Our Tech Department - We're here to help!

For over forty years, The Computing Center has been providing computer and repair services to our clients. In the early days, we repaired terminals and dot matrix printers.  Later on we repaired desktop PCs and the early laser printers.  Today, we repair and maintain all sorts of laptops, desktops, printers, and servers. Although we can work on most computer equipment, we specialize on Hewlett Packard, Apple, and Dell equipment.

 As important as the technical training, skills, an experience needed to properly repair computer equipment, so is understanding how clients feel about having their equipment being out of their procession while the repair takes place.

 By mid-August, we will see an influx of new people joining our community, typically to attend or be employed by Cornell, Ithaca College and TC3.  So our repair departments gets quite busy with new people and regulars.  However, in every situation, we work hard to have all clients feel important and special. 

 In today's circumstances, we've had to add procedures to keep our clients, ourselves, and your equipment safe and secure.

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Computing Center is fully operational - We never closed!

About two to three times per week, we get a phone call, email or text asking if The Computing Center is open. The simple answer is: YES, WE ARE! WE NEVER CLOSED! Early on in the Covid-19 Pandemic, computer technology companies like ours were deemed essential businesses in New York State. As we said in our March 20th Blog post and email to our clients:

As of this writing 100% of non-essential employees can no longer report to work.  Because of what The Computing Center does in supporting essential businesses in our community, we are allowed to maintain in-house operations. Some of the essential local organizations we directly are supporting include:

  • Healthcare organizations, hospitals, and physicians’ offices
  • Financial institutions including banks, credit unions, and insurance companies
  • Accountants offices
  • Animal shelters
  • Human Services organizations
  • County and other government offices
  • Ithaca-Tompkins International Airport
  • Logistics companies

Although it seems forever ago, our world had changed. So, with relatively little guidance, we needed to figure out how to stay open and how to do it while keeping ourselves and our staff healthy and safe. What did we do it?  Looking back, we took what was published at the time, contacted some of our health care clients for advice and made what seemed like good choices to us. Primarily that included:

  • Washing hands frequently and using hand sanitzer when hand washing wasn't possible.
  • Disinfecting all surfaces along with equipment coming in the door.
  • Wearing disposable gloves when handing computers and other equipment.
  • Having our engineers and others who could work remotely.
  • Sending anyone who wasn't feeling well home.
  • Restricting access to anyone from the outside.

Remember, Covid-19 PCR testing wasn't generally available till the latter part of March. And much of the guidance we now take for granted didn't exist:

  • Wearing masks
  • Social Distancing
  • Outdoor vs indoor exposure differences
  • The effects of crowds - % of employees in the workplace.
  • How long the virus lasts on various surfaces
  • Any kind of consistency between businesses 
  • Daily employee screenings
  • Taking employee and visitor temperatures

How did we do? We're happy to say - we pulled it off.  No one at Computing Center or any of our families became infected. We did have a couple of concerning situations where employees early on were exposed to some client employees who ultimately tested positive, but our people were fine. 

Today, we are all still healthy, the rules and recommendations are more consistent across all businesses, and we're helping many local businesses that were shuttered reopen and recover. Our technical staff still can and does work remotely, but we also go onsite.

Our logistics group does free local pickup and delivery of computers printers and printer consumables. With so many people working from home, our consumables businesses (inks and toners) has greatly increased. We have most of the major brands of printer inks and toners used in our area in-stock.

When you come to our offices, (we recommend setting up an appointment) you'll find:

  • "X" spots all over the office floor marking off 6' increments to help people socially distance.
  • If you're not already wearing a mask, you'll be asked to wear one - we have extras if you forget yours. (Ours are logoed!)
  • We'll take your temperature (and if it's above 100.4 degrees, you'll be gently asked to leave). We'll also ask you if you've been exposed to anyone that has been ill over the past two weeks.
  • If you haven't made an appointment, we'll ask you to sign-in.
  • If you bring in a PC, laptop, or printer with you, it will be wiped down with a disinfectent cloth before we work on it.
  • If you're just dropping off a machine, we have a work area just to the right of our interior lobby door where you can fill-out all the paperwork without having to come into the office.
  • The place is spotless - it gets cleaned and disinfected daily.

This is The Computing Center's version of the "new normal".  Please remember - Shop with locally owned businesses and organizations. That's how we will all get through this, survive and thrive.

Covid-19 Computing Center Update 3/30/2020

The response to the Covid-19 outbreak in the US and around the world has been unprecedented. For practical purposes, nowhere has been spared. For highly dense population centers, such as New York City, the health care issues are daunting with many cases of the virus. And although the percentages of infected, hospitalized, and patients requiring ICUs are not way out-of-line with what has happened elsewhere, the sheer numbers are large and can be frightening.  

Our community, while not spared, has hunkered down, and socially distanced ourselves pretty well. Cayuga Medical Center created a drive-thru Covid-19 testing center at the Shops at Ithaca Mall in coordination with the Tompkins County Health Department. There is capacity to perform about 500 tests each day for those showing symptoms or possible exposure.  The turn-around of test results has sped up somewhat as well. As of this writing only two patients are currently hospitalized and no deaths due to Covid-19 have occurred locally.

The Computing Center is considered an essential business because of our work in supporting essential businesses in our community. We are allowed to maintain in-house operations.

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Covid-19 Computing Center Status Update

 

 

Friday, March 20, 2020 @1:00pm

 

The events of the past week have affected every business, organization, and person. Nothing has been unaffected. A long-time friend contacted us Wednesday evening and during the conversation, we talked about what the Covid-19 pandemic would have been like before the Internet; say 25 years ago.  We would have been getting the news from the newspaper, listening to the radio, and from mostly broadcast TV and the fledgling cable news channels.  The shutdown of non-essential businesses would have been essentially 100%. No remote computing, little or no email, and only a very few people being able to work from home. We would have hunkered down and sat. Maybe it would have been simpler.

 

As of this writing 100% of non-essential employees can no longer report to work.  Because of what The Computing Center does in supporting essential businesses in our community, we are allowed to maintain in-house operations. Some of the essential local organizations we directly are supporting include:

  • Healthcare organizations, hospitals, and physicians’ offices
  • Financial institutions including banks, credit unions, and insurance companies
  • Accountants offices
  • Animal shelters
  • Human Services organizations
  • County and other government offices
  • Tompkins International Airport
  • Logistics companies

 

To be clear, we are doing this with virtually our entire staff operating remotely.  Only a small skeleton group that handles product logistics and in-house repair are reporting to work.

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eNews 2018 in Review

We have been publishing The Computing Center eNewsletter since 2005. Our current database has been used since 2011 and contains over 380 stories, some written by our staff, others written by computer industry experts and other commentators.

In addition to our actual monthly eNewsletter which many of you receive via email, all our stories are also published on our website - click on eNew Cabinet on the home page of www.compcenter.com. Here they live on forever while more and more people (and systems) also read and scan them. This is one of the places we look to get the statistics about our readership.

So, here's the review of the best read entries for 2018:

1. We actually go back to 2017 for this one. In Sept 2017, The Computing Center aquired the assets of Sherpa Technology. By December 2017, there were about 1,630 views of that article. During 2018 and nearly 3000+ views later, this is our most read story of 2018.  www.compcenter.com/client/index.cfm/2017/9/8/The-Computing-Center-acquires-the-assets-of-Sherpa-Technologies-Inc

2. Something far more mundane comes in 2nd. The Computing Center's Privacy Policy which we published an update to in May. Obviously there were readers who needed help falling asleep! www.compcenter.com/client/index.cfm/2018/5/25/The-Computing-Center-Privacy-Policy

3. Ithaca has a lot of freelancer's and micro/individual businesses.  This article received a lot of views in March 2018. www.compcenter.com/client/index.cfm/2018/3/27/Freelancing--When-to-Save--When-to-Spurge

4. All of us have to deal with lots of passwords.  Are they slowly becoming passe?  Our article in February 2018 covered that idea. www.compcenter.com/client/index.cfm/2018/2/27/Are-Passwords-Pass-Not-Quite-Yet

5. And ending on a bit of a sad note.  Last December, The Computing Center's first client (from 1978), David Flinn passed away. We wrote the article in December, but many of you read it during early 2018. www.compcenter.com/client/index.cfm/2017/12/29/A-Sad-Farewell-to-The-Computing-Centers-First-Client

Please keep reading  We regularly get suggestions and try to find interesting stories to cover and to reprint.

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