How to Safely Recycle Old Tablets and Phones

  • Comments: 8
  • Written on: January 6th, 2012

I was a guest on the Morning Blend this week as part of our weekly Compute This!  TV segment.  On the show the hosts asked me how you can safely dispose of old tablets and computers so your personal data does not get into the hands of criminals.

As we use tablets and phones for online bill paying, banking and more, they are jam packed with personal information that can’t be easily deleted.  Watch the segment below for more information!

What are the Best Do it Yourself Web Hosting Service Providers?

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: January 4th, 2012

More and more individuals are exploring the possibility of creating personal websites that are not intended for business use.  Whether you are a home schooling mother who wants to create a WordPress website as a journal to benchmark the progress of your child, or if you are interested in expressing your views on the latest video game techniques, a personal website is an amazing way to get the job done.

There are literally thousands of website hosting companies out there to choose from offering varied degrees of service and always promising the lowest possible prices.  To help you cut through the clutter and select the company that is best for you, WPDesigner created a website that compares and contrasts the most popular selections so you can make an informed decision.

WPDesigner paid me to look over their website and provide our thoughts on what they were trying to accomplish.

Site Design:

The WPDesign website is easy on the eyes with a mild-earth-tone look.  With that said however, there is a reason that most hosting companies have text on a white background – its easy to read and understand.

WPDesign’s logo is a cursive font on a brown background, and if I didn’t know what I was looking for I might not easily see or remember it.

Site Functionality:

The selected hosts are laid out in a grid style that easily allows the user to easily see which one best meets your individual needs.

I also liked the posts at the bottom of the pages offering some insight into how to create a website with WordPress.  If you were thinking about doing a website on your own, these articles would be a nice cache of information that would answer many of the questions you didn’t even know to ask at this point.

I just happened to click the About link at the top of the page to learn more about the website’s creator and what their specific goal with the website was.  The link was broken and did not work.

Conclusion:

WPDesign is a website that could really benefit a beginning personal webmaster identify a good hosting provider and get the information needed to deploy a basic WordPress website.

I think they need to do a bit of work on their site to correct some minor issues, but overall their information is useful, laid out nicely, and a valuable read.

 

Schrock Innovations Wins 1st Place in the Best of Omaha Competition

  • Comments: 2
  • Written on: January 4th, 2012

Schrock Innovations Best Omaha Computer RepairI am proud to announce that thanks to the votes of our satisfied customers, Schrock Innovations won first place in the Best of Omaha Competition for computer repair.

The Best of Omaha is a competition sponsored by Omaha Magazine, KMTV Channel 3, and Valpack where consumers log into the Best of Omaha website and vote for their favorite local companies in every imaginable category.

Voters’ accounts are confirmed by both IP address and email address to prevent automated voting or ballot stuffing.

Open for a Year and Already Best of Omaha

Schrock has won Best of Lincoln every year since 2001 in Lincoln, so we are familiar with the “Best of” awards and the weight they carry with consumers.

The voting for this year’s Best of Omaha happened in the fall of 2011 – right about the same time as the one-year anniversary of our new Omaha Service Center at Village Pointe South.

When I do the weekly radio shows and explain to my listeners that Schrock is different because we do care about our customers.  We are thrilled when they are thrilled and if a customer is not happy with our work we do everything we can to make them thrilled.

Winning this Best of Omaha Award is a validation of our efforts, and we will continue to work hard to earn your votes again in 2012!

Schrock’s Web Develpment Tem has Too Much Time on Their Hands

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: January 2nd, 2012

Apparently the web development team at Schrock Innovations needs more work.

Things get pretty busy over there at times, and I often have to sensor my ideas before I pass them on to the Schrock team so I don’t kill them with work.  It can be a good thing or a bad thing to have a team who can create anything you can imagine.  Especially when you have an imagination like mine :-)

So the week of Christmas I habitually checked my email and I found this:

For those of you who don’t know, that is me, my wife, and my son.  Very creative, very and I have three new projects to start the new year.  Happy New Year web team!

Amazing Black Friday Deals at Schrock Innovations!

  • Comments: 2
  • Written on: November 23rd, 2011

Schrock Innovations has some mind-blowing deals this Friday in all three Service Centers and the best part is you can sleep in and still get in on the action!

On Black Friday (November 25th) Schrock will be open at 10:00 – normal business hours – which emans you can sleep off that Thanksgiving Turkey while your friends are out occupying the box stores.

Discounts on Computers, Notebooks, Software, and More!

You can pick up some of our Black Friday Deals and save as much as 50% off the regular prices.

We have laptops, desktops, accessories, software and services all on special.

See all of the deals on the Schrock Innovations website and don’t be late!

Thor Schrock Featured in Sunday Omaha World Herald Money Section

  • Comments: 6
  • Written on: November 22nd, 2011

I was featured in an article in last Sunday’s Omaha World Herald about how the massive flooding in Thailand is impacting the local market for computers and computer repair.

The long and the short of the situation is that the prices of wholesale hard drives have tripled in the past three weeks.  The increased prices for drives are creating headaches for everyone from the regular consumer, to massive OEM system builders like Acer and AsusTek.

The text of the article follows below:

A bad dream is playing out in Thailand and turning into an unpleasant and costly reality for Midlands computer retailers and repair shops.

The Southeast Asian country, which is grappling with the effects of devastating flooding and evacuations from its largest cities, is home to many of the world’s largest computer hard disk drive manufacturers, including Western Digital, Seagate Technology and Toshiba Corp.

Over the last three months, floodwaters have crippled hard drive manufacturing facilities, bringing hard disk drive and component production to little more than a trickle. Hard disk drives are about the size of a small book and serve as the main storage components in computers, holding information about the machine’s operating system and other software.

Analysts and computer store owners who serve Nebraska and Iowa say the shortfall of hard drives is going to take its toll on the holiday shopping season and could last well into 2012. The issue could mean disappointment or lighter wallets for consumers planning to give certain electronic gifts.

“It’s a nightmare scenario for us,” said Thor Schrock, owner and CEO of Schrock Innovations, a computer retailer and repair shop with locations in Omaha, Papillion and Lincoln. “And it’s only going to get worse.”

At the beginning of November, Schrock said, hard disk drives already were becoming so expensive at wholesale prices that he spent $27,000 at Office Max and bought as many hard drives as he could.

“We cleared out three of their warehouses,” Schrock said. “In order to get to the end of November, we needed more hard disk drives.”

Hard drive prices have doubled since mid-October, Schrock said.

He said there may not even be enough available hard drives to maintain a predictable inventory, especially of low-priced netbooks.

“As a computer retailer, this is our big time of the year, and if we can’t get hard drives, we can’t sell computers,” Schrock said. “And if we can’t sell computers, we can’t service computer parts, either.”

Fang Zhang, an iSuppli analyst, wrote in a research note that Western Digital will likely be knocked from the No. 1 perch of hard disk drive producers because of the flooding. Zhang also predicts that the shortage will become more serious at the end of 2011 and pour into 2012, at least through the first quarter.

During that time, shipments are expected to decrease 30 percent, causing prices to soar, Zhang said.

Darby Deeds, owner of Computers To Go in Bellevue, said in mid-October he made an order for 500-gigabyte hard drives, which are used to build and repair computers, for $40 apiece. As of Friday, the same drives carried a price tag of $99.

Across the board, consumers buying computers as gifts this holiday season should expect that to translate into at least a 10 percent price hike on all computer purchases, he said.


With that inflation sending the prices of PCs upward, Deeds said he has noticed that his sales to business clients, which include some sales to Offutt Air Force Base, haven’t slowed. He expects that to continue through the shortfall.

“Their reaction has been — ‘We’ve got to have it,'” Deeds said. “They’re not changing anything.”

General retail consumers, however, are exhibiting more patience, Deeds said.

That spells bad news for Nebraska Furniture Mart, one of the area’s largest electronics retailers.

Bob Batt, executive vice president at the Berkshire Hathaway-owned Furniture Mart, said the disaster in Thailand reminds him of the catastrophic earthquakes and tsunami that blasted Japan and disrupted electronics supply chains earlier this year.

“We’re not expecting good things,” Batt said. “We’re monitoring the situation and will take the appropriate action. It’s that kind of a deal. Time will tell.”

Computer companies that have been pinched by weak demand in the United States and Europe are bracing for the hard drive shortage to compound those issues.

Analysts have said that the drives that are available will first go to companies with top priority, like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, for example.

Still, those producers remain concerned. In a statement, Dell said that it anticipates hitting the low end of its fourth-quarter revenue projections because of the disaster in Thailand.

The industry prioritization, however, means companies like Acer and Asustek, both of which make cheaper netbooks and desktops for consumers with a tighter budget, are more likely to get shorted in the supply chain.

“The situation is severe, but the exact timetable for a full recovery is unknown at the current time,” Acer said in a statement. “There will definitely be price hikes for HDD storage, but the magnitude is uncertain for now and would most likely be transferred to end users.”

Apple officials have said they expect an industrywide shortfall, but aren’t sure how things might play out for their company.

“Like many others, we source many components from Thailand,” Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said during a conference call with analysts and journalists. “It is something that I’m concerned about. How it affects Apple, I’m not sure.”

The devices that could get a boost from the Thai disaster are laptops and devices that run on solid state, or flash, memory. Most mobile devices and tablets run on solid state memory, which doesn’t have moving parts like a hard disk drive, and an increasing number of laptops, including Apple’s Macbook Air, use solid state because it’s typically quicker and smaller.

Schrock said that although tablets like the Apple iPad are already popular, the Thai floods could push more consumers in that direction rather than spending more on overpriced PCs.

For now, though, those affected by the supply chain disruptions aren’t throwing in the towel on this holiday shopping season.

“It’s not pretty, but we just don’t know what’s going to happen,” Batt said. “Bad news comes along from time to time, and this is one of those times.”

How Schrock Innovations’ Safe & Stored System Protects Your Data

  • Comments: 2
  • Written on: November 2nd, 2011

Anyone who has experienced data loss knows that awful feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you realize your important information is gone forever.

People invest hundreds of dollars in backup hard drives, online backup services and DVD-R disks to try to prevent the loss of irreplaceable information. Despite everyone’s best efforts data loss still strikes because backup schedules are only as good as the people who run them – or forget to run them.

Introducing the Safe & Stored Backup System from Schrock Innovations

For the first time ever you do not need to back up your computer to an external hard drive or DVDs because your backup drive is built right into your computer.

The Safe and Stored Backup System backs up your computer’s main hard drive to a secondary hard drive right inside your computer.

There are no drives to hook up, no disks to maintain and no schedules to set.

How Does Safe and Stored Work?

Once every week (or more often if you would like) the Safe and Stored Backup System takes a complete image of your hard drive including your programs and Operating System files.

If your hard drive ever crashes, a mirror-image of your data can be restored to a new drive. All of your programs, settings, files, and devices will automatically work just like they used to.

How Does Safe and Stored Compare to Online Backup?

Online Backup with services like Mozy or Carbonite are great if you need an offsite backup of your data files.

However, many people don’t realize that these online services don’t backup video files or files over 2 GB in size unless you specifically include each file individually in your backup. Also, in the event of a drive failure it can take over three days to download your recovered files!

The Safe and Stored Backup System is a complete backup of your entire drive. Because it is stored right inside your computer it is faster to restore you have complete control over your data at all times.

Call Schrock Innovations or stop in to see the Safe and Stored Backup System in action today!

 

Hard Drives Going into Extreme Shortage – Wholesale Prices Double in 3 Days

  • Comments: 14
  • Written on: November 1st, 2011

Just in time for the holiday season the recent Thailand monsoon is threatening the stability of notebook and laptop prices.

Some parts of Thailand received as much as 140% of their seasonal Monsoon rainfall in a matter of hours.  40% of the world’s hard drives are produced in Thailand, and the massive flooding conditions are making this spring’s Missouri river flooding look like a kiddie pool.  Think Katrina only across an entire country.

Extreme Shortages Coming

Analysts expect hard drives to go into extreme shortage almost immediately.  Western Digital will bear the brunt of the blow.  Company executives are reporting they expect a 60% decline in their sales due to production shortages.  All of their Thailand factories were flooded.

Seagate’s factories were spared, but their component supplies were not.

Online retailer Tiger Direct currently has no hard drives at all available for order at any price.  Their competitor, Newegg has remaining inventory thanks in large part to establishing strict quantity limitations of one drive per customer per 48 hour period.

Computer Makers to Run Out of Drives by end of November

Even PC maker Asusteq is reporting that it will run out of desktop and laptop hard drives entirely by the end of November.

This situation is posing a unique challenge for OEM computer makers, including Schrock Innovations.

In fact, Schrock Innovations is incurring strict quantity limitations and lack of availability on many hard drives used in our Modular computers.

In response we have been buying every hard drive we can get our hands on as news pours in that shortages will be with us through at least March of 2012 and as long as December of 2012.

AMD Zambezi 8-Core Processor Sets World Speed Record

  • Comments: 7
  • Written on: October 30th, 2011

The all new AMD 8-core Zambezi processor set a world record for clock speed when a team of engineers over clocked the consumer-grade chip to run at 8.49 GHz!

Of course, they had to cool it with liquid helium. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do that at home, but with eight cores and over 3 GHz of native speed, this chip should meet the needs of the most demanding users for years to come.

What is Adaptive Intelligence Technology
from Schrock Innovations?

  • Comments: 1
  • Written on: October 30th, 2011

Every computer you have ever owned has slowed down over time.

Some of the slow down is the result of normal use, but the majority of performance erosion is the result of evolving software that demands more and more of your computer’s limited resources.

As you receive updates for Windows or the latest and greatest hew hardware devices, the software that powers them taxes your computers’ resources and results in slower performance.

Computer Hardware Speed vs. Software Demands

Over the past few years computer memory and computer processors have become exponentially faster. These gains have allowed computers to run more and more complex programs

The only component in your computer that has not seen a significant performance boost is your rotating disk hard drive. The 7200 RPM hard drive has been around in various flavors since 2003.

Solid state hard drives offer near-instant boot times and lightning fast speed – but at a significant cost. Solid state drives offer small storage capacities at a cost six to eight times more than the older rotating disk models.

Schrock Innovations’ Adaptive Intelligence Technology give your computer the best of both worlds at a budget friendly price.

Solid State Performance at Rotating Disk Price

Some of Schrock Innovations’ latest Modular PCs are equipped with 500 GB Adaptive Intelligence Hard Drives.

These cutting-edge hard drives are a regular-old 7200-RPM hard drive equipped with a 4 GB solid state partition.

As you use your computer, the hard drive monitors which files you access most often. The drive then saves a copy of those files to the solid state partition for faster access.

As your computing habits change, the solid state partition automatically updates with the files that will give you the best user experience.

All of the calculations are done by the drive’s firmware which means file cataloging and usage computations are all done on the drive itself. Adaptive Intelligence Technology doesn’t slow down your computer’s memory or processor, but does provide up to a 1000% hard drive access speed increase.

Improved Reliability

Solid State drives are the holy grail of data storage performance, but their lightning fast performance also comes with a down side.

In the event of a drive failure, data recover, while expensive, is possible on rotating disk drives. Solid state hard drives have no moving parts and are comprised of a number of memory chips.

A solid state drive failure usually results in a complete loss of data.

Because drives equipped with Adaptive Intelligence Technology save copies of commonly used files on the solid state partition, in the event of a drive failure standard data recovery techniques can be used to recover your important information from the rotating disks.

Only Available at Schrock Innovations

Adaptive Intelligence Technology is only available in Schrock Innovations’ Modular PCs and modified notebook computers.

Certain models come with the technology included, but can be added to any computer purchased at Schrock Innovations. Contact Schrock for more information about a computer equipped with Adaptive Intelligence Technology today!

 

 

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