USC's chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) will be hosting its first Fix-IT day at the Swearingen Engineering Center on Saturday. From noon to 6 p.m., students of the College of Engineering will be offering free diagnostic and repair services for laptops and desktops using Mac OS, Windows and Linux.
This repair event is open to students and faculty of USC and the general public. While ACM participates in community service and free tutoring for students in introductory computing classes throughout the year, this is the student group's first large-scale community outreach event.
According to third-year computer science student Mark Williams, president of the ACM at USC, volunteers at Fix-IT day will be offering quicker repairs and a wider range of services than University Technology Services, including installing new operating systems, updating software, replacing LCD panels and removing viruses, malware and spyware. While ACM cannot cover the cost of hardware, they can help install it if the proper devices are brought with the computer.
Williams states that some of the most common computer problems for students are spyware and other viruses, incompatibility between programs and having a cluttered hard drive. ACM's vice-president, third-year computer science student Chase Daigle, says that students also need to be careful with the way they handle their computers. Hardware problems occur when laptops are jostled around in students' book bags, Daigle said.
With at least a dozen volunteers available throughout the day, ACM anticipates that students won't have to wait long for assistance. In the meantime, Daigle offers some suggestions for minimizing computer troubles.
"It is important to keep your system up-to-date," Daigle said. "When the developers hear about security holes, they develop patches for the software, and these patches are distributed in software updates. Regardless of the operating system you run, be it Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or something else, keeping your system current will help to protect you from software vulnerabilities."
Williams said he is looking forward to a good student turnout on Saturday. He knows very well the importance of maintaining a healthy operating system.
"Taking care of your computer will keep it from breaking down on you at 3 a.m. when you have a paper due at 8 a.m."