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Have a question about your Mac? Tims has an answer

Jackson — Some people consider Michael Tims the Apple computer guru of Jackson. He’s sold on them too since that’s all he’s worked on for 21 years.

Tims began his love affair with Apples in 1983 — one year before the popular Macintosh came out — as a technician for Monroe Office Equipment in Monroe, La. He says 95% of his work for the first two years was on Apples and he’s been a convert ever since.

“I think Apple has been innovative and a trend setter,” he said. “I see a lot of other stuff out there following Apple, but they always set the standard.”

After growing up in Winnsboro, La., and Los Angeles, Tims, 48, joined the military then went back home to northern Louisiana to earn a degree in geology. With jobs for geologists not plentiful in the early 1980s, he made a fortuitous decision and returned to school to major in computer science.

“At my first computer job, I learned by doing and became known as the Apple technician,” he said. “After doing that for two years, they sent me off to become legal with training by Apple. I became an authorized Apple technician. I liked it.”

Why does he like Apple so much? “The reasons have changed through the years, but it’s so logical to use,” he says. “If you can read, point and click, you can use it. I’ve used programs that I’ve never read a manual for. Also, I like it because Apple had a headstart on operating systems, and I don’t want to change.”

He says Apple computers used to be more expensive, but they’re not anymore.

In an easy-going manner, Tims lists his sojourn in the computer world that led to starting his own consulting business in 2001. This experience took him to ComputerCraft in Dallas where he was a regional technical manager; The Computer Shoppe in New Orleans and another one in Baton Rouge; back to Monroe where he was general technical manager for User Friendly; and finally to Jackson with User Friendly in the late 90s.

“When I travel, I always test the waters as to jobs, and I visited friends in Jackson who told me User Friendly was looking for a manager,” he said. ‘That’s how I ended up here.”

For the past three years he’s operated a home-based business, Michael Tims Consulting. He goes on-site to take care of computer matters for his 70-plus customers that include publishers, government agencies, graphic artists and all kinds of creative folks.

“Apple has always been associated with creative people. It has that reputation,” he said. “The Macintosh is used a lot in graphic design and layout, music and film editing.”

Much of his time is spent upgrading systems, installing new programs and performing routine maintenance and emergency repairs for customers, although there are fewer problems than in the past thanks to smooth-running Macintoshes. He sees few viruses because that’s mainly a Windows problem. Linux systems don’t have many either.

“The last virus I killed on a Mac was four years ago,” Tims said. “There are a lot more computers running Windows systems and I think a lot of folks out there don’t like Bill Gates. That’s why there are more viruses on personal computers.”

Viruses may not affect all computer users but spam is for everyone, this computer guru says. “It comes from all over the world. I’m hearing talk that it will be addressed internationally, and that’s the kind of effort it will take,” he said. “I have customers who return to work on Monday to find 150 e-mails with maybe only three good ones.”

Spam really irritates Tims even though he knows the tricks of the trade for dealing with it. He warns that often a notice directing a computer user to “click here” to be taken off a list will in reality make the spam problem worse. Viruses are by far the worst problem for PC users and security issues are a concern to all computer users. He urges caution when considering security measures as there are lots of offers out there now by those wanting to make money with security safeguards.

“I don’t think it’s overreacting, but you have to be careful,” he says of the free-flowing offers.

For good computer care in general, Tims advises consumers to take advantage of extended warranty offers. “The odds are that you won’t need it but for about $167 you can convert a one-year warranty into a three-year warranty and have peace of mind,” he said.

He also notes that a lot of people have been shifting to the OSX operating system over the past two years. “It’s so stable,” he says, “but can be a major upgrade. For most though, it’s painless.”

Tims sees the future of Apple computers as very strong. “They have a toe hold in all creative things, and I think we’ll have a lot more folks who want a computer at home go to Apple because of stuff like iPod and iTunes. Apple has always been a big supporter of the music industry,” he said. “It’s impressive.”

The father of three children, Tims is satisfied with his life although he worries about his older son who’s serving in the military in Iraq. He spends time online downloading music with iTunes and doing research. “There’s no argument that can’t be resolved on the Internet,” he adds.

Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at mbj@msbusiness.com.


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