Scheduling: Please feel free to either phone or e-mail to set up an appointment. I try to return calls within one business day. Good times to call are Mon.-Fri., 8:30 AM - 7 PM. Cancellations within 24 hours of the visit are subject to a $30 fee.
Prepping for my visit: The number one thing that will make more efficient use of my time will be to assemble your various User Names and Passwords. This includes your machine password, your internet password, e-mail passwords (which is usually the same as your internet password), etc. It can become time-consuming tracking all these things down when I'm there. Try keeping them on a piece of paper in a safe place. I can also show you a secure area to keep them on your computer. Also, please keep handy any information you have regarding your internet service. In some instances it's necessary to reinstall software. Try to locate all software install disks we may need.
House Calls: Yes, I make house calls. In certain cases, I may suggest that you bring your machine to my house, because I have equipment here that's necessary for the job.
My responsibility: Preserving your Data is the number one priority. It's what you do on your computer that is important, not the hardware. I'm proud to say that, to date, I have never lost a client's data. In fact, I have upon occasion rescued data off of drives that were thought "dead". However, some drives really do die, that's the nature of the beast. Anything mechanical will eventually break down (although Macs do so a lot less frequently). This is why I stress the importance of having a proper backup system. I'll be happy to discuss your options with you.
Software support is a difficult issue. I offer my services to troubleshoot your computer issues, but I can't offer tech support for any individual program. This is not to say that I can't or won't help you. I do my level best to troubleshoot all your software problems, but software bugs and conflicts are out of my control. The distinction here is that the developer of the software for which you have paid has access to the information which you need, as well as the legal responsibility. I often serve as the "go between" and interpreter when it becomes necessary to call the company.
Because of the literally thousands of programs that are out there for the Mac, I can't possibly know every last detail about all of them. When you mix in the fact that each of these programs may have dozens of versions, that may not interact well with other programs on your computer, or with services you use on the internet... well you start to see my point here. If I don't know enough about an issue, or the information I need is unavailable, then I will tell you. Sometimes troubleshooting an issue is a time-consuming process of elimination that I must charge for.
On a related note, due to our new mobile lifestyles, sometimes location comes to play in troubleshooting some internet related issues. For instance an e-mail program may work fine from one location, but not from another. If you can supply me with the information I need about your other location, I can try to resolve the issue.
My Philosophy: I always do my best to support my clients and keep them happy with their systems. I try not to "rock the boat" and change their way of doing things if they don't match how I do them. I will suggest alternate ways of acheiving their aims, if it makes sense to do so. One instance that comes to mind was the change-over from Mac Os 9 to Os X. I kept many folks happily rolling on their Os 9 systems until it became clear that the time had come to make the switch.
That said, I will take this opportunity to point out that most folks who come to me with an e-mail problem are using a free service like MSN, Yahoo, Gmail etc. In some instances this may be a good idea. In general though, I am not a big fan of these services, because you don't have control of your data (e-mail and address book). These free services have no obligation to you and have very limited tech support. They may also have an agenda that may involve excluding your favorite computer platform (Yes, I'm talking to you, MSN). They may also not be around in the future. For all these reasons, please consider using the e-mail address you get from your internet service provider.
AOL has similar issues, and I don't recommend using their services. In my experience, folks that use the above services end up paying more for support and troubleshooting.
-Tony Jillson, Make Your Mac Sing