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Angie Wieck, Published June 16 2013

Computer whiz: F-M technician makes fixing hardware his business

WEST FARGO – Dan Simons, owner of ALLPCFIX, knows a lot about computers. He specializes in repairs and upgrades, networking, security, high-performance gaming and more. Just don’t ask him to fix your Mac. He is not a fan.

“When people say they have a Mac, I say ‘That’s not a computer.’ It’s not an insult. It’s like comparing an apple to an orange. They’re both fruit, but they’re different. I just stay away from Macs.”

Simons will visit clients’ homes to make repairs or take a computer home with him if the job appears more complicated. He serves the metro area and surrounding communities.

What is the most common problem you fix?

Well, usually they’re (computers) all bugged up and full of viruses. You can’t even boot into Windows sometimes and Internet access doesn’t work. A lot of times people will try and fix it themselves. They’ll download little nifty programs they hear about, and that’s just another virus.

So you don’t recommend programs like Norton Antivirus or McAfee?

I’ve told people, you have one operating system, you don’t need two. Some of these anti-virus programs are so invasive. They try to take over your entire computer experience. If you’ve got Windows on your machine, most of the firewalls are already built into it. I don’t like running two programs that do the same thing.

What you really need to do is be careful of where you go and what you download. Pay attention to pop-ups and how you answer any questions.

Would you advise people not to get a virus protection program?

There are free anti-viruses I put on people’s computers. AVG is one. Microsoft Security Essentials can be downloaded from Microsoft as well.

How many years do you think a computer is useful?

Well, Moore’s Law that Intel came up with says that about every 18 months (the speed of) a computer will double. Come on, we’re pretty fast now. If you’ve got a 5- or 10-year-old computer, I can make it run really well. You can add memory, increase the hard-drive size, just tune it up and make it run well.

What do you think about people turning away from computers to smartphones?

It’s this miniaturization of everything. … It’s a loop. Things will tend to get smaller. Then they’re so tiny, they go bigger. … It’s kind of a marketing thing, I think. I’m not a cellphone fan or a tablet fan. I’m a gamer. I like to play pretty hard-core video games. I like performance in a computer.

Another trend seems to be streaming TV from a computer. Do you do that?

I’ve built home theater PCs for myself for the last 10 years. Basically, I don’t have a cable bill. I use Amazon Prime. All the things I watch on TV are through the Internet.

Would you set that up for customers?

Sure. Anybody who wants to cut the cable bill, we can definitely build a home theater PC. You have all your data on a hard drive that can be accessed from anywhere. It’s a really neat setup.

What other trends do you see in computers?

I’m concerned with the recent spying from the NSA (National Security Agency) and government. Over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot with encryption and privacy. … I think security and privacy are major things happening, and I’m probably going to further my degree in security because of it. It’s interesting.

To submit an idea for “It’s My Job,” email businessnews@forumcomm.com.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501