Website Design  |   Copy & Content  |   Graphic Design  |   Website & Email Hosting  |   Promotion  |   Back Up Strategies  |   Anti-virus Strategies  |   PC Networking  |   PC Upgrades, Repair, Sales  |   Training  |   Odd Man Out (non-tech)

professional mike
What exactly did you say Mike does again?
Um ... just about anything (within limits) that will keep the wolves from my door.

What I primarily do (when I ain't fishin'), is solve problems. Folks that want a website or internet presence ... dey got demselves problems. Folks with personal computers ... problems. Folks with networked computers ... problems multiplied. Folks connected to the internet ... problems dey don't even know exist. That's just the techie side ... what of your average homeowner? Problems. So what makes me think I can solve all dem problems? Been there, done that. Couldn't afford someone "qualified" to fix 'em, so I learned to do for myself, and have become quite adept.

Website Design

Websites. Big ones. Small ones. Intermediate sizes. Sites that stand on their heads and do tricks. Informational sites or e-commerce sites. Whatever you think you need, I can build. This site is one example, another may be found at www.deebcompanies.net. (O.K. ... I lied about sites that stand on their heads.)

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Copy & Content

Write your own copy? You've got a license to operate heavy equipment? I have years of copywriting experience. (Shucks ... just look at the high quality content on this here site ... stunning ain't it?) Don't bulldoze your sales with less than professional copy.

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Graphic Design

In the early 70's, I worked in the photo-typography industry, working with some of Atlanta's premier advertising agencies. As technologies evolved, I took that experience and employed it in designing numerous corporate presentation pieces and marketing materials. Along came the internet, and I went digital. I have designed professional image files that are scattered all over the internet covering a diverse range of industries and topics. Click here to view samples. (Please note, image files can be quite large, and correspondingly take a while to "load". Since my "samples" page is 99% image files, the page will load slowly. Please be patient.)

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Website & Email Hosting

Beginning as low as $14.95 a month, I can register your domain name, host your site, fill it with all sorts of bells and whistles (like shopping carts, email addresses, anonymous ftp capabilities, etc.), and make it sing. Give me a few years, I'll probably be able to make it drive you to work, water the garden, put out the cat, and remember your spouse's birthday.

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Promotion

"Build it, and they will come." Yeah, right. Maybe a ball field in a cornfield in some Hollywood movie, they will come. Driving traffic to your website just ain't that easy. Whether I build and host your site, or whether I have no part of your site whatsoever, I can register it with all the major (and a boatload of minor) search engines, help you maximize your search engine placement, and I'll clue you in to proven methods for promoting and advertising your site to maximize traffic.

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Back Up Strategies

Backups? I don't need no stinking backups! Until you've lost 3 years worth of data when a virus wipes you out or your harddrive fails, you haven't lived. I've 'lived' ... and learned. Backups that reside on your harddrive are worthless. The same virus that makes your machine unusable can, and will infect your backup files, rendering them useless. Should your drive fail, those backups are gone too. Backups made to diskette or tape are worthless when the tape gets "eaten" or the disk loses its magnetic code. Some common fallacies:

Knowing how to back up, what to back up, when to back up, and where to back up to combines to form a comprehensive backup strategy. As I said in the beginning, you haven't lived until you've lost it all. I've "lived", and sometimes living is highly over rated. Pay me now, or pay me later. With the former, you are assured complete recovery, with the latter ... it gets expensive, and you may or may not have all your files back. Can you afford to "live" like that?

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Anti-virus Strategies

Speaking of viruses ... SIGH. If you use email, if you are connected in anyway to the internet, if you merely BROWSE the internet, if you access files from an outside source (CD, diskette, etc.) ... you are vulnerable to virus infection. Most viruses are relatively benign, and more "pesky" in nature than anything. However, there are some really ugly muthas out there ... killer viruses that can and will wipe you out. And, contrary to what you may think ... antivirus software alone is not enough to protect you. New viruses are released faster than the anti-virus people can write the cure. I was recently infected by a "new" virus that was released exactly one day after my anti-virus program had updated its virus recognition files ... one day!

Worse yet ... that ain't all that's out there. Ever hear of mal-ware? Spy-ware? A whole new breed of applications (programs) that install on your system and do insidious things (like capture your confidential info and send it back to the program originator) are "bundled" with legitimate programs, and install on your system, without you ever knowing they are there! Imagine your surprise when your banking and investing account numbers and passwords are in the hands of others. Know how you find out? (You don't want to know.)

One such mal-ware program, newdotnet, is widely distributed in music-downloading programs. It installs when you install the program to download music, and once installed and if the "host" application is ever removed ... you lose your internet connection! Forever!!! Even the tech support people with New Dot Net, Inc. cannot resolve this problem. The ONLY fix, is to blow away your hard drive, reformat it, reinstall your operating system, and then restore from backup.

Protecting yourself from these infections (viral, mal-ware, spyware, ad-ware, etc.) requires a comprehensive anti-virus strategy, that includes antivirus software and hardware and software firewalls that work in concert with a Backup Strategy.

As good as I am, a virus recently got past my firewall ... it got past my antivirus software ... and it set up a "backdoor" into my computer. This allowed a "hacker" who could be anyone, anywhere in the world, to access my computer from his location, just as if it were his own! And, you want to know what the SOB did when he did access it? The bastid started dumping viruses into my machine! Only way I knew, was my antivirus software pops up a warning when a suspicious file tries to execute. I'm sitting there, minding my own business when thousands of warnings begin to appear. I yanked the cable that connects my machine to the 'net as fast as I could, but by that time the damage had already been done. My computer, and three of the computers attached to mine in my network, were infected beyond recovery. Fortunately, I employ a Backup Strategy, and had current backups stored redundantly offsite. Even still ... my network was down for two days while I rebuilt and restored it.

If your data and your time are valuable to you ... get with the Kamper. I can provide you with offsite storage for backups and teach you backup and antivirus strategies that keep you up and running. And when that data entry clerk downloads and opens that attachment you told her NEVER to download and open, and your network fries? ... I can clean you up, dust you off, and have you back crusing the 'net in no time.

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PC Networking

I have a bud who has three computers at his home. One is connected to the internet. He only has one printer, attached to another computer. His third computer is an old buggar (used to be his state of the art computer when he started his home business) that he can't get rid of just yet, as it still has important business records stored on it. And the guy bitches. He can never get on the 'net because his kid is online. The file he needs is on the other machine. He just created a really cool document that he can't print without moving the printer ... it's on the other machine!

Networking used to be difficult ... walk by a networked machine and belch, and the entire network crashed. Spend thousands of dollars making machines "see" each other, and pay some geek huge dollars to keep it all running. Fortunately, we have evolved.

$50 for a hub, $12 for a network card for his old machine, $15 for some Cat5 wire and connectors, $250 to the Kamper to set it all up, and my bud (above) is networked. He no longer fights with his kid over who gets to surf the 'net ... all three machines share one internet connection. They all share the same printer. He can access the files and programs on any machine from any other machine. Life is good. Well ... sort of. He has a wife and TWO kids, and that second child is demanding a computer of his own. Good thing that prices on computers have never been lower.

Whether your needs run towards connecting a couple of machines together, or you want to set up multiple LANs in an intranet configuration, the Kamper can hook you up, train you, maintain you, and trouble shoot or administer your network remotely.

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PC Upgrades, Repair, Sales

Back to my bud ... the one with that old clunker of a machine he refuses to get rid of. He asked if I could "upgrade" the puppy to bring it a tad bit more current. As it happens, I had some old parts laying around that were more current than his ancient machine. For a few bucks, I took a sow's ear, and turned it into ... well ... a better looking sow's ear. Remember that second child of his? Poor kid got the sow's ear, and dad went out and bought himself a brand-spanking new, top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art, name-brand system! Called me up and bragged about what a great deal he got.

Know the difference(s) between a name-brand system and a generic white box? There are two ... first, the name brand will be several hundred dollars more, and the second, the name brand will have this really nifty sticker proclaiming that it is a "name brand". Wow. My bud, bragging about his "great deal" made the mistake of telling me what he paid, and what all came with. $975 plus tax ... not too shabby. I went out on the net. I found the same system, all the same bells and whistles. Shipped to his door. Tax, title, license. The entire shooting match. For less than $500.

Before you buy, contact me. I'm not a dealer, but for a reasonable fee, I'll find you that system you want, and save you hundreds.

And when it breaks? Yeah ... unfortunately ... they do break. Parts fail. Things go wrong. The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. But you have choices ... take it back to some qualified service tech and wait forever ... then pay more than the damn thing would cost to replace ... or ... contact me. There's only so much that can go wrong, and I won't bullshit you. I'll tell you what it really needs and what that will cost, and I'll tell you what a complete replacement would cost. You then make the informed choice as to whether to fix it or scrap it.

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Training

I have another bud, who just retired from a middle management position with Cincinnati Milacron. A few years back, the Milacron decided that all their management level personnel would be trained and given computers. They hired in some techie consultant who talked from eight in the morning until noon about RAM-this and ROM that, BITS-this and BYTES-that. They broke for lunch, and beginning at one, he picked right up with BIOS-this and CMOS-that, HARD DRIVE-this and FLOPPY DISK-that. At three o'clock, he made the unforgivable mistake of asking, "Are there any questions?". My bud's hand shot right up. "I've just got one question," said he, "I only want to know one thing ... how do I turn the mother on?"

The moral of that story is, us techies often lose sight of the knowledge we have accumulated over the years and now take for granted. In training, we have to be able to remember back to when we didn't know "how to turn the mother on", and then teach accordingly. I have trained all age groups, including a little old grey-headed woman who couldn't operate her VCR, but who is now avidly exploring and enjoying the internet. Tell me what you want to do, and I can hook you up with the software you need to do it, and give you the knowledge to do it well.

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Odd Man Out (non-tech)

Life experiences ... gawd, I'm gettin' old. But in the process of gettin' old, I've learned quite a bit. I worked for years in construction in most all the residential trades, including framing, finished carpentry, painting, masonary, plumbing, electrical, garage doors, and windows and doors. In my younger days I owned and operated a home repair and improvement company called Odd Man Out, that provided most any home repair. I have shop experience from a stint as an auto painter, and further in fabricating, welding, building, and painting race cars. I don't like to bend wrenches, but have been known to do complete engine overhauls when necessary. I also once pulled a stint on the "arts and crafts show" circuit as a stained glass artist, and still have some inventory to peddle.

The purpose of the above (abbreviated) history, is simple ... I have resurrected Odd Man Out here in the Bay area.

Odd Man Out who in their right mind would put their projects in the hands of an Odd Man? Actually, while I admit to being pretty odd on occasion, oddity isn't the reason behind the name. Odd Man Out is catchy, easy to remember, and aptly describes what it is that I do odd jobs.

With age comes experience. What experience has taught me is that what the customer really wants is a good job at a fair price. I have the tools, the skill, the experience, and the knowledge. I treat each job as if it were for my late wife, and I do quality work. I save the customer where I can but never scrimp on quality. I stand behind my work.

If you are local to the Bay area, and need something done ... anything, call an Odd Man Out ... there is no better choice.

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