Question from Marie: You never cease to amaze me, Rick. It seems like you have an answer for every question that people ask of you.
How on earth do you remember all the obscure and complicated tech stuff that we’re always asking you about? Do you have a photographic memory or something?
Rick’s answer: You’re very kind, Marie. I greatly appreciate the fact that you think I have all of this tech knowledge tucked away inside my brain, but I’m afraid I might be about to burst your bubble…
Truth be told, I don’t know the answers to all the questions I receive right off the top of my head.
I’ve been working in the tech world for a very long time so I’ve indeed accumulated quite a bit of information over the years, but there are still many things that I don’t know and situations that I’ve never encountered before.
If I had to venture a guess I’d say I’m able to answer somewhere between 70% and 80% of the questions I receive just from memory and/or personal experience. I typically come up with the rest of the answers in one of the following ways:
1 – Google
Yep, I use Google to research many of the topics I’m asked to opine about. That’s why I ask my readers to be as specific as possible and include as much background info as they can provide when asking for my help with solving a problem.
I’ve learned over the years how to craft really effective search queries so I can usually find the info I’m looking for within just a minute or two.
Whatever the issue might be, the odds are quite high that someone else has already dealt with that same exact issue and posted a solution to it on the Internet. And if it’s on the Internet, Google probably knows about it.
2 – Tech Forums
The Internet is home to numerous discussion forums where people ask (and answer) questions about virtually any tech-related topic you can think of.
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Internet Service Providers, satellite TV and Internet, streaming video, solar power generation, computer hardware, Microsoft Office…there are forums dedicated to all of those topics and a whole lot more.
Just head over to Google and type in a keyword or phrase followed by the word forum and you’ll be presented with several to choose from.
All busy forums are populated with lots of users who are experts in the topics they deal with, and those folks are usually eager to help with issues that are raised on the forum.
3 – Other Tech Websites
I don’t claim to be the Internet “Know It All” when it comes to technology. Far from it.
Every week I set aside some time to check out the latest articles and blog posts on a number of other high-quality tech websites that I enjoy. And I always learn something new, interesting and useful.
4 – Good old fashioned Experimentation / Trial and Error
In the rare instances when my memory, personal experience and Googling fail to come up with a solution to a problem, I try to recreate the problem on my own machine and develop a solution for fixing it.
Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. Which brings me to the following…
As much as I hate to admit it, there are some issues that I’m simply unable to find a solution for. Thankfully, those elusive answers tend to be few and far between, but they do exist. And when I’m unable to find a solution for a given issue, I say so.
I hope this helps, Marie. The above might not have been the answer you were expecting, but it’s the one I have. Thanks again for your kind words!