Category Archives: Technology

WARNING: 5 Reason you should NEVER fix a computer for FREE

After doing 10 years of IT work I can definitely tell you , this guy is dead on, this is just a little something I pulled from a post over on the Spiceworks community website, so its not something I came up with originally but I just thought this was too good NOT to share lol

It is in our nature to love the puzzle. We are obsessed. The lot of us. We love puzzles. We love the challenge. We thrive on finding the answer. We hate disarray. It bothers us deep in our soul.

We love the accolades. We love to be seen as the digital white knight fixed the server, the computer, the email, and anything else that life depends on.

We love it so much, we sometimes make horrible decisions. Sometimes, we work “FOR FREE.”

We’ve all done it. A friend, a neighbor, a relative, a good client, a bad client, a pretty girl… Whoever it was, and for whatever reason, we all threw them a technological bone and fixed something for free. In rare instances, it can be a rewarding experience. Perhaps your buddy gave you a beer. Maybe someone said thank you. Maybe there was a smile on their face, and that was rewarding enough.

More likely, however, that five minute task you thought you were signing up for turned into 40 minutes, then an hour, then a commitment. Wow. You didn’t see that coming.

1.

1 You Break it You Bought it.

When you sit down to fix a problem that presented as a simple one you are creating a contract. Not a legal contract, but a social one. The computer owner is trusting their computer with you. It’s their baby, and you’re the doctor. So you sit down, and begin to fix a problem.

In the process, something else breaks. You fixed one thing, but something else goes awry. What’s the best part? Neither you nor the user notice it is broken until a day later when they call you to blame you for breaking something else.

“I thought you were going to fix it.” They complain.

This is the primary reason you charge money to fix something. You break it, you bought it. The user / owner will expect you to warranty your service even though THEY received all the value of your time, and you received nothing in exchange.

2.

2 People don’t respect things that are free.

People don’t respect things that are free.

I learned that quote from a man who runs a non-profit organization. Image that. A man who solicits donations for a living candidly told me “people don’t respect things that are free.” You know what? He’s right.

Free advice. Free upgrade. Free entry. None are valued. Free advice is seldom wanted. Free upgrade was something you were going to get anyway. Free entry? The band playing tonight must not be any good.

People associate the value of service with the amount of money that is exchanged for it. How else do you think that lawyer can get away with charging $400 an hour? People naturally make the assumption that if it costs an arm and a leg, then it must be worth it.

So, if customers and friends will assume that the most expensive car is the best one, what will they assume of the free car? Do you want the heart surgeon who charges $500,000 per surgery or the one who works for beer to operate on your mother?

3.

3 They will expect it forever.

In law, the concept of a precedent is vitally important. Judges and lawyers look to previous cases to decide what the interpretation of the law was because if a case was settled one way before, chances are, it will be settled that way again.

Gamblers playing craps look at the past behavior of the dice to, mistakenly, assume that the good luck will continue.

Users will figure if you fixed it once for free, you’ll do it forever for free. There is no reason why they should respect the thousands of hours you have spent learning and researching the art of computer science. There is no reason that they should respect the certifications you hold. There is no reason that they should honor your abilities by paying your fees. Why? Because you did it for free. Once!

When they come back and you try to get fees, they will meet you with resistance in the form of guilt. “I thought we were friends” they cry. “You didn’t charge me anything last time.” They argue.

Setup the expectation that they are going to pay (or barter) from the onset. Demand the respect that you deserve. Make sure they understand you are a professional. After all, that is the difference between a professional and an amateur. Professionals get compensated for their skills.

4.

4 The demands will only grow with time.

Give them an inch, and they will take you through three operating system upgrades, two virus infections, and a crashed hard drive. Once you’ve set the precedent and created the expectation that you are their knight in shining armor, they will begin to call you for everything. They will suck up your time and resources. They will not be grateful. They will involve you in 30 minute hypothetical conversations then disagree with your expertise.

5.

5 It Weakens Your Backbone

Working for free is not only unprofitable, it weakens your constitution as a professional consultant. For many consultants, asking for money is difficult. They email out a silent invoice after the fact and hope they get paid. This practice can lead to unbalanced books, debt, and a going out of business sign. The simple fact is: if you don’t ask for your money, you’re not going to get paid. No one just hands out checks.

Setting up the expectation, especially when you fix a computer for the first time for a client, is vitally important in establishing boundaries that ensure you are paid in a timely fashion. Working for free, throwing out freebies, “comp”-ing your time hurts your ability to ask for the sale. It hurts your credibility because the client will assume that if you’re not charging them for a given task, you didn’t know what you were doing or you made mistakes.

It may give you butterflies, but ask for the money. Do it openly and notoriously. Your clients will take it as a sign of confidence.


Students, Parents Allowed to View Webcam Scandal Photos

Suburban Philadelphia parents and their high school-age children soon will learn the extent of a potentially criminal webcam scandal.

A federal magistrate on Friday ordered the Lower Merion School District to start sending notification letters to any student covertly spied on through their school-issued Macbook, as well as to their parents. The order covers screen shots taken by school officials, and pictures snapped of the pupils through their webcams.

A lawsuit alleges an untold number of the district’s 2,300 Macbooks took tens of thousands of pictures of the students (.pdf) — at home, at school and even in bed. Lawyers suing the district allege some of the pupils were photographed nude.

The court order is part of a proposed class-action lawsuit against the 6,900-student district, which discontinued the LANrev webcam-tracking program in February after a sophomore’s parents learned that their son was secretly photographed at home.

“Isn’t this the same state where a prosecutor tried to charge three girls with child pornography for taking pictures of themselves with a cell phone? How is it possible to view or possess these photos without potentially committing an inadvertent felony? Oh, because it’s the government, that makes it OK, gotcha”
We may read that comment and laugh or maybe freak out and say “He’s right, oh no” BUT he makes a VERY valid point, there is almost this double standard…our Government is SUPPOSED to be OF the people, FOR the people, and BY the people….yet lately it seems the government is more about being; for , of , and by  only itself  instead of serving the people. I also want to point out that IF they had school issued PC’s that would never have happened, just turn off a couple services in windows and NO one is going to remotely access anything on your computer , particularly the webcam.

iPhone Hacker Thinks He’s Cracked the Ipad Too

George Hotz, known as the first hacker to unlock the iPhone, says he’s done it again. The whiz kid on Thursday evening said he had cooked up a new hack for all iPhone OS devices, and he’s betting it will work on the iPad, too.

When the hack is released (a release date has not yet been announced), it should be as simple to use as Blackra1n, Hotz’s one-click solution to jailbreak current iPhones, he said.

“It is completely untethered, works on all current tethered models (ipt2, 3gs, ipt3), and will probably work on iPad too,” Hotz said in his blog post.

It’s plausible that an iPhone OS jailbreak would also work for the iPad. While the iPad will support apps that are exclusive to the device, its OS shares the same foundation as the iPhone’s.

The term “jailbreaking” is used to describe the act of overriding the iPhone’s software restrictions to allow further customization and the installation and use of non-standard apps (apps not acquired through the apple store or officially recognized by apple)  and  is the first step an iPhone owner must take in order to later unlock the handset, enabling it to work with a SIM card from another carrier. (Ex: to go from AT&T to T-Mobile)


A Really Cool New Way To Update Twitter..for the technologically initiated ONLY

There is an open source program: GNU Wget is a free software package for retrieving files using HTTP, HTTPS and FTP, the most widely-used Internet protocols. It is a non-interactive command line tool, so it may easily be called from scripts, cron jobs, terminals without X-Windows support, etc. and works great with certain sites such as Twitter. Now I’m pretty tight when it comes to tech stuff, and I’ve got those mad tech support skillz that I use to pay my bills BUT I have to give credit where its due and I found out about this program from a friend of mine…he is known by some as @darkscrypt  another good tech friend. These are the instructions for setting up WGET along with a .BAT file on your computer that will allow you to update your Twitter status from the run box in windows. No need to browse to twitter.com no need for opening up your app like Tweet Deck, or Twitteriffic or anything like that, although for checking for updates from others and editing your account you will still need to actually login to the twitter site or launch and app, but here are the instructions so enjoy:

The first step is to get the program http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packages/wget.htm
download the zip version and place wget.exe in the C:\windows directory. Once you have done that you can verify it works by opening up a command prompt box and typing wget if you get instructions on how to use wget than you are good to go. I found I needed a couple of .dll files on my machine in order to run wget , I just did a simple search and found there was some other package I needed from sourceforge but still all in all for anyone technically savvy this should be fairly quick and painless.

Now that you’ve downloaded and installed wget you need to create a .bat file and place it in also in the windows directory so the path to the file should be this: C:\windows\twitter.bat this is the file you will need to create so just open notepad or a simple text editor and copy and paste this in there: @echo off
set username=username
set password=password
wget –keep-session-cookies –post-data=status=”%*” –http-user=%username% –http-password=%password% http://twitter.com:80/statuses/update.xml
del update.xml

the “set username” and the “set password”  will need to change to have YOUR username and YOUR password after the equal sign. Once you have done this save it and your set , to update twitter just go to run from your start menu and type the word “twitter” since that’s the name of the file and then a space and then your status update when your done click run or hit enter and thats it you just updated twitter! its pretty sweet!