Monday, 30 September 2013

Inspect Your Gadget

If my mind was your average CPU then my paranoid notions would be turned into interrupts that I’d regularly ponder upon. One such interrupt would concern my next job: am I ready for the day after tomorrow when I no longer have a job? But there is another, more inspiring yet similar interrupt there, too: what can I do so that the stuff I do for a living is also the stuff I would like to do, period?
There is a big catch there. We all want to do the stuff we love doing, but usually we have to take compromises along the way because we are unable to monetise our dream fulfilment. In other words, no one would be surprised to know I am unable to find anyone who would pay for me to play Mass Effect or watch movies. The trick, therefore, is in finding something that fulfils all the following conditions:
  1. It has to be something I like doing, preferably really like doing;
  2. It has to be something I am [relatively] uniquely good at, and
  3. It has to be something others might find beneficial to the point where it is better for them to pay me to do the job than do it themselves.
Coming up with potential qualifiers to the above offers plenty of room for creativity. The one answer that seems to constantly look me in the eye is: gadgets.
I dedicate a lot of my spare time to the exploration of gadgets. The definition of gadgets varies from audio stuff through video, computers and smartphones; my definition of “gadget” is a device that processes information, is generally used for entertainment purposes, and tends to cost a bomb.
 I can and I do regularly offer advice on which ones to get, where and how to get them, how to set them up, and most importantly – how to use them. You can argue that in this age of the Internet anyone can do all of the above, and I would agree with you; but in the real world I receive constant reminders to the fact this is not the case. Whether it’s fixing someone’s ill behaving computer, removing viruses, teaching people how to use their smartphones, setting things up, installations – it’s all happening. By now I’m used to being identified as the person to ask in matters of gadgetry and internets, but there is clearer evidence for my reputation at hand. I was informed by multiple sources of a board meeting where a manager was told off for ill configured gadgetry and ordered to “go to Moshe” to address the matter. And I did. And it took me two minutes.
This last example provides shows my services can have the potential to be a source of income. But there’s more: I think of my father in law losing his smartphone a day after I offered to lock his Android with a passcode for him, and the anxiety he went through till his phone was found. I think of various family and friends whose PCs are so full of malware I would never dare put a password of mine in; surely, using crippled computers costs them, both in time and in finding themselves the victims of fraud (as has happened through Java vulnerabilities). I think of the people who want to take control of their online privacy but do not have a clue where to start. I think of the relatives I know who spend fortunes on the latest and greatest, only to buy themselves an expensive brick because they have no idea how to use their latest gadget (this particular issue applies, in descending order of size, from TVs to smartphones). And I think of all the people I know for whom I could save hundreds were they to consult with me before purchasing their gadgets.
All of the above have two things in common:
  1. They did not consult with me at the right time, and
  2. Consulting with me would have saved them money. In most cases that amount of money can be easily measured.
In other words, all I need to do to start my own gadget advisory is make people realise I can save them this money, and that my services would cost less than going blind. But how do I do that?
At this stage I was thinking of a very low key affair. After all, it’s not like I have time for this. First, need to find what I need to do in order to fulfil the legal obligations that come with taking money out of people. Then, second, I’d be ready to start my marketing campaign. And since this all idea is more for fun rather than money, at least at this stage, I was thinking of putting out a website offering local gadgetry help and seeing where the wind blows. This will also give me an opportunity to learn how to erect a website from start to finish all on my own (I will probably use WordPress).
Caveats? Sure. I suspect there will be plenty of issues for which I will not only not know the answer, but will also fail to be able to find the answer. For someone offering generic gadgetry advice it is hard to expect familiarity with the full range of stuff out there. Plus there are definite gaps in my knowledge base, with Windows 8 being the most obvious. I will also lack the means for dealing with hardware failures. Still, I do not see problems there of a grade that tell me this is all a pipedream and I should move on.

Given this is all at the dream stage for now, requiring a major [cataclysmic] event to trigger major efforts, I find daydreaming names for this gadget business of mine a rather entertaining affair. So far, though, my mind seems locked on Inspector Gadget.
With that name being taken, I find myself thinking along the lines of Inspect Your Gadget. The logo would feature a smartphone put under the magnifying glass.


Image by giltay, Creative Commons license

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