My advice to someone starting his or her coop would be to start as soon as possible. 150 or 250 hours is a long time, especially if you already have another job. This coop led to two and a half months of a very busy and hectic schedule. It is a very important part of the learning process and I don’t recommend rushing it. In my case I found it a difficult task remembering where I was supposed to be on a certain day, so I bought myself a day planner. I also advise future students starting their coops from trying to do things that you may not feel comfortable with. With me, I was not very comfortable with some of the DOS commands needed to build a new computer. All you have to do is ask someone, no matter how dumb you think the question is because this is supposed to be a learning experience and it will also help you learn to communicate. You will get more out of the coop by asking questions, which why we do the coop.
BBS Computing is located in Greece New York It is a Computer Sales, Service center that also does some Networking systems. Paul Saussa, Ron Bess and John Bonacci are both owners and employees of the business. It is a relatively small business that mainly does computer sales and repair with some occasional networking jobs. The actual business consists of a show room and a workshop. The showroom has different models of computers that customers can have built to buy. There are 4 different types depending on a customer’s budget for a computer. The low-end models consisting of a Pentium III processor and 256 Mb of RAM and the basic keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, and speakers, and the high-end models consisting of a Pentium 4 processor or equivalent with 256 or more Mb of DDR RAM and premium speakers, keyboard, mouse, printer and monitor. Thus, meaning you get what you pay for. The display models allow you to show a customer some of the features of the different types of computer systems that are offered. Such things as operating systems such as Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, and Windows XP, and also programs like Nero for CD burners, All-in-Wonder TV tuner cards and applications such as Microsoft Office. This was my first opportunity to work with Windows XP. AS far as appearance and ease of use it is a good operating system, but as I found out by working with it and from what Ron says there still are a lot of compatibility issues involved. There were a few cases where customers would bring in hardware or peripherals such as a printer, modem and could not use them with XP because there was not a driver available for it. Like there was one time back in March where a customer brought in a Canon All in 1 printer but the driver for XP did not come out until May so he could not use it until then. It is that kind of stuff that makes things difficult.
BBS Computing has a small TCP/IP based network with a Windows 2000 sever running in a mixed mode environment. There are about 5 computers on the network. They use a tape drive to run their network backups. The work lab had monitors, keyboards and mice already there to plug any system into and multiple ways for
Internet connectivity (DSL, Dial-Up, And Road Runner) so any problems could be addressed. If a customer had a problem with their dial up service we could replicate it in the lab.
Two programs I used that I never used before are Partition Magic and Advanced Efdisk. Efdisk is command line utility that allows for users a more advanced way of using Fdisk by more available options. I mainly used it to delete NTFS partitions in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. NTFS is a file allocation system that treats the entire hard drive as one physical drive, as opposed to separate sectors as in FAT. Efdisk is a very powerful tool. Partition Magic is also a very powerful tool that also gives flexibility to Allocation tables and partitions. However, I