How to find a good computer repair person.
I can definitely agree with all of those items. Especially the last one. Google it. Phrase your problem in different ways. Even us geeks use this solution when WE don't know the answer. Most people that know the answer probably do some writing about it on the internet, we are geeks after all.
1) Don't flatter them and tell them how smart they are, or how lucky their wife/family/dog is to have a computer guy in the family.
2) Don't laughingly demean yourself in front of them and shyly admit that you know absolutely nothing about how a computer works. I mean, would you tell a plumber you don't know how a tap works? A mechanic that you don't know what makes it go vroom?
3) See #2. Every call I have been on, I feel like telling the person to stop demoralizing themselves in front of me. It's like hearing someone tell you how fat and ugly they are and that this is why they will always be single. Just say what the problem is. Period.
4) Seriously. If your machine is ten years old, don't pay me $90 an hour to open it up and look at it. You have already broken most records for hard drive life and power supply life. Live it up and buy yourself a new computer. Pay me for an hour to help you set it up and be happy that you probably won't need me for a few years.
5) Google. Google your problem. Your question has been asked a million times and answered a million times. If you can fix it, great, if not, at least you will know what you are talking about when the tech arrives.
And on #4. When you get a computer, find that trustworthy geek and ask him to spend an hour setting up the computer with anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software. An ounce of prevention... will keep the computer healthy for a lot longer in the hyper connected world of today.