My Power Went Out!

It’s winter here in Colorado and that means blown down or frozen power lines.  The power goes out at our home about once every four to six weeks in the winter and we’ve learned what to do to keep our equipment safe.

Power Lines Down | Source: WikiMedia
Power Lines Down Source: WikiMedia

It’s really simple:

When the power first starts to flicker – the lights turn off for a half second or the smoke detector beeps – we go around the house and unplug everything from the wall.  This includes the computers, printer, TV, stereo, entertainment system, everything that would be expensive or inconvenient to replace.

What about a Surge Protector?

Surge protectors are okay, because you are not always at home when the power goes out and they do provide a small amount of protection.  Just know that they are not always able to provide 100% protection to all of your equipment.

Don’t forget your Router:

Remember to unplug your router as well.  Many times, we’ve been called to a client after a power outage and they’re no longer able to get their internet service.  Sometimes the power surge will “fry” the router and there’s nothing to be done but to get a new one.

If your power had been out and you need help adjusting your settings for your printer or router, just let us know!

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

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

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My WiFi Isn’t Working!

It sure is frustrating when your WiFi isn’t working.  We rely on it to get work done and keep in touch via email.  Facebook and Instagram, of course, rely on a good solid connection to the internet too.

If the WiFi itself isn’t really broken, then there are a couple of quick things you can do to get it working again.

My WiFi isn't working!
My WiFi isn’t working!

Airplane Mode?

First, is your device in Airplane mode or has the WiFi been turned off? On some laptops there is a simple switch (usually in the front) that is easy to accidentally turn off.  On other machines you’ll need to hold the function key and “radio” key down at the same time to toggle it on or off.

Forget the connection

Tell your device to “forget” the connection, then reconnect and reenter your WiFi password.

Router

If you have access to the router, turn it off, wait 10 seconds, then turn it back on again. Then, relog into the wifi on your computer or other device.

Call Your ISP

If you’re still not having any luck, call your Internet Service Provider (CenturyLink, Comcast, Xfinity, Rise Broadband, etc.).  Let them know that your WiFi isn’t working.  They should be able to tell you if it is something they can fix, or if you need to call in outside help.

You’ve followed these steps, but still your WiFi isn’t working?  Give us a call!

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

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

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Acronyms for Texting

Are you ever mystified by some of the acronyms that show up in your text messages, or sometimes on Facebook as well?  More than once I’ve had to look up an odd string of letters to figure out what they mean.

Texting Acronyms
Texting Acronyms

Most of us have figured out OMG, BFF, ETA, and LOL.  Even ROTFL and LMAO are fairly common.  But how about other acronyms like AAMOF, L2M, L8R, ENAT,

Here’s a run down of some of the acronyms you might see:

  • 911 – Emergency
  • AAMOF – As a Matter of Fact
  • AFK – Away from keyboard
  • BAE – Before Anyone Else
  • BFF – Best Friends Forever
  • BRB – Be Right Back
  • BTW – By The Way
  • ENAT – Every Now and Then
  • ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival
  • FML – F* My Life
  • FR – For real
  • FTW -For the win
  • GTFO – Get the f* Out
  • GTG – Got To Go
  • HBD – Happy Birthday
  • ICYMI – In Case You Missed It
  • IDC – I don’t care
  • IDK – I don’t know
  • IDRK – I don’t really know
  • ILU – I love you
  • IMO – In My Opinion
  • IMHO – In My Humble Opinion
  • IMU – I miss you
  • IRL – In Real Life
  • JC – Just Chilling
  • JK – Just Kidding
  • L2M – Listening to Music
  • L8R – Later
  • LMIRL – Let’s meet in real life
  • LMK – Let me know
  • LOL – Laugh out loud
  • LMAO – Laughing my a$$ off
  • LY – Love You
  • MY – Miss You
  • NMU – Not much, you?
  • Noob – Newbie
  • NM – Never mind
  • NP- No problem
  • NSFW – Not Safe For Work
  • OMG – Oh my goodness
  • OMW – On My Way
  • PAW or PRW- Parents are Watching
  • POS – Parent Over Shoulder
  • QT – Cutie
  • ROTFL – Rolling on the Floor laughing
  • SLAM – Stop Looking At Me
  • SMH – Shake My Head
  • SOS – Help me
  • STFU – Shut the f* Up
  • TBH – To be honest
  • TGIF – Thank Goodness for Friday
  • TMI – Too much information
  • TT4N – Ta Ta for now
  • TTTT – To Tell the Truth
  • TTYL – Talk to you later
  • TMSAISTI – That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  • THX – Thanks
  • WTH – What the heck
  • WYD – What are you doing
  • WYM – What do you mean

For parents wondering what their kids might be saying, here’s a list of sexting terms.

And finally, YW. (You’re welcome!)

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 – 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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Tech Terms Decoded – RAM

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 RAM in non-Tech terms.

RAM: Random Access Memory is the space your computer uses to run programs and also perform calculations without much delay. It will also hold any data that your program needs.  A program will exist in your computers memory, but when you start up that program, it will copy itself into RAM. Here’s a good definition from TechTerms.com:

Every time you open a program, it gets loaded from the hard drive into the RAM. This is because reading data from the RAM is much faster than reading data from the hard drive. Running programs from the RAM of the computer allows them to function without any lag time. The more RAM your computer has, the more data can be loaded from the hard drive into the RAM, which can effectively speed up your computer. In fact, adding RAM can be more beneficial to your computer’s performance than upgrading the CPU.

Recommendation:

I asked Chris how much RAM a computer should have. It depends on which Operating System you are using.

  • If you’re using the 32 bit version of Windows Vista or XP, your computer won’t be able to access more than 4 gigs of RAM.  Any more than that would be a waste.
  • If you’re using the 64 bit version of Windows Vista or XP, it can see more than 4 gigs.  Chris recommends using 8 gigs on these machines. (If you don’t know what a 32 bit or 64 bit machine is, you probably have the 32 bit version.)
  • For Windows 7 and 10, Chris recommends at least 8 gig of RAM, though more can be added as needed.

How Much RAM do I Have?:

To find out how much RAM your machine has click on the Start Menu, then open the Control Panel, then click on “System”. My computer is running Windows 7 64 bit with 16 gig of RAM:

Tech Terms - RAM
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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Keeping your WordPress website safe

Hacking Your WordPress Website

Do you have a WordPress website? I’ve recently noticed an uptick in the number of attempts to access our website from random IP addresses from around the globe.  I’m pretty confident that our site is secure, but I’ve been wondering how secure YOUR website is.  Many times when we set up a new site on WordPress, we use the login “admin” because it seems easy.  The problem is that someone who might be trying to hack into your account will try that first.  If you have a less-than-secure password, BOOM, they are in!

Wordpress Website Login ScreenCommon User ID’s

Here is a list of User ID’s which you should change:

  • Admin
  • Root
  • Test
  • Guest
  • Info
  • Adm
  • User

 Secure Passwords

I’ve talked about using secure passwords before.  Most recently I provided some tips to create a really strong password. But, WordPress goes one better, giving you an option to let them create a really strong password for you.  Use their tool!  Then write it down, or save it in a secure file.

Backup Your site

You spent a lot of time creating your website.  What would happen if your site was hacked? Remember to back it up so that if the worst happens, you spend minimal downtime. This article reviews the seven best WordPress backup plugins

Let’s keep safe out there!!

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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5 Navigation Apps To Get You Where You’re Going

I got our first GPS way back in 2005. (Way before smartphones and Navigation Apps!)  It was the perfect gift for Chris so that he could easily find his way to our customers homes and businesses. In the past ten years, GPS and mobile navigation in general has changed tremendously.  Now, Smartphone apps include traffic problems, construction detours, and multiple alternate routes.  It’s nice to be out there with your iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, so you’re able to get where you’re going with minimal issues.

Navigation Apps

My favorite app is the one that came with my iPhone.  It’s simply called “Maps”, so I use it on all of my road trips.  There have been a few times when it has steered me wrong, but mostly it is right on.  One issue I have with it though, is that it is a battery drainer.  So for long road trips, I keep my phone plugged in and charging when I have the Map app running. Another issue is that it doesn’t allow me to take a prettier back road without telling me to “make a U-Turn”!

Other Navigation apps that people like include:Navigation Apps

Google Maps

This is what I use at my desk computer to help plan road trips. Firstly, it synchronizes nicely with Google Calendar.  Secondly, I like that it shows me local businesses who have a Google listing.  However, the smartphone app doesn’t show accidents or construction, so I don’t use it on the road. Available for iPhone, Android

Waze

This is a highly rated app and not only gives you info on Traffic, but also upcoming Hazards, as well as Gas Prices, etc.  When I downloaded it I noticed some problems right away.  First of all, it won’t give you directions to a location more than 999 miles away.  Also, you have to drive at least 100 miles with Waze on before it will tell you where the cheap gas is.  So, while others rate Waze highly, it gets a pass from me! Available for  iPhone  Android  Windows

Komoot

I wish I’d known about this app before my kids started and finished the Appalachian Trail.  Techlicious writes “This navigation app from a German startup covers an exhaustive range of North American bike paths and mountain trails, with topographic maps for hiking and biking routes near you. Its database is built from open-source info as well as user-submitted data to suggest trails for different fitness levels.” Available for Android & iOS

CoPilot

I haven’t used Co-Pilot, but I like that you can download your map ahead of time.  Consequently, you’ll save on data.  Techlicious writes “A full-fat nav app like CoPilot is a good idea if you’re overseas, for instance, and don’t want to use roaming data or depend on Wi-Fi stops to update Google Maps.” Available from copilotgps.com

Which of these apps do you use? Are there others that that I didn’t include? Let me know your favorites in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  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.  Maybe 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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Top 10 Ways to Use Siri

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays.  With New Years Eve just around the corner, I’m giving this post another go!  Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve had a number of friends tell me recently that Siri is worthless and never gets anything right. “And besides,” they say, “I can just do it faster myself than asking Siri!”

Granted, Siri had her challenges when she was first rolled out, and many of them remain. But if you just ask her to do simple tasks, she’ll generally get them right.

Here are ten things I frequently use Siri for:

  1. Call people:  For example, ask Siri to call your Mom. (If you haven’t set up relationships within your contact settings, here’s an article that teaches you how to do that.)
  2. Email people
  3. Text people:  I especially like this feature. I will dictate the message to Siri and she’ll type and send it.
  4. Set timers and alarms Just be aware that Siri sometimes hears “60” as “16”. I will instead ask for a timer for “61 minutes”.
  5. Check on the weather
  6. Show most recently received email
  7. Search emails:  You can find emails with specific text in them or emails from a specific person
  8. Find out the time and weather in another city:  Don’t forget, these are two separate questions!
    1. Siri, what time is it in London?
    2. Siri, show me the weather forecast in London.
  9. Search for a local business When you ‘re looking for a specific business, ask Siri to look it up for you. She’ll generally respond with a map and all of their contact information.
  10. Open an application on your phone:  Simply ask Siri to open the map application or the FitBit application, etc.
  11. Tell you a bedtime story:

Tell me a bedtime story

Siri still has her flaws, but if you know what they are and can work around them, she’ll serve you well. (In a limited capacity!)

How do you use Siri?  Let us know if the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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