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10 Forums You Can Go to For Technology Help

10 Forums You Can Go to For Technology Help

    Christmas is fast approaching, and alongside the most famous holiday of the year comes a fresh batch of very confused people. Very confused people gifted with strange gadgets the likes of which they’ve only seen in catalogues and sci-fi reruns. Perhaps we’re talking about a grandmother with a new digital camera she can’t figure out how to turn on, and perhaps we’re talking about someone pretty tech literate who needs to know something more advanced. It doesn’t matter — the only prerequisite for getting value out of this list is that the individual knows how to post a question on a forum, as this is a list of places you can go to for help when your electricity-sucking gifts start taking on a mind of their own.

    1. PC Hardware

    Can’t find your new PC’s “On” switch or need to figure out how to get a few memory slots upgraded? Popular tech hardware site, HotHardware, has a forum with a section dedicated to free tech support on all things to do with PC guts. Judging by the number of “my PC won’t turn on!” posts, it could be that time of year already. Be clear about your computer’s symptoms and what steps you are taking in order to try and achieve the desired result when asking for help.

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    2. Apple Hardware

    If you’ve got a new iMac or Macbook for Christmas and need some assistance, the most logical place to go would probably be the very helpful Apple Support Forums. Unfortunately my past experience with certain other companies taught me to ignore the manufacturer’s own forums as a source of good information, so I found that Mac Rumors had a helpful hardware forum, but now I’m inclined to believe that this is one of few situations where the official forums are the best forums.

    3. Windows

    So you went to some suspiciously NSFW website and came out with a bad rash and a bucketload of spyware, or you’re using Windows Vista (enough said). Or you need help with network configuration, which seems to be one area where any version of Windows is a real pain in situations that involve anything more than one modem and an Ethernet cable. Tech Support Guy has Vista and XP forums, and heck, even Windows 95 and 98 forums (though I won’t link to them, simply because I think you’re due for a better Christmas present!).

    4. Mac OS X

    Like I said before, Apple runs decent forums, but the forums at Mac OS X Hints are great, too. The site’s membership has a higher ratio of geeks-to-newbs because of the blog’s type of content that tricky questions can be ironed out in a jiffy. While you’re over there, I think any new OS X user really should subscribe to the blog, since there are so many great ideas there and often there are answers to questions you didn’t even know you had, but needed to know.

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    5. Linux

    Linux can be tricky for the newbie, but it’s also becoming more popular as a pre-loaded option on many computers, including the EeePC—exactly the type of computer that is likely to end up in the stocking thanks to its price range. For those of you giving one of the many flavors—or “distributions”—of the open source operating system a shot, then Linux Questions is a good place to start, since it makes a strong effort to cater to absolute beginners.

    6. iPod and iPhone

    Apple’s iPod and iPhone have become increasingly popular gifts over the years, especially from that relative who seems to be hoarding a hidden wealth that pops out for a visit around this time of year. They’re not the cheapest gifts but they do make good ones. There are many places to go for help regarding these devices, but perhaps the best belong to the venerable iLounge, long the most popular website pertaining to such devices. iLounge’s forum section is here.

    7. Xbox and Playstation

    I’m willing to bet there will be more than a few consoles under the tree for boys aged 8 to 80 this year, and most likely they’ll be either the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3. The reputable gaming network IGN’s Xbox-oriented site, TeamXbox, has a very active forum, while those with new Playstations can head to PS3Forums which is equally active.

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    8. HDTV

    If you got a HDTV for Christmas, it was probably a gift from yourself, or an angry spouse who wanted an excuse to use your high interest credit card. CNET has a forum for home audio and video which is mostly focused on HDTVs, since these days it’s hard to get an old CRT clunker anywhere except a second-hand store. There’s also a dedicated Samsung forum, which seems to be the most commonly purchased brand of HDTV (there are no survey numbers involved in that statement — just an eyeball of my own and my friend’s living rooms).

    9. Digital Cameras

    A digital camera is something we intend to get over the next few weeks, since we’ve decided that taking iPhone pictures of our two kids is not going to provide warm fuzzies ten years down the track, but rather pixelated fuzzies. It can be a confusing market when it comes to the purchase alone, and though I’m at home when it comes to technology in general, controlling cameras and microwaves have a strange tendency to throw me off. Lurking at Digital Camera Resource’s forum has proven helpful enough, and I imagine posting your questions there would be helpful too.

    10. Networking

    So routers and modems are not usually the first thing on your list when you rush out to get someone a gift, but considering the fact that just about any device you bring into your home these days will have some sort of networking capability—whether it’s the Ethernet on a wifi-crippled Xbox or an Apple TV’s wireless networking—problems are waiting to happen. Networking is one of those areas where the average consumer is, by and large, just as confused as ever. PracticallyNetworked is a useful and oft-referred website with a helpful forum that might prove helpful when you just can’t get the damned (insert device) to acquire an IP address.

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    Search is Your Friend

    I always try to seek out answers to my problems without posting a question on a forum. Sometimes I’m stubborn enough to search for days before caving, and I ask questions only two or three times a year when I have to.

    Part of that is just me being a stubborn male. Part of that, however, is simple etiquette. Search, with Google or some other search engine, to see if there’s an answer out there on the web already. If that fails, once you’ve found a forum, search there and see if Google missed anything from the archives.

    It’s considered rude and ignorant to ask a question that has been answered many times before, but mostly it’s just lazy, and a bad habit to pick up. Don’t be afraid to exercise some resourcefulness and find the answers to your questions on your own before piping up for yourself.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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