Know Your Nerd

All computer consultants are not created equal

Herby Beam isn't having a very good year. Unlike his colleagues at EverGreene Painting Studios Inc., a 70-person New York company that restores historic theaters and churches, Beam isn't an artist. Still, he is doing some restoration work of his own--on the company's aging, crash-prone computer network. In March, the company spent $9,000 to have its eight-year-old network updated by a small New York company that specializes in putting together computer systems. Today, just six months later, employees dare run only six of the company's 11 personal computers at one time. Otherwise the network crashes, knocking out all the computers. What's more, says Beam, the computer company responds slowly to his calls for help: It recently took a month to replace a broken cable.

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