Support options for a technophobe with a new MBA

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Boyd01, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #1
    I have been using Macs since the very beginning (and Apple ][ before that) so I never really looked into Apple's support options. But now I'm buying a new MBA for a family member in another state.

    This computer will be a replacement for her 7 year old Macbook running OSX 10.5.8. It has been flakey recently, and I know I could probably resolve most of the issues if I was there in person, but really it's time for a new computer that will last her another 6 or 7 years. And along with the new computer, I'm hoping to get out of the "phone support business" and find a local resource for her (there is an Apple Store near her home).

    I'm buying the computer now and will transfer all her files to it at a Thanksgiving family gathering. She is still using AppleWorks :p so I am going to get her setup with LibreOffice which seems to work well with these old files (gave it a try with some of my own old AppleWorks files).

    So I have been reading about Apple "one to one" http://store.apple.com/us/browse/campaigns/onetoone but am not sure if this is what she needs, since she doesn't really want a "learning curriculum" and I don't want to spend $100 on something she never uses. Does anyone have experience with this program? Her issues are usually very basic - I'm sure she will be freaked out by learning to use LibreOffice instead of AppleWorks for example. Is that the kind of thing they would even help her with (open source software)? She only does word processing, but is very slow to adapt to anything new.

    In the absence of "one to one", what resources are available for free through the Apple Store at the genius bar? Will they help with this kind of thing? Am planning to purchase a refurb 2013 base model MBA from Apple's online store. Is there any issue with me making the purchase instead of her? We will register the machine to her Apple ID and I will give her a copy of the receipt.

    She has no wifi at home so I will get here a thunderbolt ethernet interface for the time being, but she wants wifi eventually. I tried to help last year and failed... Gave her my old Airport Express but just couldn't talk her through getting it setup on the phone. Very frustrating - she doesn't understand the most basic stuff, like figuring out what an ethernet cable is and what it plugs into. :confused: Finally I just gave up. Not sure how to deal with this, maybe get her a new router at Best Buy and pay $100 for the Geek Squad to set it up? Seems like a lot of money for something so simple, but like I said, I just gotta get outta the phone support business with her….

    Interested in advice from anyone else who has been through something similar.
     
  2. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    I have a few suggestions (although I'm no longer in your situation). First set up Back to My Mac so you can access her system remotely. This might make it possible to get an AirPortExpress set up remotely. One-to-one works well for some people I know, but you need to restrict to Apple software for best results. Really, Pages is pretty good. I'd suggest LibreOffice only to access old documents and would use it to convert to Word format which Pages can then open. (I went through this with my father at age 88 who switched from a PC that I couldn't really support to a Mac. All his docs were in WordPerfect, so I went and converted them to Word).
     
  3. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #3
    The new Mac comes with Pages, so why not stick with Apple products? Her local Apple Store will have workshops on Pages (if she wants to take advantage of them), but not LibreOffice (or any non-Apple software). Further, she'll have AppleCare phone/chat support for Pages as well (again, if she'd take advantage of it). It'd more work for you, but if you do the file conversion for her over Thanksgiving, one less thing for her to deal with - keep her entirely within the Apple bubble.

    One to One is a gamble, but that's the nature of gifts. Unless an item is already on the recipient's wish list, you can't be sure if it'll be appreciated. If it works, then there are probably great benefits for both of you. The one hour of personal time makes it less of a "learning curriculum" than simply taking the free workshops the Apple Retail Store runs. It'll be about what she feels she needs to know (and that, of course, includes finding her way around Yosemite).

    This is all theory on my part, but you could look at the personal training session as a trust-building exercise, with the potential to transfer some of her ongoing training and support dependence from you to the Apple Store.

    You may also want to consider AppleCare for the MBA - three full years of tech support, plus the repair coverage... if you do want to transfer some of her dependence to someone else, it may as well be three years worth.
     
  4. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    Thanks for your thoughts. Yeah I may setup some kind of remote access, but like I said, I want to transition away from doing her computer support.

    I thought of switching her to Pages but have never even tried it myself. I really don't want to get into converting her old files, and if I set LibreOffice to open them by default I think it will be a big plus for her. She has used MS Office at work and says she hates it (I couldn't really understand why though).

    ----------

    Yeah, that may make sense for the future, but I don't really want to get her started on new software that I've never used. Her father is a retired professor who recently switched to Pages and told her that he hates it - that won't help me sell her on that solution, LOL. :D

    As for AppleCare, I will probably pass. I have owned countless Macs over the years and stopped buying AppleCare 10 years ago. Never missed it. I know her… the old MacBook has never left her desk in the past 7 years. She wanted a laptop because it was small and self-contained. Go figure. I suggested a Mac Mini this time, but she says maybe she would like to travel with it someday.
     
  5. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    #5
    Honestly, if you get MS Office, that's fine but she has to learn it. If you get AppleCare; you can call them and ask them about questions anything related to software Apple makes (i.e. Pages). Also, you do not need to convert the documents from .doc to .pages as Pages can export in .doc (and .docx).

    Lastly, why don't you get One-to-One for her? She then can go to the Apple Store and get lessons on anything she wants (anything Apple and their software related). Then you don't have to provide any tech support. She has phone support from AppleCare and One-to-One to teach her about everything.
     
  6. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    I'm only suggesting it for data format conversion and setting up an AirPort.

    If she hates MS Office I can't imagine her liking LibreOffice. Pages will get her support from Apple.

    Pages isn't the best choice for writing papers for journals, which probably was his concern. I'm saying this even if he doesn't write anymore. My father was an accountant and he despised Quicken because it didn't track transactions and other issues that only an accountant would care about, even though that doesn't matter for personal use.

    I understand. It's not a good value in the long run, especially if you are sophisticated enough to solve your own problems. However your relative isn't you and would benefit from the extended phone support.
     
  7. Boyd01 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #7
    Thanks. I'm not quite clear on the advantage of one to one vs regular genius bar appointments for her kind of usage though. I don't think she wants to learn how to do new things, just needs a resource when there are problems. I know that you get 90 days of free support with any new Mac. After 90 days, can you still get help at the Genius Bar?

    ----------

    I hear ya. Truth is, she is going to hate anything that isn't AppleWorks. :D
     
  8. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    Yes you can, but the time is limited, of course. One-to-one gives hour sessions. AppleCare gives telephone support after 90 days.

    I must say I've never used the telephone support nor the Genius Bar for other than hardware failure. So I have no idea what sort of free application support you can get. But as I said, I do know people, without computer sophistication, who thought one-to-one was great (one even renews each year).
     
  9. SusanK Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    #9

    I know a woman who loves One to One. She does two sessions weekly. Updates. And anything new is done with a trainer. She recently moved from Windows to OS X. I hear high praise from her about One to One. She calls it the best deal on the planet at $99 per year.

    If the lady receiving the new MBA is interested in the training it could work. Satisfaction with the service seems to vary from store to store. It is a great concept.
     

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