Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Time of Change

At something amazing will happen. The tilt of the earth with respect to the sun will be as far as it's going to go in this direct this year. In the Northern hemisphere, we call this event the Winter Solstice (it's the Summer Solstice in the Southern hemisphere). Tonight will be the longest night of the year. Tomorrow night, will be shorter, and the next shorter still, and so on until mid-June at the next solstice. Though the shorter nights won't be noticeably shorter for a few days yet.

All over the world, for as long as people have looked at the sky and took notice of the changes, they have recognized this time as special. We place significance on this time of year. Those from more northern areas celebrate the return of longer days, while those closer to the equator can see the change in the movement of the stars. Many believe this is a time of miracles and magic. Others celebrate the birth of their god. Christian faiths teach that it was at this time that the magi noticed a new star in the sky, geosynchronous over the area of Jerusalem - there is a reason these men were looking up.

No matter what faith you claim, if any, this is a time of change, a time of interest. Recognize it how you will, and realize others may recognize it differently. If they wish you well, accept it for the intent, and return the well-wishes.

  • Merry Christmas!
  • Happy Hanukkah!
  • Glad Yule!
  • Happy Holidays!
  • Good Afternoon!
  • Happy New Year!

Each of these, though framed from different points of reference, mean the same thing - a sincere wish of better times for you and yours.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tech Support Charges

It has been 10 years since I stopped doing professional tech support. So here's some new policy for calling me with tech support issues:

  • If you're one of my grandparents, none of this applies to you - we have (or will work out our own arrangements)
  • If you work for my employer, and this is an emergency issue, and I'm on call, you're in luck, they pay me to fix your issue, though be ready to hear that it might have to wait until morning.
  • +$80/hour, 1 hour minimum, 15min intervals after the first hour
  • +$5/mile if I have to actually drive to your house to fix it
  • +$50 if there is an error, I google the exact error message, and the solution is on the first page of results (an extra +$50 if it's in the top 3 non-paid results)
  • +$50 if you wake me up. My alarm goes off at 4:30 every morning, I need what sleep I can get (an extra +$50 if it's not an emergency)
  • +$50 if it's your own fault and you should have known better
  • +$50 if there is no way I could know the answer ("what's my password")
  • +$100 if there is a free help desk included with the service and you haven't even attempted to call it (if you tell me you have, and I have to call them, I will ask, and that will cost you another $250 for -really- wasting my time if you lied to me about calling)
  • +$50/device involved, if I have to actually tell you to restart or turn it off and back on again and that solves the issue

There's a chance that I'll just tell you how to fix it and will wave some or even all of the fees, it depends on multiple factors, including your history as a client. This is not a joke, if you get a bill from me listing charges at the above rates, I fully expect payment.

Rates subject to change.