Change in Hours

Open by Appointment Only

Please call (888) 609-3321 and leave a voice mail and WE WILL contact you back to schedule the appointment.

Due to the recent increase in commercial/business work load we have to change our strategy in order to better serve our clients. This ensures we do not get over loaded and the majority of our clients get the service you need.

We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. It is the only way that we can provide quality service at a great price.

Thank you for your business!

Windows 8, a second look.

Windows 8, a Second Look
After quickly installing, trying and uninstalling Windows 8 many months back, I decided it was time to see if Microsoft had made any improvements.  I was given an opportunity to take the plunge for Windows 8 Pro on my laptop for $15.  I knew no matter what, I had to be stuck with it for at least a week to learn all of it inside and out in order to be able to properly service my client’s computers that run it.  So with much reluctance I performed an OS upgrade.

I decided to look past the Start Menu Interface that seemed to be designed for a toddler.  I decided to look for the good instead of just notice the bad.  I have to say, I was fairly shocked with what I found.  After breaking past initial habits of looking for the start button, having an “X” in the upper right hand of every window so that I could close it, and finally figuring out where everything was located,  I found the operating system to not only be user friendly, but efficient in use.   I shall compartmentalize the features of Windows 8 in the following paragraph.  This will allow you to pick and choose which points you care to learn about.  At the end of this article will be a summary and my final opinion.  Enjoy the read.

Usability (Different but good)Start Menu Windows 8
As long as you can accept change, you will find it better.  First off to find any app from the start menu, all you must do is start typing in the name of the program or application.  This was not my default action because I did not see the “Search Box” or somewhere to squarely plant my curser before typing.  I found it by accident when I hit a couple keys with my hand while on the menu and it was one of those awe inspiring moments (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2iiPpcwfCA for what I felt like.)  The movement of all buttons on it is pretty straight forward.  You just drag and drop the buttons where you want them to go.  You can right click on a button to get a menu down below to unpin it from your start menu, uninstall the program or app, and make it either larger or smaller.  Also, you can right click on empty space in the Start Menu and another menu will come up from the bottom for “all apps”.  Click on it to gain access to all installed programs.   You can return to the start menu at any time by simply hitting the “Windows Key”. Over all it’s a pretty efficient system.

To work your way across it, simply scroll with the mouse wheel.  Most scrolling in Windows 8 produces a side to side motion.  It took a short while to get used to, but is now habit.  Closing down programs or apps is done by moving the mouse to the top of the screen and dragging the whole screen down.  (This is what you do when you lack the “X” to close the program.)  To shut down the computer you move you mouse to the upper right hand corner of the screen and a menu slides out.  Click on settings and select “Power” the “Shutdown”.  I am not sure why they did not make a quick power off button, although I am positive I will figure out how to add one soon.  To go between open applications, move your mouse to the upper left corner.  Any open programs at that point will become visible and you can click on them.

Apps and Programs (New stuff but the old works too)
Windows 8 App StoreOne of the nice features of Windows 8 is it’s App Store.  Now, before all of you bargain shoppers run away thinking it’s going to cost money for everything, some things are free.  Think Google play for your Android phone.  Some of them are free, some of them are cheap and some of them are expensive.  In the end there are many apps to pick from.  You click on what you want installed on your computer.  That brings you to screen with a description and some screen shots.  If you want to install it at that point, click install.  They could not have made it any easier.  That app then gets added to your Start menu.  Regular programs IE Quickbooks, MS Office, AutoCAD, Adobe Creative Suite, ect…. Can still be installed the old fashion way.  So I have to say the app store and simplicity of use really does add to the computer.  I have even found a couple handy free apps already.  It appears that much like the Android market.  Apps are open for anyone to write.

Performance (Same old Same old… well maybe a little bit better.)
There are many drive updates being released.(Which will increase hardware performance)  The current difference +/- on my laptop is negligible.  It does seem to be a little more stable in multi-tasking.  I would suggest at least 4GB of ram, but then again Windows 7 really needs that much to perform multitasking well too.  I noticed no difference gaming, or rendering large graphics.  I think Microsoft has probably done most of the performance tweaks they can for efficiency of a system in Windows 7.  However, I did run across this article that says Windows 8 is considerably faster. (http://www.examiner.com/article/windows-8-versus-windows-7-performance-shootout )  This was one of the very few seemingly unbiased side by side comparisons I could find.  I do have to agree with the boot time.  I also agree that it is nice to get a new release of an OS that is not slower than it’s predecessor.  However, I don’t think your average user will say “Wow, it’s so fast!” lol.

Security (not Linux but impressive)
Ok, this for me is a big one.  I am currently not running any anti-virus except for the included Windows Defender.  It feels so weird not to have anti-virus running in the background.  To me, it’s abnormal not having your system pause while virus scans are being done.  I have read a great deal of opinions about this on the Internet.  Basically it will come down to this if you do the same reading.  Anti-virus companies say that Windows 8 is not good at stopping viruses and you need to buy theirs.  Random people on the Internet will say that they ran into issue installing anti-virus software on Windows 8.  Microsoft says their multi-layer security is better than any anti-virus.  Here is my two cents thrown in with the mix.  I have yet to see an anti-virus that protects my clients from everything.  Without fail 50% of my clients will install more than one anti-viral software program and cause them more grief rather than extra protection.  So in my opinion, and I am going to go out on a limb here…  It’s better to just let the included Windows Defender do the guarding of your computer.  I have intentionally exposed my laptop to many viruses  just to see how Windows 8 and Defender size up.  So far so good.

Another point that should be made is Windows 8 takes over the bios chips job.  So, no more virus hiding in bios cache. (Note: this only works on some computers not all, but most of the newer ones.)  Last but not least is a nice layered OS.  Windows 8 runs all of its essential processes in a very protected layer.  Everything else is just a compartmentalized app running above it.  Windows 7 was headed in this direction but Windows 8 has really driven in the nail.  It’s nice to see Microsoft is finally developing features that help us instead of features that sell the average consumer.

Other (too lazy to come up with witty one liner)
There are many other smaller features like better retention of data integrity, more efficient use of virtualization technologies, ect….  But most users in my opinion won’t even notice them nor care about them.

Summary (Long overdue in this article)
It’s more user friendly (IF you don’t mind some change) and it’s an improvement on Windows 7 in most areas.  I would suggest not rushing out to buy a copy @ $199.99.  However if it comes with your next computer, smile, it’s a good thing.  Hope this helps, and have a great day.

To Click or Not to Click?

To click or not to Click?

I often run into the same question with many clients, “Is it ok to click on this?”  It can relate to installing an application, program, a link in an email, or a popup of some program already installed on their computer.

Each time I ask them the details of the situation and give them my opinion.  However, I have realized that I am sure these people don’t want to be at my or another technical persons mercy for constant advice to make wise and safe decisions when computing.  This is my attempt to offer a logical process which anyone can follow when at their computer to better assist them with making a wise decision on each click. My goal is to help others.

General Principles

1. Read.
First off, for the most part, it’s all in English.  I know this sounds silly, but I think a large portion of new computer users assume that any message that pops up must be some technobabble that is completely impossible to understand.  Not true.  90% of the situations I resolve by simply telling the user to read the message to me.  Like clockwork, the user often times says something along the lines of “Oh, ok so I do want to do this” or “Well, I don’t want that.”   Either way it is important to break past the paradigm that these messages are in some mystical language.

2. Nothing is Free in Life.
I can guarantee you there is not some foreign person responsible for the funds left behind of some deceased person, you have never heard of, and who has nothing better to do with their money than to send it to your bank account.

Free Games, Free Screen Savers, Free anything..   is very rare on the Internet.  Now granted, that “free” might be only the cost of having ads displayed on the page, or an occasional popup.  But never the less, someone is getting paid for something you do one way or another.  Try to find out how this person or company that is offering you something for free is making money from you, and then decide if you are willing to pay that cost.

Tool bars are bad.  Now I know this is not ALWAYS the case, it is just a good philosophy to follow.  They slow down your browser, they often create unnecessary ads, and even sometimes farm your private information.  They are also one of those so called “free” things in life.

3.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Java, Flash Player, and all of the other lovely plugins that we have to use to get those websites working are great.  However, their little piggy backing buddies, not so much.  Read (See Item 1.) the fine print before downloading and installing.  Make sure all of those “Free Extras” that come with them are unchecked.  No one wants extra junk on their computer.

4. Update?
In the modern world of software, most software likes to update itself.   It will usually prompt you if it’s ok.  If it is software you use, then go for it.  NOTE: be careful of “Updates” Evil cousin “Upgrade”.  Upgrade can cause you to get extra features you may have to pay for.  It is important when an upgrade message visits you to read all of the terms in which it wants.

5. Too much protection is a bad thing.
Many people are under the reasonable assumption that multiple layers of protection make them safer.  Not true with computers.  If you have two different anti-viruses running on one machine they will often cause conflicts or worse yet even disable full functionality of each other.  At the very least it will slow down your computer substantially.   Pick one and stick with it, keep it updated.  That is the best you can do.

 

Now for a “General rule of thumb guide”.
Before clicking ask yourself these questions.

Q. Do I even know what it is?
A.  If not, Google it first.
Q. Do I need or really want it?
A. Is it a link to pictures of your newborn niece or nephew in that email? Or is it the funny joke of the day from whateverwebsite.com?
Q. Is it from a company I trust or have done business with?
A. Usually the practices of a company in real life are the same practices followed by them on the Internet.  IE: Google = Safe, Macy’s = Safe, Company you have done local business with = Safe, shady company on the other side of the World = Not safe, blogger from unknown location = Not safe.  I am sure you get the point.  If you trust them in the real world, then it’s probably safe to trust them online.

I hope the tips and information in this article help you.  For those that know this stuff already, perhaps passing it on to someone who might not know may help them.  Have a great Day.

Jay Snedden
Somerset PC Repair

We need YOUR Opinion

Please tell us what YOU think about these rates.
So it’s been about a year now in business and we have decided to finalize our rates.  The reason it took us so long is we had to gauge the local economy, client flow, and business overhead.  Now, we need your help.  We want to get everyone’s input on our rates to make sure the public feels they are fair and reasonable.  So without further delay here is what we came up with.

Your Opinion Counts!

Package Deals
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Typical Computer Evaluation
Description: A 30 minute or less process where we can normally deduce what the computer needs)
Price: FREE (Other places can charge up to $120 for this)

Advanced in depth Diagnostics
Description:  A series of tests that run data through every chip and every part to deduct exactly what is wrong with a  particular part of the computer.  Takes about 6 hours.
Price: $60

OS Reload
Description:  We wipe the computer clean and reinstall windows. (This includes, finding all the drivers, installing Antivirus Software, and doing all of the windows updates.  We also install Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash player,  Java, and Firefox or Google Chrome as per your choice.)  Typically takes 1-1.5 days for the whole process NOTE: We can do this in about 3 hours but the updates take up the rest of the time.
Price: $60.00 Windows XP and Windows 7
Price: $80.00 Windows Vista (We charge more because Vista is stubborn)

File Backup
Description: We back up all of your pictures, documents, Favorites, and other files that you deem as important.  We can store it on Media you provide or copy it back to your computer after reinstalling Windows.
Price: $50 flat rate (if you have 1gb or 100gb it’s the same price)

Advanced Data Recovery
Description: When we have to remove your drive and perform special data recovery information to recover your files.
Price: $50 per hour

Virus removal
Description: Get rid of Viruses (Typically takes 1-2 hours) NOTE: Many of the modern viruses can only be completely removed by performing a OS reload.  If this turns out to be the case we apply the payment towards a OS reload.
Price: $30

Physical Cleaning
Description: Laptop or computer we go through and clean out the inside and outside.  Usually takes around an hour per computer to do a proper job of it.  It also drastically expands the lifespan of the computer and should be part of a once a quarter to once a year maintenance depending on environmental conditions of where the computer is being used.
Price: $20

On-site pickup or delivery
Description: We come and disconnect or connect your computer.
Price: $30 flat rate (Somerset and a 15 mile radius around our store.)
Price: $50 flat rate (16-60 miles)
Price: $40 per hour of drive time for anything further than 60 miles away

On-site Network installation
Description: We come and configure your network, wireless network, file shares, printers, and get your computers online with your ISP
Price: $100 flat rate (Small network 1-3 computers, a printer, typical setup)
Price: $200 flat rate (Business typical 1-5 computers average setup)
Price: $50 per hour  (Custom Business Advanced network and software configurations)


Hourly Rates
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In-house Labor rates
Description: Some repair jobs require an hourly rate.  Example: replacing a modem, DVD drive, special configurations, ect.  For these we charge an hourly rate
Price: $30 per hour

On-site Labor rates
Description: Whatever your technological needs, we can come to you.  Please keep in mind some jobs require us to bring the machine back to our shop to work on it.  NOTE:  It is always much more cost effective for you and time efficient for us if you bring your computer into the shop.
Price: $50 per hour (Somerset and a 15 mile radius around our store.)
Price: $50 per hour + $40 per hour of drive time anything further than 15 miles from the store.

Surge Damage!

Many people have been coming in with computers that have been ruined due to the recent storm damage.  We have been writing letters for the customer’s Insurance companies and building new computers for them.  If your computer has been acting erratic since the storms we would suggest you bring it down.  We will check it out for free.  We can also back up the computers data assuming the Hard Drive itself was not ruined.  So if you are concerned your computer has been damaged, just swing by and let us check it out.  It does not cost you anything for a bit of peace of mind or for us to find out what the problem is.

As always,  thank you Somerset for choosing us.

The question everybody has been asking… “How is business?”

I am happy to report to our clients and the general public, business is good.  We have been getting in a good steady flow of customers who have been wonderful to work for.  We have been receiving many repeat customers that were satisfied with the first computer we fixed for their family and have decided to bring their other computers in for repair.  Our bread and butter is word of mouth.  We try to do as good of a job as we can with each and every computer so that our good work reputation will spread.

All in all, things are moving forward at a nice steady pace.  We have met a lot of wonderful people.  That is one really nice thing about having a computer business in Somerset, the people.  We would like to thank everyone in the community that has supported us during our start-up.  We really appreciate the good referrals people are giving us.   I would also like to encourage everyone to keep spreading the word for us in neighboring communities.  I will be sure to update our website again in the near future with more news and info.

“How much for that little Computer in the window… How much, oh how much could it be..?”

We have a couple used computers up for sale.  Cleaned off, freshly loaded Windows, Good for surfing the net, checking email, and word processing.  They are nothing to brag about but they are functional and cheap.  Just add your old monitor, keyboard, mouse and stir.  Ready to go systems.  If you don’t have those we have new and used of those as well.

$50 – Celeron 700mhz, 128mb ram,  Windows ME

$125 – P4 2.4ghz 256mb ram, 40gb Hard Drive, Windows XP pro
(computers Hardware can be upgraded above board AGP Slot)

$125 – P4 2.4ghz 256mb ram (2x 128MB), 80gb Hard Drive, Windows XP pro
(computers Hardware can be upgraded above board AGP Slot)

 

They have no warranty as these computers were built with used components.  However, we did check them over and everything tested out AOK.

 

Want something more powerful?  We can upgrade these, or we can build you a new custom built computer tailored to your needs.  Our prices are fantastic and our service even better.

An update…

So we have been super busy and loving every moment of it.  The community has been really supportive and it looks like we have a service that people really need here.  We have been trying to find the best way to convince the general public of our ability and service quality.  We have now found it.  We have decided to let our clients speak for us.

Opening the doors Tomorrow!

Well, we have pretty much everything in place. Many people have already shown their support and expressed their plans to bring in their computers. The signs up, and we are ready to go. Tuesday, September 6, 2011 we will be turning on the open sign. We will probably be having a “grand opening” a week or two down the road.