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Problems Between Keyboards And Chairs

JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster KittehRegistered User regular
...why is it the second you mention you're studying computers in college, everyone starts begging for free tech support? I have a life other than helping your sixteen-year-old cover his ass after a night of downloading porn (and the lovely amount of spyware/trojans/etc. that came along for the ride) so his mom doesn't get a pair of amazon-sized headlights in a pop-up while surfing the FoxBox site with his twelve-year-old brother.

...sorry. I just got off the phone with the guy's mom, and have come to the conclusion some people should be legally barred from using a computer due to stupidity. She had a few questions, and I wanted to ask your advice on the answers I have for her.

1) Shit-filled Family PC: The thing takes a solid twenty minutes to boot up. The desktop is sprouting porn icons like a possessed college kid's mattress, and there's about sixteen or seventeen different types of malware that I can tell of (maybe more, thier A/V won't boot).

My solution: They have the discs, nothing that can't be replaced on the drive, and thier pictures are stored in albums- actual photo albums. I'm suggesting a "nuke from orbit"-style reformat and re-install. It would be easier than spending a week cleaning out everything, and it would allow me to drop in Net Nanny or something like it, as well as a fresh, non-corrupted A/V.

2) Friend of my mother's laptop: She thought it was a custom-built laptop, but after looking at it, it's an off-the-shelf Gateway from the local big-box retailer. The user is a Bejeweled 2 nut, and this thing struggles through the game, slowing every time she lines up a few jewels and skipping along the graphics between levels during the "wormhole" sections.

My solution: More RAM, a better graphics card, a faster processor, and a good swift kick to the beanbag for the lady's husband for simply buying the cheapest laptop he could get and passing it off as a custom job. (I'm not REALLY going to kick him, but... *sigh*)

So, am I right on the money, or is there a better solution to the problems?

JaysonFour on
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Posts

  • typhoontyphoon Registered User
    edited May 2008
    The solution is to stop telling people you're studying computers. Say you're a history major.

  • contrabandcontraband Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    the desktop is a lost cause. you'll never get it operating at full capacity again; reformat.

    it always depends on the model of the laptop, but you generally can't replace gpu/cpu. ram's usually upgradable, though.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Odds are, the laptop has crapware on it as well; Bejeweled isn't exactly Crysis.

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  • Nakatomi2010Nakatomi2010 Registered User
    edited May 2008
    format and reload sounds good, but the Bejweled issue is probably needing more RAM, as the guy above said, its not Crysis so a video card is not necessary....

    The crap you buy off the shelf is actually great if you're not a gamer, and even then you often times only need to worry about replacing the video card and power supplies...


    I feel where you're coming from though, the moment people learn I work on computers, and that I'm good at it, I become the "Hey can you fix this" guy.... And sadly I can, or if anyone is having issues with something you can hear them "Maybe Nakatomi would know the solution" *sigh*....

    I'm in Georgia for a funeral and the family here keeps asking me for technical support here and there...

    Check out me building my HTPC (NSF56K) (Updated 1-10-08)
    Movie Collection
    Foody Things
    Holy shit! Sony's new techno toy!
    Wii Friend code: 1445 3205 3057 5295
  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Evaluate their needs for possibly replacing it with Ubuntu. If they have no things that must be done with Windows or won't run in WINE, it'll save you and them a lot of headaches. It's not immune to idiocy (sudo rm -rf /[1]!), but there are fewer passive web-borne illnesses a Linux-run browser can catch.

    The plus side is that it'll also make better use of the meager resources of the laptop.

    [1]DO NOT DO THIS

  • RonenRonen Registered User
    edited May 2008
    I'm starting a graduate program in the Fall. Two weeks ago, I had a meeting with my new professors and advisors to plan out my first few semesters of classes. During the discussion, it was revealed that I'm a sysadmin. It took less than 10 seconds for one professor to turn that around and ask, "Oh hey, we've got some servers that are acting up, can you take a look at them?"

    D:

    Really? Really grad school professors and deans? Can I not escape this shit for a minute? I have to figure out some way to get free credits or something for helping them.

    Go play MOTHER3

    or Brawl. 4854.6102.3895 Name: NU..
  • IdolisideIdoliside Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I get a mild sense of enjoyment helping people sort out computer problems. But i agree on the scale you have it that some people are just idiotic and you find yourself thinking why these people got into the internet in the first place.

    Laptops are the worst cos if the hardware messes up there isn't alot you can do.

    But in extreme cases i use the "nuke-from-orbit" format approach too. I just ask people to backup everything important (and you will be amazed that they forget to backup somethings and blame it on you even when you explicitly said that the format would wipe everything).

    My video lecturer is the best, complete windows noob.

    Proud member of Noah's Wangship Steam Group
    iusb_760x100.8161697.jpgBunting, Owls and Cushions! Feecloud Designs
  • SmasherSmasher Starting to get dizzy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Tell people you receive too many requests for help to do it for free. Most of them won't want to pay, and you'll get money from the others making it worth your time.

  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Meh; stop being selfish. If it's family, I mean IMMEDIATE family, sure why not? If it's a random relative, just tell them that you'd love to help them but you'd need them to drop off the computer.

    9/10 times, they'll go somewhere else and give someone the benefit of time and money wasted on their old-ass PCs.

  • IdolisideIdoliside Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    1ddqd wrote: »
    Meh; stop being selfish. If it's family, I mean IMMEDIATE family, sure why not? If it's a random relative, just tell them that you'd love to help them but you'd need them to drop off the computer.

    9/10 times, they'll go somewhere else and give someone the benefit of time and money wasted on their old-ass PCs.

    I hate to think people would waste their time and money on helplines when i could probably fix it in 5 seconds.

    Proud member of Noah's Wangship Steam Group
    iusb_760x100.8161697.jpgBunting, Owls and Cushions! Feecloud Designs
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Update: The neighbor gave me the go-ahead, and I brought their comp over to my house so I could work on it. I worked out a price of cost plus $150 for everything- it'll allow me to put in what's needed (Trend Micro A/V, Net Nanny, re-install of a few games) instead of her getting whatever programs the local megastore is using this week. I'm pitching the laptop to a friend of mine who's got a lot more experience at hardware (not that confident in my hardware skills yet and I don't want to brick a laptop...

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  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    TMAV is a good choice, but lately there have been some issues with slowdown (2008 version) - try Norton 2008 if that happens.

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Norton as a solution to slowdowns? Did they finally reign in the bloat?

  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Pretty much. Norton 08 is really fast, even so that I'd hesitate in recommending Trend Micro over it.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Fuck Trend Micro, they're a bunch of asshats who don't deserve your money. And they're suing Barracuda because they think they have a patent on scanning e-mails for viruses. Go with Avast! or something good and free. Or if you're spending money, you might as well go with Kaspersky. It's had the best hit rating for a long time now.

    vvvvvv-dithw.png
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Well, I guess it's a good thing I chose to go buy the software tomorrow. I guess it's a coinflip between Kapersky and Norton '08. Is Kapersky easier to use and update than Norton? I've never really had any experience with using it- everyone round these parts has some kind of Norton/McAfee/TM.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Well, I guess it's a good thing I chose to go buy the software tomorrow. I guess it's a coinflip between Kapersky and Norton '08. Is Kapersky easier to use and update than Norton? I've never really had any experience with using it- everyone round these parts has some kind of Norton/McAfee/TM.

    Norton is terrible shit and McAfee is only slightly better. Everyone has them because they paid Dell and HP a fuck-tonne of money to get them to come preinstalled with a 30-day trial on their computers.

    http://www.virus.gr/portal/en/node/28

    The numbers don't lie. That said, I use Avast (on my Windows box, anyway, we don't have these "viruses" on Linux) because I don't feel like spending $60 a year on a subscription to anything. Avast is probably the best free one around: AVG is a memory hog to the point where Half-Life 2 (and other Source-engine games) won't run: google "Paged Pool Memory error" sometime, and Anti-Vir has annoying popups in its free version.

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  • RonenRonen Registered User
    edited May 2008
    I give everybody in my family who asks for it (and still runs Windows, I'm slowly converting them all) the free version of Avast!. Most of them (especially the least tech savvy in the bunch) love the fact that it actually talks to you. Like, when it updates your virus definitions, a voice says "Updated virus database."

    Go play MOTHER3

    or Brawl. 4854.6102.3895 Name: NU..
  • AzioAzio Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    typhoon wrote: »
    The solution is to stop telling people you're studying computers. Say you're a history major.
    I just tell them I'm studying "Computer science BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN I WILL FIX YOUR COMPUTER"

  • Zilla360Zilla360 Spaaaace! In Space.Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm sure there's a t-shirt you can buy somewhere that just says : "No, I will not fix your computer." :)

    I converted most of my family to being Linux/Ubuntu users, so I don't have to deal with this anymore.

  • AndorienAndorien Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Zilla360 wrote: »
    I'm sure there's a t-shirt you can buy somewhere that just says : "No, I will not fix your computer." :)

    I converted most of my family to being Linux/Ubuntu users, so I don't have to deal with this anymore.

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/tshirts/frustrations/388b/

    My girlfriend got it for me on my birthday <3<3

  • Zilla360Zilla360 Spaaaace! In Space.Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    The very small shell script part is pretty funny, since they refused to use Linux if it didn't have Norton antivirus. D:

    So just faked it with a script I wrote (Norton Icon) that does nothing other than display a dialog 3-5 mins after clicking "Virus check completed. Nothing found." :P

  • noobertnoobert Registered User
    edited May 2008
    $60 an hour for friends of friends.
    A carton or 6 pack of beer for family or extended family. And close friends.
    $120 an hour for strangers.
    Favor for a Favor with people i know are good for it.

    Knowledge is valuable. Lots of people in IT forget this because it seems SO FUCKING EASY to them.

  • 1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    noobert wrote: »
    $60 an hour for friends of friends.
    A carton or 6 pack of beer for family or extended family. And close friends.
    $120 an hour for strangers.
    Favor for a Favor with people i know are good for it.

    Knowledge is valuable. Lots of people in IT forget this because it seems SO FUCKING EASY to them.

    That's the same approach I took when pricing my services for car detailing.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I couldn't charge $60/hr for PC work; that's around what Best Buy charges and I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. For friends (of friends) who need a hand, I'll help them if I have time, for small businesses I'll charge $20/hr or so.

    vvvvvv-dithw.png
  • noobertnoobert Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    I couldn't charge $60/hr for PC work; that's around what Best Buy charges and I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. For friends (of friends) who need a hand, I'll help them if I have time, for small businesses I'll charge $20/hr or so.

    They are high prices, because i don't want to be everyones PC repair bitch. I also don't want to be doing work, when I'm not at work. Everyone claims to have "a computer guy" and I'll be that computer guy for a fee.

    Also, once you fix someone's computer cheaply, they expect you to do it again. And they will fuck it up again, they always do.

  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I used to help lots of people out with their machines, but my enthusiasm has died. I think it happened after some kids across the street were downloading music and "stuff" using p2p networks and screwed up their machine. I uninstalled limewire, cleaned up the crap, updated the virus scanner, installed firefox, enabled and updated the virus scanner and firewall (which were disabled because "some programs" wouldn't work when they were running) and pronounced woe upon them if they reduced the computer to such a state again.
    Hey, guess what? Like six weeks later, same story. I uninstalled limewire again, got their office program to work, and quit. I was pretty annoyed at those kids.

    You've also got to love people who can't freaking read.
    "Hey, I tried to install this hard drive in Windows Vista, but it says I need a driver or something."
    "Did you install the drivers?"
    "Yeah... they were on this CD"
    "What was the CD labeled?"
    "Windows XP drivers, why?"
    "You're running Windows Vista, not XP. Do you see a problem here?"
    "No..."
    *sound of my head against the wall.*

  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    My personal position on this is that people can get all the tech support they want out of me if they choose to run Ubuntu. Quid pro quo.

    The lady friend is the only exception to this, for obvious reasons.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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