"But I paid for the software!"

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Ok, our economy ain’t doing so hot right now. This next group of people I’m going to show you has absolutely zero bearing on the economy. It has everything to do with their perception of money. I go to a client’s place and they’ve got a virus. First thing I ask them is “What anti-virus are you running?” I usually hear “Norton” or some other dumb-ass software. I then reply “Ok, we’re going to get rid of that and install something better.” To which I get a horrified “But I paid for it!” Huh? Let me get this straight. You want to keep the software that did NOT protect you from getting a virus infection just because you spent money on it?? Hello?! I usually say “Yes you paid for it but it didn’t work. Let me show you some software that doesn’t cost you a cent and work 100x better than Norton!” You know….it’s never been the fact that it didn’t work. It’s the first thought of “losing money”. Now, this leads me up to the next clueless computer owner…

The $20 computer Windows reinstall.

It’s quite common to have to reinstall Windows, typically on a yearly basis. When I reinstall Windows, I make sure the client gets his system back with all the latest updates, the best anti-virus and anti-spyware software I have ever seen and that it automatically defrags the HD without any intervention on their part. See, if you don’t do a good job you can be damned sure they’ll come back at you because something doesn’t work. So, typically my reinstalls take 24-48 hrs (freakin ‘insecurity’ updates). This also includes backing up all data and restoring it again. The only thing the client needs to do is to reinstall any software outside of the Operating System (i.e. Office/setup email) unless they ask me to do it as well. For all of this, I usually charge about $200. A damn good deal considering the amount of work that goes into it.

So the other week I get this as a response “The last guy only charged me $20!” When I asked him when did he get it done, he replies “a week ago”. Umm….so you are telling me that the $20 Windows reinstall only lasted a week before it broke and you are complaining that a good, quality install is too much?? Hey, if you want to keep coming back to me every week for $20, I’ll slap an OS on there and hand it off every week for the next 10 years! (I love clients who seem to be willing to pay me $1040 a year for weekly work!). Although in reality, such a client will complain about everything and I’ll have to take him out back and gag him with a 5 1/4″ floppy drive then beat him with a 9-pin dot-matrix printer till he’s unconscious.

The Proper Windows Reinstall

Ok, so more often than not, I get good clients who understand the amount of work and don’t really mind paying the $200. Typically these computers are 3-5 years old and par for the course, the owners can’t find their install CD but they Window Product Key sticker is still on the case. In which case I just use another Windows CD, install it and change it to the proper key and away you go. Occasionally this doesn’t work and you have to call Microsoft to get them to give you a proper ‘installation ID’. Usually this takes 10 mins and I continue with the install and software updates. Let me tell you about my last incident with Microsoft.

I call them and the automated phone activation doesn’t work (go figure). So I get transferred to the ‘activation desk’. After telling them what I cam doing and giving them the perfectly legal Product ID, I get told that I have to be transferred to some other department (‘tech support’). Ugh, fine. I get to them, explain it all again and get told that I’m at the wrong department. What? I need to be at the ‘tech support _general_’ help desk. Sigh. Ok…here we go. So I get there and explain everything again and again I get told ‘wrong department’. WHAT?! I get punted off to the (get this) “tech support setup and activation” desk. _Finally_ this guy can help me. All told my normal 10min call took 45 mins! And guess what? This is with me having and account already setup with Microsoft (called them many times before). How many of you would have the patience for this kind of crap? See, us techies don’t get paid for what we know….we get paid for our PATIENCE!

Online Marketing BS.

I’ve been doing a lot of online marketing research to expand my skills and help companies both get online and make sure their branding strategy extends to the Internet. Now, like any other field, there are many people selling every type of widget that is ‘the absolute best solution’ for your need. What is sad is when you look at such things long enough, you see how pathetic it really can be.

As with any type of advertising, ‘word of mouth’ always has been, and always will be, the ultimate form of advertising. Now, when you have a site and you want someone to buy your product, you have no ‘word of mouth’ to get to your potential clients. The next best thing is ‘third-party endorsement’. Meaning someone who isn’t associated with the company saying what a great product or benefit they got. It lends credibility to the product and/or service you are potentially buying. Here’s an example of one:

“I love your new product “Content Chain Gang” and I have seen substantial increases in traffic and my content creation as a result of using it.

I really think User Content Pro is one of the best products on the market!

Congratulations and Keep Up The Great Work!

Sean Steeple,
Sugarland, Texas”

This seems to be a very good and glowing endorsement from a satisfied customer. Now, being the jaded tech that I am, I wanted to see if I could find this “Sean Steeple” and what he is doing online. Guess what….I found him! He gave another review on another site.

“I love your new product “The Authority 2.0 Blueprint” and I have seen substantial increases in my traffic and profits as a result of using it.

I really think The Authority Site 2.0 Blueprint is one of the best products on the market!

Congratulations and Keep Up The Great Work!

Sean Steeple,
Sugarland, Texas”

Wow, he found _two_ great products and his site must be making tons of money! Let’s see if I can find any more…

“Hi Anders,

I love your new product “Viral eMail Formatter” and I have seen substantial increases in traffic as a result of implementing it

I really think Viral eMail Formatter is one of the best products on the market!

Congratulations and Keep Up The Great Work!

Sean Steeple,
Sugarland, Texas”

Boy, Sean must be buying up all the best stuff only! His site must be making him millions that he can afford to keep buying all this software. In fact, “Sean Steeple” appears on 13 sites total endorsing all kinds of software products! Ugh. If you haven’t picked up by now, Sean Steeple doesn’t exist. He’s just some generic name that is built into the piece of software that builds the website. A kind of ‘pick this item to add a 3rd party endorsement’ option when building a website. So, you have now been educated on how to spot nothing more than marketing bullshit. This doesn’t mean that the software isn’t good but if you can’t get a proper endorsement from your product and/or service, that should be your first clue as to it’s effectiveness.

Skype is useless………..on a BlackBerry

So lately there’s been a big buzz about being able to use Skype on RIM’s BlackBerry Smartphones. A bit of background. Skype is a program that uses VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). If you have it installed on your computer and your Aunt in BC has it installed on hers, you both can talk for free with a microphone and a headset. Talk about one of the best uses for new technology! Sorry about your revenue loss Bell but suck it up and realize that progress continues despite your antiquated capitalist model. Now, the modern age ‘Smart Phones’ can do a lot, like browsing the Internet and use applications like “facebook” without having to log into facebook directly. Skype is simply another application but RIM would not allow VOIP on their devices because the carriers screamed and the money lost because those calls are free and do not use up ‘airtime’. I know this for a fact because I worked at RIM for awhile.

Now, a recent article came out saying that Skype will be available for your BlackBerry Smartphone! But wait….there’s a catch. While you use Skype, you will be billed for the airtime! What?! I am going to be charged for something that is free on any computer? Man, talk about making the application almost useless! If I was Skype owners (Ahem, Google) I’d be making some waves about some company making money on your product! So RIM, thanks for nothing!

iTunes wins again…..by gouging it’s customers.

Do you buy your music from iTune? Congrats suckers, you just sucked into paying 30% MORE for the songs you love. (http://bit.ly/MNg4b) And thanks Apple for making https://thepiratebay.org a more viable option than ever before! For those of you who thought Amazon MP3/Walmart wpuld be safe….think again (http://tinyurl.com/cyn5ck).

Besides, Google has always been the simplest way of doing it. http://tinyurl.com/c4ms2 Might take a bit of digging but there are some nice gems there.

$10/hr ??!!

The Tech field has been known to be some of the highest paying jobs in our country. I don’t mean those schmucks who work at Future Shop or Best Buy. I’m talking real technicians. Guys who spent $30K+ on schooling for some real training. I’ve been keeping an eye on the local job scene when I came across this ad for “Servicecad Inc” in Burlington. Allow me to post their job information here (Hey Servicecad, this one is free!)

” Company : Servicad Inc.
Job Title : Computer Service Technician
Job Category : Computers/Info Tech

Established in 1999, Servicad is an IT systems integrator specializing in computer systems support, network management and IT consulting.

We offer integrated solutions, preventative maintenance, & cost effective strategies.

Web Site: http://www.servicad.com

Ok, based on that description, it’s obvious that they are a fairly small company, probably just one shop with a few business clients maybe. How would I know? Well, they obviously can’t afford any significant number of words to describe not only their company but what they do. Too bad, such opportunities to tell the world who your are and these guys blew it. But wait….there’s more….

“JOB DESCRIPTION:

* Install, maintain and repair electronic equipment
* Complete work orders, test and maintenance reports “

With a job description like this, they might as well have said “someone to fix stuff.” and saved them even more money! Pay _VERY_ close attention to the title and the job description. A ‘computer service technician’ does _not_ repair ‘electronic equipment’. They fix computer hardware. Reading between the lines is sooooo critical with companies like this. Not only will you end up fixing computer equipment, you’ve be servicing debit machines, fax machines, paper shredder and probably a VCR or two. So, outside of being a computer guy, you are now the household Audio/Video technician as well. So when the boss’ video camera stops works for those ‘special female job interviews’ that he has way too often in his office, you’ll be the first to be called and fix it ‘YESTERDAY’ because he has a ‘hot prospect’ for some ‘admin assistant’ position that’s been advertised for the last 2 years.

But wait….there’s still more!

“Experience an asset

Salary: $10.00 to $14.00 Hourly for 37.5 hours per week, Bonus, Other Benefits “

So, experienced is a good asset. That’s a good requirement. In the industry, experience = higher pay. There are many corporations that will take your ‘industry experience’ and apply it to their internal scale and it’s like you had ‘5 years’ already with them! Hold on……$10/hr to start? ($14 if you want to try and believe they’ll ever offer that….) Now, let’s put this into good perspective here. The Ontario Government just announced that minimum wage was raised to $9.50 as of March 31, 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/cbsvkv) and then go up to $10.50 in 2010. Let’s figure this out here….

– Go to school to get a piece of paper that says you’re good at what you learned……$30,000.00
– Minimum Wage………………………………………………………………$ 9.50/hr
– Job starts at……………………………………………………………..$ 10.00/hr
– Number of years it will take to pay back student loan versus working at McDs…………..61.50 years!
(Take the differences and apply it to the loan)

This is based on working continuously with a small company that won’t get bought up or pushed out of business by some bigger/more effective/higher paying company. I mean, seriously. Why would I want to work at some cheapskate place like that? Better still…..would you want to deal with a place like that as a client/customer? Times may be rough but not _that_ rough. I said it before and I’ll say it again….”Real Techs don’t get paid $10/hr!”

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