In 2017, we don’t need to explain the importance of voting. With the recent presidential elections and all the controversies, voting has a charged meaning. Best of Lawrence is more like a contest than an election, even if they use the same word for entering. This year Best of Lawrence is allowing people to enter every day, much like any other contest. Yup, you can pick one business every day and give them 28 entries in the contest. That makes it clear to players you aren’t voting, but entering a business into a competition.
After a Twitter chat that eventually went to email, the members of the Best of Lawrence team addressed all the concerns local businesses like mine had in the past. In particular
*Neither advertising nor news staff should have access to entries in advance
*Birthdays are used only to comply with Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
*Data obtained in the contest is not sold to third parties nor advertisers
These three distinctions were why we opted out of the contest last year, which is ironic because we placed second in our category. As computer support professionals, we respect our client’s privacy. That privacy is a chief concern during any computer repair appointment. We see tons of privileged information on a computer and go to great lengths to protect that information. As such, we couldn’t support a contest that could put our clients at risk. These protections include both our residential clients as well as our business clients.
This year Nick Gerick of the Lawrence Journal-World told me that sales staff do not have access to contest results until they’re announced to the public. That new policy prevents the sales staff from having any conflicts of interest. The ads they sell will be independent of the contest results. That’s a huge step forward in preventing undue influence of advertising on reporting. Let’s face it, with sponsored stories and fake news, we need to be able to trust what we read. If a member of the sales staff can influence an outcome in a contest, that calls into question the integrity of the company. I don’t think people would intentionally try to change the outcome, but conflicts of interests are by definition suspicious. If someone could gain by an outcome, they shouldn’t be involved in determining the outcome. This new policy prevents businesses being indirectly influenced into paying for ads. Even if you pay for a 10-page spread in the magazine, the sales staff won’t know or change the outcome of the contest.
My other concern, which was addressed by the Best of Lawrence, was how individual data would be used. While Facebook and Google try to anonymize data, my concern with the Best of Lawrence was a lack of transparency on how they would use the data. Your name, zip code and birthday along with what you consider the Best of Lawrence are private. You don’t want that information to be sold to advertisers or read by reporters. Wouldn’t it be creepy to suddenly get a coupon on your birthday to your favorite restaurant (or their competitor)? Or what if the newspaper reported that your business’s employees didn’t think you’re the best. That’s a huge embarrassment to any business. That’s why your entries need to be private.
Another new feature this year is you get to enter a business once a day in the contest. That makes it clear this isn’t a true “election” nor a scientific survey. It also means you don’t have to put in all your entries on the same day. If you have a great experience at a business, you can vote for them without having to change your previous entries.
This competition is all about the fun of entering and winning. On Twitter, Lawrence Magazine described it as each day a new inning in the contest. Each person gets 28 entries in the contest: each day they can put in a new ballot with the same information. That means you can vote for us or other businesses 28 times this month!
Best of Lawrence and the Journal-World went out of their way to address the privacy concerns I had with the contest. Now that we think it’s safe for our clients, we’d love your entry each day in the contest. We’re going to provide great computer repair service to Lawrence even if we don’t place. We know we’re always the winner with great clients and a great team of technicians to support you.
Here’s’ the link to vote in our category!
Photo by antisocialtory
The Journal-World recently that Lawrence had the “best tax growth in the state.” While much of this was due to construction, I’m glad we played a small part in that.
I’m proud to say we collect sales tax on behalf of the state. Not every business, especially in the computer repair industry, does that. We’re professionals and proud of it. We use Kansas’s destination based sales tax model to look up how much we’re supposed to charge. Each month I go in and post a report to the Department of Revenue and return the money we collected from our clients. Much like other aspects of my business, it’s the right thing to do.
I know we’re not the cheapest in town for computer repair. However, I think we’re the best and the reviews back that statement up. New clients tell me all the time that the person who they used before didn’t charge them sales tax. It happens so often, I have a template on how to respond to that. That previous computer repair company was required to collect sales tax. In theory, they might have absorbed that cost (coffee shops do that), but it’s unlikely. Most people who do this part time don’t collect sales tax. When clients pay cash, some companies won’t “charge” sales tax. I put “charge” in quotes because you’re not charging the customer. You’re collecting money on behalf of the state. Kansas is charging, you’re just collecting that on their behalf. When you work with us, we clearly mark on the receipt how much sales tax we’re collecting
When you use a service that doesn’t collect sales tax, you’re hurting your community. Taxes are there for a reason. Moreover, when you use a company that doesn’t collect tax you’re dealing with a business that isn’t fully honest with the state. Is that the type of business you want working on your computer?
One popular question we get at DoctorDave Computer Repair in Lawrence is “Can you recover my password?” Many times it’s an innocent problem, but we always play it safe.
Photo by IntelFreePress – http://flic.kr/p/dxdmTX
The most common reason is plain forgetfulness. You haven’t used it in a few months and you just forgot the password. Sometimes it’s a glitch in the computer. Maybe your keyboard isn’t working or Windows has a virus. We even see when you change your password on your iPhone; it changes your Mac’s password.
Just because you own the computer, doesn’t mean you’re the main user. You could have given the computer to the kids or your employees. If you need something on the computer, those people might not give you the password. Ouch! Unfortunately, we’ll often have to deal with the computer of a person who passed away. Our client needs access to close out the owner’s affairs.
We treat all clients equally. No matter how trustworthy you seem, we need your name to match the username on the computer. If they’re the same, we’ll use the methods we have to remove the password. If the names don’t match, then we’ll need a few more things:
1.) A receipt for the computer that matches your name. If it’s obvious you own the computer we can stop asking other questions.For example, if you bought it for your child, and we’re resetting that child’s account. If it is a business computer, then we need an email from the company that you’re authorized to reset the password.
2.) If the computer owner passed away, we need a document that lists you as the executor of the estate.
3.) If it’s for someone of diminished mental capacity (an elderly parent for example), then we need Power of Attorney.
We’re ethically hacking into a computer, so we have to be careful. The obvious reason we hesitate is we don’t want to help a thief. It’s not always that. A spouse wants us to see what the husband or wife is doing on the computer. An employee might want to see what is on the boss’s computer. We’ve encountered both those situations in the past.
Most people who are asking us to reset a password for legal reasons are happy to meet our guidelines. Some clients thank us for asking this information. After all, they want to make sure their stuff is secure.
When a client gives us grief or is offensive on the phone, we call the police. If “something doesn’t seem right,” we call the police. Most of the time the concern is a false alarm. The laptop isn’t reported as stolen, so we proceed based on our guidelines. One time we called and in fact, the computer was stolen, and we gave the contact info to the police. Due to privacy, they couldn’t tell us the details, beyond that the computer made it back to the rightful owner.
That one incident made it worth the hurdles we give everyone for a password reset.
WOW aka Knology or Wow and soon to be MIDCO had a major outage recently. Outages are disappointing, but can be expected. Nothing works right all the time.
When you can’t get online, you’ll always want to do a few standard things in this order:
Wait about a minute and reverse the process:
If you still can’t get online, now’s the time to see if there is an outage.
If you have a smartphone, the best way is social media. See if other people are reporting a problem on Facebook or Twitter. To use your phone or tablet, you might have to turn off wi-fi. Another great spot to check is the website DownDetector. Downdetector has an iPhone app too. They aggregate reports of other people complaining about outages.
Ultimately, you’ll probably need to call your ISP if you’re still early in the outage. It could be just in your neighborhood. The longer the hold times, the more likely it isn’t your computer. I’d wait at least half an hour before calling your ISP. Try the power cycle dance (above) one more time. If it doesn’t work, then call them.
Can I borrow a cup of wi-fi? If you can see your neighbor’s router, you might ask to use it for a little while. Ask them for the password, but don’t be shocked if they don’t give it to you. While I like my neighbors, I don’t want them on my network. They could see some personal and private stuff. Anyone who has a key to my house though would be welcome to use my wi-fi. None of my neighbors have a key.
If your neighbor has wi-fi without a password (or if it’s a business), you might use that in a pinch. If you use unsecured wi-fi, other people on the network could see what you’re doing, so be careful.
Most Android and iOS devices let you share the cellular connection with computers. The exact instructions depend on the version of the phone you have. Usually you just turn on the Personal Hotspot and create a network name and password. Then connect your computer to that network.
That configuration could kill your data plan, so only use it for stuff you absolutely need. For example, you might need to email an important document from your desktop.
If you have a smartphone, most of the critical stuff can be done on that using your cellular connection. Avoid data intensive stuff like streaming music or videos.
The human race survived for thousands of years without internet and we’ll survive this outage. It sounds dismissive, but it’s important to put this into perspective. If it’s an ISP outage, you aren’t alone. Eventually, they’ll solve it. They want you to get back online as soon as possible. Getting upset won’t resolve it. Front line customer service reps can’t fix it and are probably having a terrible day.
Unlikely. At best, your ISP will give you a prorated refund. If you contact them and wait on hold, they can give you a credit equal to the time you lost. That calculates to 1/30th of your bill. If you’re bill is $100, you can coax them into a refund of about $3.00 or maybe they’ll round up to $5.00. That doesn’t translate into much return on investment for your time.
At DoctorDave Computer Repair we have lots of business clients that run credit cards. You don’t want to tell your customers you can’t take credit cards. Similarly, you don’t want to take the risk of keeping card numbers until you get online. That will get you in trouble with your merchant processing and puts your customers at risk.
Most Point of Sale (POS) systems let you capture transactions offline. That’s great for an outage of a few minutes. The problem with offline transactions is you can’t verify if the funds are there to pay for the item. If it’s an overdrawn debit card or a credit card over the limit (or stolen), you’re on the hook.
Tethering your smartphone to an entire point of sale system is tricky. I recommend using Square in these instances. We use Square for our credit card processing. What’s nice about Square is there isn’t a monthly fee for the service, you pay only for what you use. You’ll probably pay more for a transaction compared to your regular merchant services account, but at least you won’t be turning away customers or taking big risks.
Some of our clients have portable hotspots or a “mi-fi” to supplement their existing ISP. If they’re having an outage at their POS, they can switch to this service. There’ a monthly fee for these devices, but that extra $15 or so a month might be worth it.
Probably not. All ISPs have outages. It does seem like Lawrence’s WOW service has more outages than others. Here at DoctorDave Computer Repair, we get about the same number or reports of AT&T problems and WOW problems.
With AT&T, you usually have to get the equipment from them, so about 50% of the time it’s a failed modem. With WOW, you can buy one locally and replace the cable modem. With AT&T, you can’t always do that.
We love Wicked and have it at our office in Lawrence. They’re focused on business service and aren’t expanding further into residential markets.
Unlikely. I was invited by the city to discuss the quality of internet here in Lawrence and our options. I also spoke at city commission meetings regarding the issues. I’m a computer repair person, not a politician. However I understand the major stumbling block is how much the city will charge an ISP to use city equipment to run the lines. It’s too expensive for an ISP to tear up people’s yards (and who wants that?), so they want to use pipes the city has.
Again, I’m not a politician, but I think we need to get the government involved. I’d love the city to take on the role of an ISP or work on a public/private partnership. ISPs don’t have a financial incentive to provide better service. In cities with Google Fiber, the ISPs step up their game and provide faster service.
If our city doesn’t take on that role, then the FCC might have to set minimum quality standards. The FCC could set penalties for outages. Right now, the city has that power but has declined to exercise the franchise authority powers.
When Windows 10 came out, we advised clients to wait on the upgrade. The product was new and Windows 10 had lots of glitches. Microsoft fixed a bunch of these problems and Windows 10 is now reliable. That doesn’t mean you should upgrade your Windows 8 or Windows 7 computer to Windows 10.
We tend to hear mostly about the problems with Windows 10, so we’re basing our opinion on issues client tell us. We’re almost always able to resolve these problems, but that comes at a cost to the customer. That free upgrade turns out to cost money if you need us to fix your computer.
The most common problems we see are related to email. Your sunflower.com email stops working. The Windows 10 setup needs a little tweaking. Microsoft might push its own email program or your old program forgets the password.
Microsoft also promotes the new Edge browser instead of Internet Explorer. Edge looks different and doesn’t work in all situations. Windows 10 might push you to Edge instead of Firefox or Chrome. We fix this all the time, but it’s annoying to a customer.
Older printers and scanners don’t always work in Windows 10. Sometimes it needs reconfiguration but other times it just won’t do it. We spend the most time with clients in this area. That free upgrade now requires a paid purchase of a new printer.
Finally, we have a catch-all category of incompatibility or glitches. Most of the time Windows 7 or 8 had an underlying problem that Windows 10 made worse.
Microsoft gives you 30 days to try out Windows 10. If you don’t like it, you can go back to Windows 7 or 8. We advise against that. We see just as many glitches moving forward to Windows 10 as we do going back. If Windows 10 is working, leave it alone. There isn’t a need to go back. We can fix those Windows 10 problems for you. If we can’t, then that is the time to go back.
If you don’t like something in Windows 10, we can usually offer some suggestions of tweaks and optimizations.
Windows 10 is a big jump from Windows 7. Windows 8 is a minor jump from Windows 7. Clients tell us that it is frustrating trying to learn something new. Fortunately, our local library offers free online learning through Lynda.com and offers some great books on the subject. If you’ve moved to Windows 10, I recommend trying some of the free learning options.
Yes, if you want to get it free, you’ll need to do this by July 29th. After that, you’ll have to pay for the upgrade. This should be your deciding factor.
If your computer is working, I suggest leaving it alone. If your computer didn’t come with Windows 10, it is probably at least a year old. Computers last on average 3-5 years. Once the hard drive goes out, clients decide it’s more cost-effective to replace a system rather than repair it. Your new computer is going to come with Windows 10, so Microsoft made that decision easier.
If you’re concerned Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows 7, you’re right, they will. Currently, they set the date to January 14, 2020. Your computer will probably fail before then.
Go for it. You’ll eventually get a computer with Windows 10, so you might want to learn it now. You should be backing up your data anyway, but just in case, do a full backup beforehand. We can help with the backups.
Then run a quick malware scan to make sure nothing will get in the way of the upgrade, then upgrade away. I suggest doing this on a Sunday night. That way you won’t be distracted and you can always call support the next morning if you have problems. Assume you’ll have problems so don’t do this before a deadline, especially a deadline that needs something printed.
We can help you through every step of the process, usually for free. Use our free DoctorDave app to send us an email, or just do it the old-fashioned way by calling us. If it requires a service call, we can schedule it right then. We can fix your printer issues, your email issues, and move you back to an earlier version of Windows if need be.
Clients like Windows 10 once they get through the problems. I encourage you to get it on a new computer. It isn’t like Windows 8 that everyone hated, but it is different than Windows 7.
It has taken us a few years, but we finally have a DoctorDave Computer Repair app for our clients in Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City. Although the app works anywhere in the US, our focus is here at home.
It makes it easier for you to request service and get free support. When you install the free app through this link on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll get this welcoming screen.
When things aren’t working, you want quick answers. Many clients have our number programmed into the phone. If you forget (or didn’t program) our number click the phone icon in the upper right-hand corner.
Next to that icon is the standard location icon indicator. That tells you how to get to our office. Handy when you have a scheduled office appointment
Finally on the left-hand side of the word “DoctorDave” is a picture of the world, and you guessed it, that takes you to our site on the world wide web.
A picture is worth a thousand words and, in our case, a great diagnostic tool. When you have a problem with your computer, tap the Ask For Help icon. If it is your first time using it, the app will ask some key info like Name, Email, and Phone. That way we can respond to you. Tap continue to save that info.
Then describe your problem. The more details, the better. After all, we’re your computer doctor. We need symptoms to give you a diagnosis. Then tap Continue.
Now comes the interesting part. You’ll need to give the app permission to a few things. Location makes sure, among other things, you’re in our service area. Tap Allow on that. When you tap the middle of the screen, you get to take a picture. This step is optional, but I recommend it for most problems. Yes, you’ll need to give permission to camera and pictures. All these permission checks are one time things. Don’t worry; we’re not looking at your pictures. We just need access to the pic you just took from within the app.
Tap send and your email goes to our general mailbox for support. We try to respond within four business hours, but often much sooner. Tap Return to Main Screen to continue.
This feature lets you track key information. You might put in the serial number of your computer and warranty information. If you want to remove any information these existing ideas, tap Edit and then the minus icon to remove an option. If you want to add new entries, tap the plus icon in the lower right hand corner.
This notebook isn’t the place to put secure passwords, but some people we know like to store wifi passwords for their home or coffee shop.
This feature is almost as cool as the picture function. In this section, I’ll add useful information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). I edit this content often but right now the top things are
I’ll add content as needed here to save local residents time and money. If your computer isn’t working, it isn’t easy to look up this information from a reliable source.
Here is where the fun comes in. To promote our new app and encourage usage, we’re giving away a free iPhone car charger to anyone who installs the app.
All you need to do is install the app and send us a message. We’ll schedule a time for you to pick up your charger. If you just want to stop by, let us know too. We’ll be available on Monday afternoons for the next few weeks at our office at 4105 West Sixth Street, Suite B-6. We always suggest calling first and verifying we’re there. We might be out fixing computers as on-site computer repair is our primary focus.
Enjoy the app and let us know what you think. A huge thanks to our former technician Noah Benham for designing the app. He’s available for other app development.
We’ve always done data recovery for our computer repair clients in Lawrence and surrounding areas. Sometimes it’s as simple as removing a drive from a dying computer. Other times it’s a little more complex. We have dozens of tools and decades of experience getting people stuff from their computers. We’re testing a new tool and need your help.
Through a demo program, we’ll have access to a state-of-the-art data recovery system from Rapidspar. This tool won’t replace the clean-room style data recovery we often have to refer to Drivesavers but itc omes close. It’s expensive but may be worth it.
To help us determine its value we need your help. We’ll have the system for about a week. During that week, we’ll recover data for free. There are a few restrictions to what this system can do. It won’t work on all drives. However if you’ve been on the fence waiting for a golden opportunity to get your stuff back at a reduced price, now is your chance.
As always, we do everything by appointment. We answer our phones from 9 am to 5pm Monday through Friday. We can make appointments outside those times. During that initial phone call we’ll determine if your situation is a good fit for this product. We’ll only have it for a week, so let us know as soon as possible so we can fit you in.
If it works out, we’ll buy the product and add it to our arsenal of tools to help our clients.
UPDATE: See our support and the changes for the 2017 voting. We’re glad the Lawrence Journal World listened to our concerns and revamped the program for 2017.
Voting and elections seem like a simple process. The person with the most votes wins. It doesn’t always work that way as we know. The “Best of Lawrence” marketing campaign appears to be like an election, but it’s not. If you choose to take part, you should know the facts.
If you follow the link at the bottom of the page, Second Street clearly explains who they are:
“For over a decade, Second Street has been the leading provider of private label online promotions platforms and partner success services for media companies that want to generate digital revenue, engage their audience, and build email databases of loyal consumers.
This data helps the Lawrence Journal World and the World Company…
“Approach advertisers to sell integrated packages to help them target your audience” and “Build consumer profiles, create segmented audiences, & target consumers for your advertisers.”
The goal of Best of Lawrence is clear: to gather data and sell ads. This program isn’t about helping out local small businesses. It’s not about getting the pulse of the community. Don’t get me wrong, the Journal-World is a for-profit business. It has no duty to find out what the best of Lawrence is. I applaud them for this clever data acquisition campaign. Each year they keep adding new categories to encourage more potential advertisers. Smart move!
If you do sign up, please remember you are opting into sales and marketing emails. You might consider unchecking those to prevent unwanted emails.
You’d think logically it was. Isn’t that how elections work? We fill out a ballot and the candidate with the most votes wins? If you look over the rules, where does it say this? It actually doesn’t. Again, this is a marketing campaign. The movie that sold the most at the box office isn’t declared the Oscar Best Picture winner by the Academy. We assume that our votes in this program determine who wins. That assumption isn’t backed by facts.
Unlike circulation statistics, the votes aren’t independently audited. The number of votes aren’t made public. They don’t list a procedure regarding ties. They don’t have to. This isn’t an election; it’s a marketing campaign. The World Company is in within its rights to conduct marketing in a fair and ethical way. There is nothing wrong with what they are doing. They don’t claim that votes solely determine the winners, so why publish the numbers?
A marketing company is allowed to manipulate information to serve its business interests. Small businesses have sued Yelp for manipulating search results and reviews. If businesses didn’t pay for ads, they weren’t ranked as high. Manipulation of reviews is within the rights of a marketing company according to the 9th Circuit. We, as consumers, are invited to understand that marketing companies are in the business of advertising. They are not determining the quality of products or services. Angie’s List also allows companies to pay to get bad reviews removed.
Again, I think the World Company is perfectly fine running this clever marketing campaign.
The Best of Lawrence does not verify you live in Lawrence. All it asks if a zip code (which isn’t verified). I was approached by many companies last year offering me a “block of votes” for less than 5 cents a ballot. To be fair, they offer this for my Google and Yelp reviews as well. This is a common item for sale on places like Fiverr. Buying votes violates the rules of Google and Yelp, but not Best of Lawrence. I of course always decline any offers to fraudulently buy votes.
Google and Yelp also have strict rules regarding soliciting reviews. You aren’t supposed to ask for reviews or give people something in exchange for a review. Best of Lawrence has no such rules. Businesses are encouraged to put up signs and solicit votes. There is no rule against paying customers to vote for you.
Nowhere does the World Company claim this is a true representation of the “Best of Lawrence.” Rules imply democracy and fairness, which aren’t relevant here. This is a campaign as Second Street says to “generate” digital revenue. It encourages companies that wouldn’t advertise in the Journal World to promote their marketing campaigns. I applaud the World Company for encouraging local Lawrence businesses to promote a the Best of Lawrence marketing campaign. It’s like when you pay for a T-shirt for a business. You’re a walking billboard. Every time I see a Best of Lawrence sign at a local business, I understand the free Journal Word advertising placement. I wish I had the leverage to do that everywhere!
I work with lots of small businesses here in Lawrence and I hear stories about what happens after the voting process ends. These stories are consistent with my experience last year.
A few months after voting ends, a sales rep calls you to offer you an ad in the Best of Lawrence edition of the paper. They won’t tell you how you placed and don’t explicitly say an ad will help your ranking. That makes it hard to write copy for an ad. Your ad can say you were voted in Best of Lawrence, but you can’t say First Place or Second Place. After all the goal is to sell the ad and you’re less likely to buy an ad if you aren’t in First Place.
Much like Yelp, the ad rep doesn’t explicitly state that an ad will help your ranking. I see a correlation between companies that place ads and their rankings. It could be a coincidence, but there’s nothing wrong with paying for placement. This is a marketing campaign to generate revenue for the Journal World. Why shouldn’t someone be able to buy placement? As I stated earlier, the Federal Courts ruled that Yelp is allowed to do that. This is a marketing campaign.
If you are in the winner’s circle, Best of Lawrence sends you two free tickets to the bash. The bash is during work hours, so it’s hard for a small business or sole proprietor to attend. They encourage you buy tickets at around $25 a pop. It’s a revenue stream upon a revenue stream for the World Company. Congrats. Seriously. I know some small businesses that sent teams of 10 or more to the event. I didn’t attend last year and never received my award card until I contacted a few reps directly.
Heck no. We were chosen second last year. That’s pretty amazing! I’ve not had the best relationship with the World Company over the years. I was an outspoken opponent of bandwidth caps and data restrictions by Sunflower back when the cable company was owned by the World Company. I don’t advertise in the paper. We can’t afford it. Not only that, I’m a nano-sized business. I don’t have a visible storefront, we have no full-time employees. I handle service, scheduling, sales and accounting. I essentially do it all along with a few trusted technicians. They fact they placed me second is a huge accomplishment.
Don’t get me wrong either, saying I’m in first place would be cool. I also think it’s cool picking the shortest line in the grocery store. If people choose to vote, please go ahead and vote for us. It can’t hurt. I know however this article pretty much ensures I won’t be in first place. I’m totally fine with that. I’ve been doing this full time since 2003 and had no problem marketing the business. If someone is the “Best of Lawrence” then they probably have a large fan base. Since we focus on on-site computer repair in Lawrence, people never see our Best of Lawrence certificate. There’s something more important than this marketing ballot though…
It sounds obvious, but you vote with your dollars and your voice! Shopping local is something I strongly believe in. I was very active in the Lawrence Giveback program. Then the Journal World purchased the program, raised rates, and discontinued it. Whenever possible, I shop local and shop Lawrence. I give preference to small businesses. I’m a small business and I appreciate when clients choose us over a larger business. The smaller the business, the more precious the individual customer. I recognize that.
Instead of assisting the Journal World in building a database to sell more ads, why not advertise the local business yourself? Word of mouth remains the most powerful and effective advertising solution out there. Instead of going online and filling out a random ballot, take that same effort to thank your favorite businesses online. Have you seen how long that ballot is? Tag your favorite businesses in a Facebook post or a Tweet. Let other people know you think they are the best of Lawrence.
That’s the real way of letting people know who you think the Best of Lawrence is! Telling others instead of telling a marketing company is the most powerful ballot
In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been writing as much here and will be taking a short leave from blogging on this site. We’ve got some good reasons for that and some minor changes to tell you about. Read on!
Goodbye and Hello Again to our Technicians
We had to say goodbye, at least temporarily to both Devin and Noah. Noah left for a semester abroad and Devin moved his family to Alamogordo, New Mexico. Yes, this is the same place they confirmed cartridges of E.T. and other Atari memorable were buried. In fact, Devin recorded a short video for me from Ernest Cline (well-known in the computer Geek community).
We are short staffed: plain and simple. Typically it takes us 6-9 months to find the right technician for the team. That means we have less inventory available to our clients, temporarily. We are absolutely hiring!
The good news is that Noah will be back in the fall! Devin has agreed to monitor to the phones while I’m out at service calls or doing other tasks. This makes sure I can focus on providing computer repair and allow him to handle the administrative and managerial duties when I’m out in the field. This maximizes both my availability to clients and insures prompt return of phone calls. When I’m assisting clients, I can’t always return phone calls and Devin is helping restore balance from his home office in Alamogordo. If you need computer repair in New Mexico, or have family there, let us know as he is starting his own computer repair business there.
Our other team member, Matt, is moving from part time to full time. We’ve never had a full time technician besides myself and this is an exciting change. Before he joined our team a year ago, Matt was primarily PC-based. He took the initiative to get both trained and certified in Apple computer repair and now can assist our clients with Mac and PC issues.
Dave is writing, but at other places
In June of 1996, I wrote David Pogue with the subject line “Your career.” I had just started at Geeks on Wheels and realized that I wanted to do exactly what he was doing. He was not just a computer consultant to the stars, but also a technology writer for MacWorld magazine. Mr. Pogue was my mentor because he wasn’t just writing about technology from afar and covering theoretical impact, but instead covered the practical implementation of technology in the real world.
A writer who reads press releases and watches demonstrations lacks the experience to write about how this may impact the consumer. That’s like describing the quality of a meal based solely on the ingredients (that should taste good!) rather than the finished product. Similarly, a computer repair consultant that doesn’t keep up with new technology and industry trends won’t serve clients well.
Mr. Pogue balanced the two and allowed them to compliment each other. The writing kept him fresh on the big pictures of technology and the consulting kept him aware of how technology affects consumers. The duality of his approach increased the quality of his writing and consultancy.
I precisely followed his advice. I started writing for user groups http://laugks.org as well as on review sites such as Amazon and Yelp. This eventually led to small freelance paid jobs at MacNN and then eventually GigaOM. Recently, I accepted a more stable writing assignment at Lifehacker, a division of Gawker. This is a dream come true for me.
I love technology, but I only love technology that is useful. Technology must make life more efficient and practical and not add to the burden. Unless it makes life better, I’m not interested in it. At LIfehacker, I’ll be writing not just about technology but any tip, trick or “hack” that makes our lives more efficient. This further pursues my dream of following in Mr. Pogue’s footsteps. My goal is to eventually be a technology columnist for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or other large publication. While I want to do DoctorDave Computer Repair forever, I realize that’s unlikely. When I am unable to do service calls due to physical ability or health, I want to have this “next thing” in my pocket.
Please take note. DoctorDave Computer Repair is my passion and livelihood. I will continue to run this business, do service calls, and grow the business so long as I am physically able. This has not changed with the additional writing opportunity. I won’t be blogging as much here directly for my business. After all, I only have so much time 🙂 My number one priority (besides my family) is repairing computers in Lawrence, Topeka, and Kansas City. This includes support our clients as well as my teammates. When I’m not repairing computers and running the business, I’ll be writing and extending my help beyond just this immediate area but to the world via my writing assignments