The family IT support is in

One of the pros — or cons, depending on how you look at it — of everyone being at home is that when any of the kids has a computer problem, I am unavoidably available. Today we had problems aplenty.

We got the boys some cheap Dell laptops some time ago, installed Ubuntu on them and set them going. The point has now been reached when, for all three boys, these laptops are being used primarily for school work (or school related activities). So running out of disk space is a serious problem.

Today, one of the laptops ran out of disk space.

My first reaction was to ask how many webcam videos and screen recordings they had been making, but it turns out that the problem was deeper than that — too many old packages clogging up the disk drive. I found the commands necessary to clean up these packages easily enough and set about some vastly overdue laptop maintenance.

This is when the fun began. When I tried to use apt-get autoremove to free up some disk space, it told me that it couldn’t do that because I had some broken dependencies. When I tried to fix these, it told me it couldn’t do that because I didn’t have enough disk space.

And it all started looking a bit painful and the boys quickly learned that IT support largely involves copying and pasting error messages into your search engine of choice and then doing the same back into the terminal.

Everything is now resolved and I have promised to keep a closer eye on the boys’ technology. On the plus side, I now know how to manually remove old kernels in Ubuntu.

6 thoughts on “The family IT support is in

  1. I’ve always wondered who puts all those valuable solutions online for us to find on google. If you use the right keywords you can get an answer to everything.


    1. It’s true. Much IT expertise amounts to little more than what to type into the search engine… It’s quite shocking how much time I spend looking stuff up at work as well.

      As for who puts all this information online, one of the things I have always appreciated about Ubuntu is that it has a very helpful community around it. For every problem I have encountered, I have found that someone else has has exactly the same issue and some very helpful person has taken the time to walk them through exactly what needs to be done to resolve it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My parents used to call one of us for tech support. They realized quickly that their time-consuming questions over simple issues on their smartphones were usually badly timed.

    We started handing the phone to the younger kid (at the time). She managed to answer their basic questions quicker than us and often solved their problems all on her own. 🙂


    1. I try to avoid providing support for the extended family, not least because we live in different countries so I am not able to pop over and see what they are doing. The timing is also an issue — it’s very rare that there is a good time for me to sit down and try and fix some problem over the phone.

      I should let the twins loose on other people’s problems. No-one will ever ask me for help again 😉


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