It’s been a long time coming, but we have finally released a blog. In addition to developing our software products, we’ve been working to create the RT:BLOG. We’re very excited because we are now able to further connect with our customers as well as the IT and repair communities out there on the web. This is the spot where we’ll discuss computer repair, feature guest posts from industry professionals, and share our newest developments and product updates.

In our first installment, we have invited our CEO Ian Alexander to shed some light on how we got started and our vision for the future of RepairTech:

Ian Alexander – CEO and Co-Founder, RepairTech

Ian Alexander – CEO and Co-Founder, RepairTech

Hi, my name is Ian Alexander, I’m CEO and Co-Founder of RepairTech, and today I’m going to give you a little insight as to who we are, where we come from, and where we’re going. At RepairTech our goal is making your life easier. We think automation can change the way people do (or don’t do) things, and we founded RepairTech with this concept in mind in order to make your life less stressful and more efficient.

Four years ago on a sunny summer day in Berkeley, California, I had about 12 computers that needed to be repaired. The shop where I was working was such a cluttered mess that I had to stand on a Mac Mini because I was completely surrounded by desktops and laptops. I had to get these machines back to their owners, but I was completely overwhelmed by my extensive list of needed repairs. At the time, I was working as a bench technician at Computer Courage using an ordered checklist on every computer repair. A year later I opened my own shop in San Luis Obispo, California, employing the same checklist for those repairs.

This checklist became the target of all of my frustrations, the bane of my existence. The fact that I had to sit there and click the mouse hundreds of times for each repair drove me crazy. I constantly asked myself why I needed to cycle through clicking “Next”, “Remove”, and “Finish” over and over again. The computer repair process seemed broken and inefficient. If only I could just select what I wanted to run, and click Start.

RepairTech decided to solve this problem. First, we made a utility to handle the hardware diagnostic and malware removal process to speed up what can be the most time-consuming part of a repair. We wanted our software to operate independently of the host OS, so making our utility in a bootable environment was the logical choice. We based it on Debian Stable because Debian wasn’t going anywhere and had guaranteed support, and then proceeded to develop a framework using Qt, C++, Webkit, Javascript, and Ruby that would enable us to automate computer repair “stages.”

Each of these stages was composed of a combination of open-source technologies, our own applications, and logic in order to replicate the decision making process a technician would use while running these tests. After two years of development, the result was TechUSB – a bootable utility that diagnoses and repairs hardware and malware issues with one click. You just select what you want to run, click start, and come back later to a full report.

But that wasn’t enough. Many repair operations require technicians to be inside the client’s Operating System, so we knew we had to develop a complementary Windows Application that would take care of the rest of the checklist. We released TechWARU last September to meet this need. The Windows Automated Repair Utility is an amazing application that automates over 300 commonly used processes like cleanup, malware removal, tuneups, data migrations, and system updates. Originally, we saw this as a utility that would be used on the bench, but later realized there was also an opportunity to use it remotely. By making the entire application portable and contained within one executable file, we enabled it to be deployable over a network or remote desktop application. With the addition of TechWARU, we’d covered everything on my original checklist, along with a vast array of other applications, like Data Migrations, OS Customizations, and Networking Tools.

The last piece of the puzzle was TechPortal, an online dashboard we built with Ruby on Rails, that interfaces with TechUSB and TechWARU. TechPortal stores HTML reports from both applications so that techs can print them as well as view live status updates remotely.

Additionally, we realized TechPortal could provide more than just tracking, and the fact that we were using Rails allowed us to prototype our ideas very quickly. We noticed that many of our customers sought information and news about the industry in a variety of different places, so we added TechNews, which pulls IT related information from all over the web into one centralized news source on TechPortal. We additionally implemented TechDB, a custom-built search engine specifically designed for the computer repair industry that allows you to search for everything from drivers to vendors, and can dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend looking for solutions.

TechSuite is the result of over two years of development, partnerships, and customer feedback. We like to think of it as a powerful swiss army knife for repair technicians, and we’re very proud of what we’ve been able to build. That said, we’re not slowing down anytime soon. We’re continuing to improve our products and constantly seeking your ideas and feedback.

Our mission has been and continues to be to empower IT Professionals in their interactions with technology, and to prevent you from having to stand on a Mac Mini to get your job done. While we’ve spent the last year squashing bugs, adding features, talking to techs, partnering with other companies and automating everything within our reach, we’ve also been thinking about the future. We’re working some really exciting new ideas (which will remain secret…for now), so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for more blog posts and future announcements.

Have a good one,

Ian Alexander
CEO & Co-Founder