We’re The Best of Lawrence For Computer Repair!

Last week I got quite a thrill!  Our company, DoctorDave Computer Repair, won the Best of Lawrence contest.  From the pictures people took of me there, I was pretty excited.  Here’s me in the more calm state.

Best of Lawrence247 t960

Many people were surprised I was excited.  After all, I was opposed to the contest last year.  Things change, most notably the Journal-World is no longer locally owned.  I wrote about my meeting with them.  Since they addressed the privacy and business concerns, it was now a fun contest to be a part of.

I still don’t like using the term “voted” or “chosen.”  This wasn’t a scientific poll or election.  It was a contest. It’s more like being picked the King of Prom rather than Student Council president (I was neither in school).  People were allowed to put in an entry each day, so that’s hardly a vote.  Also, according to the Journal-World, 25% of votes were from outside of Lawrence.

It’s still fun though!  

Truly, I’m humbled by the time people took to fill out entries so that way I won the contest.  Sure, it’s a bit of bragging rights.  Does that mean we’re better than everyone else?  No.  Does it mean we’re the most liked?  Maybe.  We have the most dedicated fans, and that’s what really excites me!

51925922630 71E58A41 0F57 4782 86A4 26A45AE81C67

Regardless of a company’s placement on the list, it’s an honor to be nominated.  When you pick “Best of Lawrence” they don’t let you mark “second best.”   I’m pleased that throughout the contest it was small, local businesses that placed well.  That means people see the value of choosing to do business with a company that is part of the community, instead of just working here. National chains are great and they employ local people and pay taxes just like locally-owned businesses.  The difference with small business is we have more of a stake in the local community.  If a location in a chain doesn’t do well, they just close the location. They don’t have to work with the community they leave behind.

I’m also excited that participants didn’t see computer repair as a commodity item, they see it as a valuable service to have an opinion on. They could have skipped the category (I skipped a bunch), but they didn’t.

IMG 2293 1

That’s the real winner here,  three years running people in Lawrence are fans of computer repair.  Considering they need to vote on the computer, it’s probably an important service to have an opinion on.

Thank you again for voting us Best of Lawrence!

Warning: A New Apple Tech Support Scam

We’ve gotten a few calls about a nasty and vile scam hitting our Lawrence computer repair clients.  It starts with a warning about an iCloud hack.

20111031 FNS LSC 0263

These seem to be in the news all the time.  If it isn’t Apple getting hacked, it’s someone else.  The call is an automated warning to call a specific number letting you know there’s a problem with your Apple or iCloud account.  Since it’s automated, you’re less likely to think it’s a scam.  After all, it’s a computer calling you about a problem.

This new wrinkle isn’t like the typical tech support scam.  Those are usually off-shore and tell you there is something wrong with your computer.   You aren’t as likely to believe the scam because how does the caller know it’s a problem?  When Apple’s automated system calls you, maybe you’re caught off-guard. When you call the number in the automated reply, the scammer assures you they are legit.  They’ll remind you that you called them and you’re free to hang up at any time.

Regardless of what you might think, IT’S A SCAM.  APPLE (or its computer) will NEVER CALL YOU.

This link explains the full details of the hack.  We had a client locked out of their iPhone because of this scam.  When in doubt, call, text, or email is.  Even better, use the DoctorDave Computer Repair app and send us a picture of the screen.

Photo by USDAgov

Tags: ,
Posted in Tips by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Should You Use Your Fingerprint to Unlock Your Phone

I was a little late to the fingerprint unlocking game.  Due to my extreme iPhone case, the fingerprint unlock didn’t work.  I love it, but I’m inclined to turn the feature off.

Day 164 West Midlands Police Custody fingerprint scanner

While you can’t be compelled to give up your password due to the Fifth Amendment, you could be compelled to give your fingerprint.  After all, police ask for fingerprints as part of their usual process.

A state appeals court in Minnesota has ruled just that according to this Techdirt article.  This is just one court case, but I think privacy will start moving in that direction.  I’m not a criminal. On the surface, I have nothing to hide.  I haven’t done anything wrong, so why should I care if the police see my contacts, pictures, and appointments?

The problem, of course, is it creates a terrible precedent.  We’re innocent until proven guilty and out of context, stuff on your phone could be incriminating.  A joke or picture out of context could be really damaging.
We take privacy seriously here at DoctorDave Computer Repair.  We know your mobile device, tablet and computer have intimate information.  If you work with us, our goal is to keep that information in your control.  We’ll keep it away from hackers and unauthorized government intervention.

Photo by West Midlands Police

Tags: ,
Posted in Commentary Tips by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Stop Waiting for Google Fiber, Support Municipal Broadband

We’ve been a big supporter of local government providing internet. While Google Fiber is great, they’re already cutting back expansion and even cancelling appointments in Kansas City.  Just like trash and water or even the library, the city should be providing internet.

Mario at Google Fiber Kansas City MO

Unfortunately, some legislatures like Virginia are trying to block these efforts.  The rationale that “good enough” is good is false.  We see clients on the local tiers of WOW and AT&T not able to do much.  Even basic email chokes on slow connections.  Sharing slow internet in a household with your phone or tablet makes it even slower.

We rarely take political stances, but in this case we make an exception. Big ISPs somehow feel threatened by local efforts, but that’s just silly.  If private companies aren’t doing the job, it’s time for the public to force action.  Kansas City’s reliance on Google for high-speed internet is already failing.  I wish they would have put those efforts into local operations.  My prediction is Google will start selling off their internet services to local governments.  They’re also opposed to restrictions on municipal broadband, even though in some markets they could be competing against the city for internet services.

Photo by UCFFool

Tags: ,
Posted in Commentary by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Google Home Remembers What You Forget

I’m forgetting where I put stuff all the time.  I might write it down, but then I can’t find the piece of paper.

Google Home on table in front of sunny window.

I’ve owned a Google Home since almost the beginning and love it.  If you have one, tell it to remember something and it will.

For example say “Hey Google, remember I put my charger in the kitchen junk drawer”.

Then, Google Home repeats it back to you.

When you can’t find something, ask Google.  Say “Hey Google, where did I put my charger?”

It’s that simple.  If you haven’t tried a Google Home yet, feel free to ask Dave about his and how he forces Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home to get into an argument.  We setup IoT devices like this all the time.

Photo by ndb_photos

Tags: ,
Posted in Tips by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Apple Store Techs May Have No Experience Fixing Macs?

You’d think the Apple store would hire the best and brightest computer repair technicians.  Due to how busy they are, they’re cutting back on training.

This Apple Store has a new Genius

It used to be Apple technicians would get some hands-on experience fixing Macs before touching your system.  If this story is true, your Mac might be the first one they’ve touched.  If you rely on your Mac, that’s not the type of person you want working on it.

I don’t really blame Apple for this.  Training costs time and money.  Since they make Macs, if a technician breaks a computer, it’s easy for Apple to remedy the situation.

Here at DoctorDave Computer Repair, we don’t have that luxury.  We have to fix it right the first time.  That’s why our team of techs have both hands-on and virtual training before they ever touch your Mac (or PC).  In fact, the first computer I ever worked on back in the 1990s blew up.  I plugged in something wrong and the next thing I knew, smoke and flames.  There’s something to real-world experience as a teacher!

Photo by ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓

Tags: ,
Posted in Tips by dgreenbaum. No Comments

What is Ransomware?

You might have heard in the news about companies getting hit with “ransomware”.  In particular medical offices like chiropractors and psychologists are major targets.  We see the same thing with our Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City computer repair clients.

System Lock

The nutshell is your computer gets some kind of virus.  Instead of just messing up your computer, this software locks it.  It scrambles the information on your computer.  To get your stuff back you pay a fee for a special password.   That’s the ransom.

With business clients, the ransom is only part of the problem.  This article explains the downtime and lost productivity caused by it.

Our recommendations to avoid ransomware are

  • Avoid clicking unexpected links or attachments.  These scams often seem to come from package notifications
  • Keeping your antivirus up-to-date and working. We see to often clients that think they have protection but they don’t
  • Have a good, reliable data backup.  Most clients we see the first time have no protection.  Instead of paying the ransom, we like clients to restore from a backup.  Online backups are less than $50 a year, so we can help you set that up.

By the time you’re hit with ransomware, it’s too late to solve the damage.  Unless you have a backup, you’re often just stuck paying and hoping you can get the data back.  Give us a call if you’d like a free evaluation for your risks of ransomware and protection ideas.

Photo by Yu. Samoilov

Tags: , ,
Posted in Uncategorized by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Customer Privacy Again in the News

Apple should be ashamed of itself; recently employees were caught stealing photos from client systems.  I don’t think companies like Apple quite understand the intimate and personal nature of the information they’re entrusted with.

Torley visits the Apple Store 05

I’ve written about our strict privacy policy, but it’s worth mentioning again.  We realize people’s entire lives are stored on their computers and mobile devices.  It’s a job we take seriously. It starts with working with the right people.  We don’t make jokes about what we see and never take information off the computer without consent.  We use remote control software, but it’s turned off by default.

Simply put, it’s your information. It’s in your control.  Even if the FBI offered us money to snoop on you without a warrant, we wouldn’t!  The same can’t be said of other computer repair companies in Lawrence, KS, Kansas City, and Topeka.

Photo by ▓▒░ TORLEY ░▒▓

Tags: , ,
Posted in Business Commentary by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Your Privacy and Computer Repair

When we do computer repair, we see all sorts of personal stuff. It’s not just your Facebook profiles and bank accounts.  We can see your browsing habits, who else you know, every password.  It’s everything that’s on your phone and more.  We take that responsibility seriously, some providers don’t

Mobile Service Desk Best Buy 1

Recently, national news outlets have covered how Geek Squad has acted as a paid informants to the police.   That story really bothered me.  As technicians we have an affirmative duty to protect our client’s privacy. We have access to an unprecedented information not just about a client, but all the people that client interacts with.  All our technicians go through extensive background checks and a rigorous interview process.  That process helps prevent unethical or irresponsible technicians working on machines.

I fully support reporting to law enforcement when we see egregious violations on a system.  In particular, we have a duty to report suspected child pornography.  Geek Squad of Lawrence reported a customer of theirs with child pornogprahy.  The difference between the Lawrence KS and the national story was the circumstances of how the pornography was found.  In the Lawrence case, the Geek Squad found the illegal content because of a problem the client reported related to it.  We’ve been in that situation too.  We don’t open up files or images unless a client specifically requests the investigation or those files show up as containing malware.  Our policy, similar to Geek Squad, is to report content we directly see in the process of a repair.  We never look for it and never examine images.  In my almost thirty years of repair experience, I’ve never had to report an image, but that doesn’t mean I’m not prepared for it.

We also comply with law enforcement requests and court orders.  We’ve only turned over a computer once to law enforcement and that was after a fire.  Before we could do data recovery, law enforcement wanted to see the computer for potential evidence of arson (none was found).  We have however called the police when we suspect a stolen laptop as part of our password reset policy.  In these situations, we’ve helped a few people get reunited with a laptop.  That’s one of the best parts of the job.

Beyond these situations, what is in your computer is your own business.  We’ll protect your privacy and fight for it whenever we can.

Photo by roblawton

Tags: , ,
Posted in Commentary Tips by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Use Gmail? Your Computer May Be Too Old to Use It

If you’re a Gmail user and you’re using an older computer, you might need to switch.  Gmail won’t work properly in Windows XP and Vista.

gmail mailbox

Windows XP and Vista are no longer supported by Microsoft.  That means that it’s ripe to be attacked by hackers.  They can lock you out of your computer or steal information.  I like the fact that Gmail is going to warn users to stop using XP and Vista, but that isn’t enough.

Ideally, Google should prevent users from using XP or Vista altogether. Right now, they’ll force you to use the less-secure “html” version of Gmail.  That’s a bad idea in my book.  XP and Vista need more security to access email not less.

Our advice:  it’s time to switch to a computer that supports a newer operating system.  The reason people avoid a new computer is they’re worried about their old stuff.  We transfer stuff from older computers to new computers all the time.  You’ll want to get that new computer before a hacker (or a company like Google) prevents you from accessing your old stuff.

Photo by rovlls

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized by dgreenbaum. No Comments
Copyright © DoctorDave Computer Repair in Lawrence Kansas |   intrepidity Theme by Top Blog Formula on WordPress |   Log In