Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It Takes a Village

Technology is a wonderful thing. Just this morning, I got up, went to the gym and ran on the treadmill while watching a junky TV show on my iPad (don’t ask which one…okay, it was “Sister Wives.” I’d like to see you try to drown out the sound of a man hocking into a paper cup.), then called my mother on Skype, and tweeted my way through the second presidential debate while Bob kept me updated on the score of the Yankee game that he was watching on his laptop. Then I got a text on my new iPhone about meeting for lunch, texted another friend to join us, and filed one story and one invoice on my spiffy new laptop. Productive!

But what it took for me to get to this point – and not counting the moment where China kicked us temporarily off the server when I was just about to respond to a Romney comment about a “fake Apple store in China” – required a real village of support staff.  I thought I’d introduce everyone to my honor roll of technology helpers that are keeping me plugged in whether I’m climbing the Great Wall, sitting at my desk in Beijing, or running a 10K in Angkor Wat.

·         Nora. She came with me to the China Unicom store to help me set up my data plan on my new iPhone, offering support when I wasn’t being understood and showing the very patient China Unicom lady my address in Chinese. Later she made some great app suggestions, especially the livestreaming NPR music that I can listen to on insomniac nights.

·         Carlos. He spent three hours on Saturday and one hour on Sunday patiently helping me transfer my iTunes from my ancient, dying laptop to his phone and then over to my new laptop, thus enabling me to update my iPad (IOS 4, can you believe it?), load my VPN on my iPhone, and sync it all. More amazingly, he didn’t get at all snippy when I made stupid comments or suggestions.

·         Ryan, Beijing son #1. Ryan offered tech support enabling me to download apps from my iPad to my iPhone and offered reasons why my VPN still wasn’t allowing me to log on to Facebook or Twitter. He wasn’t technically right in the second instance, but I’m still grateful.

·         Witopia. Their online help, both in email and chat, is cheerful, practical, useful, and works every single time. They make my life in China possible by selling me a VPN system that bypasses the Great Firewall of China and allows me to post inane comments on Twitter, silly photos on Facebook, and these rambling thoughts on my blog.

Someday I may be able to figure out these sorts of technical problems on my own, but for now, I’m grateful for the team.

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