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Free IT Support At Home
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Free IT Support At Home

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Posted 20th Jul

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AbilityNet provides free IT support to help older people and people with disabilities to use technology to achieve their goals. There is a network of friendly volunteers who can help with most major computer systems, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones.

They can come to you in the comfort of your own home or assist remotely to help you overcome any challenges you are facing in the digital world.

To get help either

AbilityNet are always on the look out for more volunteers so browse around the website and if you can help complete an application form.
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Maybe I should sign up my in-laws to this ... so that I can stop being their free 24/7 on call IT support 😁
I’ve been looking for ideas on ways to help others and volunteer.

This is perfect. Thank you
As someone who's worked in IT for over 20 years, I'd really caution anyone against offering domestic IT support either free or paid.
Most people are very particular about the way their computers are set up and their files and data... and when you combine that with the fact the person your dealing with has a poor understanding of the technology and the work involved it makes things very difficult. You may well find yourself bending over backwards to help someone only to find them getting phoning you up confused a few hours later, perhaps even angry at you because something is not exactly as they are used to (say for example you've had to reinstall something and the settings aren't identical).
But the worst part? If *anything* goes wrong with that computer within a few months of you having touched it... say they managed to delete all their music from iTunes or they download a virus, or the harddrive dies or the power supply blows up - it's all your fault because you touched it and it was working fine before you touched it!
Personally I avoid helping anyone with IT issues now unless it's proper business work or immediate family.
Thank you. I have registed as a volunteer
42 Comments
For those looking to volunteer, the application form is probably best done on a computer rather than a mobile device. Also, it requires you to have the email addresses of the people who may be able to give you a character reference (?- think that was what it was for).
Fair play to the people who voluteers, I would imagine you work bend over backwards helping an elderly person only to moan that it cant do xyz easy enough for them.
Maybe I should sign up my in-laws to this ... so that I can stop being their free 24/7 on call IT support 😁
AdamBrunt20/07/2019 12:36

Maybe I should sign up my in-laws to this ... so that I can stop being …Maybe I should sign up my in-laws to this ... so that I can stop being their free 24/7 on call IT support 😁


Know the feeling mate
I’ve been looking for ideas on ways to help others and volunteer.

This is perfect. Thank you
Jordztar20/07/2019 13:15

I’ve been looking for ideas on ways to help others and volunteer.This is p …I’ve been looking for ideas on ways to help others and volunteer.This is perfect. Thank you


Nice. Also you can check out do it org for volunteer work in your area if you like
And nice @OP
Edited by: "mysmugcat" 20th Jul
Thank you. I have registed as a volunteer
mysmugcat20/07/2019 13:32

Nice. Also you can check out do it org for volunteer work in your area if …Nice. Also you can check out do it org for volunteer work in your area if you like And nice @OP


Toenail cutter... I'll think about it...
38116470-EDjH4.jpg
winchman20/07/2019 13:56

[Image]


Omg
I've never seen that there before.
Edited by: "mysmugcat" 20th Jul
mysmugcat20/07/2019 13:57

OmgI've never seen that there before.


I understand there is a need, but not that keen...
Edited by: "winchman" 20th Jul
If you have a parent that needs tech support...

As someone who's worked in IT for over 20 years, I'd really caution anyone against offering domestic IT support either free or paid.
Most people are very particular about the way their computers are set up and their files and data... and when you combine that with the fact the person your dealing with has a poor understanding of the technology and the work involved it makes things very difficult. You may well find yourself bending over backwards to help someone only to find them getting phoning you up confused a few hours later, perhaps even angry at you because something is not exactly as they are used to (say for example you've had to reinstall something and the settings aren't identical).
But the worst part? If *anything* goes wrong with that computer within a few months of you having touched it... say they managed to delete all their music from iTunes or they download a virus, or the harddrive dies or the power supply blows up - it's all your fault because you touched it and it was working fine before you touched it!
Personally I avoid helping anyone with IT issues now unless it's proper business work or immediate family.
Monkeyface20/07/2019 16:20

As someone who's worked in IT for over 20 years, I'd really caution anyone …As someone who's worked in IT for over 20 years, I'd really caution anyone against offering domestic IT support either free or paid.Most people are very particular about the way their computers are set up and their files and data... and when you combine that with the fact the person your dealing with has a poor understanding of the technology and the work involved it makes things very difficult. You may well find yourself bending over backwards to help someone only to find them getting phoning you up confused a few hours later, perhaps even angry at you because something is not exactly as they are used to (say for example you've had to reinstall something and the settings aren't identical).But the worst part? If *anything* goes wrong with that computer within a few months of you having touched it... say they managed to delete all their music from iTunes or they download a virus, or the harddrive dies or the power supply blows up - it's all your fault because you touched it and it was working fine before you touched it!Personally I avoid helping anyone with IT issues now unless it's proper business work or immediate family.


Sounds like you have had some bad experiences.. But not everyone is the same. Common sense approach.. Some help is better then no help.
Monkeyface20/07/2019 16:20

Most people are very particular about the way their computers are set up …Most people are very particular about the way their computers are set up and their files and data... and when you combine that with the fact the person your dealing with has a poor understanding of the technology and the work involved it makes things very difficult. You may well find yourself bending over backwards to help someone only to find them getting phoning you up confused a few hours later, perhaps even angry at you because something is not exactly as they are used to (say for example you've had to reinstall something and the settings aren't identical).But the worst part? If *anything* goes wrong with that computer within a few months of you having touched it... say they managed to delete all their music from iTunes or they download a virus, or the harddrive dies or the power supply blows up - it's all your fault because you touched it and it was working fine before you touched it!


So exactly the same as everywhere I've worked then?
I can see a nice samaritan volunteering at home visit then leaving with some cash and stash
This is good to know, I will volunteer when my kids are a little older. Thanks poster!
j41sal20/07/2019 17:38

I can see a nice samaritan volunteering at home visit then leaving with …I can see a nice samaritan volunteering at home visit then leaving with some cash and stash


Yep concerns me how good the vetting of volunteers is or isnt. Especially when it's mainly quite vulnerable people using the service.
Anthony_Shortland20/07/2019 18:27

Yep concerns me how good the vetting of volunteers is or isnt. Especially …Yep concerns me how good the vetting of volunteers is or isnt. Especially when it's mainly quite vulnerable people using the service.


From the site abilitynet.org.uk/abi…ion

Because the nature of the work involves contact with vulnerable people, all successful applicants will be subject to a Basic Disclosure check by Disclosures and Barring Service (England and Wales), Disclosure Scotland, or Access NI.
Gumbon20/07/2019 12:32

Fair play to the people who voluteers, I would imagine you work bend over …Fair play to the people who voluteers, I would imagine you work bend over backwards helping an elderly person only to moan that it cant do xyz easy enough for them.


One of the worst industries to be in - everyone is a computer expert - especially after you fix it! If you then tell them what you did to fix it - they all say "I could've done that!". You never hear that when a mechanic fixes your car, an electrician replaces a fuse or a plumber unblocks a drain, etc...
Ilike2buy20/07/2019 16:31

Sounds like you have had some bad experiences.. But not everyone is the …Sounds like you have had some bad experiences.. But not everyone is the same. Common sense approach.. Some help is better then no help.


No - I'm with Monkeyface on this one - IT has got to be the worst industry to be in. There was a time when being in IT was a respected job and there really was a skill to it, now everyone thinks they are experts and believes the answer is available via Youtube or Google...
It really is a thankless profession, I don't understand why "users" feel they can treat "professionals" that way. You never hear anyone complaining when they have to call the plumber back a month later 'cos the toilets blocked again?...
The bottom line is they asked for help, that's something they always seem to forget!
herby24720/07/2019 14:42

If you have a parent that needs tech support...[Video]



This is so accurate!
Monkeyface20/07/2019 16:20

As someone who's worked in IT for over 20 years, I'd really caution anyone …As someone who's worked in IT for over 20 years, I'd really caution anyone against offering domestic IT support either free or paid.Most people are very particular about the way their computers are set up and their files and data... and when you combine that with the fact the person your dealing with has a poor understanding of the technology and the work involved it makes things very difficult. You may well find yourself bending over backwards to help someone only to find them getting phoning you up confused a few hours later, perhaps even angry at you because something is not exactly as they are used to (say for example you've had to reinstall something and the settings aren't identical).But the worst part? If *anything* goes wrong with that computer within a few months of you having touched it... say they managed to delete all their music from iTunes or they download a virus, or the harddrive dies or the power supply blows up - it's all your fault because you touched it and it was working fine before you touched it!Personally I avoid helping anyone with IT issues now unless it's proper business work or immediate family.


Seconded, with bells on!

I've been in IT for around the same amount of time and now refuse to provide help to friends and family with anything computer related. The basic gist is that if you're the last 'techy' person to touch the computer, everything that goes wrong with it in future 'MUST be because of something you did' - which it never actually is. I have heard that phrase so many times, even several months later, that it put me off ever helping again. Friends and family were the absolute worst offenders for expecting free, unlimited, 24hr tech support.

Huge respect for anyone with the patience to take on a role like this!!
Edited by: "leaston" 20th Jul
leaston20/07/2019 23:56

Seconded, with bells on!I've been in IT for around the same amount of time …Seconded, with bells on!I've been in IT for around the same amount of time and now refuse to provide help to friends and family with anything computer related. The basic gist is that if you're the last 'techy' person to touch the computer, everything that goes wrong with it in future 'MUST be because of something you did' - which it never actually is. I have heard that phrase so many times, even several months later, that it put me off ever helping again. Friends and family were the absolute worst offenders for expecting free, unlimited, 24hr tech support.Huge respect for anyone with the patience to take on a role like this!!


True - 40 years for me!
Prestel & Bbs aaaah them wur the days!
Still a nice gesture!
Edited by: "omendata" 21st Jul
How do I screw in a screwdriver into my gibabite
Edited by: "Norseg" 21st Jul
Ilike2buy20/07/2019 16:31

Sounds like you have had some bad experiences.. But not everyone is the …Sounds like you have had some bad experiences.. But not everyone is the same. Common sense approach.. Some help is better then no help.


Until you get sued for causing data loss. Or accused of data theft.

I work in the trade too, and whilst this is a nice idea, I wouldn't be touching it with a barge pole unless the limit of my liability was clearly defined and the end client signed a disclaimer.

Otherwise it's a legal minefield.

This post will no doubt get loads of 'phooey' responses from people who think I'm unnecessarily poo-pooing is good idea...but naivety will be no defence if someone decides to go after you.
This service really does concern me after reading up a little. A basic DBS check isn't exactly due diligence when you are sending volunteers into vulnerable and elderly people's homes or allowing them to remote their computers.

Even more concerning for me is this little nugget on their website:
AbilityNet cannot accept liability for the work carried out by our volunteers. If you are in any doubt at any time about the ability of the volunteer chosen to address your needs, please ask them to stop work immediately and call us on 0800 269 545 to discuss your concerns.
So, basically...we'll send a complete stranger into a vulnerable person's home after doing a basic DBS check and if anything goes wrong in any way....well, we did tell you we aren't liable and you agreed, sorry. Seriously?!?!?

Also, this:
we need to collect some information from you including your contact details and any disability information. We use a US-based database to store this information securely and only share it internally with our volunteer and administrative teams
A US based database storing extremely sensitive and personal information. Why the US? Is the data stored securely? Is it being mined or used for any other purposes?

They may mean well and may even provide a good service. BUT, I'd have to say I wouldn't recommend anyone put their trust in a service like this. Sorry, that's a huge no from me!
aLV42620/07/2019 21:48

No - I'm with Monkeyface on this one - IT has got to be the worst industry …No - I'm with Monkeyface on this one - IT has got to be the worst industry to be in. There was a time when being in IT was a respected job and there really was a skill to it, now everyone thinks they are experts and believes the answer is available via Youtube or Google...It really is a thankless profession, I don't understand why "users" feel they can treat "professionals" that way. You never hear anyone complaining when they have to call the plumber back a month later 'cos the toilets blocked again?...The bottom line is they asked for help, that's something they always seem to forget!



My first IT Job but all my users are always thankful and I feel I am very valued although I know this place can be a fairly land and I have the same to come as in progress in higher jobs.

What I have already found is I will drop anything to help someone when I'm busy but soon as I am asking someone to try something either to fix there problem or a colleagues then 'im too busy'' .
ScoobyStoo21/07/2019 07:29

Until you get sued for causing data loss. Or accused of data theft.I work …Until you get sued for causing data loss. Or accused of data theft.I work in the trade too, and whilst this is a nice idea, I wouldn't be touching it with a barge pole unless the limit of my liability was clearly defined and the end client signed a disclaimer.Otherwise it's a legal minefield.This post will no doubt get loads of 'phooey' responses from people who think I'm unnecessarily poo-pooing is good idea...but naivety will be no defence if someone decides to go after you.


It's that one time when they delete the pictures of their grandchildren and accuse you - how do you deal with that? I'll find other ways to help, IT support will not be one of them!
Gumbon21/07/2019 09:16

My first IT Job but all my users are always thankful and I feel I am very …My first IT Job but all my users are always thankful and I feel I am very valued although I know this place can be a fairly land and I have the same to come as in progress in higher jobs. What I have already found is I will drop anything to help someone when I'm busy but soon as I am asking someone to try something either to fix there problem or a colleagues then 'im too busy'' .


Good for you - that'll change when a recurring fault appears and it starts impacting performance...
leaston21/07/2019 09:11

This service really does concern me after reading up a little. A basic DBS …This service really does concern me after reading up a little. A basic DBS check isn't exactly due diligence when you are sending volunteers into vulnerable and elderly people's homes or allowing them to remote their computers.Even more concerning for me is this little nugget on their website:AbilityNet cannot accept liability for the work carried out by our volunteers. If you are in any doubt at any time about the ability of the volunteer chosen to address your needs, please ask them to stop work immediately and call us on 0800 269 545 to discuss your concerns.So, basically...we'll send a complete stranger into a vulnerable person's home after doing a basic DBS check and if anything goes wrong in any way....well, we did tell you we aren't liable and you agreed, sorry. Seriously?!?!?Also, this:we need to collect some information from you including your contact details and any disability information. We use a US-based database to store this information securely and only share it internally with our volunteer and administrative teamsA US based database storing extremely sensitive and personal information. Why the US? Is the data stored securely? Is it being mined or used for any other purposes?They may mean well and may even provide a good service. BUT, I'd have to say I wouldn't recommend anyone put their trust in a service like this. Sorry, that's a huge no from me!


Thanks for pointing that out - there is no reason to offshore UK data - especially DBS vetted data, that should be a huge no from everyone. The liability bit as well is a total cop out...
aLV42621/07/2019 10:20

Good for you - that'll change when a recurring fault appears and it starts …Good for you - that'll change when a recurring fault appears and it starts impacting performance...

I agree, especially as a skilled hands on manager has been replaced by a non hands on manager.. I am ready to start looking when things go tits up and i am unqualified to handle it as of yet
Gumbon21/07/2019 10:41

I agree, especially as a skilled hands on manager has been replaced by a …I agree, especially as a skilled hands on manager has been replaced by a non hands on manager.. I am ready to start looking when things go tits up and i am unqualified to handle it as of yet


In 40 years in IT I only had 3 good managers most are incompetent ningcompoops especially in IT.
Just look at the BBC disaster or NHS rollout!
Seriously i probably had over 100 contract jobs over the years and almost every manager was a fudd!

Seriously dude learn it early and read Dilbert its actually quite accurate!
I will never forget the Dilbert sketch "Managers = Natures way of removing morons from the productive cycle!"
Learn it early do what you think is best and watch your back!

Sadly IT is a thankless job.
Their oven goes up the khyber at home and its always IT's fault!
Edited by: "omendata" 21st Jul
leaston21/07/2019 21:15

I work in IT for the NHS. Say no more!


Yeah thankless job - never worked in NHS its about the only one although i did do a few months working on GP Surgeries installing GPASS (I bet they are still using that old piece of Clunker software) and looking after their systems and it was pretty bad.
Civil service was worse utterly the most incompetent managers you will ever meet wouldnt know how to run a bath nevermind a company - you just have to laugh or leave the job!
Edited by: "omendata" 21st Jul
GPASS was retired in 2012. Its mostly EMIS now
omendata21/07/2019 22:05

Yeah thankless job - never worked in NHS its about the only one although i …Yeah thankless job - never worked in NHS its about the only one although i did do a few months working on GP Surgeries installing GPASS (I bet they are still using that old piece of Clunker software) and looking after their systems and it was pretty bad.Civil service was worse utterly the most incompetent managers you will ever meet wouldnt know how to run a bath nevermind a company - you just have to laugh or leave the job!


They seem to replace one nightmare application with another, equally as bad, for more money. I've never worked in the Civil Service, but would imagine a lot of public sector organisations are wasteful and run by people who really shouldn't be in charge.

We now have privatisation by the back door with hospitals setting up private companies in order to dodge (erm, I mean 'save' on) tax. I doubt most people know it's happening and it's scary that Trusts are being allowed to do it.
corvin21/07/2019 22:46

GPASS was retired in 2012. Its mostly EMIS now

Or SystemOne
leaston21/07/2019 23:17

They seem to replace one nightmare application with another, equally as …They seem to replace one nightmare application with another, equally as bad, for more money. I've never worked in the Civil Service, but would imagine a lot of public sector organisations are wasteful and run by people who really shouldn't be in charge.We now have privatisation by the back door with hospitals setting up private companies in order to dodge (erm, I mean 'save' on) tax. I doubt most people know it's happening and it's scary that Trusts are being allowed to do it.


Yeah i started a job when i wur just out of University working for Glasgow council expecting to be doing all sorts of helpdesk tasks but I found out after a day of 1 call that i was on the Word helpdesk team and I got into bother for taking all sorts of problems off the helpdesk and actually fixing them!

Would you believe they had a guy for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and that is all they did all day - average was 3 calls a day per guy - I left after the first day - The Labour run councils in Scotland are a complete disgrace they even built a statue to Donald Dewar up in Buchanan Galleries for over a million quid and it gets its specs ripped off virtually once a month by the drunks on a Fri Saturday night and costs about £10,000 a go to repair it - madness its no wonder Labour will never get back in England or I hope!
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