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Best Results From Bartering Computer Services? 1022

Posted by simoniker
from the money-for-nothing dept.
silicon not in the v writes "Last night I was over at some friends' house. They had cable modem with no firewall and tons of spyware, etc. on their system. They complained about all the popups and how bad it was that they were afraid to let their kids on the computer, so I set them up with ZoneAlarm, Ad Aware, and Firefox to get it cleaned up. In return, the husband, who is a chiropractor, gave my wife and I a free adjustment. What other interesting services or benefits have people been able to get by bartering IT/programming services?"
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Best Results From Bartering Computer Services?

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  • by ebh (116526) * <ebh-slashdot@hST ... .org minus berry> on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:05PM (#9240880) Journal
    I will fix your computer in return for one of these [thinkgeek.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:14PM (#9241034)
      best thang i ever got fixing a computer was a view up the users skirt.. no panties and all landing strip baby.. i would have stayed under that table for hours if id had more napkins... ;-)
    • anyone (Score:5, Funny)

      by metalhed77 (250273) <andrewvc@gm a i l . com> on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:19PM (#9241109) Homepage
      anyone wearing that shirt rightly deserves the social ostracization that will ensue.
      • Re:anyone (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rdewalt (13105) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:52PM (#9241558) Homepage
        I have one, it was bought for me. Many people who know me, know I've no problem at all if people ask if I can help, nearly every one has offered me something in return. (A couple bucks, a 6 of beer, a pizza, some home-made cookies...).

        But there are too many people out there who -DEMAND- that you help them, and not only have no intention of saying thanks, or even "Hey, what do I owe you?" but "You get paid for this? All you did was press keys."

        You're right. I've had total strangers in the grocery store, read my shirt, and you can -see- the "Maybe he can help me/No wait, he looks like he'll tear my arms off..." conflict. The ones that I see, I -do- offer my services to...

        I get paid quite well in my 9-5 to repair computers, servers, you name it. When I am home, the last thing I need is to hunt down nine hundred copies of "Gator" and so forth because they clicked "Yes" on every gaim window and so forth.

        The chiropractor in the above, wouldn't crack and pop my back into place for free... He, like I, have bills to pay, food to eat, beer to aquire... For friends and family, always free. Total strangers owe me guinness and a promise to never, ever, click "Yes" on those "trust content from...." boxes.
      • Re:anyone (Score:4, Funny)

        by pestie (141370) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:59PM (#9241635) Homepage
        You're not kidding! In this LiveJournal post [livejournal.com] I describe my experience with that shirt in a strip club.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:29PM (#9241256)
      I will fix your computer in return of one of these [realdoll.com].
    • Re:I'll take... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Suppafly (179830) <slashdot@s[ ]afly.net ['upp' in gap]> on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:30PM (#9241276)
      I have one of those shirts, but oddly enough everytime i wear it, I actually get more requests from people to fix their computer problems..

      I've had waitress's ask me computer questions while I was waiting for food to arrive because of that shirt. All it does is tip people off that you know about computers.
      • by Feanturi (99866) on Monday May 24, 2004 @06:51PM (#9242617)
        I've had waitress's ask me computer questions while I was waiting for food to arrive because of that shirt. All it does is tip people off that you know about computers.

        Perfect, this gives us the v2.0 of that shirt, which should read:

        No, I will not fix your computer

        then in smaller text, lower down:

        ...unless you give really good head
    • by Tired_Blood (582679) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:43PM (#9241453)
      You should ask for this [thinkgeek.com] instead.

      It just seems more appropriate.
    • Re:I'll take... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SalsaShark79 (750673) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:55PM (#9241599)
      This is a third-party story, but still relevant.

      My Dad commutes to work every day on the train. He's gotten to be pretty friendly with the conductors/engineers over the past couple of years. One of them mentioned his troubles setting up a wireless network in his home, and my Dad offered his services to work the kinks out for him. It was a frustrating day's work getting everything tweaked just so, but it turned out to be worth it - he hasn't had to pay for a train ticket in about 3 years now. As an added bonus, whenever there's a concert or a Red Sox game, the conductors leave one car empty for my Dad and the other 'regulars' so they don't have to ride home with a train full of drunken yahoos.
    • Join a Barter Group (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TaraByte (660047) on Monday May 24, 2004 @07:41PM (#9242965) Homepage
      I'm a member of the Valley Barter Group [valleybartergroup.com] in Phoenix.

      I am able to trade out computer services for barter bucks which I can use to get food catering, so I don't have to spend time shopping/cooking.

      The added bonus of joining a barter group is that people are way more willing to spend barter bucks than cash, so you can get value out of people who wouldn't otherwise pay you. It is also good for increasing business when you don't have a lot of it already.
  • Benefits. (Score:5, Funny)

    by saintlupus (227599) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:06PM (#9240888) Homepage
    What other interesting services or benefits have people been able to get by bartering IT/programming services?

    Beer. And lots of it.

    --saint
    • by IthnkImParanoid (410494) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:10PM (#9240976)
      Beer. And lots of it.
      Yes, and preferably while doing the work. Pizza/Chinese food afterwards.

      Girlfriends and mothers get tech support for free, because one puts out and the other put me out. (Not in Soviet Russia)
    • by ChadAmberg (460099) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:12PM (#9240996) Homepage
      Kinda scary, but at one point I actually had too much beer. I was helping out a roommate who owned one of those movie theater/bars with the cute waitresses.
      Lotsa free suds later I found myself playing the criminologist in the Rocky Horror Picture Show...

      And someone out there even has pictures!
    • Re:Benefits. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Total_Wimp (564548) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:48PM (#9241509)
      My only barter experience was in the early-mid nineties when people were just starting to talk abouut cyber-cafe's. A friend called me late one night saying the proprieter of the local coffee house was haveing a problem with his computer getting connected to AOL. I came by and fixed the problem and he said I could have anything on the menu.

      This is were it got good. I asked him what he would recommend, not becaus I didn't understand what a latte was but because the proprieter always knows what he does best. He suggested I try a Turbo Cola. I said, "huh?"

      Here's ther recipie:

      3-4 ice cubes of frozen, high quality coffee.
      2 shots of espresso
      Fill the rest with Coke.

      This turned out to be my all time favorite coffee drink. The creamy head is equal or superior to Guiness, the flavor is perfect and I've never gotten a better rev.

      The monetary value of this barter is nothing to get excited about, but the store went out of business a short time after this event and I know I'm one of only a select few that got a crack at one of these drinks. I make if for myself fairly often and know that this recipe is worth far more than the drink itself. If you've never tried a coffee-cola give this recipe a try. Every person who tries one of these and loves it just increases the value of that one, simple job I did.

      TW
  • by cflorio (604840) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:06PM (#9240894) Homepage
    Isn't this the story line for some cheap porno film??
  • by karmatic (776420) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#9240899)
    I do some work for an ISP, and I get a couple of servers hosted for free, including bandwidth.

    I also have a nice thing going where I host his users (on my servers), and he sends people needing web design to me.

    It works out nicely.
  • Adjustment (Score:3, Funny)

    by JPM NICK (660664) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#9240901)
    I have no problems fixing lady's computers for a return "adjustment"
  • taxes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dbizzle (603994) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#9240902)
    I get my taxes done for free after setting up a Samba domain for a local accountant here in my area. Pretty nice if you ask me.
    • Re:taxes (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:49PM (#9241515)
      Well, big deal...

      After "fixing" a computer for the government I get my taxes for free.

      Beat that...

      Ps. In case you work for the FBI, disregard the statement above.
  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#9240906)
    Well my comp sci teacher lied to me. Apparently, you can't barter computer skills for sex. Bastard!
  • by mrwonton (456172) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#9240910) Homepage
    About all I've ever managed to get for helping my friends with their computer troubles is their recommendation to their friends to bug me to help them. A losing proposition all around.
    • Too true.
      What are we doing wrong?

      (I'd like to think that all of the time spent on my parents' computers would lead to the eventual "barter" of an inheritance, but it seems the casinos will keep that from ever happening.)

      <grrr>
    • by TLouden (677335) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:26PM (#9241200)
      At the right price you can get them to pay you AND recomend you to friends who in turn do the same. Hasn't failed for me yet though I'm sometimes needed at 3 places in one day and with school and a couple of part time jobs that can be quite a trick to pull off.
    • by maximilln (654768) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:30PM (#9241274) Homepage Journal
      I get the same thing.

      My friends will always complain and moan and complain and moan about their computers being hosed and their connections being slow. One even complained constantly that he couldn't get his new wireless AP to service the whole house, or how he was going to have to run a separate hardline down to the basement so that he could hook up his new Xbox.

      Now these are people I've known all my life. One time I discussed, with a third-party friend, the possibility of offering my services for a fee. We both agreed,"Look, if you try to charge them for it not only will they decline, but they'll redouble their computer complaints, everyone will have to listen to it, and you'll be lucky if they offer you a beer next time you're over to watch the football game."

      So I cleaned their computers and set up their wireless AP with full WEP and MAC filtering for free. Sure I got a few beers and a chicken dinner out of it but it's still a bit of a kick in the pants. I save them $200 and I get the luxury of watching the football game with them? How about they pay me $200 and get the luxury of watching the football game with me?

      Ahhhhhh... to have a house, a big screen TV, and a well-stocked refrigerator. Then people would be jumping to fix _MY_ problems.

      Yeah right...
      • by Hiro Antagonist (310179) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:51PM (#9241547) Journal
        I look at as a simple cost-benefits equation. Does the cost of my time fixing my friends' computer problem equate to a net personal benefit to me (in terms of good will, feel-goodness, etc)? Would adding money change the picture?

        There are some people I'll help out with computer issues without charging them; these are the friends that know what I do for a living, yet rarely ask me for a favor. The friends that just assume I'll fix things for free and ask for stuff all the time get the standard thirty-bucks-an-hour line.

        Personally, I think I'm better off with friends that actually like me enough to not try taking advantage of me.

        I'm also nominally more willing to help those learning Linux, partially because I know the system better, and also because it's one of the ways I can give back to the community.
        • by pclminion (145572) on Monday May 24, 2004 @06:42PM (#9242563)
          Does the cost of my time fixing my friends' computer problem equate to a net personal benefit to me

          The fundamental problem with this analysis is the assumption that the worth of your time is a constant. For nearly everyone, it certainly is not.

          I've seen plenty of people on Slashdot evaluate their time in terms of their hourly wage. This is completely bogus. If you work a 9-5, then the value of your time between the hours of 7 and 8 PM has absolutely nothing to do with your work wage. You aren't at work between the hours of 7 to 8 PM anyway, so it makes no sense to value your time based on that standard.

          For some, their off-work time is worth less than on-work. For example, people who are paid double-time to work weekends might jump at the chance to give up a few hours lounging around on Sunday in return for a few hundred bucks.

          On the other hand, you have people like me, whose off-work time is so valuable that I doubt there is a quantity you could pay me (ok, within reason) to get me to come to work on Saturday. I don't think I'd do it even for $1000 a day. Okay, maybe as a one-time deal, but not consistently.

          Personally, I think I'm better off with friends that actually like me enough to not try taking advantage of me.

          That's why I have very few "friends." People sometimes ask me if I'm lonely. I respond that I have just as many friends as they do, it's just that I don't refer to my casual acquaintances as "friends." The three or four close friends I do have, would probably give up limbs for me, and I'd do the same.

          I realized long ago that the effort of maintaining the less serious casual acquaintances just wasn't worth it. Pick your real friends and then direct all your energy toward those people. Nobody else matters.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:52PM (#9242148) Journal
      being known as "the computer guy" gets a lot of, "Hey, can you look at my computer." I also do quite a bit of auto mechanics, "Hey, can you look at my car."

      My next skill, OBGYN!

  • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#9240912) Homepage Journal
    When I was a student, I set up an old 8086 "XT" class machine with DOS and 8-in-1 office software for a small restaurant. Basically just duplicated their ledger in the spreadsheet. I ate breakfast there all summer for free.
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) * on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:07PM (#9240918) Homepage
    Not direct bartering per se, but I have received number of creative offers from fans of my game [jardinains.com].

    My favorite thus far was an offer from a couple in Ireland who offered a night's lodging and a hearty Irish breakfast should we ever visit their fair country--in exchange for the bonus level pack.

    Even though we probably won't hav ethe opportunity to take them up on the offer anytime soon, it was made in earnest, and I was happy to send them a copy of the level pack in return. Even though I can't buy beer 'n' pizza with it, this "barter" has proven far more memorable than the typical few bucks plonked in the PayPal account...

  • IRS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rawgod0122 (574065) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:08PM (#9240924)
    Better watch out for the IRS. You have to claim barter on your taxes!
    • Re:IRS (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:12PM (#9240998)
      What if you get sex for bartering computer skills? Would that be prostitution? Do you have to itemize? Can you deduct it? I'm intrigued.
      • Re:IRS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:29PM (#9241245)
        As long as you are not exchanging money for sex, you are not in danger of breaking any laws. In fact, that's how "Escorts" still survive, you pay them for their time, anything you decide to do with that time is not included in the price. Or you're just "tipping" them.
        Of course if prostitution was legalized, there would be a lot less crime in this country, and the spread of diseases would be WAY down (ala the red light district in Amsterdam). I've known people who have traded various smokeable items for computer work in the past, that and car service are the two most memorable exchanges. Generally if somone is willing to trade sex for computer service, you're either already dating them, or the sex isn't worth the price paid ;-)
  • by eaddict (148006) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:08PM (#9240926)
    I want someone to come over and mow the lawn or power spray the deck. Minimal skill needed. I'll even supply the equipment! No downloading of a mower/sprayer needed. I'll even make sure they have gas! If I mention those as a 'trade' for my time and skill EVERYTIME they say they will find someone [historybuff.com] else.
  • by YodaToo (776221) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:08PM (#9240928) Homepage
    ...I have this friend who is a proctologist and he was having computer problems and...
  • by dbc (135354) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:08PM (#9240932)
    a friend is a partner in and the brewmeister of a local microbrewery -- i fixed network printing for his back office staff.
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:08PM (#9240933)
    "I'm here to fix the comptuer."

    "It's in the bedroom."

    "This is going to be a long, hard job."

    "Maybe my roommate can help."
  • by djcreamy (729099) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:08PM (#9240937) Homepage
    I fixed computers for hundreds of women. I think one of them later smiled at me. Sure she was nailing my jock roomate, but I still think I came close to losing my virginity...
  • maybe... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Giganight (575263) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:09PM (#9240957)
    maybe if you gave them linux you could've gotten the "happy ending"
  • Oh, come on (Score:5, Funny)

    by varjag (415848) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:10PM (#9240962)
    You could just name this story "I am a geek and married".
  • Plastic Surgery (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hanssprudel (323035) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:10PM (#9240966)
    I had plastic surgery to my face (the removal of six ugly moles) in return for doing some SEO (nothing unethical, just getting the right search terms in the right places) to the surgeons homepage that brought it into the first place on most search engines when one searched for "breast enlargement" (in the local language).

    I think that beats your bone bending...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:12PM (#9241005)
    I have this neighbor who works at the NSA. He isn't really the bartering type. He, instead, prefers ominous threats.

    Anyway, one day he walked over to my house, knocked on the door, and demanded that I help him get all the crap off his computer. Since he's never too nice to me, I asked him why I should do this. He said if I didn't he'd make me an NSA test case for subdermal tracking devices. Empty threat, I thought to myself.

    Well, I was wrong. Now I have the black vans that seem to track me at a distance. They do a good job of staying out of sight, but I know they are following me. I guess I'm comforted by the fact that someone, somewhere knows my neighbors IP and what web sites he visits.
  • I have gotten... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dlur (518696) <{dlur} {at} {iw.net}> on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:13PM (#9241010) Homepage Journal

    In return for my services in fixing friends and family's PCs and printers I have recieved:

    Beer
    Free labor on replacement of my water heater.
    Free server hosting
    A kitchen faucet (a nice lifetime warranty Moen one, but not the kitchen sink to go with it)
    Discounted closing on my home mortgage
    Supper
    More Beer
    Lots more food, including gift certificates to nice restaurants

  • by ErnieD (19277) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:14PM (#9241020)
    I fixed up my pastor's PC, and in return he has saved my eternal soul. :)
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:15PM (#9241045) Homepage
    Yep you heard me.

    Actually, I was going to get the sex anyways, the small perl script was just what I did to prolong the sex.
  • by grendelkhan (168481) <scottricketts@nOspam.gmail.com> on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:19PM (#9241100) Journal
    I've gotten a stovetop griddle (great for making a family load of bacon and eggs), movie tickets, countless meals, short term loans when I ran into unforseen expenses, a really nice pear tree that will be going up in my yard as soon as we close, and the love and respect of my family. Even if I didn't get anything from being the resident geek for two families, I would still do it for all the times I've been helped out when I needed it.
  • by Grimster (127581) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:20PM (#9241125) Homepage
    I've traded computer help and web hosting and computer equipment for loads of stuff and services. A few examples:

    a boat and trailer
    snakes (pet snakes)
    several dinners both home cooked and for restaurants
    a condo for a week on the gulf
    brownies and fresh baked goodies from Publix
    remodeling on my house
    stove
    fridge
    tires for my car
    VCD's of old DragonBallZ bootlegs
  • by 72beetle (177347) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:22PM (#9241143) Homepage
    I did some REAL minor graphic work (changing 3 buttons for their website) for a firm a few months back... one of the provisions of my day job's contract is that I'm forbidden from doing any outside work, so I asked my boss if I could do a little one-off on the side as long as no money changed hands, and he agreed... so I got the side folks to give me a new bowling ball instead of cash - everyone happy all around!

    By the way, the new ball added almost 30 pins to my average right out of the gate. If you can lay your hands on an original Spirit, they're awesome!
  • by coloth (630330) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:22PM (#9241146)
    OK, so maybe there was a bit more than computer services involved, but after spending some late nights with a friend of the family optimizing his system and setting up a wireless network, he offered me their condo in San Francisco for six weeks! I'm now living there, having a great time!

    By the way, I long ago decided not to charge money for my services. I always get something much more valuable when I ask for in-kind payment!

    Wish you were here! ;)

  • by blystovski (525004) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:23PM (#9241155) Homepage


    [ex girlfriend] I'm having problems with my PC, I keep getting popups and it freezes all the time.

    [me] That stinks...

    [ex girlfriend] Would you come over and fix it for me?

    [me] I'm kinda busy lately...

    [ex girlfriend] I'll make it worth the trip ;) ;) ;)

    [me] Leaving now!!!

    ...and it was really gwood, too! :-D
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:23PM (#9241160)
    Last night I had some geek come over to my house who wanted to install some crap on my computer. I let him, and in return I got to fondel his wife. I called it "adjusting".
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:26PM (#9241202)
    One of my mother's coworkers was having a lot of trouble trying to get her ancient (read Pentium I) computer updated and online so I did about 6 hours total work on the machine over the course of a few weeks in my spare time. I hooked her up with NetZero service and various other programs she wanted, and set the computer up for ease of use by an extremely amateur user. Despite her trying to pay me each time I was there, I only accepted sodas while I worked, insisting that it was such an easy job that that was all the compensation I needed.

    A month or so before I moved into my first apartment she was moving out of her one-bedroom to live with her new fiance, and so in return for my work she called me up and gave me all the furniture from her old apartment provided I move it out.

    I ended up getting a futon, couch, kitchen table and chairs, two clothes chests, a couple end tables, and a slew of kitchen stuff (plates, glasses, pots etc), all in excellent condition. She essentially totally furnished my new place and it cost me nothing.

    I consider this to be the best example of good karma at work I've experienced to date.

  • Lots of stuff (Score:4, Interesting)

    by linuxwrangler (582055) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:27PM (#9241222)
    Back in the 80s I did custom programming for small businesses. The vast majority were just basic pay for services but sometimes there were alternate agreement. For example, that's how I got my private pilot's license.

    Another client distributed natural foods and always sent me off with a few bags of goodies - they always had a stack of stuff that was fine except for damaged labels and such.

    I ended up with some suits/ties/etc. from a men's clothier.

    Dealing with IRS accounting for all that is a pain, though. :)
  • by ItsIllak (95786) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:28PM (#9241228) Homepage
    OK, other way around really but the priest who erm, "runs"? my local church (he didn't actually perform either my wedding or child's christening due to illness, but his church nonetheless) has been getting free Excel support ever since.

    It's getting to be a running joke that each week or two he'll turn up at the door with printouts in hand and an unquenchable need for tea.

    So I guess he bartered christian services for MS Office development and support services.
  • by clintp (5169) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:29PM (#9241247)
    Dear Penthouse Letters,

    I never thought I'd be writing to you, but ....
  • Yoohoo (Score:5, Funny)

    by QuasiCoLtd (727325) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:41PM (#9241432)
    No kidding, a year or so back my mother's boyfriend asked me if I could come over to one of his friends house to fix a problem he was having with his computer. It was about 8 or 9 on a Sunday evening , my only day off I might add, but I said "sure". After hearing a description of the problem I determined it was Blaster so I loaded up my trusty pen drive with the removal tool and Ad-aware. After spending 45 minutes removing blaster, patching, removing around 300 bits of spyware (according to Ad-aware),and defragmenting I figured the guy was going to hand me a twenty or possibly even a fifty (he owned a used car dealership) for doing all that work and making it to where his computer was usable again. What was my grand reward for taking over an hour and a half (this includes driving time) of my time on a Sunday night? A yummy bottle of Yoo-Hoo chocolate drink. The sad part is that if I had killed him I would be considered the criminal.....
  • Geek heaven (Score:5, Interesting)

    by isomeme (177414) <cdberry@gmail.com> on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:20PM (#9241838) Homepage Journal
    In college, I was approached by one of my girlfriend's dormmates, a good-looking blonde poli-sci major who'd procrastinated on some statistical thing she needed to do on the campus computer system. She was in danger of failing a class if she didn't get it done over the weekend, and she literally didn't even know how to log into the system.

    So, after much hinting and many awkward silences, she blurted out that she'd do anything I wanted if I bailed her out. Surely at that moment I achieved a permanent place in the Geek Hall of Fame, perhaps in the Absurd Fantasies wing.

    But it gets better. You see, I was very happy with my girlfriend at the time (whom I later married), and I didn't want to mess that up by sleeping with someone she saw every day and whom I didn't trust to keep quiet. So I turned her down.

    For the sex, anyway. I had her take me out to dinner instead. The stats thing she needed took me 20 minutes to run.

    I was walking on air for some time after that, just based on the principle of the thing.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @06:32PM (#9242471)
      Has having a girlfriend robbed your mind of the geek code?
      1. If you can't fix her computer problem, you send her to another geek who can.
      2. If you can't sleep with her, you send her to another geek who can.
    • by pipingguy (566974) on Tuesday May 25, 2004 @01:42AM (#9244809) Homepage

      A classic:

      A graduate student of mathematics who used to come to the university on foot every day arrives one day on a fancy new bicycle.

      "Where did you get the bike from?" his friends want to know.

      "It's a `thank you' present", he explains, "from that freshman girl I've been tutoring. But the story is kind of weird..."

      "Tell us!"

      "Well", he starts, "yesterday she called me on the phone and told me that she had passed her math final and that she wanted to drop by to thank me in person. As usual, she arrived at my place riding her bicycle. But when I had let her in, she suddenly took all her clothes off, lay down on my bed, smiled at me, and said: `You can get from me whatever you desire!'"

      One of his friends remarks: "You made a really smart choice when you took the bicycle."

      "Yeah", another friend adds, "just imagine how silly you would have looked in a girl's clothes - and they wouldn't have fit you anyway!"

  • Law advice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:22PM (#9241859) Journal
    When I was going to college, I was working weekends in NY and going to school in Baltimore, and, well, I had a little accident on the New Jersey Turnpike where I sort of hit a Highway Patrol car in the snow at very low speed. He wrote me up a ticket for "careless driving," which would have sent my insurance through the roof.

    I was embarrassed about it, but I mentioned it to my although-I-didn't-know-it-wife-to-be, and felt that I had to plead guilty to the charge. She mentioned that her uncle was a lawyer in New Jersey, and that he was having trouble configuring his new Unix box (a Fortune computer, this was 1983.) A deal was quickly struck.

    I went up there for the weekend, and got his machine configured, and he told me about this spectacular precedent called the Wenzel case in New Jersey -- where no matter what the evidence is, if the cop didn't actually see you being careless he couldn't charge you with that. He refused to represent me, but he counseled me with exactly what I had to say. Basically, although I was acting in my own defense, I couldn't testify for myself -- I would merely cite the case.

    Well, traffic court in New Jersey was a long slow process, and I was the last one there when the cop finally deigned to appear. He gave his report, and I offered no explanation, but cited Wenzel, and the judge said "Get out of here." And so I did.

    That barter probably saved me many thousands of dollars over the next few years.

    thad
  • Marriage (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wheatwilliams (605974) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:35PM (#9241968) Homepage
    Seven years ago I was a 33-year-old bachelor who had a lot of work fixing friends' computers but who had given up on dating, let alone love.

    A nosy friend of my mother's fixed me up and introduction to a young lady. At the time I lived in Atlanta and she lived in Lafayette, Louisiana. We were both in school. We emailed each other and made a phone call or two for three months before she came to Atlanta to visit her mother.

    Now I do Windows, but at heart I'm a Mac guy. As soon as I introduced myself to this lady, I determined that she was a Mac user. She told me that her mother was a self-employed person who ran her business out of her home on a Macintosh, and that her mother needed a great deal of computer help, which she wasn't really able to pay for.

    (Lightbulb goes off).

    We met. Five months later she bailed out of grad school and moved to Atlanta. We were inseparable. And I spent a lot of time, gratis, helping her mother tackle her Mac problems and get her business and office under control. I upgraded both of them to newer Macs, largely at my own expense.

    When I asked the young lady to marry me, and she said "Yes," I went to her mother.

    I said, "Linda, how would you like a lifetime of free technical support?"

    (Wedding bells)

  • by Thai-Pan (414112) on Monday May 24, 2004 @06:29PM (#9242440) Journal
    I used to fix computers for friends for free just as a favour.. Then word travelled locally and I built a good reputation. People started offering me all sorts of things for computer help; free wine, beer, wine and beermaking accessories (all while I was underage), free weights (yeah, like I actually work out), cookies, dates with hot women (I never did and never will take a pity date), and eventually I became good enough at doing it that most of my offers were money. And so I registered a computer consulting business at age 16.

    I soon had people asking if I could build computers for them.. or tell them what to buy.. or better yet, if they could just hand me the money and I'd do it all for them. I mostly do it for money these days, but I regularly get tips because customers are happy with my level of honesty. Most of my tips are cash (about 10% tip on a whole computer, which is pretty big.. especially considering most parts only have 13% markup!) but I am still tipped with a couple cases of beer now and then. I've had customers ask if they could set me up with their daughters, I can get into a number of local clubs for free with no line, a few local gyms, and I get discount pricing on pretty much everything I buy.

    Computer skills can get you seriously networked with people. I think that's the most important part of all. My friends are always shocked at how many people I know. We'll be talking about, say... getting a car alarm installed on my friend's POS that's been stolen a million times. I know a guy who can hook us up on pricing. I know another guy who will install it for me for free. I know a woman at the insurance agency who will pull all the strings she can to see if the new alarm will lower the insurance rates. Knowing people in places will bail you out of a million and one situations.

    Forget favours like beer. Networking with people is important, and computer skills can do that for you.

    I'm now 20 and just finished my second year of university; I work fewer than 10 hours a week and make more money than the average bachelor degree graduate from my school. I usually don't brag, but I think that's a pretty good accomplishment.
  • by digitalgimpus (468277) on Monday May 24, 2004 @08:40PM (#9243300) Homepage
    Give me a treat, and I'll give you Mozilla.

    Give me a raging case of herpes, and I'll clean your PC of Spyware.

    Use your teeth, and I reinstall windows.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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