Tuesday, May 10, 2016

South Beloit Snow

I logged 170 miles on this trip which was rescheduled twice for the snow. Even with that aside, I still schlepped up there because, well, it was Sharp Electronics. My help desk was warmly situated in Boca Raton, Florida where there's sun and warm and they sit in a cubicle. On days like this one I don't know which end is worse to be on, really. Bonus for me not getting stuck in a ditch though!!!!

Some people are nice, some people are aloof and some are rude (not too many). Some people are just so absorbed in their phones they can't help themselves. Then their phone absorbed friends come over and they sit on different couches with their noses in their phones. 

In the end this poor lady got a panel replacement. Over two hours on site diagnosing, swapping parts and testing. I would chalk it up to a nice, scenic drive, but snow is stressful ... LOL.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Poot Poot

Usually I bring along a laser pointer on job sites with me. The idea behind this is to entertain the pets in the house while I'm waiting on hold to finish the job. I stopped bringing treats since I discovered there's a lot of people who have their pets on special diets. When I use a laser pointer to entertain myself with my customers furry friends it's always been amusing. One service call in particular had me in stitches.

I called into the main office to close the call. My whole time was pretty lengthy. I pulled out my laser pointer and started playing with the dog. He didn't seem too interested in my laser pointer so I started making strange sounds. This got the craziest looks on his face is from the sounds I was making which was pretty funny in itself. The best was when I made a raspberry sound and the dog stopped, turned around and looked at its butt. I thought, "No way, this has to be a fluke". So I did it again. Once again the dog stop turned around and looked at its butt. I found the key. No matter how many times or how long I waited every time I made a raspberry sound the dog looked at its butt.

I couldn't help but wonder what the heck they're feeding their dog that causes it to fart so much since that's the only reason I could imagine the dog turning and looking at its butt every time I made a raspberry sound. 

Thankfully my customer was also amused and confused, but she now had a new "toy".

... and so it begins ....

I first got into computers in the eighties. I had a guy from Radio Shack come out to add an external drive to a computer. He was rude, inconsiderate and wouldn't tell me anything he was doing. So I watched carefully. I didn't see anything he was doing that I couldn't have done myself. After that experience I decided anything that needed to be done on the computer with hardware or software I'd just do myself. 

So I did, and very successfully. 

I picked up on computers like a duck takes to water.

The next few years were spent working for various companies either doing computer work or sales. I learned how to run an office. I learned how to buy products and from what wholesalers/distributors. I learned how to sell the products and I learned how to run a business. 

When I entered into the technical field as a full fledged computer technician it was still during a time when women were harshly looked down upon ... like, "a woman couldn't possibly be smart enough to know how to diagnose and repair computers" harsh. (How far we've come in the last 30 years!) I had people hang up on me when I answered the phone to provide them support. I watched people walk away when they came in with their computers and saw that I was their tech support. Funny how in the end those people still called and still had to talk to me or deal with me. While it wasn't easy I was finally accepted as a top-level Tech agent and they conceded to my help. Not only that but in the end they were pleased with the professional and efficient assistance.

As my skills improved and my confidence increased, so did my customer base. I was proudly one of the first businesses in Illinois that provided complete on site solutions from diagnostics to repair to sales and equipment installations. 

I evolved with the changes as time went on, getting certified with various manufacturers for printers, networking, wireless, laptops and even plasma, LCD and LED televisions. It's been a long, strange 30 year trip with highs, lows and in-betweens.

While I no longer am as passionate about my field as I once was, becoming a traveling technician has provided me with many friends, acquaintances and contacts I never would have had otherwise. It's been an experience rich in rewards and punishing in its demands, but over the years, as I look back on my paperwork, I see I've amassed thousands of stories to tell. Some are uplifting, some are sad,some are funny and others downright hilarious.

I'll never disclose personal information, locations or other identifying information. I respect the privacy of my clients. Part of this blog is intended to share these experiences while the more personal part is to not lose sight of memories in the hopes as I go through this new phase in my life I can learn and build my memory skills.

I hope you, the reader, enjoy these trips down memory lane as I delve deeper into a past full of enlightenment, fulfillment and changes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sanyo Speaks

I logged 295 miles today, it was a clear day until the sky started falling after dark (it snowed, hard for awhile).

Gas: $2.65/gallon ... woohoo!!!!

It's been nice not having to drive hundreds of miles on a daily basis, not so nice the break has been spent mostly trying to recuperate and regain my health. I have also noticed how hard it is to get back into the daily driving routine. This makes me thankful for easy rides and easy jobs like today, once I get going.

And the manufacturer strikes again: I was dispatched to repair a set of speakers. My favorite. NOT. Usually speaker issues are intermittent and can mask deeper problems, none have ever been cut and dried. Except maybe, just maybe, today. I actually was able to replicate the problem fairly quickly and consistently, we're off to a great start here. Time to get down to business.

I take the TV apart, test all the connections, make sure voltage readings are adequate, wiring is still connected, nothing out of place. So far so good. Remove the old speakers, unwind them from here, and then there, through the plastic chassis, around the bend, over the river ... ok, speakers out, Set the new speakers in ... the line for the replacement right speaker is about 5" shorter than the original.

Oh boy. No way I'm coming back, not gonna happen. I can do this.

Just a little creative rewiring is all. Success, whew. Now for the vinyl tape, and no we aren't talking thick electrical tape. This is thin and delicate and likes to curl up and stick to itself. Everything was swell, until the last piece that just kept escaping my grasp and curling itself up. But hey, the TV was fixed, another happy customer.

Gas was $2.79/gallon by the time I returned home.  Sigh.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


You mean to tell me that my TV warranty doesn't cover:
the Sony Playstation that fried the mainboard in the TV?
the puddle of cat urine collected inside the cover?
one of my cables that doesn't work?
this smashed remote control that won't turn the TV on?
an outlet that doesn't work?
all this intricate cabling I strung through walls, across continents, and around kingdoms to the back of my TV....
the family of flies that took my TV hostage and fried the power supply ....
the fact that it never ever crossed my mind to replace the batteries in the remote even though I told tech support I did, can't you just replace the part anyway?
that I have 8 items plugged into one outlet that candle wax spilled all over and never mind the scorch mark there ...
The best are the ones that look me directly in the eye and swear the screen just spontaneously cracked when they were out of the room.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Historically Speaking ....

      Always the constant tinkerer I could never resist, from a very young age, the urge to disassemble any small electronic to see how it worked. In my early attempts I was often rewarded with a toy that no longer worked. I could never understand this since I swear I put everything back the way it was ..... well, maybe one wire was still loose .... but still! My techniques and knowledge got more and more refined and then the first "personal computers" came out on the market. These "computers" were driven by a cassette tape. I was drawn like a moth to a flame, unable to resist the pull of the mother of all electronics: a computer. I really wanted to be a veterinarian!
      Doomed to suffer the irresistible urge to know how and what made things tick I consumed all I could about computer hardware and software. My first real computer (I still can't believe the cassette deal was considered a computer, it was made by Casio) was from Radio Shack. This little beauty did not have a hard drive and came with one floppy drive. There was no internet. Then a second floppy drive .... yaaaa ... I can swap out floppies. Programming in Basic just got so much sweeter <insert eye roll>. Then the backpack drive:  an external hard drive. OMG this was heaven. I had a smelly, rude, inconsiderate Radio Shack technician arrive at my home to install it. I watched his every move, like a hawk. WTH! I could have done that! And I'm nicer. Between my Radio Shack experience, the lack of available on-site computer service for a new and emerging market and what I learned about running an IT sales force, my first tech company was born. That was just shy of 30 years ago.
      So, here I was, thrust into the life of a technician by accident for which, I concede, I capitalized on. Once upon a time I even wished I would have a job that required my driving, lots and lots. So here I am today, finding myself driving and occasionally getting out for a break to repair a TV or computer, then, off to drive some more. I've had many adventures, met many different people, and endured experiences high and low.
      From the farting dog, to the Elvis impersonator I have encountered hilarious moments in time during a regular family day. I've seen businesses in all their candid disarray and will always protect the innocent in my stories. Some stories are sad, some are humbling, and others just downright scary. I've walked out on jobs and others walked away with new friends.
      I hope someone enjoys this blog I will do my best to maintain and continually add to. I have hundreds of service calls each a story of it's own. There aren't many I have been on so unremarkable I completely forget. So dear reader, enjoy!