Not sure if its the same technology - we've had it since 1997 here in Hong Kong. The cards can be linked to your bank / credit card account and get charged automatically. Linked cards can be reported lost / cancelled.
Sure something can be done or at the very least some steps can be taken. Here in Hong Kong retired govt officials have to apply to the Civil Services Bureau before they can take up a new position. The policy is outlined here.
The essence of it lies in the following
(a) civil servants on final leave and former civil servants will not take up work which may:
(i) constitute real or potential conflict of interest with their former government duties, or
(ii) casue well-founded negative public perception embarrassing the Government and undermining the image of the Civil Service, or give rise to reasonable apprehension of deferred reward or benefit by a fair-minded and informed observer after having considered the relevant facts;
(b) the said individuals' right to work after ceasing government service will not be duly restricted; and
(c) the attractiveness of the Civil Service as a career will not be adversely affected and limited human resources will be put to good use.
This has worked sometime and has not worked sometime. It has also been used to harrass individuals who have embarrassed the government while on the job ( one prominent civil servant reportedly did not get clearance for 2 years to work as a journalist because he obviously had some dirt on some senior officials.
Having said that, atleast there is a policy and matters can be taken to court if required.
May not apply to many places like the US.
Most of the smaller Colos like EGI (to be specific since that is where we are) have pretty competent techs and you can get them to do the setup and emergency maintenance. Reboots and casual stuff is free from what I gather - again not that important for us as we ended up with DRAC cards. We paid them a bit for VPN and other initial config...
There are contractors on WHT ( web hosting talk forums ) who will provide you with cheaper remote hands - but I'd rather pay the premiums and go with people who're on site 24/7ish as opposed to a freelancer who may be at the bar the day my disks crash.
An important thing to consider is the quality of hardware. Buy *GOOD* quality current generation or one generation old ( 2 years old I'd recommend ) hardware and you'll get a huge cost savings. We bought our hardware from X-Byte and they were pretty good to deal with.
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
>> something about computer fixing that seems to completely annihilate the social norms concerning asking people to exercise their job and/or job-related skills for free
Not just computer fixing... pretty much everything IT related. Free pirated software, free e-books, torrents, name it and you'll see the same guys who're complaining about no one paying them for their time, enabling John and Jane Doe to rip the rest of the industry off. Want to bet that the guy who is ranting installs Adblockers, uTorrent, DVD rippers and burners so that his "clients" can get everything for free on the internets?
Lets see if any other profession encourages this free culture? Doctors? Lawyers? Car Mechanics?