Personal Update 201703 | 31 March 2017 | Friday
I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.
Proactive Computer Support
For decades I’ve focused on setting up computers in a very preemptive way to avoid potential problems. Knowing the issues that can arise, it’s fairly easy to implement the solutions that prevent them. This has mostly worked very well and resulted in years of trouble-free service for many people.
However, as computers have become more complex and the variety of potential system failures have increased, it’s become necessary to provide ongoing proactive support and system maintenance.
I’m regularly contacted by people wanting assistance with a computer crisis: hard drive crashes, lost files, viruses, and otherwise non-functioning computers. I’ll ask, “How long had you noticed something unusual going on?” Usually the answer is that symptoms had been there for weeks or months. By the time I’m notified, it’s too late for simple fixes. I’m often told by people that they didn’t want to trouble me with something small. So, I’m doing my best to encourage people to reach out to me with any question or concern no matter how small.
I’ve created a Computer Health Checklist that I use when performing regular maintenance on computers that can be performed monthly, quarterly, or as needed. During this regular maintenance, it’s an opportunity to talk to people about their computing habits and how things seem to be going. Rather than waiting for problems to surface, I’m reaching out to schedule these sessions.
In addition to periodic computer checkups, I’m implementing a realtime system health monitoring service that checks for system configuration issues, potential hard drive crashes, and other critical functions. Some issues may arise where a month would be too long to wait for addressing these issues. Realtime health monitoring can help. Tim Barker of Friendly Techie has been a great help in this regard, introducing me to one of the best realtime monitoring systems in the industry.
Your dentist sends you a reminder card every six months to remind you of cleaning appointments. Your doctor keeps track of what immunizations and shots you’ve had. Your auto mechanic reminds you of oil changes and performs routine scheduled maintenance according to manufacturers recommendations.
However, with computers, we’re not used to getting reminder cards from our computer tech informing us that our antivirus software needs to be renewed. Our computer tech doesn’t typically offer routined scheduled maintenance. With computers, we wait until something isn’t working and then call for help. I think tech support specialists can have a more active role in reminding customers of their software renewals and regular maintenance.
What I’m wanting to do is change computing culture and shift practices toward regular maintenance that will result in more reliable computing.
In addition, I’m working to build a user community approach to support. You can think of it like a buyers club. As an example, rather than having 10 customers individually purchase MalwareBytes for $39 each at a group cost of $390, I’ll purchase ten licenses for $130 and resell them to those 10 customers for $13 each. There are many other examples like this where a group buying club can save hundreds or thousands of dollars. In addition to savings on purchases, shared equipment that’s periodically needed and having an equipment lending library can help with savings. For example, a customer needed oversized scanning of items 11″ x 17″ in size. They didn’t want to purchase an expensive scanner, so I’m letting them borrow mine. As an Amazon Prime member, I’m able to make purchases and get free two-day shipping or inexpensive overnight shpping on many items. Often I will send out cables and other smaller items at no cost to my customers. This saves everyone time and money.
So, with all of the above, my hope is to create a better overall technology experience for everyone who relies on me. Through regular reminders, regular maintenance, ongoing system health monitoring, the power of a buying club, and a lending library, I think people can be enjoying better computing at lower costs. I’m thankful to my dad who had a big role in motivating me to develop the above approach to computer support.
Each week I post some of my favorite photos from the week in a series of weekly Featured Photos. In recent weeks, these photos have all been taken with my iPhone 7 Plus. In the future, I hope to get back to taking higher quality photos with some of my other cameras.
Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.
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Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 17 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.