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If you are a go-to geek kind, you must read this troubleshooter

We all have friends and family who keep sneaking in a request for tech advice. Here's how to help without turning your home into a 'trouble ticket.'

If family and friends are pumping you for broadband advice over Thanksgiving dinner and you find yourself extracting the latest virus from your brother-in-law's PC instead of eating your pumpkin pie, it's time to reevaluate your role as the family geek.

As difficult as it is to just say no when Mom asks you to restore her hard drive, it can be even harder to turn down a chance to bend technology to your will after-hours. Technology tinkering is fun, and it can be rewarding to strut your stuff at home to help out a loved one.

If you're not careful, though, the fallout from IT support gone bad can be worse at home than it is on the job. Sometimes it's just best to beg off (See "Top 10 Excuses," page 59). If you just can't help but help, stick with installing and supporting only off-the-shelf applications rather than creating custom code. This will give you some wiggle-room if you don't want to become a long-term support person for your relatives and buddies. One Network Computing editor, who wishes to remain anonymous in the interest of keeping the family peace, wrote a custom medical-office system for his father 10 years ago and is still supporting it today. That's what happens when no one has the source code and no vendor will touch it without a time-and-materials charge.

Full article here - Tips for the Geek at Home