Read This! Vote Now! Vote Often! Help Desk #12


Dear readers,

This column started in July 2006. The intent is to give readers a resource to use when they need help with problems. Over the past 11 months I have been proud to help people all over the world. It’s fun to hear from people in other countries and other parts of the US, but there’s always been one little problem – the quantity of email received hasn’t usually been enough to sustain the column.

Maybe the problem is all the other help resources available on the internet. There are web forums galore, and the response from those can be quicker than waiting for a reply from me, although the advice can be questionable. There are podcasts. Dave Hamilton’s Mac Geek Gab and Adam Christiansen’s MacCast do a great job answering questions weekly. There’s some overlap between this column and Macspiration from Donny Yankelow here on, but I can’t think of any other web columns like this one (although the magazine help letters are usually online too), but Google can be very helpful when you’ve got a question. Google, of course, is instant. Waiting for me to answer your email generally isn’t, although I usually am able to reply within a day or occasionally two.

Right from the start I said this wasn’t my column, it was our column. Do you, the readers of, want to see continue to have a help column? I need your help trying to decide if this column should continue. How you can help is easy. If you want to see the Help Desk continue, send me an email at If not, don’t.

In case this is your first time reading this column, please go back and have a look at the previous 11. Also let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Tom Schmidt, and I am a service and support technician at First Tech Computer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. First Tech is consistently rated as one of the very best Apple Specialist dealers in the United States, generally regarded as the best between the east and west coasts. The knowledge and experience we have here is a cut above the rest.

In one form or another, I’ve been taking care of and fixing Macs (and PCs too) since 1986. I started doing it professionally as the systems manager of a small marketing firm in 1990. From there I went on to work in technical support for Mirror Technologies and Envisio, and I started at First Tech in 1994.

If you want this column to continue, I need you to let me know. Got a buddy that needs some help? Send ’em my way! Keep those letters coming to And if this is the last Help Desk column, thanks. It’s been a fun ride.



There are no letters this month. Sorry. I only received one email, and it wasn’t something I could use. Spring fever keeping everyone outside? iPhone mania?


Tom has been a service technician with First Tech Computer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of the most highly regarded Apple Specialist dealers in the US, since 1994. Previous to that, Tom was the systems manager and a graphic designer for a small marketing firm from 1990 to 1992, then worked in technical and product support with Mirror Technologies and Envisio for 2 years.

Please send your questions to He will personally reply to each message when received and select letters will be included in the Help Desk column.


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