Monday, February 13, 2012

Third year of unemployment

As I enter into my third year of unemployment,
seeing many of my friends in the same boat,
with little hope of any of us ever getting another "real" job in our chosen fields,
not to mention the disastrous Presidencies of the last decade
(Dubya may have started the fire,
but Nero Obama fiddled while the world burned . . . 
don't get me started!),
I find that tiny, welcome, surprises, happen!

A friend asked me to contact a friend of his
who was having trouble with his internet connection
(by trade, I'm a computer programmer 
with a sideline business-if-you-can-call-it-that 
of fixing home and business computers: http://omnidoc.org/steveofalltrades).
I told his friend on the phone that I would charge $10,
as it sounded like a common problem
(n.b., most office stores and private businesses
charge as little as $50 just to view the machine,
which you have to bring to them,
whereas I have almost no overhead,
and make house calls, although, sometimes,
I have to take the computer home for a more thorough and lengthy examination,
for which I rarely ask for more money.
When someone says I'm crazy, I just say, "No . . . I'm bored!").
He agreed to the fee, so I went to his nearby home.
As I worked on his computer, we chatted for about an hour
(or, more accurately, he chatted, while I nodded and interjected!),
of which it took only fifteen minutes to fix the problem
(I prefer to concentrate without chats and other distractions,
such as cats walking on the keyboard,
dogs barking at me, incessantly, etc,
but, he's elderly, living in a dingy home on social security
(I didn't know that when I charged the meager fee over the phone;
my friend seems to think he has deep pockets, but I doubt it),
and figured he doesn't get to talk to people often, so I let it slide).

After fixing the problem,
and a couple of other minor, quick things on the computer which bothered him,
I reiterated the $10 fee,
and he handed me two bills.
At first, I thought they were fives,
but, on closer examination,
they turned out to be twenties.
I handed one back to him,
and said that I didn't have change for the other.
He insisted that I keep the $40.
I've learned not to argue with senior citizens,
but said that I would take the $30 as contigency for future work,
to which he agreed.

Little rays of sunshine raise the spirit and raze the spectre of idleness
(feel free to quote me!). ;)

Thanks to both my friend and my new customer/friend!


[NOTE]
The original title of this was "Fourth year . . . ", but, I miswrote!

Shove the Click



To anyone who thinks that people are willing to click through web page after web page after web page after web page after web page after web page after web page (okay . . . you get the idea) listing more than three items on separate web pages, without giving a table of contents or complete list: You must think that everyone else 1) has as much time as you to read what you wrote on page after page after . . .  (I'm not starting that, again!) and 2) even cares about the subject after one or two clicks, if that! Here's an example of one such web page, which actually expects its audience to click through FIFTY pages!

                http://www.empireonline.com/features/50-worst-movies-ever/

In other words, don't bore the audience. Here's an analogy: We don't like to move things around in the cupboard or refrigerator to find something to eat behind what's directly in front of us, so what makes you think we have the patience to click through multiple pages?

Folks, if you're going to publish a list of something on the web or e-book, make it short, sweet, interesting, and no more than three pages long. If you absolutely have to ignore that suggestion, then either re-read this blog until you comprehend your folly, or give a clickable list of links on the very first page, so we can ignore the rest of your work! ;)