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Low Cost Support
Email Support: Just send me your question(s) to via contact page. Note in the email that you will pay by Paypal. I will answer your questions if I am able and will send a Paypal request for payment. It's your choice to accept that charge if you feel it is reasonable; it will usually be $10 - $30.00, sometimes less for really trivial problems. Yes, it's entirely up to you whether or not you pay me: of course, if you don't, I'm not likely to help you again.
Phone Support: When you call (425) 876-6000, tell me you are going to pay by PayPal immediately. I'll briefly discuss what you need, and I'll suggest an approximate charge if I feel I can help you. This will be at least $50.00 and you'll need to send that much before we continue talking. If there are additional charges after that, I will let you know and again it's up to you to pay it if you feel it's reasonable.

If you have to leave a message and aren't an existing customer, make sure you mention PayPal or some indication that you expect to pay.

I'll also do scripting (Perl, shell) with payment by Paypal on similar terms to phone: minimum $50.00 up front, additional charges as required.

Monthly Support: $250.00 by Paypal in advance covers you for one month for email and phone support. Phone support is limited by my availability and may need to be scheduled at some times. Although unlikely, there may be additonal charges if there is a high volume of phone support.
Hourly Support: Hourly billing, on-site Greater Seattle, WA area: 150.00/hour plus .95/mile round trip. Minimum 2 hours. This is usually your best choice if you don't anticipate on-going work.
PrePaid Hourly Support: 10 hour Prepaid blocks. Requires yearly retainer of $560.00. Mileage charges of .95/mile and any phone charges incurred will be invoiced monthly. This is the best choice if you anticipate needing more than a few hours. With prepaid blocks, the second and third block purchased are less expensive. Prepaid hours do not expire as long as yearly retainer is paid.

Minimum on-site is 15 minutes.

10 hours prepaid is $850.00. This REQUIRES the yearly retainer. Prepaid hours expire after one year if the yearly retainer is not renewed.

Sometimes people find this confusing, so an example might help:

Your first purchase is $850.00 plus $560.00 or $1,410.00. Each additional block of ten hours after that is $850.00.

The $560.00 fee :

* Covers all email support
* Covers the minor "nickel and dime" phone calls
* Renews unused hours that would otherwise expire
* Allows you to purchase additional 10 hour blocks at $850.00
* Reduces the minimum on-site time from two hours to 15 minutes.

I send statements every month showing time used, time remaining, and incurred mileage charges. If you have email, statements can be emailed to you whenever any time is used.

Mileage/misc. expense invoices are sent monthly.

Remote Support: Basic email Technical Support for $560.00 yearly. Phone and email support is $1,260.00.

Dial-in (telnet/ssh/remote desktop) is covered for up to 2 half-hour sessions with the $560.00 plan, up to 4 with the $1,260.00.

Per incident phone support: up to 6 incidents asked and answered by phone in a one year period: $400.00. Half-hour dial-in consumes 1 incident.

Phone/email support with prepaid blocks is covered by the $560.00 yearly retainer.

What is Support?

Support is assistance with identifying the source of a problem. I have many years of experience in this field, and maintain technical expertise to the best of my ability, but I cannot guarantee a resolution to any particular problem, nor can I promise that any solution I provide may not cause other problems.

I can't promise that I will resolve a problem in any particular time frame, or even that I am always able to turn our attention toward your problem at any given moment. All of my work is offered on a best effort basis only.

Phone support is provided through telephone, or sometimes by e-mail. The intent is to provide incidental support for small problems that can be resolved by a simple conversation. Typically, phone support issues fall into the "how do I ..?" classification rather than the "Something isn't working" category. However, the "Something isn't working" might be handled by a phone conversation; it really depends on the complexity of the issue. Generally speaking, issues that cannot be resolved in 15 minutes or less are not suitable for phone support. This is not absolute, but is a guideline.

Modem support includes anything that can be done remotely from our offices. Since the advent of the Internet, this doesn't always mean what it used to mean, because I might be able to telnet to your site, or deliver work by E-mail or ftp. The important concept here is that the work is actually done at our site without having to physically travel to you.

There is a difference between modem support and phone support. Phone support is us talking to you, giving you advice or solutions for a problem. If the problem is too complex to talk you through (or if you just don't have the time to do it yourself), then modem or on site support is required. As phone support is not billed by the minute, and modem and on site support is, there is sometimes a gray line that differentiates when one or the other is required.

Programming is creating programs (instructions) for a computer to perform some task. This might be mailing lists, web pages, or simply small scripts that solve some other problem. All of our programming is offered on an hourly (or pre-paid) basis only.

Programming can be difficult work, and the programmer doesn't always have complete control of the complex interactions of his program with the machine and all of the other programs that may exist on it. I therefore cannot offer any absolute guarantees that any programming I provide will work correctly under all conditions of use.