Re: freelance sysadmining -- superlong -- [WAS: "Red Hat recommends Windows for consumers"]
On Wed, 12 Nov 2003, Vikki Roemer wrote:
hi ya vikki
-- in a quickie summary ..
- yes .. anybody can do remote admin of a home users PC
including windoze admin (90% of the market is windoze at home?)
- 95% of all admin can be done remotely, you only need a local
gorilla to hit the power/reset button for you or to insert
a cdrom or replace the hard disk, cpu, fan, pci cards,
swap the nic cables, etc, etc
- most "support issues" needed by a home user is no different
than small business or fortune 100 companies..
- both want their problem solved "now/asap" for minimum costs
and "zero" downtime
- they are having problems, thats why they came to you
- partner up with others of equal or better caliber and same
pricing structure to provide better coverage for onsite support
- note that if you charge $25/hr and the other support
folks charges $25/email ... its a major mismatch of
being able to expand your support market share for
home pc users or businesses
- rest is inline for those that want to dig
=== mom/dad is uses generically (home user) as opposed to "businesses"
<asbestos suit on for top posting>
</asbestos keeping it on :-) >
> On Tue, Nov 11, 2003 at 05:44:16PM -0800, Alvin Oga wrote:
> > great idea and plan ... but ...
> > - everybody can do this ??? and does ...
> Not total newbies who view computers as a tool. They don't know how to
> compile a kernel or set up a firewall-- most of them prolly have barely
> heard of firewalls.
firewalls are free .. just install norton or macaffee or any other
windoze apps and they're done
for linux stuff ...
- just install rc.firewalll and they're done
most people put too much emphasis on firewall, while also using
passwordless logins or simple dictionary word login, so why bother
with firewalls ... its NOT gonna protect anything
what people should do more, religiously is apply all patches
whether for *nix or for *windoze*
and windoze is 100% automated, they just need to be told
to click here, here there, and hit ok
> > i see more things done, explicitly mentioned on the "basic plan" than on
> > the "premium plan" ??
> I'm still figuring out what a home user would need done on their computer
> that I could do over ssh-- I just came up with this plan tonight, actually.
> Also, note I'm mainly targeting home users at this point, though businesses
> are welcome to subscribe. ;)
+++ the home user or businesses will tell you wwhat they want and how much
+++ they are willing to pay or that they expect this and that for free
> > > > Premium Plan:
> > > > You get the basic plan, plus I will install/compile and configure any
> > > > packages you want.
> > installing is anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hrs ... or 5 days ( raidtesting )
> > - depending on who is installing it
> > - depending on the hardware you're trying to install it on
> > - depending on how much they're paying for installing
> > - depending on how the system will be used
> > - depending on the buyers paranoia level
> > - depending on security and backup process/proceedures
> > - depending on network, computer use policies
> Most of that only applies to businesses.
think again .... please ...
mom/dad dont want the kids to go to xxx-rate sites
( computer use policy )
mom/dad dont want to lose their tax info on their pc
( backup their pc to cdrom or ?? before the kids erase it )
mom/dad just found out all their friends got an xxx-rated/nigerian
scam spam mail sent toall their friends
( security issue and paranoia wake up call
mom/dad just want to surf the web for recipes or does mom/dad want
to do work at home after hours
( security issue and a mjaor securtiy breach at work
( if the folks at work allow an insecure network from home
( connecting to their corp inside servers
- i know companies that have shutdown due to that,
and have since implement no remote home access
unless the corp admin maintain that network ( for a fee )
out of the peoples check .. ( ie... what do you really do at home
?? -- typically free company paid (insecure) dsl line ..
mom/dad already has their old pc they want to keep using, and the new
distro and patches and upgrades doesnt work with the old klunker
you're the installer of whatever mom/dad wanted to install
and it doesnt work
- they want netmeeting, they want webcam, they want secure
banking, they want secure tax filings, ... blah ...
- they want grandma to surf the web
- they want to watch the baby-sitter via webcam from the office
... small business, or large business or home users all have the same
... requirements and issues they want you to solve
> You mentioned backups-- how can I do backups over a network? Do I use ftp?
network backup is pusshing the envelop of backups..
- most companies doesn't even do network backups outside of their
-- put a 2nd disk in a 2nd pc on mom/dads other pc
> I've heard of using ftp to backup computers, but I've never had any
> experiencee using it.
ftp is a bad thing to use .. lots of exploits available if its
not configured/tested properly
> Also, what do you mean by 'paranoia level'? Whether the client wants
people will only be paranoid about stuff they know about or have
seen ohter people fall victim to whatever they should be worried about
- if someone ( they know) has a disk crashes, you can bet that
mom/dad will be looking for a new backup disk tommorrow as they
too havent been backing up anything for years/months/days
> SELinux as opposed to a simple locked-down out-of-the-box install?
SElinux is discontinued and no longer supported as far as i know
> > and if you do want to muddy their pond waters with more "what ifs":
> > - how much for email support to convince me/them to go with you vs
> > other competitors
> Email support is included in all plans. (Note to self: spell that out on the
well... you should add a cap like, 1 email per day or 2 email per
month about printer problems .. etc.etc.. otherwise, every single problem
like turn the power on the monitor or printer on before emailing/calling
will be bypassed and you'd be providing 24x7 email support
> > - how much for 1hr turn around vs 4hr turn around vs 8 hr turn around
> > vs 1 weke turnaround
> Hmm, I think I will have a third, 'emergency', option, where the customer
> doesn't necessarily have to be a subscriber, and they get a response in
> under 6 hours. For subscribers, the longest they'll have to wait is 24
> hours (unless something comes up, of course).
i like emergencies ... if its that important to them, than they should
have the willing to pay for that service/support
- until than, its hopeless to convince people or corporations
to change for the better ...
- nothing you can do to get them to spend $$ to fix security
unless they have had a [cr/h]acker do an rm -rf / on their machine
- nothing you can do to get them to do backups until their
disk died one day
- nothing oyu can do about keeping the kids off mom/dads pc
until the kids erased dad's home business records
- the shit has to hit the fan before people will change for the
better way to do "home computing"
--- what's worst, is managers at work manage the corp pcs
--- the same way as they do their own home pc ...
but they're the managers, so oh well ... its their butt
that will be fired when the hacker/competitor picks
up their new $$$ making corp widget before its announced
> > - how much for tons of email questions vs once a week email questions
> I'll have to think about that one. As it is now, they'd both get charged
> the same.
this will be 90% of your work ... how to reply to their problems
and scheduling your time/energy/effort/crew to fix tom's pc vs mary's
printer problem or your cousin's website
-- the techie admin stuff is 5% of the work
> > - how much for phone calls vs did they already go thru the checklis first
> > before they made the phone tech support call which is typically
> > 10x more expensive than an email tech support incoming call
> I'm not sure I'd give them the phone number (I don't answer my phone, though
> I would start answering it if I had to). I also don't know what should be
> on this checklist-- suggestions?
no phone call ... no emergency calls ... which is where the $$$ is
no pre-paid support .. no phone calls ... nothing is that important
that they need emergency phone call support
-- if they lose $100/hr for being offline, than each phone
-- call should cost them about $100 per emergency call
-- and that you can fix it (gurantee within reason) within the
checklist ... start from the top of this email and play "what if"
-- more "what if" implies a better understanding of the
-- support problems of the home user or corp user ??
> > - how much for installation support vs come fix this after somebody
> > else tried and failed vs the box keeps crashing support
> Same cost, ATM.
i charge "normal rates" or higher for coming in to fix it after
someone else screwed it up
i give discounts if i'm the first in the loop
> > - how much for one time support, vs ongoing monthly contracts, vs
> > task based contracts vs "emergency come fix it now" support
> The numbers I've been thinking about are: basic subscription plan-- $30/mo.,
> premium subscription plan-- $50/mo., emergency support-- $25/hr.
=== without knowing how many hours or minutes those $$$ covers,
=== you'd be going broke within a few minutes of starting up
- people dont care about $$$$ if it solves their problem for a reasonable
- amount of time or $$$ or prevents data loss
== around here... people ened to make $100K/yr to pay the regular bills
== thats about $50/hr .... or you can't afford to pay your bills
and if this is not a full-time flow of $$$, you better double/tripple
the hourly rates .... to compensate for "part time vs full time" income
if you're doing it on the side
- its matter of how much free time you have
( free time is worth just as much in $$ as a paying job by the hr
- you want to go to jane's birthday party in 1hr or do spend
the next 4 hrs fixing tom's printer problem thats in another state
that hasnt paid his bills
> > - how much for daily backups ??
> > ( the only thing most people care about )
> Depends on how/if I can do them over a network,
try backing up a 100GB disk over the network ... or even a 10GB disk
over the network from joe-blow's home pc
> since I'm prolly not going
> to be making house calls for home users or for businesses (unless I get a
> business in the RTP area-- that's only ~5 hours away).
in 5 hrs ... [h/cr]acker can rm -rf / your customers PCs
i wouldn't want to go to LA from SF to fix somebody's pc down there
unless they are willing to pay the $200 plane ticket that it'd cost
for me to be there within the hr by plane .. 6hrs driving
and if you get out that far, it'd be good to have multiple paying
customers and have a local gorilla within 30min-1hr you can call on to go
fix it for you
> > - how much for per-minute system security checking
> > ( the only thing you should be worried about to protect their data)
> What exactly do you mean by 'per-minute system security checking'? Running
> a security audit (either manually or with tiger), or just keeping tabs on
> the system logs with 'tail -f'? Or both?
yes.. doing all that ... how much does it costs ???
and if you do that, how to do you prevent the [h/cr]acker from destroying
data including backups
i've seen and heard of some other peoples clients boxes being
cracked within 15 minutes of going live and taking 2 minutes or start
rm -rf / that cracked box...
> > and how about some free sample answers to the problems we're having ??
> I'll think about it...
that's how you got the next paying job ...
- answer lots of questions ... for them
> > and how about "my disk crashed 10 minutes ago", please come and fix
> > it now, as we have a meeting in 3 hrs that i need to make a presentation
> > of that data
> Well, I can't 'come and fix it' 'cause I'd be dealing with them over the
thats what 99% of the business or home users want ...
- how to protect their family pictures
- how to protect their tax records
- how to protect and keep working
> How would you deal with that situation?
i detail it for $$$ vs function/features that they want ...
- more wishlist items they want, the more expensive it gets
i do both remote support across the oceans and local onsite
-- its a matter of how important the data is and how much it costs
if the data is lost
> I'd deal with it with--
> I'd say I could restore the file from last night's backup (though he'd have
> to retype what he did today) if he had another computer he could use. And
> I'd buy a new HD, reinstall whatever distro he was using, and restore it
> with the backups, and fedex it to him. Does that sound about right?
how are you gonna by a $50 or $100 or $300 "new hd" if you only charging
even less real dollars per month or per year ??
- fedex from west coast to east coast is about $15
and how do get grandpa to insert a new disk into their old klunker ??
- what X11 driver does he need ?
- what nic driver does he need ?
- if it doesn't come up, how do you fix it??
that grandpa paid $$$ for
> > and how about security patches ?
> Covered under both plans.
and if a security patch ails and breaks the pc during its upgrade
or mom/dad has power outage during backups and upgrades ??
> > and how about backups ?
> I'd have to learn how to do that over a network. As I said, would I use
bad idea ...
> > and did the laywers on both sides bless the "contract"
> What lawyer? I'm just going to be dealing with (mainly) home users. I
> don't think they'd have a lawyer, unless I totally screwed up and they
> decided to sue me. And I don't think I'd need a lawyer till then?
bingo ... youjust lost your house if they have a good lawyer
all they need is to be unhappy, that they ere offline and lost
great-grandma's pics and you said you had it all backed up and didnt check
or the home business tax records and they now have an audit
and no tax records to be found
- you'd lose if you didnt have a business license
- you'd lose if you didnt have it in writeing whats covered and whats not
and btw.. good lawyers that can cover your butt, costs $200 - $400 /hr
> > and even if it was, can you collect on it ???
> > - once you fixed their problems, how do you know they will
> > pay your invoice as stated/agreed ??
> I'd have a credit card number and my mom's credit card machine. :)
ah... mom's flower shop charging $30/month or $100 emergency support
for tom-dick-n-harry whom doesnt know who "Mom's flower shop" is
- mom loses her merchant account for excessive charge backs
- at least tell them that you're using mom's merchant banking info
so that they dont do a "chargeback"
- use pay pal or or get your own merchant acct is even better
> > and last question .. why are they looking around for outside help
> > vs their inhosue "it staff" or lack there of vs their high-school
> > kid-or-brother-cousins-friends used to be doing the task but they now
> > consider themself a business and need to find better "professional"
> > support and prefferably with insurance against certain professional
> > services that's being rendered
> > -- i always ask, what was their budget before ....
> > -- and what is the new budget now ... and what happened ...
> This question doesn't entirely make sense in the context of *home* users.
home users are the ones that have their buddies and kids of their friends
maintaining their business pcs for free ( since their neighbors/friends
) ... that you're now trying to remotely maintain for $$$
-- how many of you debian folks have fixed friends/family's
-- PCs for free .. ?? after enough free fixes, you say you have
-- to go to xxx-birthday or xyyy-wedding or "study for an exam"
-- or go to work today ( on xmas day -- just to get out of fixing
-- the damn pc that keeps dying only when you're there on holiday
> Except for the 'high-school kid-or-brother-cousins-friends' bit-- they may
> not know anybody who uses Linux, so they have no one else to ask for help.
actually... most linux-friendly high school kids probably know more linux
stuff than the average degree'd/certified windoze NT winnies
> Unfortunately, I'm finding that in RL, Linux isn't that common-- most people
> have never heard of it. So there may be some isolated people out there who
> have linux and are looking for help administering it.
depends on who your potential customers are..
> > -- email support in mailing lists is good enough for 95% of folks
> > except business that already have their inhouse staff or their
> > local "friends"
> I'm hoping more people have the mentality that they prefer on-call tech
> support people who will definitely help them with their computer to mailing
> lists where the people may or may not answer the question, depending on
> their mood. Remember, most home users are switching from Windows, where
> paid support is the norm and the computers don't really need much/any
> administering. The people who want linux to be the same way are the ones
> I'm hoping to attract.
the whole thread/email was trying to do "remote support"
and yet you're after customers that prefer "on call tech support" ??
sounds like lots of sit-down rethinking and until you get the first
paying customers .. all this doesnt matter ...