Your PC running slooow? Is your video fuzzy? Is your internet intermittant? Don't hire a Geek! Get a real person, who'll help you fill in the missing pieces, without making you feel bad about yourself. Its not your fault this stuff was so poorly designed in the first place!
But I can make it better! Whether right in your home or back in the Missing Pieces Lab (ok, my home! :-), I can get your equipment working better.
My rates are much better than any Geeks or store. (please check, wow!) I charge a basic $60 $90 an hour (Holiday Rates!) for the work done. (Unless its a fixed-rate job, like the Holiday Computer Cleanup Special, which is WAY lower than any competitor charges!) If it takes me only 10 minutes to fix your problem, its only $15! If I pick up your machine to do tedious things like virus/spyware/speedups, I only charge you for the time I need to start and monitor the processes, since I can go off and work on something else while it runs! You save! (its only fair!)
Any hardware I buy for you, I find the best local price (I'm right near all the big stores) including coupons and rebates, so once again, you save! A lot of my clients find that what I saved them on the hardware, paid for my cost to install it!
Computer running slow or crashing?
Is it taking forever to startup? Locking up when you try to turn it off? Programs seem to go away for a loooong time before they come up? Feel like you need a new PC? You probably don't!
With a multi-point cleanup from the hard drive to spyware, viruses and software setup, your computer will seem like new again.
Does it need an update?
If you've got a modem, it can become impossible to download ALL the updates for your computer. But it can be hooked up to the Missing Pieces network to be totally updated along with any other cleanup. Even the huge Windows XP Service Pack 2 can be installed, giving you all the latest additions that Microsoft has added, making your equipment run better or equipment that didn't run before, run now.
Sometimes hardware and software are just broken and need to be replaced. Sometimes knowing the right 'hammer' to apply will make all the difference and 'remind' something how to work right. (look for my 'Tips and Tricks' section soon for many 'hammers') Missing Pieces has a large toolkit of tricks to help get your ailing devices running again. (mostly because I've had them all too and gone thru the same problems!)
Have something new? New camera, memory, hard drive? Afraid to install it?
Been there too. Just not sure you know or want to know the consequences of adding something more to your troubles? I can tell you before hand and do the work to add something new for you.
Not sure what you need to perk up your PC?
I can look at what you have, recommend whether you have enough memory, hard drive or other equipment or software. I can recommend and even find and buy the best deals for you and then install them. Rebates and all. I'm right near all the major players: Staples, Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA.
Need a backup?
I can do backups to DVD or CD of your existing system. Whether as a prelude to adding more to or fixing your system, or to start over with a 'just in case', or to protect from future mishaps, its usually a good idea.
Need to start from scratch?
Your computer too fouled up to be worth saving? If you have the CDs that came with it, I can usually reinitialize and rebuild your PC to where it was, new from the box. Then do all the updates since then too it, to make it even better than that. Even without the CDs, a new OS can be installed to allow you to start over with a clean PC!
Still need to buy a new PC?
I can walk you thru the websites for the popular computer brands or go with you to the store as an 'advocate' to cut out the clutter or smoke that a sales person may hit you with. Also the tricks to finding the best deals at their sites or E-Bay. And I even sell a few systems too, when I can buy at a great price!
Just need a little Tutoring on how to use something? A helping hand?
I can sure help there too. I've had all the same agonies, the screaming matches, the pounding fists. So I can tutor you on how to avoid all that! Or at least get past it. ;-)
Do you have a spouse or friend who chews your head off every time you ask them how to do something simple on your computer? They just don't have the time or patience for it? They show you some complicated way to do something, but so fast and non-stop at Mach 2?
I can show you simple ways to do everyday things. Simply, slowly and calmly. I let you write down your notes before I click anything, then move on only after you've done it yourself. No need to be ashamed. Hey, I'm not perfect, I made the same mistakes at one point too. So I won't berate you.
Same $90 hourly rate as everything else. (compare to the Geek Squad's $259 per hour!!) If I show you how to do something in 10 minutes, its just $15. From the tutoring I've had so far, I recommend only an hour or two at a time, even if you have a lot you want to learn. 1-2 hour chunks seems to work best for retention! (I'll even assign homework! :-)
Bought a new TiVo, DVD writer, Cable box, HD TV - not sure what to do?
I can set it up for you and show you how to best use it. Maybe even before you buy it, so you buy the best for what you have already. I can recommend the best cables and how to set it up. Or what upgrade options you have for the future.
Is your whole video setup and mess and a tangle?
A thousand wires to no place to go? Seems like it these days, even with 'wireless'? I can straighten out your video setup to make is easier to use, figure out and how to keep that way. I can see what you have and organize it to get the best picture from the device that gives the best. Or set things up to get the best from what you use most. Or show you how to see it from the most places in the house.
Need buying help with all the new video choices out there?
Just like with computers, I can be your advocate and help you make sense of the mess of choices the sales guy hits you with. Tell you the pitfalls of buying one thing over another, after he told you the pluses.
Got a new video or digital camera, PDA or phone?
I can help you learn what options there are to use it and how to do it. Can it interface with _your_ TV after the sales guy said 'yes of course'. Can it also work with your computer or an outside service like Kodak or CVS?
Need help editing video or getting on YouTube?
Been there! I can help. All the tools and all the services all have BUGS! Its not necessarily YOU! I can help you get over the hurdles of getting thru making your own videos or getting them OUT TO THE WORLD! Here are some of my videos, related to my Missing Pieces work here:
Having trouble with AOL? Who isn't? Other modem problems?
Yeah, they're the most popular, but also the most troublesome. But the others can be trouble too. I can help determine if its the software, your system (their favorite excuse), hardware or just the darned phone line itself, that the dog chewed on!
Wanna step up to Cable Modem or DSL speeds?
I can help you get from a modem setup to one of greater speed and 'always on' access with cable/DSL. It really changes the way you use your computer. But it can get messy.
And the cable and phone companies will only go so far and charge and arm and a leg for it! I can set you up to continue with your modem until your cable/DSL is ready or until you're ready to stay that way. You can even keep AOL access but at cable/DSL speeds. But beware, once you do switch, you won't want to go back! :-)
Is the home/office network for you?
Whether you have an old slow modem, or cable/DSL, a home network may be for you. You may want to share that printer/scanner around the house; play games with your kids; or hook that TiVo up to show all your photos and music sitting on your PCs, on your nice big TV! Or you can burn movies from your TiVo on your PC now. Home/office networks are still a bit of a pain, but you get a lot more out of them that you didn't even 6 months ago.
Need a website?
Want to post those pictures of your vacations for the relatives to see? Want to expound on your views for the world to see? Need a bit of help doing it? I can. I even wrote software that automatically builds a website of pictures from your hard drive, with a few questions.