Love Your Computer? 3 Quick Tips to Renew the Love Affair With Your Mac or PC

When it’s slow and sluggish, it’s hard to love your computer. Here are 3 quick tips to give your Mac or PC some pep.

  1. Make sure your Operating System is up-to-date. Are there any updates you need to download and apply?
  2. Empty the trash. If you haven’t done that in a while, you could free up a lot of space!
  3. A couple of times a year you should delete all of your cookies. Here’s a blog I wrote about how to delete cookies

We’ll often recommend products and services and sometimes we’ll earn a small commission if you purchase something through our links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Do you need to replace any of your equipment?Love Your Computer

Sometimes upgrading or replacing some of your peripheral equipment makes you love your computer even more!

You Can’t Love Your Computer if Your WiFi is Slow:

If your Internet seems slow, there are several things you can do. First, test the actual speed you’re getting. (This blog tells you how.) If it’s slower than you expect, contact your ISP.

If your home has radiant floor heating, you might consider a mesh router to distribute the signal more efficiently.

Monitor:

Even though I have a laptop that I can bring anywhere, I have two monitors on my desk. That helps me be more efficient when I’m working in my home office. Chris set me up with two Dell Ultra series monitors. They were really high end at the time and still do the job nicely. He set the monitors up so that I can drag a window from one monitor to the other which is helpful when I need to see both windows in full size. Sometimes, when I don’t need that additional “real estate”, I will put a live stream video on one monitor. I love watching the grizzlies catch salmon in Alaska, or the wild surf in Down East Maine.

Mouse and Keyboard:

Lately, some of our customers’ keyboards have stopped working and they need a replacement. Chris has been doing some research to get them a keyboard that works perfectly for them. Some of them even have multi-colored backlights!

Printer:

Sometimes you have lots of issues with your printer, and it colors your entire computer experience. More and more people are moving away from even having or needing a printer. If you think you need a replacement, check out our Buyers Guide.

Conclusion – It’s OK to Love Your Computer:

If you’ve tried but just can’t love your computer, it might be time for a new one.

But think twice before you get one off the shelf in a big box store! They’re made to fit the requirements of the average person. You are not an average person!

Chris has great contacts at Dell and can get you a substantial discount on a custom PC that you’ll love.

He doesn’t have the same connections at Apple, but he does know which options to go for and which to avoid, so you’ll end up with a Mac you’ll love for years! (One of our customers bought a Mac at the Apple store. Boy was he disappointed! Here’s his experience and how Chris helped him. Now he loves his iMac!)

 

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided 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 at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

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.

More Tips Here:

Book Review: Extreme Privacy

Many of you know that Privacy and Security are paramount to me. So when I saw Extreme Privacy on Amazon I was intrigued. Michael Bazzell completely updated the second edition of Extreme Privacy in 2020.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Extreme Privacy Overview:

At 566 pages, Extreme Privacy: What It Takes To Disappear, is a hefty book. There are so many topics covered, in so much detail, I wasn’t able to read it all the way through. In many places, the material was too dense for a layman to comprehend. One of my big complaints about the book is the Index on page 566. A one-page index does not do this 20-Chapter book justice.

Despite the length, I did thoroughly review the whole book. The first part of each chapter was interesting and was written at a pretty high level. I was able to get the gist of each chapter without having to read all the detail on subjects in which I wasn’t terribly interested.

This book is primarily targeted at high profile people who need to implement extreme privacy. (Think movie stars, CEOs, and billionaires.) It’s also directed at people who have been seriously threatened and need to disappear. But it also has some great tips for people who just want to be more digitally secure. Our information is EVERYWHERE, and even companies who say they will be careful with our information are subject to cyber-attacks. (Right now, we’re still waiting to see the complete fallout of the 2020 Solar Winds attack on US government systems.)

What I learned:

One of the big take-aways I got from this book is that hiding is not cheap. There is new equipment to buy, with cash. A trust to set up. Accountants and Lawyers to advise you on what is legal and what is not. A new home to buy or rent. Multiple online devices to purchase; one to use only at home, and another to never use at home. And then there is all the equipment that normal people use, like a VPN, Servers, and routers.

Another thing I learned is that all of the work you do disappear can all be undone with a little social engineering. For example, if you have your mail delivered to a private mailbox in another state, which then forwards the mail to you. An unscrupulous person finds the address and phone number of the private mailbox company. They call and say they are your brother or wife and ask for the address to which mail is forwarded. Boom! All your hard work for privacy is gone.

Another potential problem is hacking. You bring your pet to a new Vet and provide your real address and phone number. Many Veterinarians provide their customer data to marketing firms so they can keep in touch with their clients. Then the marketing firm gets hacked and your data is “in the wild”.

I also learned how I could go about removing my information from public databases.

What I liked:

I thought the book was well organized. Using the Table of Contents it was easy to find the sections that I was interested in. I learned about a lot of new tracking tools that are being used, and how to legally get around them. For example, license plate scanners: How can you legally get around having them scan your license plate.

Another thing I liked was that Mr. Bazzell has years of experience and he’s made a few mistakes. He discussed those mistakes openly – what the mistake was, and how he does things differently today.

I also liked that the book takes a proactive approach. It outlines the things you can do today before you run into issues with privacy and security.

 

 

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided 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 at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

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.

More Tips Here:

TECH TRENDS: A Look Back – 2020 Tech Review

What a year it has been! Technology in this year of COVID is all about designing new ways to socialize, new ways to work, and new ways to go to school. We are spending more time online and demanding faster internet speeds and more bandwidth. We’re working from home at the same time that our kids are learning at home. Who ever thought that we’d be talking to our insurance agent and hear a baby cry in the background?! 2020 Tech has been an adventure!

2020 Tech:

When I asked Chris what was new in Tech this year, he reminded me, while there have been few new things, it has mostly been a year of learning how to better use the tech we have.  For example:

Conference Services:

We’re using more face-to-face calling than ever. Between work and school and family – we want to SEE the people we’re talking to. But, because the technology is so new to many of us, we think it’s our fault when something goes wrong. Before you start tearing out your hair, check Downdetector.com to see if Zoom or Google Meet to see if they are the ones having a problem.

WiFi:

This year, it’s been a struggle getting adequate WiFi at home when everyone needs to use it at the same time! Some things you can do include:

  • Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to make sure your home is getting the highest rated speed for your area. (Yes, your monthly fee will probably go up.)
  • If your Smartphone comes with a personal hotspot, turn it on and tether your computer to it. That way, you’re not competing for WiFi resources with the rest of your family. (Keep an eye on your usage, though. When you reach certain thresholds, your cellular provider may start to throttle your coverage.
  • Check into getting a separate hotspot. I have a Jetpack from Verizon that can connect up to 15 devices.
  • If your home is large, consider a mesh router to reach every corner of your home. (Check out our Parts page for Chris’ recommendations.)

Streaming Movies:

We’re watching more movies and TV series too. Some of the streaming services let you download a movie or several episodes to watch later. Do that downloading late at night for the next day. That way, you’re not interrupting the workflow of someone else in your family.

2020 Tech – What Technology was new in 2020:

Battery Life:

After five or six years with the iPhone 7, Chris and I decided it was time for an upgrade. We are THRILLED with the battery life on the iPhone 12. We can go a full day and still have more than 50% of battery life left – even without an external battery case! 2020 Tech rocks!

M1 Chip:

Apple has developed a new chip for their MacBooks. Reviews so far are mostly raves.

5G:

The 5G network has been big in the news this year. It’s been touted as the next great thing. But right now, 5G is just a number. On my iPhone, I see “5GE,” which is very similar to (and might be identical to) 4G LTE. According to macrumors.com:

“Real 5G networks offer much faster connection speeds and better performance. … Actual 5G networks, when up and running with full coverage available, may be anywhere from 10 to 100 times faster than LTE networks …. 5G technology requires new modem hardware, so until there is an iPhone with a 5G modem chip, no iPhones will work with 5G networks. Your current ‌iPhone‌ will not connect to 5G networks and will be limited to LTE.”

So it might be a while before we get real 5G service.

Want to read more?

 

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided 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 at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

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.

Hacked Password – Why I like Google Chrome now

Would you know if you have a hacked password? Well, Google does!

I’m relatively new to using Google’s Chrome, so when I want to do something that is second nature using Firefox, I struggle! I clicked on the three little buttons in the top right corner to open the settings. Then I tried to figure out what I needed to do.

Boy, was I surprised!

I got a warning message saying that two of my accounts had a hacked password. Of course, these two are the same account. The only difference is that the smile.amazon.com account gives my favorite charity a donation every time I make a purchase.  (Head over to https://nederlandfoodpantry.org/ and, if you can, donate too.)hacked password alert from Google Chrome

What I did after I found out I had a Hacked Password:

Once I saw that warning message, I quickly opened a new window on the Chrome browser and changed my Amazon password.

Then I reviewed all of my settings to ensure my payment and shipping information were still the way I wanted it.

If you want to see which passwords you have saved in your Chrome browser, click on the three little dots, select “Settings,” and then select “Passwords.”

What the Geek thinks of Google:

By the way, Chris is not a fan of Google. He thinks the company has too much access to our personal information. His preferred browser is Firefox, and his preferred search engine is Duck Duck Go. Also, he always has AdBlocker and NoScript turned on. These two applications help to keep your surfing experience much more secure.

Want to read more?

 

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided 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 at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

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.

New Apple Watch 6 – Geek For Hire’s Review

I traded in my old Apple Watch for the new Apple Watch 6 a few weeks ago. I got the one with GPS and cellular. Now that I’ve gotten used to it and its functions, I think it’s time for a review. (As an Amazon Associate, and we earn from qualifying purchases.)

What I Like About My New Apple Watch 6:

Blood Oxygen:

The Apple Watch 6 measures your blood oxygen percentage. I never realized how important this measurement was until Chris’ mom moved in with us. Moving from Long Island, NY, at sea level to 8500’ was hard for her. She began having issues with breathing and low-energy in general. Then her new doctor recommended that we get a pulse oximeter. This would help us measure her O2 regularly and know if she was in trouble. Twenty years later, I sometimes have issues with my O2 levels as well. My new watch helps me keep on top of the measurement. I also like that it tells me that it measures in a “high elevation environment.” It also measures my O2 sat when I’m asleep, as long as I’m not moving around while I am dreaming!

Watch Faces:

The new iWatch gives me the option to have different watch faces. There are probably 50 items you can track on the Apple Watch, but not all of them will fit on the watch face at one time. I have one watch face that tells me the time and date, of course, but it also tells me the local temperature, the Air Quality Index, wind speed, elevation, my next calendar item, and the current time in Rochester, NY, where much of my family lives. Another watch face only tells the time and rotates through about 20 favorite photos and videos. Another one tells me what time the sun and moon will rise and/or set.

Exercise:

New Apple Watch 6 - Close Your Rings every day

 

I really like the way the Apple Watch tracks exercise. It gets me motivated each day to “close my rings.” There are three rings: One for active movement, one for exercise minutes, and one for standing each hour. I’m able to change the goals for each one to keep the pressure on. Apple has also added challenges each month. They’re always stretch goals, but not undoable. I’m looking forward to earning the October challenge by exercising a certain number of minutes this month.

Heart Rate:

The watch still measures my heart rate almost continuously. It tells me my high and low heart rate for the day, it tells me my average resting heart rate, and it tells me my heart rate recovery time after exercising. This is another way I can keep track of my overall health.

Hand Washing:

I get a “thumbs up when I’ve washed my hands long enough!Apple Watch 6 - Thumbs up for handwashing!

Sleep:

The new Apple Watch 6 still links with the Pillow app so I can check my sleep quality at a glance. I think the Pillow app is more robust than the sleep information provided by the Fitbit.

Colors:

Red is my color, and I love having a red watch. My second favorite is the blue one shown above. (But Chris said I could only get one!) Other colors include gold, graphite, silver, and space grey.

Charging:

The Apple Watch 6 charges WAAAAAY faster than my previous Apple Watch! I got this cute silicone charging stand to hold my Watch on my nightstand.

Watchbands:

The watchbands are interchangeable with my old watch. That’s a good thing. I really didn’t like the red shade the new Apple Watch came with. I was easily able to swap the weird red bands for basic black. And, it’s easy to order replacement watch bands to dress it up or make it sportier.

What I Don’t Like the new Apple Watch 6:New Apple Watch 6 - enable screenshots

  1. With my old Apple Watch, I was just able to take screenshots. With the new Apple Watch 6, I needed to enable screenshots before that function would work.
  2. Siri is pretty intrusive and is constantly asking me what I need help with now.
  3. Sometimes when I’m really active, the watch asks me if I’ve taken a hard fall. Now, in general, I like this feature, and I’ve heard some great stories of people in the backcountry that have been rescued, but it seems a little too sensitive for me.
  4. Blood Oxygen measurement is not always accurate. Sometimes I’ll compare the measurement from my watch to the measurement with the pulse ox. About 20% of the time, the measurements are substantially different. I’m hoping that the Apple engineers are working on this and will push out an update to make it more accurate over time.
  5. I have to stay really, really still in order for the Watch to take an O2 measurement. I can’t take it when I’m exercising or in a moving car or when I’m moving around in any way at all.
  6. There isn’t an option to make the text on the Watch Face larger. My older eyes sometimes have a problem reading the data, especially the elevation!

How-To Book:

There are so many features on this new Apple watch. I got confused and overwhelmed when I was setting it up. This book helped me a lot. It’s available in paperback and Kindle format. I downloaded it to my Kindle which was good, because I had access to the information right away. The downside is that there weren’t links to the different sections of the book, so there was a lot of scrolling involved.

Important!

If you need help setting up your new Apple Watch, let us know. Here are some important things to remember:

  • If you’re trading in your old Apple Watch, remember to delete all of your personal data. (That’s what I did and the AT&T store gave me a great deal when buying it back.)
  • Back up your iPhone before setting up the new Watch and make sure it has the latest iOS.
  • Make sure you set up a passcode. The Apple Watch locks every time you take it off, which this security conscious gal says is a good thing!
  • The Apple Watch interacts with three separate apps on your iPhone;

Watch Out For Phone, Text, Email, and Other 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.

 

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided 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 at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

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.

Important Tips if you want a new Apple Computer in 2020

Several customers have wanted a new Apple Computer recently. Chris helped them with their purchases and learned a thing or two about the current Mac buying process.

Customer Experience #1:

About two months ago, I served a customer who has been a long-term loyal Apple person. He wanted to get the new Apple computer because his roughly 7-year-old iMac had become slow. He went to the Apple Store and got a new iMac. I prepped his new machine and transferred his data. I found it was slow at the time, and told him this. He said he would work with it.

Investigation:

About two weeks later, he called back, saying that his new iMac was very slow. I came to inspect the machine and confirmed that it was glacially slow. It was much slower than his previous iMac. I found that this beautiful looking new machine, unfortunately, had an 8th generation Core i3 processor in it, which is slow, and a 5400 RPM physical hard drive, which is also very slow. These are important specifications that a “forward-leaning” company like Apple should not be selling. The machine he bought at the Apple Store is the kind of computer you want someone you don’t like to have.

I called the Apple Store where he bought the machine, and there was no answer after many calls. The call eventually rolled over to Apple Corporate, and after about 1-1.5 hours on hold, I was able to finally talk with someone at Apple Corporate.

Initial Findings:

I learned that Apple has a 14 day “no-questions-asked” return policy. But since the computer was bought from the store, rather than ordered through Apple Corporate, the return or exchange of the computer must be done through the store. Apple Corporate would not handle a return for a purchase made at the store. It was as if each Apple Store was independently owned and operated. This was not what we expected.purchasing a new Apple computer at the Boulder Apple store - outside shopping only

Also, it’s the “Time of Covid-19”, and the local Boulder Apple Store is closed, or at least not answering their phones. (At least four attempts were made.)

(In my opinion, this new iMac, which the customer had purchased by himself at the Store, was unworthy for him to keep because it performed so badly. This was a violation of the basic Apple premise of good performance from your computer. You expect to love any computer you get from Apple.)

Field Trip:

We drove to the local Apple Store in Boulder and found that no one was inside. There was an EZ-Up popup tent on the sidewalk, with a couple of Apple people talking with citizens. There were marks on the sidewalk for social distancing. They also had two security guards there who were not doing Apple business but were there to take a forehead temperature. We put our name in and explained that we wanted to return this machine and to get another iMac today.

After waiting for about half an hour, we were approached by a young man who handled the return. The return process was pretty clean and easy and was completed in 5-10 minutes.

He was personally a little prickly, maybe because he was surprised. (Who in their right mind wants to return an Apple anything, ever?)

Well, this was one of those times, and it was for cause – a substantial technical failure by inadequate capabilities of a new machine, which was much slower than his current 7-year-old machine.

He was mildly contemptuous that anyone might say Apple wasn’t great. We again asked him to process the return because this product is not being kept and we’re getting it done on day 14 – within the 14-day return policy.

Replacement Mac:

After he received the return, we began to talk about getting a replacement computer. Long story short: the Apple Store only had iMacs with physical hard drives in them. If we wanted a Solid State Drive in the computer, it would have to be ordered from Apple Corporate, and it would take about two weeks to arrive. (This was in mid-August.) The Apple employee could not receive that order. We would need to order it online.

We left, placed an online order with Apple Corporate, and the new Apple computer arrived about 10 days later. The new iMac performs impressively well, and the customer is delighted.

Customer Experience #2:

The picture below is for a different machine than the story above. It was purchased at the end of September 2020 and shows the estimated arrival timeiMac wait time for a new Apple computer is Nov 2 – Nov 9. Now, four to five weeks is a long time to wait so that you don’t get a physical hard drive in your new iMac. (Apple and other manufacturers are delayed in shipping machines.)

The customer called back the next morning, saying that he had talked with his family in Denver. They had found the exact same machine that he had ordered at a local technology store. He could get it today! I walked him through the important points to make sure it really was the same machine.

  • Did it come with a solid-state drive, or did it have a “fusion” drive or a physical hard drive?
  • Does it have the better 8th generation processor?
  • Did it come with enough RAM? (RAM can’t be upgraded later.)

He talked with his family, and no, the store did not have the computer with the better equipment which /is/ necessary. He will continue to wait a month for the new machine to arrive.

UPDATE: The customer’s machine arrived mid-October!

Here are Chris’ specific tips for buying a new Apple computer:

One:

Make sure that your Mac comes with a “Flash Drive” which is a full Solid State Drive (SSD). Do not get a “Fusion Drive,” which is a large Physical Hard Drive with a small Solid State Drive, which acts as a cache. The performance increase is poor. Do not get a Physical Hard Drive because it is /much/ slower than an SSD. Spend the money. Take the longer view. Get an SSD.

Two:

Make sure that it comes with a Core i7 processor, and not a Core i3 processor. As of right now, the iMac can come with either an 8th generation Core i3 processor or an 8th generation Core i7 processor. Both processors say “quad-core,” but the performance of the Core i7 processor is so /much/ better than the Core i3. It really is worth the extra $200.NOTE: The current Intel processor generation is the 11th generation, but the 10th generation has been commonly available on the open market for the past year.
Intel makes four lines of consumer processors: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9.

    • Core i3 has low-end performance and low cost, do not get this processor unless your needs are really low
    • The Core i5 is a mid-pack processor that satisfies the needs of most normal people who want to use a computer and want to like the computer
    • Core i7 is a high-end, high-performance processor and will serve you nicely for most tasks
    • The Core i9 is uber-high-end and is expensive.

Three:

During the time of COVID, order your Apple computer from Apple Corporate, not from the local store. The Apple Store does not have the better computers. You have to go through Apple Corporate to get those. Also, getting access to the Apple Store during the time of COVID is impractically hard, and Apple Corporate will not help you return a purchase that you made at the Apple Store.

Four:

The current delay time (in September 2020) for ordering a new iMac from Apple Corporate is 4-5 weeks. IMHO: take the longer view, order the machine with the better features you actually want, bite the bullet, and wait for it to arrive.

Conclusion:

As most people already know, Apple has historically made really good computers. They aren’t cheap, and they tend to last a long time. I have several 10-year-old MacBook Pro and iMac computers that I’ve rebuilt with SSDs, and they perform competently in 2020. Granted, the speed of the SSD does nothing for the speed of the processor or the speed of the video card, but the operational speed of the old computer with a new SSD is definitely satisfactory in 2020.

But lately, I find that Apple has begun to cut corners on what they put into their computers. I see slow processors which are several generations old. I’ve also seen physical hard drives into the computer rather than a “Flash Drive” – which is also known as a Solid State Drive.

Computers are one of those “you get what you pay for” kinds of things. The Apple Premium is alive and well and has been for years. Apple offers discounts to no one. A recent customer wanted a new iMac. He is a long term professor at the local University. Apple offered him an Academic Discount of $50. (FYI, We get 35-50% discounts from Dell and a lower discount from other manufacturers. We always pass that discount on to our customers.)

If you need help navigating the process of getting a new Mac or PC, please let us know. This is just one of the services that we offer. And, if you’re wondering how to set up a new Apple computer, we can help with that as well.

 

Watch Out For Phone, Text, Email, and other 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 provided 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 and remote service throughout North America. We provide Apple & Mac computer repair onsite or remote.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

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.

When Should I Turn Off My Computer?

When I got my first computer, I would turn it off every time I left my office for more than a half hour. A few years later I would turn it off when I left for the day. Now, I’ll turn it off a couple of times a week. Why the change? Have you ever wondered: When Should I Turn Off My Computer? You might wonder how often you need to turn off your machine, or if you even need to turn it off at all!

Here’s what Chris says:

“I really wish Gail would turn her machine off more frequently!” When Should I Turn Off My Computer? Not as often as you think. Hint: Don't just puss the power button

Do I need to turn off my machine?

The short answer is Yes! When you turn it off the machine will clean itself, reorganize files, empty the trash, install any updates, and generally make itself faster and more efficient for the next time you turn it on. Other reasons to turn your machine off include saving power.

It’s really a balancing act. The process of turning your machine off and back on takes its toll on the mechanics of your computer. But leaving the machine on all the time does the same thing. If you use your machine constantly throughout the day, by all means, leave it on. If you access your machine from a remote location, then you definitely need to keep it on most of the time!

When should I turn off my computer?When Should I Turn Off My Computer - windows start button

Every couple of days save all of your documents, close all of your applications, and turn the machine off. Leave it off overnight, or just for a few minutes.

If you use it for only an hour or two at a time, then you should turn it off when you are done. If you know you won’t use your machine all weekend, you should turn it off.But, if you use your machine all day long, there’s really no need to turn it off every day. Turning your machine off once a week should be sufficient.

Remember, when you turn off your machine, don’t do it with the power button. Use the off button on the screen menu. This allows the machine to shut off gracefully.

General computer health & Well-being:When should I turn off my machine?

Some other things you should do for the general health and well-being of your machine are:

  • Always use a surge protector. These help even out any power spikes so that they don’t damage your machine. We also advise that you use a UPS (Universal Power Supply). This is a battery backup system that protects your equipment from power surges and provides a limited time of battery life. This is helpful when you’re in the middle of working on a project when the power goes out. It gives you enough time to finish up and save everything. (There is an annoying and frequent beep to let you know that you are using battery power.)
  • During lightning storms, you should turn off AND unplug all of your electronics. Even a surge protector can’t always help protect your equipment if there is a nearby lightning strike.
  • Uninstall and delete any programs that you are no longer using. Even if you’re not running a program, it may still be processing in the background.  This will undermine the efficiency of your machine. (Yes, we can help you with this if you don’t feel comfortable choosing which programs to uninstall.)
  • Keep your machine clean! Periodically open it up and remove all the dust and pet hair that have accumulated. Dust tends to accumulate on the fan, which is there to keep your machine cool. If too much dust is there, the fan won’t run properly and your machine will overheat. (We can help you with this too!)
  • Finally, When Should I Turn Off My Computer?  At least once a week!

Please forward this to your colleagues who ALWAYS leave their machine running.

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. 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 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 Use your iPhone’s Health App

It’s true.  You can now use your iPhone’s Health App (and equipment connected to your iPhone) to track many of your body’s functions.  For example you can track your heart rate, the Oxygen saturation in your bloodstream, or the number of steps you walk.  If you have the iWatch, it can also track how far you swim, how long you stand, and other activities.

How to Use Your iPhone's Health App with Sleep CycleActivity

The iPhone’s Health App will automatically track your steps, flights of stairs climbed, and how many miles you’ve walked, but you do need to always have your phone with you in order for the data to be accurate. If you synch your iWatch with your iPhone, you have access to additional data that is much more accurate.

Mindfulness

There are a number of apps that you can connect to your iPhone’s Health App to help you meditate and practice mindfulness.

  • Calm: Calm has a few options available for free.  Most of the meditations require a monthly, annual, or lifetime subscription.  Calm also has bedtime stories to calm you down and help you to get a more restful nights sleep. Calm is rated 5 stars with 1482 reviews.
  • 10% Happier – Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: 10% Happier also has a few meditations available for free, with an option to purchase a monthly or annual subscription.  It also has a meditation to help you wind down for sleeping.  10% Happier is rate 5 stars with 676 reviews.
  • Headspace: Guided Meditation: Like the other two apps, Headspace requires a paid subscription to gain access to most of the meditations.  It is rated 5 stars with 592 reviews.

Try them out and see which one works best for you.  You may find that you don’t even need to sign up for a paid subscription

Nutrition

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any great apps to track your food intake.  The iPhone’s Health app does allow you to manually enter data which is very easy to do.  If you take vitamin supplements, you can also enter the amount of Vitamin A, B, etc., that you are consuming. Don’t forget to drink lots of water every day!

Sleep

Getting a good nights sleep is very important to your overall health. And collecting sleep data is the first step in understanding how your productivity is impacted by your sleep.  I looked at several different sleep apps, but only Sleep Cycle seems like it will work well:

  • Sleep Cycle doesn’t require that you place the phone under your pillow.  Instead it uses the microphone on your iPhone to track your sleep sounds to determine when you are sleeping and how deeply.  It even records you when you snore!  Sleep Cycle is rated 5 stars with 1340 reviews

Have you learned more about tracking your health with your iPhone? If you found this helpful, please forward it!

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 if you sign up.)

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