Jump to content

Looking for opinions


Mountain Dude

Recommended Posts

Being a 69 year old on Social Security and having a need for additional income and been in bed with computers since the IBM PC Jr, what -- 25 years? I have a pretty fair understanding of computers. More so than most of the population.

It has been suggested to me that this might be a business opportunity. Living up in the Rocky Mountains and a 100 mile drive to Denver -- there are any number of people needing help.

Sounded like a great idea. Grand County, where I live, has a population of 12,000 people and a local paper that comes out 3 times a week. Only local news -- nothing national -- Remember, God's Country.

I came up with a quick and dirty ad for the local paper and sent it off to some friends (the one's who suggested this venture). The problem they had with it was my usage of the word 'suck'.

The ad I wrote is as follows:

?Geezer Geeks PC Help?

I know ? computers suck!

$**** per hr. on site

627-****

The question at this point is whether 'suck' is inappropriate?

If it is, then what would be a better word? I quit frankly like 'computers suck'

OPEN THREAD -- FREE FOR ALL TIME!! :icon1:

Link to comment
Being a 69 year old on Social Security and having a need for additional income

"Geezer Geeks PC Help"

I know ? computers suck!

$**** per hr. on site

627-****

Yes, as a consumer I wouldn't hire you based on this ad.

The whole tag line, well, sucks.

First you call it 'geeks' -- that's plural so you should at least say "WE" and not "I" in the second line.

But the bottom line is it's very off-putting. It's very negative and negativity doesn't sell a product well.

"Computer won't bend to your will? We can help!"

Link to comment

I would hire you in a flash for such a cheeky irreverent add.

And that is the problem, I have a very disrespectful, dissenting attitude to 'normal' advertising. I like people who are out there stirring the conventional way of doing things.

So WBMS is right when he says:

But the bottom line is it's very off-putting. It's very negative and negativity doesn't sell a product well.

I think it might be better to try something along the lines of:

Computer problems?

It's us against them

I can help you.

$**** per hr. on site

627-****

or

Humans versus the computer.

I can help you.

$**** per hr. on site

627-****

or probably just:

Computer problems?

No it is not you, it's the computer.

I can help.

$**** per hr. on site

627-****

or a variation on this.

The real problem I have encountered trying to do something similar is that people ring and want free advice on the phone.

But then Australians are notorious for not wanting to pay for information.

Also you will need to be a diplomat especially when they ring at 3Am in the morning wanting to know why the computer won't connect to the net or ask why the screen is black during a major power failure. So you might want to put a line in the add about hours you are available.

You also might want to consider a fee structure for advice on the phone and a call-out fee for distances outside your immediate area.

I have one customer who I am certain, sits up at night (he is 85 and loves to type random keys) trying to create havoc with his software for me to fix. There is no way I can charge him for all the hours I take to sort out what he does to his computer, but he is happy to pay me a few dollars to come and work out what has happened. He is a source of income during quiet weeks.

(He loves to open attachments to his email that contain Trojans and always seems to find a way to open them despite any safeguards I might set up to stop him.)

I have minimised his problems with an image restore program of his hard disk and showed him how to use it.

Tutoring older people who have no idea about computers can also be a source of income (and frustration.)

One unexpected area I am seeing is younger students who dislike having to understand computers because they have to learn about them at school. Parents have hired me to help these kids. Weird!

So best of luck Mountain Dude. Vitamin B complex is good for stress. :icon1:

Link to comment

They object to the use of "suck"? Wow, I thought I was uptight. (Actually, as a teen, I got in trouble for saying something sucked, in front of my grandmother. Sigh.)

Be bold and funny in an ad. Both will help customers remember you. Being negative about your service or product will not help you get or keep business.

As a computer geek, the guy they want to hire to fix it, you are supposed to love computers. Never mind that everyone knows they are cantankerous beasts.

The ad needs to include, in any order:

* company name;

* email address and website address;

* phone number with area code;

* business hours, since that's important here;

* prices and what you are selling;

* what's free/discount/on sale;

* what'll cost extra;

Geezer Geek versus Computer - I can fix it.

$00.00 per hr. on site - Parts extra

000-000-0000 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Mon - Fri

geezer@ geezer-geek.com

http://www. geezer-geek.com/

^ space so this doesn't turn into a link in the forum;

Link to comment
They object to the use of "suck"? Wow, I thought I was uptight. (Actually, as a teen, I got in trouble for saying something sucked, in front of my grandmother. Sigh.)

Be bold and funny in an ad. Both will help customers remember you. Being negative about your service or product will not help you get or keep business.

Geezer Geek versus Computer - I can fix it.

$00.00 per hr. on site - Parts extra

000-000-0000 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Mon - Fri

geezer@ geezer-geek.com

http://www. geezer-geek.com/

^ space so this doesn't turn into a link in the forum;

Yep -- I figured that wouldn't fly -- but I liked the zing of it. Never even paid any attention to the fact it could be negative.

Blue -- you are spot on with your suggestion above!!! In fact might blend some of the other suggestions into it.

Thanks All

Link to comment

Des' suggestion above is perfect. That's a good ad.

BTW, you might want to look at the existing ads for "The Geek Squad" (a national fixit chain that's part of the Best Buy stores), just to get an idea of how they sell their services. Do a Google search and you'll see a coupla dozen firms that do the same thing.

Amusingly, I once referred a close friend to the Geek Squad when he had a PC that was infested with viruses by his teenage girls. The Geeks came over, sat down for two hours, then finally said, "this computer is so hosed, you have to wipe it, reformat, and start over. That'll be $200, please." So help me, that's what they did. No fix, just give up. :icon1:

Finally: a terrific slogan often used by computer radio talkshow host Leo Laporte is: "It's not your fault!" I think that's a good tactic to take, because a lot of neophyte computer users assume they must've done something wrong when a computer fails. Often, it's just bad software design, bugs, and other flaws that make the computer crash. My opinion is, there shouldn't be a single button or menu you can click on that will make the computer crash, short of the reset or power key. It's unforgivable in software design. I'm a major nut when it comes to human user interface design, and I scream about this stuff every day. Too much software is designed by computer engineers and not real people.

P.S. The PC Jr.? Yikes! Hey, I was using a Trash-80 computer in 1979, and bought an Apple II in 1980 (and used CP/M). (in a wheezy old man voice) In myyyy day, we didn't need no 'Gooey'! We had nothin' but a DOS prompt... and weeeee liked it!

Link to comment

When I finally had to get a computer in 1994, one of my friends said to me, "No problems, I'll set you up."

He arrived with a pile of boxes and put it all together, showed me where the on-off button was and left me too it.

Three days later he rang and asked how I was going?

I said, "Does it do anything else besides flash 'C' at me?"

He laughed and came straight over to give me my first DOS lesson.

Six months later I was trying to help other old people to come to terms with their first computer.

I always start out by telling them two things.

First, it is us (the humans) against the computer.

Second, "If you want to work with a computer, you have to learn to swear, quite violently."

:bunny::icon1::bunny::bunny:

Link to comment

Swearing certainly helps. At least helps relieve the stress using a computer generates.

What I'll never understand is, why do these things have to be so infernally counter-intuitive? Why can't the software engineers make their programs respond the way humans would expect them to? Everything has to be learned, and nothing works as one might expect it to.

Are they all out there laughing at us?

Cole

Link to comment
Swearing certainly helps. At least helps relieve the stress using a computer generates.

What I'll never understand is, why do these things have to be so infernally counter-intuitive? Why can't the software engineers make their programs respond the way humans would expect them to? Everything has to be learned, and nothing works as one might expect it to.

Are they all out there laughing at us?

Cole

It's a conspiracy to keep the masses occupied whilst the corrupt power mongers go shopping with the money we have paid them for the software.

The governments are in on this too so that we don't notice how inept politicians really are until it is too late.

It is all about deflecting the public from thinking about the true meaning of life, love and all that jazz.

:lipssealed::evilgrin::icon13::icon_twisted::icon1::icon8::omg:

Link to comment
What I'll never understand is, why do these things have to be so infernally counter-intuitive? Why can't the software engineers make their programs respond the way humans would expect them to? Everything has to be learned, and nothing works as one might expect it to.

The problem is that we computer programmers (yes, I'm outing myself here) don't think like normal humans. I'm not being facetious -- I learnt this during 1st year of university back in 1980. I was trying to help another student with a program and I came to the realisation that he just couldn't think in the way required to program a computer.

Computer programmers are human. If you give them the choice, they will write things the simplest -- for them -- way, and that is not always the most user friendly way. Human-Computer interfacing is a skill in its own right, and most computer programmers don't have it. That's why software companies should have Human-Computer interfacing experts specify to the programmers what they have to do. But that costs money and it is one of those intangibles that goes when a company is looking to save money.

So don't blame we poor programmers. Its the ones who specify what the program is supposed to do that is at fault -- and that's often an unqualified person so don't be too harsh on them, either.

Link to comment

Very often computers remind me of telephone books. You look up a name, and rather than giving you the number, the tell you a different name to search out. Technically correct, but rather less than fully helpful.

Link to comment
What I'll never understand is, why do these things have to be so infernally counter-intuitive? Why can't the software engineers make their programs respond the way humans would expect them to?

All kidding aside, this is the number one reason people use Macintosh.

Almost all Apple programs confirm to something called HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) -- an awesome book written when the Macintosh first came out. It defines what users expect and EVERY SINGLE program (games excluded) is expected to conform. If your program saves files and you want the Mac to regonize them officially, they have to be registered with Apple -- and if your program doesn't coform to HIG they won't let you register anymore. The one notable exception is Microsoft whose software is not fully compliant, though Office 2007 for the Mac (due out this summer) will supposedly be.

So, I am not a video editor, but I can open iMovie and figure it out. I can use any word processor and figure it out. I may not work like a pro, but I can make the program work. I don't need a manual.

Anything I buy, I can make work. I stick it and it goes. Command-P (alt-P to you PC users) does the same thing in every single program. Windows programs didn't use to be like that, but it's getting closer.

Macs have the same crap as Windows PCs do when it comes to extensions, drivers, and all that, BUT it's all transparent. Macs are plug and play. Windows PCs are plug and play and then fiddle with drivers and hope it works. Macs are not perfect, but as a user of both, I can not in good conscience recommend a Windows based system to anyone I like unless they're a hardcore gamer 'cause the PC is better at that.

If you're frustrated, go to an Apple store, and try a Mac. Or try a friend's. Use it for an hour. Whenever one of my Windows friends gets hugely frustrated, I give them that same advice. Their conversion rate is around 75%. If you buy Windows based systems you're getting exactly what you're paying for.

You can see the HIG book (2nd edition) at Amazon using ISBN-10: 0201622165

Link to comment
WBMS: Hear. Hear. (English for "right effin' on)

Thanks, my goal is to change the world one person at a time. And it's people like poor Cole who make me wonder why people CHOOSE to use a computer that makes their life miserable.

(Okay, I can answer that. I like to tinker. I have a PC and I love to dissect and do stuff to it. Sometimes it doesn't work anymore and I have to dissassemble it and put it back together again. I have a spare Mac I do that to also. Tinker, tinker, destroy, rebuild, experiment.)

Link to comment

I have tried working on Macs and they just don't work for me.

I always end up empty handed on the things.

To me they are anything but transparent.

Settings, operation and extensions seem to be concealed.

Configuration is only available for superficial manipulation of the OS.

The end-user seems to be locked out from adjusting anything worth adjusting.

HIG notwithstanding, I find the PC and Windows more intuitive and logical than Macs.

Both Macs and PCs can be frustrating, sometimes equally, sometimes differently.

I once said to one of my managers, "How do you get anything done on these (Mac) things."

Her reply: "Oh, I don't, I wait till I get home and do it on my PC."

Now believe it or not I am not anti-Mac.

I have come to believe that some people are Mac oriented and some are PC, and never the twain shall meet.

I am quite happy for you if your Mac does it for you, but my PC gets my work (and play) done quicker and easier, for me.

Please try to understand that this not an attack on your mother's integrity or your religious beliefs. :lipssealed:

Not everyone is suited to Macs just the same as not everyone is suited to PCs and neither of them are perfect.

Neither do I think we need to bludgeon each other that either Mac or or PC is the only way of working with computers.

I am almost tempted to say that we are born with either a Mac gene or a PC gene, but I don't think that would explain everything either. :icon_twisted:

Peace!

Link to comment

I've noticed it before, and it follows here, too. People tend to be loyal, sometimes fanatically so (are you listinging, Wibby?) to whatever computer they have and have learned.

As for what you said, Graeme, it's a load of crap--and I mean that in the nicest possible way! Bill Gates has more money than God. He can afford to hire someone to make the programs easier to use, more logical, more intuitive. He doesn't need to pinch pennies, for crying out loud. What would it cost him to have a department whose function is to clean up the programs before they hit the streets? Maybe $10 a sold unit, when all is said and done? That culd easily be passed on to you and me, but they should foot the bill themselves.

You're right, of course. They're not going to waste their money on making the consumer happy. What's the point in having a monopoly if they're going to act that way?

Cole

Link to comment

Wibby, I hope you are "listinging"? :icon_twisted::lipssealed:

Cole write:

You're right, of course. They're not going to waste their money on making the consumer happy. What's the point in having a monopoly if they're going to act that way?

Verily, it is sadly so.

Link to comment

LOL. Yeah. Right. Loyal to a fault. I started with a Commodore, then went to Atari, then PC, and now I am with an iMac AND a PC. I don't know guys. I think maybe I'm 'questioning'. (Sorry. That may be in poor taste.)

Link to comment
Almost all Apple programs confirm to something called HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) -- an awesome book written when the Macintosh first came out.

I agree with everything you said above except this, bub. I have most of the editions of Apple's Human User Interface books, as well as the same books published by Microsoft for Windows.

There are numerous cases where both Apple and Microsoft completely disregarded their own corporate recommendations for interface guidelines.

As one teeny example: you can't use control-S to save most database files. Typically, that's used for Sort instead.

Also, Microsoft has an enormous HUI department. I used to have a friend who worked their as a technical writer (circa 1995), and I believe he said there were more than 1000 people employed in that department, writing manuals and testing software and operating systems to try to make it easier for people to use. Obviously, they need to work a lot harder at this.

Link to comment
I once said to one of my managers, "How do you get anything done on these (Mac) things." Her reply: "Oh, I don't, I wait till I get home and do it on my PC."

You ain't gonna get peace around here with that kind of obnoxious opinion.

I've always said, "you can be very productive and happy in Windows, or you can do the same thing on a Mac." The end results lie more in what you want to do with the computer, what kind of training you have, and your limitations in terms of time and money.

If your manager said that about the Mac, then I'd ask, "why is your company not giving this person the training they need?" Or maybe it's that the software she needs to do the job was never installed on the Mac.

I concede that there are things that work best on one OS than the other. For example, all of my video editing and audio mixing work is done on Macs. I do all my color-correction in Linux, on a $600,000 dedicated hardware/software combo. But I also have to use DOS for some specialized functions relating to keeping track of pieces of movies as they're being shot (as does every company in LA, NY, London, and around the world). And I use Macs at home, like I an now, because it's relaxing and I don't feel like the OS gets between me and the work. It becomes invisible, like it should be.

But there are still a handful of Windows programs unavailable for Mac that I reluctantly use. One is Tag & Rename from Pokisoft, the best MP3/Flac audio file renaming program (bar-none); another is dBPowerAmp, which is the nicest audio-conversion utility I've ever seen. I have no problem running those in Windows. It's a question of using the right tool for the right job.

I'm about to buy a new Intel Mac (probably the quad-core 3GHz, which PC Magazine recently said was the "fastest computer in the world under $3000"). I look forward to running Mac OSX 90% of the time, and then Windows 10% for the few applications that need it. To me, running Windows is bearable if I can do it on the Mac.

(BTW, I do like Vista, and think it's a terrific step in the right direction.?Though I'm not a fan of the whole "Genuine Disadvantage" thing.)

Link to comment
You ain't gonna get peace around here with that kind of obnoxious opinion.

There is no opinion, and certainly no obnoxious opinion, being stated here. This was an exact quote of an exact conversation.

It is fairly obvious a smartass statement by my manager that she and I laughed at.

Maybe the Aussie humour in it doesn't translate too well or is it that only Windows users find these things funny. :lipssealed:

As I said, "Please try to understand that this not an attack on your mother's integrity or your religious beliefs."

:icon_twisted:

I've always said, "you can be very productive and happy in Windows, or you can do the same thing on a Mac." The end results lie more in what you want to do with the computer, what kind of training you have, and your limitations in terms of time and money.

If your manager said that about the Mac, then I'd ask, "why is your company not giving this person the training they need?" Or maybe it's that the software she needs to do the job was never installed on the Mac.

I assure you she did in indeed say that.

Australian arts organisations (and others) are notorious for providing tools without training or an upgrade path, mainly because of funding issues in conjunction with ignorance by administrators, of technical requirements.

The organisation (for which I no longer work) is riddled with an administration that has a preoccupation with legal matters at the expense of its chartered objectives. This is very common here in a very large number of organisations and is far more obnoxious than any differences about computer operating systems. In one year (2006), 85% of the staff resigned or were made redundant because the director did not understand the core issues and aims of the organisation. Lost in that year was not only the manager I referred to above but also the full-time IT (Mac) technician who was not replaced with anyone near his competence, and he was having difficulties coping in the environment. As an aside he and I would often joke about the Mac-Windows systems, retaining some measure of humorous decorum in our differences of opinions as to why each of us liked one system over the other for accomplishing certain tasks.

I concede that there are things that work best on one OS than the other. For example, all of my video editing and audio mixing work is done on Macs. I do all my color-correction in Linux, on a $600,000 dedicated hardware/software combo. But I also have to use DOS for some specialized functions relating to keeping track of pieces of movies as they're being shot (as does every company in LA, NY, London, and around the world). And I use Macs at home, like I an now, because it's relaxing and I don't feel like the OS gets between me and the work. It becomes invisible, like it should be.

I use Windows for all the same reasons you use Macs. Why are we even worrying about this? It is a personal decision.

We do have world standard private companies here in Australia that do a lot of work (special effects, etc.,) on Hollywood movies. One of them at least exclusively uses Windows by preference.

But there are still a handful of Windows programs unavailable for Mac that I reluctantly use. One is Tag & Rename from Pokisoft, the best MP3/Flac audio file renaming program (bar-none); another is dBPowerAmp, which is the nicest audio-conversion utility I've ever seen. I have no problem running those in Windows. It's a question of using the right tool for the right job.

I'm about to buy a new Intel Mac (probably the quad-core 3GHz, which PC Magazine recently said was the "fastest computer in the world under $3000"). I look forward to running Mac OSX 90% of the time, and then Windows 10% for the few applications that need it. To me, running Windows is bearable if I can do it on the Mac.

(BTW, I do like Vista, and think it's a terrific step in the right direction.?Though I'm not a fan of the whole "Genuine Disadvantage" thing.)

We can at least agree about our mutual dislike of "Genuine Disadvantage" thing.)

I wish I could afford a new computer, but even if I could I would wait for Vista's first service pack, at the moment.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...