F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: What types of consulting services do you offer?
We offer extremely cool troubleshooting, training and technical support just for Mac users. We call it the three Ts (get it? Troubleshooting, Training and Technical support). And we offer it in a way nobody else does. We use a combination of phone, email and our unique Web-enabled, remote-computer control software (with your permission of course) to fix your problem or to teach you. We use plain English, not fancy schmancy computer jargon. Think of us as your personal Mac consultant. We'll even give you expert advice if you're debating what to buy. No matter what kind of Mac help you need, we make mouse calls!
Q: Are you coming out to my house?
No, we are not coming to your house. You do not have to get dressed or clean up. Once you describe your issue or problem, we match you with one of our experts. The two of you will talk via phone or email. If necessary, we can use our unique remote control software to see your screen, and move your cursor. So, dress is optional, bring a Web browser.
Q: Who are these people?
Our technicians are people who have worked as a Mac consultant or service technician for at least 5 years. In most cases it is a person I know personally, respect technically, and consider an amazing Mac expert. And, in fact, each of my expert technicians was cleared by the Queen of Mac tech support (and former president of the Washington Apple Pi Mac user group).
And, for what it's worth, those who passed the test are then blessed by yours truly after being knighted by the Queen.
Q: What do you mean by "resolution guaranteed"?
If you tell us the problem is "x" and we don't make "x" go away in the time frame we promised, we will either work on it until we are finished making "x" go away, or not charge you. We want every single customer to go away not just happy, but tickled pink. So if it takes us longer to fix your problem than we thought, the extra time is on us. Bottom line: If we say we'll fix it for "X" dollars, and it takes longer, you won't be charged a penny more than our estimate no matter how long it takes – even if it's days.
Q: If you find something else wrong while working on my problem, will you fix that too?
Well now, fair is fair. Say someone tells us their system has a dry wheeze, not realizing the system is actually hacking up large hairballs. It's hard to imagine, in fairness, we should spend all day fixing problems that were not described for the original estimate. So, if it develops that the problem "x" leads to a discovery of problem "y" (or even problems "y" and "z") -- and you want them all solved -- we will probably have to discuss a revised estimate. On the other hand, if it's a minor item and your expert technician, having had a fantastic breakfast, feels great and doesn't mind, then we are certainly not going to stop them.
Q: Can you help if I'm still running Mac OS 9?
Sure! Why not? We may take a look at what the impact would be on your life to go to Mac OS X, but we're absolutely available for Mac OS 9 and related software support if you haven't made the leap yet. And when you are ready to move over, we will be happy to help you migrate painlessly to Mac OS X.
Q: Do you work on hardware and software?
We do not work on hardware. We are focused on software from Apple and third-party applications that run on the Mac. If a phone call is not enough, we use our almost magical Web-enabled remote control technology to interact with your computer as if we were standing right next to you. We can't, however, actually materialize right next to you, so hardware house calls are not something we offer. Besides, AppleCare does a terrific job with Apple hardware. It is our recommendation that everyone should have AppleCare.
Q: How does this Web-enabled control thing work?
Very well, thanks. Except when you can't get online at all, of course, which puts you in the "phone support" category. Otherwise, you will get a teeny tiny little (500K) plugin for Safari that's compatible with firewalls, requires no pre-configuration, and uses encryption for your protection. Within seconds, your expert technician can fire-up a chat, push URLs to you, share files with you and most importantly observe and control your desktop remotely. They can even perform remote software diagnostics. You can see everything your expert technician is doing, and your permission is required every step of the way.
Q: Will it work with dialup?
At this point, we are saying no. It's better for both of us this way, because we think it would be so miserably slow that we would have to charge you a lot and we don't want that. If you're limited to dial-up, you can always see if we can solve your problem with a phone call. But as far as a remote control mouse call is concerned, sadly, we have to decline.
Q: If you're in control, how is that secure?
Like any good doctor, my minions and I will to do only good things when we are poking around your hard disc. Plus, you can see anything and everything that we do. Passwords are kept private from our experts, since you enter them and we only see the dots. We will not touch your personal data unless we need to and you say we can. If you get cold feet -- even for a second -- you can click the great big "disconnect" button that's on your screen at all times. Finally, all communications between you and your expert technician are encrypted so nobody can snoop on your sessions, not other expert technicians, not Bob LeVitus himself -- absolutely nobody.
Q: What's the difference between what you offer and AppleCare? Is this a competitor to AppleCare?
The differences are many and huge. First, AppleCare supports hardware and we do not. AppleCare supports Apple products only. We also support Apple software too, but that is the one thing we have in common among our many differences. Need help on a third-party product? Before us, you had to bug your friends. These days, we are here to help with whatever software ails your Mac. We also pick up the slack when the issue is third-party software working with the Apple system, because we're also system experts.
Think of AppleCare as a fantastic extended warranty and my staff and I as your expert consultant friends. Like an extended warranty, AppleCare is purchased up-front when you buy your computer (you either have it when your issue arises or you don't), while we offer only "pay as you use it" service. If you want help, just drop us a line. Also, we provide a totally different method of support with our unique Web-enabled control software option allowing our technician to actually see what's on your screen and move your mouse. It's secure, very fast and you can see exactly what's being done.
Bottom line: if you have AppleCare (and we recommend it), and your issue is within their support structure, you should call them. In that case, calling them is free and spending money for our help would be stupid. But if you're not covered by AppleCare, if your problem involves a third-party product, if you want buying advice, or help migrating to Mac OS X, or a private training session, or need our special method of online interactive help with your system, you need us. In other words, we pick up where AppleCare leaves off. No membership required. Any software that runs on your Mac. Interactive over the internet. Individual training. We support different.
About private data on your hard drive: You have an absolute right to your privacy. We will not touch your personal data, unless there is a specific reason to do so, in which case you have to give us specific permission in real time before we open anything. It may slow an interaction down, but we don't care. Your trust is way more important than time. In every interaction near your private data, you have complete control and we won't open a data folder or file until you tell us it's okay with you.
About your personal information given to us: Here too, we believe very much in your right to privacy. None of our customer information will be for sale or rent or trade or loan or shared in any way with any third party, short of a court order or legal requirement. Any personal information that you provide to us is held in confidence, including your contact coordinates, and any data from your drive supplied during any technical support interaction.