Eleanor Walenius is struggling with a program in her computer.
“I want my granddaughter to learn French because we are going to Paris for her 15th birthday, so we bought the Rosetta Stone program,” Walenius says.
Rosetta Stone is a computer software designed for learning languages, but for the Walenius family, it has become a Tower of Babel.
“Every time we tried to run the program, it disappeared from my computer — it crashed,” Walenius says.
Tech support from Rosetta didn’t solve her problem. Sometimes all it takes is a person who could really listen and clarify in plain English what the computer’s problem is. A person like Mom.
The technology makes us feel stupid, but we say, ‘It´s not about you, it´s about the computer.’
Gloria Lattanzio or “Mom” is the co-founder of Mom’s Computer Help, a family-oriented business helping older generations solve their computer issues.
“This service was born from my own frustration and need. I don’t know much about computers, but I really like to use them. I’m the perfect consumer,” Lattanzio stated. “I was always asking my husband and kids for help, but also friends and female colleagues were asking them, so I realized that’s there a whole generation of people just like me, who aren’t able to use their computers well.”
Every weekend, Gloria and her helpers — husband Claude La France and daughter Bianca — have a meet-and-greet session in coffee shops in north Toronto.
“So, for example if you are thinking of getting an e-reader or have one and don’t know how to use it, this is a perfect opportunity to showcase some of the things we can do. It’s perfect for a casual conversation, have a cup of coffee and just say hi,” Lattanzio said.
Still, people want immediate answers to their tech problems. Biggest complaints come from tech support that don’t solve the problems at all, like Walenius’s case.
“That’s our main concern,” Lattanzio said. “We try to do as much over the phone as possible because you need an answer for your problem right away. You will talk with me or one of the helpers, no answering machines. And we speak plain and simple English. No tech geek language.”
The muscle in the business is husband Claude, who expresses his love for computers.
“I have been working with them almost all my life,” he said. “People of our age usually don’t know how to open a browser or what a browser is, or what’s Firefox, or what a download is and that’s scary for them. We are here to put those fears aside.”
Daughter Bianca has a gift for explaining computers in a simple way.
“She was selected to explain a group of teachers how these news smartboards that replace blackboards work. It was the student teaching the teachers,” La France said of his daughter.
And so it was Bianca who solved Walenius’s problem with Rosetta Stone.
“Bianca just came and understood my situation, that I don´t have experience with computers,” Walenius said.
For Walenius and her granddaughter, their problem was solved and it was “bonjour” Paris.