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Free and Easy Tech Support (No, Really)!

FreeBefore I started this blog, the place I considered to be my online “home” were the Guardian talkboards, Guardian Unlimited Talk (GUT). Then, in February, The Unpleasantness happened. I still haven’t completely forgiven them.

Luckily, other members of GUT not only had wicked ninja-like coding skills, but also access to almost immediate hosting. Today, NotTheTalk is even better than the old talkboards were, and is providing me with my daily mix of snark, gossip, and tech chat without the hassle of wondering if I’m about to piss off a newspaper group.

And it’s the tech chat that I’m offering you. Check out the PC, Virus and Web Questions thread. All general sorts of questions, but answered for anyone who wants it and at absolutely no cost. Alternatively, check out the rest of the IT & Computers folder, to look at the range of techy topics that are being covered, by everyone from newbies to experts.

Setting up an account is just a matter of registering your chosen username and password. Done! And if you get bored of all the tech stuff, as you can see from all of the other folders listed, there is lots of other stuff to get stuck into. I’d avoid International for a while, though, at least until you’ve got the hang of the place.

NotTheTalk is a free-flowing forum for chat and debate about virtually any topic under the sun. For the most part, aside from the resident trolls, the members are friendly, sharp as tacks and very inventive with their swearing.  If you fancy a lively place to drop in while pretending to do some work, definitely join up. Especially if you have a lot of tech problems; we love solving those!

We’ve Got Your Free Tech Support Right Here

Well, not on this blog, exactly, and the cat won’t be doing anything for you either. Kittehs can’t type. But this is a public service announcement to let you know that there is a place where your questions and quibbles for all things tech can be dealt with.

But first, the background. The Guardian newspaper used to have a lively and much-loved talkboard. This was unceremoniously killed off earlier this year. For me, a daily user for over a decade, it was a little like losing a limb. I had used the boards for advice, link-sharing, arguing about politics, gossiping about celebrities, swapping recipes, all sorts of stuff. It was my home.

In the nightmarish few hours that followed the boards going dead, regulars went to Twitter, to the wiki we had set up and to other forums to comiserate and to discuss what happened next. What finally emerged was a new, lookalike board, NOTtheTalk, put together by Johnny the Sailor, one of the board regulars and my new object of worship.

One of the things I valued most about the Guardian talkboards was the generous and unstinting support and advice from some extremely clever and knowledgeable IT professionals in the “IT & Computers” section. And this is where you too can go if you ever need advice. It’s very easy, just go to the homepage, sign up for a new username (choose something silly, everyone else does) and then navigate your way to the IT & Computers folder. Then look for the “PC, Virus and Web Questions” thread. Introduce yourself and ask a question. You are guaranteed to get an answer that makes sense.

And after that, you can hang out! There are discussions on everything from the Israel-Palestine troubles to the best way to cope with annoying in-law relatives. Hell, you can even start your own. The community is opinionated, with a variety of longstanding members and resident trolls, and there will be swearing. But if you can deal with somebody on the internet calling you names when they disagree with you, it’s a good place to be. I would be lost without it, and am still trying to erase the memories of how I reacted when the Guardian boards were shut down. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

So navigate your way to the alternative boards to get free tech support! Bring us your questions on PC, Macs and programming. Revel in the ability to be as sweary and offensive as you like on the internet! Frolic in the absence of smilies! And rejoice in the fact that you’re not paying someone to ask you if you’ve “tried turning it off and on again.” Oh, and don’t bother trying to find me on that website under the Inari name. Like I said, most people choose a rather silly username and mine is no different.

[Image by TheScream]