Mostly Computers LLC has its origins in the late 1970s when as a child I showed an unusual talent for disassembling and (usually) reassembling small electronic items. It turned into a hobby during the early 1980s when some friends and I started working with CB and short-wave radios. There was always a friendly competition between us as to who had the tallest antenna, the most powerful transmitter, etc. Then, around 1983, a friend let me borrow his Intellevision gaming system, which included the much-maligned and criticized keyboard component that turned the gaming system into a functional computer using the family television as a monitor.
I don’t remember if I played any of the games, but I do remember I wrote my first program on that device and saved it to a cassette tape. I was hooked after that, and while my friends continued their radio hobby, I gradually moved into the computer world.
During my first two years of high school, the “computer programming” courses offered consisted of punch cards, in which I had absolutely no interest. During my junior year, they switched to “programmable calculators,” a course that I started but quickly dropped. Finally, during my senior year, the school obtained some Tandy TRS-80 computers, and I was in love. I spent many a lunch hour playing games on those machines and learning how they worked.
I got my first e-mail address and access to the Internet, such as it was back then, as a freshman at Ball State University. Again, I spent most of my free time and far too many late nights in the school’s computer lab, exploring the capabilities of the new digital world. Personal computers were still expensive and rare back then, and only a lucky few had computers in their apartments or dorm rooms. I finally managed to get my hands on a used Tandy T-1000, complete with printer.
I still have that computer – fully functional – boxed up in my basement. That model has crossed the magical line from “obsolete” to “vintage,” and is now sold on E-Bay as a collector’s item. I keep mine for nostalgia reasons and if Mostly Computers ever moves into a traditional store front, I will set it up for display at that time.
In the early 1990s the personal computer market was booming and I opened a small computer store in Carmel, Indiana. At that time it was usually cheaper to build computers from base components than it was to purchase a name-brand system, and I built and repaired hundreds of computers. We were also hooked into the Internet during its early dial-up access days, so I was not only utilizing and learning about computers, but also how they communicated with each other. It was a fascinating time, but when the price of personal computers fell to the point that it was cheaper to buy a name-brand than to have one custom built, we sold the business.
By the late 1990’s I was looking for a “real job,” and it’s at this point in my life that my career path took a strange but wondrous turn. I noticed a small blurb on my Internet Service Provider’s website indicating they were hiring for technical support. So I wrote up a quick resume and applied for the job at IndyNet, the first and largest Internet Service Provider in the state of Indiana at the time. I got an interview which consisted mostly of the interviewer asking me a series of questions about computers and the Internet, which increased in difficulty as we went along. At first I was doing great, but then the subject turned to Linux commands and topics requiring knowledge I did not have. I was sure I had blown the interview. However, I was told that I knew as much or more than most of the current technical support staff and I was offered a job. And here is where the strangeness begins. I was asked how I knew they had been hiring for the position, and I told them that I had seen it advertised on their website. They kind of looked at each other and told me that they hadn’t posted the position on the company website, or anywhere else for that matter. Having seen it for myself only a few days earlier, I pulled up their website to show them the advertisement, but it was no longer there. To this day, no one associated with IndyNet can remember posting anything on the company website regarding hiring for technical support. So the single most influential event on my career in technology remains an unexplained fluke. I can honestly say that Mostly Computers would not exist today if it were not for being hired by IndyNet. The year was 1997. Most dial-up customers were still using Windows 3.1; the 56k modem was the typical residential connection to the Internet; and I was working for one of the best companies on the planet, complete with health benefits, 401k, and all the free Internet I could handle.
It was here that I began repairing modern computers as a sideline, as well as learning other operating systems such as Mac and Linux. As an ISP support agent, I could help customers with anything related to the Internet, but issues outside of that field were supposed to be referred to someone else. With my income from IndyNet, I was able to help out customers with issues outside of the company’s range of technical support for stupidly low rates for many years. Some of my oldest and best clients date back to this time period, and I’m glad they have been able to follow me on this journey.
After many years with IndyNet and its successor, Midwest Internet, I moved on to an IT Administrator role with a different company. But in 2012 I fell victim to the harsh economy of the early 21st century and was let go from that position. After a year of unemployment, I decided it was time to take control and make my sideline hobby an official business. Leo Doyle, the owner of IndyNet/Midwest Internet, and probably one of my best friends, had secured for me the web domain of www.mostlycomputers.com, thinking that it was a perfect description of the work I do. I hadn’t done anything with that domain for years, but when it came time to form my company, the name was perfect and Mostly Computers LLC was born.
My goals essentially remain unchanged from those early days. I want to provide honest, quality technology services to people at fair, reasonable rates. Of course, now that I am relying on these services to provide an actual income as opposed to pocket cash, I’ve had to adjust my rates accordingly. However, I believe I still offer some of the lowest rates in the city, if not the state.
I don’t know where the next thirty years will take me; but I certainly hope it’s as fun and exciting as the last thirty years, and I hope you can be part of it as a client of Mostly Computers LLC.
Owner, Mostly Computers LLC