Monday, February 3, 2014

Inside the Coon: The Tech

I didn't have my own computer until 2004. My mother's sister got me a 'deal' with a guy friend of her's. What a 'deal' it was. It came in a decently ventilated case with cool blue fans. The previous computer i had been sharing with my brother was from the 90s- one of those old white ones, huge and plain as paper, so i was excited. We paid the $500 and it was mine.

But, the excitement soon faded...

The computer had a TON of issues. Mainly it would crash doing anything aside from browsing the web. Spent a good year and a half trying to get the issue fixed. Eventually we ended up at a sketchy repair shop. One of the dudes stated that my aunt's friend (who built it) left the plastic peel off on the pre-applied thermal paste of the heatsink that was packaged with the processor. Back then I would've hoped them removing it would fix it's crashing. But, now that I'm experienced in IT, I understand why it didnt: with the plastic inbetween the CPU & paste, there was no proper way for the paste to transfer the heat from the processor to the heatsink. So the processor had been damaged from heat exposure.

Thinking a graphics card would solve my problems, I went to Best Buy and bought an ATI X1500. Frustratingly, I had bought a PCI model when I needed an AGP. Went back and returned it for a trade. Before heading back to return it I thought "Hey I can get Geek Squad to install!" so I brought my PC along and lugged it in. Opened it up and asked the guy at the Geek Squad desk to install the card for me. He goes "Where do you want this?" Now, to some one who has never opened a PC before would be confused. But back then at my young, non-computer hardware literate age I knew my motherboard had only 1 AGP slot. Since then I have never EVER gone back to Geek Squad- and with good reason, every proper computer shop I've been to across Texas & Oklahoma have all advised against it.

This computer was the spark that lit my fated IT career choice from then lawer or game programmer. I was fed up with the troubles & costs. I had to know how to repair my PC's myself, because at that point it had became my life- my video editing hobby was at full speed and i was addicted to the PC version of the Sims 2.

Eventually, I ended up at CPU (Computer Parts USA) in Midland TX. I liked the case and fans I had, so i had them scrap everything else and build me a new one from the bottom up in said case. And for $800, I finally had my own computer that i could use Windows Movie Maker & Play the Sims on. I kept going back to buy parts, eventually a Radeon HD 3450. During my visits I would ask "what it took to get a job building computers" and such. They had training there, but then it seemed way too expensive and my dad's checks weren't the best.

Flash forward to 2010, that computer is now dead (lasted 4 years) so I'm using my brother's computer he bought with his temp job a year earlier. I'm on Youtube looking up how to build videos for PCs. I had been reading books the past few years prior, like a guide written by Scott Mueller. It was a key point in fueling my quest to learn more about computers.

I eventually stumbled upon some how-tos from a channel called TechSkills. I really loved their videos so i began looking at the information in the channel's description. Turned out they had a website! And it turned out that it was actually an IT school- and there was one in the same state! And only 30 minutes from my sister's house!

So, after preparing I went in to apply. There was a man the interviewed me. Now, I had no credit and my parents credit was and has always been shit! Plus i didn't have a GED or high school diploma. But this man, bless his soul, believed in me. He say the passion in my he helped me get accepted into the program. Sadly, he pasted away several days after that.

Anyway, for 3 months I studied & had hands on tutoring. And in March 2011, I passed both CompTIA A+ tests and got my certification- one of the main selling points for me to get a job, though health has kept me from that. But I left with superb knowledge & skills, which both are only to expand as time goes on.

Since then, I've been giving advice to friends and family locally and across the internet, granted mainly with virus removal & software errors. But I've since built my own 2 PCs and built my niece & nephew their own computers- my nephew inheriting the case of my first computer as well as ripped my laptop apart and installed a new processor. 

I will say, I love the hardware side of the work more, regardless of it being physically exhaustive for someone of my health. Software is either boring or extremely frustration. The frustration part may be because 90% of who i help are not local. Hard to diagnose and fix via email or IM you know!

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