Right now, my hubby, Adam, and I live right near his parents and, like many people in our generation, Adam is their tech-support guy. Since we’re moving to Chicago in two weeks, we’ve both wondered how his parents would fare without his frequent support visits. When I saw a review of Surviving PC Disasters, Mishaps, and Blunders in Wired, I knew this was something we should definitely get for them (and my parents, and for me too!). The book offers common sense advice on solving various hardware and software-related computer problems, from the mundane to the bizarre (such as a burning computer). It also offers advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of the internet such as viruses, identity fraud, and the RIAA. According to the review in Wired, the authors make an important observation about paid tech-support (something my husband and I realized when we got to Chicago and found out that the tech support guy who had set up his relative’s wireless never gave her the key code for the router):

Fixes offered by technology company support reps may do more damage than good. Tech support wants to get callers off the line quickly, so they may suggest drastic fixes — such as reinstalling your system from scratch — rather than the less destructive, equally effective but more complex solutions.

Looks like a great resource for the average computer owner and the tech-support guru alike!