I first got started with computers in the 3rd grade, where someone had left a PET computer. I started actually working on other people’s computers when I was 16. At the time, I started by only charging $10 per hour for on-site help. Still, there were times when people wouldn’t have much cash but needed to get their computer fixed (often to write a resume) and they would offer other things in trade for service. In the past I’ve traded for a thanksgiving dinner, a bicycle, and one older woman and her husband tried to give me some wine and get me into their hot tub (I took the cash and ran for it on that one).
Possibly the best trade ever happened a few days ago. I was at a friends house and they were having problems getting their work VPN connected from home. As a simple favor I took a look. They said they could connect from hotels and on the road, but not from home. I suspected a NAT router config issue, but discovered there was a chain of routers throughout the house. Instead of hubs or switches, they bought and used routers to connect each room to the garage router where the cable modem was. After getting some cheap dumb hubs at the local computer store, the problem was solved.
He was so happy he could work from home the next day, he escorted me back to the garage and let me pick out something from his special collection. No, not his pron collection…
I must admit I’ve seen some pretty nifty swords in the local “sword and knife” stores and I’ve been intrigued, but I never wanted to be the guy that spent actual money on one. Now I have two of my own and don’t have to feel like a tool for buying them (sorry friendo, no offense)!