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Ghosts of Christmas Family Tech Issues

If you are your family's resident geek, you get a lot of tech-related questions. These can range from tech support to questions about what you think tech's future looks like. Here's a selection of questions regarding holidays past, present, and future that you either have encountered or will encounter—and some possible answers for each.

Questions of Holidays Past

What virus-scan software do you use?
I was asked this question so many times, I had to come up with an answer for the PCs in my life. I looked around and thankfully, Patrick Norton on The Screen Savers (yes, that long ago) had once reviewed AVG Free. I tried it on an XP machine and started answering "AVG" when asked this question. On a Mac, it's a different story.

How often do you defrag your hard drive?
While a common practice on Windows, I haven't performed this task very often on Mac, at least not in the same way as on a PC. I do recommend executing the Disk Utility's "Repair Disk Permissions," as well as purchasing a tool such as Micromat's TechTool Pro. Keep in mind that if you purchased AppleCare, then you got the deluxe version of Micromat's TechTool product.

My hard drive crashed and I don't have a backup; what can I do?
In most cases, nothing: You're out of luck. It's always good to have a solid backup strategy. Here's an area where there are a lot of options on a Mac, such as Mozy and Carbonite, or Backblaze and CrashPlan. Time Machine is very easy to set up and use, not to mention that it ships free with every Mac.

Questions of Holidays Present

When do you think the iPhone will be on Verizon?
The Mac vs. PC struggle has been replaced by the Android vs.iOS battle. Many have speculated that this is really an extension of the AT&T conflict with Verizon, which Verizon won long ago. While AT&T's exclusivity won't last forever, it's still not certain when other carriers will sell the iPhone.

What apps should I get for my iPad?
The market that stretches between smartphone and laptop is at least for the time being owned by the iPad. Personally, I think the best apps for the iPad are for kids. If productivity or games are more your thing, there are too many out there for me to say what's best for everyone. The finest accessory for the iPad is an Apple TV—and then the best app would be Apple's own Remote.

Do you really get 11 hours of battery life?
Yes, we do. Well, some of us, at least—those running iPads and those not running Flash on the new MacBook Air. While the iPad is advertised as letting you watch videos for 10 hours straight, the Macbook Air has pleased some users by running just about as long.

Questions of Holidays Future

What ever happened to Google's Android?
This isn't to say Android won't exist in the future, because it will. Rather, I think it'll less and less be Google's Android alone. It's very likely we'll start seeing greater divides among device manufacturers, carriers, marketplaces, and even third-party apps themselves. Not even Google has it straight about where and when to use Android and where and when to use Chrome OS.

So during this holiday season, when you're asked for your assistance or opinion, give it freely. The time is coming when the average consumer will know enough about Apple to carry on an informed discussion. What sort of questions do you think you'll be asked this holiday season, and what are some of your favorites from times past?

Also from GigaOM:

Shopping Matters When It Comes to Location-Based Apps (subscription required)

Google Wants Groupon Because Social Ads Are the Future

Comcast vs. Level 3: Netflix Didn't See This Coming

Google's Search Tactics Under Investigation in Europe

Forget Net Neutrality; Comcast Might Break the Web

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