the changes in the Gmail format.
  • Resident was having problems understanding the new Gmail format.  Showed them how to deal with some of the new Icons.
  • Assisted multiple residents in converting to Gmail from their current ISPs.
  • Resident needed help to properly print from Gmail.  Instructed on how to do it.
  • Resident needed help setting up a Google Docs custom spreadsheet.  Assisted in setting it up.
  • Resident could not access the internet on her laptop, either here or at the beach house.  Confirmed that the wireless connection was OK.  Power recycled the router, with no luck.  Visited the Internet Options via the Tools menu and found that the indicated web page coming up when Internet Explorer was activated was the problem.  Changed the web page and was able to restore all the original functions.  All is now OK.
  • Resident needed basic help getting started using Gmail.  Spent about an hour covering the basics.
  • General problems accessing and using the internet. No problem with the computer or the network. Solution was an hour of demonstrating and tutoring on how to use Internet Explorer, Google searches and GMail.

Computer hardware issues

  • Resident could not print.  Using the Control Panel – Printer page found that there were jobs queued for the printer, but it was off line.  Found that the printer cable had pulled out of the USB jack on the computer.  It was a 6 foot cable and the run from the printer to the computer was 5 feet 11 inches, causing the cable to pull out whenever anything was moved.  We moved the printer to the other side of the desk and all is now OK.
  • Assisted resident with ink cartridge replacement in their printer
  • Resident called saying that there was no display on her monitor.  First check indicated a bad monitor.  Borrowed a spare from a neighbor and confirmed that the monitor had died.  Resident bought a new monitor which we installed for her.  All is now OK.
  • A resident bought a powerful HP desktop computer with a beautiful, large HP monitor.  However, ever since he installed it several months ago, it took 25 to 30 minutes after he turned it on till he could see anything other than the HP logo on the screen.  One STG call to help him out did not find the problem.  The second call, which required getting an HP rep on the line and working through the problem was successful.  After 40 minutes of working with the rep, he finally suggested that we look at the back of the monitor to see how many cables were connected.  There were two, a DVI cable and a VGA cable, when there should only have been the DVI cable connected.  When we removed the VGA cable, the problem was corrected and the computer is now working just fine.  At the rep's suggestion, we also downloaded an updated version of the BIOS for the operating system. The HP rep promised he would contact the Marketing group to assure that the connection instructions furnished with that model of computer specified that only the DVI cable should be connected.
  • A house call to look into sluggish performance on a computer running Windows Vista was found to have minimal memory installed.  Ran a system scan to determine type of memory required, owner purchased larger memory modules and easily installed them in laptop.
  • Older computer became so slow starting up and loading web pages to be practically unusable.  We cleaned unused programs and removed McAfee AV and installed Security Essentials, computer again became very slow.  Finally setup the computer without AV and added some recycled memory to restore basic functionality, during the process backed up contacts and favorites. Resident will be replacing the computer in a few months.
  • Resident bought a new printer and couldn't get it to work with his laptop.  Found that the installation disk never completed loading the drivers and other software in the laptop.  Completed the loading process and connected the printer, which is now working OK.

Hand-held Computer Device Support   

  • Resident needed assistance configuring their new IPod Touch.  Helped them with the set up.

Home Systems other than Computer issues

  • Resident called with a thermostat problem.  Heater was not working, although the thermostat said it was.  Found that a workman had accidentally turned the Red Panel Emergency switch by the heater to off, when it should be on for normal operation.
  • Resident needed assistance setting their thermostat to stay at a constant temperature.  Showed them how to do it.
  • Resident needed help in programming his thermostat for time when he would not be there.  Helped him to understand how to program.
  • Resident had a garage door opener problem.  Remotes and outside entry box worked OK, but the switch in the garage would not function.  Manual pushes at various parts of the switch box caused it to work.  Removed the box from the wall and re-routed the wires.  Re-installed the box and all is OK

Comcast/Cable provider issues

  • Loss of internet service (Comcast). Demonstrated power re-cycling of the modem, which cured the problem.
  • Resident bought a new high definition TV and was receiving only one channel. The new TV replaced an older analog TV with a Comcast DTA box attached. They were trying to use the new TV with the DTA, but were not using the DTA remote to change channels.  They had obtained a new HD cable box from Comcast that morning.  We connected the HD box to the HD TV with an HDMI cable and contacted Comcast to send the enabling signal to the HD box.  Everything is now working fine in High Definition
  • Resident did not understand why screen displays were changing on his new HD TV.  Explained the differences in transmission formats and recommended viewing local channels in the recommended channel selections on Comcast's lineup

Verizon/FIOS Issues

  • Resident reported losing all TV/Internet/Phone service provided by Verizon Fios.  The network light was out on the Fios box in the garage, indicating that there was a problem with the box or the fiber line coming into the residence.  Recycled the Fios box to no avail.  Since Verizon could not come out for three days, we advised the resident to call them and ask them to forward all incoming calls to their 610-933 number to one of their cell phones.  Verizon obliged immediately and they now could receive their calls on the cell phone.  Problem was that a contractor had cut the fiber line to their home.
  • Resident with Verizon Fios reported they had phone and TV, but no internet service.   Demonstrated how to reboot the Verizon fiber interface by disconnecting the battery and AC power.  The Internet service was restored.  Another call from the resident a half hour later indicated that the service had dropped out again and they had rebooted the Fios box.  Suggested to them that Verizon may be having some service issues.
  • Verizon FIOS service intermittent and WIFI not working. Demonstrated how to reboot the Verizon fiber interface (remove the battery and AC power) in an older model of the interface equipment (no reset button). Finally had to reset the Verizon wireless modem to get it back on the air. Owner now comfortable with what was done and can handle it in the future

TV – General Problems

  • Resident had received a new Verizon DVR box and needed help installing it.  Installation required removing the analog TV from the hutch cabinet to get to the wiring, which neither mate was able to do.  Removed the TV, installed the DVR wiring, replaced the TV and assured that the service was working OK.
  • Resident has a DVD player but has not been able to use it.  Found that whomever installed it, the component cables were not connected properly.  Fixed the connection, then instructed the residents on how to use the FIOS remote to change the input selection on the TV to be able to see the signal from the DVD.  Tested with a DV disk and all works well.
  • Resident reported that after watching a TV show, the HD TV showed "Locked" no matter what buttons were pushed on either the Verizon or Samsung remote.  The TV could not even be turned off.   After confirming that there was nothing that could be done with the remotes, we removed AC power from the TV, then plugged it back in.  All normal functions returned after the power re-cycle.

TV – Video streaming

  • Instructed a resident in the use of their Roku box to watch streaming video from the Internet.
  • Resident bought a Roku media box and needed help setting it up.  Completed the installation and assisted in signing up for Netflix video streaming.
  • Resident requested a survey of their TV systems to assure that they could use a Roku box to watch TV without a Verizon visit and hookup.  Confirmed that the Roku would work for them over their WiFi router.  Also resident was unsure how to get the DVD player working although it was hooked up to the TV.  Showed him how to change the source input channel using the TV remote.  All is working fine now.

TV – Home Theatre

  • Resident had a new surround sound system installed to watch movies with improved audio.  Reported that after watching a DVD, she could no longer get TV channels.   The AV company had also installed an intelligent, programmable remote control unit, but left no instructions on how to use it or how it was programmed.  Was able to get the TV channels working, but without the surround sound or programmable remote.  Recommended that she have the installation company return, restore the system and leave her with written instructions.   Installer returned the next day and the system is now working, with written instructions for the resident.  Note – this was a complex installation, using a Samsung feature that allows the remote sensor on the TV to control the DVR/audio unit with reverse HMDI signals.  STG rep sat in while the installer was there and learned something new.

Cell Phone Issues

  • Verizon cell phone service not working in the home. Used my Verizon cell phone in the supposed dead areas and had no problems. Used owner's cell phone with similar results. Called from Verizon cell to Verizon cell to make sure all was OK as we moved through the house. Problem not observed while I was there.

 

 

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