If you are like countless Americans, you have probably had or thought about having your computer serviced or set up by the Geek Squad. Purchased in 2002 by Best Buy, the Geek Squad has become the nation’s most visible computer repair business with its ubiquitous advertising, nerdy-but-cool uniforms and supposed technical know-how. Until last month, I was one of them. I wore that fashion disaster of a uniform, sold the services and hid the secret.
Yes, that’s right – Best Buy is hiding something from you about the Geek Squad. It’s called Agent Jonny Utah, or simply “AJU.” Google it, and you find a few scant references on The Consumerist, a longtime Geek Squad hater – but no real details. Dare to ask Best Buy what it is, and you’re lucky to get an answer, and you certainly will not get a straight one. So what is it? What is this insidious secretive program that allows Best Buy to employ underpaid and undertrained teenage technicians? It’s this:
The employees you talk to at the store don’t fix your computer. How could they?: They’re expected to spend most of their time on the sales floor pitching Geek Squad setups, moving from customer to customer like some door-to-door insurance salesman. So who fixes it if the “technicians” are actually just selling? Agent Jonny Utah, that’s who. Agent Jonny Utah is a program rolled out by Best Buy in 2006 that allows technicians in a remote location to access computers needing repair, and perform software repairs remotely. These remote technicians are located (of course) in India. We would hook the computer up, select the service to be performed, and head out to the sales floor to sell some more services while the laughably incompetent Indian technicians attempted to fix the computer remotely.
During my last few months with the Geek Squad, AJU usage reigned supreme in how our job performance was rated. We were absolutely forbidden to repair any computer that we could shove off on AJU instead. Yes, you read that right – they made us actively participate in outsourcing our own jobs. Even worse, Jonny Utah takes on average between two and four days to complete a service that I am capable of completing in six hours. Best Buy didn’t care. The managers’ performance is rated partially based on how much their store uses Jonny Utah, and believe me, their bonus reigns supreme over customer satisfaction. I finally decided to leave the company when I was ordered to lie to customers regarding the AJU program. I brought up the point that it was going to make a lot of customers angry, and I was instructed never to tell them that a remote technician had worked on their computer. If they somehow did find out, I was told always to say I had no idea where they were located – even though I knew from speaking with several of the technicians that they were located in India.
So, consumers of America, bear this in mind before you haul your computer containing your precious data in to a Best Buy: the nerdy looking kid you talk to at the counter isn’t going to fix your computer. A technician whose very existence Best Buy refuses to acknowledge will be accessing your computer. He or she will be doing so from a foreign country that does not have America’s consumer privacy laws, and your data could very well be at risk for theft. He or she will also likely be undertrained, underpaid, and care very little for the quality of your repair. Why should they care? They don’t have to talk to you. Demand the truth from Best Buy. It may well be the reality of the 21st century global economy that outsourcing is necessary – but lying about it is never necessary or acceptable. Be sure that you are equipped with all the facts about who has access to your computer and your data before you make your decision, and do not fall victim to slick marketing and disarmingly bad fashion.
Losing a tooth can be as scary to a child as the imaginary monster in their closet. Some children embrace losing teeth, but others balk at the idea because that means they are growing up. Most parents buy into the idea of a tooth fairy, just the same as they pretend to be Santa or the Easter Bunny. The money found under the pillow the next morning eases the growing pains of losing teeth.
How much should the Tooth Fairy leave? That is a hot topic discussed among children at school. According to several sites that discuss this topic, the going rate is about $1 per tooth. One
Presidential or Sacagawea dollar is perfect since they aren’t used much in the general public anyway. Setting the bar any higher than a dollar could put a strain on households with tight budgets and several children. Giving $20 per tooth can be expensive, especially since Tooth Fairy may not remember that if one front tooth has just fallen out, the other one is usually not far behind. While some tooth fairies may leave a bit more, it is good to stay in the average so your child doesn’t wonder why her friend got more money from the Tooth Fairy than they did, or worse, trying to work teeth loose that aren’t ready to come out just for the money.
Much like Christmas stockings, the Tooth Fairy has the option to leave little extras under the pillow besides money. It is very easy for Tooth Fairy to leave a note about the tooth, how shiny and clean it was, etc. and then leave a toothbrush and floss to encourage good brushing and flossing habits. A “Tooth Fairy” font is available for download on the Internet for free. However, since Tooth Fairy prefers good teeth, she shouldn’t leave candy as a treat. A nice extra to leave under the pillow are Chuck E. Cheese coins, but only do this if you are willing to take your child there in the near future.
One way to make your child’s first lost tooth special is to prepare ahead of time. A little silk or mesh bag can be purchased for about $1 at a craft store such as AC Moore and they come in various colors. Having a special bag for the tooth (one they can see through is preferable since you know they will be playing with it) is nice, especially since locating the tooth under the pillow quickly is a concern for Tooth Fairy. Tooth Fairy can then swap tooth for money and put the bag back under the pillow. I recommend leaving a note using the Tooth Fairy font and a new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss since this is the first visit. A sprinkle of fairy dust (a/k/a glitter) is also a nice touch.
What do you do if your child loses their tooth and you can’t find it? Have your child write the Tooth Fairy a note explaining the loss and include a map to where the tooth is likely to be. Tooth Fairy is one smart fairy and although she is a woman, she is skilled at map reading. Drawing crude maps, even if not to scale, is taught to kindergarteners in today’s schools. By having your child draw a map, they are using their spatial skills to draw a map and their communication skills to try to point Tooth Fairy in the right direction.
Oh no, Tooth Fairy forgot to come, now what do you do? This has happened to Tooth Fairies around the world to be sure. Just leave the tooth under the pillow for the next night. Tooth Fairy can leave a note about a “tooth emergency” and perhaps leave a little extra for your child. Accidents happen, even to the Tooth Fairy. Slipping money under the pillow after they have discovered the Tooth Fairy didn’t come is ill advised. Children are smart cookies and can easily figure out it was you who did it and not the Tooth Fairy.
What if your child comes home saying that someone at school told them there’s no such thing as the Tooth Fairy? The answer to this question is very simple. The Tooth Fairy only comes to children who believe. When the child stops believing, Tooth Fairy will no longer come for teeth and that means no more tooth money. Given that choice, most children will continue to believe in the magical Tooth Fairy. At least for a little while longer.
Not being as computer literate as I would like, I was a little intimidated as I drove up to the repair shop. My computer quit on me after I innocently slammed it on the floor, for what I like to call non-cooperation. The parking lot was filled with people who reminded me of the Geek Squad commercial, mulling around in the sunshine talking about cookies and bugs. I knew I was out of my element as I pulled in between a BMW, a VW, and an SUV. I made a mental note to initial my own car, but promptly canned that idea realizing it would be an FF.
Thank God the lady who greeted me was in my age range. She ushered me up to the counter and told me how nice I was to visit them. Obviously she didn’t understand that I would rather have had several boils lanced than be visiting her establishment. We set up shop and proceeded to discuss my problem, and as it turned out, I had several serious issues needing repair. I had the impression she was evaluating my moral and ethical character because of my flagrant disregard for my computer’s well being. I had neglected to update anti-virus protection, and the dog had slobbered on my screen, which, turns out, could lead to moisture collecting in the keyboard. Who knew? My dog loves to chase the cursor around the screen when I write.
She asked me if I had some program ( that NASA would struggle to decipher) installed on my computer. I said uhh, umm, noting a snicker from the gentleman behind me, impatiently tapping his foot. These people just don’t understand that the extent of my computer knowledge is turn on, find Word, type, copy, paste, and turn off. I’m still in a battle with the ink company because they tell me I need a color cartridge to print in black and white. I actually found myself explaining my Yankee thriftiness to Raheej, in India. I should know better.
Much to the delight of the tap dancer behind me, I left my laptop with the repair people and went home to twiddle my thumbs for two days. My inactivity was beginning to wear on my loving family. My sister ordered me out of her kitchen after I merely suggested we rearrange the cabinets. The kids didn’t appreciate my efforts to make a game out of cleaning their rooms. They ran to their mother like babies and tattled on me. My niece offered to buy me a new computer. When the repair shop called to tell me my computer was ready for pick-up, there was great joy in Mudville.
The lady could have tucked in an additional toilet break charge without me knowing it, because the list was so extensive. I had forgotten my reading glasses as I was being hurriedly escorted to my car by my nine year old grand nephew. Wanting to assert some imaginary control over my obvious disadvantage in understanding the bill, I spent a few minutes blindly examining the scroll. Alternately raising my eyebrows and nodding, I hoped to leave the lady with the impression that I was a mystery shopper, or even a plant for a “Dateline” investigation. She compliantly explained each eyebrow raiser in a language of tongues, as I feigned comprehension. I think we must have formed a bond of sorts, when my credit card company approved the charge, because both our eyebrows went up simultaneously.
It took me several months to become accustomed to my computer, struggling almost painfully to commit to memory each tap of the key to bring me to my comfort zone in the world of cyberspace. I will not live long enough to become re-accustomed to this one. Certain things are crucial to me when I use my computer. My pretty wall paper design is now a victim of that black hole everyone worries about. My nephew was peeved when I called him at work to ask where he thought my documents might be hiding. I had to call Raheej in India again, to walk me through re-installing my printer, and he was extremely condescending, referring to me as “little lady”. If he only knew. (He never mentioned the ink cartridge.) The next time this thing gives me an attitude, I’m trashing it and buying a new one, and Raheej can bite me.
The Adam Lambert AMA video was made for YouTube domination. Although the Adam Lambert AMA video was too graphic for some, YouTube has no problem showing it all. While Adam Lambert’s AMA performance is still setting YouTube on fire, and the rest of the Internet, Lambert himself has to live with the aftermath. Thus far, Lambert is reaping both the benefits and backlash of the AMA video, as he tries to focus on his actual album.
The Adam Lambert AMA video was meant to close the show with a bang, and get extra attention for his debut album. But as Lambert makes the rounds to promote “For Your Entertainment” the buzz is more focused on how he performed the title track with male slaves, make out scenes, and simulated oral sex at the AMAs.
Although Lambert released the official “For Your Entertainment” music video earlier this week, it is pretty much going by the wayside. The Adam Lambert AMA video likely has more YouTube hits than the official version of the song. But the extra exposure on YouTube and the rest of the Internet may help make up for it.
It is fitting that the Adam Lambert AMA video is a YouTube hit, for all the wrong or unintended reasons. Lambert rose to fame on American Idol in the first place because of hit live performances, and how they kept being downloaded online. That helped make his rendition of “Mad World” a viral hit, and made Lambert the Idol favorite up until the final week.
This time, a viral video and big live performance is working against Lambert, at least in the short term. Good Morning America canceled a planned concert, and the usual protesters are out to bash Lambert for his sexually charged, homoerotic display.
But in the long term, sales of “For Your Entertainment” have already gone up, and Adam Lambert will be laughing all the way to the bank. However, all the YouTube fame and increased sales may give him the wrong idea, in that he even needs to use shock value to get attention.
Lambert already captured much of America on American Idol with his voice and charisma, but his AMA video, and his glam album cover, may give him a reputation that overshadows his actual talent. For the moment, Lambert continues to defend his AMA video, and is still doing interviews and performances for those who will let him.
He has already accused those who were offended of using a double standard, since female performers have been more graphic in the past. Inevitably, Lambert’s homosexuality will be the overriding issue of why people may or may not have been offended, if it hasn’t already. That should keep the AMA video on top of the YouTube charts even longer.
Have you dropped your iPod touch amp; picked it up only to find out that it is pretty screen is now looking like something out of Charlotte’s web? Or, have you picked up your nifty small device only to see that your poor iPod touch’s screen is shattered? This article will go through a number of the potential repairs involved with the iPod Touch screen amp; the way you can prevent this from happening in the future.
One time you discover your device in it is unfortunate condition there is a variety of routes you can go from there. Plenty of customers take their beloved iPod Touch to the Apple store, only to find out that the apple care plan they bought excludes the screen. Plenty of of us would think, well then why did I buy the Apple care?
One time you sulk in your actions for long , you will revert to depression when the Apple store informs you that the screen repair is a whopping $200. This was serious sticker shock when I first saw it, a repair that costs as much as the device?
The next step would be to assess the destroy yourself. The repair is a lengthy repair, with the rubber surround being inevitably damaged on every removal. While the iPod Touch repair may appear simple, it is much more difficult than it may appear on the surface.
The other repair possibility is to send it off to an online repair company to have it repaired. The prices will range from about sixty to one hundred dollars depending on the generation iPod Touch you may have. This route seems the most logical ought to you select to salvage your device.
The last option is the at home repair. This option is feasible, but ought to be only tried by the semi-professional technician. The reason for this being that the intricacy of the parts directly under the screen are likely to be damaged by the untrained repair attempt.
Ought to you be worn out of your device amp; pick that you require to pony up for a new shiny one, there’s several places you can try to cut the cost of the new device. First, there’s several companies on the net that buy broken devices. Second, you can turn to eBay to see what the going rate is for somebody who has an interest in flipping your broken device.
Ought to you run in to the predicament of a broken iPod Touch screen, you will now have full knowledge on the choices available to somebody in your situation.
I became a true Apple enthusiast in 2001 amp; have continued to gain interest in the company’s product line since that time. In 2007, the revolutionary iPhone was released to the market amp; I decided to start a repair store for the distinctive device. At that time I founded http://www.iphone3gscreenrepair.com in order to meet peoples iPhone screen repair needs. In mid 2009 our company listened to the voice of our customers amp; added an iPod Touch screen repair service to our storefront. Since our beginning, they have repaired over 6000 devices amp; have truly perfected the process of repairing an Apple hand-held device. While they are most renown for our iPhone screen repair service, our customer base is quickly growing in the iPod Touch screen repair sector. They are known for our low prices, high quality repair, amp; high quality customer support.
Want to make sure your grandchildren don’t get bored on your next excursion? We all know how rowdy children and teenagers can get. Your grandchildren need time and activities that will allow them to release all their energy, but at the same time keep you from spending all of yours.
The next time you set out to do a little traveling with the grandchildren try some of these ideas, they will be a sure hit.
1. Indoor Waterparks. The Great wolf lodge has 12 locations nationwide in which you can visit with your grandchildren. Your grandchildren can play in the water park while you rest in the air conditioning. Great Wolf Lodge is open year round and includes an indoor water park, scavenger hunts throughout the hotel, fine dining facilities, and rooms with multiple bedrooms.
2. Ski Resorts are a great place for you to travel with your grandchildren. Even if you don’t ski, you can sign your grandchildren up for ski lessons. Ski resorts such as those found in Copper Mountain, CO will provide your grandchildren with top notch ski lessons. In the evenings enjoy a sleigh ride with your grandchildren, or take them somewhere nice to eat. Ski resorts are almost always family oriented and will provide hours of enjoyment for those who want to ski, and those who want to watch and relax.
3. Indoor amusement parks. Indoor amusement parks are found all around our country. The indoor amusement park found at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota boasts roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and a slew of other rides for every age child. Other indoor amusement parks of note would be Disney Quests Interactive Theme Park, and Go Bananas in Norridge, Ill.
4. Family Friendly Beaches. When traveling with your grandchildren make sure and remember how much children and teenagers love the beach. Family friendly beaches are easy to find and cater to all age groups. Try finding an ocean front condo or house that has private beach access and your grandchildren will have found a small piece of heaven. Rest and relax while at the same time being able to keep a watchful eye on your children. Beaches such as Stewart Beach in Galveston Texas, and Nags Head North Carolina are sure to offer value and amenities that will make traveling with the grandchildren more enjoyable.
5. Kid Friendly Cruises. Not sure you want to be in a car for 12 hours a day when traveling with the grandchildren. Look into a Kid friendly cruise. The best of these would have to be a Disney Cruise. Disney cruises give you an all inclusive travel experience and allow the children to play while you participate in a plethora of other activities available to you. Other cruise lines offer more affordable kid friendly cruises such as the Princess Cruises, and the Carnival Cruise line offer great amenities for children and their grandparents.
Traveling with your grandchildren can be a rewarding experience. Don’t let the most enjoyable part of your next vacation be when you get to drop them back off. Take advantage of these 5 ideas the next time you set out to travel with your grandchildren.