Building computers is just for adults? Not anymore. Kano Computing has recently shipped its first batch of computer kits after receiving more than 13,000 requests on its Kickstarter account. The kits include step-by-step instructions for not only building the computer but learning how to code as well. The younger generation has grown up playing with Gameboys instead of games in their backyards and know more about buying apps on Mom and Dad’s tablet than about buying playing cards. Kano’s goal is to capitalize on this by not only getting kids interested in their product but interested in building the product as well. Users cannot simply take the computer out of its packaging and start it up onsite. They have to get to know the pieces, carefully read what wire connects to what port, and type out the code in a very specific order. The Kano computer kits get users involved in the whole process of the computer, not just in its use.
Kano plans to grow very organically in an attempt to encourage customers to invest “not just in the product itself but in the … experience as well,” according to co-founder Alex Klein. With this grassroots goal, the company will strive to sell future units globally through its own website with the help of new COO Thomas Enraght-Moony, who was formerly the CEO of Match.com. With attention-grabbing colors and catchy phrases as “Lego simple, Raspberry Pi powerful, and hugely fun” Kano is on its way to accomplishing success in a DIY, technological world.
…and then there was 10; Windows 10, that is. At a press conference Microsoft revealed that it has been working on a new operating system that will be released publicly mid-2015. The company’s goal is for the OS to work on phones and computers, touchscreens and mouse-and-keyboard systems, personal laptops and company networks. Operating systems chief for Microsoft Terry Myerson confidently stated, “Windows 10 will deliver the right experience at the right time on the right device.” Seeing as Windows 8 was fraught with user interface nightmares, we’re happy to hear that Microsoft has plans to improve the OS beyond its attempts with 8.1.
The newest OS from Microsoft will still utilize its predecessor’s tile system but the much-lamented Start Menu will be returned. Its absence was an attempt to launch Microsoft touchscreen devices into popularity with simplicity at the helm but this translated into chaos for the traditional devices. Listening to upset customers, Microsoft plans for Windows 10 to combine the best of both worlds by using the touchscreen-friendly tiles and the classic device-friendly start menu. The company recognizes that Windows 7 is still the most-used operating system (despite the end of mainstream support looming in early 2015) and have thus looked to it for inspiration for this next project. Beta users starting today will be testing the new OS so that the company can correct issues and perfect the overall program before its release first to businesses and then to the public.
With more than a week of being on the market, iPhone 6 has been subjected to both obsessive praise and petty ridicule yet the facts of these opinions stand for themselves. The newest Apple product simply cannot hold its own against a strong pair of hands or a trendy pair of skinny jeans as it easily bends, resulting at times in breakage. True to the companies’ rivalry, Samsung has come out with an ad which not only highlights their own features but pokes fun at Apple’s as well. A new limited edition Galaxy Note Edge boasts a curved edge with a side display for notifications. The new phone’s cheeky ad puts simply the phone is “Curved. Not bent.” Regardless of whose side you stand on (Apple’s or Samsung’s) it’s clear that the war has only begun and mudslinging is just as fair in this game as in political races.
After one of Samsung’s latest commercials poking fun at the iPhone’s short battery life, it is only logical to assume that Apple has been brainstorming about ways to make their electronics hold a longer charge and more efficient ways to do said charging. Some talented individuals have taken advantage of this assumption and have released a fake yet convincing solution for this dilemma: microwave your iPhone to charge it! From the font used to the layout of the information, at first glance it appears to be quite legitimate. The ad claims that one of the best features to the iOS8 update is the ability to “interface with your device’s radio-baseband allowing it to synchronize with microwave frequencies and use them to recharge your battery.” Tired of charging your phone for an hour or more? Pop it in the microwave for 60 seconds but not more than 300.
Let us be clear: DO NOT MICROWAVE YOUR iPHONE! While comical, this ad has been taken seriously and yes, people have indeed followed the instructions. Anytime you microwave metal, a chance of fire is likely which can cause damage to everything involved, including injuries to anyone nearby. We are more than happy to fix your iPhone but if the damage is from attempting to utilize the Wave feature, you are unfortunately (or fortunately) better off joining the line for a new iPhone 6. Incidentally the Wave feature should not be attempted on these either.
The Patriot Act and subsequent updates and enhancements made it illegal to share that a company had been asked to reveal information about one of its clients. These requests are made from a security agency like the NSA and are submitted to the FISA court, at which only the government is allowed to present and its proceedings are top secret. The warrant contains a provision that advises that it is illegal to even admit a company has received such a warrant, much less tell the subject entailed. Recently the tech industry won the right to leak that they had received warrants but must wait six months to do so and only announce how many they have received.
In response to this secrecy many companies, including Apple, added a clause to their regular privacy statement, Quarterly SEC filing, and other official documents which indicate they have NOT received a warrant. Quite tricksy when you think about it. Once they remove that clause from their documents, they are not openly stating they have received a warrant but they are no longer saying that they haven’t. This canary has now since stopped chirping for the tech company.
In November of 2013, Apple added a clause to its regular releases: “Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us.” Recently it’s been discovered that this portion is now missing which suggests Apple has been served with the ultra-secret warrant for information, files, and account contents of one of its clients. We may not know for another six months one way or another if they indeed received a warrant to disclose information on a client but a little birdie told us to keep an eye on what plays out.
You’re reading through your email and a pop-up appears on your screen stating that your Google Chrome or Video Player is out of date. Rest assured; it is fake. Chrome is automatically updated meaning you do not have to do so manually. No matter how authentic the pop-up may appear, Chrome will never ask you to click and update. Ever. This pop-up was designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to click UPDATE. The moment you do you will be infected with a horde of malware and virus programs because your current antivirus program(s) will be disabled. Your web browsers will be cluttered with toolbars and add-ons. Searches will be hijacked to custom sites delivering even more malware and garbage. The moral of the story here is don’t click UPDATE.
So what do you do if you see this on your computer? Simply close your browser and reopen it. If these pop-ups continue, do your best to avoid those sites. Still happening even after that? Well then it’s too late; you have picked up a bug which is guaranteed if you have already clicked on the link. Shut down the machine and bring it into either of our shops in Tempe or Gilbert. We can remove all of the junk that has been loaded onto the system and get you back into the clear.
PHONE ADDICTIONS. Yes, they’re real. Everyone has that friend who wakes up with the imprint of a screen on their face because their iPhone is practically a binky, who interrupts every conversation to make sure that he didn’t miss any messages, or who always thinks she heard her phone vibrate with a new Facebook notification. A simple solution to break this nasty habit? The NoPhone.
The NoPhone is a plastic mold the size of a smartphone. What does it do? Nothing. The NoPhone takes the place of your actual phone so that you can continue interacting with the people around you without constantly updating your status, answering text messages, and obsessively looking to see if it’s flashing to tell you someone needs your immediate attention. If that’s not fancy enough for you there is a special upgrade available: the NoPhone Selfie Upgrade. Every time you look at your NoPhone the selfie screen will remind you you’re just as beautiful as when you checked 30 seconds ago and yes, the person sitting behind you on the train has noticed.
Even as a gag, this could make a great Christmas present to remind your boyfriend that your eyes are on your face, not in his hand. If you can’t wait until they’re available in a store near you, visit NoPhone’s Kickstarter page and become a backer of this anti-technology creation. It’s developers (because it took more than one person to design this product) are eagerly checking their phones every few seconds to see who will support them next…will it be you?
#NoPhone #phoneaddiction #wehaveaproblem #hashtagshavetakenovermylife #himynameishipsterandImaddictedtomyiPhone
Last week a gentleman brought in a gorgeous 27” iMac All in One and he was (as is normally the case when a customer’s computer has problems) very irritated with Apple. The video had been having issues for some time and it finally died. Even though he made several calls into Apple Tech Support, they allowed the problem to linger and he was now 30+ days out of warranty. At the end of his rope and fed up with Apple he brought the computer to My PC Clinic to work our magic.
We quickly diagnosed the issue as a failing video card and began to research the correct replacement part to get this customer back up and running. In our search, we discovered that his model was under a recall for the failing video card! Apple describes possible symptoms to include that the “computer’s display to appear distorted, white or blue with vertical lines, or to turn black.” Despite numerous calls, Apple Support never let him know about the recall and he was now prepared to spend whatever it took to get the machine functioning again. Though we could have charged him to quickly repair his computer, we instead informed our client about the recall and suggested he bring the print out of the recall with the unit into the Apple store to get it fixed for free. Our goal is to help every My PC Clinic customer, even if it means telling them how to avoid paying for necessary repairs.
If you or someone you know is having similar video issues an iMac, visit this link to learn more if it is included in the recent recall: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS5167
Monsoon season in Arizona. The heavy rains, spectacular lightning storms, and ominous walls of dust bearing down on the city make for incredible pictures but cost the Valley heavily. It’s usually not direct damage; the water rarely gets inside our buildings and the dust stays outside for the most part. Usually, buildings are well grounded and even a direct lightning strike causes minimal damage. Yes, if the roof gives way the desktop is not going to fair well, but thankfully that is much rarer.
Unfortunately the indirect effects are what kill computers on a fairly regular basis during monsoon season. The power fluctuations (spikes; brown outs; black outs; and rapid bounces of power) are the real enemies of electronics and the data they store.
So how can you protect yourself?
- Surge protectors: Not the $2.99 power strips but the $20 super suppressor strips. These will always come with a guarantee of $10,000 to $50,000. While these protect your equipment from surges, they don’t do much for brownouts, black outs or bouncing power but they are a step in the right direction. If your computer doesn’t have one, get one immediately.
- Line interactive UPS: A line interactive battery backup (universal power supply) is the best defense. These UPSs take the alternating current (AC) power from the outlet and convert it to direct current (DC) before cleaning the power up. If the power is low (brown out) or off (blackout), it will supplement the power or if the power is high (spike or surge), they bleed off the excess power and store it in the battery. Finally the UPS reconverts the power to AC and delivers a clean, steady stream of electricity to your devices. Warning: make sure you purchase a unit the correct size for the amount of equipment you are going to power through it.
- Data Backups: It will eventually happen. Sadly even the best protection can fail and you will ultimately lose your precious data so make sure you back it up. For home users and small businesses a cloud backup is the best choice. Any other method (flash drives, external hard drives etc.) are going to be at risk from a power event while they are connected. We suggest Carbonite or Mozy as easy to use, inexpensive methods of cloud backup.
As always you can call either of our locations and one of our technicians can suggest the proper solution for you and/or your business; however we’d rather you be safe than soggy so implement these simple solutions ahead of time to keep you safe during the storm.
In late August, HP announced a recall of the LS-15 AC power cord which was included with many notebook computers sold from September 2010 through June 2012. According to HP, “potentially affected power cords can be identified by a molded mark [of ‘LS-15’] on the adapter end of the power cord. Not all power cords with the molded mark are affected.” In short these power cords can spark and burn, posing a fire and shocking hazard to both you as the user and your property. Not all of the LS-15 cords are faulty but we highly recommend ordering a replacement instead of waiting until it’s too late.
While HP has voluntarily recalled these products and offered a replacement system, the company is notorious for pulling all information about faulty products and their subsequent recalls as soon as the recall window has elapsed. Please follow the link below to see if your laptop is one of the affected units and fill out the attached form to order a replacement as soon as possible.