Being a computer geek of some 20-*ahem* years, I get many requests for free computer repair jobs.

After a while, it got old. I'd repair the same problems over and over. I came up with a new rule for free computer labor: they had to sit there, watch and learn. I would never fix that problem again on their system.

This actually works. Most folks are just scared of all those little chips and doohickeys inside their beige box. Getting them involved in fixing it, which includes them assisting while you explain what you're doing (and why), helps them get over their fear of their computer guts and spurs them to learn more, since it's not a scary thing anymore.

After a while, I started getting their old parts when they upgraded their systems. I used these to build up computers for schools, like the day care centers of a few elementary schools in El Cajon, California. My friends get knowledge and cheap upgrades, the schools and care centers got free computers, and I got tax credits.

After a couple of years, most of my friends were computer literate enough so all I had to do was help out with the tough problems.