Geekatoo, the Geek Bat-Signal

To understand this story, you need to understand that grandchildren are like crack cocaine to grandparents. I'm convinced that if our parents could somehow snort our children up their noses to get a bigger fix, they would. And when your parents live out of state, like ours do, access to the Internet isn't just important. No. It is life threatening.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/04/geekatoo-the-geek-bat-signal.html

Okay, so, “Happy Eater”. We’re going to need to know what the deal with that is.

Considering April 08 was Easter, I’m guessing a typo :wink:

Why don’t you just tell your mom to call her local computer shop?

Usually there are one computer shop willing to provide computer checking service. If a guy would went into the house of my family, I would prefer him to be person with known identity instead of random guy on the internet, eventhough they have some kind of reputation on a particular website. What if one of them are burglar?

I just wish they operated in Canada. Right now I use kijiji to achieve similar goals, but there arent always results.

Jeff loved your post.

My mum died last year and it may be weird to share here but your mums email with its terrible typing and accidental keyboard mashes literally made me cry…

The one piece of advice I can give you is that you should be a great geek son on every opportunity possible.

Seems like a great service, although I’m thinking that the reason the service is so much cheaper than the competition is that people are not paying taxes on this income.

Ah, I was hoping it was some sort of nickname. Happy Easter makes much more sense.

“My mom lives in Charlotte, North Carolina which, while not exactly the sticks, isn’t necessarily a big tech hub city”

Jeez Jeff, you don’t have to live in NYC or SF to have geeks living nearby. Geeks live in the south too, ya know! :slight_smile:

I’m in Canada, my mom is in Germany, my in-laws are in Florida (during the Winter), my daughters are in Germany as well.
I installed TeamViewer on all their machines and made it start with the OS. Works like a charm - if the connection is up :-).
My mom is meanwhile very proficient in resetting her router and “harassing” the Deutsche Telekom support people to solve connection problems.

“What if her problem had nothing to do with the computer, but her Internet connection in some way? Then I’d just be trading one set of problems for another with the iPad.”

That’s why the 3G iPad is such a great grandparent device - assuming they live in a 3G-capable area, they don’t even need to have an internet connection these days.

The first sentence made this post for me. I have kids aged 3 and 1 and you are not kidding.

The advice is great - I’ve never heard of an easier way to be a geek by proxy over long distances.

That said, the paranoid part of my brain worries that a nefarious geek could easily offer their services and actually fix the broken system…and also copy financial information to a thumb-drive, install a key-logger, etc. A Geek Squad employee could do the same, so hopefully the fact that I haven’t heard of this happening means such incidents are rare or nonexistent.

Looks like the site is down.

When it’s caused by Slashdot, we say a site has been “slashdotted.”

For Daring Fireball, we say it’s been “fireballed.”

So, what do we call it when Coding Horror traffic (apparently) overwhelms a site?

David: Clearly, if the site is down because of this blog, the site has been ‘Horrified’.

Being the paranoid type (recently left a computer security firm), I wonder how you inject an element of trust into this service. As in, isn’t this a GREAT opportunity for people who want to install spyware on the computers of the elderly and steal financial information?

In particular, if you were subtle about it, you might never even get noticed as having done anything of the sort so even your Geekatoo reputation wouldn’t get hit. After all, by definition, the people you’re working with aren’t technically savvy.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a GREAT idea in general - but I’m curious as to what could be done to make it even safer to use.

You might want to consider installing logmein free on your mom’s computer so you can remote into her computer to fix any other problems (so long as it has an internet connection) https://secure.logmein.com/products/free/
I use this from time to time to fix my mom and dad’s computers in the UK from California.

Oh, and another tip for a grandparent’s computer is to install Google Screensaver (which comes with picasa) and to set it up to show pictures from a shared Dropbox folder. Then so you can update the pictures shown on your mom’s screensaver just by adding photos to a dropbox folder

“My mom lives in Charlotte, North Carolina which, while not exactly the sticks, isn’t necessarily a big tech hub city”

We even have electricity to run them new, fancy, com-pu-tors here in Charlotte, NC. It’s the 18th biggest city in the country and a major financial tech hub. Go an hour east, west, north, or south for the sticks. :slight_smile:

That first line of your post tells me why my father always talks about his grandchildren ( My bro’s kids ), and why every time my father asks the same thing to me bro, “when will you come?”. I never got his point until now. Ah!

Geekatoo sounds great. Does anyone know of a good similar site for programming jobs? I’d love to get 5-hours a week on the side somewhere, but nearly all recruiters/job postings are for full-time jobs or require a longer commitment.