Don’t Let the Holiday Season Slow You Down

I can’t believe it’s already the end of October. The weather is getting colder, ski season is quickly approaching, and excitement is building with the holidays right around the corner! I’ve always felt that the fall is a great time of year to take care of all those pesky yearlong projects that I never got around to, especially because I know that there won’t be a spare minute once the holiday season is here. And if one of those pesky problems is computer related – Let us help! The fall is a great time to get your non-threatening (or worse) computer problems taken care of before it’s too late. Let your holiday season run a little smoother knowing that your laptop is in tip-top shape!

We’re all guilty of just living with all those little problems we’re having with our laptops. Take a look at some of the most common problems our customers complain about and let us know if you’re experiencing any of the same things. Or if you’ve got something else that’s been bothering you for a while – Post it in the comments and let us know!

The Slow Computer

I don’t think there’s anything worse than having a really slow computer and not knowing why.  Whether it’s a recent problem or something that’s been going on for a while now, a slow computer is slowing YOU down. If your computer is holding you back, there’s no excuse for not getting it fixed.  Back in July we wrote a detailed article that talked about the many reasons your computer could be slow.  It’s important to understand that a slow computer can be caused by hundreds of different problems, but at LaptopMD we have the answer to all of them. We guarantee it! Every computer is different but we’ve yet to come across one we couldn’t fix.

The Alert Box that won’t go away

Ever get an alert box that just wouldn’t go away? Maybe it’s a message you’ve been meaning to check that you get when you first turn your computer on or when you’re powering it off.  A lot of times this can be due to an improper setup, a bad settings configuration, or a problem that could be indicative of a larger, unseen issue on the computer. We can figure out why you’re getting that message and more importantly – what you can do to make it go away!

The Program that doesn’t work anymore

Maybe it’s Internet Explorer. Maybe it’s Outlook. Maybe it’s iTunes or something else entirely that you’ve downloaded and installed. If it worked once, it can work again! Don’t settle for workarounds or a substitute program that doesn’t work as well as the one you actually want to use. Bring us your laptop and we’ll help you get back up and running with the software you want!

These are only a couple common problems and advice on how to deal with them.  What are some other common computer problems we could give you advice on?  Make sure your digital lifestyle doesn’t suffer this holiday season!

Have you ever wanted to accept Visa/Mastercard? There’s an App for that.

Square Credit Card Processing DeviceHave you ever split a meal with a friend? Or maybe taken a taxi somewhere with a buddy? Unless you’re agoraphobic or just REALLY unlikeable, I’m going to assume you have.  You’ve also probably experienced that awkward moment when neither of you really have enough cash to divide the check evenly so one person pays more and you’re left with that uncomfortable ‘IOU’ feeling.

Well, not anymore! Who wants to owe money to a friend when you can just Square Up? That’s right folks, there’s a app for that. Square Up allows anyone with an iOS or Andriod OS device (iPhone, iPad, Droids, HTCs, Samsung Galaxy, LG Ally, etc.) to accept credit card payments from anywhere.  Not enough cash? Accept Visa!

Square Up is still a relatively new company started by one of the co-founders of the popular social media engine Twitter.  With a (free) device that plugs into your smartphone’s headphone jack, you can swipe a friend’s credit card and charge up to $1000 a month and receive it right away! Sure the credit card companies will still take a cut (2.75% + $0.15 per transaction) but it’s a lot simpler than a typical agreement a company would have to enter into.

SquareUp Credit Card Smartphone Device and AppHowever, the company is facing a few obstacles – the biggest of which is convincing people that this is OKAY. With the digital age still in its youth, there’s a lot of worry about identity theft and credit card fraud out there.  Let’s say you buy a pair of Yankee’s tickets from someone on Craigslist. Are you going to feel comfortable when he asks you to swipe your credit card to pay? Exactly.

Still, Square Up seems to be approaching consumers in the right light. They understand that promoting the trustworthiness of their product should be their first and primary concern.  Nevertheless, they have a long way to go if they really want this app to take off.  Read more about what Square Up is doing from the NY Times. Or go to SquareUp.com and sign up to get started!

Today’s top technology myths. Fact or fiction?

Top Technology Myths
Image from www.msnbc.msn.com/

I recently read an article, “Technology’s Biggest Myths” on MSNBC that described some of the biggest myths of technology today and assessed whether they were true or not. I was fairly skeptical but it was actually a pretty good article and cleared up a number of things I wasn’t aware of.  Go ahead, go read the article and then come back, we’ll chat then.

Back already? Wow, you’re a fast reader. Okay okay, let’s continue…

After that article I can’t help but say ‘Where to Start???’. The first thing that jumps out at me is the claim that you can’t get viruses if you only visit G-Rated sites.  In the article, Avast Software (maker of popular antivirus software) will tell you that there are 100 virus infected websites on ‘clean’ content sites for every virus on an adult based content site!

This stuck out to me because we hear this everyday in our shop. One of the most common questions we get is “Why did I get this virus??”. And unfortunately there’s no easy answer for that question. The only thing we can recommend is making sure you have a valid up to date antivirus program and that you’re being aware of any suspicious looking websites that you visit.

Computer Anti-Virus Software
Image from https://cscompsolutions.com/spyware.htm

The second biggest thing that stuck out to me was the Windows Vista vs. Windows 7 speed comparison.  Now, for the not-so-techie people in the crowd, you may not have been as immersed by stats claiming this as I have. I’ve seen countless studies, tests and comparisons that make this claim so I was really interested to hear what MSNBC had to say about the topic. And low and behold, I was right!  Just like a number of other articles I had read, Windows 7 does actually outperform Windows Vista.

If you’ve been relying solely on my critiques so far, I do suggest you make your way to the article and check it out for yourself.  It not only describes the myths I’ve mentioned but also goes over whether or not your new iPhone 4 is alone in its fatal signal strength band issue or if all smartphones share its fate. Also, have you ever wondered if you’ve been getting ripped off for the price of an HDMI cable?

Check it out and let me know in the comments what stands out to you!