[ubuntu-us-ma] Who's experienced with offering Ubuntu conversions?

jimi o'beirne jimobeirne at gmail.com
Wed Jul 15 19:41:30 BST 2009

> Alright so i still have a bunch of unanswered questions so i'll put
> them in a convenient bulleted list ^^,
>       * Do you do housecalls/drop offs/what? 

"Considering todays economy", I do whatever works best for the client.
They are paying me, not the other way around. This helps foster and
build the relationship with them which then can lead to referrals.
Referrals then lead to more business for me without the work of having
to find the new client myself. I strongly believe that in business,
especially consulting, the geeky end of knowing speeds/feeds, how things
work, etc is much less important (not to mean we don't need to know it!)
than having the skills to build and maintain RELATIONSHIPS with our

>       * How much do you charge? 

I presently charge and average of $85/hr but..."considering todays
economy", will work with the client to determine what works best. SOME
money is always better than none! And, it also depends on the project
itself. Maybe it is a flat fee for the project..maybe sliding scale,
maybe some form of incentive (10% off if I get 5 referrals...),
whatever. In these economic times, it is key to think outside the box.

>       * Should i bother with dual-boots, or not?

Depends on the client. if they are still hedging between Win/Linux,
sure. Or, I also will occasionally offer doing a P2V conversion and toss
VMware Server on the system (good howto on howtofroge.com) so they don't
HAVE to dual boot to get into Windows. I also use Sun VirtualBox often.
(As a matter of fact, just created a Windows 7 RC virtual machine on my
own home system the other day for testing. Hate to admit it, but I do
actually find myself liking Windows 7 so far..)

>       * What's the best way to migrate data: use some software to
>         backup an image of the entire drive or just use an external
>         hard drive to copy files over? 

 Again, it's best to have a few good tools in your arsenal depending on
the customer and what is trying to be accomplished. Most often, I will
use an external HDD. I have also used various backup programs (in the
past, I was the East Coast Systems Engineer for the EMC Insignia line of
products so I have a full NFR of Retrospect, a real good backup product)
or Acronis (I have the full Enterprise version) and have also used
Virtualization ALOT, or sbackup or Quickstart...etc etc. I also like
DropBox and Ubuntu One for offline storage. There are various
ghosting/imaging systems (systemimager, G4L, etc) that are great too. It
depends on the situation, amount of data, what the desired end result

>       * What are common problems, things to avoid, etc?

The biggest and most important thing I always come across is the
hardware. is it supported, and will it require and specialized
configurations. Like, my home/main system requires quite a bit of
customization as it is fairly high end box. It was true pain in the
behind at first but, in hindsight, has been a backhand blessing for me
as I have had to learn a ton about software RAID and using the Alternate
CD to do installs, editing the xorg.conf to recognize both my NVidia
video cards and the SLI setup, all the fun in setting up the
Soundblaster card (with tons!! of help from Cam Cope), etc etc etc. All
of which, I would never had gotten up and running without the
inexhaustible, ever-generous help from everyone on this mailing list. 

There are tons and tons of other possible pitfalls you could come across
but to me, it's not whether I  know the answer, it's do I know where to
go to get the answer. 

>       * What's the entire process of a conversion? 

That's totally dependent on the job itself. Dual boot/single/what to be
migrated/ etc.  

>       * How do you market yourself? 

ANYWAY I can. Referrals, word or mouth, friends, family, colleagues,
offering to "show off my favorite system/OS", sending youtube video
links to stimulate interest, through the other HUGE volunteer
organization I am heavily involved with, any networking events,
facebook, linkedin,,,heck- smoke signals and morse code if it will work!
I have never paid a penny formally to advertise and although I have and
do consider it at times, feel there are just far too many other ways to
not only get the "word out", but that are actually more effective. 

I look at it this way. I could spend 8 hours a day on Monster/Dice, etc
trying to find a job as a Pre Sales/Systems Engineer knowing full well
the number of actual jobs listed that are "real" and the number of
people that are spending 8 hr/day clicking Monster/Dice OR I could do
some research on companies looking for someone like me, use lists like
this to put the word out, use every form of networking possible to get
myself ahead of the 100,000 Dice submitted resumes for that ONE job. I
think it's the same principle here- people hire people. It's the old
"networking" tactic- each and EVERY conversation with EVERYONE you have
should ALWAYS contain a mini-intro for your business/consulting. Even if
it's just "oh, by the way, not sure if I had mentioned this before...."
or "Even if you aren't interested right now, could you help me out a bit
and give me the name of 2 people I could speak to that may be
interested?" Network THEIR network :) Ask for help! People ask for help
999 ways usually. None of the 999 are actually saying the word HELP.

In that vein- HELP. I am looking for a job as a Pre Sales/Systems
Engineer, will be moving to the Nashua NH area next month. If anyone
thinks they could be of any help, please email me personally at
jimobeirne at gmail.com and I can send more information/resume, etc. Or,
maybe you know one or two people I could contact that may be able to

Thanks everyone--

Jim O'Beirne
MCSE, MCT, MCDBA, CCNA, CCA, A+, N+, Linux+, EMC Proven Professional,
VCP,HP Enterprise Solutions
JimOBeirne at gmail.com
(617) 799-7960 

> On Tue, Jul 7, 2009 at 16:21, jimi o'beirne <jimobeirne at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>         I'm running out shortly to get some stuff done for tonight but
>         am willing to help you where I can. I have run a successful
>         consulting company in the past and have just started up as an
>         LLC again.
>         Jim O'Beirne
>         On Tue, 2009-07-07 at 15:13 -0400, Danny Piccirillo wrote: 
>         > I've done conversions for friends, but i'd like to start
>         > doing this for money now. For everyone experienced with
>         > this, can you give me and anyone else interested some
>         > tips/advice? How did you get started? Who did you target
>         > first? How did you market yourself? Do you do
>         > housecalls/drop offs/what? What's the entire process of a
>         > conversion? How much do you charge? What are common
>         > problems, things to avoid, etc, etc, etc. 
>         > 
>         > 
>         > Thanks!
>         > .danny
>         > 
>         > 
>         > Again, this is mostly for the ubuntu businesses group, but
>         > it's relevant to
>         > anyone who helps people do conversions to ubuntu.
>         > http://groups.google.com/group/ubuntu-us-ma-business
>         > 
>         > -- 
>         > http://www.google.com/profiles/danny.piccirillo
>         > 
>         --
>         Ubuntu-us-ma mailing list
>         Ubuntu-us-ma at lists.ubuntu.com
>         Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
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> -- 
> http://www.google.com/profiles/danny.piccirillo
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