Tech Purchases from China and the New Trade Tariffs

How will the trade war with China impact our tech purchases?

Last Friday, when the President announced new trade tariffs with China, and then when the stock market tanked two days in a row, I got a little concerned about the impact those tariffs might have on technology and the average consumer.  I’ve spent the weekend reading the news and mentally processing what this might mean to our tech purchases.

One thing that struck me was the mania that has been attached to this story.  The hyped up media isn’t helping us keep a clear head so that we can approach the impact of this news with clarity.  I’m looking for more clarity about this story and am finding clear thinking in the finance news.Tech Purchases - Made in China

When I talked with Chris Eddy about this, he indicated that paying more attention to intellectual property would be a good thing.  But how will that impact our tech purchases?

On the Market Watch website, they are pretty optimistic that the tariffs will not have a negative effect for these three reasons:

“Here are the three trade numbers that show that a trade war is less likely.

• In 2017, the U.S. imported $506 billion worth of goods from China.

• Trump is talking about tariffs on only a small fraction in the range of $50 billion-$60 billion.

• China’s response is very weak. In a tit-for-tat, China would have proposed duties on U.S. goods worth around the same amount. Instead, China is proposing duties on $3 billion worth of goods.”

So, just in terms of raw numbers, the impact of the tariffs is fairly small. The tariffs will apply to less than 12% of all imports. On the Investopedia website they name some of the sectors which will be targeted:

Trump’s tariffs on China are expected to target aeronautics, modern rail, new energy vehicles and high-tech products. … Tech hardware and machinery are among the largest U.S. import categories, and, in our view, are at risk,”

In looking through all the news stories, I tried to find someone (anyone!) who would tell me how this might impact the average consumer and their tech purchases.  USA Today has projected small increases in consumer goods:

“Amazon, which buys in bulk and operates on thin margins, could pass along only a 1% or 2% higher price to consumers, says Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer and head of technology research at GBH Insights.

Similarly, tariffs on imported parts such as semiconductors might raise the price of a laptop by only about 3%, Hufbauer says.

Other retailers could be affected as well, depending on the final list of 1,300 products that the U.S. has said it will target.

“A family of four will end up paying about $500 more to buy (clothing, shoes, fashion accessories and travel goods) every year” if those products are subject to 25% tariffs, the American Apparel and Footwear Association says.”

So, we could see a small increase on tech items of 3% or so.  Unfortunately the adage of “Buy American” doesn’t work so well with technology since so much of it is manufactured in Asia.

For additional reading, check out these articles and opinion pieces:

In the meantime, we’ll continue to help you keep your technology good to go, so that you can spread out those new tech purchases!

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

(Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

Security Summit Thoughts – Hack-Proof Your Mac or PC

Last week I attended Microsoft’s “Virtual” Security Summit.  I have the word virtual in quotes because I didn’t have to travel anywhere.  My son and I watched the live streaming video in our living room! While I like the buzz of meeting new people, staying at home and learning new things has its advantages as well.  The Summit was primarily targeted towards management of large enterprise firms, I did pick up a few nuggets of information that will help the average person with the security of their machine as well.

First tip for Security:Security

Make sure the user permissions on your account are set to “Standard User” and not “Administrator”. This cuts down on the chance that viruses or other malware can be easily installed on your machine. This also protects a random bad operator from installing a bitcoin mining operation on your machine.  You provide the computer and electricity, they get the benefit.  If anyone has ever installed the SETI program on their machine, it would work similarly to that.  (The “Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence” program gave the opportunity for ordinary computer users like Chris Eddy to allow SETI to use some of their computer operating power.)

Next:

Make your machine harder for the bad guys to get access to. Use a very secure password, set up two-factor authentication wherever you can. Install updates to your Operating System as soon as they are available.

Finally:

Use good security practices. Patti Chrzan, head of Microsoft’s cyber-security fraud division said this:

“90% of all cyber crime starts with a phishing email”

A reminder that the phishing email is an attempt to get access to your personal information, like your birthday or password.  A phishing email might also install a virus, ransomware, or other malware.

Being hyper-alert of every click, and every email you open puts you way ahead of the average person. Even if the email seems legit, never click on a link in an email from a corporation until you have confirmed its legitimacy.  Call the company to confirm that your account has been hacked, or your password was changed, or a large purchase was made.  Never take the word of an email at its face value!

The highlight of my day was when Microsoft retweeted my comment:

security

Just because you have an antivirus installed, does not automatically make you secure. You must have good personal systems in place too.

Past blogs you may find helpful:

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

(Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

What is the Cloud and how do I use it?

We’ve had several people ask us recently about the Cloud.  They’re not sure if they should use it, and they are especially not sure if they should trust it!

I’m here to say “YES!”, you can use it and you can trust it. But let’s go back a step or two.

What is the Cloud?

The term “cloud” is used to describe the nebulous place in the ether where you can store documents, files, movies, spreadsheets, and more. Essentially, it is online storage similar to an external hard drive, or a thumb drive. You use it in the exact same way: to store your files in a secure location. But don’t take my word for it.  Here’s a great description of the Cloud from PC Magazine:

“In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulus cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats.”

Here’s my little picture of how it works:

The Cloud

The Cloud on a post-it

How do I use the Cloud?

Use the Cloud the same way you would any storage device. Configure your account so that the documents you choose are uploaded, and so that any time you make changes to those documents, those changes are uploaded as well.  I have configured my account to upload photos I take on my smartphone up to my Dropbox account.

How much will it cost?

Many providers have a small “starter” program for free.  You can expect to store up to a gig or two for free. For many of us, though, that would cover maybe a few months of photos! Bigger plans are available based on the amount of data you want to store. For example, my Dropbox account is ten dollars a month for one terabyte. One terabyte is way more than I need, but it’s their smallest plan so that’s what I use.

Who do you use for Cloud storage?

I have used Dropbox for ten years, at least, and really like it.  Other providers include Amazon, iCloud, Google Drive.  Dropbox, and other providers, let you access your stored data from anywhere.  I can open a file on my phone when I’m out of town, or on my tablet.  I’ve even accessed and printed a document at a public library.  Talk about convenient!

Let us know if you need help setting up a Cloud account, especially if you want to make sure it uploads changes to any document in near real time.

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  (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

What I learned at Social Media Marketing World

The first few days of March saw me in San Diego at the annual Social Media Marketing World hosted by Social Media Examiner.  I learned so much and hope to pass some of that information on to you.  If you have a website or blog that you want people to find, read on!

Search Engine Optimization:

Probably the most important thing I learned is that your website must be optimized so that search engines, primarily Google, can find you.  It doesn’t really matter how much you’re posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Unless you already have major name recognition and a huge fan base, people will find and follow you on Social Media via your website.

Key word development:social media marketing world

Finding your best keywords is an art.  And “Key Word” is a bit of a misnomer.  Your “Key Word” is actually a phrase that people would use to find you.  Some tools to get you started include Google Keyword PlannerAhrefs, and SemRush.  Another thing to know about is Long Tail Keywords which are much, much longer phrases and not just a word or two.  Think about it.  Do you want someone coming to your site because they typed “hiking boots” into the search box?  Or would you rather have someone who types in “Scarpa Terra GTX size 42”?  The first person is browsing; the second is ready to buy.   A good tool here is the LongTailPro and the KWFinder websites.

Are you listed?

It’s important that your business can be found on different directories. This is especially important for a local business.  Moz can help you see which directories have you listed, where you have incomplete or inconsistent info, and gives you links to help correct any errors.  I like Moz because they basically show you what you need to do yourself (for free!) to get listed.  But they also have a (reasonably priced) service to do all the leg work for you.

Back Links

Another thing that helps your site rank higher with Google’s analytics is to have plenty of back links. Many of the presenters at Social Media Marketing World expressed the importance of back links. A back link is a link on another webpage that links back to your site. This does need to be done carefully and strategically however.  The site that is linking back to you has to have a good reputation.  A site that only lists back links, usually done for a price, will actually make your site rank lower as a result.  Backlinko helps you strategically make a plan to get quality back links.

General Resources:

The presenters at Social Media Marketing World were so generous in sharing their material.  Here are just a few of their websites to learn more about SEO and Social Media:

Remember: If you can’t be found, you don’t exist!

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

(Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)