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Service provider takes bite out of computer problems

There are polarizing questions in the world: Democrat or Republican? White versus wheat? And, of course: PC versus Mac, a debate that has been raging among computer geeks and others for more than quarter century.

For Adam Rosen, it’s a no-brainer, although he’s open enough to say, “Use what you prefer.” As an Apple Certified consultant, Macintosh columnist, and vintage Mac collector, his short edict on this inflammatory topic is, “I find with Macs, you spend more time using the tool and less time keeping the tool running."

Of course, if Macs were perfect, “I wouldn’t have a job,” said Rosen, proprietor of Oakbog, a professional Mac tech support and consultancy company. He speaks affectionately about what he calls “The Second Jobs Dynasty,” the beginning of the Apple turnaround in 1998 with the “blue, translucent, shiny and simple” iMac, the essence of Mac computers, which caused the user base to grow substantially and made it possible for service providers like him to make a living off these beloved machines. “Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to hang my shingle out and do what I do,” said Rosen.

And what does Rosen do? Mainly help with operating system upgrades, migrating data, and problem solving with wi fi, email or backups. Not to speak of the client who made the odd request of wanting a phone bill doctored with Photoshop so his girlfriend couldn’t see the calls he made. (P.S., Rosen said “No.”)

Q: Help! I keep getting an error message. How would you be able to help me?
A:
Being a successful technology specialist doesn’t mean having all the answers off the bat but rather knowing trouble shooting techniques and being able to get to the crux of the matter. At MIT, where I went to school, I was hit with so much stuff that I learned how to reason, look for clues and narrow things down to find a solution. Another part of the puzzle is simple but overlooked: Using Google for tech support, which can be both wonderful and evil in itself. If you come across a problem, you can go online and search for the answers.

Q: A lot of people have books or stuffed animals in their bedrooms. You have a bedroom full of old Macs, also known as the Vintage Mac Museum.
A:
Yes, my collection spans from the ‘68K Golden Era,’ when the original Macs first came out, through the ‘Beleaguered Apple Years,’ to the present day. The museum includes three dozen pre-Intel working models spanning a 20-year time span. Some require coaxing from time to time to keep running.

Q: What’s your favorite Mac machine to work on?
A:
Hands down, I enjoy tinkering on the Mac Pro, which is Apple’s current tower. If it’s a hardware problem, you can take the side panel off, and it’s easy to network and service. But the company has taken a bigger interest in the service side, and some laptops are deliberately difficult to fix. You can’t get inside and do anything with them.

Q: What’s one of your biggest computer horror stories?
A:
I was working with a client who had a bunch of external hard drives, and while setting up a backup disc for him, I accidently reformatted the wrong drive and inadvertently erased all his movies and pictures. This is when you earn your stripes as a consultant: Can you fix a situation like this? It took three seconds to erase the drive but three days to recover the data. It wasn’t a fun weekend for me, but it worked out for him.

Q: You’re a self-professed geek. What does that mean?
A:
Not caring that what you do isn’t cool, and doing it anyway.

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