Computer Medic to the Rescue (Sept 24, 2000)

Sept 24, 2000

BY JIM BOHMAN Dayton Daily News

CENTERVILLE – Jeff Bonsteel holds a physics degree from Miami University and spent two decades writing arcane software for NCR Corp., Reynolds & Reynolds and cell phone companies. Now he's helping the computer befuddled.

Bonsteel has formed Computer Medic, a personal computer repair service that makes house calls.

"Computer Medic is designed for PC novices," said Bonsteel, who operates from his home workshop. His target market is technology challenged, people reluctant to unplug the spaghetti wires and take their PC to a repair shop.

Bonsteel launched the company in June while between jobs as a free-lance software specialist for telecommunications companies around the United States

"I was spending a lot of my spare time doing PC service anyway," he said. "It seemed to me there was a market for this service. I encounter so many people who are embarrassed about their lack of computer knowledge."

There are a few other computer service firms in the Yellow Pages that make home visits, but they are not widely known, according to Bonsteel. Most people think they must.take their computer to a shop for repairs.

The technician says he can perform minor surgery in the home including installation of hardware cards and motherboards and upgrades of Windows software.

He also cleans up hard drives, provides added memory and can supply larger hard drives and backup systems.

Other services include installing faster modems, setting up Internet access, creating Web pages and arranging for multiple home PCs to share a printer. Bonsteel said he also can enable parents to monitor their children's Internet browsing. And he can recover seemingly lost data, install virus protection and add security measures."

When major repairs are needed, Bonsteel can take the ailing machine to his workshop.

"Often the simplest thing can cause a PC to stop working and people have no idea what went wrong," Bonsteel said. "Usually somebody went in, hit a button by accident and changed the configuration."

The solution maybe a complete mystery to the PC owner, but to experienced hands, fixes can be made quickly. "It's an intuitive thing that many people just don't have," Bonsteel, 43, said.

I can't repair individual components," the Centerville native said. "If something Is shot, I replace it. Bonsteel said he's been working on PCs since they first came out.

His practice is limited to the broadly based world of IBM compatible PCs. Bonsteel said he does not service Apple Macintosh machines.

(Note: pricing has increased in the 11 years since this article was published)
Pricing is $30 per half hour plus parts. Bonsteel charges a minimum of $25 for an inspection. Repairs and installations generally can run from $50 to $100 or more. He can be reached at 291-9751.
Contact Jim Bohman at 225-2242 or e-mail him at jim_bohman@coxohio.com

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