By Alex Vonhof
“I took it apart and I ended up breaking a little tiny piece inside of it that made the fan work,” said freshman Jason Howard, talking about struggling with a computer. “After that I tried fixing it, but I ended up breaking it more so I basically just smashed it into pieces and threw it away.”
Howard likes to take apart computers in his house. He’s always been very interested in technology. His parents gave him a computer when he was really young and he used to use it all the time. He thought the computer was interesting because he could play games on it. After a few years of just playing games on his computer, he began taking computers apart around age 12.
One would think that taking apart computers is a very complicated and long process, but Howard does it with ease. It takes him approximately 10 minutes to disassemble a desktop computer and approximately 1-2 hours for a laptop. This is the case because the layout of a laptop’s interior is much different and more complicated than the layout of a desktop.
In order to take apart a desktop computer, one must remove the outer cover. Removing the cover opens up the inside of the computer. As long as a person knows where everything is, the rest of it is fairly simple, just a lot of unscrewing screws and unplugging things.
The overall process is similar for laptops. Everything is more compact and therefore harder to see and to find, which means that the process takes longer.
What started out as an amateur interest became more of an obsession. Initially Howard worked on only a few computers, but eventually expanded his collection so he could gain more experience. He purchased all of his computers from garage sales, which means that for the most part they are very inexpensive.
From the time he started to now, Howard estimates that he has taken apart 18 computers. This has made him somewhat of an expert and can explain his ability to take apart desktop computers in only 10 minutes.
Howard’s parents have been very supportive of his interest because it means that they don’t have to call a professional in order to get their computers fixed, they can just ask him for help.
Even Howard’s school administrators and teachers knew of his skills with a computer.
“In middle school I used to get called out of class to go fix computers instead of the IT department,” said Howard.
Currently Howard is interested in the hardware component of computers. Being a freshman, he is too young to participate in any EFEs or dual enroll at KVCC to take classes in computer science. Classes such as these are available starting sophomore year.
“I would really like to take a class about coding next year, but I can’t right now because I’m too young to dual enroll,” said Howard.
He hasn’t had much past experience with coding, but has made a web browser as well as a calculator through coding. His hopes for the future are to pursue this more.
Howard definitely plans on continuing working with computers no matter what, whether it is the hardware aspect of it or working on codes and software for the computers.
“In the future, I want to help people fix their computers and help them figure out how to use them,” said Howard.