Since this is the New Year I thought it would be good to start it off with some funnies:
A techie woman writes to the IT Technical support…..
Dear Tech Support,
Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and I noticed a distinct slowdown in the overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.
In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 , and then installed undesirable programs such as NEWS 5.0 , MONEY 3.0 and ESPN 4.1.
Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.
Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail. What can I do?
The IT Help Desk Responds
First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.
Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.
If that application works as designed, Husband1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewellery 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.
However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband1.0 to default to Silence 2.5 or Beer 6.1.
Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly (Beta version).
Whatever you do, DO NOT in any circumstances install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)
In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.
In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance.
We recommend: Cooking 3.0 and Good Looks 7.7.
Good Luck Madam!
The Brain Mill Inc will be closed on February 2nd in observance of Groundhog Day.
There will be no computing, thinking or any sort of brainy activity engaged in by any of the Brain Mill staff on that day. We realize that this may be an inconvenience, but don’t worry we will be resuming our regular schedule after the holiday is over. We are committed to be being there for you every other day of the year but we must insist on taking a holiday to give proper homage to the tireless efforts of the Groundhog in forecasting our upcoming weather.
If anything is desperately important on February 2nd please send us an email or leave us a voicemail and we’ll be sure to take care of it first thing after the holiday.
Happy Groundhog Day Eveybody!
I have come across a few people who use their iDevices everyday and yet are missing out on some of the features. So I’ve put together a little list of some shortcuts and tips to help you with your iTravels
First of all: the button on the top of your iPhone is generally called the “sleep/wake” button since it will put your phone to sleep. The small circular button on the bottom front of your phone is called the “home” button since pressing it will bring you back to your main home screen.
Here are the tips:
To see all the applications that are open on your phone: double click the home button when your phone is awake and unlocked and it’ll pull up the screen so that you can see a row of all the open applications along the bottom of your phone. Swipe that row right to left to see more open applications. This function can be used to quickly switch between open apps or close the apps running in the background taking up system memory. To close the apps just hold down on one of those apps that is open in that bottom row until they all start shaking. Then tap the little red minus sign next to each app that you wish to close.
To take a screen shot of your phone: simply press down on the home button and the sleep button at the same time and whatever you’re looking at on your iPhone at that time will be captured as a picture in your camera roll. This can be a fun little tool for sharing something funny you saw on your screen with friends later.
To stop your phone from automatically rotating to landscape mode if you don’t want it to: double click the home button and swipe the row that comes up from left to right. You’ll see a set of icons for controlling music and a rotational lock icon on the far left. Tap that once and it’ll lock your phones orientation so that you can still text while laying on your side without the phone rotating into landscape mode making it hard to read.
To take a quick picture while your phone is locked simply click the home button once to wake it up and on the unlock screen, next to the little slider there is a camera icon. Swipe that icon upwards and it’ll pull up your camera instantly so you don’t miss a live action shot.
Here are a lot more new features from iOS 6: http://www.macstories.net/tutorials/ios-6-tips-tricks-hidden-features/
Here is the official Apple site for iPhone support: https://www.apple.com/support/iphone/
And the iPhone manual (which has a lot of information, btw) can be found at this address: http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/iphone_user_guide.pdf
There are a lot of tips and tricks to the iPhone that you’ll have to practice with to get totally used to. I only covered a few but those are some good ones to get started with. Are there any that you have questions on or would like to know about? Just give us a call.
Next week Microsoft will officially release the latest version of its popular operating system along with some very awesome computers and tablets to run it. But the real question is: If you plan to keep your current computer and hardware, should you upgrade to the latest OS?
I have had an opportunity to play around with the demo version of the newest iteration of Windows and I can tell you there are certainly some neat and interesting features and it is definitely fun to mess around with. But ultimately, it is just too different from any previous version of Windows to really make it good for everyday use.
Here are some basic changes: No Start Button, New Modern Start Screen, Side Control Panel for every app, Programs are now called apps, Smooth SkyDrive integration (which is Microsoft’s version of cloud storage), and many others.
This new OS is basically a mobile operating system built for a desktop PC. If you have a touch screen computer or tablet this system is very cool and you’ll probably like it. It has a lot of compatibility issues right now so if you’re running a standard desktop and everything basically works, I would not recommend upgrading.
One thing you could do, if you want to try this system out without disrupting your current operation, create a partition on your hard drive and install the demo version on that partition. It’s a little complicated but if you want to play around before fully committing yourself that is one way to do it.
Everyday we use our computers for work, for play, for checking email and browsing the internet. We create tons of files and edit photos and download music. So when saving this data how does one make sure that the data is secure and recoverable in the event that something happens to the computer? Data backup is the security blanket we wrap ourselves in to give us the piece of mind that our data will always be there.
The right kind of backup is thus very important to all of us. If you back up your files directly onto the computer the data is already saved in (like in a different file location) that is somewhat self defeating since it’s the same hard drive and if it goes bad you’d lose the back up too. Saving the data to an external hard drive is better, but still not perfect – if there was a flood or fire or something happened that physically damaged your computer, chances are your external hard drive could be effected as well. The third and best option is a remote data back up solution. If you can get your computer to connect up to a computer far away from you and save all your most valuable data and files to that remote location you will sure have it despite any catastrophe. Then if you could make it automatic and done daily with someone on the other end to personally verify the data was backed up successfully – that would be the best possible option.
The simple way remote backup works is through your internet connection your computer connects to another PC. It then sends the files you want saved to that PC and stores them on the hard drive of the remote computer. Once this is done the backup program keeps track of your files and adds any new files to the saved folder on the remote computer and updates any saved files with changes you make. Good backup solutions will keep older versions of your files as well in case you or an employee accidentally saves the file incorrectly, or mistakenly deletes a file.
With all your data backed up and fully recoverable you can browse, download and surf with ease of mind that your computer data is safe and sound. Remote data backup is like having an insurance policy on your house or car. Hopefully you won’t be in a position where you need to use it but in the event that you do, you’ll be glad you have it.
Since it’s nearly Halloween we’ve pulled together some spooky fun from around the web, from computer horror stories to enjoyable Halloween items to really put you in the spirit of things. We pulled a short sampling from the sites, the link under each story will give you a lot more creepy stories to enjoy:
I got a call from a friend asking if I could come take a look at their computer, as it wasn’t powering up. They said they had a burning smell and all of a sudden the machine turned off and wouldn’t power back up. I assumed it was a power supply issue and headed over. Once I got there, I pulled out the tower to find a fried/dead rat that had chewed through the power cord running to the power supply. An easy fix, but definitely gross! http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10384211-1.html
Wasn’t that computer off?
I had turned off my computer and unplugged it, it had totally powered down. I woke up in the middle of the night, WIDE awake, and right as I woke up, my computer turned itself on and I swear I could feel someone staring at me. I later found that my desk fan had been pushed off of the desk, and my Chinese tea set had been moved. http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10384211-1.html
Filthy PCs: The X-rated circus of horrors
…as Simon Avery reveals what he found inside a PC he’d had running in his loft for a few months in early November. He notes: “Being the only warm thing in the loft, the flies looking for somewhere to hibernate crawled in through the missing back plate… That evidently turned out to be a bad move. The spider looks well-fed, though.”
…some PC invaders are purely terrestrial in origin, although that doesn’t make them any less destructive. Ben Wilshaw whipped open a monitor case to find this…
Tech Support Horror Stories:
It’s gonna blow!
At 3:37 a.m. on a Sunday, I had just looked at the clock to determine my annoyance level, when I received a frantic phone call from a new user of a Macintosh Plus. She had gotten her entire family out of the house and was calling from her neighbor’s. She had just received her first system error and interpreted the picture of the bomb on the screen as a warning that the computer was going to blow up.
Murder of the floppy drive:
Customer: “I got this problem. You people sent me this Install disk, and now my A: drive won’t work.”
Tech Support: “Your A drive won’t work?”
Customer: “That’s what I said. You sent me a bad disk, it got stuck in my drive, now it won’t work at all.”
Tech Support: “Did it not install properly? What kind of error messages did you get?”
Customer: “I didn’t get any error message. The disk got stuck in the drive and wouldn’t come out. So I got these pliers and tried to get it out. That didn’t work either.”
Tech Support: “You did what, sir?”
Customer: “I got these pliers, and tried to get the disk out, But it wouldn’t budge. I just ended up cracking the plastic stuff a bit.”
Tech Support: “I don’t understand, sir, did you push the eject button?”
Customer: “No, so then I got a stick of butter and melted it. And I used a turkey baster and put the butter in the drive, around the disk, and that got it loose. I can’t believe you would send me a disk that was broke and defective.”
Because it’s Halloween:
Here are some lovely items you could obtain for your Halloween delight:
Here’s your opportunity for some one-on-one computer guru Q&A time. You are free to ask the Brain whatever computer or technical question you can come up with. Send your computer/techie questions and He’ll do his best to answer them for you. You can email directly or question the Brain on his blog! Give it a go and we’ll see what answers the Guru can come up with!
Got this email from a friend, thought you guys might enjoy this.
You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello to fully appreciate this. For those of us who sometimes get flustered by our computers, please read on.
If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, ‘Who’s on First?’ might have turned out something like this:
COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don’t know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue ‘W’.
COSTELLO: I’m going to click your blue ‘w’ if you don’t start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?
COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my computer?
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!
(A few days later)
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on ‘START’.
There is quite a bit of excitement going around these days about smart phones. Which is the best? Who is copying Who? Etc. Etc. The question becomes, in this sea of confusion surrounding phones, what should a consumer do? Check this out:
Here is a website I found which has a great comparison tool
All you have to do is select the phones you’re curious about and it’ll give you good bullet-point side-by-side comparisons.
Check out the list I made from the above site. These are what I consider are the 4 most competitive phones out there right now:
Recent events have brought to light an intriguing question about computer backups and their safety. “Is the cloud safe?” has been a recurring question in tech news articles and I’d like to take a moment to answer that question for all of you.
First off, just to clear it up for anyone who isn’t quite sure, “The Cloud” as a computer term simply refers to the internet and things done online. If you took a picture on your phone and saved it on some social networking site you can later access that picture on your computer with no trouble, even though your photo is not actually stored on your computer. One could say at that point that your picture was stored in the cloud (since it was saved online).
When a person does a backup to the cloud, they’re saving all their data online so it could be accessible from wherever they go. Google, Apple, Amazon, Dropbox, etc, all have services that provide online storage for your computer data. The problem is that since your info can be accessed from anywhere there is a potential for hackers to get at your stuff. Here is the article that has inspired the recent Cloud scare: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/08/apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/
This guy in the article got hacked badly. The criminal was smart and conned both Amazon and Apple into giving out this guy’s personal information. Shame on Apple and Amazon, right? Well, they’re taking measures now to correct the security flaws so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. But what about the guy that lost all his info? The next thing to do is obviously try to recover the data somehow, but otherwise he’s a bit out of luck. The best solution I know of is to have a backup that gets monitored and managed by a real live person for all the computer data that is really important. Or if he had been doing a basic simple backup on his laptop he could have recovered the data which was most important to him.
When you really get down to it though, he was the victim of a specifically-targeting and persistent hacker. Most of us won’t have to worry about that and to that degree, the cloud is actually safe. Apple and Amazon are taking measures to fix their glitches and other cloud storage providers are most definitely taking lessons from this. Google already had a fairly secure two-factor authentication which works pretty well if you use it.
If you have concerns about your own cloud accounts or storage let us know. Ultimately a good backup is the best protection in this world of potentially fickle computers.