Saturday, February 20, 2010

Does You Laptop Battery Die Too Soon?

As I have been around visiting my customers, I am noticing one thing that almost all of them are doing; and that is running a Laptop with the battery in it full time on power from the wall.

This will shorten the life of the battery. If the Laptop will be run full time on power, then I would recommend that the battery be removed. Now if you do this you will lose the UPS function, where the battery will immediately take over if the power goes out or blinks, but this can be fixed with a $49.00 UPS device to plug the Laptop in to.

The battery should be fully discharged every once in a while, maybe every month. If it will be stored for a long period of time without being used, it should be stored almost drained of power.

So give your battery a break! If you will not let him do his job, then take him out of the game.

Joseph

Monday, February 8, 2010

Internet Security for Children

Cyber crimes and cyber stalking have been on an increase ever since the public first started getting on the Internet in a big way back in 1995. This was of course the year that the first graphical web browsers came out, namely MCSA Mosaic and later Netscape Navigator.

I am concerned about what I am seeing as I work on different folks computers, and that is no controls or protections setup at all, even on computers that have software already installed that could do the job . . . it is just not been configured.

If you are running Vista or Windows 7, the operating system comes with some built in parental controls that can watch several things. Time limits, game ratings allowed, programs allowed, websites allowed and similar things can be configured from these controls, but I see a lot of folks who are not doing it.

Then there is the other really big risk factor, and that is when children are allowed to use Internet connected computers in private bedrooms. AKA Laptop computers with wireless connections. If that computer setup also includes a webcam, then you might as well paint a big target on their backs. Note that many new laptops come with the webcam built in.

There is one common factor in almost every cyber stalking case when the details finally come to light. That comman factor is one or both of the child's parents saying that they had no idea that any of this was going on. Feeling that their kid was a really good kid, they just did not believe that something like this could happen. And yet it keeps happening, almost every time to a kid that the parents describe as a "good kid".

Setting up the parental controls does take some work, and a new computer account needs to be created for the kids to use (if there is not a separate account already), and the entire setup needs to be monitored and evaluated from time to time. Additionally the parent accout(s) need to be password protected with a password that the kids do not know.

The potential cost of inaction is just too high on this one. If setting up parental controls is too hard to figure out, then ask a buddy who is good at computers to help. Aa part of the setup, I recommend that you take a good look at a service called openDNS which is at www.opendns.com. They have a free plan for home users that goes a long way towards stopping unwanted material from the Internet reaching your kids.

And I would take a hard look at allowing any child or teenager to have access to an Internet connected computer behind a closed door. The results of this can be truly destructive.

Joseph

Joseph Wood is the founder of Awesome Computer Help, and he does computer service for residents and small businesses in the Northwest Houston/Cypress Texas Areas.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Seeing a lot of Fake Anti-virus and ScareWare

A "ScareWare" is a name that I have given to most of the fake antivirus programs that are out there. They attempt to scare you into paying them some money by throwing up all kinds of fake information about your system being infected by viruses.

Of course you system is infected by a virus if you see that, namely theirs. It has also been my experience that machines infected with one of these are also infected with several other malwares, and in some cases hundreds of others.

The problem is that folks are not proactive enough on this kind of thing. The first issue is that they let their anti-virus program expire, or that they just try to depend on only one of them, where no one program can catch everything.

The second issue is that they wait to bring their computer to a professional for repairs until it is so infested that they can hardly touch it anymore. As a result of waiting so long, the machine is badly infested; and the cleanup takes longer and costs more.

Those folks who bring their machines to me before they are completely infested find that I can repair the machine quicker, and it costs them much less. In all but the very worst cases, if you bring your machine to me with only one or a few malware(s) on it, I can fix it in one hour, saving you money on the repair. As I do for everyone, I will also enhance your computer's security so that it will be much harder for viruses to bother you in the future.

Here is a really radical thought. You could hire me to come conduct a security review on your computer *before* it gets infested with anything. That I can guarantee will only take one hour of billable time, and it could save you a lot of money and lost time with your computer later.

Just call your nearest Awesome Computer Help Tech, and tell them you would like a security review done of your computer. Additional computers will cost a little extra.

If you are already infected by bad malware right now, we recommend that you disconnect that machine from your home network (to prevent spread) and get help ASAP.

Joseph

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who is Still Chasing the American Dream ???

I have been noticing something recently, but I am not quite sure when this started happening. The statistics for the number of folks who enjoy the work that they do are saying that there are less and less folks who actually enjoy what they do to make a living. I believe it is now less than 50%. Trending downward.

It has always been true, and it is still true, that people from many other countries hope to come to America for the promise of living the American Dream; which to me means that you can support yourself and you family if you have one doing something that you love to do and are very talented at.

But less and less of the folks who are already here are doing what they love to do.

Most full time workers in America work at least 40 hours a week and some work many many more than that in an effort to make more money or "get ahead".

That is an extremely long time to spend doing something that one does not love to do. Especially when it adds up over years and years and years until some undefined day when we feel we would be happier in something called retirement. Let me just warn now that more than 90% of the folks have not saved enough to replace their income at retirement, especially with recent stock market losses that very few have completely recovered from (if any have).

And so the prospect there is that folks will stop working their traditional day job, and then attempt to live on some percentage of thier previous income that is less than 100%, perhaps far less? And what will they do with their time? Probably go and get another job because they figure out it is really hard to live on less than 100% of their previous income.

I have a guess as to why it works out this way, and it is just because folks need the money. They could change their career to something they would more enjoy doing (any American can), but they feel that they cannot because they might have to take a paycut to switch careers, and any kind of paycut would destroy the finances that were already on the edge anyway. This is because many Americans also are unable to spend less in a month than they earn even with 100% of their (Net) paycheck.

It is time for more of us to again chase the American Dream, but we will have to turn off the Television. If the career that someone does not like keeps them from the American Dream, the television at home surely finishes the job.

With the current power of the Internet and Communications technology. You can run 1000s of different kinds of businesses right from your own home. All you need is a computer and an Internet Connection and a Telephone, and you are good to go.

So don't quit your day job just yet, but at least get started doing something that you really love in the evenings; and doing it as a for profit business. If you are talented and love what you do, you are likely to eventually succeed, and at some point you can build your business until that Plan B income can replace Plan A.

And that is a GREAT day.

One last thing. If Computers and helping folks with computers is what you love to do, then talk to me. I have a side business for you that is rewarding, and that pays very well.

Joseph

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good in any Economy: Do You Have a Plan B ???

The current statistics are telling us that the amount of time that a full time employee stays in any particular job is shrinking. It is now *less* than three years. Now in some cases, folks are able to obtain a different job with the same company as before; but in many cases, folks find themselves on the job market again looking for their next gig. I also know that people get really tired of doing that.

As the time of the same job continues to decrease, this will only get worse.

So what can someone do about this?

What one would do about this is what I call "Plan B". For most folks, Plan B is an additional stream of income that they will create during their afterhours and weekend time (subject to the policies of their original emloyer).

I believe strongly that everyone should have a Plan B. The idea is to work Plan B until the busines or income is sufficient to become Plan A, or replace your Day Job. While many folks spend their Plan A time doing something that they do not enjoy so much (anymore), Plan B should be something that one loves to do. Something that would get them out of bed in the morning with an excited attitude. Something that is directly in line with what their talents are.

It can be anything, and will usually involve doing some Sales and Marketing, which are skills that *everyone* needs to learn. It is nothing to be afraid of.

I know about a very good Plan B opportunity for those folks who are good at computers. I have come to learn over the last couple of years of the great need that is out there in the marketplace for folks who can go into a customer's home or small business and fix their computers for them. There is basically one nationwide established player, and their rates are so high that many folks cannot afford them.

This is a very fulfilling project. An Awesome Computer Tech can literally save the computing life of their client(s), and in many cases they do not have the opportunity to be so close to saving someone like this in a regular corporate or government job. You clients will be very grateful, and you will leave the appointment feeling like you have really done something positive in the world. The value you have provided will be obvious to see.

This is not a get rich quick business. But it is a "prosper as you provide more value" type of a business. Those who provide more value are automatically paid more, as I believe that all jobs should be (but they are not).

At Awesome Computer Help we are looking for Techs in every state and in every city and town. It is my stated mission to bring Awesome Computer Help to the homes of as many Americans as I possibly can, and then to other countries after that.

If you feel that being an Awesome Computer Tech would be a great choice for your Plan B business, please contact us and let us know. We will teach you how to build and market your own business, and we will send referrals to you for folks who find us from our website. We will provide all the back end support that will allow one to prosper much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.

Awesome Computer Techs of the world unite! It's time to go kick some (problem computer) tail!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Announcing the Founding of Awesome Computer Help

Are you looking for in home or business computer help service from someone with several years of experience? Look no further than your local Awesome Computer Help Tech, who has the Tools and the Know How to solve your computer issues in an efficient way; and all for much less than what the volkswagon guys would charge you.

Awesome Computer Help is a Nationwide Network of Computer Techs and Business Owners dedicated to making sure your home or business computing life is as problem free as possible. Check our Home Page for a link at the left for your area.

If you do not see a link for a Tech in your area, then we recommend that you contact that family member or friend that you know who is very good at computers, and encourage them to contact us here and ask about becoming an Awesome Computer Help Tech. Joining our Nationwide Network provides an outstanding second income at first, and can be grown into an outstanding first income.

If you are a computer professional yourself, or if you are someone who understands them really well; and if you are someone who would enjoy going onsite to someone's home or business and fixing their computer problems and being paid well for doing so, then you should check into becoming a tech yourself. Contact us on the "here" link just above. We have personnel who have built a four digit extra income in their after hours time, and we will teach you how to do the same thing.

So we are Awesome Computer Help, the ONLY name you need to know for all of your computer help needs.