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Music Media IT

Tech Support to the Stars 289

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the but-who-won dept.
Carl Bialik writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Prince, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Bon Jovi, and U2 all have used technical support when on the road, when their Wi-Fi or Xbox or Sidekick needs servicing. The Journal takes a look at the lives of the essential, if overlooked, members of the entourage, the support tech. Joshua Kapellen, of Best Buy's Geek Squad, has been on the road with U2 since 2004. From the article: 'Last March, lead singer Bono needed his Xbox connected while the band rehearsed in Canada. Mr. Kapellen got a call. He hooked up the contraption and a few minutes later was playing videogames with Bono. "It was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me," says Mr. Kapellen.'"
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Tech Support to the Stars

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  • Whoa (Score:5, Funny)

    by Airconditioning (639167) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @06:59PM (#14647520) Journal
    It's bad enough having good natured people on the other end of the phone line, can you imagine what it would be like with a total ego-maniac? For sanity's sake son, run like hell.
    • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Funny)

      by bheer (633842) <rbheer@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:07PM (#14647547)
      Ask anyone in IT who's dealt with top management-- I'm pretty sure they get a lot of practice dealing with egomaniacs :-)

      • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Funny)

        by ZiakII (829432) * on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:30PM (#14647619)
        Ask anyone in IT who's dealt with top management-- I'm pretty sure they get a lot of practice dealing with egomaniacs :-)

        You think thats bad.. try being IT in the USMC and dealing with officers. I hurried to find what was so wrong with the Comanding Officer's computer after he demanded someone come right now and look at it, to find out he wanted to change the paperclip to a dog. (sigh)
        • When I migrated a Major over from 95 to 2000 he was pissed that he lost his stats in Freecell. Solved that issue quick. We mandated no games to be installed in the Desktop Images.
          Pretty difficult to argue against that. Mind you the uniforms were ok. The civies were threatening grievances.
    • by Alaren (682568) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:09PM (#14647557)

      Couldn't agree more. I happen to run internal PC support for a major (privately owned) domain name company. The owner is something of a celebrity, and very little is more nerve-wracking than fixing this guy's computer.

      Not that he isn't a nice guy--on the contrary--but having someone who could buy you and sell you a million times... someone who could probably literally kill you and tape the event and never go to jail for it... is a little unnerving. Even without the star-studded ego, people with that kind of power make me nervous.

      Now, once I become one of those people, maybe it will be different! But right now I'm just the little guy who makes things work, and running tech support for billionaires who are used to getting everything they want, when they want it, is not what I would call low-stress.

      • by guildsolutions (707603) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:17PM (#14647736)
        for the time I spent working tech support at a college, all I know is that some of the faculty teaching computers was more computer illiterate than a lot of the students. All the faculty knew how to do was teach from a book, nothing more.

        For example, one graphics arts teacher who taught photoshop thought that our server was just a group of files that we copied to each computer and assigned that group of files a drive letter.

        Another ( I am not joking ) Assumed that email was printed out and delivered to various faculty on campus by the recipients secretaries. (His, actually did that from time to time.)

        Then the Dean of Information Technology would tell one person to do something, turn around and tell another person to assist but what they told the person who was supposed to be assisting was two completely different things, and latter one of the two would get asked why they didn't do what was asked of them.

        With as much moolah as some of these stars rake in, I am seriously surprised that they dont retain their own tech support to go with them and live with them.

        Who needs technology when you have someone to do it for you.
        • With as much moolah as some of these stars rake in, I am seriously surprised that they dont retain their own tech support to go with them and live with them.

          Maybe you missed this blurb in the article:

          when Best Buy Co.'s Geek Squad of computer repair people asked him to accompany the Irish band and provide tech support to the 120 people traveling with the "Vertigo" world tour. He has been on the road in North America and Europe ever since.

          That they contracted with Best Buy instead of hiring directly

        • The terms "total ego-maniac" and "tenured professor" are somewhat redundant. :)

          Very few faculty have low egos. The nature of the position tends to encourage people with a large ego.
    • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Funny)

      by CyricZ (887944) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:30PM (#14647617)
      I had one acquaintance who had taken a temporary job as a tech support technician. When he got calls from people like that, he'd apparently just insert words like "penis" and "assrape" into their conversations. He didn't care if he got fired, and considering the low quality of the firm he was with, the issue never even came up.

      He said that saying such things would confuse the hell out of the callers, and their confusion would quickly override their arrogance and anger.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:01PM (#14647525)

    Why on earth anybody, anywhere, in the history of the world, would ever care enough about this to utter "mrh?", let alone write a news story about it?

    In other news: celebs are human!
    In other news: celebs take dumps!
    In other news: celebs eat food!
    In other news: celebs breath air!
    In other news: celebs use tech support!

  • by Mad Martigan (166976) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:11PM (#14647564) Homepage
    Reminds me of an anecdote from An Evening with Kevin Smith [imdb.com] where he talks about dealing with one of Prince's handlers while he (Kevin Smith) was making a documentary for Prince:
    She's like, "Prince doesn't comprehend things the way you and I do."

    I was like, "What do you mean?"

    She was like, "Well ... Prince has been living in Prince World for quite some time now." She's like, "So Prince will come to us periodically and say things like: 'It's 3 in the morning in Minnesota. I really need a camel. Go get it.'

    And then we try to explain to Prince, like: 'Prince, it's 3:00 in the morning in Minnesota, it's January ... and you want a camel. That is not physically or psychologically possible.'

    And Prince says, 'Why?"'

    I'm like, "Is he an asshole?"

    She's like, "He's not malicious when he does it. He just doesn't understand why he can't get what he wants. He doesn't understand why someone can't process a request ... like a camel at 3 in the morning in Minnesota."

    I was like, "That's not my problem. I can't do what he wants. I don't know what to do."

    She said, "You'd be doing me a huge favor if you tell him that."

    I was like, "All right, I'll tell him."

    I'm not sure I'd want to be doing tech support for this guy.
    • It'd be fun to do tech support for him. Use his own attitude against him. If he wants it done right away, take your time. If all he wanted was a Playstation controller plugged in, turn around and proceed to take the controller apart. Get it working eventually, of course. But make him wait. Of course, there might be financial ramifications for doing so. But it might just be worth it, to get his goat.

      • First you don't want to provide the camel and now you want to get his goat!? *shock*

        My oh my life must be hard in Prince World (formerly known as lala-land) :)

        --
        this additional sig includes a portrait of Mohammed in support of freedom of expression, feel free to reproduce it
    • Sorry, just how is this different to doing tech support for anyone else?
    • She was like, "Well ... Prince has been living in Prince World for quite some time now." She's like, "So Prince will come to us periodically and say things like: 'It's 3 in the morning in Minnesota. I really need a camel. Go get it.'

      And then we try to explain to Prince, like: 'Prince, it's 3:00 in the morning in Minnesota, it's January ... and you want a camel. That is not physically or psychologically possible.'


      I'd do the best I could if money were truly no object. Like, give me a million dollars in petty
    • by sakusha (441986) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:08PM (#14647714)
      Oh yeah, I've been on the receiving end of that sort of request. I used to work in a high-end service bureau, one of my jobs was doing Iris inkjet proofs. We had the fastest Iris RIP in town, a MacIIfx, and were known for our ability to turn out rush jobs quickly.
      One day a frantic designer from Warner Brothers Music comes in, he wants a rush Iris print. I said no problem, I can drop everything in the queue and set up your job immediately, for only 2x the usual rate (our standard rush-drop-everything rate). I sit down with the client at the workstation and open up the Quark XPress file, it's the new CD cover for Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls." But it is totally fucked up. The designer has done everything possible that will take forever to rasterize and print, I can immediately see that this job is going to take at least 90 minutes just to RIP. The designer totally loses it, he says, "but.. but.. I have to get a print done and back to my office before Prince gets there to see it, I need it in the next 15 minutes, Prince is already in a limo on his way to my office! Money is no object, can't you get 5 or 6 people to work on it and get it done sooner?" I wasn't in the mood to explain the Mythical Man-month to him, I said, "look, we've only got one Iris printer and one RIP, but even if I had 6 of them, they don't work cooperatively, we would still only get your first print in 90 minutes, not 1 print in 15 minutes. You really should have gotten this job to us sooner if you wanted a print sooner. This job is going to take exactly as long as it takes, and no less. If you'd set this job up properly, it could complete in 20 minutes, and we go to a lot of work to educate our customers to prepare jobs to run efficiently, so if you'd like, I can explain that to you while we wait for your job to finish."
      The designer broke down into tears, and ran out of my office and left the building. I decided to complete the job (there was nothing else really urgent in the queue, it could run unattended while I did other jobs), and about 2 hours later it was done (my estimate was a little low). I called the designer at Warner's but nobody could find him, I eventually spoke to his manager. He said Prince was still in the building and was ready to review the proof, so I had it sent over by my fastest, craziest motorcycle courier. I called the manager later to insure the proof was delivered promptly, he said Prince saw it and loved it. However, I noticed that the CD cover that was released for sale was a completely different design. Sheesh!
      • But did you get PAID???
        If he ran out of your office with no indication of coming back... then you're quite the nice guy to run the job anyway.
        • But did you get PAID???
          If he ran out of your office with no indication of coming back... then you're quite the nice guy to run the job anyway.

          Well, I'd assume he got paid up front. In which case not performing the work would mean he would have to return the $$$, which was 2x the normal rate. And if he didn't get paid upfront, he had made the request as an agent of Warner & Prince, they would have a responsibility to cover the tab. There are some issues, you would need reason to believe he really was

  • by Mad Martigan (166976) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:20PM (#14647590) Homepage
    I bet that there were strings attached when Bono played Xbox with that guy:

    Bono: It'd be pretty cool if you could play this with me, right?
    Kapellen: Yeah.
    Bono: Alright, then we'll play -- but you have to promise to cure AIDS as soon as we're done.
    Kapellen: (mulls it over for a minute) Yeah, okay.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is a socially constructive application of the power of celebrity. I bet that Kapellen guy is half way to a bachelor's degree in Biology by now.
  • What is the story? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by comp.sci (557773) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:21PM (#14647594)
    I am sorry, but defining a few minutes with a celebrity as one of the best times in your life is just pathetic. Stop living off other peoples' lives. The tech support probably required more brains and talent than most celebrities have...
    Some celebrities do good things, but most "ordinary" people do way more useful things. When is the last time you described spending time with someone like a doctor or nurse as an amazing time? To me, they are way more important people than any celebrity.
    • Sorry, but in a similar situation, something tells me you'd be feeling the same way as him.
      • by mattjb0010 (724744) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:27PM (#14647759) Homepage
        Sorry, but in a similar situation, something tells me you'd be feeling the same way as him.

        Having spent time with celebrities there's that split second at the start where you do an internal Keanu Reeves (woah, dude!) but then the rest of the time, they're a normal person, with normal things to do (eat, go to the toilet). It really is just an everyday sort of experience. Really, the time spent reading/watching their work is much better, and much more intimate with their psych. And a second spent with my girlfriend, watching the sun set, is much more significant than any amount of time spent with a celebrity.
  • WTFC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlterTick (665659) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:23PM (#14647601)
    He hooked up the contraption and a few minutes later was playing videogames with Bono. "It was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me," says Mr. Kapellen.'"

    Seriously, what's people's thing with celebrities? What, exactly, lends a higher level of "cooleness" to playing a video game with a celebrity? Is there something about the way an over-the-hill rocker says "bastard!" when you steal the ball in NBA 2K6 that's significantly better than the way your friends do? Is there something about being in the presence of giant egos that makes the mundane feel exceptional? I end up working for a lot of film and TV people at work and frankly, if it wasn't for the fact that they pay well (and reliably), I wouldn't work for most of them. In fact, we won't work for Nicholas Cage again because he's an annoying nutcase. Maybe it's just my proximity to them that lets me see what bratty, childish gasbags most of them are. Do people in "flyover country" really go this ga-ga over these folks?

    • Re:WTFC (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)
      Fly over states?

      I'm from a "Flyover State", South Dakota, western South Dakota too, where the people from the populated parts of South Dakota flyover. It ain't us who go gaga over celebrities, its the people from the "cool" parts of the Country like the coasts who go gaga over the celebrities.
      • Re:WTFC (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AlterTick (665659)
        Fly over states? I'm from a "Flyover State", South Dakota, western South Dakota too, where the people from the populated parts of South Dakota flyover. It ain't us who go gaga over celebrities, its the people from the "cool" parts of the Country like the coasts who go gaga over the celebrities.

        Now that I sit back and think about it, I think it's a combination of both. Most people like me who were born and raised in southern california, Los Angeles in particular, tend to not give a rat's ass about celebs

    • One of the companies I worked at as a service technician used to regularly do work for local TV 'celebrities'. Some of them were fine to work for, but many of them had utterly inflated opinions of their importance and/or abilities.

      There as one particular radio 'star' whom we used to palm off on the apprentices because she was so annoying and overbearing to deal with. There was one 'leading man', whose powerbook kept coming back because he would delete stuff seemingly at random. The service recptioninst wou

    • by g4c (919548) on Monday February 06, 2006 @12:14AM (#14648560)
      Yeah, yeah... listen to you...

      "I work with celebrities--but I don't like it. No, sirree. I don't like working with celebrities... Like Nicholas Cage. I don't like working with Nick. He's kind of clingy and he keeps asking for my autograph. Did I mention I work with celebrities?"
      • Yeah, yeah... listen to you... "I work with celebrities--but I don't like it. No, sirree. I don't like working with celebrities... Like Nicholas Cage. I don't like working with Nick. He's kind of clingy and he keeps asking for my autograph. Did I mention I work with celebrities?"

        See, trying to convince people that celebrities are largely just irritating gasbags not worth wanting to know is a catch-22. Anyone relating personal experience is accused of name dropping, and anyone who doesn't mention specific

        • I bid you a warm welcome to Slashdot. This is the place where when you mention credentials or experiences you are arguing from authority or showing off, but if you don't mention them people ask "And what the fuck do you know?

          "

          There do seem to be a lot of this particular stripe of asshat here, doesn't there?

  • Stars are easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joel8x (324102) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:24PM (#14647604) Homepage
    I used to work at the studios for a major TV station in NYC and I'll tell you, the "talent" are easygoing and are easy to deal with. Its the over-eager assistants that will drive you insane. I believe that the people right under someone "important" (including people right under executives) make dealing with the "stars" a lot more headache-inducing than it needs to be.

    • Indeed. It's not just television stars. It's the same with vice presidents and other high-level underlings in corporations.

      Often times CEOs are very intelligent, good-willed people who are easy enough to deal with. It's those under them who make it difficult. Sometimes the best thing to do with those type of people is to tell them flat out, "Fuck off. We have serious issues to deal with. We don't have time for your political shenanigans. They do not improve the efficiency of our firm."

      Nothing scares such ma
    • Re:Stars are easy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the reason the talent is so easy-going is because they have so many hard-working underlings doing everything for them? And if one underling decided "I better take it easy" you can bet your ass that Mr. Cool Guy Laid-back star will be screaming "WHERE THE FUCK IS MY CAPPUCINNO YOU NOBODY?!?!?"

      These overzealous types are more or less forced to work this way to keep up the star's lazy lifestyle.

      • Re:Stars are easy (Score:3, Informative)

        by AlterTick (665659)
        Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the reason the talent is so easy-going is because they have so many hard-working underlings doing everything for them? And if one underling decided "I better take it easy" you can bet your ass that Mr. Cool Guy Laid-back star will be screaming "WHERE THE FUCK IS MY CAPPUCINNO YOU NOBODY?!?!?" These overzealous types are more or less forced to work this way to keep up the star's lazy lifestyle.

        I dunno, in my experience the toadies' attitudes tend to match the star's.

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AutopsyReport (856852) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:27PM (#14647611)
    "It was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me," says Mr. Kapellen.

    It is pretty sad when one of the coolest things that has ever happened to you is working for someone else fixing a irrelevant video game system.

    When I worked at Apple tech support (for all of three weeks) many years ago, there was dozens of celebrity names in the database that had called in for help. It's just a name, folks. Why aren't we hearing about how Snoop Dogg calls the plumber, too?

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

      by aussie_a (778472) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:40PM (#14647645) Journal
      I can imagine it now.

      The pharmacist for the stars!

      The pharmacist says "yeah I've served Snoop Dogg before. One time, he asked me to get him some medication for the runs, I got a cream, and we just sat and talked while he applied it to himself. Then I applied it to myself. I didn't have the runs, but I wanted to get the most out of the experience. It was the coolest thing I've ever had happen to me."
      • "I gave him some special ointment and he hurt so bad that he had to apply it in the car with his sock"

              Brett
    • by Bigbutt (65939)
      Why aren't we hearing about how Snoop Dogg calls the plumber, too?

      Because this isn't crackdot

      [John]
  • Hardly glamorous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slowbad (714725)
    I'm on a venue where a different side of backstage is seen. For all their money, I end up seeing way too much barter.

    It would be one thing if these guys were trying to swap service-for-service. But, inevitably, they want tangible assets.

    By the time you've been offered 2 front-row tickets in exchange for product, you wish the wrath of the IRS on them.

    Too close to John Lovitz playing Picasso in the SNL sketches where restaurants get napkin scribbles instead of cash.

  • by saltydogdesign (811417) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:30PM (#14647620)
    Caveat emptor, Bono. I wouldn't let those Geek Squad guys within five hundred yards of my computer: "Here's why it won't boot, dude, it needs a new ATI Radeon X1900 XTX 512MB graphics card. We sell 'em with only a 400% markup."
    • Nah, the real solution they offer is they will just reformat & reinstall (the rookie cop-out), but will keep your computer for 2 weeks before they even do it and charge you out the ass to do something you could have done yourself for free.
    • I'm going to fathom a guess that you've never even purchased an on-site Geek Squad service. Where's the mod category "pointless and misinformed"?
      • I only needed to see Best Buy fuck up video camera repairs twice to learn not to bring anything valuable to them.

        Never figured Slashdot would be a hotbed of Best Buy apologists.
      • The one time a client of mine called in Geek Squad, they turned out to be wrong. Dude said the NIC card was bad. I doubted it mightily - too fucking convenient that it dies in the middle of a Linksys router install. Turned out reinstalling Windows XP solved the problem - typically Windows had hosed itself all on its own after (or perhaps the uninstall of McAfee's AV and firewall did it, most likely). Nothing wrong with the NIC card at all. My client was not happy with Geek Squad and only a little more happy
    • Best Buy offers tiered service. When you're just paying for basic service, you get a much different experience from when you're Bono. When you're Bono, they go the extra mile.
  • Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:33PM (#14647629) Homepage
    Geek Squad, which was sold to Best Buy in 2002, now has nearly 12,000 employees. Technicians like Mr. Kapellen are paid about $32,000 a year, the industry average for computer technicians, according to the Association of Support Professionals.

    "Let's face it, computer repairmen are at the bottom of the food chain," Mr. Stephens says, but these glamorous job opportunities "give hope to every geek out there."

    Right... Any geek with an ounce of brain would realize that the slim chance of "glamor" does not justify the low pay. Let's pretend that 100 celebs go to the Geek Squad. The chances of being one of those servicing a celeb is still less than 1%. And how much is the chance of playing the XBox with Bono worth? No thanks. I'll take a 6 figure salary and no chance of working for a celeb. It's kind of sad when the coolest thing to happen to Kapellen is playing XBox with Bono. Are geeks that desperate for recognition and popularity?!? Sorry Mr. Stephens "these glamorous job opportunities" does not give this geek any hope. Working for a cool tech company or doing cool research might.

    • You're assuming money is the only reason people work, or the primary motivator. Sure, it's a factor, but once you are earning $36,000/year in most cities you can get by. Over and above that, it's really up to what you want out of life. Who are you to suggest earning more money is more important than playing x-box with bono? If that's what this guy wants out of life, if it's what makes him happy, then more power to him! And if making 6 digits keeps you happy, then great, I'm happy that's what you are getting
      • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by UserGoogol (623581)
        Fair enough. But at the same time, wanting to help Bono plug in his Xbox is a pretty weird life goal.
      • Re:Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Comatose51 (687974)
        I'm 99% in agreement with you actually. I'm not saying making 6 digits is the end goal we all should shoot for. I too have learned that after a certain point, increasing amounts of money brings less and less happiness. What I was trying to get at is that Stephens seems to think that being able to meet a star would somehow make the lives of ALL the geeks complete, despite the relatively low salary and the low chances of that happening. He even say it himself. They're at the bottom of the food chain, and
    • Re:Right... (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think one valid point is that if you are the geek a celebrity calls for help, and you play your cards right, it could lead to much more interesting and higher paying work.

      Hanging out with celebrities is potentially much more valuable than hanging out with the Mom-and=Pop store down the street that just needs their DSL modem rebooted.

      Why do you think Adnan Koshoggi always kept celebrities and babes hanging around? Because it made business people want to do business with him, that's why. He made hundreds of
  • Geek Squad used to be kind of cool, but then Best Buy bought them. As a standalone company, they had only a few locations, but now they're in every Best Buy store, with the consequent decline in quality.

    The whole point of Geek Squad was that you called them, they came over immediately, and they fixed your problem for a flat fee. A large flat fee. That's why they got celebrity clients. Not that many people are willing to pay $1000 or so to have their laptop fixed at 3AM. Now, as a unit of Best Buy, th

  • Misleading title? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mj_sklar (888539) <matthew.sklar@ g m a i l .com> on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:46PM (#14647661) Homepage
    Am I the only one who read the title to this article and though this would be about space and tech support? I was thoroughly dissapointed when it turned out to be just about Bono having to call someone to plug in an X-Box...
    • Same here except I read the blurb the next second, and even if it all made me think about the validity of "News for nerds" etc. it all passed as I realized the enormous potential for jokes & ridicule :)

      --
      this additional sig includes a portrait of Mohammed in support of freedom of expression, feel free to reproduce it
  • by MissionAccomplished (951344) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @07:53PM (#14647674)
    I've had the 'pleasure' of providing technical support to several high-profile personalities. In some cases, I dealt with an assistant and in others, with the actual 'star'. In both scenarios, I was promised payment by submitting an invoice to the appropriate person or agency. Good luck trying to collect on those invoices; while I billed at an hourly rate that I would any other client, it has been close to impossible to collect payment. I'm tempted to chalk it up to typical 'star' arrogance, but I'm just plain pissed that they feel they deserve free services simply because they are well known. If they asked for a favor, I would have done so, but in every case, I was promised payment. You just gotta wonder...
    • This has nothing to do with celebrities, you were obviously in the wrong business. I know lots of "consultants" who have difficulty collecting what is owed, they just don't have the guts to do it. I never had any trouble collecting my fees, even from Steven Spielberg.
  • by themushroom (197365)
    Wait, wasn't tech support (or someone posing as a tech claiming to support her) why we got to see even more embarassing pictures of her anorexic bod, plus got to learn Fred Durst's home phone number?

    I've worked for a major ISP before and now schlep for a cellular provider. Calls from government wigs and celebs (rather, their right-hand people) are nothing new... you get the wheat with the chaff.

    And yes, I do have a signed photo of Jack LaLanne because of my old tech support joint.
  • by ShyGuy91284 (701108) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:20PM (#14647743)
    Am I the only one that thinks that seems a bit strange? IT is really all you need for standard technical assistance. CS tends to deal more with the code and mathematics/science behind the code (not pretty), and unless he's writing special software for Ludacris, it would seem unnecessary. Although a CS person can do stuff like that (and IT can do basic programming a lot of the time), I would think he learned more then he needed to know. Oh well. Maybe it was just a general word, and he meant IT courses (I've seen very few if any courses that would help him with basic tech support in my uni's CS curriculum (fairly large)).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:21PM (#14647745)
    I helped Steve Ballmer hook up his xbox, and all i got was this lousy chair!
  • "He kept building farms to feed the hungry, so my orcs just wiped him out!"

  • by Ninjy (828167) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:26PM (#14647758) Homepage
    Tech Support to the Stars
    Damn, and I thought outsourcing to India was bad enough!
  • Andrea just learned to do email a few months ago. She admitted it during an interview, whereupon sister Caroline told her, "Don't tell people that!"

    I could have been the one to teach her! Unfortunately, the only result would have been that she would have been able to email her much younger boyfriend, Shaun Evans, more easily.

    Plus, they seriously need to comprehend the possibilities of digital downloads, since their manager, John Huges, is an old music war horse who apparently thinks all downloads are piracy
  • I've been there. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sakusha (441986) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:36PM (#14647777)
    I used to work at a big BIG computer store right next to all the LA studios, back in the late 1980s, we were known as "the Computer Store to the Stars." But that was mostly because we had a good reputation for treating the stars like regular people (there is a fine line between being polite and being obsequious). Plus we were discreet, we kept everything strictly confidential, no matter how outrageous (like for example when I attempted to recover data from a famous scriptwriter's floppy disk that had a hole burned through it from a piece of crack that flew out of the pipe's bowl).
    But, you have to draw the line sometimes. Anyone below the level of Producer was almost guaranteed to be a nice, normal person that you could work with easily, but above that, egos are totally out of hand, and I wouldn't hesitate to tell them to get out of my face. I call this problem "Producer Syndrome." Producers that have the power to order people to set up $2 million in equipment in a corner of a building, and who lose tens of thousands of dollars per minute for production delays, tend to lose perspective.
  • Why would these guys want to continue work for 32k USD per annum? They don't need a CS degree to become developers earning a lot more than that. All it takes is a bit of education at a technical college, some social networking, a willingness to learn and humility to start at the bottom.

    Contrary to what the Slashdot group think profess, it is not necessary to earn a CS degree in order to achieve developer status. I'm living proof of someone that worked my way up the ladder without any degrees whatsoever.

    • I second this.

      I'm currently a developer who is doing quite well, without a degree. I've never had a problem getting a job based on my work experience or technical knowledge alone. I've found that adaptability and a willingness to learn goes a very long way in making you important to a company.

      I started out working on PCs in a local shop, and did a lot of learning on my own. You can work your way up, and I think the experience of doing so is invaluable. Now I sort of "ride the line" in that I develop a large
      • I believe that working in technical support made me a better developer. When you work in tech support, you tend to see all the mistakes other developers make and how it affects end users. I won't say that I don't make some of the same mistakes but I think I'm more open to hearing end user concerns and considering non-functional requirements such as performance and ease of deployment when determining scope for a release.
    • Why would these guys want to continue work for 32k USD per annum? They don't need a CS degree to become developers earning a lot more than that.

      Who says they want to, or are even capable of, becoming "developers"? These guys are like auto mechanics (or even tow truck drives). It doesn't naturally follow that a mechanic should aspire to be an automotive engineer. Why should a tech monkey aspire to developer status?

  • by whoda (569082) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @08:45PM (#14647805) Homepage
    Obviously they have never had a REAL technology problem or the Geek Squad guy would be in way over his head.
    • Actually bands have a tremendous amount of high-tech crap they drag around with them in their semis. But that stuff is set up by techs who work with it daily and know every bit by heart. And probably none of it is comprehensible to the average PC tech support guy.

      I once read an article about all the electronic crap the Corrs drag around. It sounded like they had a dozen different systems: sound, lighting, mixing, computers, all sorts of stuff. They probably needed a semi to carry it.
  • by jcr (53032)
    In my day, any roadie worth his minimum wage could handle any equipment the band brought with them...

    -jcr
    • I doubt that's true now. I read an article about all the stuff the Corrs drag around. You'd have to know a dozen different highly customized digital sound and lighting systems to keep up. Obviously the roadies get to know the gear since they use it a hundred times a year, but somebody new coming in from the outside would have a long learning curve.

      And then there's the problem of making it work in a hundred different venues with different acoustics, electrical systems, architecture. Must be a nightmare.

      I not
  • by Macdude (23507) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @09:07PM (#14647855)
    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Prince, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Bon Jovi, and U2 all have used technical support when on the road

    Used tech support? With all their money you'd think they could afford new tech support.
  • by Stoutlimb (143245) on Sunday February 05, 2006 @09:33PM (#14647922)
    If I had just "made it" as a star, or more likely as some rich guy in the public eye, I would be very angry if my tech support guy told a newspaper about his experience. Especially if it made me look dumb. Doesn't his company have a privacy policy? I'm pretty sure the privacy policy (if it existed) was violated for the purpose of writing a "fluff" news story. If I were a manager, there is NO WAY I would let an employee talk about all the famous people they have served without prior permission to do so. Just imagine the consequences if that was permitted.

    Personally I think the article was made up. That's because I'm generally a cynical bastard, and it's also a fact that sometimes there are slow news days.
  • I used to work for a company in Santa Monica and did work for one of the stars of the NBC show ER. It was a bit surreal but the star and her husband were very cool. Her publicist was a bit annoying though, I don't think he ever was off the phone the few times I was there. Too bad last time I went there something went really wrong and I had to take the PC back to the shop to fix it. Ooops, dam HP all-in-ones. Before I left LA I did always used to think how cool it would be to get linked into the celeb networ
  • I was working a wireless project at a venue and the talent wanted wireless in the dressing room. Dressing rooms weren't in the spec. We added it temporarily as we were still doing installs.

    I ended up on stage during the sound check helping the keyboard tech get access to the net over our wireless network so he could do his email and stuff. I also ended up at the apron of the stage for the duration of the show and had an all access pass for the evening.

    Thing is, I still don't know whether he spells it MeatLo
  • by bluethundr (562578) on Monday February 06, 2006 @01:38AM (#14648904) Homepage Journal
    I work as a techie in NYC. Since the late nineties the starting salaries in NY were $55k a year! My last job lasted 5 years and I ended up making $65 a year.

    "Technicians like Mr. Kapellen are paid about $32,000 a year, the industry average for computer technicians, according to the Association of Support Professionals.

    Could this be a regional issue? Or is $55 the norm for computer lackeys in the Big Apple because soda in 20oz bottles go for $1.50 a pop and generally that's an analogue to how expensive everyithing else is making the same work provide the same quality of life (virtually speaking) in NYC as it does for the Geek Squads in Demoins Iowa? Or are the Geek Squads just generally extremely underpaid.

    I'm on the job hunt now and have had some balk at $65, but just recently dropped my price by $10gs just get hired. At the $55 level, people don't even blink. The only reason my my compensation rose so high was because I'd mastered an arcane level of Ghost on the Enterprise level which streamlined efficiency to a high degree. But try explaining that to a shop that has never used Ghost and they just go..."Uh huh".

    But what puzzles me is that $55k seemed the norm in 1998???!!! So, how can it STILL be the norm starting price, in addition to all the experience I've gotten since then be priced at that level? That doesn't even keep up with inflation!

    And added to that, wouldn't anyone feel underpaid for this stressful job at merely $32 a year? I understand there are different costs of living around the country but this seems like a dramatic difference!

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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