September 2011 Insights PDF Print
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Sunday, 18 September 2011 18:11





Greetings from EagleTech Computer Service!

Thanks again for allowing me to be your "Computer Guy!" I'm always looking for insights to increase your computing pleasure. I've included a few ideas in this month's newsletter. If there are ever topics you'd like for me to cover don't hesitate to email back and let me know.

Here are a few things to consider...

Time for a Fall Tune-up?

Well, summer is drawing to a close and soon most of us will experience more "in the home time" than we do during the summer months. This usually translates into "more time at my computer." This being the case, how is your computer running these days? Does it need a tune-up, more speed (provided by a larger RAM chip), a faster graphics card for faster internet browsing and better game playing, maybe a new hard drive for increased speed and space to save more pictures/videos/music, etc.? I'm always here to help with any of these...

Have you adopted a backup system yet? I cannot tell you how often I've had clients tell me "Oh Tom, I had been thinking of buying a backup hard drive, and backing up all my documents, pictures, and music, but I just didn't get around to it..." and then suddenly one morning their hard drive would not engage and all their valued files were lost forever. I can help you purchase and transfer all your valuable data on to an external hard drive, install a backup program, and setup a regular schedule to backup your documents so you are never at risk again for losing your valuable files.

Folks often ask me if I recommend any specific cloud/offsite backup system, like Carbonite or Mosy. From my perspective I'm still most inclined towards the home oriented backup hard drive. These services are "ok" but they involve a monthly cost and take quite awhile to retrieve your documents in the event that your system fails and you need your documents back again. I most often recommend a local hard drive, back your files up regularly, and place the hard drive either within a fireproof safe or in a location outside your home in case your home were to burn down (a horrible thought I know...).

Windows 8 is coming...

Perhaps you've heard that Microsoft is just about to launch its newest version of the Windows operating system - Windows 8. Many are asking "Is this something I will need?" So far my answer is "Not likely." From my research Windows 8 appears to be most useful in a touch screen environment, like at tablet PC, which most of you won't want for regular computing. And, touch screen on a regular upright desktop monitor or even a laptop monitor is not a comfortable enough experience to move this direction. Sooo at least initially I'm going to encourage my clients to "NOT" pursue a computer with Windows 8 on it. It is going to be a bit awkward to use with the usual mouse operations because it is designed for the touch screen approach, so I'm hearing it will likely frustrate you if you attempt to use it with a mouse only. Let's wait several months before jumping into this new operating system, at least this is my recommendation for now.

However, if you are considering purchasing a Tablet PC then you might want to consider waiting until Microsoft launches their newest tablet PC with Windows 8 on it. It may be a game changer in the PC world. Currently Apple's iPad 2 is dominating the Tablet PC market, but the new tablets with Windows 8 may well begin to provide needed competition to Apple. We'll see...

Time for a new PC?

So, often I'm asked which PC brands are the best. This is never an easy question to answer because certainly all the manufacturers are constantly working at increasing the reliability and performance of their new computers. I suppose it is a bit easier to provide a few warnings than specify a particular brand to buy. My first warning would be to shy away from the "least expensive" version from any manufacturer. They are cheaper for a reason - whether it is cheaper internal components, a cheaper case, or a lower performing set of components. Generally I think you will be happier if you choose a manufacturer's mid-range computer, whether you are considering a laptop or desktop. This usually translates into a price range between $500 & $1000. As for brands to consider not purchasing - maybe Dell, Gateway or Acer... I know some of you have one of these brands and you are very happy with it, and this is because there is currently no big brand name out there that has a huge failure record. Most Dells, Gateways, and Acers will be just fine, but...if I hear of brands that fail in desktops and laptops more often than others it seems to be one these three.

Viruses are getting even worse...

Lately I've experienced a new trend in viruses. It involves corrupting the hidden system files that allow your computer to connect to the internet - your network files. The corruption is so deep and so hidden that nothing short of rebuilding the Windows operating system is necessary. This is generally the work of a rootkit virus. As always I continue to recommend Sandboxie for your safety, as well as extra caution throughout your computing.

Especially be careful with what look like legitimate advertising banners. The virus hackers are putting upwards of 300,000 ads per week throughout the internet that infect your computer the moment you click on the ad banner. These are known as "Malvertisements." I don't really know how to tell you to recognize the difference between legitimate ads and bad ads, but I can tell you that if you click on an ad banner in a Sandboxed browser you have no worries of getting a virus. Sooo...just a word of caution...

Computer Joke of the Month:

Are Computers Male or Female in Gender?

A language teacher was explaining to her class that in French, nouns unlike their English counterparts, are grammatically designated as masculine or feminine. "House" in French, is feminine -"la maison," "Pencil" in French, is masculine "le crayon."

One puzzled student asked, "What gender is computer?" The teacher did not know, and the word was not in her French dictionary.

So for fun she split the class into two groups appropriately enough, by gender and asked them to decide whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

groups were required to give four reasons for their recommendation.

The men's group decided that computer should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computer"), because:
- No one but their creator understands their internal logic
- The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else
- Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later review
- As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your pay check on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine "le computer") because:
- In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on
- They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves
- They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem
- As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer you could have gotten a better model

Best of success to you in all your computing.

I’m here to assist you when you need it. As just a reminder... My onsite residential fee is $40 for the first hour and $28/hr for each additional hour and for the commercial setting it is $50 for the first hour and $40/hr each additional hour. Once again...for any clients you send my way, who use my services for an hour or more, I'd be happy to credit you with $10 of free computer service at your next call. Do let me know if you send folks my way and I'll keep notes on that as a credit for my next visit to you.


Thanks so much!

Your Computer Technician
Tom Sparks










Last Updated on Monday, 30 April 2012 21:36