Welcome to The Neighborhood Nerd!

Looking for computer service? Check out my services! Looking for some free useful software? check out my software page! Looking for a free and effective antivirus? Take a look at all the options in my Antivirus page!

I’m glad you’ve made it to my page, because you’ve found one of the best places to get good information and excellent service for computers, entertainment systems, and video game consoles!

Let me start off by telling you all a little about myself and my background in computers.

I come from a family of the industry. My father worked for Supermac, Brooktree, Apple, Sonic Solutions, Karna (previous owners of the Razer brand), and now works for Kinoma. My mother also worked for Supermac, Silicon Graphics Inc, and WamNet. So being from a computer oriented famiy, I got started pretty early. My first computer that was mine alone was an old Apple IIci running Mac OS 7. Later, when my father started working for Brooktree, I started learning the windows platform on Windows 95 and later 98SE.

During this phase of my life my experience with computers was solely based around video games and getting things working so i could play more video games. It wasn’t until around 1999 that I started becoming aware that computers needed real maintenance like most things. Around this time was when the predecessors of the now popular Limewire and Frostwire were out causing havoc for the recording industries. These programs are still around, like Kazaa and Mopheus, but many have had a “trojan” or some other virus label put on them by antivirus software developers, and rightly so.

While these programs were a way to get fun stuff for free (and still are), more often than not the files you download on these programs are stuffed full of hidden spyware and malware. So began my learning experience with fixing computers.

At this point in my life I had already gotten a job and was working and saving enough for me to buy my own computer, a Dell Dimension 4400, which turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. The reason it was a curse was that everything that could fail on this system did fail. Blessing was that the failures happened at different times, giving me the opportunity to learn exactly what each failure looked like and how to fix it. And lo, I had a foot in the door to computer repair.

Due to the spectacular failure of the first and only Windows based PC I’ve ever bought from a big-name manufacturer, for my next computer I elected to build one myself, since i had basically already done just that with replacing everything in the Dell one piece at a time.

Raidmax Scorpio Blue MidATX case w/ 450W PSU
Asus P4P800S motherboard
Intel Pentium 4 3.2 gHz processor
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256mb AGP Video card
512mb (2 x 256mb) PC2100 DDR memory
Maxtor 40gb IDE HDD
Lite-On 48x CD/RW
Sony 8x DVD/RW
Windows XP Professional 32bit

The system that came out of this first attempt would be hideous to my eyes today, but was a work of art to me back then, and at the time, it played all the games I loved at medium or better settings.

After this success I would never look back to a manufacturer PC. This system lasted for a good 3-4 years before I rebuilt it, and rebuilt it again, and again. These days, I’m usually doing constant upgrades to my systems to stay at the bleeding edge of graphics and technology. I’ll have a Post up here with my current setup and wish list soon enough.

But I digress.  Back when I built this first computer, I was still using Morpheus as a way to get audio and other minor things for free. Though I did not know why at the time, I was having to reformat and re-install my Windows OS every 3-4 months or so because my computer would just get way too messy and slow. Eventually I picked up on the fact that something would usually start going haywire after I opened a particular song or movie, and instead of the movie playing, I would get taken to some adult dating site or an adult video site, or something similar. Not being versed in how this worked at the time, I thought it was just some gimmick that would take you to advertising sites. This was, however, only the head of the worm so-to-speak.

It turns out that when one of these type of files gets opened, not only does it send you off on a little trip to an ad site, but it also integrates a devious little virus to start messing with your computer.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of these little minor scams, trojans, and trick programs that are designed specifically to hook you and go unnoticed at the same time. I’ll be making a post with some pictures and descriptions of active versions of these viruses for my readers to reference every time I find one, so keep checking back.

These little conundrums, and my road to learning how to fix them, led me to my first job I consider to be a real career position with an home computer service company. In the year I worked for them I learned more about virus removal, hardware diagnostics, and computer repair than in the 6-7 previous years working on my own. Every day I was faced with a new challenge, a new problem, a new issue, all of which were different in some way.

This was my becoming into computer service as a real technician.

After leaving this job however, I was faced with working for a big name, big business, computer retailer. This was a learning experience all its own, as I was able to see from the other sides of the desk what most people dealt with when they looked for someone to repair their computers. According to policy and what my managers had told me and how I was trained, my most used phrase while at the counter was “I don’t know”. this is the face of big business computer repair, “I don’t know”, “not my problem”, “we don’t do that”. And as much as I loved working on the computers and doing the job, I hated having to hold back my expertise and to hold back telling customers what I knew and what I thought. Working for Fry’s gave me an opportunity to find out exactly how not to treat customers.

I resolved then, to make every one of my customers like family, make your problems my problems, and treat them with just as much respect and effort as if I were repairing my own computer. Every computer I build is my baby, every computer I fix is a friend in need, and every customer I meet will be treated like my own kin. It is my wish to always be able to say to you “I can do that!”

Welcome to my family

-Alan (Pyroball) Weinstock