Friday, March 24, 2006

Nothing new with IE--new threats to be aware of

As reported by ZDNet, it appears one more time IE6 has some patching to do. Remember, you do have a choice when it comes to browsers. My personal pick of AvantBrowser has still to crack under the preasure of the IE leader and you can always get the latest version through my website here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Switching Back to Internet Explorer

It seems as of late, I am getting a handful of people asking me or telling me, that they have gone back to Internet Explorer. For one reason or another, it always seems to point to security. I say this because the main complaint that I hear are things like, "It blocks too much", and "it doesn't remember my passwords". The simple fact is that yes, it may block MORE then Internet Explorer and yes, it may not save your passwords, but that is because they have elected to make this a separate option available through a third party password manager system, which in my opinion is great, since now you have the ability to use a separate password manager program that does a very good job of keeping these things safe. As for the blocking too much, simply choose not to use the pop up blocker then! But to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle then place the pros and cons to each browser, I truly can not see any reason why you would go back, other then because you "just like the old fashioned way of doing things". Now I am not making slight of this, however, those that are stuck in time, should really think about their first experience with a computer and to where they are today. It isn't because of people like you! It is because of people with forward thinking that keep technology moving and the human thinker thinking. The simple fact is that Internet Explorer 7 is soon to be released to the public for real and not in beta form, but for those that have tried the beta form will tell you that IE7 is nothing like the internet explorer you are currently using. So to think you have long before you will be forced to change your ways, only makes sense to see what your options are. This is the number one reason why I have found and have stuck with Avant Browser, because it is completely interchangeable to the likings of each individual. You don't have to use the tabbed windows, you don't have to use the pop up blocker. As for security, heck, you can turn it off so that you are flying by the seat of your pants if you want to, just as you can in most computer programs, you have the ability to make adjustments, some programs more then others, but you should have some control to what it looks like. Did you even know you can skin Avant Browser?

I guess I shouldn't make this in to a plug for a different browser then what the title of this blog is about, but the simple fact at hand for now is that IE 7 has NOT been released other then in Beta form and for anyone that has used beta software before knows that the final thing typically is quite different in many ways. Yes, I am sure you will be able to make IE7 look and feel much like the old one as this is common for any Microsoft product to include the "classic" button somewhere within the options. Regardless of this, IE7 is not IE6 which is currently what peoples choice is to use, other then some other type of browser and simply because I happened to be using and promoting Avant isn't because I like the way it works personally as much as I see how much LESS problems from resulting trojan horse viruses that I end up cleaning out of my clients computers. It is quite laughable really, when I look at two clients which I might consider similar in internet/computer uses and the one with the forward thinking has always had fewer major bug problems then the one that is shall I say, afraid to change. Okay so if you are one of these people, shame on you! No, really I am kidding, of course you are allowed to think and do as you like, and that is the beauty of being able to change or make changes, to your own individual needs or.... Not! All I might say to you is don't be afraid! It is also you that is the eager one to use something that you have been using for a long time, only now you understand a specific feature of it and are totally in love with it. This is what I see when I simply make a change in the options, explaining things to that person and to see how they smile and can't believe "how much easier that is"... Yes, believe it or not, most changes that you see are not because the designers/engineer of the program wanted to be difficult and hard to get along with, but because of YOU, the user that tests the betas and as you use the program and send in your complaints or questions on how to do this or that. This is why you see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) at most website product manufacturers, because they are faced with so many.

For me, I guess I can only go by my own experiences and by that in which I see on a day to day basis with my "repairing" of problem computers. It is for this reason that I have a website that is virtually full of TIPS and SOFTWARE/SUPPORT that in some way will help you enjoy your computer usage time all that much more. Yes, I have admitted that I am a geek and, yes, it actually now feels good in admitting that. For years I would say "no, I'm not a geek, sure I love gadgets and technology, but that doesn't make me a geek does it?" We all have to be labeled with something and I guess that can be my curse just as it can be a gift. Because I only like to see people enjoy, excel, be entertained when using technology, I also like to see it being used by people of all ages. One thing I like to do is measure time and age with technology by either pointing to a device and going back to when it was first invented (or brought in to your own user experience for point in measuring then and now). For example, if you were asked a question that required you to do some research on it, what would be your first method of finding it? If you answer, to look it up in the encyclopedia, then odds are you probably don't use the computer all that much! And by this, I certainly am not trying to slight you again in any way, simply to point out that your brain automatically reaches for what it knows! To a child, ask them what an encyclopedia is, and they won't know that answer, because in most new parent homes, they won't have a set of encyclopedias for their children to grow up using for homework assignments, since the computer/laptop is showing up in virtually every room in the house through wireless home networking. Why shouldn't it be like this for all things in technology. Much like the hair dryer is in todays society, there are those that towel dry their hair even if there is a device that can do it for them, there will always be people that are quite content to stay using something they are familiar with. That is never going to be a fault that I would say of someone, but to not honestly weigh the pros to the cons when knowing that things have and will always be changing is simply not acceptable.

If you are a staunch IE6 user, good for you, but when IE7 comes out and has been out for say, 8 or 10 months and you have been using it, I will ask you read what I have said today in this blog and see where you see yourself on the geek scale!
1: you have gone back and continue to use ie 6, something you will do for as long as you can
2: you have accepted the new look and feel and are quite happy with the IE7
3: you have actually gone back to Avant Browser, now that you have had a chance to use IE7 and didn't know that you could actually go back to IE6 (at least until it is no longer functioning which will happen when you attempt to visit a website and it tells you that certain features are not visible or available without upgrading your browser)
4: you have switched to some other browser since you were frustrated with IE7 and knew that you didn't want to have to go back to Avant because you didn't like it either.
5. You have been using Avant Browser as your main browser because you like it, and have given IE7 a try and use it on occasion just like you did with IE6

If you find yourself wanting to switch back to something, in this case Internet Explorer, certainly do it and never feel bad doing it, if you have a reason, any reason whatsoever, that is your right. From those that use my computer services, this blog is also part of those services, where I hope to either give you the heads up on something to look out for, good or bad, when it comes to technology. The computer is only one part of technology albeit a key part, communication is what I consider the key to everything good!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Norton Antivirus Issues-Continued

OK, as I promised initially, there would be more to the saga of Norton's Antivirus. Initially when I first blogged about it, I was finding myself removing it for something else. My choice being AVAST Pro Antivirus which has been something I personally had been trying for some time, since I moved to the 64bit Windows platform and found many Antivirus program, including Norton's, did not provide coverage. Now in no way do I want to give people the impression I do not like Norton's Antivirus program itself, on the contrary, I have found Norton's products (referring to Peter Norton, the genius in my opinion) as this man has found a perfect way to get rich off of Microsoft by simply fixing windows problems. As is the case with today's Norton Utilities, I find it to be the best in quickly determining errors and allowing you to correct them manually, or allow 'the system' to make the repair for you. There is a lot that goes on behind the program, and that is where many techies would agree that, right out of the box installations, will most definitely slow your computer's overall performance. This is why it is always key to go through the options of the program and see what truly needs to be running on start up and what needs to be monitoring 'all of the time' versus during a schedule scan.

To get to the problem at hand, it requires a little history of Norton, since I did mention it was around before Windows, this means that when it comes to security issues and/or performance issues, you would think Norton would be on top of this making sure the right out of the box experience is enjoyable, which to say seems pretty good as the user interface is friendly, much more then McAfee or other similar windows utility, all-in-one packages. The problem is more of 'who is the boss' then anything else. Since security is of utmost importance, not only from viruses but from spyware as well, it seems that Norton is not alone in attempting to cover everything, but it does seem that Norton and Windows do not see eye to eye on the security instructor. As within the Norton Systemworks and Antivirus options, you have the ability to keep it's program safe from other programs monitoring the status. This is great, but now windows operating system , since the SP2 release, can now monitor the status of your Antivirus, therefore if you are turning a feature on within one program telling it to protect it from other programs that also want to monitor its status, you are blocking windows. As with the issues if you tell the windows built in 'security center' that you have your own Antivirus monitoring system, this should be the end of the problems. Unfortunately it isn't and as a result of a simple 'live update' through the Symantec Live update button, you may find the results are telling you to reactivate. This is also not uncommon if you have installed a program that is of version 3 for example, and you have been updating as they were available, 3.5, 3.6, etc.. But now, along comes version 4 and confusion (so to speak). Therefore I have found a change was necessary, since I am constantly trying to promote to my existing clients and those using my remote services, it comes to no shock then when I am to be making certain updates or fixes to hundreds of computers. This could mean hours and hours of time spent fixing something that wouldn't have needed fixing, if certain updates were not completed. This brings up the argument then, whether you should always take the update that is available, even when your system 'appears to be running normally'. As a computer tech, it does make me wonder just how important something is or just how others may judge something as important or not, when in many ways, the way I might use the computer, the update that might be available truly has no bearing on the work that I do, but I still do the update. Why, when everything is working, would I do that? Well, in my position I do it because if problems do occur, it is me that must fix it, therefore learning what it is that I must do to fix it on my clients computer, the person that has hired me to fix their problem. So when I find a program that works great, of course I will promote it, just as my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page is filled with little applets that will help keep your system OPTIMIZED and running as clean as possible without spyware and other malware issues that cause you to have so much hatred at times, towards your computer, when all you want is to be able to use your computer, without all the problems. This is why automizing things or scheduling tasks when your computer is not in use becomes so important, one more reason why you should leave your computer turned on, however if your utility program itself is malfunction, what are you going to do? In my case, I find alternative situations to use. Being able to connect and repair problems remotely is of great value to someone like myself, being able to repair problems without having to remove the computer from its home location becomes quite critical, however it also helps knowing that the computer(s) in question already have a number of valuable programs running that are already monitoring, cleaning and repairing issues that come up from the routine web surfing and emailing. I have to try and rely on trusted programs, therefore I use Symantec products, one of which is pcanywhere. The problem when dealing with one company for many products however, is when they integrate these together, as Symantec does with it's Systemworks packages. Problem is when you want to uninstall or make changes to one 'element' of the program, which you consider it's own program, Symantec looks at it as the one program, "systemworks".

Avast antivirus is just that.. antivirus and nothing less then that, however it is also nothing more either. It doesn't try and check your registry settings and compare it to an earlier saved one for comparisons. It just deals with Antivirus issues. Along with that is the automatic features which keeps things always active. I believe the two together will become a great asset to any computer system, just as many 'systemworks' programs of the past that may have been combined with Norton, there does come a time when you must try other programs and do the true comparison tests. In my case, this happens every day on hundreds of client computers and for me, it is a sure way to know whether the program will last or not. Since the process of uninstalling one Antivirus and installing the other, typically requires being "offline" in order to accomplish everything, it can be done online, but only up to one point, whereas any time the system requires going in to 'safe mode', that rules out any remote work since this means working offline, or without network protocols and only the basic windows device drivers.

For those of you already using my services, and have done so within the last year or so, probably have already used a service loaner in the case where I do most of my work from my bench, the service loaner (or what I like to refer to as my employee) has become a very valuable asset to me being able to be in more then one place at a time, and that being said, please be patient if I haven't reached your computer even though you have asked for some help. Typically when it is crunch time and I am being pulled in a few more directions then I have arms and legs for, I will connect and diagnose the problems and then make the necessary patches or adjustments so that you can at least continue to use your own computer. Of course at any time if you feel you would rather just get the job done I can come and swap out your computer, however as I mentioned, many items can be done remotely and if 'time isn't an issue' for you, so long as you can continue to use your computer, then remote service work is for sure the way to go, since my rates, are unbelievable for the remote work (you will have to ask me if you don't already know or haven't used them since they are far too low to advertise here). My employees are always standing by to help and now, with even greater ways to connect and clean and tweak, they seem to be getting used more and more for the 'emergency' where the system has completely crashed. It is nice to know you can pretty much be up and running again in about an hour or so.. Wouldn't you say?

So to close this ramble about Norton Antivirus issues, if you have been struck but the bug that many have, please let me know ASAP and I can and will make sure things are fixed at least so that you don't have to worry about not being protected, then we can worry any other issues that may be causing you to have troubles with your computer.

Maximize that window and stop complaining about the browser!

I am constantly promoting any software I find useful as well, I will also add any program that I find to be 'safer' then what is typically used on the windows operating system. This being said, it is no doubt that most people that read this are also aware of the constant and ongoing windows updates that typically get done automatically if you have set your computer up in that manner. These updates also include any security patches that deal with the Internet Explorer web browser and for that reason alone, I have convinced many people to give another browser a try. In this case I typically suggest AVANT BROWSER which is something I have found to be a treat when it comes to safe, fast and secure issues.

The problem I am faced with when someone complains however, that 'they want to go back to internet explorer" isn't the fact that they can't go back, as the internet explorer is never really removed from your system, simply I have made it not apparent by the use of icons. If you click on the START menu and ALL PROGRAMS, you will still find the Internet Explorer there to use. It is at this point that I should bring up the fact that about 80% of the bugs that I am seeing these days are of a direct result of the web browser itself. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the browser as much as the 'plug ins' that end up being installed. This would be anything from the google toolbar, to MSN or Yahoo's toolbars, to the bad ones like 'my search' and 'hotbar'. The bottom line is if over 60% of the world is using windows then that would mean they are probably using the default browser which is Internet Explorer and for that one reason alone, the hackers have their time with that browser. If you have done some testing of other browsers, such as Mozilla's for example, you would find them probably second place, and now, they too are being plagued with security issues. Why do you think MAC users don't seem to complain as much? Simply because of the demand. There are so few users of the MAC, compared to Windows that the viruses are there, just not as prevalent.

So getting back to the browser issues, it would seem the problem isn't really that Avant Browser is the problem, it is usually that it isn't set up the same way as the internet explorer, or on occasion, something doesn't open the way it would with Internet explorer and for that reason you want to give up and go back... Whereas when asked why you want to go back to the Internet Explorer, I find the answers are very similar and usually end up being because of the 'tabbed windows' and that the windows that are opening are either opening 'behind' the current window therefore you are not seeing it, the pop up blocker is on, and you did not see the blocked URL pop up that appears for a few seconds in the bottom right corner (this feature may have been turned off completely from within the options), but from all of these problems, I see the solution as simply MAXIMIZING your window. I don't know how many times I have watched as the person goes to their favorite game site and begins to go through the log in and room location and game table only to end up with three or more windows open, all of which are not maximized and then, the one that you do want to use, you can't type anything at the bottom because there is no scrolling within that window. You can usually thank the webmaster that created the pages, using some sort of java applet that opens to a certain pixel size which, depending on your current screen resolution, may appear off the bottom of the page, or far too small to enjoy.

Say hello to the 'FULL SCREEN' or the 'FULL DESKTOP' modes using the F11 or F12 key on the keyboard or from the available toolbar icon which is also something you can use within Internet Explorer. The biggest difference I see within AVANT however, is because of the tabbed windows and the fact that you can have multiple windows open, this is overlooked and, once it is understood, it is truly amazing and delightful to see the smiles when this is understood. All of a sudden the Avant Browser becomes their best friend again...

This is one more reason why I have always said you should go in to the OPTIONS of the program you are using, not necessarily to change anything, but to see what it is you can do with the program itself. There are many times when I will be seeing certain programs for the first time and are immediately expected to know what the problems are. I will first visit the options of the program to see what it is I can change and to see what settings are set as the 'default' or 'factory standard'. In most cases, you can even RESET TO DEFAULT SETTINGS which will bring everything back to the way it was when you first installed it.

I say stop complaining about the browser, because if you have ventured off and tried out the beta version of the IE7 you will quickly see how they have revamped everything to the point that you are starting from the beginning and if that is truly what you want to do, and learn all over again, then go for it. Typically when I do install the Avant Browser on a clients computer, I will set it up so that, other then the tabbed windows, things look pretty much the same as the Internet Explorer would and that is simply because I realize just how Alien things can look when you have never used a program before, but then again, it is simply a web browser people.. You should have a web address bar where you can enter the address, along with the back/forward buttons, the refresh button and probably the home key and other then that, what and how you set it up should be completely up to you. The advantages of the Avant Browser, as with most any other browser then the Internet Explorer is shear security from the fact you are not dealing with the program that most hackers are attempting to crack.

Just remember to MAXIMIZE your windows as you surf the net on whatever browser you choose, you will find a lot less stress when you can actually see ALL of the page.

As always tips like these can be found through my website's TIPS page and any software I mention can usually be found on the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I've been poisoned!

For anyone human, they would know that in order to survive they need food, just as your car requires fuel to move. Problem is, what happens if you put diesel in to a gasoline engine--nothing... What happens when you put tainted food in to a human-a lot but it isn't very good and depending on just how much of this fuel was ingested depends on how much pain and suffering you are going to have. If you have eaten a lot, then you can probably count yourself lucky cause you are dead and not dealing with the dummy that ingested only enough to make it seem like you have run full force in to a brick wall, and lost! Yes, I have a "touch" of food poisoning I am afraid, and have found myself bed ridden for what I hope is nothing more then a 24 hour flu like symptoms from this point on. It is truly unbelievable just how fast things start shutting down on you when you take the wrong fuel! For those of you fortunate to have never experienced food poisoning, trust me when I say you would have been better off going hungry!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

We Need A New Enigma...

As it would appear from this report, the world now needs a new enigma. Or maybe we already have enough of them? This does seem like a great idea however, if you do not mind your computer kicking in a few extra minutes when you are using your computer. It would seem like many other useful information these computer could be used for, why not take the minds of a million to decide the outcome or how long before something is solved theory. When in technology which is the epitome of forward thinking, since it is technology that pushes us as human beings to continue to find ways to improve our way of life.

Mike Dacre
Technical Production Services
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(250) 488-1935 Penticton
(250) 718-1936 Kelowna
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Need ink for your printer? Think again-- what you really need is a new printer!

Ok so maybe you really don't NEED a new printer however the thought of having something new should always sound great, but then why would anyone want to just buy a new printer when their old one is still fine? You would, when you learn that it is actually cheaper to buy a new printer then to buy new ink cartridges... That is, unless you are getting your old cartridges refilled by some local outfit,such as the one conveniently located in the Walmart Stores. Sure this can save you possibly $30 on each cartridge, however there are some things you should keep in mind. 1: The ink that is being used in the cartridge will most likely not be original ink that the manufacturer uses, and depending on the facility you go to, the ink may be quite bad. Not that there is anything wrong with it, if it works, but realize that the wrong ink is much like putting the wrong oil in your car, it will run for a while but odds are you are damaging and taking possibly years of life off of the vehicle. This is typically the case with ink as the print head burns out, but then again, if you managed to save a few dollars and make it so that you aren't having to fork out big bucks for a new printer...

2: Depending on the cartridge (HP, Lexmark for example) the print head is actually on the cartridge itself and therefore the more refilling you do, eventually things will really start to go fuzzy or will just burn out and not work at all.

Now, why should you get a new printer? Because the current prices, along with rebates, you will find you are either paying the same amount or even saving some by buying a new printer. As well, you will probably be getting more bang for your buck since the new printer is more then just a printer, it would typically be a 3 in 1 printer (printer, scanner, copier) and in the case of the Epson CX4600 which is selling currently for $129 at Staples and comes with a $50 mail in rebate, it is actually classified as a 4 in 1 since it also has the multi media card reader! Now you can see why your printer just because a disposable item. Now more then ever this is becoming the case since it is quite apparent people are buying new printers and as a result the supply/demand issues are such that it is cheaper to buy a new printer. The ink cartridge people are going to hurt on this one, but that's technology for you! You think our landfills are bad now, with all the old computers, you can count on things only getting worse if we see items the size of printers being thrown out, even when the scanner and multimedia reader still works fine..

If you haven't already subscribed to my blog and want to keep informed, be sure to visit my homepage and subscribe. As well my TIPS and SOFTWARE/SUPPORT is always a good place to turn for sollutions.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

There is never a good time...

It seems in the business of computers.. That time becomes a big concern.

We want to find something quickly so we do a search. Or we create a shortcut and place it on our desktop so that we can get to that website quickly. Or maybe we'll create a favorite so that we can quickly go to the list and find it.. Well that is actually where the desktop search idea came from, that fact that we wanted to find something quickly and typically because we have so much data and that could be your favorites, that it is going to take longer to go and look for the link to the website then simply enter the name or part of in a google (or other) search window and viola, the first 10 or so likely matches come up and typically if you are close you will end up clicking to the correct site, this is also where the security issues are.

Since computers don't make mistakes (yet)... It is humans that make the mistake by creating a programming error that the computer can no longer follow. Like bread crumbs to find your way along a path, once the birds start eating them, no longer will you have certain bread crumbs to know where to go next. When you talk about security, this is where you would be now "thinking about what to do next, now that you don't see any more bread crumbs"... OK.. Enough about the bread crumbs, but to get the point across that knowing where everything is might not be a necessary issue when it comes to your computer and the files that are on it, however you just want to be able to click on the icon and have the program work the way it is supposed to. Now when it comes to creating data, that needs to be saved somewhere, this is where your computer aptitude starts to shine.. Some will keep it simple and use the web to check out their stocks, or just to communicate via email. Regardless, you are going to want to save things and then you are going to want to be able to find them and open them up for later use.. Therefore you are going to have to learn a few things about favorites and my documents and the desktop and icons, what I would think is the basics of windows and the internet.

Part of what I do , other then fix a computer problem, is attempt to TEACH my client how they got to the problems they had. Since I do see my fair share of computers and problems, I do recognize certain patterns and base it on many things. Basically knowing how it is you like to use your computer. Some may be in to messaging, others in to gaming, some just surfing, others for greetings cards and email.

I am starting to seriously utilize the remote capabilities of the computer since virtually everyone is now using a highspeed internet connection which is online 24 hours a day.

This means that in theory, I can be there for my client 24 hours a day and this is something that I attempt to do. Since I work for myself but do have employees, only they are not human-they are computers, service loaners to be exact. I understand time only too well to realize that I can't be everywhere at the same time and the more people that I have been helping means they have told two friends, and so on, just as I do when I find something good. Blowing my own horn is an understatement here and I know this because I look at the countless hours of "free services" I give to my clients by the simple fact that they do not receive an invoice for the typical repair that I do remotely! Yes, that is correct.. Most of the time I am connecting for less then 10 minutes to repair a simple problem and this is because I have asked that, along with the email to me stating that there is a problem, or possibly a question as to how to do something, I ask that they include the IP address which you can always get from the link on my signature within an email or directly on my home page ( where you can click on the link to get your current IP address. Some have even then bookmarked that page and use this, however the correct method you should be using is to visit the website since what you are essentially doing is saving a file to your computer which can be corrupted and changed. When you click on the link you are clicking 'live' which is important to get your current IP. You can install the IP program if you wish from the link as well, now this method is fine, however I only suggest this for gamers that require access to their IP address all the time, as it is a small utility that is running all the time, unless you change the settings.

What I have found is that my time, just like anyone, is shared between different tasks that you wish to get accomplished each day, as well as those that just come up last minute. Unfortunately for me and the business that I choose to do, has me going 24 hours a day and on call all the time, just as any emergency doctor in the hospital would. How dare I compare what I do to the medical profession? Well if it weren't for technology, we would not be doing many surgeries that now get down as a direct result to that technology and when a brain surgeon equipment malfunctions, who do they turn to but someone technical that fixes it. Since I am that bridge between the human and the machine, there are many time where I find what I say, after reading it at a later time, sounds very rigid, or almost rude, and if I were to knowingly say that the way it was written, there would probably be a smile on my face, therefore today we have the emoticon or the smiley face that you can create by typing :-)

When in the 'repair mode' it is not uncommon for me to be working on 8 computers at the same time (the current amount my bench will allow at the time this was written), to literally hundreds of computers remotely. The machine I happened to be working on those computers remotely simply gets the same priority as the others on my bench, therefore at this time, my maximum capacity would be 8 plus 1 or 9 computers and if you start to divide this in to some sort of equation for time (I won't even talk about money as this figure should be self explanatory by the method the job was done). If you have 60 minutes in an hour and divide that by 9 you get 6.66 or roughly 6 minutes per computer per hour. Now remember that the one computer is a remote which could have 10 remotes going on, therefore those 10 may get less then 1 minute of time per hour on this current equation therefore that computer that is remotely connected may sit there waiting for a prompt that doesn't come for some time. This shouldn't be a problem if the computer is not being used, but remotely how am I to know if the computer is used unless I connect to it. Knowing that there is work to be done, or a questions was asked, I will automatically attempt connection first, to see if the connection works, then if at that time, I can actually look at it and it is not busy, I will stay connected and attempt the repair. In some cases, as mentioned, it might just be a question about something or in some cases a simple connection by me to the options of that specific program and changing one or two options may solve the problem, therefore the entire problem is fixed in less then that minute. However, there is still the matter of communication and responding to the original email or question stating that it is now working. This can take also less then a minute, but the entire process was about 3 from the time I read the email to the time I repaired and replied that it was done. Do I charge for that? Of course not, to me this is all part of doing business and keeping my existing clients happy.

Some say, so what is the contract then? And I say that there isn't one! If you don't want to use my services, you don't have to, I certainly don't force the issue by having someone sign a contract!

So here we are back to time, and the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day, some say you have to have some time to do what you want... Others will say "wait until retirement and work hard until that time"... My question then is "when is retirement, at what age? How many years? What is it you are planning to do at retirement?" Did I mention that I work for myself? I like what I do, I do not look at this as a job, but a way of life. I am living with technology and better still, I am learning something new each and every day from the repairs that I fix, to the ideas that I gain from fixing a problem. To me, the greatest compliment is when I see my clients using their computers for all sorts of things and enjoying the learning process and what they can do with the computer. Much like a librarian would say "books are our friends", I say the same about the computer. I say this because I also get VERY frustrated and those closest to me know what I am talking about, by the simple fact that I take things far to personal when I can't actually get things fixed to my own satisfaction and how stubborn I am to not quit on something until it is fixed (to what I might say is acceptable if I were to be the one having to use it). That is the thing, I treat each and every computer as it was my own and to those clients that have used my services should be able to attest to that.

This then brings up the most ugly subject I can think of and that is Money! Yes, money... The root of all evil in my opinion, simply because it causes so much negativeness. Money is what some would say is the lifeblood however, and if you don't have it, then you will not accomplish anything To achieve any sort of 'goal' for yourself since you would not be able to afford it. Yes, we do require money to survive, it is how well you want to survive and how you choose to use your money! Looking at the success of the banks, it is safe to say that there are many people saving, and many people spending, the banks are moving it and they continue to grow so something must be positive about it. Why then, when I provide a service, when I look at my current hourly wage, which I have not adjusted for 5 years! Do I (still) have people complaining about 'how much is this going to cost me?" I believe it can be answered by simply looking at what it costs to go out and buy a new one!

Yes, that is now what it has become, the simple fact that if you are going to be spending, say $300 to get your computer fixed, wouldn't it make sense to just spend say, twice that amount and buy a new one? It might, and I wouldn't rule it out, but the one thing that most forget is that they have saved a lot of data, not to mention the programs the computer they are currently using has that the new one doesn't. How are you going to get that data from one to the other? You do have many options, you can buy the software and do it yourself, or you can give it to someone else to do. That would be where I come in.

I mentioned when you find something or someone good, you usually like to tell two friends about it right? or just in conversation, someone asks you if you know of a good doctor, plumber, mechanic, etc... You are always going to mention someone that you are happy with. You are not going to mention that person that did you wrong in some way , right?

So when it comes to 'computers' I like to hope my name is what my friends and clients would bring up at that point in the conversation about 'technology, computers, electronics'.. The typical geek speak.

Did I mention my employees? Yes the computers, the service loaners, these are what I give to my clients while I am performing the duties of cleanup and repairs to their computer when in fact the problem is that I can not connect remotely or the services that are required are to take the computer 'offline' to repair which is what I like to think as once a year since that would be the time when things such as antivirus or other subscription services are typically done. So what do I charge for that sort of service? What I can tell you is that you will never get a bill for my services that will ever exceed my time as being more then $245! If you have ever had work done by me, then I don't believe you would ever question this and that is the bottom line... Those that have never questioned it, I have never had a problem with. Those that do, yup you bet, nothing but problems! Why am I saying this? because I believe education is the key! This is why I say I try and TEACH my clients of what they did wrong to cause the problem, if it was in factOtherwise something they did.. Otherwise, it would be a hardware issue which is why I can give a maximum amount for time spent, since this is what you would pay for me to build you a computer as I have capped my hours always, since I too know that you can go out and buy a new computer, I base it on how long it would take to build a computer from scratch.

Why no raise for 5 years? Because I believe in technology and therefore I have continue to put my time and resources in to bettering it for myself first and then for those closest to me, that being said, I have now managed to hire 4 employees which allow me to keep 4 clients completely and 100% actively on the internet where they can continue to communicate with the world without as much time as it takes to set up the service loaner!

So, now after all above has been said, I get back to the main subject and that there is never enough time.

It seems I am hopeful that this blog entry will help educate many as to my methodology of the computer, it will also help make you aware that I am aware of time as the number one FRIEND when it comes to life in general. I try to keep going in a positive direction by helping as many people as I can with their technology problems and hope that with the understanding that if your computer completely breaks down of a direct result of me trying to fix it remotely, know that I can be there with a service loaner so that you are not without the computer. Now I cant give you that same garantee about the particular program you were working on when you started to have the problems, since this is something that can only be fixed by me looking at the problem and that being said, I try to do this when the computer is not in use. If the computer becomes busy while I am in the middle of something, most of the time I will have to restart that application, so again, no problem.. Just time... And if its done remotely and you are not in a hurry since you still have complete access to the internet....

This is also why I have suggested to many that know they are going to be away for a certain length of time, that would be a good time to get your computer updated and cleaned up.

Either that or maybe not wait until it has a problem and contact me to attempt a diagnostic/cleanup remotely.

What I truly would like to accomplish is the ability to know (and bill accordingly), the exact amount of TIME that I spend on each computer and bill fairly from that. At this point, since we talk in the value of time versus money and an hour wage for that, it becomes quite a task as you might imagine, if you are connecting to literally hundreds of computers each day. This is where I feel it is safe to say that if I find the 'basic' tools like spyware scans have not been done within the week that I am getting notified of problems, there will be a charge for my connecting, other then that however, it would seem that it may be 4 or 5 or maybe more visits remotely, before you see even a one hour charge! Isn't that worth it?

One last thing about money and I say the last thing because I truly do not like discussing it and wish that there was a simply credit system like in the early days of bartering, etc... hmmm a week in some holiday destination for free computer work.. Sounds good to me! Since I mentioned how in some cases it might just be better to buy a new computer, this is something serious to consider not only because of the current costs of computers, but if your computer is of a certain age, where in order to upgrade could cost virtually the same amount, don't think about it, talk to me about it. Printers, which I will blog about next, just go and buy one and don't think about getting a new ink cartridge!

As always, you can read my BLOG or subscribe to it from the home page. Also read more TIPS and visit the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT for the latest in the software I highly suggest installing on every computer (in the pink section). Remember that I can be a key click away!