How To posts by Nerds On Call

    Learn how to do just about anything with your computer! Our Nerds write how-tos on just about every tech topic you can think of. Whether you need to remove malware, upgrade your computer, or find a way to distract your kids from the Internet during the summer, you can find how to do it here. We regularly write new articles on the best techniques, so check back often. You might not even have to – you’ll just be searching for how to do something and end up here. We hope you find what you’re looking for, and if you don’t, just chat with us and ask!

    "How To" posts:

  • Nerd Chick Adventures: Lenovo Pre-Installed Adware Breaks Secure Internet Connections
    Nerd Chick Adventures: Lenovo Pre-Installed Adware Breaks Secure Internet Connections
    All Lenovo users need to be aware that the manufacturer was pre-installing an adware program, called Superfish, on new laptops up until January 2015. The program breaks secure connections to webpages, making your online activities – including passwords and any data you enter into a webpage – vulnerable to hackers. Here’s what you need to know and how to ditch that nasty software for good. Superfish tracking software is bloatware, installed by Lenovo to see where users go online in order to show you ads based on your online activity. The program scans for images on web pages that you visit, then shows pop-up ads with visually similar items from their advertisers. In a recent press release, Lenovo assured users that: “Superfish technology is purely based on contextual/image and not behavioral. It does not profile nor monitor user behavior. It does not record user information. It does not know who the user is. Users are not tracked nor re-targeted.” While this is Lenovo’s attempt to steer alarmed users away from concerns that the Superfish software was gathering data about them, there are still a number of important, and dangerous, issues caused by this software. Superfish shows users “visual price comparisons” on sites that they visit. Not only does this practice intrinsically change the browsing experience by forcing users to view ads on top of sites they visit (even those that normally would not have ads on them), the program siphons off your comp... Read More
  • Save Electronics From Water: Summer Survival Guide
    Save Electronics From Water: Summer Survival Guide

    Summer can be a real beast when it comes to your electronics.  Whether you and your Smartphone get pushed into the pool, you drop your tablet in the sand, or your iPod overheats in the car, here are some tips to cure your gadget’s summertime blues. Summer and water go together, but electronics and water?  That’s a no-win combination.  Assuming that you haven’t yet dropped your phone in the lake, prevention is unquestionably more effective than repair.  Consider investing in a waterproof case that can keep your mobile device safe from splashes and spills.  There are a bunch of great […]

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  • Fix Shattered Smartphone Screen
    Fix Shattered Smartphone Screen

    It’s become the rite-of-passage for clumsy Smartphone owners everywhere: shattering your phone’s screen.  After shelling out hundreds of dollars and getting your technical life transferred to your mobile device, one trip or slip and that shiny new phone, tablet or iPod is totally unusable.  It’s too late to repent the decision to forgo a sturdier case – how do you get your phone back to usable condition? The first call most people make is to their cell phone carrier.  The person on the phone or behind the counter is going to ask whether or not you bought their phone insurance.  […]

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  • Make Awesomely Secure Passwords Easily
    Make Awesomely Secure Passwords Easily

    Remembering a unique login and password for every website you frequent on the internet requires either a genius-level photographic memory or a really cool trick. Since these days I often forget what I was getting up to retrieve as soon as I leave the room, my vote goes to the really cool trick method. Here’s how to get unique AND easy to remember passwords for every website you visit. The recently exposed “Heartbleed” bug is a coding flaw in the security and encryption protocol OpenSSL. It allows attackers to access passwords and personal information on affected websites. Open SSL is […]

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  • Spring Clean Your Gadgets

    When one thinks of spring cleaning, it’s more likely your garage or closet that commands your attention than your earphones, keyboard and cell phone. Yet when it comes to germs and grime, it’s difficult to imagine anything else that you touch on a daily basis that gets more dirt and so little cleaning attention. If the ten-or-so sneezes I’m treated to each day are any indication, spring has sprung. So take a few moments to give your gadgets and accessories some sanitizing love this season. As I wipe baby drool and fingerprint smudges off my phone with the hem of […]

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  • Replace Windows XP for Cheap
    Replace Windows XP for Cheap

    Microsoft’s support for Windows XP has officially ended.  Those systems still running XP are vulnerable to hackers accessing data or being turned into a bot-net to spread viruses and malware.  Maintaining an up-to-date anti-virus software isn’t enough to keep a system running XP secure.  It’s time to ditch XP once and for all.  Luckily, there are reasonably-priced options so that you can replace your XP relic without needing a second mortgage. “Do I have to switch to Windows 8.1?  I hear it’s a big change from XP.” It’s true that Windows XP users will feel more at home with Windows […]

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  • Replace Phone Carriers with Apps
    Replace Phone Carriers with Apps

    When Facebook shelled out $16 billion for mobile messaging app WhatsApp in February, it had many Americans scratching their heads. “A texting app? Isn’t that what I use my cell plan for?” Web-based messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Google Voice, Skype and Facebook Messenger are used by a vast majority of texters worldwide, while those in the U.S. continue to utilize mostly SMS texting through their cell service provider. Will web-based mobile messaging and talk apps let you say sayonara to your pricey cell service? As one of the most popular web-based mobile messaging apps, WhatsApp (www.whatsapp.com/) has over 450 […]

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  • De-Clutter Your Email Inbox
    De-Clutter Your Email Inbox

    Once upon a time, you opened your email inbox and it was – gasp – empty! I can hear you chuckling, “that is definitely a fairytale.” If you have hundreds of messages in your inbox, it is difficult to believe that your email could ever be anything other than overwhelming. But it can be. Here’s how to make your email fantasies a reality and de-clutter your email inbox. First things first, it’s time to do some hard and fast sorting. With a little strategy and copious use of your email inbox’s sorting capabilities, you’ll clear out a ton of clutter […]

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  • Track Christmas Gifts Online
    Track Christmas Gifts Online

    Instead of my usual December dash to check everyone off my holiday shopping list, this year I accumulated gifts throughout the year. When I saw something perfect for my mom I grabbed it and tucked it away to wrap later. While I was feeling proud of myself for not procrastinating, I discovered an unfortunate side effect: it’s really hard to remember what gifts I’ve bought whom and who I still need to buy for, especially when I purchased Auntie Sue’s Christmas gift back in October. As a result, I’ve bought a few more gifts than I’d planned and gone a […]

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  • Use Christmas Wishlists
    Use Christmas Wishlists

    Every year, our Christmas gift giving goes something like this. My sister sends out an email to a small handful of family members with a list of all the things her family wants. Then I send out a similar list, to a different handful of people regarding our family. Mom does the same. You already know where this is going. Everyone then independently goes on a buying spree and forgets to communicate with everyone else buying from the list. Present overlap runs amok and suddenly Grandma has three bottles of the same perfume. This year, we’re going to try something […]

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