Remember floppy disks and CD-ROMs? Or the colorful Apple desktop monitors that looked like space aliens? If you want a trip down computer technology’s memory lane, check out the museum wall at Computer Cellar, owned by Durham local Daryn O’Shea. The display of fantastically outdated computers and computer accessories will remind you how far we’ve come in the world of computing, and also how great it is to have local experts who can help you stay ahead of the technology curve (or at least keep up with it).
In 2010, O’Shea opened the Computer Cellar on Ninth Street in the basement of the Couch Building. Its current location is in the basement of the Regulator Bookshop. Though he started his career in the Navy and then moved to IT management and Mechanical Engineering, O’Shea found his niche in the computer world through Computer Cellar. Personal computer repairs and small business IT support allow him to both problem-solve – satisfying his engineer’s brain – and work closely with clients in the community.
Computer Cellar certainly feels like a community-focused store. The team members are professional and highly competent, but they don’t let that keep them from being friendly and welcoming to first-time walk-ins or long-time clients. They’re also not afraid to have a sense of humor, as evidenced by their infamous “Book of Shame,” a running log of tragic computer accidents. The most extreme entry? A computer that survived a car accident but came out of it wrapped up like a burrito. O’Shea and his team are happy to report that they were able to recover most of the data from that laptop! Most Computer Cellar clients need repairs that are much less dramatic, but still, dealing with software malfunctions or spinning wheels of death can be anxiety producing for anyone who’s not an IT expert. That’s why a big part of O’Shea’s role in computer repair – beyond working through computer and internet-related issues – is helping people stay calm. Good thing his crew is made up of friendly folks who really dig computers and are pretty good at staying calm themselves.
A few more things about Daryn O'Shea:
O’Shea’s advice for laptop owners? Keep your workspace beverage-free! The most common accident he sees is liquid spilled on computers.
If O’Shea is on a computer outside of work, he’s probably watching Netflix (just like the rest of us).
If he’s not on a computer, he’s likely hiking the Eno with his family or singing with Vox Virorum Men’s Choir.
Three things O’Shea can’t work without? Coffee, an internet connection, and his crew.