This month I decided to help a fellow blogger/knitter friend of Mel’s with a disaster recovery operation. The objective? To try to bring her beloved blog, approximately 3 years of frequent entries, back from a very effective death induced by some nefarious hackers from the dark side of the interwebs. Honestly? I’m not quite sure why I took the job (first paying gig in LONG time), I’ve had some bad run-ins with folks in the past that left me pretty burned and while I’ve often thought of getting back on the “geek for hire” bandwagon to make some extra cash, I’ve stayed away from it.
I guess it all comes down to trust; yours and your client’s. More than ever, technology has infiltrated so many aspects of our lives. We interact with it daily, sometimes hourly. My Mom and Dad are using stuff that was bleeding edge ten years ago just to get in contact with friends and family. Everyone has an email account, most have a webpage and kids are chatting/texting literally hours of their young lives away.
It’s everywhere and it’s so much more accessible.
Yet there still is that fear that was there when I started helping folks on the side so long ago. It’s different yet the same. When I was younger it was viruses that was taking people out. Now it’s more spyware, now it’s hackers. Anyways, it’s that fear that made my former clients incredibly unreasonable and it’s that same fear that made the jobs unfair. To both of us really.
Well, I’m a lot older than I was then and, I’d like to think, a lot wiser. So when the opportunity came to help a good person out, I approached it like I approach a lot of things nowadays: be painfully honest about the situation, your knowledge of how to address said situation and how your going to attempt to fix it. Don’t inflate yourself, don’t guess, don’t mislead and certainly don’t lie. All of this, you would think, would be pretty damn obvious. But when you’re young, just out of college and all you want to do is impress people, you tend to cut a few corners in all of these departments.
But everything changes you know? ‘Course you do.
Fast forward almost a decade to last year when I met Mel’s friend at a local fiber festival here in NC. It was very brief, but she was incredibly nice and it also attached a face to it all. So, on a whim, Melinda corresponded with her about her site getting hacked recently and mentioned that I might be able to take a look at it. I could and did. And roughly a week later I had got all of her content restored (after her hosting company told her it was impossible) and moved her to a different hosting solution entirely. I was paid fairly and was asked to help her with some more stuff down the road!
It was a wonderful, slightly stressful (read: NOT the client, just the situation), incredibly positive experience! Phew….
I can’t tell you how good it felt to use my day to day skills to help a good person. My desk job at Duke serves thousands of faceless users who will never know a damn thing about me. Somedays I really hate that. This experience was the polar opposite. It was a pleasure, I learned a lot, and I got to help a really awesome person out.
In short it was a very happy ending and I look forward to doing it again. Never thought I’d be saying that. Ever.
Her blog is trailingyarn.com, check it out if you get a chance!
Speaking of positive experiences!
My good friend John and I are finally wrapping up the first draft of our first collaboration together. It’s a screenplay for a horror film and I’m incredibly proud of it (and it’s writers for that matter). When we started writing it together over a year ago it was just an idea in our heads and now it’s a universe that shambles around on it’s own! Once the first draft is done, we’re going to second draft it, and then we’re either going to make a graphic novel out of the thing, try and sell it, or shoot the thing ourselves… or do all three. Either way it’s going to leap off of the paper and that’s pretty damn exciting for us. Just in time for the holidays!
Speaking of which (I am the king of segways tonight!), I’m absolutely stumped at the fact that JC’s birthday is once again upon us. Christmas is by far my least favorite holiday out of all them. Actually strike that. I REALLY frigging hate Valentine’s Day. Grrrrrrrrr…… Where was I? Oh yeah.
It’s become nauseatingly commercial now and it’s lost all sense of it’s original meaning. The music, the ads, the mall… blech… it’s all a damn cash in! I honestly can’t stand it…
That said, this year is shaping up to be calm with very little travel. Family will be involved of course, but I’m pretty proud of everyone for trimming the present giving to a bare minimum this year. I think everyone is way more psyched to be hanging out with each other than anything else.
Family just being together, remember when that was all that counted during the holidays? I do hope that yours ends up the same similar flavor as mine and that it’s safe and warm. More and more points keep getting lost amongst all of us nowadays. Let’s try not to miss this one.