Happy December! It’s officially the time of office holiday parties, family get-togethers, wassailing, and drinking eggnog as chestnuts roast over the duraflame embers.

For those of us who work with technology, it’s also the time of year when we’re excited to get calls from our relatives, and then disappointed when the purpose of the call turns out to be for tech support related to new phones, computers, and other electronic devices.

It’s also the time of year when tech workers gather in clusters at otherwise respectable parties and discuss the new Kindle Fire, or ogle the latest iPhone and bore their friends, spouses, and formerly merry revelers to tears.

To get the holiday cheer started off on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of 4 tips for getting past almost any technical issue so you can call up your nephew, niece, son, or daughter and say “My email was broken but I fixed it. How are things in Sacramento?”

Tip 1: Restart. If that doesn’t work, turn it off and back on again. If that doesn’t work, unplug it and plug it back in. If that doesn’t work, take the battery out and then put it back in. This solves almost every problem and it almost never results in anything bad happening.

Tip 2: Google it. Someone, somewhere has had the same problem as you. Chances are, if you contact your nephew and restarting doesn’t work, he will find the solution by searching Google. The key is to ask Google exactly the same question you would ask your nephew.

Tip 3: Call technical support. If your issue can’t be fixed by searching Google, it’s probably not a problem that you (or your nephew) can fix. Your nephew’s best guess is that AT&T has blocked access to outgoing tcp/ip traffic on port 25. But, he can’t do anything about that and you’ll need to call AT&T.

Tip 4: Experiment with turning off your phone completely. Start with just an hour at a time. Or, better yet, forget your phone at home. If you’re not convinced of the value in this, watch It’s a Wonderful Life and count how many times mobile phones appear in the film. By the time the movie’s over, you’ve been tricked into being reminded of just how important your presence with your friends and family is.

4 Tips for Dealing With Technology During the Holidays
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