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While “big box” computer stores and their behind-the-scenes repair facilities may be convenient, most of the clients of Joseph Masso’s Liberty Computing Services keep coming back for the trusty, quality work the young technician provides.
“Whether you are buying a computer, or getting one serviced, I think the main thing lacking in the big box computer stores and service centers is accountability,” Mr Masso said during a brief break from work at his cozy 57 Dodgingtown Road retail shop.
The first thing clients will see when they step into Liberty Computer Services, tucked in between Dodgingtown Market and its neighboring garage and gas station, are a wall full of Mr Masso’s credentials. His education includes many certificates benchmarking his ongoing training through A+, Network+, I-Net+, and Security+.
Along with these continuing education certifications, he is also a Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, and performs limited service on Apple computers as well. In addition to his professional livelihood, Mr Masso has been actively involved in Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company since 2000, currently serving as assistant chief.
His next-door neighbor status to the fire headquarters means that besides responding to computer clients calls for help, he is often among the first to respond to many of the 200-plus calls the Dodgingtown company answers every year.
His Own Boss
After graduating college Mr Masso immediately went to work for a couple of small computer companies, before locating his shop and opening his own business a decade ago at age 20, where he continues to repair and refurbish laptops, desktops, tablets, and netbooks in a sparse, clean workshop adjacent to the retail floor.
While the bulk of his day-to-day work involves private residential users, he is either a retained vendor or provider of commercial services to many businesses in the Newtown, Bethel, Redding, and Danbury areas.
“These commercial clients can range from one or two, to as many as 25 or more machines per site,” Mr Masso said. “These clients utilize my services for installations, repairs, diagnostics, upgrades, and sales,” he said. Mr Masso is also trained and experienced in setting up and maintaining IT networks and all peripheral hardware.
As a result of his commercial work, the local computer technician often has access to lightly used equipment that he refurbishes to “new or better than new condition.”
“That’s why I’m able to extend a one-year warranty on all my sales and repairs,” he said. “It provides a nice comfort level, especially among my reseller customers.”
He said each repair challenge involves something of a tightrope walk, determining if the cost to repair particular issues is more economical for clients than replacing their machines. So to make it easier, when they decide to replace versus repair and choose one of Liberty’s in-stock units, Mr Masso will transfer all the data, software, and files to most of his refurbished machines at no extra charge.
He also keeps things simple for himself and for clients, by stocking and steering them toward brands with proven quality and reliability, particularly Dell and HP models.
“I’m a fan of the Dell brand,” Mr Masso said. “The hardware quality is the best, and historically, I’ve seen fewer problems from a reliability standpoint. They just seem to be the best.”
Besides peripherals and accessories, including 32 gigabyte flash drives and other memory devices as low as $15, his in-stock monitors are priced starting at just $45. On the day of his Newtown Bee interview, Mr Masso was stocking a Dell small business machine with a 320 gig hard drive, four gigs of RAM, and an Intel processor for just $175, and a HP laptop with 500 gigs of storage, four gigs of RAM, a 2.1 gig CPU, and the Windows 8 operating system for $275.
“That one goes for about $425 new,” he said.
While hardware and other mechanical issues are not uncommon among his clients, Mr Masso says the most frequent computer breakdowns involve malware and viruses.
“Newer technologies aside, the creators of these viruses still seem to remain one step ahead of protections available to computer owners,” he said. “Although I maintain several constantly updating protections that I offer to every one of my repair clients that do an excellent job, nothing is going to be 100 percent effective once you put that computer on the web.”
The ‘Cloud’ Option
Mr Masso is also not sold on “the cloud” as an all encompassing venue for computer data storage.
“The cloud as a storage solution provides a nice backup for off-site data, but you still need your hardware to be able to access that data when you need it,” he said. “Today, large onsite storage has become really inexpensive, although I’m seeing a lot more failed outboard storage drives. They used to be really expensive, but today you can get into a two terabyte hard drive storage system for around $100.”
Liberty Computer Services provides a one-stop diagnostic service for all walk-in machines for $37.50, which is applied to any further service that may need to be performed. Generally services are rendered at a $75 per hour rate for in-shop repairs, and $100 per hour for any onsite work.
“With ten years of repeat customers and business clients, I keep hearing the same thing,” Mr Masso said. “They like my flexible schedule, the home town location, and honest, competitively priced services.”
Reach Liberty Computer Services at 203-364-9220, or visit the company website at libertycomputerct.com.