Internet of Things – IOT

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

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

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

We have Kevin Ashton to thank for the term:

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

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

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

What’s next for the Internet of Things?

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

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

 

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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

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

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

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Is it Time to Trade In Your Old Kindle?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

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

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

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

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What Is Wrong With My Multi-Function Printer?!

When I mention what I do to new acquaintances, I get this question a lot: What Is Wrong With My 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 Multi-Function Printer?!

Here are some 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? Check out our Buyers Guide to see what your options are.

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

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Tech Terms Decoded – CPU

Decoding Tech Terms

Are you as confused as I sometimes am about common Tech Terms?  When Chris talks about RAM and Memory and CPU and gigs of storage, I’m not sure what he is saying. I’ve done some digging to see if I can help explain CPU in non-Tech terms.

Computer Processing Unit or CPU

The CPU is a component in your computer where the actual calculations are carried out.  Here’s a good explanation from TechTerms:

“The CPU is the primary component of a computer that processes instructions. It runs the operating system and applications, constantly receiving input from the user or active software programs. It processes the data and produces output, which may stored by an application or displayed on the screen.

The CPU contains at least one processor, which is the actual chip inside the CPU that performs calculations. For many years, most CPUs only had one processor, but now it is common for a single CPU to have at least two processors or “processing cores.” A CPU with two processing cores is called a dual-core CPU and models with four cores are called quad-core CPUs. High-end CPUs may have six (hexa-core) or even eight (octo-core) processors. A computer may also have more than one CPU, which each have multiple cores. For example, a server with two hexa-core CPUs has a total of 12 processors.”

Which Processor do you have?

For a Mac, click on the Apple in the top left corner, then select “About this Mac”.  Finally, click on “Overview” to see your Processor.

Mac Processor

For a Windows machine, click on the Start menu, then click on Control Panel, and finally select System.

Tech Terms - RAM

 

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.  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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Tech Terms Decoded – Operating System

Decoding Tech Terms

Are you as confused as I sometimes am about common Tech Terms?  When Chris talks about RAM and Memory and gigs of storage, I’m not sure what he is saying. I’ve done some digging to see if I can help explain Operating System in non-Tech terms.

OS or Operating System

The Operating System is what allows your computer to run.  Whether you are using a Mac, a Windows, a Linux machine, or something else, the OS manages the internals to make sure your document is delivered successfully to your printer, or your proprietary spreadsheet is automatically saved every 2 minutes.

Some of the Operating Systems available include Windows, OS-X for Mac’s, Linux, Android for Smartphones, and iOS for iPhones. The Operating System is what allows the applications or computer software to communicate with the computer hardware and get things done.  It is software that controls the basic operations of the computer.  The Operating System also oversees file management.

Here’s a good definition from TechTerms

“An operating system, or “OS,” is software that communicates with the hardware and allows other programs to run. It is comprised of system software, or the fundamental files your computer needs to boot up and function. Every desktop computer, tablet, and smartphone includes an operating system that provides basic functionality for the device.”

Which Operating System are you using?

For a Mac, click on the Apple in the top left corner, then select “About this Mac”.  Finally, click on “Overview” to see your OS and version.

Operating System - Mac OSx
Operating System – Mac OSx

For a Windows machine, click on the Start menu, then click on Control Panel, and finally select System.

Windows Operating System
Windows Operating System

Are you happy with your current Operating System?  Have you thought about upgrading to a newer version?  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 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.  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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Tech Terms Decoded – Computer Memory

Decoding Tech Terms

Are you as confused as I sometimes am about common Tech Terms?  When Chris talks about RAM and Memory and gigs of storage, I’m not sure what he is saying. I’ve done some digging to see if I can help explain Computer Memory in non-Tech terms.

Computer Memory Storage

Computer Memory is defined by the techies in two ways.  First of all there is Primary memory or RAM which is highlighted in a previous blog.  Next is Secondary Memory.  And now we all know why we get confused talking about Memory.  The Geeks think Primary storage or RAM.  Normal folk think about where you put your files, which is referred to as “secondary”.

Computer Memory or Secondary Memory: The amount of storage you have in your Hard Drive or Solid Sate drive (or even your SmartPhone)  is what we’ll talk about here. (Read this blog for the difference between a Solid State Drive and a Hard Disk Drive.)  Computer Memory is where you store your files, your photos, and your music.  The more storage you have, the more music you can play!

And, yes, computer memory makes a difference on your SmartPhone too.  One year when I was on vacation, I had to bring my computer to the beach to take the sunrise photos.  My phone had so little storage, that I had to download them to my computer if I took more than 15 pictures!  Needless to say, I could not take videos with that phone.

How Much Storage do I Have?

To find out how much storage your Windows machine has, first click on the Start Menu.  Next click on “Computer”.  Here it will show how much storage you have, and how much is free or available.

Computer Memory - Windows
Computer Memory – Windows

If you want to find out how much storage you have on your Mac, first click on the Apple in the top left corner.  Next select “About This Mac”.  Then click on Storage. You should see something like this with a breakdown on where you are using your computer memory:

Computer Memory - Mac
Computer Memory – Mac

How Much Memory Should I Have?

If you’re constantly having to delete photos or files, you need more!  In general, if you’re buying a new machine, you should have double the amount that you are currently using.  If you need help ordering and installing more computer memory, then click 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 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.  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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10 Shortcuts with the Windows Key

I know a couple of the shortcuts that you can use with the “Windows” key.  I was wondering the other day if there are more that might make my life easier. Turns out, there are!

I like knowing the shortcuts because I’m a keyboard user. Taking my hands off the keyboard to negotiate with my mouse is “time consuming” in a world where every second counts.  If you’re a keyboard user like me, you’re welcome!

In case you don’t know, the Windows key looks like this:

2016-09-07-10-10-47

So, here goes:

  1. The Windows Logo Key all by itself will bring up the “Start” menu. You know, the icon you tap when you want to cleanly shut your machine down.
  2. Windows Logo Key + L will lock your screen. You’ll need to log in again, but all your open Windows will still be there.
  3. Windows Logo Key + M will minimize all of your open Windows. This is also known as the “Boss” key!
  4. Windows Logo Key + E will bring up your Windows Explorer page so you can see how much space you have left on your machine and where all of your files are.
  5. Windows Logo Key + D will show you the Desktop.
  6. Windows Logo Key + Space Bar will show your Desktop for as long as you press down the Windows key.
  7. Windows Logo Key + T will cycle through your running programs on the taskbar.
  8. Windows Logo Key + a number will bring up the program pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number.
  9. Windows Logo Key  + Tab will cycle through your open programs using 3D.  (Try that one.  It’s pretty cool!)
  10. Windows Logo Key + Home will minimize all your open windows except the one you’re currently working on.

 

If you’d like to learn more shortcuts, check out this page from Microsoft, or this one from Shortcut Mania.

There are so many keyboard shortcuts.  Look for more tips in the coming weeks!

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 on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and 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, but I’m tempted!   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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