The biggest mistake you can make, next to admitting you know about computers, is offering tech support to family. Paying a backyard mechanic in beer, food or both is well ingrained in most peoples mind as is the fact that the repair will not be instantaneous. Such is not true of the lowly PC tech, not only are you unlikely to be offered anything for your efforts there is usually about a 5 minute time limit for you to finish rebuilding the smoking and infected ruin that once was a loved ones PC. On the other hand you can’t say no to Mom, nor should you go for fancy repairs like you would do for yourself.
Not that you can win by keeping things secret of course, nothing will protect you from equipment that shows up dead on your doorstop or works but is just plain recalcitrant. Sometimes asking for advice before you buy is your best bet, just speculating on unreleased hardware is probably safer. Even safer would be to just listen to us talk and speculate on hardware in the latest installment of the PC Perspective Podcast … the last one from the TWiT Cottage. Next week we should be broadcasting from the new Brick TWiT house. Then we may be doing something from QuakeCon, don’t miss it if you have a chance to go!