SSD’s (Solid State Hard Drives) are Magic!

imageIf you have a computer that began as a Windows 7 machine (or worse, Windows Vista) or an older Mac and it’s slow and you’re thinking about buying a new computer – before you do consider upgrading to a SSD.  It has NO moving parts, replaces the hard drive inside your computer and is about 10 times faster. It makes a HUGE difference!  Did I say it makes a HUGE difference?  It’s like supercharging your computer!  The price is now reasonable for them and it’s a LOT cheaper than buying a whole new computer.  I’m upgrading systems every week these days.  I upgraded one client’s laptop a month ago and now she wants her other three computers upgraded as well.  So if your one of those people, give me a call and let’s see what would work for you.

Run This App to Stop Automatic Windows 10 Install

And you better do it fast!  Microsoft has gotten VERY aggressive this week and I’m receiveing calls from people who are getting Windows 10 without asking for it.  Microsoft “promoted” the Windows 10 upgrade to a “Recommended” update in Windows Updates, so now it’s almost automatic.  Follow the instructions I posted previously to delay the Windows 10 upgrade until you’re ready for my help.  We have until July 28th, plenty of time for an orderly, safe and complete upgrade.  Follow what I said here (WAY back in February)….

Airfare Sites to Check Out for Your Summer Plans

6 Airfare Deals Websites Every Traveler Needs to BookmarkJohnny Jet (yep – that’s his name) is a professional traveller, and if anyone knows the ins and outs of travelling, it’s him.  He has his own site and I recommend you bookmark it if you travel much.  He has posted links to his favorite site for finding deals on airfare.  Here’s the link to his page, have fun travelling this summer!

Don’t be Surprised by a Windows 10 Upgrade

(This is for those of you still running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1)

The word is out that in this month’s updates, Microsoft is moving the Windows 10 upgrade from being an “optional” update to a “recommended” update.  What this means is that if you’re having your Windows updates automatically installed (as you should) then you’re going to get the upgrade automatically, which you may not be ready to do – you still have until late July to upgrade for free, so no rush.

Fortunately there is a tool you can use to stop it.  It’s called the GWX control panel.  CLICK HERE to download it.

Install the GWX Control Panel and click on the items circled below.  When you ARE ready to upgrade your computer to Windows 10, give me a call and we’ll get you done.


What IS a Browser?

Simply put, a BROWSER is a program on your computer, like Microsoft Word or iTunes, but in this case, it lets you go to web sites on the Internet.  Right now, you have at least ONE browser on your computer.  If you have a Windows computer, you definitely have Internet Explorer (if you have Windows 10 you also have Microsoft Edge), on a Mac you already have Safari.  You may also have installed Mozilla Firefox and/or Google Chrome as well.

All of these programs (Internet Explorer, Edge, Safari, Firefox and Chrome) are just browsers to let you do what?   BROWSE the Internet.

When you go to a web page, ANY web page, all it is is a bunch of text that has to be INTERPRETED by the browser.  The TEXT will tell the browser to put this photo here, put this text there, make it look like this here.

Well, sometimes a web page developer’s code get’s interpreted better by one browser than another.  Personally I blame the web developer for that.  It’s the job of the developer to make sure the page works for as many people as possible.

So, what do you do if a web site doesn’t work right when you go to it, and you’ve been there many times before with no problem?  Simple, USE A DIFFERENT BROWSER. 

What has happened is that either the web site has changed something (which is out of your control) or the browser was updated (also out of your control) and for some reason the browser isn’t understanding what the web site is saying. 

OK, for you techies there may be issues like add-ins or extensions that MIGHT be interfering, but for the AVERAGE user (my clients) it’s nothing you’ve done.

So, what do you do NOW???  Download Firefox and Google Chrome and install them onto your computer now, when you can.  You don’t have to make them your DEFAULT browser if it asks, but think of it as having a FREE rental car in your garage in case your primary car breaks down.

I get calls all the time that a simple browser change fixes, hopefully it will help you out too.

You DON’T Have to Upgrade to Win 10 Right Now! is getting more aggressive about urging Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10.  Now you’re seeing a big white box pop up.  The screen says the upgrade is free for a “limited time”, which is true but that limited time doesn’t end until late next July.  Unless you’re prepared to upgrade your operating system on your own, then DON’T click on “Upgrade Now”.  I’ve had three clients in the last few days click on it not really knowing what was going to happen, then when it’s all over, they were calling me trying to find things and navigate around.  Just close the box and ignore it.

Like I’ve said before, I do like Windows 10 and think it’s a worthwhile upgrade, but I DO recommend you hold off, give me a call first and let’s PLAN your upgrade.  I only charge $50 to perform the upgrade, and that includes showing you how to get around in Windows 10, which isn’t hard.

The upgrade is easy to do, but unless you are prepared to learn the new parts on your own, call me first.  Calling me AFTER will just probably end up costing you more, and we don’t want that to happen if we can help it.

Medicare Scams are Coming

If you qualify for Medicare, be aware that there are phone and email scams coming out since the 15th was the start of open enrollment.  People will claim that Medicare is issuing new cards and needs your Social Security Number in order for you to continue to receive benefits.  NEVER, EVER give out this information to someone who contacts you.  Tell them you’ll contact Medicare directly.  The 24-hour number for Medicare is 1-800-MEDICARE.

Also be careful if you’re contacted by people claiming to be with insurance companies.  If you can’t confirm that they and their company are legitimate, then do tell them anything.

Remember what I say…. “Bad guys lie!”

Don’t CLING to Old Technology–I Can Help the Pain

I had a client today that is running Windows XP on her old Dell Laptop.  It’s been working for her fine until recently but rather than upgrade, she want’s to keep using XP. 

Are you STILL running Windows XP?  Really?  Hello?  It’s time to move up.  I don’t care if you’re “comfortable” with XP and don’t want to change, it’s time….  You need to.

Look, I get it.  You LOVE your 1927 Ford Model A and want to drive it forever.  That’s fine.  But if you want just drive it down to your local auto repair shop you might find they really don’t know how to repair it in a cost efficient way.  We in the tech world can keep your really old computer alive for years, buy WHY when upgrading is so cheap?

Let a professional walk you through the changes.  You may not like changes – but someone who is good at what they do should be able to shepherd you through the changes with no dramatic changes to your life.

You can do it.  I promise.  It’s time to move on – you’ve been doing it all your life – you can do it again!

Are You Benefitting From PMS?, I’m not talking about THAT!  I’m talking about Preventive Maintenance Service.  I have many clients that are now taking advantage of my monthly service where I completely go through your computer, get rids of any viruses or malware, check your hard drive, make sure your operating system is up-to-date, check for unwanted programs running in the background all the time that you don’t actually need, make sure your Adobe Flash, Reader as well as Java are current and make sure your backup routine is running properly.


For one computer I charge $25 of month.  If you have two computer you’d like me to check it’s only $40 for both.

Here’s the link to my web page with all the details.  You also get discounts for referring me to others and also discounts for any in-home visits you may need if you’re a subscriber.

I started this service over a year ago, and NO ONE has ever cancelled, thinking it isn’t worth it.  Most of them I actually haven’t seen in that year because their computer is running so well.

The Retention Specialist is Your Friend

imageI’ve had clients over the years ask me about how to lower their entertainment bills (TV, Internet and phone) and I always have advised them to call the competition, get their best deal and then call back their current provider and talk to a “retention specialist.”  Now, most of you reading my blog are pretty smart people, so giving a few seconds to think about it – what do you think the job description of a “retention specialist” is?  That right – to RETAIN you as a customer.  They have the POWER to make you a deal the first level flunkies who answer the phone can’t offer.

Finally, I decided it was time for me to save some money.  My Internet is with the cable company – and it’s awesome.  My television is satellite, and it’s awesome.  The problem is that between the two it was around $180 a month, and I wanted to cut expenses.  So I called the cable company and asked them to make me a deal I couldn’t refuse to add TV to my service that was equal to the service I was getting from my satellite provider.  After an hour of joking and having fun, they were prepared to save me $70 a month.

Now, I knew I wasn’t going to get as good a picture and I would probably have more service interruptions with cable, but to save $840 a year, I was willing to do it and scheduled an installation date.

BUT…. when I called my satellite provided to cancel, being SURE that there was no way they could match the deal, basically giving me my present level of satellite service for $20 a month (that’s what was needed to match the savings,) not only did they match the price, they added HBO for a year.  Now, HBO is usually $15 a monthly anyway, so I’m getting my HD television WITH my DVR for $5.

I was SO sure that not even a retention specialist has the juice to save me this much money, that I barely even gave them the chance to make me the offer – I’m glad I shut up long enough to let them do it.

What I had forgotten is that both the cable and satellite (and uVerse, FIOS and any other TV provider) care mostly about the NUMBER OF ACCOUNTS.  That’s because that is in part what drives the value of their company as well as what they can charge advertisers.  My satellite company won’t make any money directly from me as a customer, but I add value to them because I’m one more out of millions that they need to keep their head above water.

The bottom line, it cost me a couple of hours total on the phone over a few days, I have the exact SAME level of service with the same provider that I’ve been very happy with, and now I’m going to save $70 a month or $840 for the next 12 months.  When that time is up, I’ll spend a few more hours on the phone.  Competition is a wonderful thing if you actually put it to work.

Ever Wonder “Why is This News”? look online to read the news? Do you see a “headline” and think to yourself “why is this stupid thing so important to be big news?”

The answer is painfully simple, it’s because you CLICK on it.

I went to Google news today and 3 of the top 4 articles were “Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School”, “Jill, Jessa say the release of Josh Duggar’s police report is a ‘re-victimization’” and “Woman struck by piece of bat at Fenway has ‘life-threatening injuries’

REALLY? Is this NEWS that you really have to know?

ISIS is killing people on a daily basis. Hundreds of people died when a boat capsized in China. And the number of people killed in our major city’s inner city is so huge that it doesn’t even make the news anymore.

So why does soccer become a headline (pay attention this weekend and you’ll see what I mean) and horrible things happening both in our own country and around the world get ignored?

It’s because you tell these sites “THIS IS WHAT I LIKE TO READ.”

I know the sensational and lurid world of a long-retired house speaker and TV family with internal issues may be alluring – but really, it’s nothing more than an accident alongside the road that you slow down for so you can take a look. It’s something that happened between a couple or perhaps a FEW people here on earth and I don’t know them and there’s nothing I can do about it anyway.  Personally, I make it a point to NOT look and honk at the person ahead of me because all that looky-loo crap just slows everything down – nothing you can do but pray for the people involved but you don’t have to slow don’t to do that.

All these web sites have ads if you haven’t noticed. And they can charge more for their ads if they can show how many people come to their site. So…. the more sensational, the more sexy, the more questionable they can make their headlines, the more they hope you’ll click on it out of a primal curiosity.

We now live in a world that you don’t have to be where the train-wreck occurs, the Internet brings the train-wreck to you.

What can you do? RESIST THE IMPULSE TO CLICK! Any site you go to is an endorsement to the advertisers that this is worth spending money on. So if gossip and sexy gets you to visit, that’s what they are going to post.

REAL news won’t show up until you click on genuinely real news articles. It’s one thing to read those magazine headlines in the supermarket checkout line, it’s another thing to BUY the magazine.

When you click, you “BUY” as far as the advertisers are concerned.

So part of this is just my own personal rant, but you also need to know that when you click a link ESPECAILLY on a news site, you’re telling them “give me more of this.”

Just FYI, there is NO advertising on my site, so I make nothing on my web site if 1 or if 1 million people visit. My web site is there for you, my clients and any interested folks who wish to visit.

This is YOUR opportunity to turn the Internet into an Internet YOU want. Just remember, you’re voting with your clicks!

A Hint For All You Mac Users

imageI have lots of clients who own either MacBook Pros or iMacs from Apple.  And I get the call saying how SLOW they are running.  Now, this hint will cost me money because so many of you don’t do this…..


I’m amazed by how many Mac users just go about their day using their computer, and when their done, just walk away and hours or days later come back to the computer, wake it up and pick up where they left off.

I’ve seen this go on for weeks and even months! 

HELLO!  Every now and then you need to reboot your computer.  Not wanting to get to technical but there are things like memory leaks and more likely, programs still running you forgot about.

As your computer starts to run out of memory, it slows downs, just like a Windows computer – they both use the hard drive to “fake” extra memory, but it’s REALLY slow.

If your Mac is running slow, reboot it, and UNCHECK that box that says to “reopen windows when logging back in”.

It’s AMAZING what a simple reboot will cure.

Yahoo News Used to be NEWS news was among the sites that I would go to among others each day to check up on the daily news, but lately it has become virtually a cheap tabloid with a smattering of real news.  Never mind the “sponsored ads” every 3 or 4 articles.
Just today – May 14, 2015 here are some of the headlines (and believe it or not – I had to correct some spelling errors) …..
Wait, what?! Gynecologist accidentally leaves mobile phone in patient following a C-section
Gold-Filled Tomb of Chinese ‘Survivor’ Mom Discovered
Man says he didn’t mean to kill stepdad with underwear
Philippines threatens to suspend Japanese tycoon’s casino license
Deal to restock Texas ice cream may melt $10,000/tub black market
Chinese Intelligence Exposes "Assassin’s Mace"
Russia races to replace British singer as space tourist
Police investigating after four found dead in Alaska home (Really – they didn’t just walk away? Laurie)
30 minutes of exercise is key to health in old age (Wow – exercise is good for you even when you’re old, who knew?  Laurie)
Oklahoma school concerned over dancing dead cats video
Drone Flying Near Capitol and White House Causes Chaos (DUH!  Laurie)

Look, I know some of these are legitimate stories, but they’re packaged in a way to exaggerate the importance of the actual story.  Most of them aren’t really stories.  Really? An Oklahoma school is concerned over cat videos?  Really?

All this is called “link bait”.  Sensational headlines hoping to get you to click on the link so you’ll go to the page so that THEY will make money because you will see whatever ads they are showing on the same page.  They get paid when you go to their page.

Personally, I think we need less tabloid and more REAL information in our lives.  So feel free to resist the urge to click that link.  Just remember, they make money on your curiosity – and that just encourages them to keep doing it.  Stop clicking on the 3-headed baby stories.

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.)

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