Free Remote IT Support – COVID-19

As my client’s are aware, I have been in self isolation since my return from vacation on March 11th. I am lucky to work in an industry where I was already assisting clients remotely much of the time so there has been very little impact to my clients, from an IT support perspective. However, it is nice to have face to face time with clients and I am looking forward to getting back to that after March 25th. Despite my being free from self isolation I do still plan to continue to isolate myself as much as possible and take all the precautions available when it comes to avoiding COVID-19. This is particularly important for me with much of my work being done in the healthcare industry. I would be doing a huge disservice to everyone if I were to cause my clients to get sick. The workers at the Oxford County Community Health Centre and the Ingersoll Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic are the public servants that many people turn to for answers and for comfort in times like this. So for that reason my main focus is providing them all the support that they need while not breathing the same air that they are.

As a side note, it would seem that there are not enough people social distancing themselves in Woodstock. I did a tour of Woodstock by car today to alleviate some cabin fever caused by self isolation and drove by a kids birthday party. There were loads of kids in the back yard and parents hanging out in the front. Do people not read the news? If we all do our best to isolate for a short period of time this ends a lot sooner than it does if people continue getting together in large groups, spreading COVID-19.

With COVID-19 comes such a wide variety of problems for the average person/family. From the loss of income to the loss of a reliable source of toilet paper, everyone’s problems are as unique as they are.¬†During this time of self isolation I have been trying to think of a way that I can do my part to help lessen the burden of COVID-19 for my community. From trying to obtain hard to find items for families that need them, to ensuring that the elderly have what they need, there seems to be countless things that one could do right now to help out others. But, these are things that there are already organizations working on that are better equipped to do those things than me. The one area that I am good at where there may be a significant need in the near term is IT support. With schools closed in Ontario until at least early April, and likely beyond that, the Ontario government is pushing online learning to help mitigate the effects of a shortened school year. Now the demands on the family computer are going to increase and for many the family computer isn’t kept as up-to-date as it once was.

For the coming weeks I am offering to do routine maintenance on your home computer for free (for Woodstock, Ontario residents only). This would include ensuring that Windows and other software is up-to-date, that you have an active antivirus subscription on there and to fix any small issues that your computer may have. This will all be done remotely, as part of my social distancing. If your computer requires hardware changes to fix problems, such that help can’t be provided remotely, please let me know your computer issues and I will see what can be done for your computer, keeping social distancing in mind. The remote maintenance will require that your computer have an active internet connection and be able to download the Builtbymike.ca TeamViewer application to allow me to connect to your computer. If your computer is beyond being able to download and install a file, then this free service may not be for you!

If you have a computer that needs some TLC, please head over to the Contact page and send your contact information, along with a description of the use of the computer, to me. Feel free to contact me even if your computer isn’t used for schooling, but computers used for educational purposes will be prioritized over computers used for business and entertainment. If I do end up getting a huge response to this, that I am unable to keep up with, I will try to update this page with a status so that you know whether it is worth your while to submit a request.

Lastly, as mentioned, this will be an absolutely free service and is meant more for people that may have some hardships due to COVID-19. That being said, it is open to everyone. If you feel that you aren’t someone that is going through a difficult time with COVID-19 and are able to pay for the service, I will find a local charity that is on the front lines ensuring that the people of our community have the necessities that they need to get through the pandemic and donate any funds I receive to said charity.

Thanks for reading.

Stay distant and stay healthy!

 

Unhappy AliExpress

My experience with AliExpress

I recently purchased some privacy screens for a client from AliExpress (specifically a reseller called “Sofia Store”). The reason being is that they were cheaper than what was available locally. In total I had two separate orders from the same supplier for 2 screens. One of the orders came in fine (they both actually arrived the same day as I ordered them only a day apart) and the second order came in damaged.

Because of the obvious damage to the packaging I had the foresight to take pictures of everything before opening it to see if the product was any good. Unfortunately I was correct in assuming that there was damage to the product as the privacy screens had dents and creases in them. It appears pretty obvious to me that something was dropped on the packaging creating the dents in the screens and rendering them unusable for my client.

I feel that I should also describe my previous experiences with AliExpress. I had already order a few things via AliExpress, mostly just glass and metal water bottles which all came in fine. However one other order that I had with AliExpress actually came missing part of the order. That issue was actually solved very quickly and the missing part was sent out. But, this means that so far a large percentage of my orders required fixing.

Back to my recent purchase, I entered a dispute in with AliExpress for the damaged privacy screens, thinking that with the pictures that I took and the obvious damage to the product, that it would be pretty quick and easy to get them replaced. Further to that I was actually planning to purchase at least 4 more and seeing as my clients are mostly in health care, I suspect that I could end up purchasing many of these every year. However, the person that received my dispute at Sofia Store (Sofia Lee) doesn’t believe that the pictures show the damage well enough and are refusing to refund me for the two screens.

When it comes to purchasing quality products from quality manufacturers I had come to the conclusion with electronics long ago that in the end it doesn’t save any money buying cheap hardware because the money you save in the hardware you pay for in headaches and time. I am now coming to this conclusion again but in terms of the resellers used to purchase products. Unfortunately 99% of the time even buying locally the products are the same as what one would buy from a site like AliExpress (everything comes from China anyway), but then it is the person you are buying from that has to deal with headaches like these instead of you and me.

At this point I am a very unhappy customer and rather than rant and rave about how ridiculous this is I will let you be the judge. What do you think of the pictures below?

AliExpress Damaged Product

AliExpress Damaged Product


AliExpress Damaged Product

AliExpress Damaged Product


AliExpress Damaged Product

AliExpress Damaged Product


AliExpress Damaged Product

AliExpress Damaged Product