Author Topic: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme  (Read 5999 times)

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Online Fraser

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Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« on: November 21, 2021, 01:08:57 pm »
I follow the adventures of Alex at NorthridgeFIX on YouTube and he is a firm believer in working efficiently and using thermal imaging to aid him in his repair work.

Today he posted a video about the value of knowledge and his experience of such as a 16 year old approaching a professional business seeking help.

https://youtu.be/4lELSPWkPL0

Now let me just say that I do not agree with the actions of the Shop owner in Alex’s story. We are talking about a New York Shop though and New York has a reputation for being quite a hard nosed city. I personally would have either sold 16 year old Alex the correct cable at retail cost and explained why he needed it, or I would have just told him that two cable types existed and let Alex decide whether he wanted to buy the correct cable from me…. That may not have been the best business decision but Alex may have then given me repeat custom without fear of being charge a lot of money. $40 in 1996 was a lot of money !

I regularly share my knowledge on this forum without any expectation of reward. A simple “Thank you” is often enough and I get the satisfaction that I helped another person in their journey through life. There have been occasions when I felt very “Used” or was disappointed to be “Ghosted” as soon as I provided the required information but I have learned to accept such behaviour. I do object to being used like a human Google however as some people seem to use me as a short cut to knowledge and put no effort into research. I no longer provide knowledge to such individuals as you have to be cruel to be kind sometimes and they need to learn to research a topic of interest. If that means reading 300 pages of information on this forum, so be it.

The story that Alex shared did get me thinking though. All my life I have been a “giver” who tried to help others where able. It is just my personality type. I joined the Civil Service to help and serve my Country and there is a saying….to come out of the Civil Service Rich you need to enter it Very Rich !  :-DD  In the UK this can be very true and I know I would have earned far more money working in Industry. I look back and wonder whether I should have “chased the money” instead of taking a job that I considered a Vocation in the Civil Service. Too late now though and at least my life lead to me seeing the world and meeting my Wife. Some things are worth more than money ! Money does help lubricate the journey through life though !

So back to Alex and his business. He repairs equipment that would otherwise end up as scrap but he also reunites people with their data, repairs their beloved laptops etc that have sentimental value and even restores peoples access to their cars through the repair of car key fobs. He is a good man but also a businessman. He charges a fair fee for a repair, no matter how simple or challenging it may be. He also declares some faulty equipments beyond economic repair as they contain rabbit holes of unknown depth and as a business you have to be sensible on time taken to repair something. I still feel sorry for the 16 year Old Alex who entered that computer shop in 1996, asked for help, the help was provided BUT the store owner then demanded significant payment with no warning that such would be due. Not how I would operate ! That said, this experience may have helped Alex in his business life.

So what has all this to do with the thermal imaging forum ? Well I ask that those who request information on this forum consider that they are actually asking someone to share knowledge that has possibly taken many years and much research to gain. They are asking for free sharing of knowledge which, from Alex’s example is quite an ask ! I regularly receive requests to share my knowledge or to help with advice or repair information relating to thermal cameras. I do still help where able but some would say I am foolish as I could charge a fee for much of the knowledge I share. So am I a fool ?  :-//

I have just returned to work in the civil Service after a 6 year absence due to ill health. I work part time on a fee paid basis and I get paid for every minute that I share my knowledge in written or verbal form. I receive payment to compensate me for my time and I am employed because of what I know. I will never be rich in the Civil Service, but at least I know I am doing a good job that aids others. The ideology that “knowledge is power” is frowned upon in my World.

I am fast approaching retirement age so maybe I should have had a better business head on my shoulders when I first started contributing to the creation of what is now the best technical forum on thermal imaging technology in the World. Others, such as Bill_W have helped me to increase my knowledge of thermal imaging technology, without an expectation of reward, so I think this forum should be a free exchange of knowledge within the limitations of legal constraints applicable to this specialist topic. The membership are hopefully aware of how fortunate they are to have this knowledge resource though ! My only warning is…. Do not abuse the kindness and generosity of others and “free” does not mean “at no cost” to the provider of the knowledge or help.

I think Dave Jones is great to have hosted this amazing knowledge repository but I expect he earns money from it as well so it is a symbiotic relationship.

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 03:37:13 pm by Fraser »
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;)
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021, 01:51:29 pm »
Further to my last message. It would have been interesting to see who would have been willing to pay me for the knowledge that I have shared on this forum. This is the age of people earning income from Forums such as this, YouTube, Instagram and Gofundme pages.
Knowledge does have value, but who outside industry would be willing to actually pay for that I wonder ? Maybe I should start a GoFundme page  ;D
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;)
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 02:39:55 pm »
Well I have gone and done it !

If you want to read the story of my challenging last 6 years battling Myalgic encephalomyelitis and make a small donation, please visit my Gofundme page

https://gofund.me/c86b0a2c

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 03:25:33 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline svgurus

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;)
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2021, 02:57:39 pm »
I read this forum for about a year, you are indeed very active contributor and your info on flir tau/scouts helped me, though i almost tore screen ribbon cable because you didnt mention exact way of opening flir 324 case) There are right-to repair movements and sites like ifixit where disassembly info is placed free of charge, but thermals are a bit less convenient hardware than laptops so your choice of being secretive can be respected) I think you can make a patreon page, there are tiers of support - say, for 2-5$ a month you put some more detailed repair manuals, for 5-10$ a month you can answer some questions about simple equipment, etc. Maybe one day I'll make thermal-imaging themed patreon myself 8)
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;)
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2021, 03:12:46 pm »
Svgurus,

If I did not mention how to dismantle a particular thermal camera, it was an oversight I can assure you. I only withhold information that could land me in trouble with the authorities. On other topics, I am an open book :) As I said, I believe in sharing knowledge and do not subscribe to “knowledge is power” As an example, many people have contacted me over the years with a specific weird problem with their AGEMA/FLIR PM5xx and PM6xx series cameras. I could have offered to repair them for a hefty fee but instead I told them to change the Dallas/Maxim RTC+RAM battery Powercap at a cost of £9.50 from Farnell and all would correct itself on the next boot sequence ! I will not go into the detail here as to exactly what causes the fault condition but it relates to the camera firmware reverting to a safe factory defaults condition when the RTC memory is corrupted or does not contain the correct data. That is the sort of bread and butter job that repairers love as it takes minutes to do, is easy, yet they can charge a hefty standard repair fee. The fault looks nasty enough to the user for them to not question the fee either ! That is just not me though. I will never be rich, that is for certain.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 03:17:25 pm by Fraser »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2021, 05:58:38 pm »
Update,

I have received my first donation via Gofundme. Thank you Djilali  :-+ :-+

It is nice to see that some people really do appreciate my efforts and want to help me financially. Your donation is very much appreciated, I can assure you  :)

I have never detailed the hardships of my illness over the past 6 years but it has been no fun. I still tried to assist others via this forum as that seemed the right thing to do, even if I was personally not in a great place.

Fraser
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2021, 06:00:42 pm »
Thanks go out to Wrapper as well for his kind donation  :-+

Fraser
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2021, 07:37:10 pm »
My thanks to Wim and Mark for their generous donations.

I had quite expected to receive nothing as everyone has their life challenges and money is tight in many households.

I am SO grateful for all of the donations. They are very much appreciated and will help me.

Thank you

Fraser
 

Offline Vipitis

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2021, 08:32:51 pm »
I can understand the viewpoint and have my very own opinion too. But I would simply like to add some of my stories to give a broader perspective.

I was initially introduced into this forum by the app developer for the better FLIR One app. And I have had a tab open in this forum basically for the past 5 years, checking a few times a week for where. If there is a topic I can contribute too or have some opinion I do. If I don't, I mostly ignore it. Multiple members of the forum have helped me with my endeavors, even if I still didn't reach some of the goals set a while ago. It's a hobby and perhaps an entry into electrical engineering which I still haven't picked up. I have received information as replies, documents, instructions, contact information, even software and firmware; found good deals and been adviced against scams; discussed about artistic visions; and very importantly for me I have been exposed to new topics that shaped my own interests.  Over the years I made a few threads myself, some simply about seeking help and others to give back and provide a collection of names and references that I spent time to find.


We almost life in a world were access to information is free and everybody with a few basic tools can find answers to any questions there are. You can find whole university courses for free online and find a really large body of knowledge on YouTube. Forums seem to be going really deep on specific topics and that's something I enjoy. Before a forum was a website in the internet - it was a place to meet and discuss.

There are two Discords(essentially chatrooms) that became my daily social outlet and I am providing tech support for a software I barely use myself on the daily. All because I got to enjoy helping people. Just last month I started my first real job as a tutor in university, preparing material and helping others learn. I developed a somewhat arrogant approach during my schooltime but I think I have gotten a lot better.

The actual message I want to share here, is from my class teach (year 1 through 8) which they shared with us during the graduation (year 13). You can lose everything in life: your money, your livelihood, your family, your country but there is one thing you can hold onto and that is invaluable: knowledge.
No matter how difficult the world was for their parents and grandparents the most crucial task they saw for their children was to provide them with a great education. Because no matter what the future would bring - they won't lose their knowledge and experience. That is something everyone carries with them.
To me that is a really strong message and something I feel very fortunate about so far in my life. I can essentially study anything at university or look it up online without needing to be wealthy. I am already privileged by living in this part of the planet.

My advice from doing the voluntary tech support in a chat room to avoid being a one on one mentoring. Is to compile your knowledge in something like a website or document, do record video tutorials on YouTube. It's just a shortcut saying the same stuff over and over again, because that will feel tiring - so the interesting problems are left over. Those that also bring yourself further.

While I will not send a monetary donation, there is a few forum members that I will send a print of my initial thermal zine (once I get it printed).

Thank you!
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2021, 09:56:33 pm »
Vipitis,

Knowledge can be free when the holder of such decides to make it available at no cost. Google is an amazing search engine but it can only present you with what it’s Spiders discover on the Internet. There is much knowledge that is not public domain and is beyond the reach of Google’s Spiders or even reference books  ;) Protected knowledge is often not free.

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 09:58:59 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2021, 10:22:26 pm »
Knowledge is even more valuable when timely, such as your post about the very good deal on the Multicomp thermal imager now sitting on my bench.  So consider my donation as a commission!  :)
A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit 7.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2021, 10:32:51 pm »
Bdunham7,

Thank you so much for your amazing donation. It has left me speechless !  :-+

These very kind and generous donations leave me feeling very humble. Thank you all.

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 21, 2021, 10:36:36 pm by Fraser »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2021, 11:35:42 am »
Zucca, Paul, Jonathan, Yau and A******,

Thank you so much for your very kind and generous donations. It is lovely to feel that fellow forum members want to help me. I do my best to help others and believe in Good Karma. To receive such kindness and generosity from fellow forum members is more important to me than you can imagine. It is a real boost to my morale. Donations have come from forum members that I did not even know I had helped. Thank you one and all.

Be assured that every penny received is going to be spent on life’s necessities and will not be squandered on ‘toys’ etc. I will also be trying to dig myself out of this hole that I am in by selling equipment on eBay and this forum. Sadly I have found that selling and properly packing equipment, especially bulky equipment, can be a real challenge to my energy levels and can even be quite stressful :( I must pace myself and get on with it though.

My sincerest thanks and Best Wishes to all

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 11:46:54 am by Fraser »
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2021, 12:29:18 pm »
A little story from me on an event in the not too distant past for your interest and amusement.

Some time ago I was contacted by a Personal Assistant to a very well known Tech millionaire ! I was very impressed that this person knew I even existed. The PA explained that her boss had a faulty thermal camera and would I be willing to assess it with a view to repair. I agreed to take a look at it.

The camera arrived and I was surprised to discover that it was one of the somewhat lower quality units that were coming out of China at the time and was fitted with a ULIS microbolometer. This unit was still £3K though ! The camera would boot, operate its FFC shutter, but did not produce a thermal image.

I placed the patient on the ‘operating table’ and began disassembly. As soon as I was inside the casing I could see that the unit was somewhat challenged in the design and build quality departments. I spent several days reverse engineering the camera in order to determine useful test points for my diagnostics. After several hours of work on the unit I had proven every stage to be working except the microbolometer. After further testing I proved that the microbolometer has failed and that it had all required inputs, was producing a viable output, but the output contained no image data. The ULIS microbolometer used in the unit was the old gold module design that uses glass seals on the leads and if these crack, the module loses its vacuum and becomes scrap.

I had kept the PA and her boss advised of progress and the time spent on the investigation so that they knew what was happening. I reported my findings and the boss wanted me to replace the microbolometer. I advised that sadly this was not a viable repair for me as any replacement microbolometer would require the camera to be calibrated using factory software. The PA came back to me with a request that I return the camera to them so that someone else can look at it. Fair enough. I reassembled the camera and sent it back to the Millionaires company as requested with a written summary of what I had done to diagnose the cameras fault and how I had concluded that it had a failed microbolometer. From that summary it was clear how many hours I had spent on this chaps camera to diagnose the fault.

A question for you all…….. when a Millionaire sees that you have spent a lot of time working on his faulty thermal camera and declared it beyond economic repair through quality diagnostics…. How much do you think the Millionaire pays the tech who spent that time on his equipment ? I will let you guess :)

It was my fault for not sending a diagnostic time bill for payment as that might have pricked the chaps conscience.

You put these events to the back of your mind and move forward. They hurt at the time but life goes on :)

Fraser

Addition : I must add that the Millionaire in this story was NOT the most excellent Mr Dyson ! I suspect he would have behaved very differently in the same situation as he is a kind and generous person  :-+
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 12:51:25 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Bud

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2021, 04:31:13 pm »
There was just recently a quick article published here about a known local millionaire, who does his shopping at Walmart. Those guys are often cheaper than one might think.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 04:42:07 pm by Bud »
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2021, 04:55:00 pm »
I did not want to generalise but I have previously heard it said that some Millionaires become such through being very careful with their money ! That is a somewhat unfair statement to make in general though as many Milionaires are just good business people and can be wonderful philanthropists as well. Mr Dyson is a prime example of such a Millionaire. He does much good work with his money and believes in Apprenticeship schemes to help youngsters get a trade and a start in life  :-+

 

Offline amwales

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2021, 05:02:39 pm »
Thankyou Fraser, take care.
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2021, 06:26:30 pm »
My thanks to Angelo for his very kind donation  :-+  :)

Fraser
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2021, 07:43:38 pm »
My thanks to Mike and R****** for your very generous donations. Thank you also to R****** for his words of encouragement  :-+

Fraser
 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2021, 09:55:25 pm »
A question for you all…….. when a Millionaire sees that you have spent a lot of time working on his faulty thermal camera and declared it beyond economic repair through quality diagnostics…. How much do you think the Millionaire pays the tech who spent that time on his equipment ? I will let you guess :)

It was my fault for not sending a diagnostic time bill for payment as that might have pricked the chaps conscience.

You put these events to the back of your mind and move forward. They hurt at the time but life goes on :)

I don't know your millionaire, but look at it from his possible point of view.  Some repair shops charge for their time, as if they are consultants.  If that is the game, everyone needs to know up front.  Others charge if they are successful and can offer the customer some value, otherwise they view the cost of their time as a preliminary expense for which they bear the risk.  I typically have chosen the latter principle.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't charge for diagnostic time if that were discussed up front, but I would only charge for that time if either a) the customer was offered a repair solution and declined  b) they had the repair done, in which case the charge is a combination of diagnosis and repair (note that often it is 99% diagnosis and 1% repair since for some things the 'repair' part is very simple) or c) the customer has an unusual or difficult issue that they want determined and they understand the possibility that at the end of the process there might not be a repair option and they are OK with that.  What I have never done is take a job in with only an agreed upon diagnostic fee and then return it saying "I can't fix this and you owe me $xxx.xx. 

So if your millionaire presumes that you operate like that and you didn't ask for money, he may not be such a terrible person.  Myself, if I knew that you spent two days on it, I might offer to pay you even if you didn't ask.  But in my (former) circles that would be seen as almost disrespectful on the customer's part--the presumption is that a business owner sets their own rates and the customer's obligation is to pay the bill promptly without complaining.  Tips are for the lowest economic classes, waitstaff and parking valets. 

In my case I won't accept money for repairing stuff, simply because I don't want that end of the business and I'm mostly a buy/fix/sell hobby anyway, not trying to earn a living.  I will accept wine, single-malt (although I'm not offended by the uneducated that might bring me a blend) and interesting junk electronics as payment.  You should set rates and stick to them--people that balk at paying you, including friends that know you are trying to earn a living, aren't people who you need to be working for.
A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit 7.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 
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Offline Bill W

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2021, 11:51:15 pm »

I don't know your millionaire, but look at it from his possible point of view.  Some repair shops charge for their time, as if they are consultants.  If that is the game, everyone needs to know up front.  Others charge if they are successful and can offer the customer some value, otherwise they view the cost of their time as a preliminary expense for which they bear the risk.  I typically have chosen the latter principle.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't charge for diagnostic time if that were discussed up front, but I would only charge for that time if either a) the customer was offered a repair solution and declined  b) they had the repair done, in which case the charge is a combination of diagnosis and repair (note that often it is 99% diagnosis and 1% repair since for some things the 'repair' part is very simple) or c) the customer has an unusual or difficult issue that they want determined and they understand the possibility that at the end of the process there might not be a repair option and they are OK with that.  What I have never done is take a job in with only an agreed upon diagnostic fee and then return it saying "I can't fix this and you owe me $xxx.xx. 


For my 'commercial' Argus camera repairs I have sat it in the middle of that approach.
I have set a base GBP150 to cover "inspect - report - test - return" that also includes any relatively trivial fixes.  The customer knows that up front and saves the hassle both ways of individual pricing up and order processing for trivia.
That way I can get the camera in, check it, do the simpler fixes and despatch test it all in one go, happy to know my £150 will be coming.
Invoice and ship next day, no cameras lying around open.

I also have two higher levels for replacing 'big stuff' and 'sensors', but ideally the middle 'big stuff' band (for PCB's or a full disassembly) would also be pre-approved, but some prefer not to go there.

The hassle we had when Argus were in e2v was huge.  Get camera, work out what is wrong, (so usually end up fixing it) then unfix it, get the quotes prepared, have the camera lying around in bits for weeks waiting for approvals and order placement, then when that is all through finally fix it again.    |O   |O  There was a spreadsheet that even charged 41p per screw.
Sometimes the repair would be declined but we'd still have to re-assemble broken to send back unrepaired but looking as it arrived - for no income.

Bill
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2021, 12:06:32 am »
Thanks for the excellent advice guys. I should clarify that I am not, and never have been a repair business, just a tech who repaired kit now and again for beer money. It was totally my fault that I did not get paid for my diagnostic time on the thermal camera as I should have agreed a minimum fee before accepting the job. I did learn my lesson though. It is just that if I know someone has spent time working on something for me for no charge,  I would always say thank you with a bottle of good wine/Spirits, crate of Beer or Amazon Token if that is more appropriate. That is just me though and I should not expect such from others.

Fraser
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 12:20:44 am by Fraser »
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2021, 04:17:57 pm »
My thanks to N*** for the kind donation.

I am touched that so many people have donated to my Gofundme page. Every donation, no matter the amount will help me.

Best Wishes to all

Fraser
 

Online CJay

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2021, 06:17:55 pm »
A question for you all…….. when a Millionaire sees that you have spent a lot of time working on his faulty thermal camera and declared it beyond economic repair through quality diagnostics…. How much do you think the Millionaire pays the tech who spent that time on his equipment ? I will let you guess :)

Zero.

I've had dealings with several very rich people and the only time they're generous is when they need to be seen to be generous or they have some other ulterior motive.

It saps your faith in mankind.
 
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Online Fraser

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Re: Off topic but food for thought ;) + my Gofundme
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2021, 09:46:00 pm »
Thank you for your very generous donation Dan  :-+
 


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