The Making of a Computer Wizard

Warren Paul Harris, founder of DFW Computer Integration and The Computer Wizard

Get comfortable. This will take awhile...

Warren Harris started studying electronics at the age of 10, when a neighbor who was a Ham Radio operator introduced him to short wave radio. He started studying electronics on his own with the help of his neighbor and Allied Radio kits.

He continued his studies in high school and apprenticed at a sheet metal shop after high school, which proved useful when he was an assistant instructor in a college electronics fabrication class.

Living just outside San Francisco in 1965 through 1967, he considers himself fortunate to have been involved in the psychedelic music scene, making friends within the Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Sopwith Camel and Grateful Dead camps. He was a roadie for the Grateful Dead in 1968, before attending college in Eureka, California.

His first job out of college was with Electronic City in Burbank, California. While there he supervised and implemented the construction of a listening room and moved on to a startup company building other listening rooms and audio demo systems throughout the Los Angeles area. Because Electronic City was founded by Donald O'Connor the business was frequented by many celebrities. Warren's initial foray into the custom sound system installation world was for Lorne Greene in his Mandeville Canyon home.

From there he went on to work at JBL as leadman of their electronics production line. He continued to refine his electronics fabrication skills while there.

His next stop was Motown Records as a studio engineer, where he honed his soldering and audio wiring skills with some valuable mentoring from NASA-trained wiring wizards. This proved to be a good place to study the effects of architecture on acoustic environments, which he would put to good use in the coming years. He started learning the skills he would later utilize as a Recording Engineer by remixing master tapes at Motown.

Hired away from Motown by Sly Stone in 1975. Mr. Harris moved north and began a career in Pro Audio service, forming his first company, Precision Technical Services in 1975. He was approached by Bananas At Large in San Rafael, California to start an in-house service department. Partnering with Stan Axelrod from the Berkeley Rad Lab, they put their heads together and built a thriving business repairing musical instruments and studio equipment until they felt hindered by their space limitations. AudioCraft Engineering was formed in Ignacio, CA in a 1200 square foot leased space which allowed for expansion of the business. He ran this business until 1992, when he finished working on MC Hammer's house and studio and completed the Riverrox studio in Ukiah, California. During this span of time he wired, rebuilt and redesigned numerous Northern California studios, recorded many local artists including Taj Mahal, and engineered live sound at almost every Bay Area venue including New Years Eve at the Cow Palace in 1981.

After completing the design and construction of Atmosphere Studio in 1981, he served a one year stint with Viacom as a lineman and thoroughly enjoyed climbing poles, but hated crawling through attics.

In 1982, Harris was approached by the team building the first computer-controlled house in Tiburon, California. Over the next two years he worked long hours designing and implementing the custom circuitry necessary to create a human-to-computer interface necessary for this project. He created hand-crafted light detectors to implement automation of the powered shades, voice to DTMF circuits and a complete wiring cabinet interface plus documentation of the finished system.

Precision Technical Services designed and installed large scale sound systems for churches and restaurants in addition to multimedia systems for upscale homes throughout the Bay Area for several years.

During his audio engineering career, he provided service and consulting for the likes of Rick James, Jesse Colin Young, MC Hammer, members of Huey Lewis and the News, Journey, Boz Skaggs, Randy and numerous others throughout the west coast.

Warren designed and built several recording studios, rebuilt many more and was on the design team for MC Hammer's 11 million dollar home in Fremont. Mr. Harris designed the THX theater, recording studio, rehearsal studio and custom electronics / security for Hammer's home. He also upgraded and augmented Hammer's studio in Fremont during this time.

In 1992 he decided it was time to get out of the music business and went to work for Symantec Corp first in tech support of their TimeLine project management suite, then in marketing to support this product via their field sales force. He filled a crucial role as liaison between engineering and the Fortune 100 companies and Government installations throughout the Midwest. E-Systems, Harris Methodist, City of Chicago, Principal Financial, Chrysler Corp and others were his clients. He would visit Dallas many times during this period.

After 3 years with Symantec he became acutely aware of why he had been independent for the prior 15 years and founded Harris Computer Solutions which was advertised with the Computer Wizard moniker.

During this time he studied for his Novel Netware and Microsoft certifications and administered numerous networks in the Bay Area, including one with branches in Albuquerque, Dallas and Houston, which brought him to the Dallas area again. The business was quite successful, but it became apparent that California was not the place they needed to be. In 1999 he sold the client list of this business and relocated his family to Plano, Texas, founding The Computer Wizard. The business grew rapidly and expanded continuously, leading to its last location at Custer and Parker, where they crafted a large shop that would accommodate 20 computers on the bench at once.

During this time it came to his attention that a good many people were wanting to find a good place to dispose of old computers, but that there was no good option for repurposing them at this time. After trying to get other charitable organizations involved, he decided to establish his own 501(c)3 foundation to facilitate donations. Over the next 5 years, while running The Computer Wizard and futr.org simultaneously, they refurbished and gave away over 300 computers to lower-income families. LULAC and Mendenhall Elementary school in Plano both presented him with awards in 2005 for his charitable work in the community.

In 2004, a local Private Investigator approached him regarding performing computer forensics services. He had been growing his data recovery business since 2003, but did not have the credentials for investigative work, so he studied for his Private Investigator's license and began working on his forensics skills. For the next several years he worked on numerous legal cases and investigative projects, testifying in court on some of them. DFW Computer Investigations was founded in 2006 and operated as a sister company to The Computer Wizard.

In 2010, needing a change, he sold The Computer Wizard to another computer service provider and relocated his photo studio and DFW Computer Investigations to Frisco to keep them closer to home. He shuttered the physical business in 2012 in preparation for major surgery and some critical down-time to heal.

In 2014, he moved his family south to Dallas and rebranded the company DFW Computer Integration, reflecting the fact that he no longer holds an Investigator's license and therefore does not offer forensics service. The new business provides computer consulting service and repair throughout the area on PC, Mac and Linux platforms.