All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Computer Maintenance’

Do You Need Tech Help?

The phone rang indicating an unknown number. As is my practice, I ignored the call. If it was important, the caller would most likely leave a voicemail message. Indeed, there was a message.

Upon listening to the message, I realized it was yet another similar request starting with, “I got your name from ________ , who indicated that you could help me with my computer, mobile phone, Internet, etc.”

My Program

Before taking on a new client, it is important to determine in advance whether or not I can help them. The following is the process I follow:

–          Return the phone call and discuss the client’s needs. If I could not help them, I didn’t want to waste their time or money.

–           If we jointly determine to move forward, before setting up a meeting, I discuss my fees and ask them to compose a list of topics they are interested in addressing.

–          At our first meeting, we discuss their needs and set priorities.

–          I evaluate if their existing equipment supports their needs. Perhaps simple upgrades/maintenance is necessary. If not, I recommend and assist in ordering and installing a new computer, mobile phone, etc.

Once we are ready to tackle the prioritized list of projects, we discuss my rules:

–          Initially, each meeting lasts only one hour. I have found my clients tend to feel overloaded after an hour.

–          Only one topic will be discussed per session.

–          The client should have a separate notebook and take their own notes.

–          Once I have demonstrated a task, its up to the the client to take over and practice with my supervision.

–          If follow-up meetings are scheduled, we first review the work of the previous meeting to make sure that there are no questions before proceeding with a new task.

–          I indicate that I am available via phone or e-mail to answer questions between meetings at no charge.

I do not prepare notes or work with a standard list of recommended equipment. I often meet many people in the course of a day and personalize their hardware and software to fit their needs. 










Why It’s Important to Have a Backup Plan

Last week I received a panic phone call from a person whose home computer wouldn’t start. The hard drive had crashed and all the data was lost.  None of his data was backed up.

I have written many times on the importance of having a backup strategy, both onsite and cloud based.

Your documents, pictures, music, videos, etc, that are stored in your computer are important to you. Do you have a backup system? Here are some reasons you should be backing up your data.

–  What if your computer crashes and you can’t start it.
–  Your home/office burns down
–  Your computer has been stolen
–  You left the computer in a restaurant, hotel, etc.
–  Coffee, soda or other liquid has been spilled on the keyboard of your laptop
–  The computer has been dropped
–  A virus has wiped out the hard drive
–  Malware, short for malicious software, has permitted someone to infiltrate your computer system without your consent
–  You have inadvertently erased an important file.
–  Someone else who uses your computer has deleted files

The list goes on and on. Before disaster strikes, make sure you are backing up ALL your important data onto an external hard drive and explore many of the online backup options that are available.

A popular cloud based backup service is CrashPlan, however a review of all the major services can be read HERE.

Can’t Connect to the Internet?

Do you get frustrated when you get a message indicating that you can’t get on the Internet?

During the course of a week, I receive many phone calls from my clients about this problem.

While I realize that you are on the Internet if you are reading this blog, there might be instances when you get an error message indicating that you are not able to connect to any sites.  This can be caused by a service outage in your area, your house/apartment, a faulty modem or router, or your computer.

Here are some simple steps to follow if this happens:

– Turn off your computer.

– Disconnect the power cord from your modem. The modem is the box that has a cable attached. (no need to disconnect the cable). If you have a separate router, disconnect the power cord as well. The power cords are usually thin cords and slip out easily.  All the lights on both units will go out.

– Reconnect the modem and wait until the lights stop blinking. (about one minute).

– Reconnect the router.

– Start up the computer and try to connect the the Internet.

If this process doesn’t work, call your service provider (e.g. Time Warner, Verizon, Comcast, etc.). The first thing they will do is try to connect to your modem. They have the ability to determine whether there is a service problem in your area or a defective modem. If  the problem is the modem, they should send you a new one. If not, they will usually send a service representative to your house/home to correct the problem.

In most instances, simply disconnecting and reconnecting the modem and router will resolve the issue, however don’t hesitate to reach out to your service provider for help.











Why you might want to keep your old computer

In the past, many people elected to buy a new computer every time a new operating system was introduced.  New operating systems used to mean many enhanced features and bells and whistles.  Recent surveys indicate that Microsoft’s newest launch, Windows 8, has not been received with the same enthusiasm and success as in the past.

Why? Check out the article below from today’s CIO section of the Wall Street Journal.

Windows 8 is failing to beat older Windows platforms. NetMarketshare reports that Windows 8 is the fourth-most popular operating system, behind Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Given Windows 8′s “dismal performance,” ReadWrite’s Brian Proffitt wonders if blame rests on the software itself, or just the lack of demand. Gmail and social networks such as Facebook have played a role in disrupting the software cycle, he opines. And feature saturation, especially in office suites, may give users pause for an OS update. “Given such a situation,” he writes, “Windows 8 may have really never stood a chance for massive blockbuster release numbers. The market is too crowded with, ironically, other Windows installs that are doing the jobs they need to do well enough.”

People are holding on to their computers longer than in the past.  Computer running slow? Perhaps all you need is a maintenance check. Changes are that you have a regular checkup and schedule periodic maintenance for your car.  Computers need a checkup as well.  If you want to find out how to increase the life of your computer, give us a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at


Looking to Buy a New Laptop?

**Maybe You Should Wait**

Spring is here and Walter Mossberg, in his Wall Street Journal column this week, published his latest Laptop Guide.  What type of laptop should you consider?  Mac or Windows? A touchscreen, a convertible, a detachable? Is it time to consider a tablet?

Recent statistics show a massive drop in laptop sales. In his article, Walter Mossberg discusses the reasons behind the drop in sales, and why you should consider waiting until the Fall, if possible.  Both Microsoft and Apple will be introducing a number of enhancements in the next few months.

If you must buy now, you should review PC Magazine’s list of “The Top Best Laptops.”  As I have indicated in previous blogs, you should consider weight, screen size, and your comfort level with the keyboard before making a purchase.

However, people are holding onto their computers longer. if your decision to purchase now is based on performance (speed) or age, perhaps all it needs is a maintenance check.

When is the last time your computer had a maintenance check? If you need some advice before investing in a new computer, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at

Has Your E-Mail Been Hacked?

Are your friends complaining about random e-mails from you containing only a link or asking for money since you have been stranded on some remote island? If so, chances are that your e-mail program has been “hacked,” meaning that someone has accessed your contact list and sent messages to everyone on your list. Here are some simple rules to follow to minimize the risk that this will happen to you.

1. If you have been hacked, change your password immediately. Don’t use simple passwords such as birthdays, phone numbers or family names. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

2, Change your password frequently; monthly, if you are using AOL

3. Do not use the same password for your e-mail program, online banking, or shopping sites like Amazon, Ebay, etc.

4. When accessing the Internet on the road, be sure that the wi-fi location is secured. Places like hotels, parks, and coffee shops like Starbucks, are not secured since everyone has access to their networks. You do not want to enter passwords, credit card info, or other personal information in a non-secured area, since you are using a public access point.

5. If you are using a Windows computer, make sure you have installed both an anti-virus and malware program and that they have been updated.

If you any questions about “hacking” or other maintenance issues, feel free to contact me either by phone at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at





Last week, one of my computers died! Would not start up, hard drive wiped out, all documents, pictures, videos gone.

Fortunately, my backup strategy saved the day.  Although having to replace the computer was a bummer, recovering all the data was a snap. Why? Because I had an external hard drive attached to the computer and had it set to backup the computer daily.  Second, I had the data backed up “in the cloud.”

There are a number of web based services available for backing up your data (documents, pictures, etc.) in the cloud.  Why is it important to backup your data offsite?  Well, If there is a fire or robbery, just having an external hard drive onsite will not be enough if it is stolen, destroyed, of becomes corrupted.

In my case, all I did was connect the external hard drive to a new computer and restored the data.

In this week’s Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg wrote an interesting article about a few  such online services for file sharing and backup.

If you don’t have a backup plan in place, I encourage you to do so ASAP.

If you need assistance in determining the best plan for you, give me a call at 917 921-4518 or e-mail me at for a FREE telephone consultation.

Also, below is a link to my BlogTalkRadio site which contains archives of my weekly programs where I discuss the relevant technology issues of the day.

Listen to internet radio with Jim Blue on Blog Talk Radio


– Do you have the right equipment to support your business and personal needs?

– Confused by all the new gadgets being introduced almost on a daily basis?

– Do you know what type of smartphone (iPhone, Android, blackberry) is right for you?

– Do you understand the new data plans that have been introduced by your wireless service provider (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.)?

– Are you or someone you know going through career transition and need help determining their technology needs?

– Need to set up a home office?

These are just a few topics that I discuss on my weekly radio program.  While the shows are aired every Thursday at 4:30 PM, you can click on the link below to access the archives of all past programs at anytime.  The topics as well as the names of guest speakers are listed for each show.

If you have any questions about any of the topics discussed, please contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at for a FREE telephone consultation.  Feel free to visit my website, for more information about my services.

To hear the latest program, click on the play button (>) below. To access my program site and the archives, click on my name (Jim Blue).



Have you responded to e-mails or text messages requesting personal information such as passwords, bank account information, credit cards, or social security numbers?  Has your e-mail account been compromised or is your computer now infected with one or more viruses.  If so, you have been victimized by one of the biggest Internet scams called “Phishing.”

Wikipedia defines phishing as “an attempt to acquire information (and sometimes, indirectly, money) such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from banks, popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors, etc. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.”

Here are some tips on how to avoid phishing.

– Do not respond to any email with urgent requests for personal financial information.

– Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information.

– Do not click on any links in an email, instant message, or chat that leads to a web page if you if you do not know the sender.

– Log in to your online accounts (banks, Ebay, Amazon, retailers) regularly and check for suspicious activity.

If you think you have been a victim of phishing, be sure to:

– Notify your bank if you have given out any credit card information. Cancel your account and open up a new one.

– Report the theft to the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion Corporation, and request that they place a fraud alert and a victim’s statement in your file. Request a free copy of your credit report to determine whether any new accounts were opened without your consent.

– Change your passwords to your online accounts including your e-mail account.

– Make sure your anti-virus program is up-to-date and run a scan of your computer.

If you feel you have been a victim of phishing or your computer appears to be infected with a virus, do not hesitate to contact me at 917 921-4518 or by e-mail at Feel free to click here to receive my NEW white paper, “TIPS ON BECOMING A TRUE MOBILE WARRIOR”

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