Monday, August 14, 2017

Bios Upgrades?

Even I as a tech forget to do things that are important to computer health. One of them is firmware upgrades for PCs and Laptops. I have 4 computers I got used from various places. I've had small problems, nothing major. Then one of my computers running Debian Linux wouldn't shutdown or reboot completely. I check the system and I noticed that the bios was the original that came with the computer. 

Now its wasn't necessarily the solution to my problem but its something to work on. 6 years of bios upgrades, my hardware could be running better with these. So I started on my way to upgrading all of the computer. I had to be careful or I could make the computer useless. So I started upgrading one version at a time. I just finished round one for all but one computer at this point. I'll do the next set next week and so on until they are updated. 

Most manufacturers like Dell and HP have software to do all updates including the bios. So it kinda amazed me that these weren't never updated. I got these from companies that were upgrading and throwing out the old PCs. Which are  never really useless. I feel like these should have be donated to a non-profit or something. But anyway, Bios upgrades are important. Being a hardware based tech I know the importance of firmware upgrades. Its the programming that runs the hardware and gets it to perform the actions the operating system and user needs. So an upgrade could get better performance out of your hardware or add functionality.  So for everyone out there pay attention to your system's upgrade manager and perform all the updates you can and if those bios updates come, you can do them yourself or if your uneasy seek the help of an IT professional like myself to do it for you. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

We are now offering manged services

As things go along, I try to bring more to the table. At first I wanted to give the best in person experience possible. As time went on and I responsibilities at home increased and my part with the chamber revitalization committee begins to grow I implemented scheduling.

It worked for a while until I realized all of the cost and time of actually going to every site. I'm not saying I'm going to abandon seeing clients in person but I need to do something to do more with the same amount of time in a day.

So I finally went to managed services. Something that can save me and my clients time. At first I was only going to offer it to my business clients, I'm mean what residential client is going to pay a month fee for my services.

With the help of some great IT guy in a Facebook group I'm in showed me to way. So now I'm offering a 2 tier service for businesses (what you get depends on your size and what you need. A 3 tier service for residential depending on what level services you need.

For my residential customers, you ask why would I do managed services. Well look at this situation. Its you, your kids and a spouse, you are all using the same computer. Something happens, your spouse on a site he shouldn't have, your kids downloading free software with a surprise attachment that either annoying you or slowing your computer down to a crawl. With managed services I can see all of that. I get an alert and I fix the problem. No figuring it out weeks later when something goes wrong and you really need your computer. Its something you won't notice but you won't go through times when you don't have your computer or its not running well.

For those of us who don't keep up with operating system updates or virus definition updates. I can take care of that too. I'll be alerted that your system needs attention and I can do what is needed. Again something you won't see but something you won't need to worry about.

I can also spot potential hardware failures. (usually hard drives and memory). Its a pain to have your computer go out and not know what is wrong. If I spot a problem with say your hard drive I can order you a new one and come out and replace the old one. When I come out all you pay is the price for the hardware there is no labor charge because your on a monthly plan.

Being on a monthly plan puts you in a position so if I have to come out to your place and do a service call its included. (in most cases, its rare that its not but i had to say it) So the only extra cost you would incur is when I need to buy hardware to replace something broken.

I know there are some out there that say I can deal with my own computer. Of course you can, this service isn't just for the ones who don't know how to do anything. Its for the ones that are busy, you have a lot on your plate. Well managed services with me will leave you more time to other things you need to do or enjoy doing. So I hope this explains everything you want to know about manged services and what I want to provide. If you have any questions you can always contact me.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The one thing I noticed

Today I was using my IPad to answer messages in a facebook group. I said " So you know why he would have an attitude" but my IPad typed out "So you know why YOU would have an attitude" OK.....I can understand a misspelling but to change a whole word to change who its directed to.

This isn't the first time this has happened. These kinds of mistakes when in a rush could get you in trouble. I know you have to go over what it types out cause no dictation software is perfect. I've used Dragon before and it pretty much messes up to to where I have to edit afterwards.

I'm a decent typer so using dictation software is only useful when I'm on my tablet or phone. Luckily back when I was first in college they made you take a typing class. They didn't want their techs to be sitting there poking at the keyboard. LOL

I have an samsung android phone that seems to do a lot better job than my IPad. So that's what leads me to believe it's either something wrong with my IPad's mic, the software makes choices on what it hears and tries to correct me realtime without my input or Siri just doesn't understand me.

I won't stop using dictation software cause hey, I don't like typing on my digital devices all day. I have big fingers and they sometimes to miss their mark. I just had to speak what was on my mind today. That's just how I am.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Where I am on search engines

This morning I decided to do a search on "Litzsey Tech Services" and see what comes up on Bing, Yahoo and Google. My first though was because I have a blogger site and a lot of other things invovling Google I would probably show up with more relevant pages showing up in their search

Well I was surprised to find that in Bing and Yahoo my my blogger general page and one post shows up first. Then my Linkedin profile. While on Google my blogger didn't show up until 6th on the search my first entry after the three ads was my godaddy site that ends in .biz which is just a hold page and isn't being used by me right now. The second one was a Google+ post I made on the CBO report on the American Health Care Act I did yesterday March 13th.

The two entries that kinda baffled me at first was the one for Manta. It looks like one of those companies that are trying to catalog businesses. So it made a temp profile on me. Of course it asks is this your business? take control of this profile. Well sorry I won't be doing that. I see now its one of those small business promotion site that helps you get a presence without a lot of work. Then I saw it had estimated about how much money I'm making and how many employees I have which are both wrong. So I hope anyone that searched me on Google and saw this site realizes it doesn't have accurate data on my business.
The other one was AngelList. I know I have a profile on this site but why would it be above my own site posts and even my blogger site for the business. That's a Google company you would think it would rate higher just on that matter.

Then I went to page two and found my entry for Linkedin third. It was third on the other search engines on page one.

So I think there are a lot of people concentrating on google analytics to get higher ratings. The google search was all over the place in my opinion. I'm not an expert in SEO so what do you think?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Backing up your data

In these days of Ransomware you have to think about your backups more than ever. Without backups your data could be lost in one mouse click. You can backup in serveral different ways. You can backup to an external drive. You can backup to other computers on your local network and you could backup online.
Recently I had a customer suffer from ransomware. So of course the conversation turned to what can I do to back up my data so it doesn't happen again. First I suggested to them to get an external drive to have their data on instead of your computer. This is the easiest option of all and its a one time payment of the purchase of the drive. Now after that its a little more work. You have to either have the drive always hooked up to the computer so you can do automatic backups (through software) or hook it up and run a manual backup. Well my customer felt they didn't want to do that. So I moved on.

Option 2 I didn't think would work for them because this takes a little time to setup and you have to have more advanced skill to maintain. But then I though about them using something like Crashplan that would allow them to save backups to a another computer, either another one of your own or a friend's computer. The only think about that plan is you have to make sure you have enough space on the computer your backing up to. So I put this plan on hold as far as this customer was concerned but I might come back to it later. I actually do this for myself. I use Crashplan on a Linux computer in my office in my basement that has a 1tb drive. Its an extra drive that doesn't have the operating system on it so in case of a system failure I'm not in a pickle about saving the data. I also I'm going to add it to my mother's computer to backup her data. So for anyone that has a desktop with some extra drive space this might be a great option for you.

Option 3. Online storage. My client already used dropbox. When they got the ransomware it infected their dropbox files too. I think the most likely reason was it was mounted on their system like it was a local drive so the ransomeware could treat it like it was a local file. So my customer's confidence was shook on online storage. I suggested companies like Amazon (Glacier or AWS), Carbonite or any one of the host of other backup services. Their issue beyond that was paying a monthly fee. Well I tried to explain to them that data storage costs like if you took your furniture to storage. You don't put it in storage and pay a one time fee. There is more that goes into that. They have to pay for utilities for the building, and the fact your using a service just denotes having to pay a fee.

So no matter what you choose its important to find some way to backup your data. Remember if your not willing to do some of the work yourself then your going to pay someone for something. There is no more free when it comes to technology. You pay somehow. Look at all these options and ask yourself what are you willing to do and it usually shows you what option works for you. If you conclusion is none of the above its hard for me to say what you should do. Technology may soon give you an option that fits what you like and what you like to spend on it. But its more important to BACK IT UP!!