January 2012

This infographic (from SBI) talks about modernization of health IT systems, and how $19 billion was allocated to expedite the health IT systems under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  It goes on to talk about spending technology-wise, and how technology is being used in the healthcare system.  It is not only an interesting bit of information about the healthcare system, but an interesting look at what types of gadgets doctors prefer to do their jobs.  The infographic informs us that US hospital spending on IT systems will be $4.7 billion by the end of this year, and will grow to $6.8 billion by the end of 2014.


Doctor’s Tech Toolbox Infographic | The Infographics Showcase.


In early December 2011, Microsoft quietly launched Answer Desk, an online tech support center that provides free help to customers dealing with basic Microsoft software malfunctions, and offers in-depth help for a fee. The company’s move may have come in response to Apple, which offers free in-store support for basic problems, and priority support for a yearly fee.

Microsoft Answer Desk tech supportIf you’re having a problem with Excel, or if your version of Windows isn’t behaving as it should, Microsoft has technicians standing by to help you out at no charge. Answer Desk staff can assist you over the phone or via a custom Web chat service. Support is available around the clock to anyone with a Hotmail account, which is free and easy to create.

Answer Desk’s free service is available only for dealing with simple problems involving a Windows product. For more-complex issues, you’ll have to pull out your credit card.

In a series of informal trials, I asked for advice on buying a Windows phone, setting up Entourage (the Apple-only Microsoft Office email and calendar client), and finding some toolbars that had gone AWOL in my version of Word.

The technician I spoke to about Entourage seemed happy to ditch me with a link to a relevant FAQ page, but my other two support agents were very patient and helpful.

Microsoft Answer Desk tech supportMicrosoft aims to make the whole experience seem personal. Each of its technicians has a profile picture, a personal page that can be bookmarked, and a Yelp-like star rating. Some even speak multiple languages. If you find a technician who is particularly helpful, you can search for and request that person in the future, by name or by ID number.

Answer Desk’s premium services, ranging in price from $49 to $99, buy you anywhere from one hour to two hours of “one-on-one” time with a tech. The rep will help you optimize your PC’s performance, root out and eliminate viruses, or get more out of your Windows products. If you and the tech can’t figure out a particular problem via chat or over the phone, Answer Desk staff can access your computer remotely.

These services are, in part, an answer to Apple’s One to One service, which makes various technical support and learning tools available to customers online and in Apple stores for $99 a year.

Excerpt from PCWorld – http://www.pcworld.com/article/247222-2/how_to_get_free_or_cheap_tech_support.html