Cell Phone Spots Along the Peak to Peak Highway

We frequently drive along the Peak to Peak Highway. Usually I know I should just keep my phone tucked away because it’s not going to work. But sometimes, you really need to make a phone call or send a text. Here are some of the more reliable places to get AT&T cell service in the mountains from Estes Park to Black Hawk:

  • Estes Park has pretty good service throughout the city.
    Lily Lake, just south of Estes Park. Photo courtesy of http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/lily-lake-loop.htm
    Lily Lake, just south of Estes Park. Photo courtesy of http://www.rockymountainhikingtrails.com/lily-lake-loop.htm
  • The highway near Lily Lake has surprisingly good service.
  • Service is sparse or non-existent until Gordon’s Gulch, near mile marker 37.5.
  • The next spot is just north of Sugarloaf Road, for about a half mile.

In Nederland, service is pretty good from Magnolia road on the south to the Community Center on the North. Service is very good from the Black Forest restaurant to the Fire Station.

Heading south out of Nederland, you can get a cell signal for much of the highway all the way to the Gilpin High School. There are small sections where there’s no service at all, and other sections where the service is marginal. So, if you need to place a phone call or send a text, here are some places to try:

  • You can get a reasonably good signal for about a 1/2 mile both north and south of Rollinsville, around mile marker 21.
  • Service is pretty good near the Lump Gulch Creek, from about mile marker 17.5 to mile marker 19.  You can get a signal near the Last Shot restaurant, but it’s not a strong signal!
  • Service near the Gilpin County Library isn’t great, but it’s usable.
  • Just south of the intersection of Highway 46 and 119, south to mile marker 12, service is good.
  • From mile marker 12 to the Gilpin County School, cell service is usable.
  • The City of Black Hawk has very strong service.

I hope this helps you as you explore the mountains west of the Front Range.  Let us know if you know of any additional spots!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

How Often Should You Get Your Mac or PC Tuned Up?

I recently brought my sewing machine in to get fixed.  It’s been sewing unevenly for the past several years, but I’ve just been living with it.  I’ve been living with it partly because it “wasn’t that bad” and partly because I really didn’t know where to take it.  Well, I finally realized how bad it was and asked around for a recommendation of where to take it.  I made an appointment and brought it in.  The nice woman behind the counter asked me how long it had been since my sewing machine had had a tune-up.  I told her it had been at least ten years.  She laughed (in a nice way) and told me they recommend a tune-up at least once a year.

I can understand that.  In fact, I can solidly get behind that!

How many times do you wait and wait?  How often have you thought “It’s not so bad.  I can wait two minutes for my internet page to load.” or “It’s normal for my machine to shut down on its own, isn’t it?”

We recommend that our customers get an annual tuneup on their machines – for both PCs and Mac’s.  Why?  When I asked my friend Karen why she did, she answered: “In one word?  Stress reduction.”

A few years ago, Karen got a nasty virus.  Chris came out and cleaned it all up and she was pretty impressed.  When it was time for her to get  a new machine, she asked Chris for help in the selection process.  I see her frequently and at least once a month she tells me how thrilled she is with her new machine.  When she got a postcard from us reminding her that a year had already gone by, she called right away for her appointment.  Chris checked it all out, deleted some unnecessary files that were gunking up the works, scanned for any viruses, and updated her new anti-virus, and she was good to go!

So, here is some of what happens during a tuneup:

  1. Chris does a scan to make sure there aren’t any viruses.
  2. He’ll do a general clean up to make the whole machine snappier.
  3. If you don’t have an anti-virus, he’ll add one.  If you do, he’ll make sure it’s up to date and accepting automatic updates.
  4. Chris will make sure your operating system is updated with all the necessary file uploads.
  5. He’ll answer any of your questions and provide training if you need that.

So now I know.  My car needs a tune-up every 3-5000 miles.  My sewing machine needs a tune-up every year.  And now you know that your computer needs a tune-up every year too!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

Staying Safe on Social Media

Social Media, whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any of the other sites, allows you to easily connect with friends and keep up-to-date on what is going on in your life. It sometimes seems very intimate and you feel safe sharing the details of your life with all 473 of your closest friends. DON’T! Social Media is a very public way of communicating. There’s nothing intimate about it!

  • Remember to set your privacy settings to an appropriate level for each post. If there’s no personal information, set it to “Public”. Otherwise, set it to “Friends Only”, or “Family only”. Remember to use the “Acquaintance” setting for people that are not close friends. Spend some time to set up groups of people so that you can target your posts to specific people only.
  • If you’re leaving home on vacation or only for a weekend, make sure you have someone checking on your home. If you don’t have someone monitoring your home, then don’t post anything on social media which could indicate that you are away from home for an extended period of time. (You can post all of your photos when you get back!)
  • Never respond to anonymous requests via social media. I have a friend who asked me how to respond to a private message she received on Facebook. The message was from a young man who thought her profile picture was beautiful and he wanted to get to know her better. I get messages like that on Twitter and Pinterest too. Here are examples of some messages I’ve received – If you ever get messages like this, click the spam button or report the sender:
    • “Hello,I am Abyan,I like you to contact me in my Email”
    • “Hi pretty, it’s good to come across a beautiful woman like you here, you are beautiful and elegant , I like you and I would like to get acquainted with you .Get in touch so that we can commence communication”
    • “OMG your in this http://facebook.com/2742803?EpicFailVideox … LMFAO”

Have you encountered any scams with Social Media?  Please share them in the comments below and let others know what to watch out for!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

Getting the Most From Customer Service

We’ve been hearing a lot lately from friends and customers about their customer service experiences, and they haven’t all been good!  As you can imagine, Chris had had more than his fair share of dealing with various customer service departments and has a few tips.

  1. Remember that the person on the other end of the phone is human.  They are probably not being paid very much, and they don’t get a lot of breaks.  Be kind to them.
  2. Also, the Reps do have scripts that they must follow.  Although it may seem like a waste of time, be polite and let them get through it.
  3. If you are having a hard time understanding the Rep, ask them to speak more slowly and to enunciate their words more clearly.  (I especially have problems with Indian accents and have found that a slower cadence helps me.)  If you’re still having a hard time, ask to speak to someone else.  If they refuse, hang up and call back again.
  4. If you don’t feel like you’re making progress after two to three minutes, hang up and call back again.  It’s possible that the Rep is just having a bad day and you need to talk to someone who is not.
  5. If you’re calling about a service outage for your phone, cable, or other service, request a refund (or credit) for the period the service was out.  Some companies will offer a higher value coupon for a different service as compensation.  If you’re not going to use that service, or you’re not interested, let them know.  If the Rep says they can’t offer a refund or credit, ask to speak with their supervisor.  If they still refuse to provide a refund for a service outage, let them know you’ll be reporting them to the Public Utility Commission and/or the Better Business Bureau. http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-PUC/CBON/DORA/1251614750747  http://www.bbb.org/

If you’re still having issues and want some help, give us a call.  Chris will be your advocate to get the support you need.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)