Matthew McDaniel and Ian McDanielTechnology is moving at a faster pace than most of us can conceive. In a recent conversation with Ian McDaniel of Gravity’s Edge, a local business specializing in computer repair, networking and data recovery, the question came up of what to do with our old computers, laptops and desktops and whether they can be upgraded with new versions of software, such as Windows 8 and 10. As most of us now know, Windows XP and Vista are no longer supported, and that leaves some of us wondering if our old computers are worth saving or can even be upgraded.

McDaniel thinks it is wiser to simply buy a new computer, since the cost of upgrading an older computer would not be worth it. For those who have McDaniel’s know-how and skill, the process could be as simple as hunting for all the necessary hardware, including four gigabytes (GB) of random-access memory (RAM) and installing it for $100 to $200.

Then there is the added cost of software. McDaniel said there are no downloadable freebies; you have to purchase the pricey software. And if you are not skilled and knowledgeable about computers and installation then someone like McDaniel would also have to be called in to complete the job at an added cost. He pointed out that for the cost of improving an old computer, you can purchase a new one with Windows 8 or 10 for anywhere from $150 and up depending upon your needs. Computer geeks and experts agree that technology has moved us so far forward that going backward seems futile. The cost is not worth it when considering the price of the hardware for touch screens, voice activation and wireless options.

“The future in computers is the cloud,” McDaniel said. Many agree the cloud is becoming the norm. Some experts go so far as to believe smart phones will become our computers and we will use docking stations to plug in our phones if we need to use personal computers (PCs) and monitors.

McDaniel agrees with many in his field that the cloud has us thinking about the delivery of services and data via the internet in a different way. Our old PCs depended on their hardware, constant improvements and reliance on their processor chips. They have become more sophisticated in their current structure than their predecessor, which only gathered and disseminated data. As today’s computers become more powerful – almost resembling human neural circuitry – progression will be less mechanical.

Many of the computers as we knew them are streamlined, faster, and smaller. The idea of using a smart phone is already here as we watch people around us constantly on their phones doing far more than just talking. Some cell phone plans tout four GB to eight GB of data depending on the level of use, and can be equal to any laptop computer.

The key to all this transference of information and communication is of course fast and reliable internet through improvements to broadband infrastructure. This is becoming a concern in rural areas. Fluvanna is joining many of its nearby county neighbors in studying the problem. The Broadband Access Task Force is currently researching this issue. The fear is that without these improvements, rural users will not benefit from the cloud providers’ data centers.

There has already been a transformation of the tools we currently use, including monitors which are no longer separate from the computer or keyboard, as in the “all in one.” Future keyboards will most likely look like a keyboard but act on touch. Tablets and phones already use this system but some critics think diehards who like traditional keyboards will like it less than the current users who are used to it.
A stylus could replace the mouse. Some traditionalists are still using a mouse, but often they are wireless, as are many printers. Wireless, satellites and motion sensors have changed the way we use our computers and have moved us beyond what we have always been used to – even if it makes our heads spin.

McDaniel added that he will be leaving his current location Aug. 1, but that he and his partner Matthew McDaniel will be available to visit clients in their homes to do repairs, training, networking and data recovery. They are joining the growing number of specialists who are doing repairs and technical support onsite.

“People do not want to bring in their desktop computers; they’re heavy and cumbersome,” McDaniel said. He also added that he doesn’t need a retail location to do repairs and sells very few retail items. For repairs or support, call Ian McDaniel at 434-589-6600 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.