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Issue #663a – Special to ION Magazine: April, 2020

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Geek Note: This is my first submission for publication in ION Magazine – a special insert into newspapers owned by Gannet Corporation.  This publication represents the first time IGTM has truly gone national.  Also, with this publication, I really have no way of knowing where and when my writing appears in print.  I love hearing from my readers though, so feel free to contact me and let me know where you’re reading the column.

Q: I’m looking for advice on how to find a trustworthy, reliable computer person to help me with my desktop iMac and a PC.  I’m wanting to trade out the Mac for the newer PC.  I know places like Best Buy and Office Depot have tech desks – I’m just wondering if that’s my best option?

– Jayne W.
Austin, Texas

A:  If I may suggest, Jayne, I don’t think you are necessarily looking for a computer “person” but rather an established business that specializes in performing computer maintenance and repairs.  You mentioned two big box stores in your question, but there are likely dozens of other, more specialized shops in your area.  I suggest you begin at the same place you would when you are seeking just about any information: your favorite search engine.  The quality of your results will depend largely on the way you form your query.  To narrow things to local businesses, you should include your zip code or city and state in the search.  For example, computer repair shops in Austin Texas.  You might even try using the words near me, as most search engines these days have a pretty good idea of your location.

Using a search engine in this manner will not only find potential businesses, but will also serve up ratings and reviews that will help you to gauge the quality of the work they perform.  That way, you can draw your own conclusions about reliability and trust worthiness to help you make your selection.

Before you begin your search, I want to make sure you understand the magnitude of putting your PC into the hands of a stranger.  In turning your computer over to someone for such work, you’re giving full access to the contents of your machine to the servicing tech.  That includes all non-password protected personal records it contains (financial, medical, etc.), stored e-mails, photos, and even the web browsing history of every member of your family that uses the machine.  I would hope that reputable companies wouldn’t go poking through all your files, but one never knows, but that’s a tremendous amount of faith you’re investing in them.  So, be certain you choose a provider that you’re comfortable with.  And for these reasons and more, don’t try and recruit someone from your pool of friends, neighbors, computer clubs, or the local high school computer lab.  Stick with businesses that have built a reputation for providing services to satisfied customers.  Good luck, and happy computing!

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