Blog: Tech News & Tips

Online Learning and the Technology in your Home.

A few weeks ago a customer called Chris and asked him how his kids would be able to get any schoolwork done given the school districts movement towards Online Learning.  As a single parent who works in an office, he’ll have to bring his children to work. The problem with that is they won’t be able to access the corporate network to connect to the internet. Chris recommended that he get a stand alone Hot Spot from his cellular company and bring that with him to work.

Another customer called last week. He was concerned his grand-kids would have to scrounge for computer time on their mom & dad’s computers to do their school work.  He decided to order a new computer for the older grandchild and re-purpose an existing machine for the younger one. This way they’ll both be able to log into their classes individually.

Online Learning at Home

Since Boulder County has decided on 100% at home learning because of the coronavirus, many parents are struggling with how they can best provide the technology resources their children will need. (In addition to all the other issues they’re dealing with!) Many other school districts all over the US are making the same decision. Parents throughout the country will have similar struggles.

Here are some of our Online Learning Recommendations for Families:

  1. Find out if your cell phone has hot spot capability. If it doesn’t, call your cellular carrier and get it turned on. (After asking about additional costs, of course.) That way if tHot spot for Online Learninghe WiFi in your house goes out, you (or your children) can still have access to WiFi via your cell phone. (You’re generally only allowed to connect one other device to your phone via its hot spot.)
  2. Consider getting a cell phone or separate hot spot from another carrier. That way if your carrier is down, you can still get online. With an independent hot spot, you can connect multiple devices.
  3. Is the WiFi adequate in the area where you’ve set up the desk for your kid to do school work and get online? Consider moving your router for better coverage, or getting a mesh router for greater coverage. Here’s a recent article about fixing your slow WiFi, or this one – Why Doesn’t My WiFi Work?
  4. Keep your laptops plugged in as much as you can. If there’s a power outage, you’ll be glad for those extra hours of “juice”.
  5. You might also consider an Uninterruptible Power Supply. It’s essentially a spare battery that gives you an additional half hour or so of power. If you plug your router and modem directly into the UPS, you’ll have some extra WiFi time, and it’ll give you time to get stuff saved on your desktop.

How can Geek For Hire help you?

  • If you’ve decided to upgrade your Router or will be adding a  new Mesh Router, let us know if you need help setting it up. Definitely call for help if you want to add separate bands for you and other users.
  • Gail was able to connect her new Verizon Jetpack Hotspot to her phone and tablet without help from Chris. She thought it was relatively straightforward. Connecting to her laptop was another story! Let us know if you need help with that.
  • Let us know if you’re thinking of getting a new machine. Chris routinely gets 35-50% discounts with Dell, and they’ve got some that are appropriate for your children. (Or get a new one for you and give the kids your hand-me-downs.)

Good luck this semester! In case you’re interested, here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

Watch Out For Scams:

  • Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

How Do I Fix My Slow WiFi (Internet speed)?

I keep having friends ask me what they can do about their internet speed. “How do I fix my slow WiFi?” they ask, or “I’m starting a new job, and I’ll be working from home. How do I know if my internet will be sufficient?” or fill in the blank with your own questions!

First, to fix your slow WiFi, what is your actual internet speed?

Head over to SpeedTest and run some tests.

Distance from Router Date & Time Download Speed
Computer with WiFi
Computer plugged into the modem
Phone with WiFi Next to Router
Tablet or Phone with WiFi Away from Router
Phone with cell signal

Does Your Internet Speed match what you expect?

If you have slow WiFi sometimes, but the speed is fine at other times, check with other members of your family. Is someone downloading a big file? That can skew your results.internet speed

Do you know what speed you are paying for? Look at your internet bill or call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to find out.  While you are on the phone with them, also ask what the maximum speed that is available for you and what the additional cost would be to upgrade.

For example, the maximum that our ISP can provide us at our location is 12 Mbps. If your computer is connected directly to the router, you should receive the speed you are paying for. Using WiFi, the speed will be degraded somewhat. For me, using WiFi, both my computer and phone averages between 9 and 11 Mbps.

Of course, you always want it to be blazing fast, but a small decrease in measurable service of 10% or so is acceptable.

If your speed is well below 15% of the rate you are paying for, do the test numerous times. Keep track and write down your results, time of day, distance from the router, etc. If it persists, call your ISP, report your results, and ask them to get it fixed.

What Your Results Mean:

If your WiFi speed is adequate right next to the router, but not so good as you move away from it, you may need to get a new router with a wider range.  For a larger home, consider a mesh router.

If your WiFi speed is bad regardless of where you are in your house, you’ll need to call your ISP for help.

If your internet speed is terrible while connected directly to your modem, it’s definitely your ISP.

What to do:slow wifi is frustrating - here are some suggestions to fix it

Technology has changed a lot in the past few years, so if your router is more than 4 or 5 years old, it’s probably time to get a new one.  If you’ve determined with the activities above that the problem is with your router, then it is definitely time to get a new one. (Here’s a link to Chris’ recommended routers and modems.)

If you’ve determined that it is a problem with your ISP, get them on the phone. And if the data shows that your router is fine, don’t let them blame your slow WiFi on the router! (Yes, they will try that.)

Give them the data you’ve collected. Let them know how long the problem has been going on. And be prepared to wait on hold for a while. If they do need to send someone out, be prepared to wait a week or more for your appointment.

Other Hints for slow WiFi:

Watch Out For Scams:

  • Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

It’s not your imagination – Facebook hacking is on the rise!

Chris has been getting a lot of calls recently about hacked Facebook accounts.  We’re hearing that a lot of the Facebook hacking starts when you click on a video that a “friend” sent you via Facebook Messenger. Most likely that friend’s account has already been compromised and it is the hacker that is sending you the video.

What to do:facebook hacking

Here are Chris’ suggestions if your Facebook account has been hacked:

  1. Change your password.
  2. Change your security question(s) and answers (in case they were reviewed by someone else).
  3. Confirm that your recovery email address and your mobile phone number is still yours and not set to someone else’s.
  4. Tell your friends not to open any videos you’ve sent.

Doing this will help you keep your account yours after you change your password.

Facebook hacking via Messenger:

It seems like we are all using social media more now than we did even a month ago. Try not to send any links at all via Facebook Messenger for the time being.  If you do get a video (or other links) on Facebook Messenger, don’t click on it right away. Send an email to your friend confirming that they sent the video.

Other Hints:

  • Also, please remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Coronavirus Scams

We thought we just had to worry about phishing scams! But, whenever there is lots of news and alarm about a subject, the scams are sure to follow. It’s no different with Covid19, aka Coronavirus scams. Now is the time to be extra vigilant about the emails, texts, and phone calls that you receive.

Email – Coronavirus Scams:coronavirus scams

For emails, follow our standard guidelines.

  • Never open an unexpected attachment.
  • Never reply to the email if you have any questions about its legitimacy.
  • Never call the number that is listed on the email. Call or email the company with the contact information you already have.

You can forward the email to us too if you’d like our opinion about it.

Phone Call and Text Scams:

One common coronavirus scam is someone pretending to be your insurance company.

If anyone calls or texts you about your health insurance or other financial matter and says you need to provide your credit card FOR ANY REASON, confirm:

  • what company they are calling from
  • what the person’s name is
  • how you can get back in touch with them
  • you should also make a note of the number they are calling from
  • if they hang up rather than answering your questions, give yourself a pat on the back.

Next, call the company on a number you already have for them in your contact list. Ask them if this is a real problem. If it is not, report the scam. Provide them with all the information you have obtained.

Online Link Scams:coronavirus scams

Continue to be careful with online links as well. There will be folks out there that want to take advantage of a crisis.

Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.

Need Help?

Call or email us if you want a second opinion on any emails you’ve received. You can also take a screenshot of any text messages and send that to us as well.

And, of course, you can’t wash your hands too frequently! Stay safe and healthy.

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

How to Clean Your Phone – Staying healthy during the Coronovirus

Picture this:

You got a new puppy and your friend asks to see a photo.  You scroll through your pictures, find a great one, and give the phone to your friend. They “ooh” and “ahh” appropriately as they scroll through your other pictures, and then they sneeze.  Into their hand. Then they transfer your phone into the hand with all the germs and keep scrolling. And THEN they give your phone back to you.

Ewwwwwww…..

With all the winter germs around, and talk of the coronavirus (aka Covid19), I thought it might be time to find out the best way to clean your phone. And there’s a reason to be concerned. Studies show that our electronic devices have lots of germs. In fact, a recent study showed that an average of 17,000 bacteria (bacterium?) were found on participant’s phones. Another study (pdf here) found that only 40% of Baby Boomers wash their hands after using public transportation. The study went on the say:

“With the majority of people admitting to using their phone in the bathroom (88%), while cooking (89%) and while using public transit (80%), these devices are regularly exposed to everything from strep, to E. Coli, to strains of staph found in fecal matter! Our phones become dangerous when they aren’t regularly cleaned or sanitized, allowing bacteria to continue to breed and spread. With one in four (23%) having never cleaned their phones, mobile devices could host more bacteria than someone’s household bathroom (which four in five (80%) clean once a week). To make matters worse, when their hands are full, two in five people (41%) won’t hesitate to put their phone in their mouths, putting bacteria directly into their system.”

Double ewwwww…..

I had thought that carrying alcohol wipes and using that every day to clean my phone and keep it free from germs would do the trick, but the experts disagree.  It turns out that alcohol can damage the screen. Apple and Goole both have a page dedicated to how to clean their devices, which you can find here and here. The gist of it is:

To Clean Your Phone:

  • Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth—for example, a lens cloth.
  • To kill the germs, you’ll need to add a teeny bit of diluted soap into the mix. Do it carefully. Make sure the cloth is only slightly damp, not wet, and make sure not to get any water into any openings.

To Clean Your Phone, don’t use:

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Windex
  • Vinegar
  • Makeup remover
  • Compressed Air
  • Undiluted Soap
  • Wet Lens cloth

All of those products can damage the screen on your smartphone.

Update:

I called our local AT&T store the other day to confirm the advice. The rep I talked with specifically recommended using Clorox Wipes or Lysol Wipes to clean your phone.

Bottom Line:

Regularly clean your phone, especially if you use public transportation, go through an airport, or go to other places where lots of people congregate. Don’t put your phone in your mouth. Cough & sneeze into your elbow. Don’t use your phone in the bathroom. Stay healthy, and wash your hands!

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

3 Simple Steps – What Apple Is Charging You For

Are you bewildered when you check out your bank or credit card statement by the charge from Apple? It’s only $1.99 or $3.99, or some other very low number.  If you’re as busy as I am, it’s not really worth it to spend time figuring out. But it still makes you wonder. How do I find out what iTunes is charging me for?

Today I saw how those charges can easily add up.

This morning I went to check the weather on my iPhone.  A friend had mentioned that we would be getting a huge snowstorm overnight.  I had checked the Apple Weather app and Weather Underground (my favorite), and both said we’d be getting about an inch of snow today, none tomorrow, and another inch or so the next day. Since that didn’t square with what my friend had said, I thought I would try another app.  My iPhone has a plethora of Weather Apps.  Here’s a link to my favorite apps for weather.

Apple charging for apps - iphone tips

(If you’re looking for some adult humor, check out WTForecast. If you want to see where lightning is striking RIGHT NOW, check out RealLightning.)

I ended up opening up the NOAA app which I’ve used plenty of times in the past. This time, however, I was confronted with a screen that wanted me to sign up for a trial before I could access the weather information.  When I clicked on the Trial button I read the fine print. I learned that once the trial period was over, they’d be charging my Apple account $2.99 per week!

sneaky iphone charges

What Is iTunes Charging Me?

That got me thinking.  Have I signed up for other Apps without realizing there was a monthly fee?

I started hunting around on my iPhone to find what I might be paying for month after month. This was more confusing than I thought it should be.  It was not intuitive at all, which is very unlike most Apple products.

Three Easy Steps to find out what Apple is charging you for:

I looked at “Settings” with no luck.  Next, I opened up the “iTunes Store” but couldn’t find anything there either.

Step One: Then I opened the “App Store”.

Step Two: I pressed the icon in the top right corner which opens up my account.

Step Three: I clicked on “Purchased” and found all of the apps I’ve downloaded, most of them were free. Then I clicked on “Subscriptions” which shows all the apps which charge on a monthly or annual basis. I was happy to see there were only two:

  • Pillow – which I purchased last year to track my sleep.
  • Call Protect – which is supposed to protect me from scam calls, but doesn’t.  I canceled that one and will be saving $3.99 every month!

Remember that if you are sharing your Apple account with another person to check in with them before canceling a subscription.

Conclusion:

Once you know how, it’s easy to figure out what Apple is charging you for!

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Internet of Things – IOT

Have you heard of the “Internet of Things” and wondered what it is? I know I have.  Every time I hear the term, I have to think for a second to remember what it is all about!

Internet of Things refers to things connected to the Internet, things you might not expect to be connected together.  Things as small as a lightbulb or as large as a refrigerator can be connected. Wikipedia has a good definition:

“The Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”

We have Kevin Ashton to thank for the term:

“Back in 1999, he coined the term “Internet of Things” before anything, except computers, was actually connected to the internet. In the last two decades, Ashton challenged businesses to imagine a world where the internet will permeate all aspects of people’s lives.

Following are some real-life examples of the Internet of Things:internet of things

  • Your watch tells you it is time to stand up and walk
  • You tell your smart speaker to play your favorite music
  • Your vacuum tells you to change its filter
  • You tell the thermostat to turn up the heat when you are ten minutes away from home
  • Your security system sends you an alert
  • You turn the lights on or off in your home – from your cell phone
  • Your front door opens when you’re on vacation, but only for the house-sitter

What’s next for the Internet of Things?

According to IoT Analytics, there were approximately 9.5 billion active IoT devices at the end of 2019.  And ThriveGlobal says that IoT will grow to 75 billion devices by 2025. Expect more of your devices to be connected to the Internet. You may move from simply owning a Smart TV to an entire Smart Home.

As always, Geek For Hire encourages you to be careful about what you share on the Internet! Here’s our article on how to delete your Alexa recordings.

 

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Is it Time to Trade In Your Old Kindle?

kindle
My Kindle, along with the cover I made from one of my daughter’s old T-shirts.

I frequently get emails from Amazon, letting me know about new products or exclusive sales that they have that I may want to pass on to our customers. Recently I got a funny one. Amazon wants you to trade in your old Kindle, and they’ll give you a discount on a new one, plus, give you a gift card!

However, I’m a fan of older technology. I remember the “good old days” when things just worked, and I didn’t need someone like Chris to come in and fix stuff for me. In fact, this morning, I was talking with a customer about our 30-year-old Hewlett-Packard printer that still works today. Why don’t they make things like that anymore?

That’s part of the reason that I love my 1st generation Kindle. I got it as a Christmas gift way back in 2010. I especially remember it because we had traveled to Oregon, where our daughter was working at Hood Meadows for the ski season. We packed all the gifts, three people, two dogs, and a cat into the Volvo for the thousand-mile drive. And then there was that Amazon box under my daughter’s tree waiting for me!

I love that Kindle, and I still use it today. I love that it has a very long battery life and isn’t too heavy when I’m reading in bed and holding it up in front of me. What don’t I like? The first generation Kindle doesn’t have a backlight, so I can’t read it at night.  It doesn’t have a touch screen, and I have to type on the teensy-tiny screen when I’m searching for something or trying to get to the Table of Contents.

Please note: We will often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like.  Sometimes we’ll receive an affiliate commission for at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

If you’ve got an older Kindle that doesn’t work, I’d suggest getting a new one.  Get 20% off a new Kindle E-reader. And if you already have a Kindle and L-O-V-E to read, you need to sign up for Kindle Unlimited. You’ll get a free month, and then for $10 a month, you get free access to a million books. Books that you’ll want to read, including the latest best-sellers.

 

Check out the new Kindle if you want one you can read at night!

 

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 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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Microsoft Security Warnings for Windows and Internet Explorer

It’s been a busy week for Microsoft Security.  First, they took down all support for Windows 7 on January 14th. And, if you are still using Win7 you saw this warning message pop up on your screen that Tuesday morning:

microsoft security - Windows 7 end of life warning message

Microsoft Security – Windows 10:

And then, also on January 14th,  the National Security Agency or NSA tells us that Windows 10 has a major security breach.

“On January 14, Microsoft released a set of patches for the Windows platform. While all of the issues addressed in the patch release are serious, this article will discuss one of them: CVE-2020-0601. Above anything else, we urge everyone to take action and patch their systems. CVE-2020-0601 is a serious vulnerability, because it can be exploited to undermine Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) trust. PKI is a set of mechanisms that home users, businesses, and governments rely upon in a wide variety of ways. The vulnerability permits an attacker to craft PKI certificates to spoof trusted identifies, such as individuals, web sites, software companies, service providers, or others. Using a forged certificate, the attacker can (under certain conditions) gain the trust of users or services on vulnerable systems, and leverage that trust to compromise them.”

I don’t pretend to know what this security breach does, but I do know that if your Operating System is Windows 10 and you haven’t downloaded and installed the latest Windows 10 updates, you’re crazy!

Internet Explorer:

And, now we find out that Internet Explorer also has a major vulnerability. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reports:

“Microsoft has released a security advisory to address a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer. A remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system. According to the advisory, “Microsoft is aware of limited targeted attacks.””

And, from Newsgram:

“Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers and it is working on a fix, to be released at a later date. The vulnerability was first reported by US Homeland Security on Friday evening, although the issue is not limited to American devices.”

Since 2014, CISA has recommended that people not use Internet Explorer, but use a different browser instead:

“US-CERT is aware of active exploitation of a use-after-free vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer. This vulnerability affects IE versions 6 through 11 and could allow unauthorized remote code execution. US-CERT recommends that users and administrators review Microsoft Security Advisory 2963983 for mitigation actions and workarounds. Those who cannot follow Microsoft’s recommendations, such as Windows XP users, may consider employing an alternate browser.”

Our recommendation?  Use Firefox!

Is Your Machine Infected?

How can you tell if you have a virus or other malware? Here is a description of some possible malware symptoms you may be experiencing.

Remember, with software, you get what you pay for, so don’t use a free anti-virus. Do you have a great anti-virus?  We like Eset’s NOD32.

Conclusion:

Make sure you have your anti-virus set to automatically check everything you do.  At least once a week, you should also run a virus scan to make extra sure that your machine is good to go.

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 and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Confessions of a Neophobe – 6 Surprising Reasons to Keep Windows 7

Believe it or not, Geek For Hire is recommending that you keep Windows 7.  Even though there’s some scary language coming out of Microsoft like “UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 10 NOW!” and “WINDOWS 7 ISN’T SECURE!”, we believe that you should be okay. But, here is the exact wording from the Microsoft website.

“The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.”

Call us crazy, but at Geek For Hire, we don’t think this is really the end of the world. And, at least for right now, we’re not recommending that you go out and purchase a new Windows 10 machine or migrate to the newest version of Windows.

keep windows 7?

Here are our reasons to keep Windows 7:

  1. Change is bad. (You were wondering what neophobe meant, weren’t you!)
  2. Your older machine probably can’t handle the memory requirements
  3. You don’t like to learn something new
  4. A new machine with Windows 10 is expensive, especially if it comes with all the storage and speed you need.
  5. Your old software may not work with Windows 10 – you’d have to buy a whole new software package.
  6. But, the Most Important thing to know if you keep Windows 7:
    Windows updates consist primarily of security and protection updates. As long as you use a very good AntiVirus software package AND keep it up to date, you should be fine.  We like ESET’s NOD32.

If you’re looking for more detailed information, we published this blog several months ago about what your options are with Windows 7.

Keep an eye on this page.  As the year progresses we may recommend an upgrade to Windows 10.

Conclusion:

If you decide to keep Windows 7, you must keep your Anti-Virus software up to date!

Please note: We will often recommend products, parts, and resources that we like. Sometimes we’ll receive an affiliate commission for at no additional cost to you.

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.

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