Facebook Safety Check Is Activated

In 2014, Facebook launched a feature called ‘safety check‘. Let’s say an emergency breaks out in someone’s hometown. The person can check in to let his/her Facebook friends know they’re okay. Facebook ‘safety check’ is activated again.

During the overnight hours, a 6.2 earthquake hit central Italy. The hardest hit regions were the Lazio, Marche and Abruzzo regions in the Apennine Mountains. This is about 80 miles northeast of Rome, but the city of Rome felt the quake. As of this writing, the earthquake caused at least 73 confirmed deaths. Over 150 are still missing. Thousands of families are left homeless. As I write this, rescue workers struggle around the clock to pull survivors out of the rubble. The hardest hit town was Amatrice. The small town of 2,600 was so devastated the town mayor said, “The town isn’t here anymore. I believe the [death] toll will rise.” One witness called the scene ‘apocalyptic’. Pope Francis calls the quake, ‘heartbreaking’. This part of Italy is also popular with tourists, especially during the height of the summer travel season. That business is gone. However, tourist revenue is the last issue on their minds right now. The US Embassy urges Americans to stay away from the earthquake zone.

Facebook safety check has helped in disasters before. They were there during the Nepal earthquake last year, the terrorist attack in Paris during November 2015, and  after the Orlando mass shooting in June 2016. They’ll be there for this Italy earthquake. If you know someone in the hard hit area, use Facebook check to check on their well being. If you are in these hard hit areas, use Facebook check to alert your loved ones. However, the communications might be heavily affected. If they are, keep trying until you get through. Facebook’s ‘safety check’ is a good tool to use right now. Do you have this feature on your device? You never know when you might need it.

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In Choosing a New Tech Device, Sometimes “Good Enough” Is Your Best Choice

New Tech Device

In Choosing a New Tech Device,

Sometimes “Good Enough” Is Your Best Choice

 

In a 1965 journal article, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel made the prediction – later made famous as “Moore’s Law” – that the technology of the semiconductor chip industry would steadily advance at such a pace that the number of transistors that could be fitted into an integrated circuit would roughly double every two years. Remarkably, this blistering pace of technological advancement has continued unabated throughout these past decades. Not only has the power of computer devices increased by orders of magnitude, but the cost of such devices has steadily dropped. We now have computers available to suburban teenagers with powers and speed that would have been inconceivable even to national governments a decade ago.

 

So when you go into a computer retail shop nowadays, you will find a range of choices of computers and other devices that can at times seem overwhelming and bewildering. The marketing campaigns behind major product lines also make a tremendous impact on the psychology of the computer buying public. All too often, the appeal of getting “the best” or the “top of the line” computer causes consumers to make what might be considered unwise decisions.

 

Tasks & Inventory

There are two key questions to consider when buying a new computer or other device. First, you must consider what tasks you need the new equipment to perform. Some people are primarily business users whose overwhelming computer use involves producing Word documents and spreadsheets. Some computer users are gamers who would enjoy a fast Internet connection, a powerful and fast graphics card and sound quality that makes every explosion and death clatter from defeated enemies sound as realistic as possible. Then there are the graphic designers, computer-generated animation artists and other professionals who task the graphics and processing power of their computer to the maximum.

 

Tech Budget Planning

The second question to consider – which is more important these days than ever – is what other devices you already have in your “stable” of tech devices. Tech companies increasingly often produce devices that can “do it all.” However, just because a device can do twenty different tasks doesn’t mean that you should use it that way. The basic insight of this article is that you should consider your tech purchases in the context of an overall tech budget for all the devices you plan to own and use in your household. Most people are interested in watching video, listening to music, playing video games, surfing the Internet, producing Word and spreadsheet documents and printing things on paper. Naturally, there is a wide range of devices that can do some or all of these various tasks. Inevitably the “jack of all trades” is also the “master of none.”

 

Rather than spend top-dollar to buy “the best, fastest and most awesome” of any certain type of device, you might consider the more modest approach of buying the adequate device of that type – not the fastest, latest or greatest – and using the savings to purchase other devices more specifically suited for some other need.

 

By intelligently establishing a tech budget and then carefully planning your tech purchases against that budget, you can fortify yourself to resist the occasionally unwise temptation to spend more and buy more computer than you need. We love to help people plan out their home tech systems and we also fix things when they break! If you need computer repair in Wake Forest or in Raleigh, please come see us.

 

Mobile Credit Card Processing – Is It for Me?

 

mobile_credit_card_processing

 

Mobile Credit Card Processing – Is It for Me?

One really exciting development enabled by the Internet is the re-birth of small businesses featuring unique, hand-crafted items. Websites like Etsy allow furniture makers, jewelers, clothing designers and others to cheaply reach a global market of enthusiastic customers. And now that there is a viable business driven by the online marketplace in these types of hand-crafted items, there is a new popularity of such wares at local festivals and craft markets. Interestingly, the online space is changing retail at bricks and mortar locations. If you are a small business person – especially if you sell goods at festivals and other temporary locations where you don’t have a permanent business establishment, you may be interested in mobile credit card acceptance. The new technologies are cheap, secure and easy to use. Let’s take a quick look at some of the new technologies and sift through the possibilities.

 

Only Connect!

The first issue to think about – the issue that drives the other aspects of mobile credit card acceptance – is the method that the physical card uses to connect with the credit card acceptance system. The method that most people are familiar with is as old as credit cards themselves – a magnetic strip on the back of the card is swiped through a reader and thereby transfers the information about the credit card account to the computer. A much more modern technology is one in which the credit card has a micro-chip embedded in its surface. Instead of swiping the card, the payor inserts the card into the card reader (“dips” the card) and the chip on the front of the card makes physical contact with the electronics inside the reader. The third and newest method starting to appear in retail establishments is one based on “near field communication” (NFC). An NFC-based credit card acceptance system does not require physical contact like the others. It operates using radio waves and bring the two devices within about 4 inches of one another is usually sufficient for the data transfer to occur.

 

Apple Pay, Google Wallet

Now that you understand the methods of connection, we can talk about the newest payment systems that are coming out from tech leaders Apple and Google. Both of these systems are based on NFC technology and are extremely mobile. If your smartphone is equipped with NFC technology, then you don’t need any additional hardware at all to pay with either Apple Pay or Google Wallet. For the vast majority of people, the decision between using Apple Pay or Google Wallet will be as simple as which kind of smartphone you already have. Those who favor the iPhone will naturally use Apple Pay, while those using any Android-based phone can use Google Wallet.

 

Accepting Payment From Your Smartphone

Accepting payment via credit cards is slightly more complicated than making payments from your smartphone but it’s still pretty straightforward. The standard way most businesses start to accept credit cards is by first establishing a merchant account with a bank and then signing up with a credit card processing company. You can sign up to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover and, once you’ve done that, activating the option to use Apple Pay and Google Wallet is easy. It is important to remember that you will have to pay a transaction fee for the convenience of being able to use credit cards in your small business. An even simpler way to get started is through using Paypal – which does not require a separate merchant account – but you may find that the fees are a bit higher. Finally, you will need to get your smartphone ready to accept credit cards by loading the correct software on the phone and then by getting hardware either for swipe cards, “dip and pay” cards with a chip and for Apple Pay and Google Wallet (NFC tech). Obviously, the more versatile your hardware, the broader range of customers you can serve.

 

Some of these procedures may seem technical and confusing, but they really aren’t. If you are a solo or small business person, come in and see us and we can help explain everything you need to know.

Do I Really Need a Tablet Computer?

 

tablet computer

 

 

Do I Really Need a Tablet Computer?

Several tech companies attempted to establish the tablet computer in the marketplace before Apple came out with its dominant iPad. But before the iPad, people mostly viewed tablet computers as curious extravagances. Cool and sleek-looking, for sure. But especially if you already have a laptop, do you really need a tablet? What’s all the fuss about anyway?

 

For the Road Warriors

Portability and light weight have got to be the biggest advantages of the tablet computer over the laptop. If you have to carry a computer around all day, you definitely will start to notice the difference between one pound and five pounds. The slim lines of the tablet will also allow you to slip it into your briefcase, while a laptop probably would require its own bag. There are plenty of professionals who rely on a computer to do their jobs – like external sales people calling on customers – and for these people, a tablet can definitely be a huge advantage.

 

Better Functionality Than a Smartphone

Some people who are trying to get their work done on the go try to rely exclusively on their smartphone. It is tempting to do – especially these days with the bigger screens on the smartphones. But if you’ve ever tried that, you know it doesn’t really work for more than just the most basic tasks. Even composing a relatively long email can be exhausting on a smartphone. But a tablet is another thing entirely. The big display and better processing power on the tablet make it much more useful for real work than a smartphone. Admittedly, the on-screen keyboard is a challenge for typing lengthy projects. But now you can get a highly portable external keyboard and come very close to matching the performance of a laptop.

 

Longer Battery Life

If you’ve ever been writing a project on a deadline in an airport with no power connection while you watch your battery meter go into the red zone, then you already know how important battery life can be when you are on the road. While laptop batteries do seem to be improving by leaps and bounds, the vast majority of tablet computers can still outperform a laptop in terms of battery life by a wide margin. That extra battery life is like an insurance policy that you won’t crash before you get your job done.

 

The Bluetooth Connection

Many of the limitations of a tablet can be made up by the ready availability of all sorts of useful accessories that can be connected to your tablet by Bluetooth. The external keyboard is the obvious example. Super portable and lightweight – with an external keyboard, your tablet is almost as functional as a laptop. The Bluetooth headset is another great example. While you wouldn’t want to have to hold a tablet up to your head, with a Bluetooth headset, you can very comfortably use your tablet as a phone.

 

If you have a highly mobile lifestyle, a tablet really can be a useful addition to your tech collection. If you’re curious about the possibilities please   contact us today!

Computer Hacking: Signs to Watch Out For and Tips to Protect Your System.

 Computer Hacking: Signs to Watch Out For and Tips to Protect Your System.

Computer Hacking: Signs to Watch Out For and Tips to Protect Your System

When it comes to the security and performance of one’s computer there is at least one item that everyone wants protected from malicious outside influences. Their personal information. In today’s society, hackers are more clever in their computer hacking techniques. What should you watch out for? What can you do to keep your personal information protected? Today, we have detailed a few of the common signs your system may be compromised as well as solutions, fixes and some ways to prevent your system from being hacked while protecting your personal vital information.

There are several signs that can signify your computer’s security system is compromised along with several techniques, tips and tricks you can use to fix your system if it has been compromised and to protect and prevent your system from getting hacked.

  1. False/Fake Anti Virus Warnings and Scans: A common technique used by hackers to get into a computer system is using that system’s own antivirus program against it by flashing a false message to trick you into initiating a system scan that is truly a false scan which in turn “discovers” a ridiculous amount of viruses on your system. They provide a link “offering” help, tricking you into a scam while accumulating your personal information. When it comes to this technique there are two points to hit on here. The first is “know” your antivirus software. If you know it, you’ll notice the difference in the software’s usual warnings versus the false warning and that should send the alarm bells ringing. The second is that it is always best to hit the power button and turn your computer completely off. Give it a reboot via Safe Mode that way you can then make good use of your true up-to-date antivirus software to destroy the malware.
  2.  Random and Fake Toolbars: Another common technique that hackers use to steal your personal information is an unwanted and bogus toolbar on your internet browser with a tidy little message telling you why you need another extra toolbar. This toolbar only makes it easier for the hacker or hackers to redirect your web browsing as well as cause those seemingly random pop-ups to appear. With this technique, simply run your antivirus software to scan and destroy the malware while removing the toolbar. Also, take the time to change all of your passwords.
  3. Strange Email Activity: The next common sign that your system may be compromised is your email contacts quite suddenly start receiving fake junk emails from your address. Once again, your antivirus program will be your best friend here, run it then take the time to check for any fake unwanted toolbars as this technique and the two listed above are sometimes implemented in tandem.
  4. Passwords Become Unsecured: The final sign we will address in this post has to do with your passwords. There are several different scams that can trick you via emails or email links and the next thing you know, your passwords are all different but you didn’t change them. Be highly vigilant in this regard. Unless you are specifically “resetting” your password for a site, you will likely not be receiving an email requesting you to change your password. If by some set of strange circumstances your password and the corresponding account does become compromised, change the passwords, alert your contacts. There are services that will allow one of your email contacts to help you get your account back under your control.

These are just a few of the common techniques hackers use to compromise computer systems but the best way to keep your systems safe is by remaining vigilant while on the world-wide web. If your computer or laptop ends up seriously compromised and the above list doesn’t help you much, then contact us or, if you’re in the North Carolina area then bring your device in to one of our three sites: Computer Repair Wake Forest, Computer Repair Durham or Computer Repair Raleigh.

Computer Tips and Tricks – Make Your Computer Run Faster

Computer Repair Tips and Tricks- How To Maintain your PC

computer tips

 

At some point, nearly everyone complains about a slow running computer. There are many reasons for this, but before you call a computer repairs expert in Wake Forest, try a few of the below computer tips and tricks to get your computer running faster.

1. Clear Temporary Files, Browsing History and Cookies

One of the first things to do is also the easiest. Every task you perform on your computer creates a file that clutters up your hard drive. Cleaning out your temporary files, browsing history, and cookies clears up a lot of space so your computer runs faster.

2. Scan Computer for Viruses and Malware

Viruses, malware, and spyware can overtake your computer and cause it to run slower. Anti-malware software is essential for the protection of all computers and laptops. Although real-time protection is important, you can also do periodic full system scans to find and remove any malware.

3. Use Disk Cleanup

Windows provides a built-in tool to help you declutter your hard drive. It’s a program listed under system tools that you can easily use to clean up program installers, caches, and other files you no longer need.

4. Uninstall Unwanted Programs

Every computer has several programs pre-installed on the system that you probably aren’t aware of. In most cases you don’t need or rarely use these applications, but some are still running in the background. Find the list of programs installed on your computer and remove those that you don’t need or want.

5. Defrag Computer

Another way to get faster speed is by reconfiguring your hard drive so that it stores information more efficiently. This sounds complicated, but you can use the tool listed under “My Computer” to defragment your system.

If you don’t get noticeable improvement after performing some or all of these tips, then you might need to have your computer repaired. For more information on ways to get your computer to run faster, talk to a computer expert. Contact today for mobile computer repair in Raleigh, Wake Forest, and Durham.

 

Information technology support tips for small business

Small businesses rely on information technology to improve productivity, share information and reduce the time it takes to communicate. Despite how important information technology is to their success many small businesses don’t tend to manage it well.  For the most part this has to do with the depth of expertise and investment of time that […]

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Source: Arlington Computer Repair

The Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability and what it means for your security

The Internet is buzzing about one of the most widespread vulnerabilities seen in ages. The bug is called “Heartbleed” and it directly impacts all servers, network appliances and other devices that use OpenSSL 1.0.1 branch are vulnerable up to version 1.0.1g.  When exploited, Heartbleed allows attackers to read server memory in 64K chunks.  This can […]

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Source: Arlington Computer Repair

The impossibility of avoiding malware reactively

What if every day a new threat was on the horizon?  It would be seemingly overwhelming!  But what if every day tens of thousands of new threats were appearing, and the majority have yet to be identified?  Scary as that may seem we must face reality and realize that is the world we live in. […]

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Source: Arlington Computer Repair