The only way to do great work is to love what you do. ~Steve Jobs

Posted by Janet Riley on Aug 7, 2017 in Newsletter

It’s good to be back in God’s country. I just spent five days traveling to and from Las Vegas for a trade show. I am fairly certain air conditioning is mans greatest invention! I’m also fairly certain my brain has been boiled, my creative processes have all died, I can’t think of anything new or entertaining to write about. So I’m going to cheat. Here are some fun facts from days gone by:

1948: At Manchester University, the world’s first stored-program electronic digital computer successfully executed its first program. It was called the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, but nicknamed “The Baby”.

1979: The first Sony Walkman, the TPS-L2, goes on sale in Japan. The portable, personal cassette player goes on to sell 200 million cumulative units and Janet Graduates from Marshfield!

1981: IBM introduces its Personal Computer (PC), known as the IBM Model 5150. IBM’s first PC ran with a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor and used Microsoft’s MS-DOS operating system.

1983: Microsoft introduces Windows, which featured pull-down menus, tiled windows, mouse support and more. Also the year Janet graduates from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and dual minors in Computer Science and Behavioral Science.

1993: Directors of CERN release the source code of World Wide Web into the public domain, making it freely available to anyone, without licensing fees.

2000: In only six hours, the “ILOVEYOU” computer virus spreads around the world to over 2.5 million personal computers running Windows.

2001: Apple unveils first iPod for $399. The 5 GB digital music player could store 1,000 songs on its hard drive.

2001: Wikipedia, the free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online. At the end of year one there were 19,700 articles. As of August 2, there are 5,453,475 articles in the English Wikipedia.

2005: Video sharing site YouTube launches. There are now over four billion video views every day.

2007: Google enters the cell phone market by introducing the Android platform, based on a modified version of the Linux operating system.

2012: Stock value of Apple, Inc. surpasses $500 billion.

2015: Apple, Inc. is the first company to reach a stock value of $700 billion.

2016: Only 20 Fortune 500 companies actually engage with their customers on Facebook, while 83% have a presence on Twitter.

2016: Stock value of Apple, Inc. returns to $523 billion.

2017: Comp-U-Talk celebrates 33 years of providing computer support to Coos County Businesses and residents. We love what we do. We hope it shows. We have one request: If you appreciate us, please keep us in business and tell your friends. If not, please tell us, so we can make it right.

Enjoy the dog days of summer and surf safe.

Janet

Because it made me laugh!

cats in order

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Cyber War-Your Worst Nightmare

Posted by Janet Riley on Jul 6, 2017 in Newsletter

your files are encryptedQuestion?: I heard about a virus going around wiping out computers-is this anything I need to worry about?

Answer: YES!!

This question, or some version of it, lands in my in box every week. This past month, the WannaCry Ransomware, made lots of companies cry. And just a few days ago, a variant, Petya, joined the barrage. It was just a matter of hours before NotPetya emerged. The really bad news: NotPetya is consider cyber war. Even the author of Petya doesn’t want to take credit for this attack. This attack doesn’t seem to care about money. It just encrypts your data and throws away the key. It’s sole intent is to cripple.

So how do you protect yourself?

Keeping your system updated is critical. Besides updating Windows, you also need to keep current with your anti-virus software, malware detection software and all utility software.

Making regular backups is a must.

I like to have backups on-site and off-site. When bad things happen, it’s nice to have the speed and ease of an on-site backup. But there are no guarantees the next version of Malware won’t wipe out your local backup. After all, if it is attached to the infected computer then it can become compromised just as easily as the system itself. To protect against that, I also send backups offsite. People will fuss about the added expense saying, “It just doesn’t seem necessary”, or “I can’t afford it”. But you need to change your thinking: Off-site backups are like fire insurance or car insurance. You buy it. You never intend to use it. But if you have ever experienced a house fire or a car collision, you know how thankful you were to have it. Even with a large deductible, it was still a blessing.

So what makes offsite backups different? A quality backup, will include versioning, keeping two or more copies of the same file. This is critical. No one wants the heart ache of discovering their system is encrypted and the backup software replaced good files with encrypted files. That would make you WannaCry!

Cost of infection is always more than just the ransom you pay. There is also the cost of lost production. PLUS the added expense of Anti-Anxiety Meds!

Worried about your antivirus? We recommend Avira. You can purchase on line for $45, or take advantage of our dealer special for $35/each.

Need a quality backup plan with versioning? We can get you started for as little as $20/month.

Want someone to keep tabs on your software patches? Whether you want it done annually, quarterly or monthly, we’ve got you covered. We also offer an affordable monitoring service that will report back anytime something looks suspicious.

If any of these ideas make you tingle, give us a call. It is much more pleasant to prevent chaos than to reverse chaos. And as the above quote says: Survival is not mandatory!!

~Janet

 On a more pleasant note and because I eat kale and coconut oil and this made me laugh!

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Meet Michael

Posted by Janet Riley on Jun 5, 2017 in Newsletter

I have a passion for web developing, so I started out with Comp-U-Talk to bring my services to the world. I’ve been making websites and programming for 3 years, and along the way I’ve found that it’s truly what I enjoy doing in life. It is both my hobby and my job to make your website as amazing as possible.

Meet Michael. Michael is working with Comp-U-Talk this summer thru a state sponsored internship program. He has a passion for creating websites. We are hoping to keep him busy and keep him in the area. If you have been considering building a website, but just haven’t found the time to make it happen, we would love to help.

Things we are available to help with include registering the domain name if you haven’t already secured one plus domain hosting on fast, secure and reasonably priced servers for your website and company email.

All web sites are designed to be responsive. That means they are just as readable on a smart phone or tablet as they are on a full sized computer monitor.

The contact email address used on your website is protected from spam generating robots with the use of email forms and an optional Captcha algorithm. Captchas are those horrible “Enter these random, barely readable letters and numbers” before submitting your form procedures. While no one like to use a captcha, they have proven to be very valuable at keeping spammers at bay.

We can design a website to include a blog, or not. We can link to your social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or not. They can include an opt in for Email Newsletters and Marketing. And we can create sites to handle various styles of ecommerce with links to PayPal or a merchant service provider of choice. Need a merchant service provider? We can make recommends there too!

Take a look at some of the sites we are working on.
http://comp-u-talk.com/
http://medical-outfitters.com/
http://wildfood.farm/
http://www.shouldnotbe.com/
http://mounttemmaus.com/

If you would like your name added to this list, give us a call today. (541.756.8770)

 – Janet

 

 

Because it made me laugh and I hate camping!

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What’s New In The Computer World

Posted by Janet Riley on May 4, 2017 in Newsletter

“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.”
Dr. Gramme Edwards

People are constantly asking me: “What’s new in the computer world Janet?” As of April 11, I can say the Creators Update is new!

Pray tell, what is the Creators Update? It’s the second major update to Windows 10 and it has some new & updated features that might be of interest if you are running Windows 10.

First up is the new 3D Paint program (named 3D Builder). It’s an amazing program that reminds me of my college roommate, an engineering student, who had to draw 3D images for a class. She spent hours drawing cylinders. The 3D Builder can do it in a matter of seconds. Once finished, it can print the 3D object on a 3D printer, not that I have a 3D printer. I suspect I will own a 3D printer when it is capable of printing an edible dinner.

Next up is a deep dive into Virtual Reality and improved gaming experiences. Who knew they could improve Solitaire? Oh wait. My bad! That’s not the style of gaming they are improving.

There are some features I do find admirable. For instance, the Edge browser has been redesigned to be more stable, more responsive, can now support 3D content, and includes a preview of open tabs when you hover on the tab. To improve security, Edge now blocks Flash content by default. Embedded Flash from web pages can be a source of malware.

Sticky notes, one of my favorite windows utilities, now comes with a feature called “Insights”. Insights will auto detect phone numbers, web addresses, email addresses, flight numbers, street addresses, and will offer to dial, open a web page, start an email, check if a flight is on time or get driving directions. While it wasn’t able to give me driving directions to my house, it is pretty intuitive.   In its defense, I do live off the beaten path. Which brings me to a much appreciated feature: changes to Windows Updates.

Because I live in the sticks, my only source of internet is Satellite Dish. Satellite dishes are metered connections. Once I’ve consumed my allotted 20 Gigabytes of data for the month, I’m stuck. My choices are to purchase more Gigabytes or suffer with speeds reminiscent of dial-up days. Originally, Windows 10 automatically downloaded critical updates. That became a huge problem when the critical updates consumed all of my data for the month. There was an option to set a time to download if you were on a metered connection, but the metered connection only worked with wireless connections. (My house is wired for networking.) With the new Creators update, I can turn on the metered feature for wired or wireless internet connections. And, because I’m running Windows 10 Pro, I can pause installation of updates up to 35 days. (Home version can pause up to 3 days.) That’s definitely worth the price of the upgrade (which is free).

Free does come with some caveats. Free means view advertisements or figure out how to turn them off. To find the magic OFF switches,


Click on the Windows Menu

Choose Settings and then System and then Notifications and Actions. This page will list a variety of options that can be turned off or on.

It would also be a good idea to review your privacy settings found at Settings->Privacy->Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalization info (a hyperlink at bottom of page)

And that’s what’s new in the computer world!

Enjoy and Surf Safe,

~Janet

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Super Chicken Crushes Tech Support Schemes

Posted by Janet Riley on Apr 1, 2017 in Newsletter

Just once, I want a username and password prompt to say, “Close Enough”

~anonymous

 

Well, I’m not much in the mood for writing a newsletter this month. A good bout with the flu will do that to ya! In good news: I lost 4 pounds thru the ordeal. Five more bouts with the flu and I’ll be at goal weight! (Think I’d rather remain fat.)

Good friend and business colleague Kristen at Higgins Business Services has suggested I remind you that the IRS doesn’t believe in calling you or emailing you regarding your outstanding tax liabilities. The IRS believes in using the postal service for collection purposes. If they contact you via any other method, it probably is a scam. However, if you are uncertain and want to verify, individuals can call the IRS at 800-829-1040, businesses can dial 800-829- 4933.

We are still getting a rash of users who have fallen prey to pop ups claiming they need to call tech support to solve some random problem. Please don’t call the number. That number is a guarantee someone is going to take advantage of you and your credit card. Instead, close the web browser. If you have lost use of mouse and keyboard, pull the power. If the page reappears when the browser is reopened, then you should call Comp-U-Talk’s tech support (541.756.8770). My dehydrated brain cells want to break out and sing the super chicken song, right about now. They also want to paste Michael’s and Laura’s head onto chicken bodies. (Michael and Laura are my super techs.) In case you are wondering what super chicken has to do with computer problems here are the words:

When you find yourself in danger,

When you’re threatened by a stranger,

When it looks like you will take a lickin’,

There is someone waiting,

Who will hurry up and rescue you,

Just Call for Super Chicken!

 

 

 

In case you have never heard the Super-chicken theme song (it was part of the animated TV series, George of the Jungle back in the 60’s) you can play it here:  https://youtu.be/FKss2pBYQ6Y.  If you can sing it to us when you drop off the computer for repair we will discount your service $10.

And now back to the regularly scheduled program: If you haven’t already done so, it is a good idea to install additional web browsers. Windows comes with Internet Explorer and Windows 10 has added Edge. Other browsers available for download include Chrome, found at www.chrome.com (part of the Google empire) or Firefox at www.firefox.com (will forward to Mozilla.org).

If you suspect the message might be legitimate and want to check with tech support at that particular company then follow these guidelines: NEVER, call the tech support number on the pop up page. Instead look for the tech support number on the companies web site. You might need to switch to an uncompromised browser (downloaded above) to find that number. NEVER, Google the tech support number. The first listings on Google responses are paid advertisers and typically they have no connection to the company you are looking for and some have been known to cause more damage. Instead, go directly to the company web site. Most websites have a support menu or a contact menu. If the technical support number isn’t readily available, call the sales line. You will disappoint the sales rep by not purchasing anything, but they will gladly give you the phone number to tech support.

If you’re still stuck, then come sing with us. We’d love to lessen the agony and help you smile.

We’re not your normal nerds!

 

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