Clearly, I spend way too much time on the computer every day, but it is a very useful tool. Let me tell you some of the ways I use this tool.
My computer is a communication device. When I encounter problems at the bench, I use my computer to learn from other watchmakers. I belong to AWCI’s on-line chapter, The Chronometer Club and the Yahoo group Holorlogy Matters. I also use my computer for e-mail.
My computer is a reference tool – and the Internet is an open book. I use the Internet to find contact information for many brands, and to keep up on industry news by following the blogs listed in the sidebar and with forums like Timezone. AWCI has lots of reference information available to members on their web page. Some brands also provide invaluable information via the Internet, like Omega for example which has an Extranet available to watchmakers which provides technical and parts information for most of their calibers. Other brands will send out a CD with information on it. You can’t have a modern shop without a computer these days.
My computer is also my office assistant. I place most of my parts orders using a custom database and faxing straight from my computer. I keep track of all my repairs in two separate databases, one with all the customer information in it and another with all the finances. The battery count in the sidebar pulls directly from one of these databases – providing realtime information as to my interruptions.
Of course, I also use my computer to maintain this blog, but I do this at home because it would be too much of a distraction at work. Computers can be a big distraction. I recommend checking your e-mail only 2 or 3 times a day while at the bench or you can get sucked in and become less productive. I check my e-mail first thing in the morning, at lunch, and towards the end of the day. This past week we were experiencing all kinds of computer problems at work; and my degree in Computer Science makes me the go-to guy for all things computer related. Needless to say I didn’t fix very many watches and for that reason today will be a computer-free day!