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Promoted: The end of ‘Turn it off and on again’

Tired of being the family tech support? The Amazon Fire Mayday feature is here to help…

Excerpt from an actual text conversation between one Stuff staffer and his dad, December 2012

“Hi, need help with Mum’s Christmas present”

“OK, go ahead”

“She wants this thing, I can’t remember the name, but it’s an MPC [sic] player that plays books not music. I think you scan your books into it using a computer.”


“Do you know where I can get one?”

Stuff staffer collapses in laughter, alternating with sobs at the realisation that those are his genes too.

Some people may be beyond help but for everyone else, there’s Mayday.

This genius service is built into the Amazon Fire OS and enables the user to get instant tech support with one click. Amazon aims to answer Mayday calls within 15 seconds, after which a video window pops up on the phone’s screen. Inside that window is a real, live person, primed to offer advice on everything from how to use your phone’s features to troubleshooting.

The service is available free and runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (we’re not sure what happens in a leap year; maybe that’s when they get their day off). There’s no need to make an appointment and there’s none of that ‘you are currently number 33 in the queue, your call will be answered in 86 minutes’ nonsense.

All of which means they’re on hand when needed – for when your Dad opens his new Fire Phone on Christmas Day and realises he doesn’t know how to connect to Wi-Fi.

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Excerpt from an actual text conversation between a Stuff staffer and his dad, May 2013

“Hi. My laptop won’t go on the internet.”

“Is your Wi-Fi on?”

“I don’t know.”

“Check the little icon at the top of the screen like I showed you last time.”

“It says it can’t find a network.”

“Is your router working?”

“I don’t know, I’m not at home. We’re camping in Dorset remember.”

Stuff staffer bashes his head on desk repeatedly.

Whatever your query, the Mayday experts can either help you through the process or solve the problem remotely. They can even draw annotations on your screen as guidance – circling menu options for you to press, or drawing arrows that point at certain boxes. And no, Dad, these annotations don’t stay on the screen for ever.

Plus, while you can see these experts, they can’t see you, meaning you don’t even need to get dressed and comb your hair before calling.

Mayday can give the confidence and support to get the most out of the device, so making parents happier and giving tech-journalist offspring a break from answering questions about email.

Excerpt from an actual text conversation between a Stuff staffer and his dad, Oct 2010

“Hi. How much extra does it cost to email Australia?”

“You’re not my dad.”