August 3, 2014



THE COMPUTER GURU UCM (Ultimate Computing Machine) — Once Is Not Enough!

August 1, 2014

The BMW Design Group-styled Computer Guru custom-built system mentioned in my last post (see below) came out so nicely that a new client walked in yesterday and said, essentially, “I want one of those!”  But the story bears some repeating because it reveals some interesting computing realities that my readers may wish to consider.

The client, a young, intelligent entrepreneurial woman, owns several Apple Macintosh systems, but as she expands her business and launches new ventures, she’s finding that the Apple machines, as nice as they are, fall short in several important areas. 

First of all, the computing power on tap — while decent for some jobs — is not really that strong, which means they can’t keep up with certain demanding tasks — graphics, multitasking, number-crunching, large databases and mailing lists, and so on.  And certain world-class business software applications simply do not run on the Mac OSX operating system.  PC Users have always enjoyed a strong numerical advantage over Mac Users when it comes to having a wide choice of applications running on the “Wintel” (Windows OS, Intel Processor) platform.

So I’m building her a unit similar to the previous one — and although it will be a powerhouse as delivered, the beauty of this custom-built Computer Guru system — besides the high-style, as displayed in the thin, elegant, slim form factor and the quiet operation — is the ability to expand and grow along with the owner’s needs. 

Need storage space?  I can build this system with up to 10TB (Terabytes) — that is 10,000 Gigabytes! — of INTERNAL disk storage.  Forget cumbersome and unreliable external hard drives — or costly, snails-pace cloud storage — you won’t need them with this baby.  And even though many manufacturers (like Apple) are leaving DVD drives off their systems — a real annoyance when you need one — this system has a beautiful slot-loading multidrive located front and center…and a card reader too!

The graphics system can accommodate virtually any class of video, from ordinary consumer- and business-class to exotic, high-performance video for artists, photographers, graphic designers, architects, animators, and scientific and technical users such as mathematicians, linguistic analysts, physicists, and CAD engineers. 

Even the sound system is a high-end integrated unit from Creative Labs, the leaders in digital sound reproduction on personal computers.  Many higher-end computers now have a quad-core CPU, but how many computers, like this one, have a quad-core audio processor?

So if you’d like to join the club and enjoy the beneficial pleasures of owning and using a really premium yet affordable desktop computer system to meet your personal and business computing needs today — and well into the future — just give The Computer Guru a shout!

The Ultimate COMPUTING Machine (UCM) — From The Computer Guru!

July 26, 2014


A new client dropped by my office with his lovely wife, after an extended trip to Europe.  He’d come home and began downloading thousands of large, high-resolution photographs from the trip onto his older Dell Inspiron computer, and found his small 320GB hard drive filling up fast, and the relatively slow machine straining under the load.

I recommended a beautiful new custom-built Computer Guru desktop system (see the photo above), specially equipped to handle easy storage and processing of lots and lots of photographs. The final configuration included a speedy Intel Xeon processor (comparable to an Apple Mac Pro, but for far less money), a 512GB solid state drive for the Windows Operating System and Applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and Lightroom, and two additional 1TB hard drives: one for data storage (all those photos), and the other for easy, automatic, daily backup.

I also installed a “fanless” high-performance NVIDIA graphics system for fast rendering of large megapixel photo files, along with absolutely silent operation, even under high video loads.

This sleek, quiet, ultrafast system was actually styled by BMW Group Design, the same guys who put a great face on all those expensive zoomy sports cars and sedans.  After migrating some applications and all his existing data from the dying old machine to the new one, this client is all set up for the future, thanks to The Computer Guru!


May 27, 2014


A client came to me with her favorite little laptop, a small Fujitsu PH520 which she’d been using for many years.  The machine had slowed down to a crawl, and the hope was that the machine could be sped up somehow and kept in service.  My client (not pictured above) loved the machine (similar Fujitsu unit pictured above), which was compact and light yet well-built and easy to travel with, and she didn’t really want to replace it.  Everything about it was perfect for her, except the speed.

Could anything be done?

Sure!  The solution turned out to be manifold.  First, I replaced the primary hard drive with a speedy Solid State Drive (SSD).  This significantly boosted the performance.  Second, I moved large amounts of her data to an external drive (and, ultimately, to the cloud).  Third, I performed a “clean Windows reinstallation” to correct the many issues her operating system was displaying, and give her a completely clean slate.  And lastly, I upgraded the standard 2GB of RAM to 4GB.

Mission accomplished!  This machine, which is already several years old, can now continue to be used…indefinitely!  No need to deal with Windows 8 or learn some other operating system (like MAC OSX).  No need to find something else of equal quality and proven reliability and convenience (not always so easy when “they don’t make them like they used to”).

No need, in fact, to do anything at all but continue using and enjoying the machine!

I’ll let the client speak for herself:






Personal Computing…A Family Affair at The Computer Guru!

May 23, 2014

Computing...A Family Affair at The Computer Guru!

A client needed a complete system rebuild, and since he often brought his young son into my shop with him, and the boy demonstrated a keen interest in computing, I suggested that he bring him along so that all three of us could do the rebuild together — a kind of fun teaching exercise and celebration of technology for the young one (and the elders as well!).

The job went smoothly, with lots of help and good ideas from everyone involved. A fine time was had by all! This exercise should qualify the young man for his Boy Scout Computing Merit Badge!

Mac Pro Power At PC Prices — From The Guru!

May 21, 2014


A client of mine has been eyeing the stout performance of the new $4,000 Apple Mac Pro desktop computer, but he prefers to use Windows PCs, and didn’t feel like spending an arm and a leg on an all-new high-end machine.  What to do?

I proposed a rebuild of his existing PC tower, replacing the innards with a new high-end Intel Xeon E5-based 6-core processor and mainboard, 16GB of fast RAM, and liquid-cooling.  This way, instead of buying an entirely new computer (which would have been quite costly at this level of performance), he only paid for the additional power he needed, and was able to preserve a large part of his current computer, both the physical components, as well as the Windows 7 operating system, applications, and data.

The result?  A lightning-fast powerhouse system with the awesome performance of a brand new Apple Mac Pro, along with the simplicity and economical pricing of a PC.  Best of both worlds, you could say — the creative and intelligent maximization of value.

If your system needs a power makeover like this one — or just a simple service — or anything in-between — be sure and visit The Guru!

With The Guru, Time Is On Your Side!

May 16, 2014

With The Guru, Time Is On Your Side!

A new client came to me the other day, absolutely baffled because the backup system for his business wasn’t working, and nobody but nobody could figure out why — not even the vendor of the specialized software he used to run his self-storage business.  The system backed up on request, and the backup files were there on the hard drive, but when examined closely, the backup files were completely empty!

Since his computer was pretty old, I offered him an updated custom-built Computer Guru Windows 7 system, and he was happy to acquire it — provided I could first solve the backup problem.  He didn’t want to spend money on a new machine, only to have the problem occur on the new machine also.

So I dug in…and for a time I was baffled myself, but then it hit me — the old computer was not keeping time properly, because the clock battery was old and weak.  Clock batteries should hold a steady 3 volts, but his only held 2.5 volts, enough to make a difference.  Although the time on his computer was accurate, the date had slipped to 1999 (nobody noticed this), which meant that the backup program was completely confused, and didn’t back up any data newer than 1999 — that is, no data at all.

Hence, the empty backup files.

Once this problem was understood and solved, the client happily acquired a new system from The Computer Guru.  I installed an optional built-in automatic backup system, a special add-on communications port, and a new version of the software he used to run his business…all for well under $700!  All is well now.

Another Computer Guru Success Story.  The Guru is ready when you are!

Unsolicited Kudos!

April 16, 2014



Just had to tell you that I’m in love with my new refurbished dual-core computer with Windows 7.  My printer and all my programs are up and running.  The new box is as fast as greased lightning, at least compared with my old one.  Windows 7 is a dream, and so user friendly.  Thanks for steering me in the right direction!

Hasta la vista,


Letter to The New York Times

April 13, 2014


Dear Haggler,

The nightmarish Best Buy service experience you described in your column ( ) is, alas, not exceptional.  In fact, the service at Best Buy is, on the whole, abysmal.

My small local computer sales and service business here in the Land of Enchantment (Santa Fe, New Mexico) thrives, year after year — in part, because of “refugees” from the horrors of Best Buy and their almost-a-joke “Geek Squad.”

You say keep it short, so one story out of the dozens accumulated over the years will have to suffice.


A frustrated customer brought their system in to me after rescuing it from weeks of abuse at Best Buy.  I started it up and noticed there was a Best Buy/Geek Squad diagnostic CD still in the drive.  I said, “hey, maybe there’s something useful on that disk,” so I ran it on one of my shop computers.

A few minutes later, my internet security program flashed a red warning on the screen, alerting me to the fact that there was a dangerous virus on the CD, and that my system was about to become infected if I didn’t remove it.

2014-04-22 17.41.24

Enough said!   I know Best Buy likes to sell new systems; I may have stumbled upon one unexpectedly-creative way they can accomplish that goal!

Steven Salemi
The Computer Guru
Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

Don’t Toss That XP Laptop Yet!!!

April 10, 2014


A client brought me her Windows XP laptop because she’d gotten the “End of Life” message from Microsoft.  She didn’t want to buy a new system, so I looked the system over and said, “I’m sure we can upgrade this unit to Windows 7.”  And so we did — for significantly less than a new laptop computer would have cost her.  And we kept all her peripherals, applications, and data intact.

My client had used this computer for many, many years, and as a writer, she had carefully chosen the computer originally for the quality of the keyboard and the screen. It fit her like an old glove. She didn’t like the cheap new Windows 8 systems she saw at the store. And so now, with this new lease on life, she’ll be using her “trusty computing companion” for many more years to come. 

Now, that’s value!

So visit The Computer Guru, and if we can keep your XP system going for a few more years, we will…otherwise I can provide a new or refurbished Windows 7 system with plenty of power, storage, and convenience.