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

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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.)

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Wireless Keyboard – Recommendations

We received a call recently from a long-time customer who wanted to upgrade his wireless keyboard.  That was all the push Chris needed to do some research for a new toy!  But, before I reveal what his new favorite is, let’s talk a little about the different features you might look for in a new wireless keyboard.Wireless Keyboard - Logitech Craft

Mouse:

First, you need to decide if you want the keyboard to be paired with a mouse. The benefit is that you would only have to use one USB port on your machine.  The downside is that not all keyboards come with a mouse, and you may decide that the wireless keyboard you really want, doesn’t have a mouse.

Ten-Key:

What’s your preference?  Using the numbers along the row above the letters, or do you prefer to use the number pad off to the right of a standard keyboard?

Media Keys:Wireless Keyboard - Duragadget

Do you want to manage additional tasks from your keyboard?  I like that I can control the volume from my keyboard, I can open a window to send a new email, I can open a new browser window, and so much more.

Backlight:

Do you often work in a darkened room?  You may want to consider a backlit keyboard.  The laptops that Chris has been designing recently all come with a backlit keyboard which is useful when you’re working in bed next to your sleeping spouse.  If you primarily use your wireless keyboard at your desk, you probably don’t need a back light.

Size:

How big of a keyboard do you want?  Do you want a portable one that clips onto your tablet?  Should it be foldable to fit into your backpack? Or do you want a full sized wireless keyboard that you can leave on your desk?

Tactile Response:

Clicking?  Silent?  If this is important to you, make sure you know ahead of time what the keyboard will do.wireless keyboard - logitech MK 320

Ergonomics:

If you have issues with carpal tunnel or spend all day typing, you may want to look for a keyboard that has a special design to keep your wrists in the proper position while typing.

I have a laptop.  I don’t need a separate wireless keyboard!

That’s what I used to think.  But my laptop is on the small side and the keyboard is too.  My fingers were constantly confusing keys and mis-spelling words.  Worst of all, the heal of my hand would accidentally touch the keypad and the mouse would go flying to a different part of the screen.  It was very frustrating.  I’ve since learned that I’m not the only one to experience this.  I solved this by purchasing a wireless keyboard which is the size of a conventional keyboard and works really well for me.

(As always, any links may provide a small commision to us, with no increase in price to you.)

Geek For Hire Recommendations:

  • Chris’ new favorite keyboard is called the Logitech Craft.  It has a funky knob on the top left side which allows you to adjust images in Photoshop or Illustrator. It has a backlit keyboard and (WHAT?!) can manage up to three devices from the single wireless keyboard!  It’s compatible with both Mac’s and PCs.   This one retails for $199, but Amazon currently has it priced at $175.  I’ve seen it on other sites at prices ranging from $179 to $199
  • The wireless keyboard I had been using for the past few years suddenly died last month.  I purchased a Logitech MK320. and I am loving it. It came paired with a mouse which means only one USB thingie.  That’s important to me because my laptop only has three USB ports.  It has a separate ten-key which I like.  And, as I mentioned above, I can manage more than just typing with this device! The keys are big enough that my fingers to confuse the “m” and the “n”.  Overall, I really like it and loved the price.  It retails for $40, but Amazon currently has it priced at $22.  Other sites have it for around $25.
  • And, only because I wanted a pop of color for this post, I took a look at a keyboard for kids.  I like this Duragadget keyboard because it looks like it’s great for learning, and it has some very good reviews.  Amazon has it for about $35.

Please forward this to your colleague who constantly has spelling mistakes.

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 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.)

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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 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 $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.)

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New Headphones – Should I get Bluetooth?

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

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

New technology – aka Bluetooth Headphones – here we come!

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

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

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

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

Next, he showed me a pair of Sony headphones.  I’m partial to the Sony brand, so I was (as the Ferenghi say) “all ears”. I ended up purchasing the Sony MDR-ZX220BT.   At $80, these weren’t too far off of my budget.  The headphones are actually “ON” the ear and not “Over-The-Ear”, but I’m very happy with the sound quality.  They were easy to pair with my iPhone and laptop too.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Photo Editing Apps for your iPhone

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

Banana on Keyboard (Photo editing using Prisma Mondrian Filter)
Banana on Keyboard

Art

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

Labels

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

General Editing:

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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I Spilled Coffee on My Laptop!

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

The next few minutes are really important.

First:

Turn off your machine and pull the power cord out.

I spilled coffee on my laptop!
I spilled coffee on my laptop!

Second:

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

Third:

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

Fourth:

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

Fifth:

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

Last:

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

Words of Wisdom from Chris:

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

An Ounce of Prevention:

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

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

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Custom Computers

Gaming Computers

One of the services we provide is to build custom computers from scratch.   Chris is building one now for a long-time customer. In fact, this is the second machine we’ve built for this particular customer!

Here’s the process. Chris talks with the customer about what their goals are:

  • What do they hope to use this computer for?
  • How much storage should it have?
  • What software is required?
  • Should this be a portable computer or one that stays in the office?
  • What is the budget?

Once Chris has a good understanding of what the requirements are, he does some research to determine exactly which parts need to be ordered. Often times there is a choice to be made between two or more options. He’ll have a conversation with the customer to decide which will best meet their needs. Once all the parts have been decided, he’ll send the list (with all the order links) to the customer for ordering.

When the parts arrive, it looks a little chaotic for a while, but then it all comes together!

You can hear the excitement in Chris’ words:

“One of my special joys is to design and build full custom computers, and this one is for a customer who is still using last full custom computer I made for them about 5 years or so ago.

There are several special features in the design, but one of the special results is absolutely Smokin-Hot processor performance: using a modern 4 core processor and water cooling, the stock speed is 4Ghz on each of the 4 cores.

To make sure things are thermally stable, I’ve been running a CPU heating utility, which launches 8 CPU intensive processes all running in parallel, and after about 1H the cooler is only warm to the touch with a slight increase in overall fan sound. Nice!

Note: this picture was taken after the computer was on for about 10 minutes, but /before/ the burn-in process was started.”

 

This computer is almost ready to be delivered to the customer!

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 fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

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Who is Really Calling?

Computer scams are rampant if my voice mail is any judge.  For the last few weeks I’ve been getting a voice mail message with the following recording:

“This call is in regards to the security software we installed on your computer last year. Now we see a red flag on our end stating there is a security breach on it. Please call 1-866-758-1262. I repeat, 1-866-758-1262. Thank you.”

We’ve also received phone calls from regular people like you or me who fell victim to these scams.

Whenever you receive a call on your home or mobile phone from a number that you do not recognize, be extra careful. Dell or Microsoft or Toshiba or even Apple won’t be calling you to tell you that your computer has a virus.  When you get this kind of call, your spider-sense should be tingling!

There are times though when you answer the phone and the person on the other end is very convincing.  You might believe them and agree that they can access your computer remotely.  Then when you hang up the phone you have second thoughts.  Some things you should do right away are to:

  • Turn your machine off.
  • Disconnect the internet from your machine.  You may need to unplug the Ethernet cable from your machine or turn off the router if you have wireless service.
  • Turn your machine back on and confirm that your anti-virus is still working and is still installed.
  • Start your virus scanner.  It should tell you whether any malware has been installed, and it should remove those programs.
  • Once your virus scanner has completed and has removed any potential threats, you can reconnect your internet.
  • For the next few days be very cautious about how you use your machine.  For example, it would be prudent not to enter any financial or banking information on that machine – use your phone or iPad instead.  If the machine doesn’t show any signs of continued infection, it should be fine.  If it starts displaying pop-ups or becomes very slow, it’s time to call in a professional to do a through scrub of the machine.

You can find other symptoms of an infected machine here:

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 fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

 

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Experts say computers won’t last as long as you think

We have several customers with very old machines and they generally ask us how much longer they can expect their machine to last. We’re talking ten plus years! Remember Windows ME? Yup, we’re still seeing customers with that Microsoft Operating System!

It’s true that the machines that were built prior to 2010, for example, are likely to last five or so years. Some people have gotten them to last longer by taking special care of them. For example, we’re still happily using our 2008 iMac. Eight years later, it still performs very well. However, machines built in the last couple of years were only made to last three to six years.

I talked with Chris about computers in general and how long we can expect them to last.

“Computer technology doubles every three to four years and computers tend to last about four years. The better (more expensive) computers tend to last much longer than the cheaper ones will.”

Other experts around the internet chime in:

“…we use the 3-4-5 theory.  Plan on three years, hope for four, and don’t push past five years.”

“If you’re looking at the computer as a whole, with no interest in upgrading or replacing parts, expect to get at least three years out of the average desktop computer.”

“As a general rule of thumb, I expect laptops to last two to five years. Desktops may last three to seven years.”

“…a good timeframe to consider upgrading is around every three to four years.”

What can you do to help your machine last longer and keep it humming along?

  • Keeping the insides free of dust and pet hair.
  • If a machine is short on RAM, adding more will help it to run faster.
  • Too many protective software programs will make a machine run slower.
  • When the hard drive is more than 50% full, it will begin to run slower.
  • Viruses will tend to make your machine run slower. If you think you may have a virus, run your virus scanner to remove them.
  • Things get bigger and more computationally intense over time, so there are lags.

Remember, even if your machine is running perfectly, to keep your machine backed up regularly. Backups never go out of style and you never know when that hard drive might fail!

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 fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area

 

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