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Technical Support Sites

One of the biggest problems with keeping information systems running is that they are constantly developing major and minor operating problems. Sometimes we can fix these ourselves by reading the manuals or maybe just kicking the machine. On the other hand, learning to ask for help effectively is one of the big Survival Skills in the new internet Age. Fortunately, one of the best things that the internet has spawned is a widespread community of help and support sites, many volunteer-staffed and free to users, where a remarkably high level of quality support is available.

Decide on some technical question or questions about your information system, tools, practices, or features -- something not working, something that you've never been quite able to figure out, or just a question about how something might be done. It could be serious or it could be small in scope -- but if you don't have something bugging you about your system, you obviously aren't using it much.

So your first step is to figure out what your problem is.

Then you need to look for help. Gizmo's has put together a list of the best free technical support sites; it's available at Look over this list and pick one that you think could be helpful in addressing your problem, whatever it might be. Or you might find another site entirely -- you're not required to use only the ones on this list. You may need to log onto some of the sites and get a sense of what questions are being asked and how they're being dealt with in order to make your selection.

The next step is simple -- ask your question, and see what sort of answers you get. It might take a few iterations, or you might get an answer immediately. Try not to make your question too simple-minded; you'll get more out of the exercise if it's a bit challenging, after all. See if things get solved to your satisfaction.

Finally, you need to prepare a short report describing your problem, where you went for help, how effective the interaction was, and your overall assessment of the whole exercise.

Please conclude with a few sentences summarizing your sense of the Internet as a problem-solving, as opposed to a problem-generating, system, along with the usual attention to what you've learned and how you may be able to apply that understanding.

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Please find my reply below.

I chose The Tech Support Guy at I work at a company that utilizes high end video cards for radiologists reading PACS images remotely. The workstations use 3-5 27 inch monitors. These monitors must be in a certain order. We log into the systems remotely from time to time using LogMeIn to assist with technical problems. ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses a problem and then addresses it with the given list of the best technical support sites.