Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My friend Malcolm

I met Malcolm several years ago when he had some internet issues.

While I was fixing his computer and we talked about many subjects. We had common interests in motorcycles, cars and firearms. He knew a lot about everything, and was great to talk with.

When I opened my own business, Malcolm was one of my first clients and I always looked after him.

He'd been a builder, a farmer and worked hard his whole life.

He didnt mind a beer in his day, and a drop of whiskey now and then.

Malcolm had been ill for the past year or so. He died last Friday. We shall attend his funeral tommorow.

We will miss you Malcolm Innes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wrong invoice?

I had a lady call me this morning.

She was the regional representative for whatever and she wished to inform me that I'd sent her the wrong invoice.

Apparrently it was an old invoice and she was expecting a current one for a recent job.

I looked back through my invoices. Not to be found. Why?

Because I hadn't actually done that particular job.

Why? The last three times I'd worked for them it took took months to be paid.

The most recent invoice took four months! After repeated emails and phone calls.

So the client had sent an old invoice to their payment management staff.

One that I'd only recently been paid for THE FOLLOWING YEAR.

Would this in some way indicate mismanagement or at least disorganisation?

I'd fucking say so!

Monday, April 19, 2010

You filled my computer with porno!

I worked for a Leading computer franchise at one stage.

We had a nice young lady bring a system in to the workshop so absolutely full of virus' and spyware that it could barely run.

The majority of these spyware items appeared to be related to hardcore porn sites.

How could I tell? By the constant popups showing acres of naked flesh in all manner of sex acts.

All of them were pretty explicit. We had to hide the systems screen from clients entering the workshop.

Now rarely we inform the client that a format (wipe) and reinstallation of the Windows operating system is necessary.

In this case it was required.

So, system is wiped. New drivers installed and it ticks like a clock. Fast and stable.

The client picks up the system and we hear no more for a week or two.

Then, I receive a phone call. Its the lady client wishing to discuss the fact that we'd filled her computer full of porno and viruses.

I informed her that I had wiped the system myself, and under no circumstances would the problem be created by us.

She states that only her and her boyfriend use the computer. And he would never, ever ever in a million years surf porn sites.

I indicated to her that the initial problem had to be created by someone.

The principle of Occams Razor states that the simplest solution to a problem is usually the correct one.

She didnt like the fact that I suggested her boyfriend might be the culprit and requested to speak with my manager.

Luckily he'd seen the system in question and knew full well the source of the problem.

We ended up doing a system clean and virus removal free of charge.

From what we could gather, the boyfriend was more interested in transvestites than his extremely pretty, but incredibly dumb girlfriend.

Life is not not a popularity contest.

I've been working for one of our local family support services for the past six years.

The Manager was a previous client, altogether I've been providing her IT support for nearly a decade.

We've had a pretty good rapport. They know I will provide same day service, and sometimes within the hour if possible. I always "round down" the invoices and theres plenty of quick and easy jobs I never charged for.

Their systems work all day, so in the majority of cases Id remove the system to my shop, work through the night and have it delivered and installed by open of business. (charging normal rates mind you)

So recently there was a change of management, for whatever reason. I dont ask too many questions. Before the new manager took the helm they required many hours of work on all the systems in order to remove virus', spyware and any software not relevant to business. I did all this and charged half what I'd normally invoice for, as they are repeat clients. Its good public relations. Also their modem-router and network switch had copped a major lightning strike and needed replacing. I supplied a spare router and switch just to get them through.

Anyway, I get a message on my machine and its in a very narky tone. The new manager has secured the services of another IT support business and she requires me to make an appointment to pick up my modem-router and switch.

Now I could care less that they've got a new technician. You can't please everyone.

I get an email stating that she has assessed work and costs to date at the business and apparently Im charging them excessively?

Now how the fuck could she work that out, considering she wasnt there?

Im not too concerned about the modem router and switch. I'll pick them up in my own time.

So I get two heavy phone calls about this modem-router. She demands I pick them up now.

I inform her that Im busy and will pick them up when I could.

She gets so heated that I have to terminate the call.

When you enter into an argument with this type of person it's pointless.

Im still waiting for my ADSL modem and Netgear Switch.

Werrikimbe National Park

Not far from Port Macquarie is Werrikimbe National Park. Its a great place to explore, and has decent camping areas as well. This one is First Trig Road.

The drive out through Rollands Plains is pleasant too.

Sometimes circumstance can ruin your day.

The Firestone Firehawks have been great tyres, and still plenty of tread on them.
But this one is due for the pile. Bit of a shame.

Got a head like a hollow log..

Phone rings

"Is this ODT Computers?"

"Why yes it is, how can I help you?"

"Well, we just moved here and our computer wont start".

"We dont have a TV, and our car got totalled by a dog and my husband and child are going crazy because they've nothing to do. So I want to get this computer fixed. How long will it take?"

"Well there are several computers in front of your so best case scenario is two or more days."

"Oh, Ok. How much do you charge?"

"I charge $80 per hour but usually dont go beyond $120, depending on the problem."

"Oh. Well. Also we are having trouble paying the mortgage, and Lisa needs braces, and Im not sure I can pay you untill the following fortnight. Is that going to be a problem?"

"Well, not really. Just understand the computer stays here until its paid for".

"Oh, damn.. ok. Well we did want it back soon. Do you accept credit cards?".

"No, I dont Im sorry".

....long pause... "Oh, well Im not starting work until later in the month and Ill be a bit strapped for cash, but I will pay for it eventually". When my next dole cheque comes in.

"Thats fine. When you are ready."

So they want it fixed now, and want to pay later. How about I fix it later and you pay me now?

Seems fair to me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Data Recovery

A client contacted me regarding a data recovery. The problem was that system had been discarded into a trench full of farm junk for a month or so. If the drive was undamaged I'd have a good chance of recovery.

But geez! Would you look at the thing?

Its been drowned in sump oil. And other unidentifiable stuff.

Ill be lucky if I dont get poisoned.

Tankstand Project

With summer providing a good dose of rain, I knew we'd best make the most of it. We have a decent sized tank on the property but it has sustained some damage from a falling tree. (A bushfire went through before we owned it)

It tends to leak a bit and the top has been cut out, which allows a large breeding group of green frogs. They harmonise un-melodically all through the night.

I had a 1000 gallon tank at my old shack on dads property, so it was drained and moved.

I found three very smelly dead frogs at the bottom, so a good scrub out with some bleach was in order. You can imagine how much fun that was. Bits of frog everywhere.

Earlier in the year I'd dropped a few bloodwood trees, and once debarked looked right for the job. They should be good for forty years in the ground if treated correctly.

Drained and loaded.

Posts cemented in.

Levelled up ok

Tank on and stand oiled.

Dont touch the screen!

I have two nice Viewsonic 22" LCD monitors on my desk. I like them a lot.

But clients/family persist in poking their greasy fingers into the screens.

I might be showing them a web page and to draw my attention to something they push into the plastic layer that covers the LCD.

LCD's are not like CRT monitors. Sure, some have a glass front but its rare.

They are harder to clean and more delicate than a CRT.

A big fat fingerprint in your centre of view can be quite annoying when you have to look at it for 12 hrs a day.

So keep your fingers to yourselves.

Dominos Pizza Cockroach

My lady and I decided on pizza for tea last night. Quick, easy and little washing up.

We picked up the pizza from Dominos Kempsey, and while waiting I noticed some movement near the access door.

I suddenly didnt feel like pizza any more.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hurry up and wait.

Most of the time, I've got a steady flow of systems in for repair.

Its not unusual to have 8 or more going at once.

So when a client dictates to me when they want their system fixed, it tends to get up my nose.

I explain that I attend jobs on a first come, first served basis.

I dont think its fair to place someone elses job behind their own.

It doesnt stop them from ringing early the next morning after dropping it off the night before.

Or ringing 3 times a day to prompt me into working faster. Fuck em.

Generally my policy is, the more you call the further down the priority list it goes.

Logically, some clients are prioritised.

Businesses who require systems asap, return clients with good service records and manners etc.

Seems fair to me.

Sorry to ring at this hour but...

The phone rang at 9pm. Unusual enough, but this client was desperate to have her computer fixed "right now". Now I dont mind helping someone out, but this particular client had never called me for work before, instead choosing the local storefront for her repairs.

Desperate means call for desperate measures I suppose, and Ill bet no one would answer the phone at the shop this time of night.

One of the detriments to running a business from home is calls at all hours.

At this time of night though, I was putting my daughter to bed then about to do the same.

After a few beers and a whiskey I wasnt much good for anything, let alone computer repair.

I offered to let her drop it in tonight and I'd start on it first thing (usually 7-8am) so plenty of time to have it ready by start of business.

Well, nope thats not good enough so off she went to ring someone else. I got the impression that I a a bit of a bastard for not catering to her, but some people expect a lot.

I hope she got it fixed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wollomombi to Jeogla

Wollomombi is a good view. Good camping as well.

Looking up Metz Gorge.

Mine workings at Metz.

Chinamans Gully near Bakers Creek Falls.

Bakers Creek Falls.

Bakers Creek Falls gorge

Styx River Bridge.

Not far from Georges Creek.

Blackbird Flat camp ground

The poplar lined road near Lower Creek.

Upper Macleay.

Andersons Sugarloaf.