Daniel Hand from Computer Repair Blog

Dan's site is one of those websites you just keep coming back to, not only because of the information that he provides, but also because of the feel.  Feel?  He's got posts not only about computers, but he also shares his personal views on some things.  

His voice and opinion show well in his work and make it real, he comes alive as you read about his choices and views.  A great site if you like to keep up on technology and like to read over a cup of coffee, the Computer Repair Blog.

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This interview was one I won't forget, when I approached Dan over email, he quickly returned the email with a question checking to see if it was spam.  A true PC user here, still makes me laugh.

Q: Do you remember what your inspiration was that got you to create Computer Medics?
A: Having retired from the Marine Corps we moved to Virginia and I took on a contracting job. Then I heard some people talking about having their computer worked on and how expensive it was. I talked to the wife and we always wanted to do our own business but while in the military it was not an option with moving every couple years so now was our chance. About 6 months later we started the business.

Q: I couldn’t find any article on your site that explains whether you like prebuilt computers, or you like to build your own.  I firmly believe a custom built computer is way better, not only because it’s customized, but because of reliability.  What is your opinion and why?
A: I have prebuilt and custom built for my own use. Typically for most customers I will not do prebuilt due to the prices of parts. Unless they want a high end pc or a server then I typically will get them a great price on prebuilt system that I know to be reliable with a warranty.

Q: When it comes to computer backups, most people don’t think a hardware failure will ever happen to them, even though people like you and me run into them all the time.  What would be the best advice you can give someone about backups.  Don’t hesitate to quote a forensic disk recovery price since I don’t have one available myself to get people to backup their data.  For the record, I only know of 1 person who dropped the money to make it happen, since the data on the drive was actually worth it, they didn’t tell me what it cost them by the way.
A: Typically most customers I always ask if they backup their data. Then if they say no I ask them “What would happen if tomorrow they woke up and their data was gone”? Usually they don’t have an answer. Then I tell them about how people have lost documents and pictures that have meant a lot to them, and how typically you can recreate most documents but pictures you can never get back. I have had customers spend over 1k to do data recovery due to not backing up their data. Fortunately we have very good software to do data recovery ourselves and I have another company that is inexpensive compared to most of the big companies and we can recover anything. But, there is a price to it and a lot of times it is not a matter of having the money, it’s a matter of “having” to get their data back. We recently did a data recovery for someone that had pictures that they had to recover due to they were of a parent that had passed away. These pictures were a few years old and no backups were ever done. We ended up recovering about 90% of them but to me that 10% is devastating to not have them back. I felt terrible telling the customer that was all we could get and even though they were extremely grateful we still felt bad.

Q: Where do the ideas come from for the articles on your site?  Generally, I find they’re all related to computers and internet, but then I stumble across one like burning bridges and wonder where they come from.
A: Usually the articles about “burning bridges” and the other “make you think” post come from myself just from everyday life. But, the real meat articles come typically from Derek Ianneli-Smith from Progressive Integrations, Inc. who is not only a very very talented computer/networking/marketing genius but also a very good friend.

Q: What are your thoughts about Windows 7 as an operating system?
A: Still to early to put a vote out on that one. I was never a big advocate of Vista but I do run Vista and typically have no problems. Now I have been running Windows 7 and it seems so far to be a very stable operating system. I think with Vista and Windows 7 the main thing to remember is to “max out” the memory and that is what I tell everyone.

Q: You mention the difference between a website and a web presence.  What would you say is the best way to achieve web presence?
A: Optimization of your website. Anyone can throw a site together and put it on the internet but if nobody can find it then it really serves no purpose. Our sites bring us business, they are optimized, they are marketed to search engines, blogs, social sites, etc. It’s a never ending process that you can’t forgot to do otherwise you will not reap the benefits.

Q: If someone requires computer repairs, what would you say is the best way for them to find a tech that “knows their stuff”?
A: Ask questions. Call around to a few different places and ask them whatever you want. To me price is not a determining factor when I need something such as a plumber, mechanic, etc. I want to know whoever I hire to do the work I feel comfortable with and that is what people looking for computer repair should do also. Just because someone offers the lowest price does not mean you are getting the best deal. By the same token just because someone charges the most does not mean you will get any better. Typically people know who they feel comfortable with after a few minutes of a conversation.

Thanks for the answers, gotta say, you're all kinds of right when you say it never feels good to tell anyone how much data they lost.  Although they're always happy to know they got some back.  Keep up the coffee reading posts, it's what set your site apart for me Dan.

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