Custom Built Computers

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Did you know we custom-build computers too?! While we’re very proud to say we’re an official Dell reseller and these are great, high-quality computers, we also recognize that some folks prefer something other than what a “stock” system might have to offer.

We can either build a system to your specifications or we can custom-design one specially for you based on your needs and wants and then build it! Not sure exactly what you’re looking for but you know you want something fast and awesome? Give us a shout!

Have an awesome case in mind along with a great new motherboard and graphics card that’s going to ensure you’re able to play the latest MMO or FPS at top resolutions and screen rates? Check!

Are you a video freelancer and needing to be able to edit efficiently in 4K while still dazzle your clients with an awesome-looking machine when they visit your office? Check!

Have a custom computer already but maybe it’s time to update it to give it a little more “pep”? We’ve got you covered!

Whatever your custom computer needs, contact us today to see how we can get you moving in the fast lane with the cool kids!

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Custom computer build front photo

Some Equipment Is Built To Last 10 Or More Years – Your PC Isn’t is located in West Texas – farm and ranch country. For the most peart are a hearty bunch – spending many hours outdoors in extreme weather working with our hands and with heavy machinery.

When I first started driving in the city – and still to this day – I was complaining about how slowly everyone drove. A friend told me, “Don’t get mad at the guy driving slowly in front of you, he spent all day yesterday on a tractor driving 15 MPH in a circle.” I still get mad, but this perfectly illustrates how the lines between life in the country and life in the city often blur here in West Texas.

What does all of this have to do with computers? Did you just fall for clickbait and this is actually an attempt to sell you farm equipment? No. Here’s my point and my theory.

Farmers and ranchers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment but they expect that type of technology to last for decades. My theory is that they expect this from all of the equipment that they buy, even a new computer.

Unfortunately, PCs just don’t last that long anymore. While there is no definitive answer as to how long they will last or how often you should replace your computer, here is our collective experience that matches many in our industry.

Plan to replace your PC every 3 – 5 years (the life expectancy of a laptop is slightly less). Here are a few reasons why.

Hardware fails.

The hard drive (where the data is stored) fans, power supply and the motherboard all fail eventually. These are man made components that are prone to giving out. We often see lower end computers have hardware failure what we call “a year and a day.” We started using this term to describe failures that happen just outside of the manufacturer’s warranty and it happens quite often.

Software constantly evolves and software companies stop supporting older versions.

Unlike a John Deere tractor (which you can typically find someone who can work on even a very old one), computer software companies eventually stop supporting and updating old versions. The cost is just too great.

Modern PC users run more applications and programs on the same computer than ever before and as each software title updates, it often uses more resources.

I remember my first Windows PC, it had Windows 3.1 installed on it. I ran MS Money and AOL on it. That’s it! Now, a new PC comes with dozens of apps right out of the box. Then the typical user begins to install the different apps that they need. All of these apps take system resources and with each upgrade they use more and more. This often makes it necessary to buy new hardware to upgrade or simply buy a new PC over time.

Proactively replacing a PC before a catastrophic failure typically costs less money and definitely takes less time and causes less stress.

When a PC is completely dead it takes different tools and a different approach to retrieve the data, find software keys (or buy new software) and get the new PC up and running than it does to transfer everything from one operational computer to another.

A thrifty person can sometimes squeeze an extra year out of a computer but sometimes that gamble is a bust and it actually costs them more money than just purchasing a new one when the time comes.

How To Prevent Your Thanksgiving Guests From Infecting Your PC

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and if you are hosting the feast this year, you are probably scrambling around, trying to get ready for the big day and getting your house spick and span so your guests don’t judge you. But there’s one area in our homes that we often overlook when it’s time for relatives to come over. It is an undoubtedly popular place among both young and old. It’s your PC.

Without fail, your 7 year old nephew is going to ask you if he can play computer games and your 70 year old uncle is going to ask you if he can “surf the web.” And everyone who steps in the door with a smartphone is going to ask you for your WiFi password. Because you’re a nice person and a gracious host, you will say yes and your guests will skip down the hall and plop down in front of your computer.

Now, you might think this is no big deal. However, letting others use your PC without implementing some proper security measures could lead to an infected computer or an invasion of your privacy.

What can happen

Imagine Uncle Joe sits down at your computer, logs into your account, and starts searching the web. He will immediately have access to your search history, autofill forms, passwords, YouTube watch history, email, and social media accounts (if you leave those logged in). You might not be searching for and watching anything “bad” but you might still be embarrassed if he sees that you recently searched for “how to cook a turkey.” You also don’t want him looking at your private email or your Facebook messages. And you certainly don’t want him stumbling onto eBay and starting a bidding war on your account accidentally.

The other thing that can happen if you let guests use your computer is an infection. While you, being tech-savvy, might know that you shouldn’t just click anything and everything on the computer, your little nephew probably does not. He will head straight to his favorite game site which is probably riddled with malware that will download straight to your system. It can happen way too easily, especially in the case of drive-by-download attacks.

There are ways to prevent both of these things from happening.

How to prevent an invasion of privacy

The first thing you need to do to prepare for computer visitors is to create a “guest” account. With a guest account, the user won’t have access to your browser history, files, passwords, email, etc. They will also be unable to install software to the computer or apply a password to that guest account. To enable the guest account in Windows 7 or 8:

1. Open the Control Panel.
2. Click on Add or Remove User Accounts. (in Windows 8 click on Change Account Type)
3. Click on the Guest icon to enable it.
4. Then click Turn On.

Microsoft changed a few things with Windows 10 and the guest account enabling gets a bit more complicated. If you’re interested, here are the directions for enabling a guest account in Windows 10.

Voila. Now guests can surf the web and play games without being able to see any of your personal stuff.

How to prevent an infection

First of all, you need to install good antivirus software. You should have this whether or not guests are using your computer because if you don’t, it’s not a matter of if you get a virus, but when. If you are connected to the internet, you are vulnerable to malware. You also need to keep your antivirus updated continually. Then, scan your computer for malware regularly to make sure you are not infected. Be sure to always back up your data before anything bad happens because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Some antivirus software, such as Avast, will indicate whether or not a link is safe to click on. You could teach your relatives this to make sure they don’t click on the bad links.

What to do if you are infected

If it’s already too late and you acquired some nasty viruses (as well as a few extra pounds from all of that pumpkin pie) you should take your computer to a professional. Most antivirus programs have the option to eradicate the virus, but they don’t always work as well as they should. At catmandu, we may not be able to help with the pumpkin pie weight, but we can certainly help with the viruses.

What To Do If Your Laptop Is Stolen (And How To Prepare For & Prevent It)

You’re sitting in your favorite coffee shop, working away on your laptop. You get up to go the restroom and, out of convenience, you decide to leave your laptop sitting at your table. There’s no way someone could steal it in the time you are away, right? Wrong. Laptop thieves are quick, stealthy, and rampant. You don’t want to come back to an empty table, your laptop long gone. The first step in preventing laptop prevention is to never leave your laptop unattended in public. In this blog, we will discuss a) how to prepare for possible laptop loss, b) how to prevent your laptop from being stolen and c) the steps to take if your laptop is stolen.

How to prepare for the day your laptop gets stolen

You never know when it might happen but it certainly won’t hurt if you are already prepared. First of all, password protect your laptop. Though some skilled hackers could bypass your password, many people won’t be able to. It’s your first line of defense in protecting your information. Also, don’t store a list of passwords in a word document on your website. It is best to keep them handwritten in a place no where near your laptop.

But a great password won’t stop a thief from removing your hard drive and putting it in another laptop. If they do this, they will be able to see everything. That is why you should encrypt your hard drive data. You can use a program like TrueCrypt to easily encrypt sensitive data.

Store the least amount possible on your laptop. Instead, save less-used documents and files to an external hard drive that is kept separate from your laptop, like at home. This way, if your laptop is stolen, loss will be greatly minimized.

Install a tracking application to your laptop. Here are few different tracking apps to choose from.

We can’t say it enough: backup your files regularly (daily is best) to an external drive or to a cloud backup service like Carbonite. Preparation for the day your laptop is stolen is all about minimizing loss and preventing thieves from accessing things they shouldn’t.

How to prevent your laptop from being stolen

It mainly takes common sense to prevent laptop theft. Use a cable lock when using your laptop in public. Most laptops come equipped with a small slot for one of these locks. All you have to do is loop the cable around an immovable object and you’re good to go. If you must store your laptop in your car, keep it out of plain sight. Always keep your laptop bag on your person or touching you when in public. There are plenty of cases of thieves stealing laptops that are sitting a couple of feet away from the owner. Most of all, be vigilant and don’t let it out of your site.

What to do when your laptop gets stolen

So it finally happened – your laptop was stolen. The first thing to do is to notify authorities (whether that’s the police or your employer). However, don’t expect them to pursue the case. Laptop theft is so common that police rarely locate a stolen device. Having a police report may help you if you want to claim the stolen laptop on your insurance.

Next, remotely log out of any account you can think of or change the passwords to sensitive accounts like PayPal, e-mail, and bank accounts. Call the companies of your sensitive accounts and see if they can monitor your account for suspicious activity. If you have completed the preparation steps above, you will be at less of a risk for identity theft.

Finally, you can try to get your laptop back. If you have installed a tracking program, you should be good to go. If not, you have other options. Your main goal is to obtain the IP address of the laptop. According to Trend Blog, you can do this using Facebook or Gmail.

In Facebook, go to settings, then security, then “where you’re logged in.” You will be able to a list of devices that are logged in to your account and when the session was last active. You can even see the city of the session. If you hover over the city name with your cursor, you will be given the IP address.

In Gmail, go to your inbox and click “details” under “last account activity” in the bottom right corner. You will be able to see the last ten sessions along with IP addresses.

Now that you have an IP address, what in the world do you do with it? Contact the police! With an IP address in hand, you’re much more likely to get a search warrant. The police will be able to find the exact physical location to the IP address and will able to handle it from there. Whatever you do, don’t go searching for the laptop yourself.

Banish The Bloat: Getting Rid Of The Junk That Your Computer Came With

Bloatware: the unnecessary, storage-consuming software that comes preloaded on your computer. Bloatware is unwanted and takes up valuable space on your hard drive while making your computer run slower than it needs to. Some pre-installed software, like Lenovo’s Superfish, even had the potential to compromise the security of the device. Fortunately, Lenovo will no longer be installing Superfish or any other bloatware on their computers, according to Bit-Tech.

However, not all PC makers will follow in Lenovo’s footsteps because there’s big money in bloatware. According to PC World, the ever-lowering prices of computers causes PC vendors to make very little money on each computer they sell. To compensate for the loss of profits on hardware, bloatware developers (such as anti-virus services, browser extensions, and ad-filled games) pay computer manufacturers for a spot on their devices. This actually lowers the overall cost of the computer for the consumer. While some of these programs are useful, most contribute to making your computer start up slower and run sluggishly.

So how does one banish the bloat? If you know for sure that a program is not necessary you can go to your Control Panel in Windows and click “uninstall a program.” From there, you can locate the programs you want to remove and simply uninstall them. Sometimes you will have to restart your computer after uninstallation. It’s best to do this immediately after purchasing your PC and before installing any of your own software.

You can also use a tool such as PC Decrapifier, which walks you through locating and uninstalling bloatware so your computer can run faster.

A last resort for removing bloatware is to reinstall Windows completely. If you are a computer novice, this is best left to the professionals, but if you know your way around a PC you can reinstall Windows using a new Windows disc or a version of Windows loaded on a USB. PC World has a great article that explains this process in detail.  

If you are still unsure, give cat-man-du a call and we will get rid of the bloat, whether you bought your computer from us or not.

cat-man-du Now Selling The Recompute PC – The Only Sustainable Cardboard Computer Case

Photo via – cat-man-du

After taking the Greener Gadget Design Competition by storm, The Recompute PC grabbed our attention. The sustainable design means less garbage goes into a landfill when the computer has reached the end of its lifecyle (which is just as long as other computers or longer). This computer is the only line that is assembled from off the shelf components, but all housed in a very sturdy cardboard housing.

With some concerns about the heat capacity issue that come with computers, designer Brenden Macaluso assured users with fact. Cardboard has a much higher heat resistance than many plastics including a higher ignition point as well. 258C – 427C to where as plastics begin to melt at only 120C, so rest assured that this computer is ready to roll, right out of the box. Worried about sturdiness? Don’t be. The guys at Recompute have actually stacked up to 800lbs on one of these cases with no problem. While it’s not completely waterproof (no computer really is), it has been assembled with a waterproof adhesive, so there is a certain degree of protection.

You can customize the Recompute PC in much of the same ways that you can any other computer. It comes standard with the following specs:

CPU 3.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor USB 2 & 3 Support for both USB devices
Hard Drive 500 GB SATA2 Ports PS2, VGA, DVI, HDMI
Video ATI 8570D w/Radeon GPU Power Supply 400W Dual Fan, 115/230 Volt compatible, hard off switch w/ U.S. power cable
RAM 4GB DDR3 1066 Operating System Ubuntu 10.04 OS
Warranty 2 Year Standard Software Ubuntu Software Center

Recompute PC: Sustainable Cardboard Computer (cat-man-du Special Edition) – $899

Feel free to contact us using our contact form or at 806-350-8324 with any questions.

Watch the video review below.