October 25th, 2013
Identity theft is a real and costly threat. Even though it’s well publicized, many Americans fail to take the necessary precautions to prevent it and some even take actions that make it easier for criminals to steal valuable information.
As the included infographic notes, most Americans believe they’re doing enough to protect themselves online, but most also feel that they are at a significant risk of having their identity stolen. This may stem from a prevailing belief that there is no way to be completely secure. While that is true to an extent, there are certainly some steps every individual can, and should, take to protect their information.
- Create stronger passwords using upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. Then, use a different password for each online account.
- Don’t post personal identifiable information like your birthdate, employer and education on social media. If you do, make sure you’re able to hide it from most users behind privacy settings.
- Add security to mobile devices. Require passcodes to use smartphones and tablets and install security apps.
- Before making any transaction online, check to see if the website is trusted and secure. Most trusted sites will use ‘https’ for secure communication.
The key to keeping your digital information safe is to protect it as much as you can. While it’s true you can’t be completely immune from cyber attacks or identity theft, by taking necessary precautions you significantly decrease the risk.
For additional help staying safe online, or to improve the security on your devices, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
October 23rd, 2013
Apple has officially announced its newest iPad models, Air and Mini with Retina Display. Choosing between the two is difficult, but Will Shanklin, of GizMag, has a comparison between the two to help.
The most obvious difference is evident on first glance. The iPad Air is a full sized tablet measuring 9.4 inches tall, 6.6 inches wide and weighs in at about a pound. The mini, on the other hand, is about 1.5 inches shorter, and more than an inch narrower. Both tablets feature slim .29 inch cases, which is actually slightly thicker than previous Minis.
The Mini’s viewing area is only 65-percent as large as the Air. However, with its new Retina Display, the Mini features the same number of pixels, and a higher pixel density with 326 pixels per inch.
Apple puts both tablets’ batteries at a capacity of ten hours of web use on WiFi. In terms of watt hours, the Air hold a slight advantage with 32.4W-h compared to the Mini’s 23.8W-h.
The iPad air will be available for purchase November first for a retail price of $500. The Mini hasn’t gotten a definitive release date yet, but Apple promises it will be available sometime in November for $400. That’s about $70 more expensive than last year’s version of the iPad Mini.
Those are the key difference between the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display. For similarities, both feature anodized aluminum construction, come in silver and white, or space gray and black and both house the A7 64 bit chip, which is the same one used in the latest iPhone, the 5S. Both also come with identical front and rear cameras run on iOS7 and offer the same storage options.
Along with these two new models, Apple will continue to offer last year’s Mini for about $300 and the iPad2 for $400.
Whatever tablet you decide on, Geek Rescue has you covered for repairs and security. Whether your device’s hardware breaks, or it gets infected with malware, Geek Rescue fixes it. Call us at 918-369-4335 with any of your tech problems.
October 2nd, 2013
After a few months of ownership, your new device will start to have some wear and tear. Scratches, or chipped corners are common. Max Knoblauch, of Mashable, writes that some of that wear and tear, as well as more serious damage, is avoidable. Here’s a list of ways to keep your gadgets looking newer for longer.
- Don’t let laptops overheat
Laptops have fans built in to keep them cool. Those fans don’t work as well if the vents are covered by blankets, carpet, or even your lap. Using your laptop for long periods of time without proper ventilation causes a decrease in your battery life and can impact your computer’s performance. In some cases, laptops have even caught fire when overheated.
Most people have a protective case on their smartphones to protect when it’s inevitably dropped or falls on the ground. Fewer people put as much thought into how they transport tablets and laptops. There are bags and cases made specifically for transporting these items, yet many choose instead to throw them in backpacks with a number of other things. That’s how screens get broken and corners dented.
Your phone charger, especially for Apple products, is surprisingly delicate. When you yank it out of the wall by the cord, or coil it too tightly when packing it, it tends to break. The same goes for headphones. Wrapping them too tightly around your mp3 player will cause them to stop working faster. Wrapping them while they’re still plugged in can even cause damage to your device’s headphone jack.
Screens get smudges and fingerprints on them. Naturally, you want to clean those off, but you have to be careful. Household cleaners eat away at your screen’s coating. There are products available for cleaning electronic devices. Usually, just using a dry rag will remove dust and smudges.
- Remember to create back-ups
This bit of routine maintenance won’t affect the look of your device. Backing-up your important data will keep you safe in case your device suddenly breaks down, however. Creating a back-up doesn’t take much time, but it’s something many continue to put off. Computers and smartphones often die sudden deaths, so having a back-up avoids a potential disaster.
These simple tips help keep devices safe from day-to-day damage, but they won’t ever be invincible. If you have a broken screen or other damage to your device, bring it to Geek Rescue and we’ll fix it. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.
September 19th, 2013
When a device stops working, a lot of us want to try to fix it on our own. For some gadgets, this is possible, but for others, it leads to headaches and possibly worse problems.
Lou Carlozo, of DealNews, has a list of the most difficult to repair devices. If you have a problem with one of these, it’s probably best to take it to a professional.
Apple cases are notoriously difficult to get into. The iPod in particular has no external screws and is held together by adhesive and clips. Many parts are soldered together, which makes replacing individual parts difficult.
Once again the case is difficult to open because of a large amount of adhesive. The Mini also uses tiny screws that always seem to disappear after removing them. Parts like the battery or Lightning connector are soldered, or glued, to other pieces, which makes them difficult to remove and nearly impossible to replace individually.
The battery is glued in and the RAM is soldered in. Want to replace one or the other? That’s a big and difficult job. There’s also proprietary screws holding everything together that take a special tool to remove.
This device is so small, it is nearly impossible to open its case without damaging it further. Once again, the battery is soldered in further complicating things for those fortunate few who do get it open.
Microsoft’s laptop/tablet features a display that’s glued in with an excessive amount of adhesive. Once you get inside the case, you’ll find more than 90 screws keeping you from accomplishing anything.
This 4G smartphone offering features a battery that hides underneath the motherboard. It’s also strongly attached to the midframe. None of that becomes an issue until you figure out how to open the case without tearing it apart.
These are among the most difficult gadgets for end users to repair. If you are experiencing a problem with these or any other device you own, bring it to Geek Rescue. If it boots up or turns on, we fix it. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.
September 13th, 2013
Recent reports show that tablets are overtaking laptops in number of units shipped. With more and more tablet users out there, they become a much more attractive target for cyber criminals.
As Daniel Mellinger writes for IT Toolbox, most tablets must be linked to an email account and some even hook to mobile phone accounts. They’re used to access bank accounts, credit cards and do online shopping. This means they are home to an abundance of valuable data.
Much like the lack of security on smartphones, many tablet users decline to even have a password required to unlock the device. Not only should you set up a more secure way to unlock your tablet, but you should also consider downloading one of the numerous biometrics apps that will add a finger print scan or additional level of security.
There’s also the question of what happens if your tablet is lost or stolen. Whoever finds it will have access to all the sensitive data you’ve stored on it. Consider signing up for a remote wipe service. There are a number of easy to set-up third party apps. If you have an Apple or Android device, there are native options to use, as well. The idea is to be able to erase anything stored on the device so that whoever now has it can’t access any of your data.
Another security concern is malware. Tablet specific attacks will be more common with the tablet audience growing rapidly. This means you need security software in place. You run the risk of malware when you click on a link, download an email attachment or visit a malicious website. Most users aren’t aware that they’ve downloaded malware until it begins to affect their device’s performance. Malware is capable of harvesting data, monitoring activity and even hijacking some functions of your device.
Malware infections lead to hacked email and social media accounts, stolen identities and compromised bank and credit card accounts. That’s why it’s important to practice safe surfing and have robust security apps in place.
For help upgrading the security on your tablet, smartphone or any device, contact the experts at Geek Rescue by calling 918-369-4335.
September 4th, 2013
When it comes time to replace your current laptop or tablet, you may find yourself wondering which device you should get. Should you replace your laptop with a tablet, or replace your tablet with a laptop?
Brian Westover, of PC Mag, dove into this issue to help you decide what type of device is right for you. Here are some key points to consider.
What do you need to do with your new device? Laptops have the clear edge on pure power. They handle internet browsing, streaming video, gaming and even photo, video and audio editing. Many also feature Blu-ray compatible disk drives. But, don’t pay for power you don’t need. Tablets are well-equipped to allow you to surf the internet, stream video and audio.
Tablets have touchscreens and no keyboard, although you can add one to almost any tablet. If you plan to use your device to type a lot, or use programs with heavy-mouse usage, a tablet’s form might be frustrating. Laptops, however, offer built-in keyboards and touchpads.
Both devices are able to be packed up and taken with you. However, tablets have the edge in mobility because of their light-weight and excellent battery life. Even the laptop with the best battery life will struggle to keep up with a tablet.
This is a no brainer. If price is the only factor you care about, you’re getting a tablet. An efficient, capable tablet will cost you less than $300. Even top of the line iPad’s are well under $1-thousand. Conversely, a top of the line laptop gets extremely pricey. But, you’re paying for quite a bit more power.
Many people decide not to make the choice between laptop and tablet and instead own both devices. If you’d rather opt for one device to keep up with, however, it comes down to personal preference.
For maintenance and fixes on your laptop or tablet, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We fix all of your devices and offer fast, friendly service.
September 3rd, 2013
If you’ve had your iPhone or iPad for over a year, chances are it’s running a little slower than it should. If so, you have two options. You can buy the newest model from Apple, or you can get the most out of your old model with a few tricks.
Whitson Gordon, of Lifehacker, suggests using some tricks to speed up your old Apple device before giving in and buying a new one.
Your favorite app might prompt you to update to the latest version, but don’t be too hasty. That latest version may have more features and demand more resources than your old device can handle. That could make your favorite app nearly unusable on your phone or tablet. If you are a couple of generations behind, apps and even the iOS updates will begin to leave your device behind. If it works well now, consider sitting the updates out.
The apps that Apple included on your device usually work best. So, while you may prefer a different internet browser, that third-party app won’t run as fast as the included Safari. This isn’t a big deal for newer devices, but if you want to milk as much speed out of an old device as you can, it helps to use the native apps.
The more storage space being used on your device, the slower it will get. You’ll even be at risk of crashes. So, clean up that storage space by deleting anything you don’t need or use. Apps you rarely use are usually the first to go. This may also mean you need to trim down your music library and find another place to store pictures and videos. It’s also a good idea to delete old text messages.
You may have decided to jailbreak your device to be able to customize it better or to gain new features, but that may also cause it to slow down over time. If you have an older device that’s gotten too sluggish, consider unjailbreaking and uninstalling all of those custom features. This may get your device back to working order.
At Geek Rescue, we fix broken devices and help to keep them running well for longer. If your device is broken, or just not working as well as it should, bring it in for a tune-up. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.
August 29th, 2013
What would happen if you lost everything that is currently being stored on your Android device? You may initially think it wouldn’t be a big deal because you don’t have any vital or valuable data stored on your smartphone or tablet, but consider how much personal value is stored there.
Pictures, videos, text messages, contact information and potentially much more information that isn’t available anywhere else would be lost if something happened to your smartphone or tablet. Geek Rescue is often able to restore previously lost information from broken devices, but in some cases the information is lost forever. That’s why you should always have a back-up plan.
Jill Duffy, of PC Mag, describes how to back up your Android device in case the worst scenario plays out. She accurately points out “the key to backing up is redundancy”, which means you should have important information saved in multiple places.
- Copy the SD card to your PC
This is the first step because it’s the easiest, most complete and it’s free. You’ll want to go through your device and make sure everything you want to back up is saved to your SD card, and not just to your hard drive. Once you connect your device to your PC with a USB cable, you’ll be able to copy everything from your SD card to a folder on your PC. You’ll want to make a note of the date you made this back-up and try to keep it updated as much as possible.
- Automated back up in the cloud
There are a number of apps to help you keep your data backed up regularly. These usually cost money for the apps themselves, and sometimes charge a regular fee for storage space. The upside is it takes minimal effort to back-up your data and it is regularly scheduled in advance so you always have an up-to-date copy of your information.
The previous two methods don’t create back-ups of your text messages. If you’re the type that regularly wipes out all of their text messages, then you won’t have a need to back them up. If you’re the more sentimental type, however, you might want a record of your texts. There are a number of paid third-party apps that make this process simple. You’ll be able to save texts to your Gmail account, or to the cloud.
Again, the more copies you have saved and the more places you save them, the better off you’ll be in case of disaster. This article applies specifically to Android devices, but remains true for any device you use to store information that holds value to you.
For help with data storage, back-ups, or to recover lost data, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
August 29th, 2013
The most used mobile operating system in the world is Android. If you own an Android device, you’re also the most likely to be the victim of a malicious attack.
The BBC reports that Android users were 79-percent of attacks on mobile devices in 2012. Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, suffered less than 1-percent of attacks.
The simple fact that more users are available through Android than iOS plays a role in why hackers dedicate more time to that operating system. Another reason is chalked up to Android’s very architecture. The same thing that makes Android so developer friendly and customizable also makes it susceptible to malware.
There have been many security vulnerabilities exposed in older version of Android operating systems. Since many users are still using devices with those systems installed, they are still at risk. Apple, on the other hand, reports that more than 93-percent of their users have the latest operating system installed on their device.
Two key threats have been identified as the main sources of malware infections. One, Text trojans, sends unsolicited SMS messages to users containing harmful links. The other are fake sites that appear to be the legitimate Google Play store, but actually contain harmful apps.
Although older versions of the Android operating system are most at risk, newer version have displayed vulnerabilities as well. Recently, the so-called ‘Master Key’ bug allowed hackers in China to take control of a number of Android phones.
To keep your device safe, you need a combination of security apps and smart surfing practices. To increase the security on your device, be it Android, iOS, mobile or desktop, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
August 27th, 2013
Over the past few months, cloud computing has become one of the hottest buzzwords of 2013. Many are still unsure of exactly what cloud computing is, however. Many more are unsure how to implement a cloud system into their business.
Cloud Business Review posted six advantages afforded to businesses who implement cloud computing to help those who are still wary of the technology.
A cloud system is implemented usually within 24-hours. A network this powerful would require an IT-team and weeks to finish, but the cloud accelerates and simplifies the whole process. As a cloud provider, Geek Rescue customizes your cloud system based on your needs and gets you up and running almost immediately. There’s no need to add hardware or personnel.
The nature of the cloud allows it to be uploaded to a server quickly. This means that when a server hosting the cloud goes down, your system is moved to a working server with hardly any downtime. This means costly outages when employees stop working are a thing of the past.
Even for small businesses, ensuring that the right employees have access to vital files is difficult. The cloud makes sharing much easier and allows for employees to access files for virtually anywhere. With mobile access, your employees work from anywhere and always have access to the files or applications they need.
Over time, your needs will likely change. A cloud network is highly scalable and allows you to increase memory or data storage quickly. While a physical network would require days of work and probable downtime to finish upgrades, the cloud effectively increases your capabilities in no time.
The uses for cloud computing are practically limitless. Regardless of your industry, call Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335 to discover how the cloud could help you do business more efficiently.