Blog: Tech News & Tips

9 Easy Tips to Keep Safe on the Internet

Here are some fast tips to keep you safe on the internet:

  1. Set up a throwaway email account. So many times I am asked for my email address and I’m not sure I want to provide it.  This makes it a little safer.  You can quickly get a free email from Google. Remember the password, and be sure you set up auto-forwarding to your main email address.
  2. When you’re away from home but have to use WiFi, try to go to a well-known company that will probably have safeguards built in.  Sorry independent coffee shops, but Starbucks is probably a safer choice than Caffeine-Arama.Internet Safety
  3. Whatever you do, don’t try to connect to WiFi with names like “TellMy WiFi LuvHer”, or “FBI Surveillance Van” or  “Hacker 547”.  (Yes, I’ve seen all of those.)  Remember the adage – “If it’s free, YOU are the product”.  To keep safe on the internet, think about what they might be getting out of the transaction to provide you with free WiFi.
  4. You can also go to your cellular carrier and ask them to make your cell phone a WiFi hot spot. (They generally charge a monthly fee for this.) Then you can connect your computer to WiFi wherever you are without worrying about someone hacking in who is also using the free WiFi.
  5. If you do need to use the free WiFi at a coffee shop, library, rest area,  etc., use a VPN so that your data is encrypted before it leaves your computer.
  6. Be wary about using computers at the library, especially if you need to enter sensitive or private infomation.  Most libraries are probably pretty proactive about scrubbing their machines regularly to keep malware and keystroke savers off, but not all libraries are aware that they need to do anything.
  7. Set up a separate debit card account with your bank from which to make online purchases. When you’re ready to make a purchase transfer the needed funds into the account.  Talk with your banker about the best way to do this without being subject to additional fees.
  8. Set up a Paypal account and use that for online purchases.
  9. You don’t need to provide your real name, address, or birthday just because someone asks for it.

Conclusion:

Be diligent about your Digital Privacy!  Follow these tips and stay safe on the Internet.

Please forward this to your friends who do a lot of traveling.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report on what to look for to protect yourself from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is usually $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

Digital Privacy and Alexa

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I am passionate about privacy: digital privacy to be specific. The fact that our smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices are always listening to us, storing that information, and even selling it makes me crazy.

I’ve recently learned that the Amazon Alexa device keeps everything until you delete it. Whoa! I can delete that data on Alexa? (By the way, Alexa is just like Apple’s Siri.  You can ask questions, set timers, and ask either of them to look up information on the web. Alexa is available with the Echo Dot and the Echo Show.)

Here’s how to maintain some level of digital privacy on your Alexa:Digital Privacy and Alexa

First, open your Amazon account on your computer using your favorite browser.  We like Firefox because it tends to be a little more respectful of our privacy than some of the other browsers.

  • Then, hover over the “Accounts and Lists” down arrow.
  • Next, click on “Your Content and Devices”  about 3/4 of the way down the list.
  • Then click on “Alexa Privacy” and then “Manage Voice Recordings.”  From there, you will see an option to delete everything.

According to Tom’s Guide, some of the newer devices allow you to delete your history on a day-by-day basis by merely saying: “Alexa, delete everything I said today.”

Digital Privacy in the News:

There have been several articles that have caught my eye recently.  Here is just a sampling:

  • Amazon confirms it keeps Alexa recordings forever
    • “If you (like so many of us) hate listening to recordings of your own voice, you may be in for an unpleasant future, as Amazon has confirmed it hangs on to every conversation you’ve ever had with an Alexa-enabled device until or unless you specifically delete them.”
  • How to stop companies from selling your data
    • “The second you fill out an online survey, purchase a new home or subscribe to a magazine, your information may be scooped up by a data company and sold to a subterranean market for personal information on millions of people. These data brokers are building profiles about you, using thousands of pieces of information such as your age, income, race, ethnicity and interests and helping marketers use this data”
  • Simple steps to take to keep your data secure
    • “Social media services have become a significant part of our lives. However, despite these various benefits, some would still opt out of social media if it helped to restore their digital privacy forever.”
  • Tracking us with Digital “Fingerprints
    • “If there’s one lesson to learn about digital privacy, it’s that we can never grow complacent. Even if we secure our data so we are not tracked online, the ad tech industry will find ways to monitor our digital activities.”
  • Location Privacy and your Smartphone
    • “Most smartphone users don’t really lock down their security settings, sticking with the default settings that came with the phone. When they add a new app to their phone, they may not think to check what data they are sharing with the app developer.”

Conclusion:

Be diligent about your Digital Privacy!

Please forward this to your friends with an Alexa device.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report on what to look for to protect yourself from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is usually $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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 your Tech Ready for Fire Season

What a difference a year makes.  Last year, starting in April 2018, we had the hazy views from California, Arizona, and western Colorado forest fires which continued all summer and into the fall. We’ve had so much moisture this spring our fire ban hasn’t even started yet.  This may be the first time in a decade that there’s not a fire ban on Independence Day!  Regardless, you do need to have a plan to get your tech ready for Fire Season. When you live in the West, you need to be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice. It’s important to prepare ahead of time. You want to make sure you keep your data safe, and to make sure your technology continues to work at your friend’s house, the hotel, or shelter if you do need to evacuate.

Here are the 7 plus 3 steps that I take each year.

Recommendations to get your Tech ready for Fire Season:

  1. Use a laptop for your daily computer.  There is not a lot of difference between a laptop and a desktop anymore, so get the machine that will allow you to grab it fast.  You can still have a large monitor, mouse, and keyboard on your desk.  If you need to bug-out, just unplug everything.
  2. Get two charging cables for your laptop. (Chris calls them “charging bricks”!)  Keep one at your desk and the other in the laptop case.  This way, you won’t need to grab anything extra.
  3. Make sure you backup your data and have a reliable backup system. I can’t say this enough.  Make sure you frequently back up your data! We recommend backing up to the “Cloud.” (Check out this article about what the Cloud is and how to use it.)  Backing up to an external hard drive is good too, but it can accidentally get left behind.  Or worse, you may not even have time to grab your laptop.   I like Dropbox it automatically backs stuff up and because I can log onto the Internet from anywhere to quickly access my data.  And I can view my files on my tablet and phone too. (Dropbox even uploads my photos from my phone into the cloud!)  We also recommend that you backup your data to an external hard drive at least once a month and keep that drive in a location that is separate from your computer. (We believe in the law of three places!)
  4. Talk to your cell phone provider about turning your cell phone into a WiFi hot spot.  As long as your phone has access to a good cellular signal, you’ll be able to send a reliable WiFi signal to your laptop wherever you are.
  5. Make sure you have a bunch of fully charged battery packs.  I bought two portable battery chargers like this several months ago and am regularly using one or the other.  I carry one in my car, so if I run low on charge, I can easily get recharged again.
  6. Keep the Geek For Hire phone number handy. (You can reach us at 303-618-0154.) We can talk you through most issues you might be having.  Remember, if you just have a quick question, we don’t charge for phone calls under 15 minutes.
  7. Have a great, reliable backup system in place.

And more recommendations:

  1. Remember to keep your precious photos and other valuables in a bin by the door ready to go in case you do get evacuated.
  2. Keep your fuel tanks at least half full throughout the fire season.
  3. Grab your laundry basket.  All of your favorite clothes are already in there!

 

Fire Season
James Peak on 30 April 2018 – Haze is from the Tinder Fire in AZ
James Peak - get your tech ready for fire season
James Peak on 30 June 2019

 

 

 

Conclusion:

To keep your tech ready for fire season, it’s crucial to have a plan.  Talk with your family and make sure each person in your household is prepared.

Please forward this to your friends and neighbors, so we’re all ready for Fire Season this year.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report on what to look for to protect yourself from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is usually $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

Phone Scams and how to protect yourself

Privacy and Security

I’ve been reading some concerning news recently about the volume of phone scams going around. There are more and more each month.  You might wonder why there are so many of them and why the authorities can’t put an end to all of them.  There are good answers to both of those questions:

Why are there so many phone scams going around?Phone Scams

The reason is simple.  People fall for phone scams.  They voluntarily provide their user ID and password, or their name and birthday.  Worse, they’ll hand over their credit card number to a random person calling on the phone.  There are so many scams because they are profitable.  Before you say “Well, I would never do that!”, you should know that the scams have gotten much more sophisticated over the past few years. It’s only after you’ve given out your information and hung up the phone, that you realize that maybe all is not as it seemed.

Why can’t the authorities put an end to these scams?

Are you familiar with the term “Fly-by-night”? It is used to describe a person that sets itself up as a respectable business person, accepting payment in exchange for a promised good or service. Then, all of a sudden, they’ve closed up shop and moved.  Well, that’s what these bad operators are, with the added benefit of the internet.

Back “then,” you’d call the Police Department, and they would work with other Officers in the next county or state to catch them.  Today, the scammers will collect your money, and almost before your call is over, they will have changed their IP address so that it looks like they’re in a different country.

The authorities can’t put an end to the scams, because they have a challenging time catching the perpetrators.

What should you do if you fall for one of these phone scams?

First, don’t beat yourself up about it.  The people who call are very sophisticated and convincing.  They know all the right words to say to get you to give them what they want.

If you provide credit card information:

  • First, call your banker to let them know.  Ask them to deny the charge.
  • If you have online access to your bank account, log on at least once a day for the next few weeks to see if there is any suspicious activity.
  • You should also ask them for a new credit card with a new number.

If you allow remote access to your computer:

  • The first thing to do is to disconnect the computer from the internet. Unplug the ethernet cable or turn off the WiFi.
  • Next, run your virus scanner and delete any viruses or other malware that may be installed on your machine.
  • If you feel like they’ve installed something that you can’t get rid of, give us a call, and we’ll give your machine a good scrub.

How can you protect yourself from email scams?

I’ve created a Free Report of what to look for to protect yourself from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Conclusion:

Remember that Microsoft or Google will not call you if you have a virus on your machine.  Run your virus scanner regularly, and just say no to people who call and want to access your computer, or want you to sign up for online computer support.

Please forward this to your friends who may be susceptible to phone scams.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is usually $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

WordPress Security Tips

Do you have a blog or a static website?  Are you as concerned about WordPress security as I am?  I remember a day about two years ago when I received an email. WordPress locked the Geek For Hire website. When I frantically tried to log back in, I wasn’t able to.  I ended up by successfully logging in using Chris’ credentials.  Thank goodness I had set up two admin accounts! After I logged in, I deleted all of the other admin accounts.

(We sometimes provide links to products or services that we think will be beneficial to our readers.  Some of those links provide a small commission to Geek For Hire.)

How to ramp up your WordPress security:

There are several things you can do to make sure your WordPress site is secure.Wordpress Security Tips

  • First of all, don’t use “admin” as your login name.  If someone wants to hack your website, they will need two things.  One is your user id or your email.  The other is your password.  Admin is the most common user id for WordPress sites.  It’s kind of like using “password” as your password.  Don’t do it!
  • Your next step will be to play with your user id. Because “admin” or your name are standard user id’s, you want to use something unexpected. Make your user id something non-sensical.  A string of letters, numbers, and special characters will work.  Think of it as another level to your password.
  • Third, make sure your password is ultra secure.  WordPress has an option where they can generate a password for you.  I think it’s about 20 characters long with a healthy mixture of small and capital letters, numbers, and special characters.  Please use this option.
  • Fourth, check your list of users every few weeks.  There should only be you and whoever else you have authorized to have access to the account. If there are any other users, delete them.
  • Finally, use one of the WordPress plugins to ensure extra security. I use iThemes Security Pro. It has saved our website many times.  Because we have a name that is attractive to hackers, they constantly bombard us with break-in attempts; anywhere from 100-500 every day. If someone tries, unsuccessfully, to log into our account too many times, iThemes will lock them out.  We’re pleased with the level of protection they offer.

What we’re dealing with:

Here’s an example from one day last week.Wordpress SecurityYou can see that there were 243 separate login attempts, and one IP address has been locked out from trying to log in again.

Conclusion:

If you are concerned about WordPress Security, remember to use a secure password, do use an odd user id, check your users, and sign up for one of the WordPress plugins.

Please forward this to your colleagues who manage a static website or blog.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is usually $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

Solid State Drive – What is it and Why Do I Need One?

For the past several years, whenever Chris had to replace a hard drive in a Mac or PC or is designing a new computer for a customer, he always recommends that they get a Solid State Drive (SSD), rather than the traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Why?Solid State Drive - Why do I need one?

For a long time, I just didn’t get it. Why is “newer” always “better” for these geeks?!  Chris patiently explained to me some of the benefits.

More Robust:

Because a Solid State Drive has no moving parts, there aren’t any parts to break. This makes the SSD perfect for those who don’t count “grace” as one of their better qualities. It’s also a better choice for frequent travelers.

Speed:

SSD’s are faster. Machines with an SSD will boot faster, open programs faster, transfer files faster. Games process more quickly too. When seconds count, choose an SSD.

Lighter:

When you’re lugging a laptop through an airport, you want to shed every excess ounce that you can.  SSD’s weigh less than the HDD’s.

Downside:

SSD’s are more expensive to purchase than HDD’s. But, considering that the SSD will last longer, that’s only a short term problem.  If you’re looking to get a new machine under $500, you will be getting a standard hard drive.

Here’s a great explanation from PC Magazine of how an HDD saves your data:

“The traditional spinning hard drive (HDD) is the basic nonvolatile storage on a computer. That is, it doesn’t “go away” like the data on the system memory when you turn the system off. Hard drives are essentially metal platters with a magnetic coating. That coating stores your data, whether that data consists of weather reports from the last century, a high-definition copy of the Star Wars trilogy, or your digital music collection. A read/write head on an arm accesses the data while the platters are spinning in a hard drive enclosure.”

And here’s a description from TechTerms on how the Solid State Drive works:

“While SSDs serve the same function as hard drives, their internal components are much different. Unlike hard drives, SSDs do not have any moving parts (which is why they are called solid state drives). Instead of storing data on magnetic platters, SSDs store data using flash memory. Since SSDs have no moving parts, they don’t have to “spin up” while in a sleep state and they don’t need to move a drive head to different parts of the drive to access data. Therefore, SSDs can access data faster than HDDs.”

Here are some additional articles that compare SSDs and HDDs:Solid State Drive

Purchasing Recommendations:

When a customer needs to have their machine rebuilt, Chris recommends this internal SSD from Samsung.

Remember that upgrading the standard hard drive in your Mac or PC to a Solid State Drive will make your machine run much faster.  It’s a very affordable upgrade and may make more sense than buying a new computer.  Contact us if you’re thinking of an upgrade. Remember that we can install your new SSD once it arrives as well.

And if you ever need help partitioning your HDD or SSD, give us a call.

Please forward this to your friends who may need a new hard drive in their Mac or PC.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  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 online streaming.  And I love the Prime Kindle features!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

Original post: 28 April 2015

Updated: 11 June 2019

MultiFunction Printer – What To Look For When Purchasing A New One

We get a lot of questions about what to look for when purchasing new equipment.  If you’re looking at buying a new multifunction printer, here are some things to consider:

Price:

The first thing many people consider is the price range.  There are a few good printers in the under $125 price range, more in the under $300 range, and even more in the under $500 range.

Ink Jet vs. Laser

I certainly prefer laser printers. Yes, they are a little more expensive to purchase, but they cost less to operate in the long run, and your printed pages look better.  The ink cartridges also cost more than the inkjet cartridges, but they last much longer. If you are someone who only uses your printer occasionally, a laser printer is probably your best choice.  The ink can dry in the ink jet nozzles making the printer inoperable so that you would have to buy a new one.

Wired or WiFi?multifunction printer

It used to be that printers would only work when they were connected by a cable to the computer.  If you’re in a location with a marginal WiFi signal, that might be the way to go.  For everyone else, a wireless printer is a great option.  What I love about my WiFi printer is that I am able to print from my computer, my tablet, and my phone.

Black vs. 4-color:

These days, most of the multi-function printers are color.  If you mostly print in black but need a multi-function printer for other reasons, you can adjust your printer options on your computer to primarily print in black, but change it to full color if needed.

Printer only vs. MultiFunction Printer (Copy, Print, Scan, Fax)

I can’t remember the last time I sent a fax, but occasionally I do need to scan documents, and I have to copy something at least once a week.  So, I’m glad to have a multi-function printer at the ready. If you never need to copy anything, that a printer might be the best option for you.  If you ever have to take a trip to Staples to get something copied, you might consider getting a multi-function printer.

I have the previous version of this printer and really love it.  I’ve had three HP printers since my first one in 1995.  I love their reliability and durability.

Duplex?

Many of the newer printers are duplex.  This means that they print front and back. I like this option because it saves on paper!

Is Your MultiFunction Printer not working?

Of course, we can help you with your printer issues.  Give us a call and give me a run-down of the symptoms.  Do I think we can fix it in a reasonable amount of time?  I’ll let you know before we schedule an appointment.  If not, I’ll let you know that it’s probably time for a new one.

Please forward this to your friends who need a checklist for buying a multifunction printer.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

Found a lost Cell Phone – What should you do next?

Do you ever wonder what to do when you find a lost cell phone?  You could wait for it to ring and hope it is someone who actually knows the person and is not a sales call. Or you could bring it into the nearest police department and hope for the best.  We’ve got some other ideas that are quicker and probably more effective to reunite that lost cell phone.  (Plus the cops are busy.  They’ll probably just toss in the lost and found box under their admin’s desk!)

First – check for contact information:

  • Hopefully, they have their phone password protected. (You have a password for your phone, right?!) But the lock screen should have a way to make an emergency call.  Click on “ELost Cell Phone - Call Mommergency” to see if they have set that up with an emergency contact.
  • If that doesn’t work, very carefully remove the phone case if they have one. Sometimes people will tape a contact number on the inside of the phone case.

If they don’t have easily accessible contact information, try this next:

  • Press the “Home” button on the lost cell phone until you activate the phone’s voice assistant.
    • Say “Ok Google” for an Android
    • “Hey Siri” for an iPhone
    • For a Samsung, hold the Bixby button and say “Hey Bixby.
  • Once it has responded, say “Call Mom” or “Call Dad”.
  • If the phone is off, it may need to be charged a little before you can make the call.

If none of that works, the next thing to try is to turn that lost cell phone in:Lost Cell Phone - Carrier

  • Don’t bring it to the local police department. As I mentioned above, they will probably just toss it into their lost and found box and wait for someone to call looking for it.
  • Check the phone to see who the carrier is. You should be able to see AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.  Drop it off at the local store.  They will be able to figure out whose it is and reunite it with the proper person.

Be a Good Samaritan:

  • Before you drop it off, give it a full charge.  It may be a few hours before the rightful owner can pick it up.

How to set up the Emergency Information on your iPhone:

  • Click on Settings
  • Then click on “Emergency SOS”
  • Then select “Edit Emergency Contacts”
  • From there you will be able to enter your emergency contact

Share this widely so people know what to do when they find a lost cell phone!

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

Electronic Recycling and Buy Back Programs

UPDATED: 20 May 2019

I received an interesting email the other day from Staples telling me about their recycling program.  I always assumed I could walk into any big box store with my old electronics and pay a fee to recycle it.  This email told me that I could bring it there for free.  That made me start to wonder what other options are out there for our customers, not only to recycle but also, to possibly get a discount on their next purchase.  We frequently get calls from folks wondering about electronic recycling.  Here’s some helpful info.

If you’re thinking about fixing your older equipment, take a look at this article.

What to do first:

Once you’ve decided to get rid of your older devices, you must remove all of your sensitive data.  Deletelectronic recyclinge all of your apps, all of your contacts, your emails, your texts, photos, etc.  Many of the Electronic Recycling Programs say that they will do this for you before they sell it to someone else, but why take the chance?  (Yes, we can help you with this if you’d like.)

Why do you want to Recycle your Electronic Devices:

Many of the components in our electronic devices are toxic, so it’s really important to make sure they get recycled properly. If you just toss your laptop battery in the trash, many of those toxins will leach right into our water supply!

Electronic Recycling Options:

You have a  whole bunch of options for getting rid of your old stuff:

Sell It

Rather than electronic recycling, you can try to sell your old phone, tablet, or computer. (Remove your personal data first!) You could start with eBay or Craig’s List.  You can also try buy-back programs at places like Best Buy, Amazon, AT&T, Sprint, Staples, and Apple.  You’ll get a little less money for your device, but it’s really easy to do, with much less hassle than finding a buyer, shipping it, etc.

Donate It:

Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. But, first of all, remember to remove your personal data!

Give It Away:

Put the item on your local Facebook page, or post it in your local Freecycle group.  But, please make sure that you have removed all of your personal data first!

Recycle it Properly:

If you’re not able to sell your equipment or give it away, bring it to an authorized recycling center. Head over to this website and enter your zip code to find the nearest place to you.  This is sponsored by DirecTV, but I took a quick look at the recycling centers in my area. It seems like they take more than just TVs. Expect to pay anywhere from $5-$50 to recycle your equipment.

What to do first – Yes, the very first thing you do!

Before you sell, give away, or donate your equipment, remove your personal data!

(Originally posted on 6 November 2018.)

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs 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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)

Poor Cell Phone Service – Some Tips to Remedy

Even with all the improvements in cellular technology I still run into areas which have very poor cell phone service. There are the times when I’m the passenger in a car and the cell phone quality just gets worse and worse.

Does this ever happen to you?  You’re talking on the phone and the quality of the call keeps decreasing.  You keep waiting for your call to switch to the next cell tower but that never seems to happen.  What should you do?

We used to drive up and over a section of the highway that we dubbed “The Hill of Cellular Death”.  It was pretty much guaranteed that when you got about two-thirds of the way up the hill on either side, your cell call would drop.  It got to be that I wouldn’t even answer my cell phone when the vehicle I was traveling in was within a half mile of that hill.  Thankfully they now have a low profile tower on that hill and my calls don’t get dropped anymore.

What should you do when your smartphone gets really poor cell phone service?

This is what that pesky “Airplane Mode” button is for!  Put your phone into “Airplane Mode” so that it turns off your cell service, your WiFi, and your Bluetooth. Leave it off for about five to ten seconds and then turn it back on.  This will force the phone to search for the strongest cell tower in the area.

bad cell service

More Info:

Please forward this to your friends who complain about their poor cell phone service.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  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 online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days 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.)