What’s next after 3-D Smart TV’s? The HoloLens!

There was first the regular tube televisions.  Then, we marveled at the flat LCD TV’s.  After we admired the minimalist models, the Smart TV’s came out that tapped us into our digital content.  Now, here comes the HoloLens!

Just like you’d see in a hologram, that is the philosophy behind Microsoft’s HoloLens.  The picture of the TV screen will literally come out of the actual screen.  So, you’ll be able to see football players in all their 6 foot 5, 250 pound glory.  For lesser mortals like Russell Wilson, at 5′ 11′ and 206 pounds (Hey, I’m a Giants fan.  Go Blue!), you’ll see his full dimensions right in your living room.

Here’s a quick video to show you how it will look:

All you’ll need is a virtual reality headset and you will enter a new dimension.  Multiple people may watch at the same time and you’ll feel like you’ll never have to go to a live game again, ever.

Currently,  Microsoft has released the HoloLens to developers to work on while there is no release date yet for consumers.  Just imagine the possibilities and I give credit to the Microsoft support team for introducing this revolutionary product.

Should I buy a used computer? What things to consider when buying a used computer.

should-i-buy-used-computerBuyer beware when buying anything.  With a used computer, it should be buyer look-out!  But, with a few checklist items to look out for, you can buy confidently.

Here’s what to look out for when buying a used computer:

  • Why is it being sold? Is it just old?  Find out why it’s being sold.  It is not wanted any longer?  IsChecklist for buying used computer there a problem with it?
  • Is it used or refurbished?  Used just means it’s not new.  Refurbished means it was fixed or has used parts inside.
  • Any baggage? Ask if there were any issues with it during its life? What replacements have been made?
  • What’s under the hood? What’s the RAM, processor and hard drive capacity?
  • Any comps? Any free software loaded up?
  • Take it for a test drive.  By all means, take it out on the road.  Don’t take the salesperson’s word for it.  Check it out for yourself.
  • What’s the warranty?  How long? Is it satisfaction guaranteed where if you don’t like it, you can return it?

So, go in with eyes wide-open when purchasing your used computer.  And by the way, it’s a huge cost-savings.  In our computer repair shop, our used models that are just 1-2 years old are 1/3 of the original price.  Great savings and great used computers.

I’ve been hacked! How to know if you’ve really been hacked?

I've been hacked.“I’ve been hacked!” We hear this bold statement constantly.  Our reply has a two-fold approach:  part arm-chair psychologist and part IT specialist.  It is easy to feel hacked, but have you really been hacked?

Here are scenarios to determine if you’ve been hacked or not:

  • PC is slow.  Not hacked!  Maybe a failing hard drive or computer virus infection.
  • Pop-up saying to click here to remove your virus.  Close, but no cigar.  Not hacked! Sounds like spyware.
  • A pop-up saying you’ve been infected and it’s coming from your ISP, i.e. Verizon or TimeWarner.
  • An FBI pop-up, ransomware message, or similar.  All viruses or trojans and not a hack-job.
  • Can’t log into Gmail or your email and you’re 100% positive you know the password.  Hacked! Someone has hacked your email or more likely someone who doesn’t like you has.
  • You got a pop-up asking you to call a number to fix your virus.  After clicking the box, your second dull-wittedness move is to call and let these people remote into your computer.  Total hack job!  And you let it happen!
  • You see the mouse move on your computer on its own.  Yup, totally hacked! Someone has used your remote software or found away in.

To be honest, if you’re not a computer guru, it will be tough to unhack your hack.  Your hacker has some serious computer service skills.  So, unless you feel you can go toe to toe with Anonymous, don’t try.  

Before throwing in the towel totally, there are a couple things you can do:

  1. Back up your files and reinstall your operating system from scratch.  This will give you a clean slate.
  2. Change your wireless router and computer passwords.  Better yet, change all your passwords, including emails, bank accounts, and everything else.

Want to dig deeper and see what’s under your hood?  Can you see the hacking in progress.  Here are a couple utilities to run:

  • WireShark – Checks for network connections in the background.  If there are more than your own IP address, then you’re in trouble.
  • Task Manager – Close all your programs, Ctrl + Alt + Del and if your CPU usage is maxed out, you’re not in good shape.

Is all this stuff over your head?  Then, bring your computer over to a security systems / anti-hacker computer service specialist.

How to customize the Windows 10 Start Menu – Windows 10 NYC Service by New York Computer Help

windows-10-start-bar-customizationWindows 10 doesn’t have to seem foreign to you.  You can spruce it up and customize the Windows 10 Start Menu so you can get to the programs and stuff you need fast right away.

Here’s how you can customize your Windows 10 Start Menu:

  1. Go to Start->Settings->Personalization->Start
  2. Enable “Most used apps” to have them appear right away.
  3. You don’t have to enable “Show recently added apps” as it will have your last installed programs appear first.  No need to have this show up right away.
  4. The next option is my favorite, “Use Start full screen” is really easy on the eyes to see the whole Start button across the screen.  Enable this one.
  5. Another favorite, “Choose which folders appear on Start,” you can select Documents, Downloads, Network and your other favorites to appear here.
  6. If you want to get fancy, you can even change the color of your Start menu by going to Start->Settings-Personalization->Colors.

The key here is you can personalize your start menu without cluttering your desktop.  Plus, it makes it nice and neat which is how your computer should be.

Mac is frozen. Easy 5 steps to fix a frozen Mac.

frozen-mac-fix-nycYour Mac is frozen.  Yes, that’s not supposed to happen, and yes, there’s potentially an easy Mac fix for that.

Typically, your Mac is frozen because one app is a memory-hog and takes over your whole Mac.  So, let’s Force quit mac appstop the app in its tracks and free up your Mac again.

Here are 5 easy steps to fix your frozen Mac:

  1. Click on the desktop or another App besides the freezing one.
  2. Control-click the app icon in the Dock.
  3. Hold Option (Quit in the menu with change to Force Quit).
  4. Select Force Quit.
  5. Wait for your Mac to be unfrozen.

Can’t install Adobe Flash Player. How to fix it in 2 easy steps?

Adobe flash player install issueWe’ve been getting this one a lot, “I can’t install Adobe Flash Player.” What should be an easy install isn’t.

Let’s get right to it. Here’s how to fix your Flash Player install issue:

  1. Uninstall your current Flash Player.  You can run this Flash Player uninstall software which makes it a piece of cake.
  2. Then, go over to the Adobe website and download the latest Flash Player.

That’s it.  2 easy steps and your Flash Player is working again.  If you’re still having issues, you may have a computer virus, operating system corruption or something deeper that should be checked out by a local computer repair tech.

Should I get monthly phone insurance?

cell-phone-insurance-serviceIf you’ve got an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Nexus, or cherished flip-phone, you may have wondered if getting insurance on your phone is worth it.  What will happen if you drop and crack your phone glass screen?  How much will it be?  How long will it take to fix?

With a month-to-month insurance plan, you can purchase it from your wireless carrier, i.e. Verizon, AT&T, or you can go with a third-party insurance company, i.e. SquareTrade.  With your wireless carrier, you’ll be looking at about $8 – $11/month with typically a $199 deductible for each incident.  As per SquareTrade, you are looking at $6/month and a $75 deductible and you’ll need to go to local phone repair shop to get it fixed.

As for wireless carrier insurance, paying $100+ per year and $200 for a cracked phone broken-phone-repair-nycscreen is ridiculous when you look at the $300 + tax all-in dollar amount.  Plus, you have tons of paperwork to fill out.  This is not even considering that most carriers will charge you on top of this to decide not to fix your phone; rather, giving you a refurbished phone with a premium added.

SquareTrade is more reasonable although if your phone is unrepairable, it won’t give you a new phone.  You’ll just get money it thinks will cover a similar replacement.

I’m not a fan of the insurance aspect.  Chances are you will crack your phone screen once a year or less and don’t have to fork over the hefty insurance premiums.  Plus, you will most likely get a refurbished phone instead, meaning you’ll need to start fresh and move all your files over from iCloud, Google Store, or another online site you hopefully backed up to.  Further, you will not be covered for loss or theft.

Your best bet is to go to a local phone repair service shop that will charge you a fraction of the cost and take care of your phone on the spot.  Plus, you should check into recouping the cost with your credit card company or home owner’s insurance.