I can’t call myself a digital native because that term is reserved for people who are the same age as my adult children. I’ll just say that I have had internet access in my home since the 1980s, and I fully appreciate the difference between a 300 baud dial-up modem and a 1,400 baud dial-up modem because that is all we had back then. Technical problems and issues are as old as the technology, and often, I have had to be my own tech support.

  • Most any problem can be solved by watching the right YouTube video at the right time.
  • It is rare to have a problem with a device that no one has had before.
  • Real estate is a competitive sport, and we are only as good as our internet access and battery life.

I can’t call myself a digital native because that term is reserved for people who are the same age as my adult children.

I’ll just say that I have had internet access in my home since the 1980s, and I fully appreciate the difference between a 300 baud dial-up modem and a 1,400 baud dial-up modem because that is all we had back then. The internet looked very different than it does today, and it was slow.

This week, I am about exhausted from trying to keep up with the pace of business and keep all of my gadgets, tools and software working so that I can write that offer on my phone. All of this, of course, while I’m showing the house that has been on the market for five minutes so that my clients can compete with all the other offers.

Technical problems and issues are as old as the technology, and often, I have had to be my own tech support. I read manuals and instructions and watch YouTube video for further instruction. Most any problem can be solved by watching the right YouTube video at the right time.

First, you must unplug

There is one universal fix for common problems with internet access, printers that won’t work, computer problems and uncooperative tablets and mobile phones, and that is to turn the device off or unplug it, count to 10 (or fix a cocktail), and then plug it back in or turn it back on.

Usually, that solves the problem and should always be done before calling for help. I am sharing this because that one simple trick can change your life.

If turning the offending device off and on again doesn’t work, your next best bet is to tell Google your problem in plain English.

For instance, you can search “My iPad Air 2 screen won’t rotate to portrait mode.” You will know when you have found the correct solution because you will see it — or something similar — in multiple locations.

It is rare to have a problem with a device that no one has had before, and there is almost always advice online about how to fix it. And often that advice will include turning something off and then turning it back on again or unplugging it.

If the problem is a piece of software or an app that no longer works, I usually check to make sure other software or apps are working on the device. Systemic failures are fairly rare, but troubleshooting is about figuring out what the problem isn’t so that we can narrow down the possibilities.

Often, software — or apps as they are called on mobile devices — can be removed and reinstalled, and the problem is solved. If nothing else works, asking Google for help might solve the problem, and it’s best to do that before deleting and reinstalling the software.

Call tech support if you must

If all else fails, contact technical support. Do not mess around with a Facebook group or with some agent support or company support. Go right to the experts who often work on foreign shores or in North Dakota and rarely have real estate licenses.

Tech support might start by blaming the user; if it is operator error, then there isn’t anything for them to fix, and they get to take a break or something. Hang in there, and be assertive, and you might eventually get help.

Sometimes, if I get an answer I don’t like, I call again and get a different answer. And I have been known to call four or five times before I get an answer that helps me figure out how to solve the problem.

I call technical support to be put on hold. And I’m told that my call is important and might be recorded for quality reasons; when I reach a human being, I will be forced to repeat the same steps I have already completed on my own and give my 23-digit serial number and 12-digit account number, the last four of my social and even a credit card number.

They have no way of knowing or of ever finding out it is my 17th call that day — even though they take the same information a few times during each call (and they ask me for a current email address and phone number, too!)

The friendly folks at technical support often treat me like a woman. At least they don’t know how old I am. If they did, they would treat me extra special — but not in a good way. On a recent call, I was asked for my birthdate. I gave the date of my 20th birthday.

We’re only as good as our tech

These days, I have a lot of redundancy built into my business. I have two of just about everything except internet access. But there is a coffee shop on the next block, and I can always go work at the co-working space.

Right now, I am contemplating getting another source of internet access into my home so I can run my business stuff on a separate network, one that doesn’t have multiple devices for streaming media on it, a couple of cameras and the thermostat in addition to the usual computers, printers, phones and tablets. Sure, I’ll have to pay extra for it, but I am worth it.

Real estate is a competitive sport, and we are only as good as our internet access and our weakest battery.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

Email Teresa Boardman.

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