Archive for April 2015

Watch Your Speed (and I don’t mean in your car)

About seven months ago I wrote about how speed isn’t everything, and when it comes to the Internet, that’s very true.

But even as ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) are ratcheting up their speeds to compete with services like Google Fiber, the speed that pages DOWNLOAD to your computer have not greatly increased. 

So just be an informed consumer when it comes to Internet speed.  I currently get over 100 Mb/s and am about to drop down to 50 to save money, because it won’t make a noticeable difference in the time it takes to load web sites, and I’ll save money at the same time.

In MY opinion, if you’re getting 15-20+ Mb/s in download speed, you’re probably not going to get much by paying more for faster speed.  There are exceptions of course, but for most of my clients – save your money (or give it to me.)

I’m Going to Stop Feeling Sorry For You

hard drive crash recoveryTo this day, I STILL have clients that don’t have current backups of the data on their computers.  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?  I encourage, I even beg and STILL there are those of you out there with NO backup whatsoever.

Let me tell you a little story, a client of mine had his hard drive fail.  His most recent backup was over 4 months old, and he had critical business information on it.  This was a mechanical (internal) failure, there is not software in the world that can fix this just as no software in the world can fix your car’s engine if it blows up.  My client had to have it, so it was necessary to send the hard drive to recovery specialists who literally BUILD a new hard drive, putting the platters from the failed drive into the newly constructed (though temporary) one.  The data is then copied to a NEW hard drive and returned to the client.  A happy ending, right?  Well, this happy ending cost my client a little over $2,000!

This kind of data recovery requires a clean room a 1,000 times cleaner than an operating room with staff dressed in bunny suits.  A single speck of dust can destroy megabytes of data or even make the drive unreadable at all.

PLEASE don’t let this happen to you.  If nothing else, go to Best Buy and get an external hard drive for $60 and use their lousy software to back up your computer – it’s MUCH better than nothing.  Carbonite is even better because it keeps your backup away from your computer in case of fire or theft.  But don’t put it off, I’m running out of empathy (well, maybe a little.)

You Know It, You Love It… it’s UPDATE TUESDAY!!!

imageMy how time flies.  Here we are and Microsoft will be pushing out its updates for Windows and other Microsoft products today.

“But Laurie” (you may ask), “I know the blue icon is for Windows, but why do you also include the orange and red icons?”

I’m glad you asked.  That orange icon is for Java.  Now if you’re not sure you need Java (I’m not talking about JavaScript – that’s something else) then I would recommend to go to your Control Panel and remove Java from your system.  Most of the clients I see don’t need it and all it does it introduce a new potential avenue of attack by the bad guys.  Keeping Java up to date is VERY important.  If you remove it and it turns out you DO need it, then just go to and install it – easy!

The red icon is for Acrobat Reader.  It’s possible for a bad guy to send you a pdf file that can infect your computer.  The best way to prevent that (other than not opening it in the first place) is to be sure your copy of Reader is up to date.

These are SECURITY updates, so don’t put them off.

Hot Deal on Hot Performance Upgrade

imageNewegg has the Crucial 256GB SSD (Solid State Drive) for $119 with currently a $10 discount that makes it only $109.

This is probably the FASTEST of the SSD’s out there and will make a HUGE difference in the performance of your computer.  It comes with software so you can copy your existing hard drive to the new one (you might need some additional hardware, or just give me a call.)

I wrote about SSD’s back in August here, so if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can read up there.  I have SSD’s in ALL my computers and have updated many clients with them with amazing results.  It’s like a turbo-charger for your car.

So before you go out and spend a bunch of money on a new computer, consider upgrading the hard drive.  Here’s the link to the drive on Newegg:

Tax Time, Computers and Kids Don’t Mix!

imageAll of a sudden here in early April I’m getting calls from folks with computer problems and they’re worried about their tax information that’s on the computer.

People, people, people.  I beg you – DON’T keep your business or even family business information on the same computer that your kids use.  Computers for going online are as cheap as $200, buy one for them.  Letting your kids use YOUR computer for fun (and that’s what get’s you into trouble) is a huge mistake.  They don’t know how easy it is to get a virus or otherwise compromise the information in your computer.

Put a password on your Windows login and keep them out.

Get a Chromebook.  You can pick one up at Best Buy for $200.  It runs an operating system by Google called “Chrome OS”, and basically is nothing more than a web browser.  So when it starts up, they’re on the web.  They can’t do anything to hurt the computer.  Now, they can’t run programs locally on the machine like Word, Excel, Outlook or other programs, and memory and storage is limited, but if they can survive on the web, they’re good to go and will stay off your computer with your important information.

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