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Thursday
Jan152015

A piece of OSG history - now up for sale

The OSGMobile is up for sale. The van that transported thousands of repaired video game consoles (and was mentioned on the front page of the Edmonton Journal in 2007!) is available for purchase. It has been excellently maintained, and has been gently driven the last few years by an elderly family member.

2006 Ford Freestar SE 136000 KM's
(84500 miles)

$2000 OBO
Power windows, locks, mirrors, cruise/tilt, AC, 6 speaker AM FM CD w/aux input- everything works. Good condition interior (no tears), fair condition body. Great first car, or second people mover.

A piece of OSG history. If the purchaser cares about such things, I can throw in leftover unapplied video game system related de calling that was never applied. Instead of removing the remaining video game decals, you could go all out!

UPDATE

The OSGMobile is now sold. So long old girl, you served us well.

Sunday
Dec012013

So long and thanks for all the consoles...

It is with mixed feelings I make this announcement. December 31 2013 will be OSG Service's final day of operation. It's been a great ride having lived and loved and made friends. The last 10 years has provided many opportunities to grow professionally. With the support of so many* over the last decade, OSG has serviced more than 7000 game consoles literally from all over the globe. It all started with fixing up old consoles and selling them on eBay, and then one thing led to another, to another, to another. While this chapter of my professional life closes, another exciting one opens up. Who knows where opportunity will lead next? I'll never say never with regards to taking up the soldering iron again. Facts are "Old Gamers never die, they just need their contacts cleaned."


*the many!

I would like to give a heartfelt Thank You to all of these people who each have made their own huge contribution to OSG's success. These people supported me, counselled me, believed in me and pushed me to take OSG to places I never would have found alone.

  • Chris Lee who's charm and skill led him from customer, to a colleague and then friend. OSG would never have offered iPod services (and I never would have switched to Apple personally) without his influence. Software guidance, design support, you name it, I always look forward to working with Chris Lee.
  • Mark Bilewski and Ryan Kain of Nexwave Video Games were OSG's first and last professional clients. Ryan and Mark were the first who gave me a chance to offer services to their customers. OSG may never have gotten past idea stage without these two individuals believing in me.
  • Jon Meanwell - a long time friend who was there when I needed him with honest council and support. When OSG had expanded far beyond my expectations, Jon was there to help keep my head above water.
  • Dylan Major - another customer turned friend who offered excellent PC centric support, and was a huge help in generating high quality digital assets ( S-Video screenshots!) for OSG's 1st generation website. A true 'gaming enthusiast'.
  • Shawn Ohler formerly of the Edmonton Journal, who put me and my growing business on the front page of the Edmonton Journal in September 2006.
  • Ken Roland who took OSGs website from beta to 1st generation with a beautiful form and function (not this website!)
  • OSG clients past and present: Wayne Russell from Microplay, Penny from Just for Fun, Gene Nutt from Game Nut in Kansas, Neil Gordon from 'he knows where', Dave Young from Cash Converters, Teresa from Easyhome, Charles at Ultimate Video, the gang at Game City and Mark at GameNow in Mississauga.
  • My families support cannot be overstated. My beautiful wife Charlene, my sons Alex, Aaron, Sam, Zach and my daughter Melissa all in their own way gave me support and sustenance through every phase of OSGs growth and eventual shutdown. My children did all manner of things like helping carry systems, helping test systems (child labour!!) and made me OSG themed gifts from school. Charlene listened, counselled and supported me financially and emotionally. I love you all, and any success OSG achieved is directly due to the love and support my family sustained me with.


Any systems that have been committed to be ready for pickup this month will  still be ready for pickup past December 31 2013 at their respective Nexwave store. If you want your system ensure you pick it up before the end of February 2014, so you don't run afoul of the 90 day abandonment policy.

 
 
Like a roller in the ocean, life is motion. Move on.
Like a wind that's always blowing, life is flowing. Move on 
Like the sunrise in the morning, life is dawning. Move on.
How I treasure every minute. Being part of it, being in it. With the urge to move on.

credit: Andersson/Ulvaeus

Saturday
Oct082011

Just a minor website update, or can FAQ's be funny?

Well, it's been awhile, but all I can say for myself, is that I'm not much of a Blogger. I figure if I don't think others would find it interesting, why post it?

I spent some time this morning updating the site's Frequently Asked Questions. I've tried to maintain the same 'tongue in cheek' feel that I have received compliments on in the past. It's sort of an unusual place where I've decided to let my sense of humour shine through.

I've added content specifically spelling out how our Free Evaluations are actually 'Free' with no 'Bench Fee' strings attached, unlike some other sites I've seen around the net. I don't really get why people try to use word games like that. Either you look at a system for free, or you don't.

Now, don't get me wrong, I completely understand why a business would want to charge a 'Bench Fee'. It makes sense actually. When you offer something for free, there is always a segment of the population that will look for ways to abuse it beyond it's intent. I've had people use the free evaluation to try to get troubleshooting specific details, so they could use that info to perform a DIY repair themselves. Essentially using our test bench to confirm their suspicion, and then use that information for a do-it-yourself repair. Fortunately, that sort of thing is very rare, and I've learned over the years how to suss out when someone is not really serious. In that sort of instance, I've learned to simply ensure I spend as little shop time as possible, and essentially cut my losses. However, fear of that sort of abuse, is no reason to charge bench fees in my opinion. If I want people to trust me with their systems, I need to be able to assure them they will only spend money if they choose to. Imagine that.

I also added some Q&A's about warranty specifics, and our philosophy on value. I've found that some people who were shopping around, were asking us what warranty really meant. Apparently there are other providers who see a warranty as, 'We'll try to fix it again, and if we can't, we'll give you half of your money back". O_o . Oh My. That sort of offering never even occurred to me. Warranty to me is very simple. Either the repair stays fixed, and all is good, or it didn't and we need to make it right. In my view, refunding half of the money, does NOT make it right.

Don't get me wrong, I am not perfect. Our warranty exists for a reason, and unfortuantely warranty issues do (rarely) arise. I always repair it for free, or offer a refund. In a few cases where my estimate turned out to be just plain wrong, I've had to revise the estimate. Though in every case when that occurred, I offered the option of a full refund if they preferred. That way, we are right back where we started, broken console, new estimate, and no obligation on the unfortunate customer to spend anything if they don't want to. They've already been inconvenienced by the warranty issue for goodness sake.

Similar to the 'Bench Fee' issue above, I can understand why someone would want to recoup all of the lost shop time by only offering a 50% refund. Some repairs can be surprisingly time consuming. In my view, in this arrangement, OSG Service is the professional, and the customer is the one seeking the help. Since OSG Service charges money for the services we provide, it is our responsibility to accept all of the risks that come with offering the service. It's a basic premise of the way I view value.

 

Steve

OSG Service

Sunday
Jan232011

These parts sure are hard to find....

So, I've been in this game for a while. It never ceases to amaze me though how many parts suppliers seem to crawl out of the woodwork and spam me to solicit my business. I don't really mind the spam. It's the whole 'third party parts supplier' business that I mind. I've purchased from no less than 20 different suppliers over the years. Some directly from China, requiring difficult wire transfer payment schemes. North American brokers who resell the Chinese parts to buyers like me here. There is one thing I have found consistent, no matter where you source the parts. The quality of the parts is uniformly inconsistent. No matter the supplier, you can get a batch of ten PS3 optical assemblies, and have all 10 be excellent quality. Or all 10 be completely non functional. Or some of them work, and some of them do not. Or (worst of all) some seem to work fine, but are flaky in some way. That's the worst, because then each unit requires excessive testing (time!!) just to find out they fail. Or if they pass, then there is the risk of warranty returns (even more time- irritated customer!!).

 

In the end, what I've learned is to find a parts supplier that has a good track record with quality, but even more important than that, is one that you can have a relationship with. When the quality problem arises, is when that relationship bears fruit. If the supplier is willing to work together with you, so you can build a mutual trust, that is when you get the payoff. For the supplier, he can know that if OSG Service claims a part does not work, is DOES NOT WORK.. He can relax, knowing that it's not an installation error, or a diagnostic error, or another cause, because he knows that OSG service can and will test the part in multiple systems. We will use our resources and experience to ensure that the part is indeed faulty. For us here at OSG Service, the payoff is that we can easily get an RMA number, and a refund, or credit towards the next batch of parts we will purchase.

Without that relationship, it gets difficult and unpleasant very quickly. I've had suppliers tell me I must be installing it wrong (yes all 10 of them!?), or diagnosing it wrong (all 10 of them in three different systems!?). It is for that reason that I rarely venture away from the supplier(s) I regularly use. While price does matter, it's not the first consideration, or even the second. The ability to have this real relationship, that is mutually beneficial to our respective needs, that is the key.

There is a lesson here for any business, and one I've taken to heart for OSG Service as well. I've found that customers for the most part want to be treated the same way. Respect for their needs, tends to breed respect for your efforts. There are always a few customers that are shopping for price, or for speed alone. When you shop for price, price is what you will get. When you shop for speedy turnaround, then that is what you will get. When you shop for value, you can find that too. I guess I just have a more well rounded idea of what 'value' is to me, and I work very hard to provide what I see as value, to OSG Service's customers as well.

Do you know who I worry for the most? Do-It-Yourself'ers buying just one part. If that one part does not work in their Playstation 3, what does that mean? Is the part faulty? Is your diagnosis wrong?  How can you verify when you are working with one part in one system? Yikes.

 

Steve

Sunday
Jan092011

OSG Service's new look

If you are reading this you have obviously found us. As you can see, Old School Gamer has iterated into OSG Service. This reflects a new direction for OSG. Firstly, it represents a leaner, in house run web solution for OSG. In addition to that, it also reflects a fully connected, unified face for OSG Service, across multiple Social Media networks. We are now spread across the web, FaceBook, Linked In, Twitter, KiJiJi and more.

And that's not all. As some of you may have noticed, this iteration of OSG is now locally focussed for providing service. This means faster turnaround times for local service, as we focus exclusively on it. As wonderful as that sounds, it also means the end of international mail order service for OSG.

I literally agonized over this decision for more than a year. I've taken great pride in OSG's international reach, and our Testimonials from around the world. However, since the economic downturn of Fall 2008, the stress on me personally has been intense. OSG was no longer able to be the sole support for my family. This forced me to put my attention into two places, and make for a punishing work schedule that I have been maintaining for the last 2.5 years. It's a schedule that I cannot continue to maintain. It's already taken a toll on my family life that does not feel 'right'.

Mail Order service has no business case for OSG Service, and hasn't for the last 3 years. While I've always enjoyed being able to repair rare and uncommon consoles like ColecoVisions, TurboDUO's and NEO GEO's, it simply is not profitable to do so. These sorts of consoles take an outsized amount of time to service, that cannot acceptably be reflected in their service costs to our customers. In addition to that, such old consoles have a greater warranty risk for us. When you add the fact that they are usually mail order jobs, that makes for an exceptionally troublesome risk of warranty issue for us, and more importantly for our customer. And finally, with my attention diverted elsewhere through the daylight hours, I never seem to be available when parcels arrive. This means a trip to the Post Office, OR the UPS centre, OR the FedEx centre, or what have you just to get the parcel, so I can provide a free estimate on it. When one is already overburdened with responsibilities, it rapidly becomes untenable to provide this mail order service in the quality way I would insist on providing it to OSG Service customers.

Now that the decision is made, and the deed is done, my local customers (which were 95% of OSG business) are already seeing service improvements. However, the international mail order requests (though not numerous) continue. None of these non-local hopeful customers have been happy with OSG Service's new direction. The news has been met with everything from disappointment to downright hostility. I've tried very hard to explain the reasons without getting into the personal details, and in some cases it seems clear to me that I've failed to get some to understand. It's hard to hear someone call you lazy when you are working a 70 hour work week.

So, this seemed like the ideal opportunity for OSG Service's first blog entry. I don't expect to blog frequently, but we'll see as time goes by. I still work too many hours, and spend too little quality time with my loved ones. However, I need to pay the bills, and OSG Service is an important part of that. I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to provide the service to my community. I do enjoy serving their gaming needs, and saving consoles from the landfill.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Steve

OSG Service