Secret Santa Service, Last Minute Holiday Gifts

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Every year here at DcotorDave Computer Repair in Lawrence and Kansas City we offer our exclusive “Santa” service.

Technology gifts for the holidays are great, but the problem is they need to be set up.  They’re more complex than the standard disclaimers of “some assembly required” and “batteries not included.”  Take for example the average services we provide for a new computer setup:

  • Unbox the computer
  • Add the computer to the wifi network (do you have the password?)
  • Follow approximately 10-15 prompts agreeing to terms of service, license agreements, and privacy policies.
  • Start dozens of safety and security updates
  • Disable trial software and “junk” that comes on the average computer
  • Find passwords and set up email on a new system
  • Transfer stuff from the old system like pictures, music, and documents
  • Install programs like Microsoft Word and Excel as part of Microsoft Office
  • Configure antivirus and malware
  • Create a backup system to protect data

On average that’s about 90 minutes for us because we do it every day, sometimes even three times a day.  Most clients tell us it takes them several hours to do this work and often they don’t have the skills or tools to finish.

In other words, it makes for a complicated and exhausting Christmas morning.  Clients think our busy time is Christmas Day (yes we’re open) or the day after Christmas.

In reality, we usually start hearing from clients after the tree comes down.  That’s because the new computer, printer, tablet or smart speaker (think Alexa and Google Home/Mini) sit in the box until someone decides to call us.

To prevent that problem we offer what I call the “Santa Service.”  We can make an appointment at our office or your home (including evenings or weekends) and set all the stuff up in advance.  Then you just put it back in the box and wrap it up.

When the recipient opens the box, it’s READY TO GO.  Everything is set up.  They just press the button, and away it goes.  I’d admit it isn’t as popular as I think it should be, but clients who take us up on the offer rave about how happy they are.

It takes all the stress out of receiving a gift.  Yes, sometimes getting a gift can be stressful.  We’ve got this gift setup down to a science.  After all, we’ve been in business 15 years.

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Posted in Tips by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Special: Pre-Payment Discount and Free Gift

Since we’re not a retail shop, it’s harder for us to participate in the fun of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

It might be harder, but we’re still doing it.  Here’s’ some deals we have for you:

 

 

 

My Post

Pre-Payment Discount

Our normal rate is $90 an hour, but we’re selling blocks of time at a discount.  You can buy two hours of service for $160.  That’s a savings of $20, but for this weekend we’re selling them at $150 for an extra $10 off.  You can use these in as little as 15-minute increments if you’d like remote support.  They can be used for any of our services like

  • Wellness checkups (recommended every year)
  • New computer setups
  • Virus and malware removal
  • Upgrades, installs, and configuration of things like printers, wireless routers, scanners as well as software

If you purchase it anytime this weekend we’ll include a password book to track your passwords.  Proper password management prevents you from getting taken in by scams and hacks.  Go here to take advantage of the offer. After midnight on Monday they go back up to $160, which is still a good deal.

Free Checkup When you Join Our Monthly Wellness Program

diagnostics and estimates

Normally we charge $80 to join our Wellness program which includes your first checkup.  If you sign up this weekend we’ll come out and do your first checkup for free.  You must sign up and pay your first month’s fee of $25 to take advantage of this deal.

Some key benefits of our monthly wellness program are:

  •  Wellness security and problem prevention checkups twice a year
  • Discounts on labor and anti-virus software
  • Free assistance through email or our DoctorDave™ iPhone app
  • Free installs of hardware, software and new computers
  • Free virus detection scans
  • Free checks for updates to hardware and software
  • Free Assistance with problems caused by scammers
  • Free Membership Appreciation Clinics and Parties
  • Free consulting on new hardware and software purchases
  • Free monthly tips and tricks newsletter
  • Free recycling of old computer equipment, including securely erasing or destroying data

To take advantage of this deal, you’ll first need to go here.

Malwarebytes Antivirus Protection for Macs or PCs (50%)

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We’re offering this only to existing clients.  Normally this product retails for $40, but we give a discount of $5.00.  For Black Friday, we’ll discount it another $10.00.  You’ll get one year of protection for just $25.  To take advantage of this deal you’ll need to already be an existing client and email.  Call us at 785-841-8766 to take advantage of this deal.  No online sales.

Stocking Stuffer:  Password Management Book  $5.00

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Normally we sell these for $7.50 (or get them free if you purchase a pre-payment block of service).  They’re great

Whether it’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, help support local business and protect your computer!

Interesting Idea for an Old Computer

A Computer TreeWhen you get a new computer, you might wonder what to do with the old one, especially if it works.  We work with Connecting For Good in Kansas City to help refurbish and distribute these computers to needy families.  However, there are some other uses.

My colleagues at Lifehacker had some interesting ideas.  The one I like best is the “guest computer.”  When people come over and need to just check email or print a boarding pass, why not have them use that spare computer.  After all, hotels have those kinda resources.  Just be sure to use it every so often to check to make sure it works and gets security updates.

When it’s finally ready to go out to pasture, don’t just throw it in the trash. Give us a call.  Even if it doesn’t work, we can still get it ethically and responsibly recycled.  We’ll make sure your private data is erased and the computer ends up in good hands.

Photo by mikecogh

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Posted in Tips by dgreenbaum. No Comments

Has Your Password Been Stolen?

Authenticity required passwordWith all the recent and continuing breaches, one thing we learned is you can’t rely on a company to tell you.  Breaches are reported months and sometimes years later.

If you’d like to check if yours was stolen, the website “Have I been pwned” helps.  All you do is put in your username or email address (no passwords!)  It then tells you what hacks you’ve been a victim of.  I was only the victim of seven on one email address.  I consider that lucky.

Fortunately, I use a password manager.  All those passwords on those sites were unique, so I was safe.  We help clients all the time setup password managers.  It’s easy and saves you time and hassle.  All you do is remember the password to your password manager and it takes care of everything else.

Photo by liako

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Remote Workers Do Better (We Support Remote Workers)

Lego computerM

ore and more, businesses are supporting working from home. It used to be a luxury.  Only cushy jobs let you work from home. So-called “real jobs” required you to go into the office.  No more!

This article from Stanford Graduate School of Business shows that remote workers have a 13% improvement in performance. The reasons are obvious, but it’s nice to have some data behind it.  You don’t have to worry about a commute.  The main reason they mention resonates with me the most:  control over the environment.

When you’re working from home, you have control of everything: the noise level, the temperature, the furniture, etc..  At the office you not only don’t have control of the environment, but others invade it.  Coworkers stop by to chat.  My problem was people’s lunches that would stink up the place!

With work-from-home, your internet connection is your expressway into work.  No internet = no work.  We get that.  Too many companies feel that residential computer repair customers are a lower priority than businesses.  They miss the fact that people work from home and get business done.  According to this study, 31% of remote workers missed work due to technical problems. How frustrating!

That’s why we focus on small office, home office, and residential customers.  They need computer support outside of the traditional office.

Photo by Matt From London

Which is More Secure? Your Phone or Laptop

Action Link Wireless

With many people having both a smartphone and laptop synced, you’d think people would secure them equally.  In reality, it seems people are more worried about their phone rather than their laptop (or desktop).  That’s a big mistake.

This article has some interesting facts!  The ones that stood out to me are related to leaving the laptop unattended.  I see this in coffeeshops all the time. Someone will take their phone in the restroom with them or up to the counter, but otherwise just leave their laptop there.  It also makes sense it’s easier to carry a phone in your pocket compared to a laptop.

Nonetheless, both devices should be protected equally.  That includes proper password, encryption, and other security methods.  This is a much bigger deal if you’re bound by professional codes of conduct like HIPAA, FINRA, or PCI.  We’re here to help with that and have lots of clients in these situations.

Photo by Kevin Johnston

Is Your PC Dirty Inside?

We see all kinds of computers here.  Inside, most of them are dirty.  Some are pretty wild inside.  Most of the time it’s not the client’s fault.

I really need to clean this

There’s a fun subreddit where people post pics of dusty computers.  I’ve never posted there, but I’ve thought about it.  Computers have cooling fans and sit on the floor many times, so it’s natural they collect dust inside.  Dust can causes the fans to fail and overheat, so it’s a good idea to have them cleaned.  Pet dander and smoke debris get in there as well.

Don’t just take a vacuum to clean it, please.  While we love seeing you, we don’t want to see you because of this.  Static is what causes computers to get “fried.”  If you don’t make sure to ground yourself, you’ll transfer a charge to the computer.

We have special equipment to clean inside the computer without zapping it with electricity.  Checking the insides of a computer is part of our standard tune up process, but feel free to ask for it during any service call.  We carry the tools with us.

Photo by Lee Edwin Coursey

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Use Chrome? Don’t Settle for a Boring Chrome Start Page!

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Many clients use Google’s Chrome browser on a PC and a Mac.  It’s fast and reliable, but it’s also highly customizable.

This blog post gives you some easy ideas of how to change your start page.  My favorite though is New Tab Motivation by The Mindful Tech Labs.  They also make chatbots for Facebook, so there’s no excuse not to be motivated.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite start page is.

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Have a Landline; You’re in the Minority!

Image from page 206 of Bell telephone magazine 1922

Back in 2016, we crossed a major threshold in technology.  A majority of US Households use mobile phones and don’t have landlines. It makes sense as mobile phones become a necessity.  Why use a phone that ties you to one location?

If you still have a landline, there’s probably a few reasons.  First, you might be concerned about your phone number.  Everyone has it, so if you got rid of it, you’d lose contact with people. That was my first worry too.  Fortunately, mobile providers make it easy to “port” a number.  I walked into my AT&T store and five minutes later my landline was now a mobile phone.  It’s a ton cheaper than my landline.  Best of all, all the calls get forwarded to my mobile phone, so I can get calls from both numbers.  Yeah.

Another reason might be faxing.  No worries here.  Online faxing is often free through websites or even iPhone and Android apps.  It’s still way cheaper than your landline.  Newer multifunction printer/scanners support internet faxing as well.

Finally, it’s about the comfort level.  People perceive landlines as more reliable.  Back in the day, they were.  Now, most voice calls travel on internet lines anyways.  All the outages we’ve had with Midco in Lawrence is because of that.  We see the same issues with AT&T customers.  When the internet goes out the phones go out, and vice versa.  The two are linked together.

If you need help making the switch, give us a call. We’ve helped lots of clients with it.

Photo by Internet Archive Book Images

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Police Using Fitbit Data Against You?

Fitbit ForceI’m not talking the fat police either.  I’m talking about someone going to jail based on what a fitness tracker told police.

The details are explained here . It should give everyone pause for concern.  The obvious thing is “don’t do anything wrong,” but the problems go deeper than that.  For example, given that people know how these trackers are used, what could stop someone from switching yours out and framing you.  I know I’ve accidentally picked up my spouse’s tracker before.  The Supreme Court is already grappling with issues of cell phone towers and privacy.  Their decision might impact cases like this as well.

Photo by Bekathwia

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