Due to a new project that will require daytime hours to complete, we will be working with limited and reduced hours for the foreseeable future.   Store hours starting January 9th, 2017 will be Monday-Thursday 6PM-9PM, and every other Saturday starting January 21st 10am-1PM.  Onsite appointments and remote sessions are an option in the evenings and every other weekend.  We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers, but business is slow enough that we cannot use supplemental employees to cover Panther Computers while this project is underway.

Panther Computers now offers the Panther Pounce Tuneup.  In response to  customer requests, we are now offering this alternative to the full Panther Tuneup (regularly $150) with this faster turn around time to quickly get you back up an running.  This is a quick hit tuneup that simply removes the most obvious virus and malware infections for $75 that allows you to continue using your existing protections and antivirus software.

I'm here today to make you aware of a scam that I believe is happening with nearly all international call centers, but especially those in India. Based on dozens of conversations with my customers over the last three years, it is my belief that call center employees that answer calls for US based businesses like AT&T, Amazon, and other high profile companies are transferring calls out of the legitimate call center to illegitimate businesses that try to scam money from you.

Panther Computers now sells items on Amazon.  We have over one hundred items available locally at our Milton location or you can order online and have it shipped.  Eventually we will have all of our new inventory online at Amazon so you can see what we have in stock.  Used items and parts will not be listed, so come by or call if you need these or special order items.

CoinBase is a virtual currency exchange for BitCoin that has become licensed in the US to exchange BitCoin for Dollars.  Here is an article from PCWorld with the details:

Coinbase to launch first licensed U.S. Bitcoin exchange

Do to the increased number of ransomeware viruses being seen on computers being brought into Panther Computers, we are adding a new utility called Crypto Prevent to the software installed on computers during our Panther Tuneup.  You can read the article below on CryptoWall for more details on ransomeware viruses and their effects. We will install the free edition, free to homeowners and businesses alike, but you may consider the paid premium version for automatic updates.

Over the last several years there have been several ransomeware viruses that will encrypt your data in a fashion that will cause you to loose the data or have to pay to get your files back.  CryptoLocker, CryptoDefense, CTB Locker, and now CryptoWall.  It is now more important than ever to ensure you have backups of all your important personal and business files as you could be infected from any number of sources.

Panther Computers has invested in an enhanced system to provide better tracking and histories of our clients, their computers, and the work performed.  We now have the ability to provide you email and SMS (aka texting) updates as we begin and proceed with the work on your computer.  You can also click on the Status link under services to log into your tickets online for a current status.  We are continually looking for ways to improve the service we provide our clients.

Panther Computers now offers our remote access service, Panther Rescue Remote, to our customers. Panther Rescue Remote can allow a Panther Computers technician provide you local support from our offices saving you travel time and expense.  All you need is a working high speed internet access for the computer and we can provide instruction, configuration, and technical support. 

The support is by appointment and first come first serve, but we will expand availabilty and offerings as demand increases.  Stay tuned for pricing and other details as we fully deploy Panther Rescue Remote.  Whether in the store or by remote we'll make your computer PuRR like a kitten.

 

 

We are bumping this article back to the top as there has been a recent increase of these calls in the NW Florida area. We have one computer in the shop now that has been completely locked and is in danger of having had tax documents tampered with or "stolen. We've had a second customer relate that they have had no less than five phone calls trying to coerce them into letting the Indian sounding caller take control of their computer.  Watch videos and more on our Facebook page on this an other computer scams.

You may have noticed one or more commercials on TV that claims that they can remotely connect to your computer and make it "work", however be sure they don't charge you if they can't.  Most problems today are spyware and virus related and there is absolutely no way this can be cleaned remotely, even if your Internet is working.  If your system is just bogged down from normal use, be sure you pay no more than you could at a local shop for a service that is hyped late night alongside the vacuum cleaners, kitchen gizmos, and colon cleansers.

What we think about the major brands, why we recommned them, or suggest that you avoid them.

Summary in order of preference:

Notebooks/Laptops: Lenovo, MSI, Toshiba, Dell

Desktops: Panther Computer/local build with MSI, Lenovo, Dell

Hard Drives: Seagate or Hitachi

No.  As a former Acer dealer we have some business complaints about Acer, but they are also the proud owners of the three worst names in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) Gateway, Emachines, and Packard Bell.   In the 80s Acer was the proverbial "Taiwan piece of crap" parts many small guys used to make money quickly, leaving owners with buggy computers and non working parts.

We became a dealer for them after we opened Panther Computers in 2004 because it appeared they had cleaned up their act and were producing good equipment.  In retrospect, the LCD screens were burning out soon after warranty, and most laptops since they bought the other three brands, have become cheap.  Cheap as in mouse buttons breaking, keys comming off, and LCD screens going out.  It seems to meet the box store prices, they had to cut corners on their products.

Maybe.  Dell isn\'t as plagued as some of the other brands with quality and engineering problems.  Theirs is more a matter of overall cost and support.  It can be frustrating to many US based customers to deal withthe Indian support centers that aren\'t always staffed with technically knowledgable employees.

Most call centers use scripting software that they are reading step by step to get to possible answers.  Consider that anyone with sufficiaent knowledge will be working for themsleves, or in an IT center, not answering phones from funny speaking Americans that are easily frustrated when you try to help them.

Dell shares the same problem that all name brand computers have in that your warranty with is with them alone and is usually limited to one year or less (some as litle as 60 days).  Local built computers use components that have individual manufacturer warranties that range between 1, 3, and 5 years.  Go to Seagate with a hard drive that came in your Dell and they will politely point you back to Dell and giggle after you hang up.

Another shared problem is proprietary cases, motherboads, and power suplies.  Once upon a time everyone worked towards interoperability, and common hardware platforms.  These days all brands have at least some computers, usually the cheapest brands at the box stores, that have non standard power supplies, motherboards, and cases.  You need a replacement, it has to be a like model at usually 3 times the price of a standard part.

No.  One of the three worst names in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) I wouldn\'t recomend an Emachines to my worst enemy.
No.  One of the three worst names in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) I wouldnt recomend a Gateway to my worst enemy.

No.  HP Compaq have serious engineering problems IOO. Almost yearly they have a major problems with motherboards.  From laptops to desktops we\'ve seen thousands of computer models that are either forced through litigation or offered through their kindness to repair at no chanrge to their customers.  The problem is that many people find out after the recall has ended, and those that do get in before the deadline report (around the internet) that they have to have motherboards replaced several times.

Models like the DV2000, DV4000, DV6000, DV9000 and their Compaq counterparts were covered in one such recall that it seemed that many of our customers went to get the recall work done only tobe told "you bought that a week too late" which we interpret to mean, we ran out of replacement boards and cant afford to do any more recall work.  Slim line models like the a3100 series had similar problems with the recall recently ending in December of 2009.

Why buy a brand with continual problems that will cost you more in downtime, lost data, and frustation.

Yes!  Lenovo is our recommended brand for all notebook computers.  They are the former IBM Thinkpad computers and still maintain the quality while having become more cost competitve with other brands that don\'t hold up to daily use.

MSI - Microstar Insternational

MSI is panther computers preferred brand motherboard when building a Panther PC.  We have also found that their video cards ae the best price, performance, and reliability so use these for our high end systems and as replacement and upgrades for your PC.  We have only sold less than a dozen of their notebooks in the last few years, but have had zero complaints from the customers who own them.

Motherboards - Yes

Notebooks - Yes

Video Cards - Yes

You\'re joking right? NO!  The absolute worst name in computing history for reliability IOO (in our opinion) I wouldnt recomend a Packard Bell to my worst enemy.  They were cheap pieces of junk dumped into the US market in the 90s and once the warranty repairs became too costly, they bailed on the US market, went back to Europe and you can\'t find any information on their website for any US sold product (drivers etc).
No.  Sony is expensive period.  Even if you get a great "deal" most Sony laptops can be expensive in repairs and upgrades.  I\'ve seen some laptops require special memory at 4 times the price of normal RAM that can only be used in a Sony.  Memory and hard drive replacements and upgrades can be labor intensive requiring the unit to be nearly fully dissasembled instead of through access panels like most brands.  If you\'re going to spend Sony prices either get a better Lenovo with the extra money, or buy a Machintosh if you want to burn money for a brands name and fancy features.
Maybe