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Turbocapitalist 10-27-2010 04:50 AM

Convincing geeks not to repair Windows during the holidays
 
Every holiday season we visit friends and relatives and more often than not some of them end up asking to have their Windows machines repaired for free or next to nothing. This corrective maintenance is wasted because it does not improve the situation, Windows will be a mess next holiday, too.

Besides the built-in waste in corrective maintenance, Even the pay is bad. Geeks give up hours of their short holiday and even lose out on holiday rates which usually start out as double-overtime, for hourlies, and five to ten times for contractors.

So any time spent 'helping' friends and relatives with Windows does them no favors and means only more effort from the geek later down the road.

Free software operating systems being lower maintenance allow time during the holidays can be spent actually celebrating the holiday.

So what can we say to geeks this holiday to get them to stand firm and resist cajoling and arm twisting. What magic words are needed to not even look at Windows during the holiday or at least charge full rates? Or what sales skills do they need to make a compromise and wipe Windows off the HD totally and replace it with Fedora or Ubuntu?

Simon Bridge 10-27-2010 05:03 AM

Sounds like just on the holidays is a good time to hold free software seminars and installfests ... you gotta get the install base up.

But you are right, you also have to educate the geeks. So at least one seminar needs to be aimed at this. My personal policy is that anyone wanting windows help must pay for it. However, I will happily get the whole machine working on a different OS.

This tendency to give away tech support does undermine IT as a proffession. Lawyers and Doctors get asked for free help all the time - lawyers have been known to bill people for a casual question answered but I've seen doctors, asked for advise, say "you need to go see a doctor, my hours are...".

Here you will see a different attitude - we try to provide free advise we think the questioner needs to hear rather than what they want to hear... should they complain, we tell them our rates ;)

So you catch someone providing free tech support, just point out that they could be getting paid for that.

Turbocapitalist 10-27-2010 07:02 AM

Installfests
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Bridge (Post 4140681)
Sounds like just on the holidays is a good time to hold free software seminars and installfests ...

Which LUGs are up to doing installfests during the timeframe Nov-Jan?

Simon Bridge 10-27-2010 07:24 AM

Depends on where you are?
University/College LUGS are often up to it at the end of holidays, suggest a public one in the November?

Personally I started my own and taught a nightschool course at the start of each holiday. The neat part of that is you get paid ;)

onebuck 10-27-2010 09:01 AM

Hi,

Magic word "NO". Works every time!

Of course if your better half makes the request then expect same! :)

You could send them to General here on LQ, so we can aid. :)

I get hit all the time with requests from relatives and friends. I'll present them with my charge list and that's the end of the freebie requests. If it's a simple request or something that can be resolved in <15 then of course I'll aid. But generally most don't ask since I will show them that I don't ask for their professional aid or opinion.

Most people that do request help are not always looking for free assistance but the means to lead to a solution. I will make suggestions or sometimes even make simple corrections.

Look at it this way: You wouldn't walk up to a Doctor at a party and request a diagnosis would you? I've seen this happen before and wondered how I would handle such a request. I think, request the individual to strip so I can examine the problem correctly then tell them: BTW, we don't have the proper tools to aid in diagnosis but I think if we bleed then things will work out. Oh, I forgot to bring my leeches with me.

Send them to M$ support and hope they can understand what is being told to them verbatim from the M$ knowledge base.

Or just tell them to take two Miller Lites and call in the mourning!

:hattip:

Phin666 10-27-2010 09:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist (Post 4140671)
Every holiday season we visit friends and relatives and more often than not some of them end up asking to have their Windows machines repaired for free or next to nothing. This corrective maintenance is wasted because it does not improve the situation, Windows will be a mess next holiday, too.

Just out of curiosity, Do you have any handyman types in your family? Maybe a person who is good with plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, or just has a bunch of tools? Or maybe does someone in your family watch your kids while you are at work? Or someone who is savvy at filing taxes? Ever ask any of them for help? They probably feel the same way when we ask them for help.

Don't get me wrong, I am so completely sick of fixing the same thing over and over again, but in my case my in-laws watch my kids every day and have for the past 8 years. There is no way I could charge them to fix their PC. My cousin just recently helped my successfully settle out of court for a car dealership that tried to screw me. That saved me $4K! I understand the frustration you feel, however if these people are only having you over around the holidays to fix their PC's, maybe you should reevaluate your holiday plans.

Don't try and convince people to switch to Linux for your convenience. They will never accept it. They need to be able to appreciate it for what it is and what it can do for _them_. Once my in-laws discovered that they would no longer get a virus, they were sold. And, once they saw how easy it is for them to get the kind of games they enjoy for free, they loved it even more.

brianL 10-27-2010 09:24 AM

If I ask any of my family or friends for help of any kind, they don't charge me. So why should I charge them?
(if you read this reply, send me 25, TIA :) )

onebuck 10-27-2010 10:26 AM

Hi,
Quote:

Originally Posted by brianL (Post 4140921)
If I ask any of my family or friends for help of any kind, they don't charge me. So why should I charge them?
(if you read this reply, send me 25, TIA :) )

Via paypal?

:hattip:

lumak 10-27-2010 10:51 AM

I just start telling them that "I use linux, I know nothing about managing and fixing a windows machine. If you had linux I would fix it for you. Oh BTW that tax software, wordprocessor, e-mail client, etc. doesn't run on linux. You would have to find alternative tools. I use this and this but I don't know of one for that, you would have to do some research"

You shouldn't have to go much farther than that to stop them.

brianL 10-27-2010 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by onebuck (Post 4140988)
Hi,


Via paypal?

:hattip:

A blank cheque will be OK, Gary. :)

H_TeXMeX_H 10-27-2010 01:23 PM

I do NOT repair or deal with Window$ machines, period.

There is only one rare exception, which can be summed up in "damsel in distress" ... in which case, I suppose I have to make an exception, but it's rare, and I always recommend trying Linux.

Hangdog42 10-27-2010 01:28 PM

If I don't fix their computers, they cut me off from the Christmas cookies. Blackmail is soooooooooo ugly.

H_TeXMeX_H 10-27-2010 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hangdog42 (Post 4141212)
If I don't fix their computers, they cut me off from the Christmas cookies. Blackmail is soooooooooo ugly.

Hey, if they just say exactly that "fix" ... use dban then install *buntu or something ... it'll fix em.

Hangdog42 10-27-2010 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4141234)
Hey, if they just say exactly that "fix" ... use dban then install *buntu or something ... it'll fix em.


Don't think I haven't come close to doing that. I have a relative, who in addition to being a fantastic cook (and God, I'm ashamed to say this) is still on AOL dial-up. Believe me, I've looked, and there is no way to get Linux and AOL to co-exist. Just ain't gonna happen.

So I keep my mouth shut, fix the damn Windows, and reap my earthly reward.

Simon Bridge 10-28-2010 07:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brianL (Post 4141028)
A blank cheque will be OK, Gary. :)

Made out to my favorite charity - The Christian Association of Specialized Help. Better yet - just put the initials.


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