Our Technology

Introduction

Thank you for visiting PC Pitstop. In March 2000, we opened this web site to be a technology showcase for the latest in PC auto-diagnostic and auto-detecting technologies. PC Pitstop is primarily in the business of licensing these unique and leading edge technologies to other companies and web sites.

PC Pitstop technology can be used for support chain automation, PC profiling, and targeted eCommerce. This page describes the functionality, power, and design of these technologies.

Contact us to learn how PC Pitstop technology can improve your web site.

Active X Profiler

At the heart of our technology is the Active X Profiler. The Profiler can be best described as a library of about 150 different functions. These functions can be called via a web page through client-side or server-side Javascript. Once the Profiler is installed, virtually any PC parameter can be used to deliver a customized diagnostic or commerce experience for your web site.

We implemented the Profiler in Active X for one basic reason – simplicity. Since Active X takes advantage of the browser’s scripting and display capabilities, our Profiler is significantly smaller than any other competitive product. Our Active X implementation is about 150KB, ten times smaller than other profiler and support solutions.

Additionally, the Active X installation process is quick and simple, which is imperative for novice users. The download and setup process doesn’t make users leave the browser, and there is no need for utilities such as WinZip. The entire installation process takes three clicks and less than a minute, even for users on a 56K modem.

But there is another more important reason for Active X–security. Active X is also an authentication process. Our ActiveX profiler code file is cryptographically signed using our security cerificate. Microsoft’s Authenticode technology ensures that the file has not been modified by unauthorized users. The user must acknowledge the install process by accepting the certificate. This signed-file authentication and user review process is a much higher level of security than the typical downloadable application on the net.

All of this said, the most important test of any technology is user acceptance. Between this public web site and our partners, the PC Pitstop Active X Profiler has been downloaded and tested on more than ten million different PC’s. This a testament to the popularity and functionality of the product.

PC Pitstop has stored the results of many of these PC’s in its databases while still protecting the user’s anonymity. For a computer-related business, this can be a tremendous resource. With many of our customers, our database containing millions of PC’s have helped to analyze the consistency of the data that can be collected, since not all vendors provide accurate configuration data. By providing our customers access to this data, they can determine whether a particular product or service strategy is viable and formulate workarounds to data inconsistencies that might be encountered in the field.

Contact us to learn how PC Pitstop technology can improve your web site.

Technology in Action

But talk is cheap! We have two very different implementations of our technology live and running on the PC Pitstop site. The two implementations achieve remarkably different results and customer experiences. About the only thing that is common is that they are using the same Active X Profiler. This is our design philosophy; we manage and maintain one ActiveX control with all of the functionality that we can offer. In this way, we can manage our revisions better and roll out functionality to all of our clients simultaneously.

Contact us to learn how PC Pitstop technology can improve your web site.

Full Tests

By far, the most popular area of the PC Pitstop site is the full tests section. During the full tests, almost every function in the Profiler is used to gather information about the computer’s configuration and performance. Results are sent back to our web servers using standard HTML forms. The web servers save it to a SQL server so that it can be queried and retrieved for later analysis. The process takes from one to three minutes depending on the speed of the user’s PC and the amount of traffic currently using the PC Pitstop web site.

Once all of the information has been harvested, and sent to the server, server-side Javascript analyzes the data and creates the web pages that give a customized summary for that particular PC. Instead of generic information and advice, these pages show the results and information that is relevant to that PC.

For making changes to a PC configuration, we have created another technology called AutoFix. Once we have identified a problem that should be resolved, we can provide an automated way to fix the problem without leading users through an error-prone set of instructions for manually fixing the problem. As with our Profiler, the AutoFix technology leverages the software components (browsers and scripting) already installed on Windows PCs. This allows AutoFixes to be very small and quick to load, typically 5KB or less. The AutoFix can be run directly from the web site or saved to the local hard drive and used even when the network connection is unavailable.

Contact us to learn how PC Pitstop technology can improve your web site.

XP Readiness Test

We developed the XP Readiness Test in conjunction with our partners at PC World. The same Profiler ActiveX control used in the full tests is used to determine the system configuration, but only a small subset of information is obtained. The functions are called by client-side Javascript, and the analysis of the information is also done client-side using Dynamic HTML. Descriptions for all upgrade situations are present in the file, and the script decides which information to display based on the system configuration data. The entire process takes less than half a minute. Pull up the web page, and “View Source” in order to see how it all works.

Contact us to learn how PC Pitstop technology can improve your web site.

Conclusions

We have designed our technology to be flexible yet powerful. The technology can be used to improve many of today’s common web experiences.

  • Automatically diagnose and repair common PC hardware and software configuration problems such as disabled disk DMA and excessive browser cache sizes.
  • Provide detailed system configuration information for technical support, including used/free disk space, system resources, and installed/disabled devices.
  • Customize web site editorial content based on PC hardware and software configuration; Windows XP users can be automatically directed to Windows XP tips, drivers, or support.
  • Customize shopping with detailed recommendations on just the upgrades and accessories that are compatible with the user’s current system configuration.
  • Store a PC’s initial configuration in a database to ensure the components and system are covered against future warranty claims.
  • Inventory a PC to establish its value for resale, trade-in, or auction sites such as eBay.

There are many other applications. Contact us to learn how PC Pitstop technology can improve your web site.

32 total views, 2 views today

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

About The Pit Crew

PC Pitstop's Pit Crew is committed to providing you with the information you need to keep your PC safe and running like new.