- Comments: 2
- Written on: January 4th, 2012
I 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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.”
- Comments: 2
- Written on: November 2nd, 2011
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Comments: 1
- Written on: October 30th, 2011
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.
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!
- Comments: 7
- Written on: September 20th, 2011
Scaling from one computer repair service center at Schrock Innovations to two was a logistical challenge, but for the most part it involved duplicating systems we already had in place.
Now that Schrock is adding a third Service Center in Papillion, NE we are finding that simply doing what has worked in the past will not quite cut it this time.
Scaling Advanced Technology
Schrock Innovations maintains a customer service edge by leveraging advanced technologies that are designed to help us solve our customers’ problems.
For many of these technology solutions we have been able to rely on third-party vendors in the past like Huntel, Citrix, Cox, and Rackspace to deliver award-winning service.
However as we grow the cost of scaling these technologies increases. We can either pass the cost increase on to our customers as higher prices or try to find a different way of delivering our services that is more efficient.
We choose efficiency.
Deploying a Data Center
Many of the tools we use to deliver seamless service to our customers through our phone system, the Schrock Desk, our web site hosting services and many future products rely on a data center.
A data center is a specially designed room that contains racks of computers that do things for people who are on the Internet accessing them. When you loaded this web page, it came from a data center.
Data centers are expensive to operate, so in turn, leasing space in them is also expensive. The cost of a data center is mostly up-front expense for equipment and servers. After that expense the maintenance costs of running the data center are actually less expensive than leasing the services we currently lease.
Schrock Innovations is partnering with Future Technologies to deploy a data center in Downtown Omaha, NE in the 1600 Farnam building. The location was a bank at one time, and the bank vaults in the basement provide excellent security possibilities that can be reconfigured to ensure physical server security.
Last week Schrock’s technicians began deploying racks and servers into the data center and we expect it to be online this week. We will be migrating our existing services like the Schrock Desk, Web Hosting, and the Secure Updater this month.
Data Security Concerns
The world is becoming a smaller and smaller place every day. While the technologies that are making that happen benefit our every day lives, they also bring cyber criminals MUCH closer to you on a daily basis than you know.
One of the concerns that we have at Schrock is the security of our data connections that move through our third party vendors.
While we are confident that companies like Rackspace, Citrix, and Carbonite take their data security very seriously, there is really no way for us to know if the data that we send goes through Chinese servers, Russian servers, or stays right here in the US.
This is important because any traffic that goes through servers in other countries is not protected by the laws and regulations of the U.S.
While for most people this is not a concern, as we add additional services like data backup, corporate remote support, and the Secure Updater, we need to know that our customers’ information is safe beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The only way to do that is to operate the infrastructure yourself and that is what we are in the process of doing.
- Comments: 5
- Written on: September 16th, 2011
Schrock Innovations’ new Papillion, NE Service Center is coming along, so I thought I would post a construction update.
Things have been busy lately, so these pictures are about a week old. Since they were taken electrical and data wiring is in place, the bathroom is complete (very important!) and Carberry Construction is starting on the floors.
The front desk is in place. Carberry fabricated the desk and topped it with black granite. We implemented a new feature in the front desk of the Papillion Service Center. Notice the lowered section of the front desk. We need the front counter to be tall enough for check writing and service, but sometimes it is tough for our customers to lift their computers up there.
The new lowered section is an experiment to see if we can get the best of both worlds.
The walls have been painted and the hanging electrical drops are in place.
We are just waiting on the floors to begin bench installation, inventory shelf delivery, and utility hook up.
Then the real fun begins!
If everything goes well, we are planning the grand opening for the weekend of October 8th.