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Is it normal for computer technicians to charge by time spent or by achievement?
Autor de la hebra: Astrid Elke Witte

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 18:22
Miembro 2002
alemán al inglés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
The problerm is nothing to do with how to assemble a PC Jul 15, 2008

Williamson wrote:

By the hour is normal.
Aren't there any IHK-hardware courses in your region? Normally in the first three lessons you learn to assemble a pc and the second year is about telecommunication where you will learn things such as Mac-address, how to configure an IP-address, how to connect in a small network.


When I attended Aberdeen Computer College we also learnt in the first three lessons how to assemble a PC. However, we did not learn how to configure a modem that has a manual containing over 150 pages.


 

USER0059 (X)  Identity Verified
Finlandia
Local time: 19:22
inglés al finlandés
+ ...
Wireless backup Jul 15, 2008

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

If you are so isolated "out in the wild" (I am envious, I think), have you thought about testing out a dial-up service that you could use as a backup in case of emergency (such as your modem dies or something)? Your laptop probably has a phone jack and a built-in modem, and I am sure you have phone service at home.


Alternatively, install a wireless (e.g. 3G) card in your PC as backup, and/or connect through your cell phone (via Bluetooth or cable)?

[Edited at 2008-07-15 08:08]


 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 18:22
Miembro 2002
alemán al inglés
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PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
Yes, that does not help having no Internet connection due to complex configuration problems Jul 15, 2008

Hilde Granlund wrote:

My modem is provided by the isp, so if it is down, (which it is, occasionally)it can usually be fixed with a phone call to their tech service at no charge.
The one time it could not, they sent me a new one in the mail that arrived the next day.
Most places that sell computer equipment have a support phone that you can call for help?



That would only apply if, for example, the lines were down, outside, in your area, but not if the ISP provided the connection, but you could not access it with your computer.


 

Marcos Zattar
Alemania
Local time: 18:22
alemán al portugués
+ ...
Being cautious... Jul 15, 2008

Astrid,

your feelings are my feelings, I even went into a crisis some time ago thinking I could do something else professionally that would increase my earnings other than translations.* I simply cannot afford a computer technician.

At least I am a stubborn computer geek and was able to solve (most of) my problems by myself or through specialized forums until today. Still, access to a forum requires Internet access, and that was precisely your problem...

Us
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Astrid,

your feelings are my feelings, I even went into a crisis some time ago thinking I could do something else professionally that would increase my earnings other than translations.* I simply cannot afford a computer technician.

At least I am a stubborn computer geek and was able to solve (most of) my problems by myself or through specialized forums until today. Still, access to a forum requires Internet access, and that was precisely your problem...

Using a program that makes a image of your system disk would be worth a try. In case of a fault, you can get the system back. The principle is analogue to the Windows system recovery function, but it is more comprehensive because it makes a complete copy of your disk. I use Acronis True Image and am pretty satisfied with it. Storage space for the images is nowadays not a problem anymore, since huge hard-disks are getting cheaper and cheaper.

Kind regards,
Marcos

*P.S. Sometimes I seriously think of taking an accredited course on Windows systems to get the certification and do a carrer change.
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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 18:22
Miembro 2002
alemán al inglés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
That does not help if the technician does in fact come the next day... Jul 15, 2008

[quote]Hilde Granlund wrote:

For the computer itself, I have bought an extended sercive deal (Dell). COst about 200 EUR as far as I remember, and covers the computer for 3 years. If it breaks down, a technician will come to my house to fix it the next working day.

[quote]

as in my case he did, but the computer had shown the blue screen of death and then totally switched off, never to switch on again, and if the guy informed you that he would take it away and test the hardware components, and then he phoned up later in the day to say that to get a new motherboard for that particular PC would take 4 or 5 weeks....

That, is: "next working day guarantee implemented". Value: worthless.


 

Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Noruega
Local time: 18:22
inglés al noruego
+ ...
You have been very unlucky Jul 15, 2008

I once changed a computer because of that very reason - it took forever to have things fixed, and the excuse was indeed missing parts.
However - I am very satisfied with the Dell support so far. I have twice had need of it, and they have indeed shown up the next day and fixed the problem on the spot. One service technician even lent me his own power cable because mine was broken and a new one could not be delivered for a few days.

The ISP also has a good service - and can help
... See more
I once changed a computer because of that very reason - it took forever to have things fixed, and the excuse was indeed missing parts.
However - I am very satisfied with the Dell support so far. I have twice had need of it, and they have indeed shown up the next day and fixed the problem on the spot. One service technician even lent me his own power cable because mine was broken and a new one could not be delivered for a few days.

The ISP also has a good service - and can help with configuration problems. Of course, if the connection is down in the whole area, there is nothing for it but to wait till it is up and running again, but if my modem gets the hiccups, the tech support will talk me through the necessary steps to get the configuration right again. I have had to do this a couple of times.

But I know just how you feel, I remember the time I waited and waited for the missing computer part - after six weeks I cancelled the deal and demanded my money back.(The computer was new)
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Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:22
Miembro 2006
francés al inglés
+ ...
In Memoriam
Calling the service provider Jul 15, 2008

Amy Duncan wrote:

I was also wondering why you didn't call your internet provider first, or did you? Problems with the internet usually have nothing to do with the computer per se, as far as I know.

Amy

In my case, I did call my fruity "service" provider when the connection disappeared - but the numbers to call were "090" numbers which are charged at 50 pence a minute and actually mean talking to an inaudible gentleman in India who periodically leaves you hanging on the line, possibly to deal with other customers, puts you through all kinds of hoops, unplugging and replugging cables, changing Internet settings (all fruitless) and even at last asking me to poke a small sharp object (I eventually found a cocktail stick in the kitchen drawer) into a small indentation in the back of the router. All fruitless - because, as the gentleman admitted at last, the service connection was out of action. The call cost me £30 for nothing but wasted time and frustration. What a scam!
During the time the connection was out of action, I was able to send stuff from the system of my son (also a translator) who lives nearby, by saving it to a disk, but it's hardly an ideal situation, either for him or for me.
I know Astrid's question wasn't about service providers, but about computer technicians charging by the hour, which they do, of course, probably everywhere.
Sigh.
Jenny


 

Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:22
Miembro 2004
neerlandés al inglés
+ ...
Water under the bridge ... but tip for the future Jul 15, 2008

At the very least, the technician has a best-effort obligation. Frankly, had it been me and he hadn't been able to get me connected within two hours, I would have sent him packing and refused to sign anything if I wasn't connected. But that's me ...

Anyhow, what I really wanted to suggest is that you go to Vodafone or one of their German competitors who can give you better coverage and get a mobile connection for use with your laptop. They will install it for you if you ask, refer
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At the very least, the technician has a best-effort obligation. Frankly, had it been me and he hadn't been able to get me connected within two hours, I would have sent him packing and refused to sign anything if I wasn't connected. But that's me ...

Anyhow, what I really wanted to suggest is that you go to Vodafone or one of their German competitors who can give you better coverage and get a mobile connection for use with your laptop. They will install it for you if you ask, refer you to one of their IT partners to do so, or help you over the phone (it's not difficult). That way you'll always have back-up if your modem plays up. I pay around EUR 30 per month for it here in Portugal and it's about GBP 20-25 in the UK, so I'd imagine it's quite affordable in Germany too. I'd rather pay that than be standing for hours without a connection. Look into it anyhow, it may be worthwhile for you particularly being quite far from a major centre. Plus you can always use it when attending conferences, etc.

Best of luck
Debs
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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 18:22
Miembro 2002
alemán al inglés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
I will never use Acronis True Image again! Jul 15, 2008

Marcos de Miranda Zattar wrote:

Using a program that makes a image of your system disk would be worth a try. In case of a fault, you can get the system back. The principle is analogue to the Windows system recovery function, but it is more comprehensive because it makes a complete copy of your disk. I use Acronis True Image and am pretty satisfied with it. Storage space for the images is nowadays not a problem anymore, since huge hard-disks are getting cheaper and cheaper.

Kind regards,
Marcos

*P.S. Sometimes I seriously think of taking an accredited course on Windows systems to get the certification and do a carrer change.


Acronis True Image is entirely worthlless if you back up your data, using Acronis, to an external hard disk and then, when the emergency occurs, the computer man takes away both the broken computer and the external hard disk with all your data, fails to get your laptop into the Internet, and refuses to come back in a hurry, even a week later.... not being able to find the time to transfer everything onto a new PC and bring it, because he says that all his other customers are richer and more important....


 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 18:22
Miembro 2002
alemán al inglés
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
What is this gadget exactly? Jul 15, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Anyhow, what I really wanted to suggest is that you go to Vodafone or one of their German competitors who can give you better coverage and get a mobile connection for use with your laptop. They will install it for you if you ask, refer you to one of their IT partners to do so, or help you over the phone (it's not difficult). That way you'll always have back-up if your modem plays up. I pay around EUR 30 per month for it here in Portugal and it's about GBP 20-25 in the UK, so I'd imagine it's quite affordable in Germany too. I'd rather pay that than be standing for hours without a connection. Look into it anyhow, it may be worthwhile for you particularly being quite far from a major centre. Plus you can always use it when attending conferences, etc.

Best of luck
Debs


Hi Debs!

I'd be interested to know what this gadget is. Does it get you into the Internet even when your laptop is wrongly configured in some way?

Astrid


 

Claire Cox
Reino Unido
Local time: 17:22
francés al inglés
+ ...
I sympathise Jul 15, 2008

Hi Astrid,

I can't offer any advice, I'm afraid, just my sympathies! When we first set up a wireless network in the house three years ago, my son bought himself a new computer at the same time, so I decided it would be worth paying for someone from the computer company to come in and set up the computer and the router at the same time. To cut a long story short, we had endless problems with the router (and the computer) and had to have the IT people out time and time again, changing
... See more
Hi Astrid,

I can't offer any advice, I'm afraid, just my sympathies! When we first set up a wireless network in the house three years ago, my son bought himself a new computer at the same time, so I decided it would be worth paying for someone from the computer company to come in and set up the computer and the router at the same time. To cut a long story short, we had endless problems with the router (and the computer) and had to have the IT people out time and time again, changing the router, etc, etc. This was free for the first month, but I then had to pay call-out charges of £60 a time thereafter and the network still wasn't reliable, but of course, I didn't know any better, never having had a wireless system before. It was only when a friend and her husband (an IT whizz) came to stay and he offered to set up a secure password for my wireless connection to stop neighbours accessing my system, that he discovered the whole thing had been set up wrongly in the first place! It took him ages to unravel the mess that this so-called expert had created, but since then, touch wood, I have a system which works perfectly - barring server problems, of course. I can connect my laptop and the boys can connect PS3's and PSPs, which they could never do before. It makes my blood boil to think that we paid extra call-out charges when they'd set it all up wrongly in the first place! Since then, my son has become a bit of a computer whizz in his own right, so he's my usual first line of support, but I think the moral of the tale is to find someone good and stick to them, whatever it costs.

Hope your problems are sorted now.

All the best,

Claire
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Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:22
Miembro 2004
neerlandés al inglés
+ ...
Mobile Connect Jul 15, 2008

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Hi Debs!

I'd be interested to know what this gadget is. Does it get you into the Internet even when your laptop is wrongly configured in some way?

Astrid


Hi Astrid,

Here's a link to what Vodafone in Germany offers, but shop around as all/most of your mobile companies in Germany should offer them. (http://www.vodafone.de/hilfe-support/technischer-support/96993.html).

Pay particular attention when signing up to whether you're getting national coverage included (e.g. you live in Berlin but don't pay extra if you go to Munich for a few days with your laptop) or whether it's linked to a certain area. In the latter case, you pay extra for every day you use it outside your zone but your base rate is cheaper. Here in Portugal it's currently EUR 3,00 for every 24 hours outside your zone.

These are 'plug and play' devices, they look like a USB stick that you just connect to your computer. I had some trouble getting mine to work because of how my second (newer) laptop is configured (it worked immediately on my main laptop).

Vodafone here was very helpful over the phone with the troubleshooting and through a process of elimination, we resolved the issue and I was up and running within 10 minutes. Vodafone here also has an agreement with a PC repair place - I'm sure they do in most EU countries - and you can arrange to have them set it up for a nominal fee. Once it's set up for this device, the problems you're having with your modem shouldn't affect things.

Hope it helps - at least you'd have backup.
Debs

[Edited at 2008-07-15 11:04]


 

tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 18:22
alemán
+ ...
Should be easy enough Jul 15, 2008

It really pains me to read your story, as it is very easy these days to get a Windows PC onto the Internet unless, of course, there is a hardware fault involved.

Heck, if you were in the vicinity, I'd just come on over and have a shot at it myself. As it is, the drive to and fro alone would be >5 hrs though...

If the hardware is OK, somebody who doesn't know your configuration and has to sort of feel their way through your IT environment for the first time might need t
... See more
It really pains me to read your story, as it is very easy these days to get a Windows PC onto the Internet unless, of course, there is a hardware fault involved.

Heck, if you were in the vicinity, I'd just come on over and have a shot at it myself. As it is, the drive to and fro alone would be >5 hrs though...

If the hardware is OK, somebody who doesn't know your configuration and has to sort of feel their way through your IT environment for the first time might need to fidget around with everything a bit, but after three hours, the bloody thing better work or he's doing something wrong. Sure, maybe you'd have to configure your firewall again after that, or adjust the automatic modem hangup or whatever, but JUST GETTING A CONNECTION isn't exactly rocket science.

In all fairness, though, one major obstacle I've often experienced when trying to service other people's PCs is that many of these computers are in poor condition, i.e. rife with viruses, driver configuration problems and heavily fragmented hard drives, with slow CPUs, no manuals at hand etc., and that makes it a bit hard to accomplish the actual task. Often the major problems with the PC itself have to be sorted out before an otherwise simple connectivity problem can be tackled.

That is, in my opinion, the only good reason why a technician could refuse to work for a flat fee: You never know what you'll encounter in a strange IT environment.

If the technician knows the system he's going to be working on and that it is up to date and well maintained, a flat fee makes a whole lot more sense.

Regards,
Benjamin
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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Alemania
Local time: 18:22
alemán al inglés
+ ...
Great alternative in Germany: prepaid Walk 'n Web Jul 15, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Here's a link to what Vodafone in Germany offers, but shop around as all/most of your mobile companies in Germany should offer them. (http://www.vodafone.de/hilfe-support/technischer-support/96993.html).


I agree, this is a great backup idea. EUR 20-30 per month doesn't sound like much, but in my experience such data options require a long time commitment, like 2 years, which is just too much money for me, for something I only use while traveling or as a backup.

If you don't want to go the long-term contract route, I can recommend the T-Mobile Walk n Web USB stick with a prepaid SIM card/account. I wrote about it in detail in German here:
http://www.proz.com/forum/german/108769-mobiler_internetzugang_in_berlin.html

It installs automatically and I did not have any problems with the installation. The stick currently runs about EUR 100 including a SIM card and EUR 10 credit. Right now in Germany it costs a flat rate of EUR 4.95 per day, which they have been threatening to raise to EUR 6,95 or similar for a while now, but which has never happened. You can then top up your account as needed.

If you're interested, Astrid, I'd just take your laptop in to T-Mobile, buy the stick, and let them make sure it's installed properly. It's ridiculously easy though. I believe you can also buy it online and have it sent per post. If it works where I live, I am positive it will work out in the 'burbs of Munich

Michele


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finlandia
Local time: 19:22
Miembro 2003
finlandés al alemán
+ ...
What about connecting a mobile phone? Jul 15, 2008

Before they got own dsl-connections my children had normal GPRS-phones which could be connected to the laptop via USB or IR. Nowadays you would use Bluetooth.
Almost any phone can be connected to a laptop and be used as a modem. Of course the connection is not very fast, but works everywhere, where there is a GSM-station near you. And 10 years ago we got along with much slower connections!
If you are bound to technical problems a cheap second laptop as backup ready configured for eme
... See more
Before they got own dsl-connections my children had normal GPRS-phones which could be connected to the laptop via USB or IR. Nowadays you would use Bluetooth.
Almost any phone can be connected to a laptop and be used as a modem. Of course the connection is not very fast, but works everywhere, where there is a GSM-station near you. And 10 years ago we got along with much slower connections!
If you are bound to technical problems a cheap second laptop as backup ready configured for emergency use (probably with Linux - Ubuntu) would spare you all harm in the future. Those Asus eeePCs come ready with Linux installed, so you have no worry with virus protection.
Cheers
Heinrich
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