Free Advice – Updated 2016

Boring History:

Over the last several decades of professional employment, I’ve been called on many times to offer advice on matters of technology, process, and innovation.  Once in a while those requests come with the hint of some return compensation for my efforts.  I finally stopped giving out the free advice, except for the following:

Free Advice!

  • If your computer is broken or otherwise behaving badly and you suspect it may have a virus, malware, or some other kind of software infection:
    • STOP visiting the porn sites – Even many of the pay-for porn sites have secret payloads on their web pages.  And most porn victimizes people.
    • Keep your antivirus software up-to-date
    • STOP visiting the warez sites  – Even if they don’t infect you, they are a bad idea.
    • STOP visiting the torrent sites – Their free stuff includes that last bit of malware running on your machine now, which the torrent site popups managed to slip into your system under your radar.  Plus pirating music is bad for young and old musicians alike: they need their royalties.
    • STOP randomly removing files from your operating system because you just read on some system administration self-help blog that the BLOB2SYS.DLL file is not really needed.  You are NOT qualified to perform surgery on your operating system, or you would not be asking me for help.
    • If you are still stuck, hire a pro.  If you want a recommendation on professional services of good reputation in the greater Portland (OR) area, that is information I will gladly give you for free.  I used to recommend Sunset Computer for the greater Portland area, but they are gone now.  If you know of a good one, let ME know and I will pass the info along.


  • If your computer is broken or otherwise disappointing you and it is not related to the inappropriate surfing habits of you or your family, it is possible there is a hardware issue at work here.  If your machine predates the Obama Years, by all means buy another computer!  You can find a decent one, laptop or desktop, at Best Buy or Target for less than the cost of a new iPhone or my old Jeep’s last water pump.  The last laptop I bought new cost less than $300.  I have been able to find multiple working computers for less than $150 on eBay.  You can get a half-decent working used one on Craigslist or eBay for $100 or less.  I am willing to advise you on the feasibility of a specific purchase, if you have already picked a machine for that specific purpose and done the homework.  Just don’t make it a weekly request.
  • If you are broken or merely damaged, then you may have already ignored any previous advice I may have given you on the value of mental health treatment.  You own the responsibility for maintaining your mental health.  And if you are a Real Person, sometimes you might just need a little help with that.  Here I follow my own advice.  Visit the “Find a Therapist” pages on to find someone to help you, or ask your trusted friends if they have a counselor they can recommend.  You will thank yourself for it later.  Life is too short to struggle alone.  If you need help getting help, I will do what I can.
  • If your spouse, partner, child, sibling, in-law, or other relative is broken or otherwise behaving badly or routinely disappointing you with untold misery, I must assume that you have have already tried and failed to elicit reasonable behavior from them or get them some external help.  What do you do next?
    • If they are not your legal dependents, then it is perfectly within your moral and legal rights to do any number of the following:
      • Ignore their whining.
      • Ignore their verbal abuse.
      • Ignore their ridiculous demands.
      • Change your name and phone number.
      • Move to another neighborhood, city, state, or country.
    • If they are your legal dependents, then all I can tell you is that you have to keep trying.  Eventually, they will grow old enough to leave the nest or, sadly, pass on to the next plane of existence due to their own outrageous stupidity.  But until that time, you must honor your obligation to them, and get them help if needed and at all possible.

As Tina Turner would say: “What’s love got to do with it?”  If your family is like so many others, it may not be realistic to expect your relatives to like you, to appreciate you, to understand you, or even to visit you once every ten or twenty years.  All you can do is try to appreciate and understand them and, perhaps, visit them every now and then.  But if they treat you like shit, berate you, judge you, shun you, or otherwise cast you into the shadows for being you, walk away.  Send a holiday greeting card or call them on their birthdays if you want, but consider the risk to your peace of mind.

 For Other Help:

For any other advice, I have a Consulting page where you can send me funds via PayPal to engage my services and get the advice or service you may need.  The services offered are real, professional, and I dare say valuable.  If you want to speak with me prior to throwing money into the Black Hole, contact my email address (, find me on Facebook or send a FAX to 503-278-8955, and I will call you to clarify your needs and calibrate expectations.

D. E. Helbling
Aloha, OR USA 97078

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