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Old_Grey_Wolf
December 26th, 2011, 11:58 PM
How many did you fix this holiday season?

It has become a holiday tradition with my family that grandpa fixes computers on the holidays.

I don't mind fixing computers; however, I don't think family members know the value of my gift. If they looked up what Best Buy's Geek Squad chargers for the same service I think they would be shocked. :)

sammiev
December 27th, 2011, 12:01 AM
Correct you are. I live in a one horse town and all people here think I should fix their computers 24/7 for free. I no longer work on other peoples computers.

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 27th, 2011, 12:34 AM
I am a grandpa now; so, I can't afford to buy everyone a nice gift. I use my ability to fix computers as a gift to them. I really don't mind fixing computers. The majority of the problems are malware. So far this year, I have not dealt with hardware failures.

This year I am thinking of putting holiday cards in the computers I fix. The cards would have a hand written note about how much the Geek Squad would have charged them, then stating Merry {whatever the holiday is} from Grandpa.

I am afraid that might offend them; however, they really don't seem to understand the value of the work I do for them on the holidays. I know it is "the thought that counts"; however, I think they may take computer repair to much for granted.

Your thoughts?

jjex22
December 27th, 2011, 01:30 AM
@old_grey_wolf; Congratulations on becoming a Grandpa... however long a go that was! I just got back from my Grandma's house, though she's now a Great Grandma to 11! We managed to get all but one of the family over her's for Boxing Day this year - 26 of us plus pets all together in a 1930's London terrace!

Well down to business, I'm only 4 days into the holidays as I had to work up 'til the weekend, but I must admit a lot of fixing my machines! not that anything was really wrong of course, but I did use Christmas eve morning doing all the little things I've been meaning to - upgrading a mac to lion, reinstalling netBSD on my G4, and configuring the selection of N cards I bought in October to make our home N only.

In terms of fixing, I did a lot of the usual admin on my parent's machine while I was at theirs on Christmas day - backups, updates, malware scans, clean-ups etc.

That said I did agree to have a look at both my cousin's and Aunt's PC's this week, but helping out is what Christmas is all about isn't it?; just today us menfolk took charge of the kitchen duties, to give our ladies a break after Christmas dinner yesterday. Well we get it easier! 6 of us to put on a buffet n we managed to make a winter BBQ out of it!

Hope they appreciated all your hard work!

goldshirt9
December 27th, 2011, 09:54 AM
say you can fix one problem makes everyone think your a expert :D:D:D:D:D
at the moment i have 4 laptops sitting in my garage that are completely ruined but the owners still want them repaired :(

It may be a traditional sales trip to the shops to buy the new / first pc but some people have never used one and the shops should offer / sell a quick course in how to use them.

lisati
December 27th, 2011, 10:09 AM
say you can fix one problem makes everyone think your a expert :D:D:D:D:D
at the moment i have 4 laptops sitting in my garage that are completely ruined but the owners still want them repaired :(

I've had to "dumb down" a bit at work: I'd like to "fix" their computers by installing Ubuntu, host work's website and email locally, together with one or two other relatively minor things. Instead I nod politely when the boss says something about stuff like only using the gear for work related activities, and being careful about "bugs"..... :D

And I have a Dell machine in a corner under the dining table waiting for me to fix it. (Won't power on: best guess at the moment is PSU problems. Managed to get 11.04 on it before something went haywire.)

Paqman
December 27th, 2011, 11:25 AM
I had to fix my wife's netbook, and now that it's working better she's cross with me. It had been dropping its wifi connection and I simply slapped in a new wifi card, meaning that she wasn't going to be able to insist on us buying a tablet for her in the Jan sales.

I like the way it's my fault when stuff doesn't work, and then when I make it work, it's somehow still my fault. I can't win! :P

jorok_tupur
December 27th, 2011, 11:39 AM
I had just fixed (sort of) our family's PC (just one). This is a really old PC (from 1997): Pentium II 400MHz, RAM is 200-ish (not even 256) MiB. This PC didn't have internet connection.

What I just did:
1. Installed a second-hand ethernet card: 3Com Etherlink III 3C509B ISA (new PCI ethernet card didn't work). Now it can have internets.
2. Wiped the OS (WinXP), and installed Lubuntu 11.10 (slow, but at least chromium is usable ... midori keeps crashing).

The computer still doesn't poweroff on shutdown, but I just told everyone to push the power button after shutdown. It's not that big a deal. :)

ubuntuman001
December 27th, 2011, 01:33 PM
I am a grandpa now; so, I can't afford to buy everyone a nice gift. I use my ability to fix computers as a gift to them. I really don't mind fixing computers. The majority of the problems are malware. So far this year, I have not dealt with hardware failures.

This year I am thinking of putting holiday cards in the computers I fix. The cards would have a hand written note about how much the Geek Squad would have charged them, then stating Merry {whatever the holiday is} from Grandpa.

I am afraid that might offend them; however, they really don't seem to understand the value of the work I do for them on the holidays. I know it is "the thought that counts"; however, I think they may take computer repair to much for granted.

Your thoughts?that shouldn't offend them, and if it does for some reason just say it was supposed to be a light joke. if anything it'll make them more aware of he value of your services

OrangeCrate
December 27th, 2011, 02:07 PM
I don't fix any specifically for the holidays, but, people around here know that I clean up old boxes, and donate them to our local high school for distribution to less fortunate students.

I cleaned up six this year, and I have two in the workshop ready to be worked on when I have the time. Usually, they're not too old, just gunked up with viruses, poor decisions, etc. I clean them up, and then will load them with either Ubuntu or Xubuntu, depending on the age and specs of the computer.

The teacher and the students are appreciative, so, I guess for the kids who didn't have/couldn't afford a computer on their own, it's Christmas year around.

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 27th, 2011, 08:33 PM
I fix computers other times of the years as well. It is just that they are already coming to visit so they bring their computer with them.

About 5 years ago I had cataracts and was having trouble seeing. I started telling people they had to bring their computer to me if they wanted it fixed; because, I wasn't going to drive over to their place to fix them. I got fewer computers to repair each month; however, they were in worse condition when they did bring them to me.

I got the cataracts fixed though surgery a few years ago; however, I still have people bring their computer to me for fixing. Most people have laptops and notebooks so that is not a deterrent.

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 27th, 2011, 08:43 PM
@old_grey_wolf; Congratulations on becoming a Grandpa... however long a go that was!

I will be Great Grandpa soon. :lolflag:

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 27th, 2011, 09:05 PM
I like the way it's my fault when stuff doesn't work, and then when I make it work, it's somehow still my fault. I can't win! :P

I have tried to give people limited accounts on their MS Widows boxes so they couldn't mess it up again after I fix it for I don't know how many times. Then it was MY FAULT that they couldn't install the program from a link in an email that their friend sent them. They just don't understand how their computer gets so messed up.

I learned years ago that you can't win!

:lolflag:

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 27th, 2011, 09:08 PM
Trying to get back to my original poll.

How many did you fix this holiday season?

LowSky
December 28th, 2011, 04:46 AM
I got myself a new HP Dv6(w/ AMD Fusion) on Black Friday... installed a Samsung Momentus XT (hybrid SSD/HDD drive) and then re-installed Windows 7. No Linux for it yet, as I'm on the ropes of a good reason to use any form of Linux on a laptop.

My mom got a new laptop from my dad. I spent about an hour installing antivirus and updates. Then 20 minutes explaining she needs to log into her email to read them.

My sister somehow got a Sony Vaio that sells for over $500 for about $300. It was a BestBuy floor model. Needless to say I'm doing a complete system restore because whatever they had on it caused some serious system registry issues.

Let's see I also set up a new HDTV for my brother-in-law. Even HDMI connectors throw him for a loop.

I had to show my buddy how to jump a car. Something I think everyone should know how to do as part of a driver's license.

Then there was installing batteries and other little projects for most of my families gifts.


Fine Times.

BrokenKingpin
December 28th, 2011, 07:10 AM
Two, my brother's and my step dad's.

wolfen69
December 28th, 2011, 07:59 AM
I don't fix (windows) computers for free anymore. People need to learn the value of what I do. I will however, install linux for a good home cooked meal. :)

hansdown
December 28th, 2011, 08:10 AM
I had to fix my wife's netbook, and now that it's working better she's cross with me. It had been dropping its wifi connection and I simply slapped in a new wifi card, meaning that she wasn't going to be able to insist on us buying a tablet for her in the Jan sales.

I like the way it's my fault when stuff doesn't work, and then when I make it work, it's somehow still my fault. I can't win! :P

That just makes you a better man, than some. =D>

julio_cortez
December 28th, 2011, 05:45 PM
4 and counting... Tonight they'll become 5 (an uncle of mine cannot run FarCry on his notebook) and tomorrow they'll be 6 (a friend of mine has a malware problem on her desktop... The same friend has another desktop I rescued a month ago because of a corrupted boot manager :(

And the bad thing is that some of them just say "hurry, hurry, because I need it done quickly" even if they know that I usually don't ask money for these things... :-x

lykwydchykyn
December 28th, 2011, 06:02 PM
Haven't fixed any this year, which is odd; most of my relatives have bought new ones in the last few years, so they're still going good. I do get asked about which antivirus to use, for which I never have a good answer.

Someone did donate a non-working computer to me, though it turned out to have bad caps on the mainboard.

CharlesA
December 28th, 2011, 07:43 PM
I thought I got off easy this year, but my aunt got a new machine for Christmas and is upset cuz everything is different, so I get a call.

*facepalm*

mips
December 29th, 2011, 08:58 AM
Fixing parents machine, HDD failed so I replaced it with a old spare I have. Not long after I did that while I'm installing the OS the GPU fails, I cannot get the pc to post with the gpu plugged in and it has no onboard. So I need to try and find a cheap second hand replacement nvidia 6600 or better.

Shpongle
December 29th, 2011, 06:20 PM
Still in the process of fixing one , replaced a broken cd drive with a dvd drive and the os which was running bodhi linux will probably get replaced by debian/xfce or debian/openbox . Its for kids so I will probably go with xfce if its 512mb of ram will deal with that well.

I have to move the tower downstairs to hook it up to the net for a net install. I'm currently procrastinating . . . .BTW Happy festivus everyone

thatguruguy
December 29th, 2011, 06:23 PM
I haven't fixed any computers this holiday season, although I did get the new tablets that my kids got from Santa all set up (installing various games/apps, and transcoding some of their favorite movies and putting them on their microsd cards) prior to the kids receiving them.

Scott Baker
December 29th, 2011, 08:18 PM
I have fixed a few for the season, but these were for donating out to various groups in my community that need them. None for family or friends. There are headaches that go with being able to do this though. For family, I'll normally take care of their issues at no cost (labor). Friends are tricky though. I have a friend that handles my yard care. It's a bit sporadic, but he ALWAYS shows up on payday. During the course of the year though, I've serviced his laptop several times (including reinstalling and configuring 2 OS's) and serviced his parents desktop. He now needs service on his laptop again (opened crap-mail and corrupted his D drive). I explained that I was going to be charging for the repair (a reasonable cost though) because this is my business (I'm a full time IT guy). I have to say, he was NOT AMUSED. As of 2012, to save headaches, my policy is to bill EVERYBODY. By doing this, I'm hoping to establish that business is business, and do away with at least some of the questions and hurt feelings.](*,)

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 29th, 2011, 08:42 PM
...Its for kids so I will probably go with xfce if its 512mb of ram will deal with that well.

I set up 3 old computers for my grandchildren years ago. I made sure they worked with on-line game sites and played video. As long as they could play games and watch videos they never complained about them. They didn't care what OS was on them. They had their own computer, and most of their friends didn't have one. They still have them.

XFCE/Debian should work; however, try testing it with sites like http://www.nick.com/. It won't take long to determine if there is a problem with memory, graphics card, drivers, or codecs.


I have to move the tower downstairs to hook it up to the net for a net install. I'm currently procrastinating . . . .BTW Happy festivus everyone

Moving those towers up or down starts has always made me procrastinate; especially, when they had the big CRT monitors years ago.

Dry Lips
December 29th, 2011, 09:28 PM
This year I am thinking of putting holiday cards in the computers I fix. The cards would have a hand written note about how much the Geek Squad would have charged them, then stating Merry {whatever the holiday is} from Grandpa.
I am afraid that might offend them; however, they really don't seem to understand the value of the work I do for them on the holidays. I know it is "the thought that counts"; however, I think they may take computer repair to much for granted.

I would not have done this. Sometimes people fail to recognise the true value of favours that we do to them, but I think it is unwise to draw attention to the work we do for them.

A lot of things cannot be given a monetary value... Sure, it would have costed $ to have the Geek Squad have a look at the computers, but the reason they do fix computers is to make money. You don't fix the computers of your grandchildren because of money, but because you care about them.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that you need to think about what you want to communicate to your family... Is it that doing favours to one another is precious because you love them, or because the same job would have costed lots of money if the Geek Squad had done it?

lykwydchykyn
December 29th, 2011, 11:09 PM
I would not have done this. Sometimes people fail to recognise the true value of favours that we do to them, but I think it is unwise to draw attention to the work we do for them.


Yeah, I don't think I would either, not for family. For friends and coworkers, though...

Maybe the subtle way to handle this is to be innocently "unavailable" next time there is a problem and recommend they see geek squad et al. When they balk at the price, then suddenly you have some free time and can bail them out.

Scott Baker
January 18th, 2012, 04:34 AM
Well, the holidays are now over (todays date is 01-17-12) and here has what has changed, regarding this matter. Two new computers in the immediate family that required fine tuning (mostly removal of crapware, installation of antivirus software (poor schlubs are running Windows) and system tuning. Family and friends are still having service work done, but at a discounted rate of my normal fees (25 to 50% off of my normal service fees). They DO understand that this is my business, and this is how I support my family. I've only had one complaint from a friend, but am not surprised that this one client has chosen to complain (I spend more time on his comp "correcting" his "modifications", than he does actually using his machine). Now that he sees what his computer work is now going to cost, he's not real happy, but no biggie. Other than these few observations, it's all good. \\:D/