Need tech help? Ask the IT guy

I received my first computer in 1986 -- a Macintosh Plus. I was mesmerized by it, and even at 8 years old knew I was looking at an object around which my future would somehow revolve.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, I stare in amazement as my 16-month-old son learns his ABCs and 123s on my (who am I kidding, his) iPad.

While the proud papa in me would love for him to be as passionate about technology as I am, my guess is that he will grow up thinking nothing of all this wondrous technology that surrounds him. He will look at it merely as another tool, no different than how I perceive a hammer and nail.

But for those of us who came of age without the benefit of an iPhone or a Twitter account, there still is a learning curve, and it's undoubtedly a struggle sometimes to keep up with the latest and greatest.

My love of technology has lead me to a career in information technology (I was a member of the Packet's IT department for five years), but I've always found I derive the most satisfaction from helping others make sense of all that's out there and helping them with their tech problems.

As every IT person will tell you, we are the go-to guys (and gals) for tech help, no matter if it's our Mom, our neighbor, a co-worker, etc. Some in my profession tend to look upon that as a chore (hence our somewhat ... prickly ... reputation), but it's my idea of a good time. And the good times have been coming fast and furious these days as technology starts to become essential to our lives.

However, finding the help you need to do what you want with technology isn't always easy. It's fine to say "Just Google it," but what if you don't know how to ask the question?

Also, with apologies to Google, finding the answers to questions has become more and more difficult.

In this era of Search Engine Optimization, where websites are more concerned with being the first Google hit rather than actually providing useful content, even I get frustrated with how much work it takes to sift through the avalanche of information and advertising that's out there.

For example, when trying to find answers to fairly straightforward computer questions, often the first few results on a Google search will lead you to websites that want to charge you for the answer. It never used to be that way.

With that in mind, I invite you to submit your tech questions to me via e-mail:

I'll offer some answers in this column, as well as many tips and suggestions for making the best use of all the technology that is out there.

You can also follow me on Twitter: @packetITguy to find links to the most pertinent tech news of the day.

If you read anything in this space that makes your life easier, then it has served its purpose.

Let's get started!