I began working with Cooks Paint and Body in Pace in January, and though they are wonderful people and do great work, another opportunity popped up that I wasn't looking for or expecting.  In April  I became the IT Manager at Exit Realty NFI in Pensacola. I still work some evenings at Panther Computers, but I foresee a near future where I will be only doing so by appointment. I'm glad that NW Florida allowed me to provide service with integrity for 14 years, but the need for computer stores is going the way of VCR repair. I'm still here for those who need me as my schedule permits. I'm excited to be a part of the Exit team and look to help them grow the business through my IT and Marketing expertise. https://www.facebook.com/floridaexit/

Store hours are Monday-Thursday 6PM-9PM, and every other Saturday.  Onsite appointments and remote sessions are an option in the evenings and every other weekend.   My day job takes precedence and I may not be able to be here these hours, so please call ahead first.  Holidays will still impact these hours as well.

 

Projected weekend dates for the rest of this year:

7/8/2017

7/22/2017

8/5/2017

8/19/2017

9/2/2017

9/16/2017

9/30/2017

10/14/2017

10/28/2017

11/11/2017

12/9//2017

12/23/2017

Panther Computers now offers the Panther Pounce Tuneup.  In response to  customer requests, we are now offering this alternative to the full Panther Tuneup (regularly $150) with this faster turn around time to quickly get you back up an running.  This is a quick hit tuneup that simply removes the most obvious virus and malware infections for $75 that allows you to continue using your existing protections and antivirus software.

I'm here today to make you aware of a scam that I believe is happening with nearly all international call centers, but especially those in India. Based on dozens of conversations with my customers over the last three years, it is my belief that call center employees that answer calls for US based businesses like AT&T, Amazon, and other high profile companies are transferring calls out of the legitimate call center to illegitimate businesses that try to scam money from you.

Panther Computers now sells items on Amazon.  We have over one hundred items available locally at our Milton location or you can order online and have it shipped.  Eventually we will have all of our new inventory online at Amazon so you can see what we have in stock.  Used items and parts will not be listed, so come by or call if you need these or special order items.

CoinBase is a virtual currency exchange for BitCoin that has become licensed in the US to exchange BitCoin for Dollars.  Here is an article from PCWorld with the details:

Coinbase to launch first licensed U.S. Bitcoin exchange

Do to the increased number of ransomeware viruses being seen on computers being brought into Panther Computers, we are adding a new utility called Crypto Prevent to the software installed on computers during our Panther Tuneup.  You can read the article below on CryptoWall for more details on ransomeware viruses and their effects. We will install the free edition, free to homeowners and businesses alike, but you may consider the paid premium version for automatic updates.

Over the last several years there have been several ransomeware viruses that will encrypt your data in a fashion that will cause you to loose the data or have to pay to get your files back.  CryptoLocker, CryptoDefense, CTB Locker, and now CryptoWall.  It is now more important than ever to ensure you have backups of all your important personal and business files as you could be infected from any number of sources.

Panther Computers has invested in an enhanced system to provide better tracking and histories of our clients, their computers, and the work performed.  We now have the ability to provide you email and SMS (aka texting) updates as we begin and proceed with the work on your computer.  You can also click on the Status link under services to log into your tickets online for a current status.  We are continually looking for ways to improve the service we provide our clients.

Panther Computers now offers our remote access service, Panther Rescue Remote, to our customers. Panther Rescue Remote can allow a Panther Computers technician provide you local support from our offices saving you travel time and expense.  All you need is a working high speed internet access for the computer and we can provide instruction, configuration, and technical support. 

The support is by appointment and first come first serve, but we will expand availabilty and offerings as demand increases.  Stay tuned for pricing and other details as we fully deploy Panther Rescue Remote.  Whether in the store or by remote we'll make your computer PuRR like a kitten.

 

 

We are bumping this article back to the top as there has been a recent increase of these calls in the NW Florida area. We have one computer in the shop now that has been completely locked and is in danger of having had tax documents tampered with or "stolen. We've had a second customer relate that they have had no less than five phone calls trying to coerce them into letting the Indian sounding caller take control of their computer.  Watch videos and more on our Facebook page on this an other computer scams.

You may have noticed one or more commercials on TV that claims that they can remotely connect to your computer and make it "work", however be sure they don't charge you if they can't.  Most problems today are spyware and virus related and there is absolutely no way this can be cleaned remotely, even if your Internet is working.  If your system is just bogged down from normal use, be sure you pay no more than you could at a local shop for a service that is hyped late night alongside the vacuum cleaners, kitchen gizmos, and colon cleansers.

Once you buy a new computer you may find yourself asking this question. We get many calls both from customers and those who may be moving and prefer not to take the old equipment with. So when asked this question I usually provide the following recommendations:

Use it as a secondary computer for your household. Younger children can learn to type, play older games, and might be able to access the Internet. Keeping the old one can reduce the waiting in line many families experience when everyone wants the computer at once.


Donate your working computer to a local charity that needs computers. Charities in NW Florida like the Helping Hand Mission and Goodwill can resell the computers and make money for their cause. You usually have the option of writing off a reasonable value from your taxes as well.


Sell it yourself. As a computer shop owner I can\'t get enough profit from old PC\'s to make the warranty and customer satisfaction risk worth the time spent rebuilding it. Much like a car, you can get more for your old working computer from advertising it free in a local paper like The EscaRosa Press or on line through ebay.


I think most of us know someone that just can\'t get ahead and might never be able to afford a computer for themselves or their child. A wonderful possibility for a working computer, no matter how old, would be to give it to a child or family that can\'t afford one. This gift could open a door of possibility that might not otherwise be available. Especially if you have and include any encyclopedia or learning software. Yes libraries have computers for public use, but many lower income families can\'t even afford a car, or the gas these days to get to the library.


For both working and non-working computers you might consider donating them to a local vocational school, like Locklin Vo-tech, that has computer repair programs. This provides projects and parts for students to practice on without endangering valuable computer assets of the school.


You also have the option of recycling your old computer equipment, however most programs today require you to pay the company a fee based on the type of item as well as pay for the shipping to them. This is ultimately the best thing for the environment, but you may be disincented from recycling by these added costs. Some states, like California, now require deposits on certain computer assets that you get back once you recycle the product.

UPDATE:  Panther Computers will take old computers for recycling in limited quantities.  This doesn\'t include monitors as they are too toxic for us to handle properly - use the other suggestions in this article for monitors.  We have begun to disassemble the old computers down to their basic components and recycle them.  Small quantities would probably be refused by local scrap yards, but as we acumilate truck loads of the old cases (sheet metal) we will turn it in to reduce what ends up in the landfill.  Yes sheet metal (iron) might only cover (pennies per pound) the gas to take it, but Panther Computers is committed to finding ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle - especially reducing the impact of our industry on the environment.


Lastly you can try the local landfill who will, in all likelihood, charge you a fee. That is if the landfill will allow the equipment there. You see old CRT (TV type monitors) have and average of 8lbs of lead. This makes for a major source of contamination in case of a landfill fire or a breach into the local water system. This is why special precautions must be taken when disposing old computers.


As one of my commercials jests, using an old PC for a boat anchor or target practice is not the answer. Doing so will definitely introduce toxins into our environment. Besides, with the other options available and suggested here, you can find a place for that old computer that can provide a greater good.