back to article Sysadmin's sole client was his wife – and she queried his bill

Welcome again to On-Call, our weekly look at readers' memories of jobs gone bad. This week, meet “Jared” who tells us that “I have for a number of years worked with my wife in our small company. She sells, and I keep her IT (and the rest of the company) working so she can sell. This all happens in Spain, which Jared said “ …

  1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Well done, Jared! On a larger scale, in bigger companies, often organisations don't learn as quickly as your wife did. Then you end up talking to helldesk, half way across the world (in this case somewhere in Costa Rica) and watching a drone remote-controlling your mouse and keyboard for a full day of eight fucking hours. Without solving the issue. But at least resetting all my preferences in mail and office suite - of course, for a problem which had nothing to do with either of those programmes.

    Anyway, some housewives might also want to apply your tactic. Rightly so.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "Anyway, some housewives might also want to apply your tactic."

      *Some* might, but the majority provide other services that they might not appreciate being paid for.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        but the majority provide other services that they might not appreciate being paid for

        .. or want a helpdesk involved.

        :)

    2. 2460 Something

      Then you end up talking to helldesk, half way across the world (in this case somewhere in Costa Rica) and watching a drone remote-controlling your mouse and keyboard for a full day of eight fucking hours.

      It never ceases to amaze me the number of companies that are happy to screw over their local IT teams and start using 'cheap' external support because it is better on the bottom line. I have never yet heard of an instance where IT systems improved after such a move, but many, many times have heard the direct opposite admitted. Yes having your own IT staff is going to be more expensive, but that value differential should be reflected in their expertise, knowledge and understanding of the companies IT requirements, and of course, significantly better response times.

      It mirrors the export of call centre's to foreign lands, yes they may be cheaper to run, but the service satisfaction just drops through the floor.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        they may be cheaper to run, but the service satisfaction just drops through the floor.

        What's even worse is that the service gets so bad that no-one bothers to call support anymore. The reduced volume of helpdesk calls is then used by manglement as an indicator of how good the outsourced IT services have made everything.

        Then something goes titsup and the whole company comes crashing down.

        1. Fat_Tony

          "they may be cheaper to run, but the service satisfaction just drops through the floor.

          What's even worse is that the service gets so bad that no-one bothers to call support anymore. The reduced volume of helpdesk calls is then used by manglement as an indicator of how good the outsourced IT services have made everything."

          Usually when onsite support is outsourced and quality drops the usual solution is to set up Exec/VIP support (onsite of course) so the powers that be don't see a drop in quality but do see some sort of cost savings while the plebs suffer on

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "What's even worse is that the service gets so bad that no-one bothers to call support anymore. The reduced volume of helpdesk calls is then used by manglement as an indicator of how good the outsourced IT services have made everything."

          Or, manglement start seeing increases in the cost of the outsourced helldesk "due to higher than expected numbers of support calls", and so send out a memo instructing staff not to call the helldesk unless it's really, really important "because costs". This means some guy/gal in each office or department who has a bit of knowledge becomes the local "guru" and spends half or more of their time being unofficial, unpaid, unknown and unacknowledged "cheap" in-house IT support such that HR and/or accounts don't actually know it's happening and it never appears on the balance sheets. Of course, that might cause performance review issues for the unlucky individuals.

          1. uncommon_sense
            Devil

            >This means some guy/gal in each office or department who has a bit of knowledge becomes the local "guru" and spends half or more of their time being unofficial, unpaid, unknown and unacknowledged "cheap" in-house IT support <

            According to the FAQ of the Scary Devil Monastery, this is how Bastards are created..

      2. Chris Evans

        "they may SEEM TO be cheaper ....

        There is a very important difference!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        CSC chat support

        You can almost only raise a ticket with CSC support if you can contact chat.csc.com, so you are usually SoL if you can't even get to that.

        However, although we have corporate messaging (Skype, shudder); which those agents can use, you have to use the chat window to contact them. Time for them to respond can easily exceed an hour (my record is 3:35) and then, when they finally respond you have about 5 minutes before they give up and close the session.

        However, the chat window has no visual notification, let alone an audible one, so you have to sit there with the window open without taking your eyes off the screen for more than a couple of minutes.

      4. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        In my office I'm sat across a sales droid who has spent two weeks trying to get a piece of software working so that he can demonstrate it to a client. Which has involved multiple daily calls to a call centre I'm pretty sure is located in India. This is for software that I'm fully trained on. Apparently the sales droid was told to use the off site support rather than asking me for support because the company pays a yearly support contract and they want their monies worth...

      5. steviebuk Silver badge

        Too true. The amount of times I've suggested to companies don't outsource. The last manager said he saw a need for both. He said sometimes it's a good thing. I kept quiet. It's never a good thing. Turns out his role in his last job before leaving was to outsource the helpdesk he used to manage. So we clear he never gave a shit about the people he worked with.

      6. Paul Nash

        It's all about quarterly results

        Too many companies (in my experience) are driven by their quarterly results. Who cares about the long term if they have been fired because their division did to make some stockbroker's (entirely unreasonable) financial targets?

        So they cut today (drop support, cut staff, outsource to the lowest bidder) in an attempt to keep alive until tomorrow, Lather, rinse, repeat. Soon their costs are close to zero, profit MARGIN is up, but actual cash in the bank is dropping like your average manager jumping off a tall building.

        And then management can point to their "fiscal success" at cutting costs and move on to an exalted position at the next company, while everyone else suffers through the inevitable bankruptcy and/or acquisition.

    3. Oh Homer
      Coffee/keyboard

      Even harder when it's not work

      At least this guy had a formal working relationship with someone who also just happened to be his wife. Most tech. support isn't that formal, it's just friends and family assuming "the guy who's good with computers" will help them for free. That's a dilemma, because nobody likes refusing to help their own family, especially when their ego is being fed with praise, but on the other hand it can quickly become an unpaid, full-time job, and that's a problem.

      There's a website out there (I forget where) that calculates the value of open source software based on how long it would take a commercial developer to produce it. If you added up all the "free" tech. support that "the guys who are good with computers" provide their friends and family, I bet it would be worth billions to the economy.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    So that's his self-employed social security fees covered for the month, then

    267 euros a month, no matter how little you make or even if you're not making a profit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So that's his self-employed social security fees covered for the month, then

      Per day, not per month, assuming he gets the same number of queries all the time.

      1. 2460 Something
        Headmaster

        Re: So that's his self-employed social security fees covered for the month, then

        Where did 267 euros come from?

        “By my reckoning I've done three jobs today, total £300, all before noon. Which exceeds by some margin what you normally pay me, so I don't need to earn any more today.”

        At the current exchange rate that would be 355.65 Euros And it wasn't even lunch time yet. So assuming that he continued to at least work each day until he had hit a similar threshold and given an average of 21 working days a month you actually end up at 7468.65 eur/month... I think he's covered...

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: So that's his self-employed social security fees covered for the month, then

          I thought it was clear that the meaning was that days' work has paid his social security payments for that month. It might not seem much but it's certainly a barrier to starting self-employed work if you don't have savings you're willing to use to start out with.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: So that's his self-employed social security fees covered for the month, then

            Are there different rules for mainland Europe then? My only compulsory (non profit) related financial burden is the £5/month the bank charges me for my business account.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: So that's his self-employed social security fees covered for the month, then

              Tax rules are different in every EU country, only Customs and overall VAT (guidelines, not rates) has been unified.

              UK National Insurance isn't payable if you're making less than ~£5k profit a year.

              Makes it much easier to (legally!) do a few jobs on the side, as clearly anyone under that earnings limit isn't really self-employed.

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    The fiancee is a lawyer for an American firm. They are given Dell laptops with Windows 7 installed and lots of lovely McAfee, Citrix and Cisco bloatware to enable her to access her work from home. The thing is, she never switches off the laptop. It's either always on or on standby.

    So when she comes home with this laptop, she is always bitching about how slow it is. I can tell she's clicked something and waited for a response because after 5 seconds she starts slamming the mouse button on the laptop. I ask her whens the last time she restarted the laptop, she gives me an evil look and then says "That's what bloody IT support keep telling me to do. Why are they paid or employed that much if that's the only thing they ever tell me to do."

    My reply of "Well why are you being employed and paid so much when you can't work out that the problem is always you not switching your laptop off" did not go down well at all.

    1. 2460 Something

      You should have been smart like Jared and first got a quote accepted for your IT consultation....

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "You should have been smart like Jared and first got a quote accepted for your IT consultation...."

        I would've done, but I didn't want to have to hire her for her legal advice when negotiating contracts.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

          Brilliant, wolfetone.

          Had been together with a barrister myself. No, she wasn't that bad. But boy, there were issues...

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Had been together with a barrister myself

            "Excuse me. I have been called to The Bar myself. I'll be in The Winchester."

            1. Anonymous IV

              Re: Had been together with a barrister myself

              That ever-so-witty company Amber Taverns recently renamed a pub in Gloucester "The Doctors".

              "Where do you want to go today?"

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Had been together with a barrister myself

                That ever-so-witty company Amber Taverns recently renamed a pub in Gloucester "The Doctors".

                We have a local pub called The Office.

                1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                  Re: Had been together with a barrister myself

                  And there's The Library right next to the University of Leeds Mechanical Engineering building.

              2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

                Re: Had been together with a barrister myself

                'That ever-so-witty company Amber Taverns recently renamed a pub in Gloucester "The Doctors".'

                I came across a pub in the 80s called "The Office".

                Weekend excuse "I'm just popping into The Office for a couple of hours" sounded plausible.

                Pity it wasn't a good enough pub that I actually wanted to spend a couple of hours of precious weekend time there.

    2. Ardvark Master

      Some days you wish you had a sign that said "Restart your d*mn computer already".

      1. fruitoftheloon
        Happy

        @ Ardvark Master

        AM,

        err no, it should be "restart your d*mn computer NOW"

        FTFY!

        Cheers,

        Jay.

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Windows

      >My reply of "Well why are you being employed and paid so much when you can't work out that the problem is always you not switching your laptop off" did not go down well at all.

      SP: OS' have sleep/hibernate for a reason, that is, to not have to shut down the computer completely. Anything causing you to reboot that is not a kernel update is faulty design.

      LP: Blaming HER for MS Windows ecosystem faults is a bit harsh, mate ... I remember back in the naughties, when I had OS X ... I kept the thing "on" (on or sleep) for months, same later with Linux, then I switched to 7 and rebooted more often the first day than I had it over the previous ten years (well, ok, but not that far off ) ... moved to Linux again, after giving Windows 7 a whopping 6 months to settle, you know, give it its chance ... and another 5 years where I probably rebooted Linux, what, 15 times, tops ... and I think I am being generous, here ... now Windows ten is better in that respect, however, still have to reboot at the very least weekly ... at least not x times daily as with Windows 7 (Windows 7 which was shipped on the thing had a driver issue, clean reinstall (MS-provided ISO) did not help, never fixed by HP, same box later had Linux, no problems, as usual).

      Windows 7 lovers, you know where downvote button is, right ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Anything causing you to reboot that is not a kernel update is faulty design.

        It's Windows. What does "design" have to do with it?

      2. John Riddoch

        I remember when I left my job at a University where I had a Sun Ultra 1 as my main desktop, running Solaris and some hodge podge of window managers for my desktop. When I signed off in the March, I realised I hadn't actually logged out (let alone rebooted) since the October. My desktop had been stable for about 5 months, with only getting locked at night and would probably have lasted a few more months if I hadn't been leaving.

        1. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

          I once worked an OS/2 system that was up for over 5 years. OS/2 2.11 on a PS/2 Mod 80. It was a print server and sat under the table the LaserPrinter 4029 sat on in the printer room. I only had to look at it because the date was wrong after February 28th, 2000, . The print queue got moved over to an Windows 2000 Server, where the date was right but the queue went offline weekly, which was resolved by rebooting.

      3. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Definitely something up with your system. This Windows 7 box has been up for 20 days, and the only reason it's that little is an installation of a piece of security software embedded deep in the system (it's a horrid thing, but sadly a mandatory company install). Usually it's up for months, if only because I've so many applications open it takes ten minutes to shut down and save everything.

        1. Calum Morrison

          Windows 7

          Sounds like an issue with his Win 7 installation; my laptop - before I wiped and installed 10 - would regularly go weeks with no reboots (and no need for them), just a hibernate at night. Same now with 10. I'm agnostic and happy to admit that XP needed regular reboots (haven't a clue about Vista - I avoided) but recent Win OSs have been fine - albeit, any updates usually require a restart. It's hardly a big issue these days though, taking little longer than a resume from sleep.

        2. Blotto Bronze badge

          @Binky

          Same here.

          I rarely reboot my work dell win 7 laptop, mainly because I have loads of apps open, unfinished spreadsheets or word docs etc and loads of browser windows across several browsers. My laptop dies run slow but rebooting doesn't make it any quicker. I blame Mcaffee.

          I really don't know why Windows can't work mind like my mac, when I reboot my mac for an os update when i log back in it reloads all my apps to where I was before, even unfinished docs retain my last input with no loss. A reboot is a mere bump on a mac, while on windows it's a pain, especially those forced reboots that loose that doc I didn't bother to save.

        3. dajames Silver badge

          Definitely something up with your system. This Windows 7 box has been up for 20 days ...

          Windows systems can be quite stable, but can also not be ... it depends on the mix of components you have, and how well they're supported.

          Back in the day I had a fancy dual-CPU workstation running Windows 2000. It was generally rock-solid but after a few days it would start to get very slow and need a reboot. A little investigation showed that all the RAM was in use -- by something!

          Further investigation revealed a memory leak in the little resident program that monitored the UPS. It leaked about a kilobyte of RAM every second, and after about a week it was using 600MB or so, and nothing else could run without swapping like a mad thing. The easiest solution was just to reboot every few days.

          Apparently the UPS software was fine when using a serial connection, but I'd connected it by USB because I was using both my RS-232 ports for test kit and there was a fault in the USB comms.

          In this case, though, the fault was not Microsoft's -- there's not al awful lot an OS can do to police a memory leak being perpetrated by a daemon process.

          1. TotallyInfo

            "Windows systems can be quite stable, but can also not be"

            This is what is so often forgotten about Windows - its reach. The main issues I have are with external USB docks. The DisplayLink software used to provide multiple external monitors (I have 2 at home and 3 in the office) often leaves the system in a bit of a state when waking up or after multiple dock/undock events. Doesn't help that I switch between one at work and one at home.

      4. Adelio

        Re-booting windows

        Do not forget with windows 10 you do not even have the option of NOT re-booting it. Windows will dammed well reboot your PC if it seems fit!

        1. Trixr Bronze badge

          Re: Re-booting windows

          If you're running the Professional edition, just use GPEdit to stop it. There's plenty to google on using group policy to limit how Windows update works.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Re-booting windows

            >just use GPEdit to stop it.

            Well yes, that's possible, but why should I have to do that?

            Even in the 90's I had a Linux desktop which stayed up for months. Ditto Solaris.

            I think it's all the tight integration which causes problems. Unexpected knock on consequences.

            Yer hear that, systemd?

      5. swm Bronze badge

        Where has reliable software gone?

        When I worked at Xerox I used Interlisp for my desktop - for mail, document editing etc. I left the machine up all the time (for years) and the major problem was building power failures (maybe once a year). When power was restored and I restarted Interlisp all of my windows etc. were just where I had left them.

        People nowadays have been trained that software is inherently unreliable and don't demand more reliable software.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah yes. Sounds ike my sister's complaint:

      "Every time I go to the doctor he tells me it's because I'm overweight"

      "Well, why not lose some weight then?"

      "You're as bad as he is"

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge
        Unhappy

        A deeper issue

        The ACs who each tell of Gf and sister not wanting to accept the solution given comes to the heart of a bigger issue here.

        We seem to have got ourselves into a world where it's considered OK to accept truth only when it's convenient. You want to believe that Brexit will make things better for ordinary working folk, that certain fruits will make you healthy and cure cancer, that the Universe is just 6000 years old. Well that's all OK in 2017. Facts are optional.

        1. TheTick

          Re: A deeper issue

          "You want to believe that Brexit will make things better for ordinary working folk"

          Or if you want to believe that staying in the EU makes things better for ordinary working folk.

          Some things really are a valid opinion.

        2. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: A deeper issue

          "You want to believe that Brexit will make things better for ordinary working folk..."

          Dude, while I agree, it's Friday. Can we hold off on the politics until Monday?

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: A deeper issue

            That's what Corbyn said too this morning after the by-elections.

          2. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: A deeper issue

            Can we hold off on the politics until Monday?

            Matching Mole - "We can drink our politics away"

        3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: A deeper issue

          @Terry6, politics aside, you have a good point. When facts are unpalatable, people reject the facts. Unfortunately, neglecting facts ALWAYS has a consequence.

      2. swampdog
        Joke

        Not known for being PC myself..

        "Every time I go to the doctor he tells me it's because I'm overweight"

        Who said that?

        "Me, silly"

        Oh, sorry. You were blocking out the light!

    5. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Use a metaphor

      I have told people like this: "Imagine eating all the time but having constipation. You get bloated and you slow down. The computer's equivalent of going to the loo is to be turned off. Have a little pity on it." They usually laugh and the message sticks. As i were.

      1. W4YBO

        Re: Use a metaphor

        "The computer's equivalent of going to the loo is to be turned off."

        Brilliant! Thank you! I'm going to use that one.

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: Use a metaphor

          >>"The computer's equivalent of going to the loo is to be turned off."

          Brilliant! Thank you! I'm going to use that one.

          'Ere mate, I've just restarted a computer in there. You might want to give it a few minutes.

        2. PNGuinn

          Re: Use a metaphor @W4YBO

          So, in that scheme of things, what would you describe a BSOD as?

          An attack of the s*its?

          El Reg - we need an eye of a needle icon ...

    6. Roland6 Silver badge

      So when she comes home with this laptop, she is always bitching about how slow it is.

      My wife had exactly the same problem, my solution?

      I noted it was Win7 x64 and only had 2GB of RAM, so I dropped 8GB in it... she's not complained since...

      But then I did have to educate her about not leaving loads of Chrome tab's open as that can really slow restart down as chrome tries to reconnect and refresh all the pages...

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Boffin

        But then I did have to educate her about not leaving loads of Chrome tab's open as that can really slow restart down as chrome tries to reconnect and refresh all the pages...

        FF currently1 has a setting that means that tabs are only loaded once selected. I have 2 windows usually with 20-30 tabs open each2 but only 2 of those tabs load at start - the current tab for each window. Can Chrome do that? Also what about caching? I realise these days caching doesn't seem to be as functional as it used to be (I guess with lots of "dynamic content" on pages), but it could help some with the load stress.

        HTH

        1 Of course, now that Mozilla have been told it's a useful feature, it'll be removed at the next release.

        2 Yes I know, by El Reg standards I am a rank amateur as I don't have 20 windows open with 3,000 tabs in each window... :)

      2. TotallyInfo

        "But then I did have to educate her about not leaving loads of Chrome tab's open as that can really slow restart down as chrome tries to reconnect and refresh all the pages..."

        There are extensions for that. They prevent the tabs reloading on restart. A great lifesaver when you have a shed load of windows & tabs open as I generally do and then you end up on a rogue website.

        The one I use is called "The Great Suspender" - a brilliant name. It can also unload pages after a set period to also reduce overheads.

  4. Robin

    300 Quid

    Where I live, a tubo of cerveza (about 300ml) is 1.20€ so with £300-worth in the bar I'm sure he had a great afternoon!

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    And then he went to the pub...

    Nice work Jared. A very happy beer based ending to a fun story.

  6. oiseau Silver badge
    Devil

    Never ever

    > Have you mixed work and family?

    Never, ever.

    Wouldn't dream of it.

    Especially with a gf/wife/lover/whatever.

    It's a problem just waiting to happen.

    eg:

    "... the day on which his wife “turned to me and said 'I sometimes wonder how we can justify your salary'.”

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Never ever

      It's a problem just waiting to happen.

      Not always. I met my wife at work, we worked together on the same projects for ~20 years until I retired and she decided to change careers, we shared a two person office for most of that time. No problem, we've just coming up to our 32nd anniversary and I do technical research for her consultancy gigs. Oh, and I do all the sysadmin stuff at home.

      Mind you, a friend of ours once said in exasperation "can't you two argue over something mundane, like who puts the bins out, rather than technical issues like the best way to make late binding in OO languages efficient".

  7. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    Two Rules Apply

    1. Never work for someone you are related to.

    2. Never do something that would risk the downgrading or overall disappearance of one's marital relations.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Two Rules Apply

      2 is easy. It's 3 you want to watch out for:

      3. Never not do something that would risk the downgrading or overall disappearance of one's marital relations.

      1. Solarflare

        Re: Two Rules Apply

        Never not do something?

      2. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Two Rules Apply

        Oh dear....you have not learned 'The Response'

        Is there something I may or may not have said or done which, if it has more than one meaning, I meant a different one?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two Rules Apply

      A lot easier said than done; when Mrs AC is home-based, working for a US company with Czech IT support and me an IT Manager, I would suffer far more in the marital relations department if I refused to even look at a problem rather than just fixed it for her, if possible.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Two Rules Apply

        I would suffer far more in the marital relations department if I refused to even look at a problem rather than just fixed it for her, if possible.

        But it's when you walk over, do exactly what she was doing, and see it work perfectly that you can seriously dent a relationship...

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Two Rules Apply

          "But it's when you walk over, do exactly what she was doing, and see it work perfectly that you can seriously dent a relationship..."

          My wife has learned (over the course of many years) that it's usually a lot simpler for her to try and sort out little computer niggles herself, so at least by the time it gets to me I know it's something properly awkward. Except when I go and do *exactly* what she had been doing and now it suddenly works like magic.

          I used to think it was the classic case of 'I didn't change anything' - but over the years it turns out that electronics knows who the boss is. If you know enough about electronics/computers to understand when a machine is just pissing you about and are 100% prepared to take an axe to the uppity little shit, then they tend to behave when you are around.

          Anyone with less knowledge gets the run-around (until someone with the axe turns up, then it's all 'yeah, yeah - I was working all along and this daft bimbo just doesn't know her right mouse button from her left' etc. etc.).

          And yes, I did once take an axe to a particularly recalcitrant PC many years ago :)

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Two Rules Apply

            "And yes, I did once take an axe to a particularly recalcitrant PC many years ago :)"

            I haven't gone that far, but I had a keyboard with a dodgy Enter key. I calmly unplugged it, went to the window, opened it, and threw it out.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

              Re: Two Rules Apply

              ", went to the window, opened it, and threw it out."

              We've all got to start somewhere :P but you obviously have the right stuff, and the machines can sense that in your aura.

              On the downside, come judgement day it will be people like us that are top of the 'discard' pile ;)

              1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

                Re: Two Rules Apply

                Come judgment day, the machines won't win. Like Gandalf and Thorin wielded Glamdring and Orcrist, the machines have names for my machine defeating skills.

                It is possible for the machines to gain a hold, but it'll need an equivalent to a Balrog to do it, and even then I'll be back..

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Two Rules Apply

                We used to hold monthly LAN parties, and if anyone had a PC die or anything, they held onto it and brought it along. We'd spend at least a few hours a day during the LAN weekend outside smashing up (safe) pcs and there components in novel ways.

                PC's know..

            2. PerspexAvenger

              Re: Two Rules Apply

              I had a Moment with a -particularly- unresponsive cheap-and-shitty keyboard shaped object that resulted in me yanking it and snapping the thing over my knee.

              Satisfying beyond all compare, though I did have to do a bit of searching to round up most of the keycaps afterwards...

            3. swm Bronze badge

              Re: Two Rules Apply

              I remember working in the late '70s and a coworker complained that her machine rebooted if she walked across the floor. I opened up the machine and wiggled the cards and it went crazy. I told her that she couldn't handle a machine like this but I could so we swapped machines. The machine worked perfectly for me because of the threat of major brain surgery if it misbehaved.

              So, yes, machines know who's boss and what they can get away with.

          2. englishr
            Flame

            Re: Two Rules Apply

            "And yes, I did once take an axe to a particularly recalcitrant PC many years ago :)"

            I have 20+ years of accumulated hard disk drives in my basement (MFM, RLL, narrow SCSI, wide SCSI - you get the picture), which I'm always going to take to the electronics recycling once (paraphrasing Zaphod Beeblebrox) "I've found a very large pickaxe to reprogramme them with". Never seem to get around to it though...

            1. Old Used Programmer

              Re: Two Rules Apply

              A steel fabrication my niece worked for put a bunch of HDDs out in the yard and lowered a 20 ton electromagnet crane hook over them and turned it on. Some random tests afterwards got the results of the old saw..On a clear disk you can seek forever.

          3. MrDamage

            Re: Two Rules Apply

            > "

            And yes, I did once take an axe to a particularly recalcitrant PC many years ago :)"

            During my printer tech days, I was once invited to a client's company xmas bbq lunch, where, as the guest of honour, I had the glorious task of hurling their old, dodgy HP 4si printer from the warehouse roof.

            Good times.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Two Rules Apply

          do exactly what she says she was doing

          FTFY

  8. AbelSoul
    Trollface

    RE: memories of hibs gone bad (1st para)

    Yeah, they were relegated a few seasons ago but appear to be on their way back.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    My family doesn't even know I do IT work...

    I've led them to believe that I am doing pharmaceutical research (My degree is in Organic Chem). I've seen too many of my friends end up losing sleep to help a family member fix something stupid, so I decided to hide my IT prowess.

    I've been referring them to a friend of mine that still live in our old neighborhood and runs his own shop. I do work for him periodically to make up for the costs of supporting my parents. He is excellent at the most common 95% of problems, so I'll help him out with that last 5% or on jobs that require stuff that is out of his depth.

    1. annodomini2
      Devil

      Re: My family doesn't even know I do IT work...

      I just refuse to do it for free for them,

      "Can you take a look at my computer, it's being a bit weird?"

      "Yup, £75/hr."

      "But the computer repair shop round the corner, usually only charges me £25!"

      "Then take it to them then!"

  11. DNTP

    Tech for the Ex

    The ex-GF just started a job as an admin assistant in a sales office. About a week after she started, I wanted to pick her up after work for a night out, but I was early and got there at 4pm, before they closed. When I walked in, she and some other people were having trouble with their Tektronics network printer, so I introduced myself and walked her boss through the admin interface and the fix.

    Then: "Maybe we should hire you instead of her".

    Well as soon as we got out of there my GF had a major emotional incident because she had confidence issues and really needed the job, and didn't think the joke was funny. I gave her manager my card and contract pricing information in case they needed a support consultant in the future, but never heard back from them.

    1. Anonymous IV

      Re: Tech for the Ex

      > I gave her manager my card and contract pricing information in case they needed a support consultant in the future, but never heard back from them.

      Nor, presumably, from her, either...

  12. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    "but the majority provide other services that they might not appreciate being paid for"

    Outsourced all that - just sayin'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "but the majority provide other services that they might not appreciate being paid for"

      Most definitely, after a forced downsizing I have I found outsourcing those tasks to be much, much cheaper - just harder to get the same resource on a regular basis, and sometimes the quality suffers.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't the feminists use to warn about this?

    I believe the rallying cry was, "Marriage is prostitution!"

    They probably didn't have "Fix the Start menu or no nookie for you" in mind when they said it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Marriage is prostitution!

      Don't worry, she pays regularly, on time and in full.

      ... and now I have to hit the submit button...

  14. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Working for friends and family T&Cs

    1. W10 is excluded

    2. All other versions of Windows are liable to be replaced by Linux

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Working for friends and family T&Cs

      1. W10 is excluded

      2. All other versions of Windows are liable to be replaced by Linux

      Just had that talk with my nephew, only mine is slightly different..

      1) You will pay for any related travel or data costs.

      2) A basic time calculation will be taken : If time to fix is more than 1/4 the time to install Linux, Linux will be installed.

      2b) Linux install time is calculated at 10minutes per gig of data to save + 20 minutes to install and fully update Linux.

      2c) If I am already using Linux to repair your system, there is a better than 50% chance that I will "accidentally" install it on your system even if the repair needed is relatively trivial.

      3) All complaints can be directed to any other computer repair shop in your area, and you can permanently give them your business.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Working for friends and family T&Cs

        "Linux install time is calculated at 10minutes per gig of data to save + 20 minutes to install and fully update Linux."

        Install Linux alongside Windows. You don't then have to transfer data as Linux will be able to see it on the Windows partition.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Working for friends and family T&Cs

          "Linux install time is calculated at 10minutes per gig of data to save + 20 minutes to install and fully update Linux."

          Install Linux alongside Windows. You don't then have to transfer data as Linux will be able to see it on the Windows partition.

          I tend to take a backup anyway, at least an image. I have never had a screwup doing the partitioning via the Linux installer but I am sure it could happen some day.

          Whether or not I dual-boot depends on how much I want them to have access to Windows. If they keep visiting dodgy porn sites and getting an infection or keep installing "registry mechanic" and other such crapware, well.....

    2. Andy Taylor

      Re: Working for friends and family T&Cs

      I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but when I was a Genius, I told my mother that I was contractually forbidden to work on PCs.

      Then, just before I left the fruit store, got her to buy a Mac with my employee discount. I insisted she buy AppleCare and now, when she asks for help I remind her she paid for support and refer her to AppleCare.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commercial Rates

    Just hope she doesn't start charging him commercial rates.... Da dam. Sorry couldn't resist.

  16. wikkity

    I sometimes wonder how we can justify your salary

    I'm sure there a lot of people on here who employ their spouse/partner. I'm more than happy to pay my wife do to a job even if I can get someone cheaper and faster to do it.

    1. Trilkhai

      Re: I sometimes wonder how we can justify your salary

      Same here — though assuming the business & relationship were both healthy, I'd also gladly make the usual sacrifices right alongside a partner/spouse for the good of the business until it was truly thriving. Somehow I got the feeling from the anecdote that the submitter isn't that sort of person, but it's hard to put my finger on why.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: I sometimes wonder how we can justify your salary

        Somehow I got the feeling from the anecdote that the submitter isn't that sort of person, but it's hard to put my finger on why.

        Probably about the time he got challenged about being paid. And if she's paying him commercial rates and generating $300 worth of charges before lunch, his buggering off to the pub saves the company money!

    2. molletts
      Joke

      Re: I sometimes wonder how we can justify your salary

      "I'm more than happy to pay my wife do to a job even if I can get someone cheaper and faster to do it."

      Sage advice there... Cheap, fast ladies can be really risky - make sure you install good anti-virus before employing one ;-)

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: I sometimes wonder how we can justify your salary

      Ah the time before ir35!

  17. Marshalltown

    Ah yes. My first job - actually related to computers as anything but tools - I was sitting at my desk trying to kludge together some dbaseIV code to parse a very large (for a desktop PC) data file into a saner order. My new employers calls me to his office where his computer "is slow." He is writing a report in WordPerfect about 12 pages worth so far. He is formatting the document as he writes and then edits, rewrites, redits reformats and on and on. He wanders off to get coffee or visit bar or something. I close the file and wait a very long time. Once the file is closed everything seems jake. Nothing slow, programs come up quickly (for the early 1990s). There's no internet in the office yet and the world wide web is merely a rumour as far as we are concerned. So I loaded his document and it was really, really slow. Hmmm. I gave the WP reveal codes command - WOW! The text is literally lost in orphan formatting code. So I closed it again and checked the file size, which for DOS, was huge. I don't recall the actual size. So I went in cleared loads of orphan codes away and cleared them away and cleared them away. Then I saved and reloaded the file. It was fine. Closed WP and went back to my own work. I here the boss enter his office and settled there's a brief quiet period and then a girlish shriek and my name screamed. So trotting in, I see he's paper white. He had noticed the difference in file size. It considerable convincing. Even looking at and printing the whole file could not initially convince him loads of important stuff hadn't simply vanished.

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