by Sean Stephens
Oh no! Your computer is running so slow! But where can you take it? There’s a Geek Squad in Fresno, and another in Visalia, but they are too far away, so do you just live with the slow? Many people do. The fact is, many people are more put off by the miles than by the thought of being without their computer for a few days. In fact, when you think more about the miles, it will be two trips into town to fix a little slowness.
But the slow isn’t good and you need to get it fixed. It’s too bad there isn’t a closer place you can take your computer that won’t charge you an arm and a leg, especially in this economy. Fortunately, there is. The Reedley College PC Club is a student organization dedicated to training students to fix and repair broken computers. They get valuable training from it and you get a faster computer.
“The heart of the PC Club is accepting computers from faculty and other students that need to get fixed and we fix them free, and all we do is accept donations,” explained PC Club advisor Daniel Morales. Daniel stated that the biggest problem most computer users face are viruses and spyware, which comprises the bulk of PC club work. “It is a win-win situation because they get their computers fixed for free and we win because we learn how to fix computers.” They also work on computers from people other than students and faculty.
Computer users encounter spyware in many places on the Internet. Often, spyware is packaged with another program, most frequently free software. During the course of internet activities, a computer uploads and downloads many mountains of information every day. The end result is dozens of contacts with spyware and other nefarious types of software. An antivirus program is good protection, but many users don’t have adequate protection and eventually the computer catches a virus or spyware and this is part of what computer technicians train to eliminate.
The PC Club is also learning how to work with computer hardware and will often install upgraded components. Typical upgrades are often larger hard drives or more memory. Often, a simple memory upgrade improves computer performance significantly. Additionally, one cannot simply buy memory and install it because there are many different specifications that must be addressed and understood. The PC Club are able to determine what type of memory is appropriate and how much more memory the computer can hold. The techs can also tell their customers what other upgrades your computer can take, and they can tell whether or not the computer even can be upgraded.
However, the club is not limited to just fixing computers. They also take part in extracurricular activities dealing with computers. One such event is called a “LAN Party.” In a LAN Party, participants bring their home computers or gaming consoles and connect them to a Local Access Network for the purpose of competing against each other in various computer games. They hope to host LAN parties a few times per semester in the future. They also set up booths during the campus open house to explain the process and purpose of the club.
The club teaches other aspects of the computer repair process as well, including invoicing, keeping records, and good customer service. Many of the students are working toward a variety of degrees and certificates that are not necessarily in the computer field, but the training they receive will go with them into any career field.
Looking to the future, the PC Club hopes to solidify its role at Reedley College. Club members hope the club can find funding to take the students to trade shows and technology events In the near future, and another LAN party is planned for the semester break this year. Watch for flyers on campus for information on where and when.
The PC Club meets only once every week in room BUS 49 on the Reedley College Campus. If you don’t know your way around the college, go into the parking lot from Manning Avenue across from the CVS shopping center to your left, you will see the gymnasium and a large grass field. The business building is adjacent to the grassy field with BUS 49 facing toward Manning Avenue. The club will be there on Thursday nights at 4:30 and stay until they are done. If you are interested in their services, whether you are a part of Reedley College or just the surrounding communities, stop by and talk to them.
The club is self-funded and operates on donations. While no specific amount is required or expected, any amount helps to keep this important program in operation.