Our Rivals Are Better Programmers and Hackers

The US is slipping, again. By now, it should be no secret we’re woefully behind in education. We’re behind in health care. Not only that, our rivals are better programmers and hackers than we are. Far better.

The United States ranked #28 when it comes to computer programming. Our rivals take the top spot. China possesses the most talented computer developers in the world. Russia comes in at a strong second. You won’t believe this, but Poland comes in third. And this comes from a California based report. The report is courtesy of HackerRank. HackerRank conducts computer and developing tests around the world. Their community consists of approximately 1.5 million developers. This community constantly challenges each other to better their computer skills. They used such challenges for country rankings and developers’ quality. Chinese programmers are the best at math and data structure. Russian hackers are the best at algorithms. Other nations that surpass us aren’t surprising: Germany, Japan, Canada, and Australia. Some results are absolutely shocking? Even Chile surpassed us?

Many tech based businesses were founded here and/or have headquarters here. The Silicon Valley alone has some of the best technological minds that ever lived. However, even many of their computer parts are made in China. Look at the tight relationship between Apple and China. But that’s not what disturbs me about this trend. What disturbs me is the volatile relationships between the US and Russia/China. How many reports have a read about the Chinese government hacking the US? How many times have I read about Russia hacking the US? They rank number one and two in computer programming. What if they severely hack us and take secrets they can use against us? Yet we’re only #28 in computer programming. How will we defend ourselves? How will we strike back if we need to? What do we Americans do to improve our computer programming status? Should we teach computer programming at earlier grades?

 

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EU Orders Apple To Pay Billions

The year 2016 hasn’t been good for the European Union (EU). Great Britain votes to leave. The EU and NATO are embroiled in a tense stand-off with Russia. Now they’re fighting with tech giant Apple. The EU orders Apple to pay billions to Ireland in taxes.

Apple is ordered to pay 13 billion Euros. That’s the equivalent to $14.5 billion.  The EU courts ruled Apple conducted a scheme to route profits through Ireland. They ruled this scheme was illegal. Apple and Ireland plan to appeal the decision. One EU official says Ireland gave Apple illegal tax benefits. This enabled Apple to pay less taxes than other businesses, despite Apple being one of the richest companies in the world. For example, the 13 billion Euros is only 6% of the cash flow Apple has. Ireland’s Finance Minister Micheal Noonan plans to fight the EU’s allegations. This goes deeper than money. Noonan is fighting for the integrity of Ireland’s tax system. The EU accused Ireland of ‘reverse engineering’. This assured Ireland paid few taxes to guarantee employment. Apple employs 5,500 in Cork, Ireland, the nation’s third largest city. Apple is the second largest employer in Cork, next to government.

Ireland’s low income tax has lured businesses to Ireland for many years. It’s the reason why Ireland has one of the best economies in Europe. Even when other European nations are falling apart economically, politically, and socially, Ireland still thrives. This is why I question the European Union’s motives here. From what I read, Apple has done nothing but good for Ireland. They have provided good jobs, good income, and turned Cork into a prosperous, European Apple hub. What’s wrong with that? Hardly anybody in Ireland, from government officials to civilians, is complaining. Is the EU so strapped for cash they’re extorting companies for billions? And they wonder why nations want to succeed from the EU. Can’t they just let the nations rule? Does the EU really want justice? Or does the EU want to impose their will?

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Leslie Jones Is Cyber Trolled Again

Last month, I reported on the cyber trolling woes of Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. Now, those woes worsen. Leslie Jones is cyber trolled again.

This time it’s far more serious. Hackers broke into her website and leaked nude photos of her. They hacked into her Tumblr account and took the photos from her iCloud. It didn’t stop there. They posted her drivers license, passport, phone number, and other personal information of Jones’. They put images of Harambe, the dead gorilla, posing with her and other celebrities. Please believe such images were photo-shopped. Since late July, Jones has been the victim of vicious cyber racist and sexist attacks.  Jones’ website, JustLeslie.com, is now defunct. Jones just got back from Rio as a guest social media commentator for the Olympics.  So far, neither Jones nor her people have responded to the latest round of cyber attacks and hack. Many speak out on her behalf. Ghostbusters director Paul Feig tweeted, “What’s happening to [Leslie] is an outrage.” Even Milo Yiannopulous, who was banned from Twitter for allegedly harassing Leslie Jones, now sympathies with her. He expressed distress and wishes her the best during this upsetting time.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time celebrity nude photos were released without their knowledge or approval. In 2014, nearly 500 celebrity photos, most of them nude, were hacked and leaked to the public. Only one person was arrested for this crime. Their lies part of the problem. Few people are being caught and prosecuted for this. If people feel they can get away with it, they’re going to keep doing it. We have to strengthen our laws and efforts to catch these crooks. This should be the happiest year in Leslie Jones’ life. She has a spot on the historic Saturday Night Live. She’s a star of a major motion picture. She landed a gig covering the Olympics. She’s one of the fastest rising stars in Hollywood today. She should be living the American dream. But because of these trolls, bullies and hackers, Leslie Jones’ American dream has become an American nightmare. The nightmare seems to have no end in sight. Is this our new normalcy (I hope not!)?

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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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Gaming as a Career: Making Money from PC Gaming

Gaming as a Career: Making Money from PC Gaming

 

 

Gaming as a Career Making Money from PC Gaming

 

For many of us, the memories of PC gaming are still fresh. Late nights gathered around a computer screen or game console, hours shared fighting with — or fighting against — our closest friends, and countless adventures to be had over land, sea and air. For many who grew up with it, online gaming is a worthy and beloved pastime, hobby, or distraction. But now, modern technology has made it possible for gaming to be something else entirely: a career. Sound good to you? Here are three ways people are making a living from playing the games they love.

 

Sailing with the Stream

 

Who’d want to sit and watch you play video games for hours? As it turns out, a few thousand people would want just that — if you’re good enough. Many skilled gamers are now streaming their gameplay live on websites like twitch.tv and azubu.tv, bringing in thousands of viewers every time they choose to play. These streaming sessions usually last a few hours, and are accompanied by live commentary by the player, as well as live camera footage that allows viewers to see the player’s live reactions. The most successful streamers often become “partners” with the sites they stream on, gaining revenue the more people watch them.

 

YouPlay

 

Not into live gameplay? Try your hand at YouTube content creation! Gaming content is one of YouTube’s driving forces, scoring views well into the billions. The types of gaming content found on YouTube is almost as varied as game genres themselves. Browse through YouTube’s gaming channel, and you’ll find narrated content, reviews, tutorials, gaming-based comedy and music, and much more. Like most streaming sites, YouTube uses a partner system through which content creators can begin monetizing their videos once they become poplar enough.

 

Going Pro

 

What if you are into live gameplay? What if you’re not only interested in it, but also very, very good at the game you play? Players who feel their talents could measure up on an international level can test their skills as professional gamers in the field of electronic sports, or “esports.” This kind of career is easily the hardest of the three to get into, but for those who make it, there’s a living to be made. The scale even rivals some traditional sporting events: in 2015, the popular game League of Legends held its North American Championships at the famed Madison Square Garden, packing the house full of excited — and paying — fans.

 

These three careers have a few things in common. First, they each center around gaming. Second, they each require your computer setup to be in good condition. That’s where we come in! CJ Computer Services is your top choice for computer repair in Raleigh, and we know how to keep your PC running fast and efficiently, giving you the power you need to deliver great online gaming content to your future fans.

Three Things to Do Before Sending Your Computer to the IT Department

 

Three Things to Do Before Sending Your Computer to the IT Department

 

 

Three Things to Do Before Sending Your Computer to the IT Department

 

Planning on sending your computer to your company’s IT department for service? Excellent!

 

Your IT department is probably full of capable professionals, ready to handle your computer in a respectful, efficient manner. However, depending on where you work, there may be some data that no one outside of your department is authorized to see. Perhaps you have personal information you just don’t feel comfortable with other people seeing. If that’s the case, here are three steps you’ll want to follow before sending your computer in.

 

Remove Your Sensitive Personal Information

 

If there’s any information pertaining to your personal life, you’ll want to remove it from your computer. This includes things like your social security number, bank and credit card information, website passwords, and things of a personal nature. IT pros aren’t looking for this information at all, but if you want to be sure that no one stumbles upon it by accident, removing it is a good solution. Additionally, this would be a good time to remove any documents or pictures that may be embarrassing for you. Rest assured that your IT department will thank you.

 

Get Rid of Your Browser’s Stored Passwords

 

Most IT departments are full of busy, hard-working people with no intention of ever accessing any of your private information. Even if someone malicious were interested in getting into your personal data, the average IT department just wouldn’t have the time for it. However, if you’d like to keep your info extra secure, consider deleting the stored passwords in your browser. It may be convenient to store your passwords in your browsers for easy access to your social media and various accounts, but someone malicious could gain access to those passwords and use them to log in on another browser.

 

Remove or Encrypt Any Important Business Files

 

Although your IT department may be trustworthy, part of your job may require you to handle information that the people in your IT department just aren’t authorized to see. Therefore, it’s critical that you make sure to backup and delete anything sensitive relating to your work. Make sure not to lose this data, but keep it somewhere where no one unauthorized can access it. If you have encryption software installed on your computer, this is the time to use it to encrypt sensitive files.

 

You can count on your IT department to help you with your work computer, but when you need repairs on your personal system, give us a call! We’re CJ Computer Services, and we’ve got the expertise you need to handle any problem your desktop or laptop may be having. Whether the issue is common or uncommon, one quick call is the first step to the best computer repair in Wake Forest!

Easy, Normal, Expert: Fight Computer Overheating at Every Skill Level

 

Easy, Normal, Expert Fight Computer Overheating at Every Skill Level

 

Easy, Normal, Expert: Fight Computer Overheating at Every Skill Level

 

Your desktop may be burning up your desk, and your laptop may not be so safe to have on your lap!

 

Modern computers of all sizes can do more than ever before, handling operations of ever-increasing complexity quickly and accurately — and things are only getting better. Every year, new technology goes into our home and work computers, giving them even more power and speed. But with all that power comes something else: Heat. The work your system does will inevitably get it hotter and hotter as time passes, and when your system gets hot, dangerous things happen. An overheated computer can cause serious damage to its internal components, harming the battery, wiring, processor and more!

 

To avoid this costly damage, you’ll want to take action right away. We’ve put together three tips for beating the heat, no matter what kind of system you’ve got. And since overheating is a problem that affects every computer user, each tip is aimed at a different level of skill. You’re sure to find something that’ll help you!

 

Easy: Avoid Hot Surfaces

 

Your computer has systems built-in to expel heat, but what happens when the heat it gets rid of goes right back in? This is the case when you rest your computer on cloth, soft plastic, or any other surface that retains heat easily. To avoid this, don’t rest your computer on these surfaces. Instead, aim for either hard, flat surfaces (like a wooden desk) or surfaces designed to let hot air out (like a metal computer desk.)

 

Normal: Make Sure There’s Air Flow

 

If you’re feeling confident enough to open your system up, you could check to make sure air can freely pass through your system. As you operate normally, dust builds up in the case from time to time. This dust clogs up your fans and gets in the way of air’s natural path, so it’s a good idea to clean that dust out from time to time, keeping air flow.  You’ll also want to keep any external air vents clear, since those are the points from which the hot air will escape.

 

Expert: Try Water Cooling

 

Ready for a more complex solution? If so, consider a water cooling kit. With this cooling system, water is pumped through tubes all throughout your computer. This water draws the heat, absorbing it into itself and away from your computer’s components. The now-hot water is then pumped out of the case and into a radiator, which pulls the water’s heat into itself. Now cooled, the water is sent back into the computer to repeat the process. Meanwhile, the radiator itself is cooled off with a fan, preparing it for more hot water. This is the most expensive and delicate solution, but it’s greatly effective.

 

Has your computer already sustained damage from overheating? If you suspect it has, CJ Computer Services can help you. We specialize in computer repair in the Wake Forest area, and we’ll be able to help you repair or replace any damaged parts. We can also give you the information you need to stop overheating from happening again.

The Beginner’s Guide to 5 Common Computer Viruses

 

 

The Beginner’s Guide to 5 Common Computer Viruses

 

 

The Beginner’s Guide to 5 Common Computer Viruses

 

Viruses. They’re nothing more than bits of code at first glance, hidden within documents and website just like the ones we use daily. But when a virus begins to take effect, it can mean lost files, stolen sensitive data, and a complete breach of security for your system! Although you’ve probably been warned about viruses in the past, there’s a chance you’ve never been shown how one really works. To help with that, here are five of the most common virus types you might hear about during your time online.

 

File Infector Virus

 

If your computer warns you when you try opening files downloaded from the internet, file infectors are likely why. The most common virus type, file infectors are found in executable files you download to your computer. This kind of virus is actually rather harmless until you execute the file to which it’s attached. Once you do, however, this virus can completely overwrite files, entirely changing their purposes and allowing for malicious actions and further spread.

 

Polymorphic Virus 

 

A polymorphic virus is dangerous not just because of what it can do, but because of the many ways it can be done. Normally, when a virus executes, any antivirus software on your computer can detect the code the virus used, and use that information to find and neutralize the virus. Polymorphic viruses get around your antivirus software by using different code that can change over time, which makes them harder to pinpoint. Old methods of execution are encrypted, stopping antivirus programs from using them.

 

Browser Hijacker 

 

Have you ever found yourself looking at a website you had no intention of looking at, or using search engines you’ve never heard of? If so, there’s a small chance your internet browser of choice might be playing host to a browser hijacker. This particular virus type takes over specific functions of your browser, giving it control. Hijackers can be used to redirect you to sites you didn’t intend to go to, alter your search and home page preferences, and more. These viruses can even be used to install key loggers, which record the keystrokes taken by your keyboard! A key logger can record your passwords and private, personal information; all of which can be passed on to the virus’s creator.

 

Web Scripting Virus

 

When most people think “computer virus,” there’s a good chance this particular kind is what they’re thinking of. Web scripting viruses are the classic “I went to a dangerous website and now bad things are happening” virus. It works by taking advantage of the code websites use to enhance your browsing experience with videos, animations and effects. This code can be exploited to let a virus infect other programs on your computer, or to control certain functions of your computer.

 

Macro Virus

 

A “macro” is a small program that can be embedded in documents like emails or text files. They contain instructions on how programs should behave or what they should run when opened. These can be incredibly useful for simplifying long, tedious tasks, but they’re also the perfect hosts for troublesome viruses. If a virus is written and disguised as a macro, it can force your computer to take actions you never intended it to take. Regrettably, the wide amount of helpful actions macros can take gives viruses an equally wide range of access to your computer, so avoiding them is a matter of being careful what you download and open.

 

If your system’s been hit with a virus, CJ Computer Services are here to help. We specialize in Wake Forest computer repair, and we can help you identify and remove the virus, malware or spyware that’s been bugging you. Contact us today!

 

Safety Online 4 Tips for the Beginner You Probably Know

Safety Online 4 Tips for the Beginner You Probably Know

 

Safety Online: 4 Tips for the Beginner You Probably Know

 

These days, the internet is everywhere: At work, on our televisions, in our pockets, and sometimes even in our appliances. What was once a niche interest has grown quickly into a helpful tool, and now it has become a necessity for life and work in many households. Of course, it’s not all positives. The more time you spend online, the more you’ll find yourself dealing with viruses, scams and people looking for personal information. If the internet’s been part of your life for years, you probably know how to avoid these things, but the generations before and after you are only now discovering how to use the power of the web to its fullest. If you only give them a handful of tips for internet safety, we think these are the four they need to know most.

 

Avoid Malicious Websites

 

With the promise of so much great content on the internet, it’s easy for a newcomer to think that all of it is safe and true. Of course, this is false. An internet newcomer needs to learn how to avoid websites that are dangerous or deceptive, such as scam pages posing as official websites, or sites with dangerous code on them. Try teaching people not to randomly click links without reading the URLs, or to never click links embedded in emails–even from people they trust.

 

Never Give Out Your Password

 

Even someone with no internet knowledge knows not to just hand private passwords out! But there’s another reason this point is important: Phishing. Phishing is the practice of disguising an email or website to look official, tricking people into entering important information, and then using that info to steal from them. Internet newcomers need to learn how to recognize the official, secure websites that they’re supposed to give passwords to, and avoid the other malicious sites.

 

Don’t Mess with Suspicious Programs

 

A program that can clean your computer? Or do your taxes? Or keep you safe from scams? And it’s all free? Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? On today’s internet, there’s a good chance that it really is too good to be true. That’s why it’s important to teach newcomers to research the programs they’re interested in before downloading them — and certainly before opening them. Harmless-looking downloads like these “free” programs are a great way to load a computer up with viruses and malware. If your loved one has trouble researching the application, you may even offer to do it for them. Although this kind of research may be annoying at times, the alternative is a bug-laden computer.

 

Be Careful with Personal Information

 

This is a tip that even online veterans struggle with from time to time. It’s critical to teach newcomers not to publicly post things like their address, government information or phone number online, since doing so makes it easy for dangerous people to collect that information. One or two bits of information here and there may not seem harmful, but if that information is collected, creating a full profile of a person is easier than it may seem. Stay alert!

 

Although these tips may seem like second nature if you’ve been around long enough, but if someone’s brand-new to the internet, they’ll need help, and you may just be the one to provide it. If you find that your newcomer friend’s already gotten themselves into trouble with viruses or security online, remember that CJ Computer Services may just be the ones to help sort them out. We’re your go-to for computer repair in Raleigh, and we’ve got what it takes to help the newcomers as well!

Getting Creative Technology in the Classroom

 

 

Getting Creative: Technology in the Classroom

 

Getting Creative: Technology in the Classroom

 

From chalkboards to whiteboards, from writing slates to laptops, new technology eventually finds its way into the classroom. Modern innovations in video sharing, portable computing and social media are no exceptions. Across the country, teachers are finding new ways to incorporate technology into their lessons, giving students tools that match the era in which they’re learning. Here’s a small sample of the great things teachers have been doing with modern tech!

 

Tablets as Learning Devices

 

Tablets aren’t just for browsing the internet anymore. Now, teachers can use tablets like Apple’s iPad as versatile, expansive tools to connect students to the information they need. With each desk outfitted with a tablet, students have access to an incredibly wide range of books, allowing teachers to supply information at a fraction of the cost of expensive textbooks. Plus, tablets can connect students to lectures, tutorials and more. Teachers can also download helpful tools like calculators and photo editing software, or supply students with apps that aid in teaching specific subjects, like the layout of the solar system or the human body. Tablets are dynamic, versatile modern textbooks, usable for anything a teacher needs.

 

The Flipped Classroom

 

Most classrooms follow a very logical, traditional structure: Students listen to a teacher lecturing, do a few in-class projects, go home, and complete some kind of homework assignment. The next day, they return, turn the homework in, and repeat the process. However, some teachers have noticed that the help they provided to students during the in-class projects proves to be more valuable than the lecture itself. The “Flipped Classroom” is the answer to this. Here, teachers reverse the process: Instead of lecturing during school, teachers record their lectures and upload them to a public viewing site like YouTube. Students then watch the lecture on their own time. Once they return to class, their “homework” is done with the teacher present, allowing students to get the help they need, right when they need it. It’s an elegant solution to the problem, and it’s made possible by technology.

 

Twitter Updates

 

When most people think of Twitter, they think of a short-form social network used to share fast messages with friends and contacts. Teachers, however, have a different use: Updates. Teachers are using Twitter as a fast, convenient way to push updates on homework, the next day’s assignments and more to a place where students can quickly read them. Plus, Twitter’s public nature means that students can read the updates, even if they don’t have an account of their own.

 

As technology evolves, teachers around the world find their approaches evolving as well. Tablets, phones and computers keep students in the know, and when they start to show wear, you can count on us to get them ready for the classroom again. For computer repair services in Raleigh, we’re the only name you need. Contact us–we’re happy to help you!