Should You Buy One of Those Cheap, High-Capacity USB Flash Drives? Probably Not
Computers, Internet

Should You Buy One of Those Cheap, High-Capacity USB Flash Drives? Probably Not

One of my good friends recently purchased a pair of thumb drives he saw advertised in a Facebook ad. The deal was for two 2 TB USB 3.0 flash drives for an amazingly low price of just $15. That's right, a whopping 4TB of storage for just $15. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Keep reading... The first clue that something was wrong was the packaging. The package the flash drives came in said: "USB Cable" not "USB Thumb Drive" or "USB Flash Drive" or anything remotely similar. This made my friend suspicious enough that he brought them to me one Sunday afternoon for a closer inspection. Another big clue was the price. If you take a look at reputable brands, not one offers a drive at that low price point. In fact, PNY offers a 1 TB flash drive for $200. The largest SanDisk flas...
Fact-Checking Stuff You Find on Social Media
Internet, Tech Talk

Fact-Checking Stuff You Find on Social Media

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. If you're on social media, I'm sure you've seen plenty of posts that might, or at least should, raise an eyebrow. It's OK to question what you see, especially if you're unfamiliar with the source. Or even if you are familiar with the source, you should take a moment to ponder if the information you're seeing is biased. Whether it's a meme, a pseudo-news article, or a video, you should spend a little bit of time researching the subject. Don't just share it and assume the information you're sharing is accurate. In many cases, there may be a hint of truth to the post in an effort to get you to believe it. That's been the basis of Russian interfe...
Computer Supply Chain Problems in a Pandemic World
Computers

Computer Supply Chain Problems in a Pandemic World

Back in January, I began noticing a problem. I was trying to order computers from my regular suppliers and I noticed that there were none available. According to the inventory system, they would be back in stock in a week or so, so I didn't think it was a big deal. Then the arrival date got pushed back to mid-January, then the end of January. By the end of January, they had pushed back the arrival dates into February. By the end of February, I still couldn't order the computers I needed. My customers were getting frustrated and so was I. They kept pushing the dates back further and further. Of course, by March, most everyone had already heard about the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe. But the problem for Apheus began back in January. There were rumors circulating in the ...
Computers, Tech Talk

The May 2020 Update for Windows 10 is Causing All Sorts of Problems, At Least for Some People

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. The latest major update for Windows 10 came out on May 27, 2020, and a number of issues have been reported since then. While I have heard rumors and seen the after-effects, I have yet to see any of these problems as described first-hand. Here's a run-down of some the problems people are experiencing: Unable to fully install the update. The update loads to around 90% and simply stops. It appears that there's no real reason for this, although some users are eluding that the Windows registry could be the culprit.The user gets logged out of apps. For some reason, user credentials are lost after a reboot in Chrome and One Drive. Which is odd, s...
Internet, Tech Talk

Should You Be Concerned About Online Privacy?

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. When I talk to people about online privacy, they're usually shocked to hear that they are the product. This usually leads to the question, "What do you mean that I'm a product?" There are tons of free services available online. The most common are ones you've already heard of and are probably using right now - Google and Facebook. These services are free to use. But you have to question yourself this question - how do these companies make money if they're free? The answer is simple. You are the product. These companies make money by collecting personal information about your digital life. They collect everything they can about you - your geographic ...
Internet, Tech Talk

Dealing with Unruly Email and How to Declutter Your Inbox

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. Email is a great thing, right? Well, probably not if you're dealing with a huge amount of email subscriptions, junk, and spam. Your inbox can quickly become a repository of unwanted emails, but there are ways to prevent this from happening. And if it does happen, there are ways to fix the problem. Don't Subscribe One of the easiest ways to keep your in box free and clear of clutter is to simply not subscribe to mailing lists. Carefully read any online forms before you fill them out. Most of the time, there will be a box or other notification that will tell you if you will be subscribed to a particular mailing list. If you don't want to get on a mailing l...
Websites

Fix the Error Message Problem When Editing Your concrete5 Website in Chrome

Over the last several days, I've noticed that concrete5 has been generating an error message when trying to update or save blocks when using the Chrome web browser. It's not a very descriptive message: Since Apheus utilizes concrete5 for the vast majority of websites we build, this is a problem, but fortunately, it has a very easy fix. Update Chrome Thankfully, Google put out an update which fixes the problem. Updating to Chrome version 83.0.4103.97 makes the issue go away. Yeah! Chrome generally keeps itself updated, but if you can't wait for the update, here's some simple steps to get it updated: Open Chrome (if it isn't already open).Click on the three little dots in the upper right-hand corner of the window. If you leave your browser open for an extended period of t...
Computers, Tech Talk

Troubleshooting a Computer Problem Isn’t Always Successful

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. One of the sad truths about computer repair is that we can't fix every problem. Sometimes we fail to even identify the problem. It can be frustrating for the end user, but can be even more frustrating for the IT guy. We're not infallible and we are quite human. Most experienced computer gurus have a set of tools and procedures that we utilize to troubleshoot a computer hardware problem. Some arsenals are quite extravagant, while others (like myself) utilize a pretty basic set of tools. The procedures we use for diagnosing a problem change depending upon the situation (or at least they should). I'm going to highlight a few of the common things ...
Computers, Tech Talk

Protect Yourself from Data Loss with the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. The 3-2-1 backup strategy has been around forever. It's a simple and effective method to keep your data safe. It works to protect data loss from fire, flood, tornado, ransomware, hard drive failure, or a multitude of other problems. So let's break down what the 3-2-1 strategy actually is and how it can be applied to home users and small businesses. By the way, this strategy is endorsed by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Three copies of your data. So in a typical home or small business environment, you're going to have one copy of your data on your computer. Follow this up with two ba...
Computers, Tech Talk

Keep Your Computer Cool and Clean this Summer with Proper Airflow

Tech Talk show notes for Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Listen live Tuesday mornings on WTCA FM 106.1 and AM 1050 in Plymouth, Indiana. Airflow. It is one of the most important things to remember about your computer. Your password is essential, too, but if your computer is dead, you won't have to worry about remembering your password. Proper airflow is crucial because it helps keep the components inside of your computer nice and cool. Maybe not ice-cube cool (install a liquid-cooled system for that), but relatively cool to the touch. The problem comes when the components inside of your computer begin to overheat. While there are mechanisms inside the computer to prevent a meltdown, it can still suffer serious damage. It doesn't matter if you have a laptop or a desktop; both types of sys...