Trialing VPN – My First Impressions

I have been trialing VPN.  Chris installed NordVPN on my phone and tablet a few weeks ago so I have had a chance to use it and get comfortable with it. I’m still trying to figure out why I really need it.  Why would anyone be interested in what I am doing on the internet?  Chris has reminded me that it’s not just what I search for, but also the information that I transmit.  So, sure, once I log into Facebook, they will know what I click on and the posts that I read, but they won’t know that a half hour ago I bought pink Ugg boots at Marshalls.

Here are my initial impressions from trialing VPN:trialing vpn

  1. On my phone, Chris had to make some changes so that my phone stayed logged into the VPN.  For the first few days whenever I moved from one WiFi location to another, or from WiFi to cellular, the VPN would drop and I would have to reconnect it.  Now the VPN is persistent even as I drive or walk around.
  2. I like that I can connect to a VPN almost anywhere in the world.  Chris has experimented with connecting in the UK.  Then he can see what is on the BBC that is not available in Colorado.
  3. There are times when the VPN seems to slow things down, especially on my phone and tablet. When that happens, I disconnect and then reconnect to my WiFi and that seems to help.
  4. There have been times when I cannot send email from my phone when connected to the VPN. We’re still trying to figure out what that happens.  In the meantime, I turn off the VPN, send the email, and then reconnect.

Are you trialing VPN? What are your impressions?  Please let me know 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 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 the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Screen Time – Managing time on your Mobil Devices

Recently I was out to dinner with a couple of friends.  During almost the entire evening at least one of them had their nose in their phone.  They were responding to texts/private messages, or answering a phone call, or listening to voice mails, or responding to emails.  I was appalled by their lack of manners, not just to me, but to each other! Several of these friends are also obsessed with the news.  When I pressed them on it, they didn’t seem to think they had spent that much screen time and that it wasn’t disruptive. I wondered to myself just how much time they were actually spending on their phone.

And then I started wondering how much time /I/ actually spend on my phone!

What is Screen Time?

Well, lucky me, because the next iOS for my iPhone and iPad will be available in September and includes a new app called “Screen Time”. I’ve signed up for the beta version of iOS 12 to try it out. Of course I’m installing it on my iPad and not my iPhone.  I use my iPhone extensively for business.  If my iPhone were to be suddenly unavailabe, I’d be up a creek without a paddle! So far, here is what I have found:screen time

  1. Although I installed Screen Time on my iPad, it says that it is providing results for “All Devices”.  Since I generally use the same apps on my phone and my tablet, I wasn’t really sure if it was showing results for both.  I did a little test and played a game on my phone that is not on my iPad.  The time I spent playing that game did not show up on the results.  In addition, it said I picked up my “phone”, on average, every 22 minutes.  Again, it is showing results for the iPad.
  2. Since I don’t use my iPad that much, and when I do, it is primarily for entertainment, the results are a little skewed.  Once I install iOS 12 on my iPhone, I’ll have a better idea of how I’m actually using my devices.
  3. I do like that it tells me where I’m spending my time: Productivity, Social Networking, Entertainment, and Games.

Helpful hints:

Are you concerned about how much time you are spending on your mobile devices? Telling yourself to just put it down isn’t really much help. Here are some things I have found helpful on my iPhone:

  1. Putting my phone in another room during meals.  I can still hear it ring, and if it is important, I can easily get up
  2. Turning off all notification sounds.  In Settings, select “Notifications”.   Then you can go through the list of all of your apps one by one.  Which of these apps should be allowed to interupt you with notifications?  Which should not?
  3. If I really don’t want to be disturbed, I turn the ringer off.  My phone still communicates with my Fitbit watch, so when someone is calling I get a notification on my watch.  Again, if it’s important, I can easily get up. If I really, really don’t want to be disturbed, I will take off my Fitbit.
  4. Changing my iPhone to greyscale.  It is a much less attractive distraction when there is no color involved.  In Settings, select General, then select Accessibility.  Scroll to the bottom of that screen and select “Accessibility Shortcut”. Click on “Color Filters”.  Then triple tap the home button to make your iPhone greyscale.  Triple tap again to bring the color back.
  5. Use a timer.  If you do want to check social media but want to make sure you’re not spending two hours catching up with your Facebook friends, set a timer.  It’s best if you set it in a different room.  For example, if I’m in my home office, I can set the microwave timer.  That provides me with a persistent reason to get up and head to the kitchen to turn off the timer!

Screen Time for Kids:

Screen Time will also allow you to restrict your children’s use of their iPhone and iPad.  I would suggest trialing Screen Time for yourself first. Then you’ll know how best to introduce it to your kids.

 

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 the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Tech News – What We’re Watching

There sure has been a lot going on in the technology world.  Here’s some of the tech news I’ve been reading about:

Facial Recognition is back in the news.  Between China and Facebook, it is something we all need to be aware of.Tech News - Year In Review

  • This article in the Sunday New York Times gives an overview of how facial recognition is being used in China.  From catching criminals to just keeping track of people, their system is pretty impressive.  “Beijing is embracing technologies like facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people.”
  • This article reminds us to stop taking selfies if we want to stay out of facial recognition databases.  “A 2016 Georgetown University study found that one in two American adults, or 117 million people, are in facial recognition databases with few rules on how these systems may be accessed.”
  • If you want to turn off fingerprint or facial recognition on your smartphone you should read this article.

Next Monday is Amazon Prime Day and all the tech news outlets want you to know what the best deals are.  Remember to still check the internet to see if you can get a better deal on that coveted item from somewhere else – Best Buy, Target, etc.

  • You do need to be a member of Amazon Prime in order to take advantage of these deals.  Check out this link to Try Amazon Prime for a 30-Day Free Trial. If you don’t like the benefits, remember to cancel before the 30 day trial is up!
  • There are some tips in this article to help you take the best advantage of Prime Day.
  • Then there is always eBay which is also offering great deals next week.
  • And these 10 stores will price match Amazon all year long!

July and August are great times to travel.  Here are some Tech Tips to make international travel easier.

  • Remember to check with your phone carrier before making an international trip.  They will probably be able to offer you special plans for the duration of your trip.
  • Here are some tips to unplug from tech while you are on vacation.  My personal favorite is the nuclear email option!
  • Remember to set your Dropbox so that it automatically uploads your photos to the cloud.  That way, if you’re taking the perfect picture at the ocean, and a wave destroys your phone, you’ll still have most of the photos saved.  (Dropbox does need wifi in order to upload any videos.)
  • And, please don’t use all of your data!  Here are some tips to help you conserve your data plan.

Some of our favorite sites for tech news include Wired, Fast Company, arsTechnica, and C|Net.  Check them out!


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 the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

New Tablet Instead of a laptop? Here’s What To Look For

Face it. You’ve been thinking about getting a new tablet.  You’re only using your personal computer for email, social media, and movies. Now, I’m not talking about the machine you use for work.  The one that sits on your desk is probably also used for social media and personal email. When you get home at the end of the day though, your computing needs change. You don’t need to create a database or a white paper or even a simple spreadsheet.  You’re sending photos to your brother, or writing a thank you email to your Aunt or posting an old bookcase for sale in your local Facebook group.   You can do all of that on your phone.  You would hardly ever power up your Mac or PC  if it weren’t for your eyes!

What does this mean for you?  If you’ve been thinking about replacing your older computer, start thinking about getting a tablet instead of another computer.  There are a number of good tablets out there, and you’ll save some money by choosing a tablet over a laptop or desktop.  If you are thinking about replacing your computer, please remember to back up all of your data.  Do it now!  If you’ve stopped using it regularly, you may not remember about all the precious photos you have on that machine until it is too late.

What should you look for when getting a new tablet?New tablet

Operating System:

First, which operating system are you most comfortable with?  Which apps do you like and which OS do those apps work with?  Your choices here are iOS, Windows, and Android.  If you have an iPhone, you may be most comfortable with an iPad.

Battery Life:

If there is one thing that bugs me, it is having to recharge a device after only a short period of time being used. Take a close look at how long each new tablet is expected to last on its battery.

Screen Size:

Screen size and weight go hand in hand.  Do you want something that fits easily into your backpack without being too cumbersome?  The most common screen size is around 10″.  In that size, your new tablet could weigh just under a pound, to over 1 1/2 pounds.

Storage:

If you’ll be storing a lot of photos or music on your tablet, get the biggest size you can afford.  Tablets normally run in sizes from 32gb, 64gb, 128gb, 512gb, and 1 TB. Other than screen size, this is the one thing that will really bump up the price.

Camera:

Will you be taking a lot of photos with your new tablet? Or will you continue to primarily use your phone for photos?  Most of the tablets available now have cameras with 8 to 13 megapixels on the rear camera. The choices come with the front facing camera – the one you would use for selfies.  Choices here range from 1.2mp to 8mp.

Price:

Most tablets are currently selling for $300 to $800.  Make sure you know what is important to you, what you absolutely need, and what you can live without.

What features did I forget that are important to you?  Let me know 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 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 the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Router Virus aka VPNFilter Malware

The Router Virus

Have you heard in the past few weeks about the router virus that is impacting hundreds of thousands of routers? The FBI issued a report recommending that everyone reboot their routers because:

“Foreign cyber actors have compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other networked devices worldwide.”

Over the past week or so, we’ve been getting calls from our customers who are very concerned about the router virus they keep hearing about.  And they’re right to be concerned.  The malware has been programmed into hundreds of thousands of routers. Big deal, right?  I don’t run any programs on my router.  I don’t store any of my data on my router.  It’s just that black box that sits in the corner that brings my WiFi signal from my ISP to my tablet. Completely harmless, right?

What can go wrong?

Well, no.  This particular router virus can make your router inoperable.  Even worse it can collect any information passing through the router. So it could possibly collect your ID and password for your bank account.

How do you protect yourself?

The FBI is recommending that you reboot your device, upgrade to the latest firmware, and change the router password to a super-super secure password.

How do you reboot your router?The Router Virus aka VPNFilter Malware

Rebooting your router is just like rebooting your computer.  Unplug the router (or turn it off if the on/off switch is clearly marked), Wait 30 seconds, then plug it back in.

Will a reboot of the router always work?

Several privacy and security companies are saying that a reboot does a partial job.  Apparently, a router has two kinds of memory: Volatile and non-volatile memory.  Sometimes the router virus will also write data to the non-volatile memory too.  A reboot will clear volatile memory only.  In order to clear non-volatile memory, you’ll need to reset your router.

Should I reset my Router instead?

A router reset is more complicated than just turning the device off and on.  You’ll need to enter certain information and follow certain steps. ESET (the company we like for antivirus software) has provided instructions for performing the reset.  You can find them in this article.

Which routers have this virus?

ESET has published a list of routers known to be infected with the router virus.  There are probably many others and the best thing would be for you to reboot your router regardless of which model you have.  Here is the list from ESET:

  • “Asus: RT-AC66U, RT-N10, RT-N10E, RT-N10U, RT-N56U, RT-N66U
  • D-Link: DES-1210-08P, DIR-300, DIR-300A, DSR-250N, DSR-500N, DSR-1000, DSR-1000N
  • Huawei: HG8245
  • Linksys: E1200,  E2500, E3000, E3200, E4200, RV082,  WRVS4400N
  • Mikrotik: CCR1009,  CCR1016,  CCR1036,  CCR1072, CRS109, CRS112, CRS125, RB411, RB450, RB750, RB911, RB921, RB941, RB951, RB952, RB960, RB962, RB1100, RB1200, RB2011, RB3011, RB Groove, RB Omnitik, STX5
  • Netgear: DG834, DGN1000,  DGN2200, DGN3500, FVS318N, MBRN3000,  R6400,  R7000,  R8000,  WNR1000,  WNR2000, WNR2200, WNR4000, WNDR3700, WNDR4000, WNDR4300, WNDR4300-TN, UTM50
  • QNAP: TS251, TS439 Pro, Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
  • TP-Link: R600VPN, TL-WR741ND, TL-WR841N
  • Ubiquiti: NSM2, PBE M5
  • Upvel: according to Talos, malware targeting Upvel as a vendor has been discovered, but researchers have not yet determined which devices are targeted.”

Will you reboot your router or re-set it?

If you decide you want to “re-set” your router rather than “reboot” it, let us know if you need help.


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 the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Privacy Policy and the EU’s GDPR

Privacy Policy Overload

Oh. My. Goodness!  Another Privacy Policy in my email inbox!  What is going on? And why is every single company all of a sudden updating their Privacy Policy?!

Well, the European Union has just enacted a new law called the General Data Protection Regulation.  The GDPR governs what companies can do with your data. It also governs how they can ask you for your consent to those new policies.  Right now it is only in effect in the EU, but so many companies have a global presence that they do need to make sure they are in compliance.

In my opinion, this could not have come at a better time.  It seems to me that so many companies are just running roughshod on our information.  It is perfectly reasonable to ask:

  1. Who has my data – my email, my age, my address, my phone, my likes, etc.?
  2. What are they doing with my data?

GDPR

Under GDPR, and if you live in the EU, companies must disclose in their Privacy Policy, what data they are collecting and retaining about you, AND, receive your direct permission to do this.  You can also request the data that a company has compiled about you.  It is only a matter of time before something similar to GDPR goes into effect globally, so many US companies are jumping the gun to update their Policies and Procedures now.  However, it doesn’t appear that US companies are actually providing that info to people in the US.  They do need to comply if the person lives in the EU.   There was an interesting article in the NY Times last week where two journalists, one in the US, and one in Britain, requested their data from a number of different tech firms.  The difference in the data provided to each was astounding.  From one source, the person in the US received one piece of data.  The person in the UK received 543 lines of data!privacy policy

As far as I can see, Twitter has made it relatively easy to get all of your data from them.  Click on your account, then on “Settings and Privacy”.  Near the bottom, you can click on “Request Your Archive”.  You’ll receive an email when the archive is ready to be downloaded.

Did you recieve an updated Privacy Policy or two?  How many?! Did you read any of them?  Let us know!


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 the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $119/year ($59 for students!), but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)  If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Why do I need a VPN and What is it anyways?

VPN’s

Many of our customers have been asking us about VPN’s lately.  What is a VPN? Do I need a VPN? How do I set up a VPN? With Internet privacy being what it is, more and more people are wondering how they can protect themselves.  A VPN may be the answer.  Let’s answer these questions one at a time:

What is a VPN?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is encrypting software that masks your identity and internet activity by hiding your IP Address. (Your IDo you need a VPN?P Address is the number associated with your computer or phone that identifies you to the network. It’s a string of numbers like 11.111.11.111 and uniquely identifies you.  If you head over to What Is My IP Address, it will tell you what your IP address is, who your ISP is, and where you are located.)  When you use a VPN, your computer sends your internet activity to a remote server which will then send your request on, but without your identifying IP address. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will not be able to see or track your activity.

Do I need a VPN?

If you are traveling in a country with less secure internet practices, you may need a VPN.  If you frequently use the Internet at coffeeshops, you may need a VPN. If you want to keep your internet activity secure for any reason at all, you probably need a VPN. (Remember that just because a public WiFi is called Starbucks, doesn’t mean it is really being provided by the store you are in.  It could also be someone in the parking lot monitoring traffic and collecting as much personal data as they can.)

How do I set up a VPN?

First, do some research to see which VPN provides the features that you want at an affordable price. You can expect to pay under $10/month for a good VPN Service.  Most VPN’s allow you to connect multiple devices. When doing your research, look to see if the company saves your data and what the laws are in the country it operates in. Another feature that some VPNs have is to disconnect you from the Internet if their service stops working for whatever reason.  That way you’re never using the internet without being encrypted.

Once you’ve selected the service, download the software on each device – computer, tablet, phone – and you are good to go!  We like NordVPN:


Was this helpful for you? Let us know 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 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 the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial  (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

Would you like to receive our newsletters in your email?  Please click here.

3 Best Routers – Does Your WiFi Reach Into Your Yard?

Best Routers

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about routers recently.  What are the best routers?  How do I get the most secure router?  My internet is super fast – can I get a router that is super-fast too? Of course, Chris has his favorite, but I thought it would be good to head over to Amazon to find the very best routers with top ratings.  So I looked for a router which has at least 100 reviews with an average rating above four stars. I’ve also copied an actual review of these three best routers.  (Full disclosure – if you buy something using these links, Geek For Hire may earn a small commission.)

eero Home WiFi System (4.6 Stars / 1,536 Reviews)

Ok, I will admit that I bought these with the full intention of probably having to send them back. Through the years I have tried several different systems to put good wireless throubest routers - eeroghout our 3-story home. I’ve used several different routers, and have had an Apple AirPort Extreme and two Airport Express’ running (which still provide the backbone in the house for our less needy machine system). But nothing I did could get a good signal into the master bedroom in the back of the house, especially with the main router being in the home office upstairs on the other side of the house. My better half constantly let me know I was a poor excuse of a Network Engineer when she wasn’t even able to watch the latest Korean drama in peace while laying in bed.  Unpacking – simple and clean. … Once I had all the Beacons set up I went through the house trying to find a weak spot or dead spot. Couldn’t find one – not one! Guess I won’t be sending this stuff back after all. Sure put a smile on my better half’s face! Oh, and is this thing FAST!!!

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router (4.6 Stars / 244 Reviews)

“Being a casual gamer with a DSL connection in today’s world is a real disadvantage. My ping speeds were in the 190s prior to this routbest routers - netgearer. After using the geo filter and anti buffer bloat they dropped into the 20s!!!! Yes, the 20s. Only having 10 MBps, the traffic prioritisation is a must have. I put my PS4 at the top of the list and if somebody decides to fire up youtube while I’m playing its not an issue anymore. This is a game changer. But the real benefit is the DUMA OS. It is perfect for a novice like myself to manage my home network however I want. Kid wont put down the IPad and take out the trash? No problem, one click and that IPad is offline. Want to block sites for certain devices? Done. There are super technical things you can do on this but I’m too scared to mess with those so I don’t. It seems like a lot of money but once you realize the benefits of this you’ll wish you’d have done it sooner.

Linksys Velop Tri-band Whole Home WiFi Intelligent Mesh System (4.5 Stars / 1,656 Reviews)

“I replaced my Apple Airport Extreme with this. It felt like a better experience for Wi-Fi in my house was possible. I HAD best routers - linksysNO IDEA how much better it could be. I bought a SINGLE Velop node and it covers my entire home better than the Airport Extreme *combined* with an Airport Express did. I will likely need a second Velop node come summer to reach our back yard, but my entire house is now completely covered. It gives FULL download speeds from my modem (350Mbps) and I could not be happier. I researched all the Mesh systems out there (Google, Eero, etc.,) and this one seemed the way to go. Of course I didn’t buy the others, but I am VERY VERY happy with the Velop and will recommend it to everyone who asks me about home Wi-fi.

What do you consider the Best Router?

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 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 

If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

Scam Phone Calls – One Simple Thing To Protect Yourself

Scam Phone Calls:

We’re getting more calls for technical support from people who have fallen for one of the scam phone calls. They receive the call, and let the “tech” from “Microsoft” or “Dell” gain access to their machine. Or, the “tech” asks them if they have a particular file on their machine, and then express concern and alarm when the person says “Yes I do have that file.  Is that bad?”.  Of course, this is a file that every Windows machine must have to function, but the average person doesn’t know that. These people are highly skilled in the art of persuasion.  They are very convincing. This is their job, and they won’t want to let you go.

And, it’s not your imagination.  These “bad operators” are stepping up their activity.  Even Microsoft has recognized the problem.  Virus headlines like these keep coming across my newsfeed.

And here are two articles who recognized the scam and played along:

scam phone calls

Phone Operators

From the Microsoft website:

“It is a SCAM!!! Microsoft does not do that nor do they have partners who do that nor do they hire sub-contractors or people or even get volunteers to do that. There are probably thousands of such companies out there doing this every day.”

One Simple Thing to Protect Yourself From Scam Phone Calls:

Remember that Microsoft, or Google, or Dell, or anyone else won’t call you to tell you have a virus.  Those phone calls are always scams.  So, there really is just one thing you can do to protect yourself. Hang up!  These folks are well practiced and very convincing.  Hang up!

Apple Scam Phone Calls:

Sorry, Mac users.  It’s only a matter of time before you start getting targeted too.  As more and more people transition to Mac’s, they won’t let you out of the fun. Your solution is the same.  Hang up!

Be careful with who you allow to access your machine. Hang up if your spider sense starts tingling.

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 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 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.

9 Tips For Keeping Your Data Safe during Fire Season

Fire Season

James Peak during Fire Season

I woke up this morning to a hazy, smoky view. I am reminded that it is Fire Season again.  In this case, the fire is two states away, but the smoke is pushed hundreds of miles by the jet stream. Even though the fire is so far away, it is a reminder that when you live in the west, you need to be prepared to evacuate, at a moments notice. Here are our recommendations to be prepared for Fire Season, to keep your data safe, and to make sure your technology continues to work at the shelter.

Recommendations for Fire Season:

  1. Use a laptop for your daily computer.  There is not a lot of difference between a laptop and a desktop anymore, so get the computer that will allow you to grab it fast.  You can still have a large monitor and keyboard on your desk.  If you need to bug-out, just unplug everything.
  2. Get two charging cables for your laptop.  Keep one at your desk and the other in the laptop case.  This way you won’t need to grab anything extra.
  3. Make sure you use the Cloud to back up your data.  An external hard drive can accidentally get left behind.  Or worse, you may not even have time to grab your laptop.   I like Dropbox because I can log onto the Internet from anywhere to easily access my data.
  4. Talk to your cell phone provider about turning your cell phone into a hot spot.  As long as you have access to a good cellular signal, you’ll be able to send a good wifi signal to your laptop from anywhere.
  5. Make sure you have a bunch of fully charged battery packs.  I got two of these iXCC Power Banks several months ago and am constantly using one or the other.  I carry one in my car so if I run low on charge, I can easily get recharged again.
  6. Keep the Geek For Hire phone number handy.  We can talk you through most issues you might be having.  Remember, if you just have a quick question, we don’t charge for phone calls under 15 minutes.
  7. Remember to keep your precious photos and other valuables in a bin by the door ready to go in case you do get evacuated.
  8. Keep your fuel tanks at least half full throughout the fire season.
  9. Grab your laundry basket.  All of your favorite clothes are already in there!

On the bright side, we’ll be treated to some amazing sunrises and sunsets until that fire is under control!

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 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 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. (Any links to products or services in this post may be affiliate links. If they are, we may receive a small commission when you click on it. Rest assured, your price will be the same!)

If you’d like to receive our newsletters in your email, please click here.