Phone Scams and how to protect yourself

Privacy and Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you provide credit card information:

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

If you allow remote access to your computer:

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

How can you protect yourself from email scams?

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

Conclusion:

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

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is usually $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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WordPress Security Tips

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

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

How to ramp up your WordPress security:

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

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

What we’re dealing with:

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

Conclusion:

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

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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

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

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is usually $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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

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

Price:

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

Ink Jet vs. Laser

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

Wired or WiFi?multifunction printer

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

Black vs. 4-color:

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

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

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

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

Duplex?

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

Is Your MultiFunction Printer not working?

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

Geek For Hire Recommends These Printers:

We like Hewlett Packard printers.  We’ve been using them since 1990ish when we got our very first HP LaserJet 4.  It was a workhorse, and we loved it!

Here are several inkjet multi-function printers:

  • The HP OfficeJet Pro 8025 is a good inexpensive multi-function printer with wireless functionality.
  • The HP OfficeJet Pro 8035 is a little faster and a little smaller.  It’s also a good choice for a multi-function WiFi printer.
  • The HP OfficeJet 8702 is a faster multi-function color WiFi printer.

If you’re looking for a laser printer:

  • The HP LaserJet Pro M118dw is a great laser printer for someone that doesn’t need color or all-in-one functionality.  It prints in black only and prints double-sided.
  • I have the previous version of the HP LaserJet Pro M426fdw.  It has served me well for the past few years, and I love it.  It’s a multi-function/all-in-one color LaserJet printer with WiFi and double-sided/duplex printing.

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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

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

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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

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

First – check for contact information:

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

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

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

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

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

Be a Good Samaritan:

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

How to set up the Emergency Information on your iPhone:

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

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

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

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

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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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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Poor Cell Phone Service – Some Tips to Remedy

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

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

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

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

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

bad cell service

More Info:

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

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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

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

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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What Is Wrong With My MF (Multi-Function) PRINTER?!

When I mention what I do to new acquaintances, I get this question a lot: What Is Wrong With My MF (Multi-Function) PRINTER?!  A major problem with printers these days is that they are designed to be disposable, a throw-away appliance.  The cheaper ones might only last for a year. Even the more expensive ones break down.  Then it could be more cost effective to get a new one rather than trying to get it fixed.

What Is Wrong With My MF (Multi-Function) PRINTER?!

Here are some of the common printer problems:

Paper Jam

If you have a paper jam, the first thing to do is to pull out the paper tray. Sometimes the paper is stuck just as it comes out of the tray. You can also try this: carefully open up your machine and turn all the knobs and wheels that move the paper forward. If you can see where the paper is stuck, carefully give the paper a little tug to see if you can pull it out. If it feels like it might start to tear, stop pulling. Continue moving the knobs and wheels until the entire piece of paper has been removed. In rare cases, the jam is so severe that you cannot remove the paper.  Sometimes trying to remove the paper can bend some of the metal wires.   In that case, it’s probably time to look for a new printer.

 

Driver upgrade

Sometimes, with both Mac and Windows machines, your computer will take an upgrade overnight which then requires a new software printer driver for your printer.   Go to your printer’s website – Hewlett Packard, Dell, Brother, etc. – and download the new software. Once you have downloaded and installed the software, your printer should work again.  Call us if you need help.

What Is Wrong With My MF (Multi-Function) PRINTER?!

Wireless printer won’t connect to the wifi

If your computer suddenly can’t find your wireless printer, somehow the printer lost its connection to the Wi-Fi router.  Turn both your computer and printer off and on again.  If that doesn’t work, input your Wi-Fi code into the printer control panel and you should be good to go.

What Is Wrong With My MF (Multi-Function) PRINTER?!

New Ink Jet Cartridge doesn’t work:

Your printer tells you it is time to replace the cartridge.  You install the new one and still get the same error message!  This is most likely because the ink dried inside the printer nozzles.  This happens when you haven’t used your printer in a while.  If you still have a warranty on the printer, take it in to see if they can repair it.  They may decide to replace it.  If you routinely go a week or more without using your printer,  consider replacing it with a laser printer.

Printer won’t turn on

Sometimes a printer just won’t turn on. Check all of the connections. Is the cord firmly plugged into the wall outlet?  Is the cord firmly pushed into the back of the printer?  You might need to try a hardware reset of the printer back to its default settings.  If it still won’t turn on, remove the power cord and let it rest for a little while or overnight. If it still won’t turn on, it’s probably time to get a new printer.

New Printer?

What do you look for in a new printer? There are several options, which depend on your preferences and requirements:

  • Ink Jet vs. Laser – I certainly prefer laser printers. Yes, they are a little more expensive to purchase, but they cost less to operate in the long run, and your printed pages look better
  • Black vs. 4-color
  • Printer only vs. Multi-Function (Copy, Print, Scan, Fax)
  • Print one side only vs. print front and back – Many of the newer MF Printers have duplex printers.  I like this option because it saves on paper!

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

Please forward this to your colleagues who ask you: What is Wrong with my Multi-Function Printer?

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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

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

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!  Prime is normally $119/year, but you can try it for 30 days for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Wondering How To Rent And Stream “A Star Is Born” And Other Oscar Nominated Movies In 2019?

Have you been wondering how to rent and stream “A Star Is Born” and other Oscar Nominated movies in 2019?  Technology seems to change so quickly and it’s hard to know how to do stuff that was easy just a few years ago.  (A few years ago we would run down to the local video store, then pick out what we wanted, and finally get ready to pay the late fee when it wasn’t returned in two days!)

I don’t know about you, but ever since this version of “A Star Is Born” came out, I’ve been thinking about the one with Kris Kristofferson from decades ago. Maybe not the best actor, but I loved his music!

Here’s a list of all the nominees for Best Picture:

Available to stream on Netflix:

  • Black Panther
  • Roma

Available to Buy or Rent on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and YouTube:wondering how to rent and stream "A Star Is Born"?

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • There’s a link to a free Amazon Prime trial below.

Available for pre-order:

  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Vice

Are you still wondering how to rent and stream “A Star Is Born”?

Head over to their webpage.  You’ll see all of the options there to stream online, or to go to a physical store to purchase it.  Then pop up a big batch of popcorn and enjoy!

Free Movie Streaming

There aren’t a lot of places to watch movies for free online.  Doing my research today, I did find a website that has (older) movies, documentaries, educational, and training films.  It’s called Kanopy.   The only catch is that your library needs to be registered with them.  Check them out!

Please forward this to your movie loving colleagues.

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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Weird, but easy to fix computer problems

Weird, but easy to fix computer problems:

I received a call this morning from someone who was having a whale of a time trying to figure out what happened to his machine.  It ended up being one of those weird, but easy to fix computer problems.  His screen had turned upside down!  Now, this has happened to me a few times.  It generally happens when I’m juggling a notebook and phone which both fall onto my keyboard.  When you have an unexpected upside down screen, it’s pretty hard to do a Google search to figure out how to fix it.

How to do a Google search when your screen is upside down:weird, but easy to fix computer problems

  • First, open up a new tab in your browser by pressing the CTRL key and the N Key at the same time.
  • Next, carefully bring your mouse to the bottom of your screen and click inside the search bar
  • Finally, type your question in the search bar and then click on ENTER.
  • You could also do this search on your smartphone!

Email doesn’t arrive:

Another one of those weird, but easy to fix computer problems happened to me today.  I was expecting an important email from a business associate.  It didn’t arrive.  I asked them to send it again which they did.  Again, it didn’t arrive.  I was freaking out, wondering if someone had hacked my email account and was receiving all of my emails.  (That totally didn’t make sense, because I was receiving other emails from other people.) She resent it four times before either of us thought to check my spam folder.  Yup, that’s where all those emails were.

Also, I do try to check my spam folder two or three times a week.  We sometimes get customer emails that land up there, or an email from Staples when I really do need more copy paper.

Slow WiFi:

Another one of those weird, but easy to fix computer problems is when your wifi suddenly becomes g…l…a…c…i…a…l.  It still works, but just takes forever for a page to load.  When this happens, simply reboot your Router.  It’s just like your Windows machine.  Turn it off, wait 10 seconds, then turn it back on again.  If it continues to be really slow, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and report the problem. They will run some diagnostics to confirm the problem or not.  If it ends up being in their network, they’ll get it fixed.  If it is a problem inside your house, ask them what they think the problem is.  They may tell you to get a technician in to help, or to get a new router.  Here’s a link to Chris’ favorite router.  If you need to troubleshoot the issue, we are happy to help.

So How Do I Fix the Upside Down Screen?

Press the CTRL key, the ALT key, and the Up Arrow at the same time.  (You can see that you probably pressed CTRL, ALT, and the down arrow to get there.)

Please forward this to your colleagues who have weird, but easy to fix computer problems.

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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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Need To Call 911 – Don’t Use Alexa!

Last week I learned that you can’t use Alexa or other “smart speakers” or “virtual assistants” to call 911 in an emergency.  It seems like this would be the perfect use for such a device.  You slip getting out of the shower, without your smartphone or smartwatch nearby, and break your arm. You call out to Alexa in the next room. “Alexa! Call 911!” And it says “I’m sorry, I can’t make that call.”

Well, why the heck not? (Go ahead. Say that with Lwaxana Troi’s voice like I just did!)  It seems like that would be the perfect application for such a device.

Why You Can’t Call 911:

It turns out that the FCC needs several things in order to allow a device to access its Emergency System.  Here are the most significant requirements:Call 911 - FCC logo

  • First, it needs a two-way connection and must be able to receive incoming calls so the emergency responder can call back.  Currently, most (maybe all) “smart speakers” aren’t designed for that.
  • Also, it needs to be able to provide an exact location.  Frankly, I’m not sure what the issue is here since the location information is much more stable than your standard cell phone.  After all, you’re probably not driving around with it in your car, or bringing it on airplanes to distant cities.  It seems like you would just have to register the device to a set address and they would know where to go.  (Unless you’re using it in your RV or Camper.)
  • Finally, once those obstacles are overcome, the FCC will probably charge a per device fee.  They do this for landlines and cell phones now, so this would not be unprecedented.

Important:

If you do happen to call 911 accidentally, stay on the phone and let the dispatcher know it was an accident.  Because they need to follow up on each call, even hang-ups, it takes less time for them to receive your “Sorry, wrong number” than to try to track you down after you hang up.

I am sure that this technology will all be worked out within the next few years.  For now though, if you (or your parents) are at risk of falling, it would be better to purchase a medical alert necklace or bracelet, the kind you don’t take off for bathing.

Please forward this to your colleagues who have a “smart speaker” at home.

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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