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.

Panther Computers is announcing a voluntary product recall that involves items that we have sold and used in building computer systems and repairs. In 2008 we purchased 100 ATX molex to SATA power adapters that are used for computers that have no or too few SATA power connections available from the internal power supply. It has come to our attention that these items may pose an immediate fire hazard, and we are reacting immediately to ensure the safety of our not only our customers, but of anyone that may have these adapters in their computer.

We purchased these items from a wholesaler called Evertek who also sells direct under the name Geeks.com. These are generic in nature and have no UPC codes on them nor any manufacturer immediately identifiable on the packaging. They are approximately 4 inches in length and milk colored plastic on the ATX or molex end and black plastic on the SATA connector side. The SATA side has the words Serial ATA on one side with the word Amphenol on the other.

Here are pictures of the items in question. Click on a picture to see a larger image, and hit the Esc button when done to exit the gallery view.  What is occurring is the black SATA side is melting, and has caused severe temperatures enough to melt the back plastic of CD/DVD drives, one of which was severe enough that could have caused a serious fire.

We have already notified Evertek and sent pictures of the damaged equipment and connectors so they can handle things at their end, however we are also in contact with the government agency responsible for safety issues in hopes that property, life, or limb may be spared by a national recall. It is likely there are thousands of these items in computers around the nation.

If you bought a computer from or had service done by us between 2008 until April of 2012, there is a chance you might have this part in your system. If you are a do it yourself type that bought a SATA to ATX power adapter in our store, you may also have gotten this item.  We have already made contact with those customers that we have in our records that have these products and replaced them, but there are still over sixty adapters unaccounted for. Therefore, we are offering a free inspection to any computer that comes in to Panther Computers, whether you bought the item from us or not.

If you bought the connector from us, we will replace it free of charge with a different manufacturers product. If you acquired it elsewhere, we will gladly replace it free of labor charges, but will charge you $2.99 for the replacement part. We can do the inspection and replacement in about 5 minutes while you wait in most cases (unless we become inundated by a rush, or are temporarily out of replacements – we just made a big order to cover this recall.) We are also offering for our customers who cannot bring their computer in, a free on sight inspection and replacement. We are offering the free in-store inspection to everyone to ensure the safety of our community.

We would like to advise you to not leave your computer running without being at it.  For those with oxygen in the home, we suggest not using the computer while wearing it.  If you are unsure if you have this part in your computer, you should use the computer sparingly or not at all until it has been inspected.

For customers that are no longer in the NW Florida area, you can open the computer and look for the part pictured above. If you are unsure, take pictures of the inside and email them to us and we'll try to see if you have them.  If you have the part we will get your address and send you a new one with a post paid envelope for you to send the potentially bad one back.

These devices will only be connected to SATA devices, usually CD/DVD/Bluray and Hard drives.  They are only found in desktop computers, and not notebooks or other portable devices. 

Research has shown these devices are present globally, and similar reports have been occurring.  See our FaceBook page at http://www.facebook.com/PantherComputers to read the other stories we've found and shared.

We will provide more information as pertinent details become available.