Are You Prepared Written on Chalkboard
Storm Preparations 

 

With a major storm heading our way, we just wanted to make sure our readers are well prepared. Read below to review a quick crash course in protecting your computers during inclement weather!

What should you do with your computer before the storm?
 
From a physical stand point, make sure the computer is not on the floor to prevent any potential floods from physically destroying your computer. If possible, unplug the computer to prevent any power surge complications. If it is not possible to unplug your computer, make sure that it is plugged into a surge protector that has a warranty.
For many of us, more important than the physical hardware of their computer is the valuable data. How do you ensure that the data remains safe?
 
Under ordinary circumstances setting up RAID (having two hard drives in your desktop, both having the identical information) or setting up a local backup to a flash drive or external hard drive may suffice. However, if the room in which the computer and all the backups are stored get flooded – what do you do then? Therefore, we highly recommend setting up and implementing an online data backup system for all of your computer data.
What if you have an external hard drive plus an online backup already setup?
 
Make sure they are working properly! Confirm the backups are still being taken, you’re up to date with your dues (to make sure you will be able to access the online backups if need be) as well as testing the recovery options to make sure your data is retrievable in the format you need and in a timely fashion.
Mobile devices
Laptop vs. Tablet
In the market for a new laptop or tablet?
How will you decide what to get?
Both options are very good choices, the question is merely what works best for you. Below are some questions we ask clients to help them determine the correct option for them.
#1 What do you currently have and will this new device be replacing or adding to your devices?
#2 What do you use the device for and what do you plan on using the new device for?
#3 Where do you plan on using the new device?
By answering the above three questions, we generally are able to advise clients which device to get.
How?
If you are replacing a desktop or laptop with the new device, and plan on utilizing it for more than occasional email checking, news and videos then we would tend to advise a netbook. The reason is a tablet is not very practical to be typing up long term papers, or running Quick Books off of them.
If the device is simply for home or commuting entertainment purposes, a tablet will be a better choice, since they are lighter, thinner, longer battery life and has no or minimal boot up time.
#4 Are you willing to learn a new operating system?
#5 Do you want the ability to print or plug in external devices into your new purchase?
Learning a new operating system may be fun for some, yet frustrating for others. We actually have clients that prefer to downgrade to Windows XP, because the new look of Windows Vista/7 was too frustrating!
If you are planning on printing from the new device, the setup on a laptop is a standard printer setup which works on all printers. Printing from a tablet is generally do-able, yet may not be so simple to setup and may not be print on all printers.
#6 Are there any current programs on your computer that you must have on your new device?
If the answer is YES, then it is crucial to confirm that
(A) the program is compatible on your new device
(B) you have or have access to the installation
(C) you can transfer the data over
Not sure?
Call us at 718-676-6910 or hit REPLY to this email and let us know your particular needs!

remote control concept

Remote Support

Awhile back, we asked for topics to discuss in the weekly newsletter.

We combined “how to lower my IT expenses” with some “common issues” into the below featured article.

Enjoy!

What are the advantages to using remote support?
remote support There are many situations which do not require sending a technician to your home or office or bringing your computer in.

Over the past week, we resolved some issues – listed below – using remote support. This saved time, travel, money and headaches! See which situations are similar to yours.

Sound on the desktop was not working
Icons on the screen suddenly got small
HP solution center popup error
CD/DVD drive was not being detected
Google was redirecting the searches to different pages
Plugins were missing for browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome…)
All desktop and “My Documents” files disappeared
Outlook not syncing up properly with Blackberry
What is remote support?
Remote support is when a technician connects to your computer from our office.

How does remote support work?
We use a program developed by Citrix to connect securely to your computer. We provide you with a support key, which is entered on our website. This support key (9 digits) creates a unique connection between the two computers.

Are you able to connect whenever we want?
network secure There are two kinds of remote support:
(1) a one-time remote session and
(2) unattended support

Under the first option, once the session ends, there is no way a technician can log back in.
Under the second option, a technician can log back in. This is used when a technician will be working on a computer at a time when the client is not at his or her desk. For security, there is a simple switch to activate this on the client’s end.

How much does remote support cost?
save money We bill in 15 minute increments, as opposed to the minimum one hour fee when a technician comes down to your location.

Mouse, Keyboard, And Cds

DO YOU USE A WIRELESS KEYBOARD & MOUSE?
Read below to find out how a wireless keyboard and mouse work,
and how they can make your computer experience more pleasurable!

As always, if you have any questions give us a
call at 718-676-6910

As in previous quarters, we would like to update you of some highlights over the past three months:

Moved (half a block) to our new, bigger office (it even has a nice view!)
Added a new member to our team of technicians. Shmuel brings with him over 15 years of server support.
We have (once again) extended our office hours:
Monday-Thursday: 10am-6pm
Friday: 10am-2pm
Sunday: 12pm-3pm.
Please note: The above times are office hours. Technicians are available 9am-9pm most days.
Raffled off a LATPOP, $250 gift card to GLATT MART and a couple of smaller GIFT CARDS. There are more exciting prizes in the works!
Expanded our FREE service to the community of providing filter and monitoring support by having an Android, iPhone and Blackberry in the office to show you how the different filters work on the various devices. We can also help you decide between several different filters for your computer, PC or MAC.

FEATURED ARTICLE

Wireless Accessories

“Can I use a wireless mouse and keyboard?”

desktop All computers have the ability to use a wireless mouse and keyboard. laptop2

“How does my computer connect to the wireless mouse or keyboard?”
The way your computer recognizes the keyboard and/or mouse is by connecting the little USB stick which comes with the keyboard or mouse into a USB slot on your computer. This transmits the signals between your keyboard or mice and computer.

Does this work on desktops and laptops?
Absolutely. It uses the same technology.

Where can I keep the USB stick so that it does not get lost while on the go?
Most wireless mice have a slot to store the USB stick, however many people simply leave the USB stick in their computer.

How do the wireless keyboard/mice get power?

keyboard battery The old fashioned way… batteries!

If so, how does my old fashioned (plugged in) keyboard/mice get power?
plugs The old fashioned keyboard and mice, which get plugged into the computer, get power through the USB/PS2 port, just like when you plug your phone into the computer and it starts charging!
Why do people prefer wireless over plug?
pro con There are numerous reasons why people prefer to go wireless. Below are some of the advantages we heard:

Less clutter! There’s no need to get all tangled up or messy with the additional plugs.
When someone else needs to type something, they can be sitting on the opposite side of your desk
You have the ability to place the keyboard on your lap.
Here are some of the “cons”:
More expensive then traditional keyboard and mice.
Batteries die!
They get lost (as opposed to a wired keyboard/mouse which can not go too far!)

Windows Updates:
What are Windows Updates?

Microsoft
Windows is the name of an operating system developed by Microsoft. As most of our readers are well aware, there are constant issues with Windows. Therefore, Microsoft sends out updates, so the newest issue can be resolved.

How do the updates get to my PC?

update settings
Microsoft allows the individual user to decide how they receive the updates. There are four options:
1. Install updates automatically
2. Download updates but let me choose whether to install them
3. Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
4. Never check for updates

Which option should I choose?
now or later
Microsoft recommends the first option, however the downside to this option is it might happen at an inconvenient time. Therefore, for many businesses, we recommend the second option. The downside to the second option is the user has to actually do the update!

Do you really need the updates?
The answer depends on the update. Microsoft divides the updates between important, recommended and optional. It is advisable to do the important and recommended updates, since many times they are for your security. The optional updates may make your computer run smoother, but generally it is not fixing a security threat.
Why does the update need to reboot the computer?

The reason why the computer needs to reboot after certain Windows updates is because it has to redo certain files, which are in use when the computer is in Windows. Therefore, by rebooting, the files are able to be updated before the computer enters into Windows.

Faq Or Frequently Asked Questions Word On Keyboard

Ten Questions:

“My computer is not turning on”

Power
There can be different reasons for your PC not turning on.
The first step is to make sure everything is plugged in properly.
We have found unplugging all the plugs and plugging it in is the best way to confirm everything is properly connected.

“My sound stopped working”
There are multiple reasons why your sound is not working.
Many times, it is because of a loose connection. However, the cause of the problem could also be the drivers, which generally can be repaired within 15 minutes via remote support.
“My Internet is not working”
When someone calls and says their Internet is not working, we first need to determine if it is an internal or external issue.
If it is an external issue, call your Internet carrier.
If it is an internal issue, first make sure that all the lights on your modem and routers are properly on. If all the proper lights are on, it may be a firewall issue.

“My computer suddenly slowed down”
slow A computer suddenly slowing down may be a hardware or software issue.
If it is hardware related, it would be a good time to see if you need more RAM.
If it is software related, start by checking your start-up process, and if there are any spyware/virus programs running in the background.

“My laptop screen cracked, what do I do?”
screen Laptop screens can be replaced or the data can be transferred to another computer.
To determine the correct answer, we will discuss with you what makes the most sense in your particular case.

“My computer is dead”
If the hard drive is damaged, we do data recovery to recover data. We have numerous tools, including hardware and software equipment, to recover lost data. The time it takes varies based on the extent of the damage.

“I am seeing a blue screen”
blue screen A blue screen is good and bad.
The bad is your computer has an issue.
The good news is, the blue screen informs us of what your issue is, which minimizes the repair time.

“My printer is not printing”
The first thing is to confirm everything is plugged in and is on, and then confirm the paper is properly placed in the paper tray.
The next step is to make sure you are printing to the correct printer.

“My son ripped out the keyboard keys from my laptop”
Instead of replacing individual keys on a keyboard, it is recommend to replace the entire keyboard. Last week, we replaced a keyboard, and the keyboard was only $15!

“What is remote support”
Remote support is when a technician connects to your computer remotely. This is a very good tool to use when you have a quick question, so that you don’t need to shlep your computer in! Remote support is used for businesses to do regular maintenance, and for any emergency situations. We use a secure program to ensure that all your data remains secure, as well as we can only access your computer with your permission.

WHAT IS GO DADDY?
go daddy down
Yesterday, Go Daddy was attacked, and causing many websites to be down for several hours.
We were getting calls all day, with clients thinking there was an issue with their Internet.
Therefore we replaced today’s article with this one instead.

What is Go Daddy?

go daddy
GO DADDY is a company which provides a complete suite of products for companies to conduct business online. This includes:
– Domains
– Hosting
– Web design
– Email
– Security
Websites 101:
domain names

DOMAINS are the actual name of the web address- such as “avenuemcomputers.com”. Click here and type in any name to see if the website is available! If you want, you can choose if you want your site to end in “.com”, “.info”, .”net”, “.org” and many more.

hosting

HOSTING is where the actual site code is stored. We, at Avenue M Computers, store our website using Go Daddy. We strongly advise having a local backup of your site, just in case Go Daddy ever looses your information, you will have a backup copy of your work.

web design

WEB DESIGN is as it sounds: the ability to design your own websites by providing templates, and a site builder so that you can build your own website. However, hiring a professional provides you with the ability to have a fully customized site, with all your particular needs without requiring any programming knowledge. For a professional site, fully SEO optimized and a competitive price, please call 718-676-6910 or email us at help@avenuemcomputers.com for more information.

email EMAIL is the ability to create email addresses using your domain name, such as joe@avenuemcomputers.com as opposed to joe@gmail.com.

ssl

SECURITY is creating the ability to have a secure website or webpage. This is crucial if your website is collecting personal information or processing payments, since your clients would want the information they are entering to be processed into a secure webpage.

Why use Go Daddy?
The cost of purchasing and maintaining a server is generally too costly for many small businesses, therefore paying a hosting company monthly/yearly is generally the cost effective solution for many clients.

Is there any competition?
Absolutely! Some of our clients are quite happy with other hosting companies, such as 1and1.com.

Want to find out who owns a particular website?
Click HERE to find out!

What happened yesterday?
DOS attack
Yesterday, Go Daddy servers went down. The servers (supposedly) went down due to a Denial of Service attack. What that means is that someone sent multiple bogus requests to the servers in order to flood the servers with requests causing the server to get bogged down due to the overload. You might ask, “Can the server differentiate between a legitimate and bogus request?” The answer is YES. However, by the time the server moves on to the next request, it is overworked due to the vast amount of requests. In addition some bogus requests are able to masquerade as real requests. There are tools that attempt to detect this so the opposite can happen as well, meaning that many legitimate requests can cause the server to think its being attacked and deny responses to those requests.

Did you know?
private You can hide your identity, so that no one knows that you are the owner of a particular website?
Click HERE and for $9.99/year you can make your domain private, so that the WHOIS domain checker will not reveal any information.

Child with laptop and phone under the bed. Boy playing computer

Cell Phone Filtering Options

What can you do for your smart phone?

Android ANDROID cell phone users have several different options.
1. Norton Online Family
2. K9
3. Cloud ACL
4. Net Nanny

Norton Online Family allows the user to use the standard Android browser, allows the administrator of the filter make changes from any Internet connection, and has the ability to instantly notify via email when an attempt was made for a blocked site.

K9 filter only works within the k9 browser; there is no customization and no notification. The advantage of the k9 filter is that there is easy installation and there is no setup/ customization time.

Cloud ACL allows the user to use the standard Android browser, and all setup of the filter (choosing which categories and sites to allow or block) is done over the phone, by setting up a password. The disadvantage to this filter is that the administrator must make any changes on the actual phone.

Net Nanny, the only Android filter on the list with a cost ($20/year) provides the following perks: it allows the administrator to make changes (regarding the web browser and which apps can be accessed) from any Internet connection, the settings are adjustable, and it has the ability to instantly notify via email when an attempt was made for a blocked site. (There is a free 14 day trial available.)

iPOD iPhone users have two main options:
1. k9
2. Mobicip
K9 filter only works within the k9 browser, and there is no customization and no notification. The advantage of the k9 filter is the easy installation and there is no setup/ customization time.

Mobicip has two options: $5 initial fee or $5 initial plus $10/year. The additional fee allows you to choose which categories you want to block (from any Internet connection) and view/ receive activity reports.
(We recommend the $5 initial plus $10/year Mobicip plan for iPad users.)

blackberryBLACKBERRY, unfortunately does not have many options.
1. Jnet
2. GYE app

Jnet filters the Internet on the blackberry. The problem is that you need to be using an Enterprise server, which can cost an additional $20/month, before the $5.99 monthly Jnet filter.

GYE app can block the browser, app world, Facebook and Twitter apps. Once blocked, you need to call Guard Your Eyes (or Avenue M Computers) to get a password to access any of the blocked programs.

old cell phoneREGULAR CELL PHONES do not have the ability to install filtering programs on them. For most cell phones, if there is a yearly contract, you can contact the carrier regarding parental controls.

What else is recommended?

Protecting the filter is very important.
There are two things which need to be protected:
(A) ensuing the filter does not get uninstalled
(B) disabling the ability to download another browser (or other unwanted programs)

secure android To protect an Android, download an app protector program to protect the filter, as well as blocking the ability to download another browser by blocking the Google Play.
secure iphone To protect the iPhone, go into settings – restrictions, set up a password and restrict the Safari, YouTube and ability to install apps.

Multiple monitors with image gallery

Multiple Monitors
What can you do with two screens?
TWO SCREENS can be used in a couple of different ways.
(a) two identical screens
(b) one big screen

Two identical screens are great if while you are using the computer, you want someone who is sitting or standing opposite you to be able to view the screen comfortably at the same time.

One big screen, also known as an extended desktop, is when you are using two monitors as if they are one. This is very helpful for those that would like to have a program always opened and visible, yet be doing work on other programs at the same time.

Personally, I have two monitors, set up as extended monitors, this way I always have Outlook opened on one screen, while I do all my other work on the other screen.

ON A DESKTOP you can set up multiple monitors, assuming your computer has the capabilities. Some computers are built to be able to handle two screens. However, many computers require the installation of an additional video card in order to facilitate the use of two monitors.

A LAPTOP will be able to add one monitor, most of the time without much work involved in the setup. 

Multiple screens enhance productivity, however once you upgrade to two screens it is very hard to downgrade to one screen.

3D render of a tortoise with a computer
One of the topics people asked us to write about is
“Why did my computer suddenly slow down?”

There are numerous reasons why a computer may be going slow.
It can be hardware or software related, and sometimes it’s both!

Read below to understand what may be causing the slow down,
and some quick tips to resolve the situation!

As always, if unsure, feel free to
call us at 718-676-6910 or reply to this email
and let us know your particular situation!
PROGRAMS slow

Programs do not take up any RAM while they are sitting on the computer. However, while they are running they take up resources on the computer.

When do programs do more harm than good?
When a program is running on a computer and it is not needed.

Why does that happen?
When many programs get installed they tend to place themselves in the startup menu. Once they are in the startup menu, they will automatically run, which takes up unnecessary resources on your computer.

How do you resolve the issue?
If it is a program or printer which you no longer use, simply uninstall the program or device.

If unsure what is necessary, it is highly recommended to seek a professional technician
RAM
RAM
Memory, otherwise known as RAM (as discussed in Newsletter #31) is responsible for the immediate work that the computer is performing.

Over time, with the installation of numerous programs, the amount of RAM installed may not be sufficient to handle the current load.

How to determine if this is the case:
Click HERE to find out how.

If the RAM is the problem, how do I remedy the situation?
It depends on your computer, operating system and bittage (32 or 64 bit) to determine the maximum amount of operable RAM.
To test your computer, go to http://www.crucial.com/ and look for the option to scan your computer.
This will let you know what you have and what your options are in regard to expanding the amount of RAM in your computer.
VIRUS
virus
A virus may be the cause of your computer slowing down.

There are many types of viruses. Some are intended to steal information, while others “simply” are created to slow down your computer!

How do you remove a virus?
Call your local computer professional who will be able to remove any and all remnants of the virus.
HARD DRIVE
Hard Drive
Your hard drive might be the cause of your computer going slow.

Why?
Since the hard drive doubles as virtual memory, if there is not enough contiguous available space on the drive, it may be the cause for the computer going slow

What fills up the hard drive?
Many times the reason hard drives get full are from numerous pictures, music and videos.

What can you do about it?
Delete unnecessary data.
Just to recap, there can be numerous reasons why your computer is going slow. What are listed above is just some of the common reasons we have seen recently. The good news is that we offer free diagnosis, so schedule your computer’s yearly check up today!

If you have any questions, please call us at 718-676-6910 or email us at help@avenuemcomputers.com

Have a wonderful afternoon,

Yonatan Ziegler
Avenue M Computers