Archive for August 2014

Need Me Quick? Please Don’t Text

I know a lot of you live and die texting from your phone, but if you need me to help you with your technology, texting is NOT the best way to get my attention.  PLEASE call and leave a voice mail at 512-981-7835 or send an email to [email protected] to get help. Texts go by so fast and get lost, emails and voice-mails are easy to retrieve, so if you need me quick, feel free to text me, but email and call me too.  I want to help everyone as fast as I can, for me – texts tend to get lost.  If you’re under 20, you probably don’t know how to make a phone call, you’ll just have to figure it out. 

Speed is Getting Cheaper!

SpeedNo, I’m not taking about the drugs (so what were YOU thinking?)

I’m talking about the speed of your computer, and in particular, the computer you are NOW using – even the one you’re using to read this post.

If your computer only has 2GB (2 Gigabytes) of memory, then you would probably benefit from upgrading to at least 4GB.  When your computer is using all it’s memory, it tries to “extend” its memory by swapping information in and out of the hard drive, but that is an EXTREMELY slow process and you’ll really notice it.

Memory chips are VERY easy to replace on most computers, BUT you must know what TYPE of memory your computer uses.  Memory is constantly getting faster as technology improves, but you must use the right type and speed that your computer can handle.  There are tools for figuring that out – I go to crucial.com to get the information for most computers.

If you have enough memory, then get ready for solid-state drives (SSD’s).  Hard drives have always been spinning platters inside a sealed case.  They have HUGE capacity – today you can buy a traditional 2 TERABYTE (that 2,000 Gigabytes) laptop hard drive for as little at $118.  For desktop computers, you can get an amazing 6 Terabytes in a single drive for under $300.

But hold on!  If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a lot of data on your hard drive, and a SSD might just be the thing to add a ton of zip into your computer.  SSD’s have no moving parts – think of them as crazy fast USB flash drives.  They replace your current spinning hard drive with their ultra-fast everything at once storage capability.  In my primary desktop system, I have a SSD, and once it get’s past the boot screen (you know, the one that says Dell or HP or whatever) I’m at my login screen in 8 seconds – that’s just nuts!  Your computer will boot faster, your apps will open faster AND you don’t have to buy a new computer, but it sure will feel like one.

SSD’s are still more expensive per gigabyte that spinning drives, but they ARE affordable.  You can get a 256GB SSD for under $100 and a 512GB drive for under $200.  They are the same 2 1/2” size as a laptop drive, but will fit into both laptops and into desktops (with a $10 adapter.)

Right now, I’d rather have a 2 year old computer with a SSD drive than a new computer with a spinning drive, they are just that fast.

So there you go, food for thought – don’t give away that old computer yet.

The Cell Phones are Coming, The Cell Phones are Coming!

imageIf you’re ready for a new smartphone, you might want to hold off for a few more weeks, for there are some new phones a comin’.

On September 4th, Motorola is expected to announce both their new Moto 360 watch, and a new version of its Moto-X phone.  If I’ve been to your home the last few months, that’s my phone that I just talk to without having to even touch it.  The Moto-X wasn’t even a top of the line phone when it came out, but the features were amazing.  Now, with the expected announcement of what has been called in the press the Moto-X +1, most are expecting to be even bigger with a 5.2” screen, more memory and a faster processor to put it up with the best performing phones currently available.

Next is September 9th, when Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone 6.  It’s expected to have a larger 4.7” screen, with a larger 5.5” version perhaps coming a little later.  Like the Moto-X +1, little else is known, both companies have done a pretty good job at keeping their secret a secret.

On September 3rd at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany, many other cell phone makers are expected to announce their latest models, though none of them will probably come out as soon as the Motorola and Apple phones.

So if you’re Apple all the way, wait until September 9th.  If you’re an Android or Windows Phone user, then at least wait until September 4th.  There’s lots of cell phone goodness in our future.

Here’s a Really Cute Reminder to BACKUP!

Just don’t let this little girl be you….

 

Make Sure You’re Up-to-Date

imageIt’s the 2nd Tuesday of the month.  Time to follow up and make sure your programs are all updated with the latest security patches.

If you subscribe to my Preventive Maintenance Service, I’ll be double-checking your systems at the end of the week (I’ll be notifying you.)

If you haven’t yet subscribed to have your computer maintained (and get discounts on home visits), you can read all the details here.  Give me a call or drop me a note.

The Hackers are at it Again. Are You Prepared?

russian cybercriminalsApparently, Russian hackers have somehow gotten access to over a BILLION usernames and passwords according to the New York Times.  I’ll just try to keep it short, but many of you have already heard me preach….  CHANGE your financial passwords if they are the same as any other site you access. 

Your financial sites should all have unique passwords, so that if a low-priority site gets hacked, your financial sites aren’t in danger.

Again, I recommend you use LastPass as your password manager so if someone gets a password to one site, they can’t get to another.  Contact me if you need help setting up LastPass, it’s relatively easy, free, and in the long run well worth the effort to keep your data safe on the Internet.

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