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[ HAWAII AT WORK ]
Tech takes bugs
Who: Robert Ruggles
Title: MacIntosh technology specialist
Job: Repair customer software and hardware, and manage the company's computer network and Web site
Question: Are you the only computer tech at Mac Mouse Club?
Answer: Rolf and Mike know a lot, but when you start getting into the guts of the machines, it's a different story, especially on this newer stuff. In fact, I'm one of the few people on this island that will attempt a repair the power connector on a PowerBook G3. Most people would just replace the board. I actually resolder it. It's because of my electronics background that I can do that.
Q: How did you get into computers?
A: I started with computers in 1975, on IBM mainframes. I had gone to a vocational school in Michigan for it, but then when I went into the military, I went in for electronics. Then, just before I came out here, while I was in college, I was working on their computers -- PCs and Macs.
Q: The college's computers?
A: Yeah, at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Q: Who was your first employer in Hawaii?
A: Mac Made Easy. I was with them for almost four years.
Q: How long have you been working at MacMouse Club?
A: Just over two years.
Q: Where did you work before that?
A: A little place called Active Computers in Hawaii Kai. They're out of business now.
A: One I've been getting a lot of lately are the analog boards from the old iMacs. The analog board is what supplies the power and the video to the iMac. I've seen a lot of those go out lately.
Q: Do you fix or replace them?
A: They get replaced.
Q: What's one of the hardest repair jobs to do?
A: Probably one of the most time-intensive is recovering somebody's data on a drive that is really flaky.
Q: Have you ever accidentally wiped out a customer's hard drive?
A: No. I treat data like gold -- literally.
Q: Do you have a favorite computer?
A: A favorite platform or a favorite computer? There's a difference.
Q: Well, both.
A: My favorite platform is Mac, no doubt about it. I've done both (Macs and PCs) for too many years. And the biggest reason for anybody these days for switching over to a Mac is no viruses.
My favorite computer would have to be -- and I don't own it right now -- the 2.5GHZ G5.
Q: The new iMac?
A: No, the new Power Mac. It's actually it's a dual 2.5GHZ G5. It comes in a large tower, it's about three grand, though the new G5 iMacs are absolutely awesome. I'm just a power freak. More power the better.
Q: Have you been to the new Apple Store at Ala Moana Center?
A: Of course. I was 20th in line when they opened.
Q: What did you think of it?
A: It's absolutely awesome. It kind of slowed our business down in the very beginning, but we figured it would, but we actually have a symbiosis going, because we send them business and they send us business.
Q: Was working on computers for you a hobby that became a job?
A: Heck, it's my life. I've got two towers at home, a PowerBook G4 that I carry around, so everything that has to do with Macs and the Web, I pretty much do. I'm Web master for a few sites, I play online video games like you wouldn't believe. I'm into "Halo" and "Medal of Honor" these days.
Q: I was going to ask if you were a gamer.
A: Oh yeah, big time. Most techs I know are.
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