GETTING INTO TECH SUPPORT

Help from Kenny SThere isn’t a tech support person in the world who knows how to solve all the problems that come up in Windows. But somebody, somewhere, probably knows the answer to your particular problem.
There’s a new community of more than 7,000 helpers gathered on a web site called Crossloop.  Anyone who thinks they know their stuff can list themselves. Some charge a dollar a minute and others offer help for free.

We clicked on “Kenny,” a guy in Greece we selected more or less at random from a list of hundreds; he noted he was good with Vista problems. He called us up and solved the problem in less than a minute. It was simply a pesky photo that defied all our efforts to delete it. He told us his international calls were free, so we shouldn’t feel guilty about that, and he was solving problems for free to get started and hoped to be able to charge later.

(Update: Kenny’s new site is HelpHelpNow.com. It works similarly to Crossloop.)
You have to be willing to provide remote access to your computer to get this kind of Internet help. If you think there’s something wrong as you watch someone doing searches on your screen, you can disconnect at any time. YouTubeThe helpers on CrossLoop are rated by people who have used their expertise. Kenny had four ratings from helpers and they all raved about how good he was. Other helpers available at the web site are from professional tech support services. That’s all right; they say so right up front.

You start out by downloading some software from CrossLoop.com.  Then if you want help, click the “share” tab. That generates a number that you need to give to the helper. If you want to be a helper, you click an “access” tab and type in the code provided by the person seeking help. This feature can be extremely useful for people who do not want to become general helpers available to the whole world, but are simply willing to help a friend or relative with a computer problem.

The site already has more than 600,000 users in over 190 countries and lots of people are using it.

CrossLoop has advantages over other tech support services we have tried, such as YourTechOnline and PlumChoice. Those services are fine but they tend to focus on the most common kinds of problems, such as spyware, viruses, setting up networks, speeding up a slow computer, etc. CrossLoop has such a diversity of knowledgeable people that they can help with unusual problems, such as mechanical drafting or high-end photo editing. We think this is an optimum use of the power of the worldwide web: no matter what the problem, someone out there probably knows the answer.

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