Cure for the High Tech Holiday Hangover
By Andrew Eisner
A couple of aspirin and a good night's sleep took care of the eggnog but what about all those new gadgets you now have to deal with?
Quick start guides and manuals are usually the first place consumers turn to when they can't find the on/off button or figure out how to install the batteries. Beyond that, for tech support, you can try the manufacturer's site, forums, or even paid services like Geek Squad. Retrevo.com specializes in consumer electronics and can usually find better help information faster.
Manuals and Help Sites
If you don't have a product manual handy you can always visit the manufacturer's site and navigate your way to the PDF documents but once you have the manual it can take time to zero in on the topic. Retrevo.com can take you to the exact page in the manual that explains how to do whatever it is you want to do. For example, searching Retrevo for Canon SD1000 make movie returns page 41 in the manual that explains how to shoot movies with this camera.
There are plenty of online and phone support services for computer products like desktops, laptops, networks, and printers however support for gadgets is a little harder to find. For computer problems you can sign up with services like iyogi for $99 a year, or use sites like pcpitstop that will scan your computer and look for conflicts.
Manufacturer's sites like Kodak have lots of useful tips, downloads, and shopping information, and even a guided troubleshooting feature that leads you through a series of questions before suggestion a solution. We looked for help hooking up a Kodak DC290 to a computer on Kodak's site and Retrevo. Kodak had the usual support information while Retrevo found the page in the manual along with forum posts and reviews.
Forums can be a great resource for help with your gadgets although they can also be a hit or miss experience. If the right person happens to be in the forum at the right time and responds to your question you win, otherwise you'll have to search the forum for previous discussions but most forums are not known for their great search capabilities.
Retrevo.com uses AI-based technology to identify the best forums and most relevant threads within those forums so you have a better chance of finding a solution to your gadget problems.
Here's a list of some of the best places to get help and discuss high tech topics.
GPS GPS Review
Consumables and accessories
Manufacturers know how to give you just enough ink, paper, media, etc. to get you hooked on their digital lifestyle products. Beyond the measly memory card that comes with your camera, the few sheets of glossy printer paper, or the mini-DVD for your camcorder, you'll be online, researching the cheapest consumables before you know it.
High resolution color inkjet photo prints can cost upwards of $.50 not including the paper. Third party ink and paper can save you a bundle. Third party ink can be found on ebay or one of the many sites like the ones listed on this site. Ebay can also be a great source for camera batteries and chargers or media like Mini DV HD Tapes.
For more information on third party ink try these results on Retrevo
Retrevo can also return lots of useful information about specific products and consumables like Canon Pixma ip 4500 ink Canon Pixma ip 4500 ink or PC World's comprehensive study of third party ink from 2003 determined that using third party ink could risky.
Tips and Tricks
Now that you figured out how to get your new gadget up and running it's time to learn the ins and outs and become a power gadget user.
CNET's help site offers online courses and tutorials for topics ranging from Digital Photography to Wireless Networking.
Retrevo has a "how to" tab for most popular gadget categories like:
Buying the Right Product Is Only the First Step
Finding the right product is an important first step. Retrevo.com is a matchmaking site for people and electronics. Retrevo analyzes expert reviews, user reviews, feature, prices, and more to help you find the best gadgets and high tech gear.