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eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye

  • Saturday / February 17, 2024
eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 1

eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye

eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 2

Adjö. Tot ziens. Adeus. Au revoir. Adiós. Alavida.
Totsiens. Agur. Zbogom. Dovizhdane. Doviđenja. Ahoj.
Atsisveikink. Güle güle. Hwyl fawr. O dabọ.

No matter how you say it …
It’s hard to say goodbye.

Big Mac Attack

eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 3eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 4It all started in a storefront in Asbury Park, New Jersey circa 1986. I bought my first Mac computer: a Mac Plus. Macs had only been around a few years, and this was my first ever computer. I saw one in a local computer store in Toms River, NJ, the sales person was a young musician like myself. Once he showed me what the Mac could do—I was hooked!

Just give me a pot of coffee and a pack of cigarettes and my new Mac Plus and I was in storefront heaven. I was living on both sides of the fence: both the creative and the technical. Between the new MIDI keyboards, rack synths, samplers, a copy of Mark Of The Unicorn Performer v1.0 (which I also became a beta tester for), plus my new Mac … and I was off to the races. And let’s not forget a dial up modem! I was an early adopter all the way around.

Let The Upgrades Begin

eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 5eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 6Within only a few months using floppy disks, and doing the disk swap shuffle, that dance was getting to be too much. I broke out a credit card and bought an external 250MB Imprimis MacWren SCSI hard drive—which at that time cost around $2,500.00! Yup. Almost as much as the computer itself! Let’s also not forget an Apple ImageWriter II dot matrix printer. Followed that up with the new “very upgradable” Mac II and Apple Display. Yeah I was soooo into the tech. But that Mac II lasted me 10 years. Yes. Several upgrades were made, including a faster 3rd party CPU chip, internal HDs, video card, et. al. Yeah. I was hooked!

Tech Support: Will It Pay More?

eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 7I had learned so much about the Mac, 3rd party devices, MIDI music, Mac software, etc, when I needed a job in the early 90s I ended up landing one at the very first online compter store: MacWarehouse. MacWarehouse was an offshoot of the UK based MicroWarehouse. MacWarehouse was conveniently located in Lakewood, NJ. I applied there for a sales position, and my interviewer said: “…you know way too much to be a sales person. You should work for us in tech support.” I asked: will it pay more? Oh yeah … way more! And that’s how I landed my first Mac support job.

One of the weirdest and best things about the job? We didn’t have a Mac in our support cubicles. So when a customer called wanting help installing a piece of software or setting up a peripheral, we had to visualize the entire process and relay that info in an understandable way to first time Mac users. One of our fave calls were when we had to ask if the customer knew how to point and click and the basics of their Macs. If not we’d tell them to run through their Apple tutorials and then call us back—we’d be happy to help then. Otherwise we had to know a lot of technical information about everything we sold. That’s how I honed my technical, troubleshooting and people skills: MacWarehouse. I worked there for a little over a year. But the experience bolstered what I did later in life.

Silicon & Art

Shortly after leaving MacWarehouse I was able to go on unemployment. While I was happily unemployed, I became a full time “art student” at Brookdale Community College. One of the classes I took, and excelled in, was ceramic art. Like my music, I used my Mac along with clay to make new art. It just seemed natural. The Mac was just another tool of creation. I would make designs in MacPaint, print them, cut them out, and use those as slip resist decoration on my vessel forms. One of those designs was  taken straight out of the Mac Scrapbook. This was what I called The Running Man.

 

Running Men & Other Wonders

Running Men And Other Wonders PosterRunning Man was a very pixelated line drawing that came with every Mac back then. I saw it & it reminded me of old cave drawings, or even a Keith Haring image. I took that little pixelated image and used it frequently on my vessels. I loved it! Later in my process, that running man became BIG & 3D. This little Scrapbook image grew to have a life of its own that the original creator may have never foreseen. That entire body of work, took 8 moths to create, and it got me into one of the most prestigious colleges for ceramics and art: Alfred University.

I left New Jersey to attend art school @ Alfred University some eight hours from NJ, my Mac II and all my computer gear came with. It served me well, on so many levels. Not only did I do graphics on/with it, I also made a Filemaker database to start storing slip, glaze, and clay recipes. I also did a bit of “Mac consulting” for other less technical students and teachers. It was all so much fun!

Seattle & Westwind Computing

eMac Consulting: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye 8When I left graduated Alfred University circa 1995 I moved from the ceramics corridor of NY State to Seattle, WA. I had visited there once on a three week roadtrip shortly after graduating high school in 1974. Me and three musician friends loaded in a van and crossed the country. Seattle was one of those stops—long long ago. It also helped that I had younger friends who also graduated from Alfred and had already moved to Settle before me.

The day I arrived I said to myself I’d have a job within two weeks of moving to Seattle—even if it was at McDonalds! I looked in the local papers and online (yes … there WAS an “online” even then). I found a job as a computer tech & consultant for a local Apple reseller. Back in 1995 there were no such things as bricks and mortar Apple Stores. There wasn’t even a web based Apple Store—yet.

Long story short—I interviewed and landed a job with Westwind Computing as a bench tech (I learned how to do motherboard level repairs, RAM, HD, battery, installs) as well as doing “onsites” as a consultant, visiting clients homes, offices, etc, and troubleshooting software and hardware issues, as well as doing new computer, peripheral, installs or updates. Made some pretty decent money doing this too! Yeah. Computers. Had nothing to do with my two college  degrees; but it did pay the rent in 1995 Seattle.

Seattle > San Diego > Seattle

I worked for Westwind for four year. In 1999 I was getting tired of Seattle and Westwind and had thought of moving to San Diego. I did some investigating, and decided I’d fly down there and rent a hotel room for two weeks and see if it was a fit. I’d look for an apartment and a job and see what it felt like. I gave my notice and the day after my last day, I was on a plane to sunny San Diego.

I was only there for four days. I had already seen a lot of places to rent. I even had an interview with another Mac consulting firm on Monday. But something didn’t feel right. And for the first time in a VERY long time I listened to my gut, that inner voice saying: “No. This is NOT home.” I canceled my interview, packed up my bags and flew back to Seattle on Monday. I didn’t want to stay another day.

The Boss Only Wants You

I wasn’t even back in Seattle a day when I got a call on my cell from a friend, who also worked at a former Westwind design client, and said: “I called Westwind and they said you left. Would you be willing to come to our office and keep working on our Macs?” I told her it was against the non-compete I signed. She said: “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

They were not the only former Westwind clients asking me to continue to service their computer and consulting needs. They liked me. They were comfortable, and happy with my skills and abilities. The Universe was telling me something. And in that moment eMac Consulting was born.

I came for a family of self employment. My father had started a few of his own companies. Not sure if it is nature or nurture, but back in 1999 I started my one man company: eMac Consulting—Engaging Solutions For Everything Mac.

Twenty-five Years Later

I did quite well in the early years of eMac Consulting. I got all new clients by word of mouth alone. And had a nice cushion of old Westwind clients that came along with my new venture.

I lived in Seattle for sixteen years. Which meant I was self employed for twelve of those year. When I left Seattle in 2011 and moved back to Asbury Park, New Jersey, I was pretty much starting all over again. I did have a few clients I could work with remotely—and that was great! And I did find enough new clients to keep paying the bills and living in my apartment in Asbury. I loved that life in AP!

Health & Old Age Came Knocking

Yeah. That’ pretty much how it ended. One of the “gifts” of my autoimmune disease Sarcoidosis is chronic fatigue. It affected my memory, long and short term—for a computer consultant … that’s the kiss of death.

Long story short I could no longer afford to live in Asbury Park. Moved in with my 90+ year old mother for 3 years until she passed. Before moving in with her I took early Social Security to have income. I still did a few remote jobs, website building and upkeep, mass eMailings, etc for clients. But that was spotty at best.

When Mom passed, I moved to Independence Missouri because it was more affordable and I could buy a small home. I still did remote work for a few long time clients. But it had been several years since I had updated my own eMac Consulting WordPress blog and website.

And just like that … I recently took it down.

And so: Adeus Au Revoir Adiós Goodbye eMac Consulting (website).

For the most part I’m done with consulting, with the exception of one VERY long time client and friend. I still do web-work & mass eMailing for him. But other than that—I’m now a retired gentleman. I’ll keep the domain for as long as I have it registered. But when it’s gone—it’s gone.

It was fun while it lasted. Mind you—I’m still that same Apple/Mac/iPhone/iPad fan-boy I alway was. I STILL keep up with everything Mac (eMac) and Apple. It’s in my blood. It’s in my soul. And yeah … I’m still creating with it, as a photographer and an artist.

Thanks to all those people I supported through the years & whom also supported me in a multitude of ways!

Adiós!

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Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . retired apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rudie, & rocco & living to tell tales about it

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