End of lockdown and everyone is racing to the hairdresser, the manicurist and can't wait for the cleaner to come back to work. We habitually maintain the things we care about without batting an eyelid, but when I arrive at a customer, chances are I find a laptop that hasn't had a screen clean, let alone an upgrade for years and the customer is baffled as to why it doesn't work like it used to. It's time to look after your tech the way it has looked after you during these past months of seclusion and distancing.
I'm not very good at describing what I do, or at least not in a very interesting way. So here's an example that represents a good cross-section of my client requests.
Sophie is a hard-working doctor with 4 young children. Time is understandably precious to Sophie. She bought herself a new mac and did the 'auto-transfer' of data from her old mac to the new one. She called me out to help because some precious family movies hadn't come over as she had expected. She asked me to also look at an old hard drive to see if anything on there needed saving as it wasn't working properly anymore as a backup drive. Additionally, her phone was syncing photos to her mac, but not videos or retouched photos.
Generally, I'm called out for specific issues like this. Mostly, it evolves into something a bit more time-consuming. This can be because the customer decides they need more than they initially thought, or maybe their system is in a worse state than they realised. Working with tech is like working with children and animals - unpredictable - a simple job can end up taking longer for endless reasons but it's always worth it when your tech lasts longer, performs faster, you understand it better and its reorganisation makes your life easier.
Sophie ended up with the following:
A fully updated mac running the latest operating system, with auto-updated apps
Microsoft Office purchased and installed
Old unused programs removed
The old hard drive revealed a 'lost' iPhoto library as well as old family movies that were uploaded and saved to the new mac
50,000 photos and videos were merged, then split into 'old' and 'new' libraries containing all of the albums and projects that she had created over the years. The 'new' library syncs with her iCloud, iPhone and iPad. Both 'new' and 'old' library are accessible on the mac.
Photostream was switched off (it doesn't sync videos and apple is phasing it out anyway)
All duplicate photos have been deleted. There were thousands once all the files that were found on the old mac, hard drives and USB keys were merged.
A permanent hard drive has been installed that backs up multiple times a day so that if anything is ever accidentally deleted, she can take the mac back to its previous state on any given day/time.
Photosweeper software was installed that will tidy up her photos quickly and regularly. It compares 'similar' photos so that you can easily pick the best one and delete the rest.
Team Viewer software was installed so that in future I can log in (with permission) and fix problems fast without having to come over to the house saving time and money!
Old movies were tweaked where necessary to work in the newer version of iMovie
The old mac was cleaned up ready for the kids to use for homework and games.
Her new mouse has been slowed down and the left click enabled.
Sophie had no idea she needed quite so much doing, but she let me run with what I felt best and she's delighted with the results. Her phone isn't clogged up with thousands of old images, she can access her libraries easily to create photo books and she has a clear library from which she can organise her images into easier to view albums based on holidays and events.
Even with the best of internet connections and the latest of macs, this process isn't speedy but it IS worth it. To safeguard your data, everything is backed up before anything is transferred. In Sophie's case, there was an extra glitch when apple launched a badly timed upgrade halfway through an iCloud sync which corrupted the whole photos app. I had to 'repair' all the albums and resync the whole iCloud. Just like when the dentist says 'this isn't going to hurt', but it hurts like hell... I can't always predict a random bug.
It's important for me to have the client nearby at the beginning. I need to ask questions and get the feel of their wants and needs. Tech is very personal, we all use it differently, organise our data differently and its important that I respect the clients habitual way of working. There is no one size fits all solution.
Once I am comfortable with your requirements, the process gets quicker and easier. For most clients I stay at their home or office, but if time and speed is off the essence, I can take your laptop with me and work from my office. For desktops, I can use software to control them remotely via my laptop. This is handy for jobs with vast quantities of photos/videos where uploads, downloads and syncing take significant time. Whilst your computer works away in the background, I can get on with other things meaning less time charged to you.
Get in touch to discuss the best solution for you and your families technological needs. You invest a lot of money in your tech, so it's worth looking after.