Basically, I have two kinds of friends. Mac friends and Windows friends. Recently, some of my Windows friends have become Mac friends.
How should I handle my new Mac friends when they need Mac help? After all, they used to be Windows friends, and I wasn’t so obligated to provide computer support.
After all, I use a Mac, right? “Sorry, I’m a Mac user. I don’t do Windows” is a phrase that was all to easy to use.
With so many former Windows friends becoming Mac friends, that’s a phrase I can’t use, yet, some of these friends still need some help learning the ways of the Mac. Am I obligated to become my brother and sister’s keeper?
See, there’s a problem with the Mac’s market share growth—it’s increased by nearly 50-percent in the past year—I’m required to help more people with their new Macs. See a problem? Apple didn’t give me a commission or add a few extra hours to my day.
I bring this up as an issue for two reasons. The first is that there are truly more Mac users than ever, and many of them are former Windows friends and users who really are in need of some help and instruction from time to time.
They know I’m the Mac360 Value Vixen, they see my photo on the web site, and they assume I’m the resident Mac doctor. Nortoriety has a price tag, you know?
The second is that I ran into an updated version of Mac HelpMate, a nifty Mac application that lets you work on a Mac remotely. I thought to myself, “Self, this is a Mac application you could use. It’s free.”
Now you know a little about how I think and what motivates me. I like free. I also like free time. I like them both, but have a little less of the latter now that there are so many new Mac users who moved over from the dark side of Windows.
Mac HelpMate is made specifically to work on a Mac that’s not sitting in front of you—like the Mac your cousin bought last week and he can’t figure out why there’s no Start button.
Think of it as a poor man’s, or woman’s, version of Apple Remote Desktop. Except, looking at the fine print, it’s not necessarily for the poor.
Regardless, Mac HelpMate is one of a few remote control applications that let you manage a Mac somewhere else.
The point is, how much effort is really required to assist our Mac brethren (and the sisterhood version of brethren) with their Mac problems, few though they may be?
The answer is, whatever is reasonable, perhaps adding some additional value for family members, close friends, acquaintances, and the homeless who own MacBooks, or that cute guy or girl down the hall who needs some close supervision and expertise, if you know what I mean?
Switchers from Windows usually encounter a problem or two, or three, or more, though certainly not as serious as those encountered on their Windows PCs. After all, they left the Windows world for something better, right? So how tough can their new problems be?
How much effort should I extend to welcome former Windows users into the fold? Fortunately, Apple has provided a wonderful new utility that works even better than Mac HelpMate, better than Apple’s own Apple Remote Desktop.
It’s called the Genius Bar. Recently, whenever I run into someone who has a problem that doesn’t fit with my quick fix list of problems, I tell them, “Hmmm. That’s a tough one. Let’s take it to the Genius Bar.” Then I explain the Bar and what they do and send them on their way.
Everyone stays happy that way. Mac users. Switchers. Me. My husband. My daughter. I do have a twinge of burning in my conscience, but it goes away with Prilosec, or a trip to the mall to engage in a little psychological retail therapy.
My question to you, dear Mac360 reader and keeper of the eternal Mac flame burning in your heart, is, how do you handle personal support issues when a friend or family member or a work mate or a recent switcher from Windows has a problem with their Mac?