Monday, October 29, 2012

Biggest Issues I See On a Daily Basis

I am finding all too often, many problems on various client computers that simply don't need to be there and so besides fixing the problem technically, it also has to be fixed mentally, as in educating the user on what NOT to do.

Most of the educating issues are a direct result of the simple fact that people don't like change and are typically stuck in their 'old ways' of doing things.  The problem with this is technology is there to expand your horizons and if nothing else, to speed up the process of doing things so that you have more time to do even more!  This being said, the normal issues when a new program version are release are that there may be a 'simpler way' of performing the tasks that used to take 3 clicks are now done with just one, but to learn this new way may mean changing the way you think about how you get to the end resulting task at hand.  The reason the newer software updates provide you with an easier way due to many users giving feedback on how to improve the program. Granted there may be times when the new way simply doesn't work for you and so that is why every program comes with 'options', a list of changes can usually be found from the "Help/About" section as well you may find the ability to use a 'classic' mode within the program.  Let me put it in a simpler way... If you are still using Windows XP for example, then you should be seriously looking to upgrade to Windows 8.. it will cost you $40 and by doing so, will immediately extend your computer's life on the internet for at least another year if not two--depending on other aspects of your computer, such as on board Memory (RAM) and the age of the system's hard drive.  Knowing you are using Windows XP and if you have never replaced your hard drive then odds are it is going to crash on you sooner then later and you should be seriously looking to get yourself a new computer... upgrading to Windows 8 would be automatic on any new computer you buy and you would be getting all new hardware so just do it!  In the meantime, before you do anything else, get some off-site backup installed.  Clicking on this link or on the BackBlaze banner below will direct you to the install page and you will be backed up to the cloud within the day usually (depending on how large the backup is and your current internet speeds). What will this cost you? Less then $5 per month.. I like to put it another way... less then the price of one Starbucks Venti Caramel macchiato per month!

The next big problem is using old technology/programs instead of even trying the new way.  The biggest area I see problem here are those still using an email client such as OUTLOOK!  It is antiquated and leads to more security problems then I can count on two hands. Get yourself a GMail account at the very least, so that you can implement an IMAP Server when using a program like Outlook. But besides that, I would really just give the web interface a chance. Since with GMail they are constantly creating new features (Labs) to help deal with the email bloat that typically happens on any given client desktop. The old method of creating folders and dragging your message to each one, simply so that you can find it later is crazy. That is what search is all about and nobody does search better then Google!  Did you even know that Google's GMail has the ability to retrieve mail from any other email account you may have so that and in doing so will provide you with instant antivirus and malware scanning/cleaning so even if you don't necessarily want to 'switch' to a gmail account, you can continue to use your existing email provider but the only difference is the method in which you retrieve it. It will also allow you to use GMail's archive features which then of course will make the searching for that old message you were looking for a lot easier. You can always contact me if you need help with this and if you are an existing client of mine or wish to become one, then you already know I am a key click away from giving you hands on support!

Without making this in to a RANT and doing nothing more then venting my frustrations on the world, I do want to mention the costs of using your computer. It seems to me it always boils down to the age old question, "what is it going to cost me?"  Fair enough question as everyone is worried about throwing money away on programs and services that they will never use or need.. that is hopefully where I can come in and help with any sort of TECHNICAL CONSULTING.. again, you should be contacting me before doing anything rash like spending $2000 on a new computer when you could have been just as happy with a $500 one!   The simplest way to look at it is  if you have an older computer then you should be expecting to pay more for services/maintenance then if you had a new one. What is the amount of money that you should budget for in any given year will change just like it does when you buy a new car. You wouldn't expect to pay for any maintenance on a new car within 30 days or for that matter, probably within the first year.. so should you be buying an extended warranty when you buy a new computer? No, absolutely not.. if you know one thing for sure, that is tech products are only getting better as in 'more bang for your buck' as time goes one.. the other thing you should be aware of is to never look back on the price you paid for something a year ago and compare it to what that same thing costs today.. same 'bang for buck' theory here.  But the reality of owning a computer must come with a price tag and besides your monthly internet provider bill you should be looking at, if nothing else, the price of the off-site backup plan (that Starbucks Coffee per month I mentioned earlier--just click on the banner above or this link to install it if you haven't done so already!)

The other costs will be the routine maintenance. Such as confirming that your data is in fact backed up and that you are using all the latest device drivers for your devices that are plugged in to the computer, and that the software installed has no further updates. The routine cleaning of malware/spyware and optimizing of your computer hard drive from fragmentation, etc... a lot of this you can do on your own and I do provide the links and information on the best programs to use through my TIPS and SOFTWARE/SUPPORT pages, but in most cases these should be done by your local computer tech that I would highly suggest finding in your community if you do not want to use the services of a remote company that can connect remotely and provide you with this sort of thing like I do. 

In my honest opinion from my own experience in the field of computer maintenance, one that has the routine maintenance performed on a monthly basis, for example, will require less time to maintain then one that is connected to and maintained every 2 or 3 months.. therefore if your technical guru person does provide you with services like mine then odds are you will find it cheaper to have your computer maintained then if you were to get it done only once every 6 months to a year.  For my existing clients, I make it very simple.. whenever they get a notice that updates are available and/or any time they are unsure of something, to simply drop me a line and I will connect and diagnose/repair the problem ASAP, based on my connection policy.