Computer wiz returns to FC
By John Estridge, Editor
Brookville resident Brandon Banks was in his sophomore year of high school at Franklin County High in 1993 and had to write a paper for his AP biology class.
He had a Brother word processor, and it died.
“It shut off and never came back on,” Banks said.
But his father, Henry Banks, came through in the clutch. He went to Comp USA in Cincinnati where he purchased an Intel DXL 400 personal computer. He brought it home, and father and son set it up.
“I got my paper done and printed out,” Banks said.
However, six months later the personal computer had a number of maladies, the mouse didn’t work and many of the applications refused to function. Brandon and his dad set about to fix it.
“I pulled out the Window book and sat down with dad,” Brandon said. “He had his whiskey and Coke and I had my Doritos and Mt. Dew. We sat down at 11 one night. I figured out how to format the hard drive and how to reinstall Windows. It took seven hours to get it done. The installing had to be done using three-and-a-half-inch floppies.
“We went to have breakfast at Hertel’s and went to bed around 8 as mom was coming down the stairs to start the day,” he continued. “That was my first computer software fix.”
From that small beginning, eventually B Computers was formed.
B Computers is a company currently in a room within Whitewater Publications located at 531 Main Street.
Owned by Banks, the business is about fixing computers, cell phones and almost anything electronic. He also does IT work for Oldenburg Academy and businesses like George’s Family Pharmacy, Cook Funeral Home, MBC Group and Whitewater Publications.
According to Banks, the business is the first layer of computer support. Many times a person will call, and they are having problems with viruses, spyware and/or malware.
“Some sort of thing is driving them crazy,” Banks said. “I clean the computer and update their antivirus so they will not be as easily attacked in the future.”
Another problem he can correct is with the hardware, especially with laptops.
“Most users get laptops anymore,” Banks said. “They’re smaller. There’s more heat in an enclosed area. That makes it harder on hard drives. So I do a lot of hard drive replacement, getting them back up and running again after their hard drive has bitten the dust.”
With catastrophic failures, Banks attempts to do data recovery. That is not always successful.
“I try to get their documents back, their photos, their music,” Banks said. “You’re going to have to reinstall your applications no matter what if your drive goes out. Sometimes they’re so damaged they won’t spin anymore.”
He does work with tablets and phones also.
“I do application updates for phones,” Banks said. “I run application updates and set up email (on tablets).”
Before he went to college, Banks continued dabbling into computers. There was a place with BMS Printing where there was a BBS bulletin board system using old dial-up internet connections. It was before email. People would leave messages on a bulletin board system. Another person would log in and retrieve their messages.
“I volunteered to work there, and I learned a lot about hardware,” he said. “I started to do my own networking.”
Banks went to college to go into a biology field. However, he continued to get pulled back to the computer side of things. The first time it was work in the IUEast computer lab.
“Since I had my software and hardware background, I started doing work for the IUEast staff,” Banks said. “I worked for them for four years.”
He also assisted Kathy O’Bryan when she was in charge of the IT system for Franklin County Community School Corporation.
Jobs in the biology field did not materialize, and he had used up his six-month grace period after graduation when he started to have to pay on his student loans. He needed a job so he looked to computers again, going back to Ivy Tech to get a two-year degree in computer technology.
He moved to Indianapolis but still had a problem getting an entry level job into computers or biology related fields.
“I had plenty of interviews, but I was up against people who had 10 to 15 years in the field,” Banks said.
He went through a WorkOne-type agency. There were 30 people in the room the first day. Most were high school dropouts and on work release. They had to introduce themselves and tell their educational background. When Banks finished with his intro, everyone turned around and stared at him. He was put to work fixing the organization’s computers.
He eventually found employment for an environmental company called Cornerstone. He did IT work for them. After a few years there, the recession kicked in, and the company was downsized.
Then, he went to work for JD Byrider. For that company, he traveled around to different showrooms in the area and set up their hardware systems and their networks. However, that private company was purchased by an investment group, which, in turn, led to downsizing.
His last job before heading back to the Whitewater Valley was with Orchard Software. This is a medical-field company. Banks was customer support for people in doctor’s offices and hospitals using the company’s software program.
He was expected to stay on the phone until the situation was under control. That could be five minutes or could be in excess of 12 hours. The burnout rate was quite high. That was when he received the opportunity to bring his expertise home to the Whitewater Valley.
“The thing I like best is when somebody comes in with their laptop acting up and are afraid they’re going to lose everything,” Banks said. “And I am able to recover their information for them, and they can get back to what they were doing.”
Looking into his tablet crystal ball, Banks said in the short run, he sees the industry moving back toward laptops and away from tablets because it is much easier to do typing-related functions on the laptops.
Another innovation will be Google glasses. This is where a person wears glasses and is able to see things like emails and other networking functions. Also, the glasses will be able to pick out businesses such as restaurants by looking down a block.
With the cloud interface, computers are going to be less and less tethered to an electrical outlet. A person will see a screen in front of them where there is no physical screen and will be able to manipulate the elements across the screen.
“You won’t need a mouse or a keyboard,” Banks said. “You will be able to go anywhere.”
B Computers is located at 531 Main Street in Brookville. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Banks will vary his hours to suit his customers.
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