No Longer Flying Blind

My mother’s phone company has been offering DSL for about a year now.  Other than satellite, they are the only option for high-speed internet where she lives.  I’d been contemplating getting high-speed internet for her for a while, but the costs bothered me:

I suppose I’ve been spoiled by the options that are available here with Verizon FIOS and with the cable company.  But when you consider the subscriber density between the two areas I suppose it makes sense that it’s a lot more expensive to provide DSL out in the country.  So after the last visit when I was unable to ever completely download all of the Vista updates that her computer needed (130MB) I decided to go ahead and pay for her to get DSL (the 128/128 package) from ETEX. 

They completed the install last week, and it was active when I got there on Saturday.  I have to say that while it certainly can’t compete with FIOS, it was certainly much more usable than dialup, and I did verify that we were getting the full bandwidth that we’re paying for. 

Most importantly, though, is that I can now use remote support tools to help my mother when she calls with a problem.  The first thing I installed on Saturday was UltraVNC.  And it’s already paid off.  She called me yesterday evening complaining that something didn’t look like it used to.  I was able to connect back to her PC and take it over and fix the problem in a couple of minutes.

Those of you who have ever had to do tech support for a non-technical relative will appreciate just how handy VNC is in diagnosing and fixing problems.  If you try to do it just over the phone it’s a really frustrating experience.  It’s kind of like trying to fly an airplane where you can’t see the instrument panel and the person at the controls doesn’t know what anything is or how it works.

1 Comment

  1. Kevin White says:

    I know that pain. My mother calls me at least a couple of times a month from work or home with one computer issue or another. The fix is usually fairly simple (but sometimes it isn’t) but just getting to the point where I can assess whether it’s simple or more serious or complex takes quite a lot of time and patience on both our parts.

    VNC would be great. I use Dameware at work sometimes to troubleshoot associate and manager issues with applications and it’s a huge time-saver (otherwise it’s a matter of exchanging a bunch of screen shots).

    Those prices are breathtaking!