New Headphones – Should I get Bluetooth?

Chris convinced me to get a new iPhone last week, so I upgraded to the newish iPhone 7.  I had heard that Apple had merged the charging jack with the headphone jack but hadn’t realized that would be an issue.  Well it is!  Of course Apple provides a dongle to convert the lightning jack to a jack for the headphones, which can be used as long as you’re not charging.  The problem most people will run into is that protective covers don’t have access to the lightning jack.

WIth my last iPhone, I was very happy with the protective qualities of the Mophie.  So when I got this new iPhone, I also purchased a Mophie case to protect it and provide additional battery backup. The only outward facing jack is the standard USB jack.  There’s no option here to plug in headphones or a headset.

New technology – aka Bluetooth Headphones – here we come!

The saleswoman at the AT&T store showed me two Bluetooth connected headphones, but both were very expensive. The one she particularly liked is made by Beats.  But, at almost $200, it was out of my price range.  The one she used herself, which she described as “okay”, was still well over $100.  I was wondering if there aren’t good quality (and highly rated) Bluetooth over-the-ear headphones I

Sony Headphones https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KOE1H30/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=gefohiin07-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01KOE1H30&linkId=aab7789bd6594a0eb8fc72231b18f37a

could find for under $50?  No matter how much I searched online, the answer was “no”.

I ended up going to our local Best Buy store to see for myself what my options were.  Sometimes it’s just better to hold the box in your hands before deciding what to purchase.  The salesman agreed with my extensive online research; I wouldn’t be able to get a decent set of headphones for under $50.  He pointed me towards a couple of less expensive headphones that had received good reviews.  One, at $80, was reviewed well, but it had ear-buds and was not what I wanted.

Next, he showed me a pair of Sony headphones.  I’m partial to the Sony brand, so I was (as the Ferenghi say) “all ears”. I ended up purchasing the Sony MDR-ZX220BT.   At $80, these weren’t too far off of my budget.  The headphones are actually “ON” the ear and not “Over-The-Ear”, but I’m very happy with the sound quality.  They were easy to pair with my iPhone and laptop 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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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.)

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Photo Editing Apps for your iPhone

Most Smartphones take pretty decent photos.  And you can do some minor things to make them a little better, but there are a whole bunch of photo editing apps out there that can take you to a whole ‘nother level.

Banana on Keyboard (Photo editing using Prisma Mondrian Filter)

Banana on Keyboard

Art

Prisma transforms your photos and videos into works of art using the styles of famous artists: Van Gogh, Picasso, Levitan, as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art pieces.” The photo on the right was created using the “mondrian” filter.

Labels

This by Tinrocket gives you an easy way to add labels to your photos.  It’s easy to use, and you can add multiple labels.

General Editing:

MaxCurve is a very highly rated photo editing app. It allows you to play with the exposure and color levels; tone down the cyan and turn up the magenta. Here’s a tutorial to get the most out of the app.

Image Editor gives you the ability to change a photo into a meme, to focus on one point and blur the rest of the photo, to draw, to add a frame, and much more.

When you want to post a photo online, either for social media or your blog, you want to have a photo that loads quickly and is not at the mercy of download speeds.  Resize Image  lets you do just that. We’re not talking about cropping photos so that you get rid of extraneous background.  We’re talking about taking a photo as it is and changing it from a 1 gig file to a 100kb file with all the detail intact.

If you do want to crop a photo, I like Photo Crop. There are times when you want to keep the original photo, but also crop part of the background out.  When you crop a photo in the iPhone Photo app, it “loses” the original.  When you use Photo Crop, you can keep the original, and play with it too.

What are your favorite photo editing apps?  Please share in the comments below!

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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.)

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I Spilled Coffee on My Laptop!

It’s the fear of laptop owners everywhere.  You’ve staked out your teeny spot at the local coffee shop.  You’ve finished your first latte and head up for your next one.  Heading back to your seat you trip and quickly regain your balance.  But not quickly enough.  Your cry rings through the shop: “I spilled coffee on my laptop!”

The next few minutes are really important.

First:

Turn off your machine and pull the power cord out.

I spilled coffee on my laptop!

I spilled coffee on my laptop!

Second:

Turn the machine upside down.  Stop the flow of the liquid into your machine immediately.

Third:

Remove your battery and place it in a container covered with rice.

Fourth:

Remove any peripherals: USB devices, Memory Cards, etc.

Fifth:

Clean the liquid from the surface of your machine with a cloth or Q-tips.  Chris thinks paper towels and napkins are best, because they are immediately absorbent.

Last:

Let it sit upside down for 24-48 hours before plugging it back in. If it still doesn’t work, it’s time to call in a professional.

Words of Wisdom from Chris:

  • Spilled coffee on your laptop can be worse than dropping it, because it’s hard to tell where the liquid has gone, and different kinds of liquid have a worse effect than others.
  • The volume of the liquid is important.
    • If it’s a small volume of liquid (1-2 ounces), quickly wipe the top of the surface with a paper towel or napkin to get most of the liquid off the surface, then grab the computer firmly by the sides, and try shake any liquid that may have made it inside off and out for 5-10 seconds. Open the computer lid to about 30 degrees, and stand the computer up on it’s side with the hot air vent at the top.  Leave the computer alone for a day, and retry the computer the next day.
    • Spilling a pint glass of water is worse than “clutzing” a small spill as you move your glass over the keyboard.  If you do the “pint glass” kind of spill, Remove the battery, and disconnect any connected wall power from the computer.  Stand up immediately, grasp the computer firmly with your hands on the right and left side of the keyboard, extend your arms outward to lock your elbows, and firmly sweep the computer from up to down many times as you use centrifugal force to eject the liquid from the computer.
  • Electronic connectors do not like liquid, because it causes “short circuits” and promotes corrosion.  Plain coffee and plain water are the most benign of all liquids because they don’t have sugars or salts mixed in.  Sugar in a liquid is worse because the sugar will make keys stick later, and will attract additional dust later – which will make your keys more sticky as the humidity goes up.  Milk will have a less sticky effect than sugar, but is still conductive and will attract dust later.  Soda is the worst because it has sugar and salt, making the liquid very conductive, very sticky, and tends to get in many different places inside your computer.  Beer is good, except when mixed with electronics, then it is bad.

An Ounce of Prevention:

Keep your drink away from your computer, eg: near a wall and away from people traffic – but where you can easily look at it.  If a Server approaches with your beverage, make eye contact and offer to receive it with your hands using a path that is away from your computer.  Note: professional Servers tend to have excellent grip strength and dexterity, so if they insist on their placement, consider putting your hands under the drink as it moves across the table (to catch a drip should one occur), rather than try to forcibly snatch it from their hands.  Being able to keep an eye on your beverage is good, because you might tip it over when you adjust the angle of the computer lid or when you push the computer away from you.

Reminder: Keep your data backed up so that problems like this don’t turn into business disasters!  Most cloud based backup systems will automatically back up files as you save them.  That means your data loss could be minimal.  I use Dropbox  (You’ll get 500mb free with this link.)

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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.)

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Phishing Expeditions (Stay Safe Online!)

There’s another threat out there. It’s a Phishing Expedition. Several of our clients have already fallen for it.  It comes by way of an email which appears to be from a trusted friend or business associate.  They want you to take a look at a document on DropBox. It looks legit, plus, you’ve gotten documents from this email contact before.

So, you click on the link to look at the DropBox document. Except it’s not from your friend. And in that brief moment, you’ve given access of your entire email contact list to the Phishers.

As soon as you figure out what has happened, it is important to change the passwords for all of your email accounts

"Phishing" by Edwind Richzendy

“Phishing” by Edwind Richzendy

immediately. Here are some ideas for creating a really strong password.  You should also run your virus scanner.

How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you?

  1. Before opening any attachments, make sure the email is actually from your contact.  Are you expecting a document or other attachment from them? Does the text of the email message and subject “sound” like what your contact would write? If not, give them a call to see if it’s really from them.  (If it’s not, tell them to change their password and run their virus scanner ASAP.)
  2. Put a note on your calendar to change your email passwords at least once a month.
  3. Be extra careful when surfing the web or viewing posts on Social Media. Malware is being spread that way as well.

Looking for more info on phishing?  Here are two past blogs:

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 fifteen 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, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as 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.  I’ll try that next!   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.)

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