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Mario’s rates are reasonable, he’s prompt, quick on the job, and knows exactly what he’s doing. Six years ago, my computer crash...

N.P. St Ives

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A week in a computer repairs shop: Day 4

Posted by Mario on 2 July 2013

It's 8:30am. A MacBook brought for repair yesterday afternoon is already fixed and out the door. We've got a meeting at 9am with a representative of a local community organisation to discuss sponsorship opportunities. The meeting is taking a bit longer than I anticipated and there is already a client cancelling onsite appointment because I'm half an hour late. Half an hour?! I can't help but wonder about all those repairmen out there who (more often than not) would tell you that your onsite appointment is any time between 9am and 3pm. And you happily sit and wait (and spend a day off work waiting for something to be fixed). I hope this client calls again. They haven't been always loyal over many years that I know them, but they kept coming back (I must be doing something right, I hope).

I've done a couple of quotes (one for a printer and one for ESET antivirus) and I'm off to bank to cash in :) a few cheques. Or not… a client just rang; they're unable to connect to internet, so I'll be going to their office to fix this first.

Meanwhile, in the shop, an "infected" computer arrives. It's been quite a few lately: viruses "killing" (read: disabling) antivirus software; people pretending to be remote support companies and asking for payments for computer repair services that aren't really needed; malware that hides all desktop icons; and so on. We've also seen quite a few cases of malware that hijacks client's webcam, takes a picture of the client and inserts it into a web page that's supposedly coming from the local Police. The hijackers (of course) are asking their victims to click on a link and pay some (non-existent) Police fines. Some of our clients got actually quite upset with this as they thought the Police was really after them and it took a fair bit of reassuring before they accepted that a computer virus is the culprit. There are so many threats in the online world that it is virtually impossible to catch them all with an antivirus application. However, although antivirus can't catch them all, it can catch many, so make sure you run one and make sure it's up to date. Ask an expert (such as a computer repairer) if you're unsure which one to get. And always make sure you're surfing the net wisely:

  • Do not click on every and any link that pops up on your screen or turns up in your email inbox (even if it's seemingly coming from a trusted source);
  • Do not "ok" everything and anything (read what's on the screen; phishing messages usually don't make a lot of sense);
  • Do not open suspicious email attachments;
  • And again – just be sensible in the way you use the internet and you should be fine.

I have to call a client to let him know he can pick up his desktop computer. It's been fixed (it was a malware case once again) and we only need to buy antivirus license for him. Alisa sent him an email earlier today asking for a confirmation of this purchase and he hasn't responded (although he was very keen to have his computer back ASAP). Alisa just came up with this (crazy) idea: this is the client's only computer and he hasn't seen the email because he doesn't have email account set up on his mobile phone (we know that he's got an old phone and that he doesn't use it much). Is there really a person (and this guy runs his own business) not checking email on their mobile phone? The idea of someone being able to function without this piece of technology makes me (somehow) happy. It's quite amazing actually.

Posted in: PC tips and tricks Mac Antivirus computer repairs   Comments

A week in a computer repairs shop: Day 3

Posted by Mario on 18 June 2013

A client received replacement printer yesterday, so I'm installing it first thing in the morning. Then back to workshop, have a brekkie, and then off to one of the clients I wasn't able to visit yesterday. Wireless network problem solved! The client just reset the modem and didn't know how to set the username and password back again. When will internet service providers (ISPs) realise they should stop instructing the clients to reset their modems? It's (for most) too technical, so most users can't perform new setup even with ISPs guiding them through the process over the phone (no wonder as phone support can be very confusing... trust me). Anyway… it looks like my timing is much better today :) I'm back to workshop and, after tying up a few lose ends (and having lunch and coffee), I'm off again… another desktop is repaired and ready for delivery. I spoke with this client earlier today and said that I'd be coming over this arvo, but will give him a call to confirm. He said "it's fine, I'm home this afternoon". So I'm in the car on my way to him (and he's seriously outside our service area), I'm calling his mobile and there is no answer :( Sigh! I call Alisa for help. She manages to get in touch with the client. He's home, so I'm good and don't have to turn around (or rather change the route as I've got another job booked).

Back in the shop, Alisa is looking for a recent (handwritten) invoice that we issued, but she couldn't find it in our accounting system. Then she looks for another one, and another one… and none of them have been recorded. Rick!!! Yes, he's coming back late this afternoon to fix this. Hmm, I wonder how much this will change his GST calculation done yesterday :( Alisa also doesn't seem happy as she was planning to leave the office early today. Oh well... in a computer repairs shop unexpected things happen all the time and we're used to this, so there is (almost) always a plan B.

Posted in: computer repairs   Comments