Customer happiness

I finally got around to completing and delivering a computer I built for a customer and friend Sunday night. Here are my thoughts on it.


This father records games (football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and softball) so the coaches and players can review themselves (and archive games). The system would have a AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (2.0GHz), 1 GB of Corsair DDR PC-3200 (512MBx2), two DVD burners, the awesome Asus K8N-E Deluxe, and ample hard drive space. Initally, the system I quoted him for had one large hard drive. Then, I figured that things might be slow if the program is running and writing to the same disk. So, I split it up. One 40GB hard drive and one 160GB hard drive.

The little things

When he plugged everything in and powered it up, he was amazed at the boot speed. As he messed with it, he grew more and more in love with the new beast (which I fittingly named “Strongbad“).

“I know just enough about computers to be dangerous.” It was true! He looked around in the programs menu, to see a barren list of programs not straying far from what Microsoft includes. Freeware apps, including AVG Free Edition, 7-Zip, Acrobat Reader, Ad-Aware Personal, and Spybot S&D. Then, he asked me, “Is it msconfig for Windows XP?” Wow, what was he going to do? I nodded, and he proceeded to run the configuration utility. He went straight to the startup tab and found only a handful of entries. He was laughing happily to himself for about a minute! He explains that on his previous machine, to do video editing and encoding, he disables a bunch of programs that run on startup that his kids installed. All I could is laugh with him – he just has this vibrant and addicting personality, you can’t help but like him.

Then, he accidentally shut down the computer. I explained earlier that the system could be powered on my simply pressing any key. He pressed the spacebar, and laughed again: “It doesn’t matter that I turned it off, it’ll be back on in 15 seconds anyway!”

More Tinkering

I sat and watched him as he played his favorite DVD. He then installed Pinnacle Studio 8 to test out some video stuff. He got a few minutes from his video camera, and explained afterwards that the real-time video wasn’t choppy during the process while the older computers would struggle. 1GB of memory might’ve been the factor in that, though. He was grinning from ear to ear, it was great.

He did quite a bit of video stuff within the next hour, and we tried to figure out how to save as much as possible into the other hard drive (specifically for video).

Wrapping Up

He asked me if he owed anything, because the initial quote was only for one hard drive. I declined, but he insisted giving me a $20 (because I was going to get some dinner with some friends afterwards). I apologized for taking so long (I think 3 weeks), but he was very understanding, knowing I was as busy as he was. He was extremely happy with the system.

I assured him that I would be there for him if something went wrong, as long as he owned the computer.

Looking back on that evening, I think he was into the honest. I’m sure some people can be super professional, but at the same time, you need to have a balance of being personable. Most everyone wants long-time customers. Just give the best experience you can by genuinely caring for your customer.

Sorry for the delay in writing this, I wanted to word it as best I could. And Mr. Bray, if you’re reading this, thank you for putting your trust in me.

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. He's also a cat whisperer. Sometimes…a photographer, and card magician.

6 thoughts on “Customer happiness”

  1. Thanks for the kind words. I picked up a 21″ monitor today to top off the system. Now the editing viewer is 4″w x 3″h on 800×600.
    Sunday night I processed and burned two copies of the last varsity boys game and it was great. The video is 23 minutes. On my other computer I would have been happy to be done in 3 hours, my new computer was finished in 63 minutes! I’m doing the Sonrise service now and then I will do today’s varsity girls game. Two projects done while watching the Angels on tv!
    Thanks again. I’ll keep you updated as continue to explore this machine.


  2. Man, that’s amazing! I’m excited that you got that much done in a short amount of time. I hope you figure out how to write the same DVD to both DVD burners at the same time. Definitely let me know how things are with it. Thanks for the update, Mr. Bray!


  3. I’ve just completed a big video job. I used the Roxio Easy Media Creator and was abled to burn two dvds at time. In the drop down for the destination recorder, there is an “Add Simultaneous Destinations” option. When you select that option, a window pops up with all of your burners listed and you check the ones you want to use. I suppose you could burn as many as you have space for burners. It worked great. A 51 minute video captured, edited, converted to mpeg 2 and 21 dvd copies in about 5 hours. Excellent! I think we can officially call the machine a success!


  4. Thanks for the update, Mr. Bray! I was nervous that something wouldn’t work out. But just when I thought my night couldn’t get better, you totally made my evening. 🙂


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