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Tech Support to the Stars

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the but-who-won dept.

Music 289

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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Whoa (5, Funny)

Airconditioning (639167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647520)

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 (5, Funny)

bheer (633842) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (5, Funny)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#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)

Big Names=Scary Problems! (4, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Big Names=Scary Problems! (0, Offtopic)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647575)

You're talking about Mark Cuban, aren't you? :)

Big fish, Little Pond, Lots of mud.. (4, Interesting)

guildsolutions (707603) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Whoa (4, Funny)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Is there a way... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647521)

...we can spin this so it looks bad for Micro$oft?

Re:Is there a way... (1)

SimplePaul (807846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647576)

only if Bill Gates needed help connecting his XBox :^)

Re:Is there a way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647593)

Steve? Is that you?

Re:Is there a way... (4, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647623)

I suppose... they made it way too difficult to hook up apparently, if celebs aren't smart enough to match up damned colors. We all know celebs are the real brains of America (and elsewhere), so if it's too difficult for them, MS really need to rethink their TV-attaching methods. Then again, I think Bono does have something wrong with one of his eyes, so there's a semi-acceptable excuse.

Oh, that's why we created HDMI... just one plug, only goes in one way. But you know someone's going to try and force it in backwards and then complain that it won't work.

Re:Is there a way... (5, Funny)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647709)

I will laugh so hard when one of these celebs have to call the Geek Squad because he/she gets locked out by the DRM on his/her own songs, movies, etc.

Can somebody please explain... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#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!

Re:Can somebody please explain... (1)

motek (179836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647540)

Well, you apparently did. Albeit in the meta-mode. C'mon, people buy all these magazines. In a way, nobody is above all this celeb stuff. Except for me, that is. I am very special.

-m-

Re:Can somebody please explain... (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647556)

Yes, but celebs also usually take dumps on golden toilet seats, eat better food that you can afford, breath fresher air than you breathe in your normal non-rich neighborhood, and therefore it was logical that they have their personal technician whenever they want to plug something.

The point you missed is, the story is interesting because it turns out some celebs rely on the regular tech support channels the rest of us use / have to put up with.

Rosco P. Coltrane, Slashdot celebrity. (0)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647641)

Rosco P. Coltrane, you're quite a celebrity here at Slashdot. There are many here who admire you. I only wish there was a story you could tell us about how you used your celebrity to absolutely make the day (if not the entire year) of some young tech support technician.

Re:Can somebody please explain... (0, Troll)

PixelCat (58491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647561)

The real story is, how dumb is Bono if he can't set up an Xbox. It's like sex. Plug in socket. What, he can't handle that?

Re:Can somebody please explain... (2, Funny)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647599)

Why should Bono have to perform such a menial task? His time is far better spent criticizing various Western governments for not giving enough financial aide to developing nations, while at the same time he is pulling in millions upon millions of dollars from his music dealings.

Re:Can somebody please explain... (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647605)

Just one? Aren't there 3 cables; video, left, and right audio? Not to mention power and controller. Well, yeah, the last 2 don't count, and the rest are color-coded, and it's easy for you and me, but maybe rock stars don't like crawling under their TV table to find the sockets on the back.

Re:Can somebody please explain... (2, Funny)

PixelCat (58491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647635)

Can't Bono afford a TV with inputs on the front?

Re:Can somebody please explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647789)

Actually he can't, he calls the sex support technicians when he gets confused.

Trying to explain for the umpteenth time how to correctly put on a condom isn't that rewarding or nice but it pays the bills. He's also had a few "hole location" mishaps...

Re:Can somebody please explain... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647562)

And yet, most people are fascinated by it.

There's many reasons why, popularity by association, hero worship, rarity, etc.

One time I fought over Goldberg's (of WCW/WWE fame) receipt after he came through the drivethrough. I didn't even like prowrestling.

Lots of people's lives are dull and unhappy. Its nice to hear about rich and wonder what its like.

Re:Can somebody please explain... (3, Funny)

Musteval (817324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647598)

Lots of people's lives are dull and unhappy. Its nice to hear about rich and wonder what its like.

...dull, unhappy, and filled with gold?

Re:Can somebody please explain... (3, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647569)

Well as a Tech I don't care about these people either, but it would be a nice job, traveling around the world, possibly making contacts with techs in the recording industry, definatly not a job to sneeze at.

Re:Can somebody please explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647581)

Yes. I am not impressed by this article. As for the guy who said that playing XBox with Bono was "one of coolest things that ever happened" to him - what a sad, sad man. He must have nothing better in his life than to fawn over celebrities like some sort of salivating moron.

He's been taught that celebrity is great. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647656)

He must have nothing better in his life than to fawn over celebrities like some sort of salivating moron.

But can you really blame him? Take a look at his life growing up in America. There is a very good chance that he would have been bombarded by years upon years of pro-celebrity propaganda.

Much like somebody in Middle Ages Europe would have been subservient to the Catholic Church, the vast majority of Americans have had Hollywood as the main influence in their life.

He has been taught all along to get excited about celebrity. While those of us who put more emphasis on education and scholarship do not care about Hollywood and pop culture celebrity, he knows nothing else. Thus it is understandable that he'd get so excited about meeting Bono.

Re:Can somebody please explain... (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647790)

What he probably didn't tell us was that Andrea Corr was there, too. Andrea and Bono are close friends.

If true, THAT'S why it was cool. Who cares about Bono unless you're gay? Andrea is another story. She is definitely worth salivating over - and celebrity has little to do with it.

Nobody cares (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647746)

I think that the only people who give a rats rear about the "celeb" lifestyles are those that don't have a life in the first place. Look at all the idiotic cable tv shows, magazines etc... There must be a market for that crap, or they wouldn't be out there, but it is sad that people care more about the celebs than what is going on in REAL life.

*One of* the coolest things... (0, Troll)

motek (179836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647526)

Being a geek (especially on the squad) is certainly underrated.

Re:*One of* the coolest things... (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647639)

No its not. And this is not one of the coolest things.

This guy is at the beck and call of people to plug their consoles in, how is that glamorous or cool.

Re:*One of* the coolest things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647724)

$15 an hour cool!

Re:*One of* the coolest things... (2, Insightful)

inter alias (947885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647771)

Yeah, you'd be rolling in money at $15 an hour...

Bono better knows how to play games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647531)

After all, he now owns [msn.com] BioWare.

A dream come true... (-1, Troll)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647535)

Playing My Little Pony: Los Angeles with a burned out old fart... that's every techie's dream...

Slash-crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647537)

""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."

Are these the people who's music is suppose to be crap? Or is that a different group?

Re:Slash-crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647580)

Shut up. Bon Jovi kicks ass.

Re:Slash-crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647588)

Are these the people who's music is suppose to be crap? Or is that a different group?

They chose to be part of the group or people richer than everybody else, you chose the group of people who can't write english.

Re:Slash-crap. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647687)

Prince was on SNL last night playing the guitar like Jimi Hendrix back from the grave. Certainly not crap.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647539)

Bono presents an image of himself as social justice incarnate, yet can't get by without a Microsoft product. Get real.

Re:So... (0, Offtopic)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647800)

It's worse than that. He was recently at some "prayer conference" where he got to pray with a bunch of neocons and corrupt Republicans. Absolutely disgusting.

Cool? (0, Redundant)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647550)

FTFA **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.'"**

Cool would have been winning $1000 off of Bono playing video games!!

Re:Cool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647573)

If thats the coolest thing that happened to him thats sad.

Re:Cool? (1)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647651)

Well, he does work for Geek Squad....

Hey (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647560)

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Re:Hey (2, Funny)

dhakbar (783117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647801)

Totally.

I don't understand why they do that, either.

Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (5, Interesting)

Mad Martigan (166976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647564)

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.

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647607)

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.

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647684)

Passive aggressiveness is AWESOME!

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647616)

I don't know. If he is out riding a camel at 3:00am in the morning in Minnesota in January or asking why he can't be, he probably isn't remixing his songs or playing his XBox. It might be the ideal tech support job - no calls. Or even better, you can just tell Prince, "Hey, I don't do camels."

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (1)

Xerp (768138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647618)

Sorry, just how is this different to doing tech support for anyone else?

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647655)

"I'm not sure I'd want to be doing tech support for this guy."

I got my re-start in the music world doing just this sort of thing...I had some minor success (embarasingly so) as a teen and left the industry to pursue computers and schooling and along the way guys I met in the industry would give me calls asking if I knew how to do something or other and I'd try to help...and it slowly grew up the food chain.

More and more, I got the call the be the guy to break the bad news to the guys that either it wasn't possible OR the price was much more than they wanted to pay (and something they said screw the price and I'd send a team down to LaLaLand and we'd get it done).

But yeah, it sometimes sucks to be that guy...sometimes the stars are so far in their reality that they refuse to believe you...other times they are so thankful that you aren't one of the yesmen and hangers on that are willing to lie out their teeth and try not to offend them that they love you (this is more often than not -- the camel girl handler was probably a suckup that couldn't really do her job and was just afraid of losing her only access to this lifestyle).

Luckily, I have my company these days that handles most of this and I can focus on the more important things in life (its still fun to get free shows as friends know to call me if they are within a few hours from me, or occasionally flown out to industy events, but I'd rather stick with my research these days).

Trying to decide if I should post this anonymously or not...yeah, I think thats the right thing as I'd rather not get my name raked through the mud by geeks who seem to think this is bragging in that 'stars' should be envied...they ain't anyone special except folks with a lot of money who get recognized while walking down the street (and are usually more down to earth than guys that have made money the old fashion way -- getting it from their parents -- in fact the last show I did, I was flown out to do help with guy doing a birthday party for a billionaires daughter...and I ended up decking her husband because he said some racist things about the band members in my presence and getting in my face when I said something about it -- I'd rather deal with new money / reality distorted stars than asshole old money -- and most of the old money is exactly this way).

Definately anonymous.

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647749)

Thanks for confirming your existence. I'd always assumed your position existed, but purely by inference.

    Nice to see I was right about that.

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (1)

superdude72 (322167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647665)

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 cash + expenses. If that price is too high then, well... hello! Mr. Prince. Welcome to reality.

Re:Prince, eh? That Sounds Fun. (5, Interesting)

sakusha (441986) | more than 8 years ago | (#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!

Bono Uses Celebrity For Good (4, Funny)

Mad Martigan (166976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647590)

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? (5, Insightful)

comp.sci (557773) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:What is the story? (1)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647612)

Sorry, but in a similar situation, something tells me you'd be feeling the same way as him.

Re:What is the story? (3, Interesting)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647759)

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.

Re:What is the story? (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647652)

Unfortunately it's hard to describe time with a doctor or nurse while you have a cathater in your vein with an IV and pneumonia in a hospital in Georgia as "A good time".

They do some truly great work and they improve the lives of people they work with, and I have a lot of respect for all of them. Someone who simply won a contest on Survivor or ran 4 touchdowns in the championship game doesn't impress me.

Re:What is the story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647756)

ran 4 touchdowns in the championship game doesn't impress me.

Nobody talks about Al Bundy like that. Polk High football rules!!!!!

Re:What is the story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647731)

Describing it as one of the "best times" of one's life is likely an exaggeration, but at the very least it was probably very memorable. If you spent some time with some celeb (tv, music, tech, CoyboyNeal, ...) and it was more than just a handhake line, you'd probably be telling all your friends until they were sick of the story.

WTFC (4, Insightful)

AlterTick (665659) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647664)

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 (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647809)

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 would swoon eveytime he came in, I would hide out back and hope no one would find me so I wouldn't have to fix his POS again.

Stars are easy (5, Insightful)

joel8x (324102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647604)

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.

Re:Stars are easy (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647630)

If I had over-eager assistants taking care of my problems for me, I'd be pretty easy-going too.

It's not just the assisstants to TV stars. (2, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647632)

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 management more than the idea that they're impeding the financial success of their firm, especially if they're fairly high up in management.

Re:Stars are easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647700)

As daigu mentions, they can afford to be easy going. They are "easy going" because the image they project is part of the business of selling themselves. They do, however, require that their assistants actually take care of their wants - and if the assistants don't do this, they will get the chewing out of their lives (in private of course, and protected by contract).

The true measure is when they actually end up not getting what they want - then you'll see the true face of these people. Ego just doesn't begin to describe it.

(Note: as with all generalisations, some celebrities are actually easy-going and appreciate their good fortune. But not many.)

Re:Stars are easy (2, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647704)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647764)

Oh Hell yeah baby....

I work in the film biz... Every time I've met a "star" they've been just like you or me. But when I have to deal with someones PA things go all to hell.

Wow (3, Insightful)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 (4, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647645)

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."

Re:Wow (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647698)

I gots shizzle all over my bathroom flizzle, yo, hep me Roto Rooter!

Hardly glamorous (2, Insightful)

slowbad (714725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647613)

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.

Best Buy's Hardware Whores (2, Insightful)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#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."

Re:Best Buy's Hardware Whores (1)

joel8x (324102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647628)

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.

Yep. Rookie idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647725)

If the "geek squad" were really geeks they would have decent jobs, instead of working for Best Buy!

Re:Best Buy's Hardware Whores (1)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647637)

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"?

Re:Best Buy's Hardware Whores (1)

saltydogdesign (811417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647659)

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.

Right... (4, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647629)

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.

Re:Right... (1)

m00nun1t (588082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647767)

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. Just don't assume everyone has the same life goals as you.

Re:Right... (2, Interesting)

UserGoogol (623581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647808)

Fair enough. But at the same time, wanting to help Bono plug in his Xbox is a pretty weird life goal.

Would have been much (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647646)

...cooler if it wasnt Bono... Had he asked me to stick around, i would have bailed. before I felt the urge to knock him unconcscious and wipe / shave that dirt on his chin

Geek Squad, not so cool since Best Buy bought them (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647648)

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, they mostly do home LAN installs.

Today's article sounds like a Geek Squad puff piece from about five years ago.

Re:Geek Squad, not so cool since Best Buy bought t (0, Redundant)

ShineyMcShine (799387) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647681)

very true...

Misleading title? (5, Insightful)

mj_sklar (888539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647661)

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...

Getting paid for support the *stars* (5, Interesting)

MissionAccomplished (951344) | more than 8 years ago | (#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...

A much more interesting subject would be... (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647702)

"Tech support for celestial bodies of plasma" (aka: the stars)

Paris Hilton effect (2, Insightful)

themushroom (197365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647708)

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.

Fred Durst (1)

agent (7471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647720)

Michael Jackson
The Who... We won't get fooled again.

Sex Drugs and "Rock in Roll", and of course Money.

Ludacris's manager took CS classes? (2, Interesting)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#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)).

Tricked, i say! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647745)

I helped Steve Ballmer hook up his xbox, and all i got was this lousy chair!

"I kicked Bono's ass at Warcraft III!" (5, Funny)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647748)

"He kept building farms to feed the hungry, so my orcs just wiped him out!"

That's pretty far... (3, Funny)

Ninjy (828167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647758)

Tech Support to the Stars
Damn, and I thought outsourcing to India was bad enough!

Now If I Could Only Do This For The Corrs! (1)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647776)

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. Given their lack of penetration in the US market, they need help understanding the Net.

I've been there. (3, Interesting)

sakusha (441986) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 don't these guys broaden their horizons? (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647783)

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.

Don't get me wrong, a degree can provide you with useful skills but it cannot give you the thirst to learn or the drive to succeed and it is no substitute for inherent talent.

Have you ever wondered why there are people with college degrees flipping burgers or waiting tables? They are there because they lacked the drive to succeed and the humility to start in a junior position.

Amazing stuff! (0)

3.14159265 (644043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647793)

(...)
"It was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me,"


This is one of the coolest things I've ever read!
Definitely "News for nerds, stuff that matters" material. Thanks!

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14647798)

"For the stars" is always just another phrase for "What is the most expensive/luxurious method/device", that seems really like what people are interested in, the fact that it involves stars is probably arbitrary. After all, people are so fickle about who gets to be in the limelight that it really is 15 minutes of fame, and if it isn't, you're probably washed up.

Nothing too complicated (2, Funny)

whoda (569082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14647805)

Obviously they have never had a REAL technology problem or the Geek Squad guy would be in way over his head.
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