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Tech for Toddlers: How to Help, not Harm

In their book, “Toddlers on Technology,” Patti Wollman Summers (early childhood educator and Head of the Parenting Program at the Mandell School), neuropsychologist Ann DeSollar-Hale, PhD, and Heather Ibrahim-Leathers explore the way today’s toddlers are interacting with technology. Is time spent with digital media helpful, harmful, or both? According to a study released in October 2013 by Common Sense Media, “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013”: “Among families with children age 8 and under, there has been a five-fold increase in ownership of tablet devices such as iPads, from 8% of all families in 2011 to 40% […]

Kid-Proof your Tablet for Summer

Even if you aren’t ready to accept that summer vacation has arrived, it’s here.  Before your kid has way too many free hours to surf the net and spend her college savings fund on in-app purchases, get your mobile devices ready by activating some quick and easy parental controls. It’s all too common for parents to diligently restrict access to the Internet and adult content on the family PC, but forget the handheld mobile devices like iPods, Kindle Fires or other tablets.  While these kinds of gadgets seem like toys, they can get online and give access to games, media […]

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 […]

Build Your Own Phone

Us Nerds have been building our own computers for years. For many of us it was the first thing we learned how to do: order the parts we wanted, read the instruction manuals, mess up the first time. So we’ve gotten used to being able to customize our computers. It’s been frustrating not being able to customize our phones in the same way. But that’s all changing. There’s a new type of phone on the way: one that allows you to only have the features you really want. Say you want a fingerprint scanner but aren’t big on the newest […]

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 […]

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 […]

Get Kids to Love Science and Technology

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re totally gadget crazy. From my cell phone when we’re out to dinner to the console game at home, I am lucky if I can pry the little devices out of their fingers. They also tend to be more technically savvy than me, relying upon their natural curiosities to experiment until they get the results they want, instead of being bound by many of the “shoulds” and “should-nots” that sometimes limit my own abilities. According to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the US is currently […]

Is Facebook Depressing You?

While Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been shown to increase a user’s feeling of connectedness with friends, family and their community, a growing body of research highlights the negative effects of social media on our general state of mind. From envy, to anger, to depression, for some users these forums offer more pain than joy. Here are some of the most common social media ailments and what to do if you find yourself being brought down by your social networking. Facebook is a hugely popular medium for sharing life updates, photos, stories and opinions with a […]

Should You Remove Windows XP?

In April 2012, Microsoft announced that it would stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014. After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer write software patches and push out updates to fix software vulnerabilities, leaving those still utilizing the Windows XP Operating System vulnerable to malware, viruses and worse. With the date of support termination rapidly approaching, here’s why you should bite the bullet and ditch Windows XP. Windows XP was released in 2001. Since then, Microsoft has released several new versions of Windows operating systems including Windows Vista, Windows 7, and most recently Windows 8. With every new generation, […]

Internet Addiction: Is it real?

I play World of Warcraft – a massive, multiplayer online role-playing game. My husband and I have friends that we enjoy playing with regularly, and sometimes spend a few hours at a time questing together and fighting imaginary monsters. A few months ago, I read an article about a guy in the UK who was so addicted to the game that he played for 40 hours straight and didn’t leave his apartment for five weeks. Whoa. I do know some people who spend a lot more of their time playing online than I do, but how can something that’s simply […]

Fix or Replace Your Old Computer?

When I talk to customers about the work needed to fix their ailing computer they often ponder, “Should I just replace it?” Whether your “old reliable” isn’t so reliable any more, or you have your eye on a shiny new PC for the holidays, here’s how to determine if you should fix your old PC or ditch it. For most people, the decision to replace a computer comes down to cost. Since a basic desktop computer starts at around $300 and a laptop around $500, most people consider replacing their system when a repair will cost $300 or more. However, […]

Benefits of Reducing Screen Time

I’m a mom who lives a life surrounded by technology. I struggle every day with the desire to do the best for my kids (Crafting! Healthy meals! No TV!) juxtaposed against the demands of working, chores and straight up exhaustion: “how bad is a half hour of iPad games so I can dry my hair?” Screen time can offer educational benefits, particularly when there’s parental involvement and age-appropriate content. However, there are some definite dangers, not only to your children’s ability to develop non-electronic coping skills, but in your family’s ability to connect with each other. Here’s why you should […]

Find Charity Online

The other day I was sitting in the Starbucks drive-through line. I pulled up to the window to pay and I was informed that the car in front of me had paid my bill. It was surprising how such a simple gesture made my day. There’s no quicker path to a warm fuzzy feeling than giving to others, whether it be money or time. While the Internet gives you the ability to help any cause that touches you, it also makes it confusing to narrow down where your contribution can make the most difference. Luckily there are some great tools […]

Tech for Students

If you’re replacing an old, reliable PC that just isn’t cutting it anymore, or you’re outfitting your student with some computing power, the back to school season is a prime time to buy electronics. The wave of shoppers drives down prices as retailers compete for your dollars, so it’s a good time to find a great deal. But with all the choices – desktops, laptops, Ultrabooks and tablets – how do you pick the best device to suit your needs? We’re here to help you choose. Desktop tower: Even though their popularity is waning, there are benefits to a stationary […]

Mac vs Windows

The debate over which PC platform is best, Mac or Windows, has waged for years with both sides equally passionate about which OS reigns supreme. While there’s no single answer for every user, you can find a computer with the right characteristics to meet your computing needs. Here’s the low-down on the matchup between Mac and Windows. WHERE THEY’RE EQUAL: Usability. You may have heard that Macs are more intuitive than Windows. In reality, neither OS is fundamentally easier to learn. Novice computer users will face challenges learning to navigate either a Mac or a Windows system, and a user […]

Dropbox Announcement Promises Much

With the amount of devices that the average person works on, it can take a lot of effort to keep track of your files. I can’t count the number of times I’ve hunted for the latest version of a file on my phone, computer, or in the cloud. Today, Dropbox announced their plan to put an end to all of that. The Dropbox Platform, announced at their developer conference, aims to “replace the hard drive.” Most of us are already familiar with the basic premise of the Dropbox Platform: if you’ve ever edited anything online, and then accessed that same […]

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. According to data compiled by Zone Alarm, maker of antivirus and firewall software, identity theft results in an average cost to victim of $4,841 and takes, on average, 33 hours to resolve. With more and more of our personal information available online, it’s imperative that you take steps to protect yourself online. Buyer beware. For as little as $30 in web hosting fees, criminals can set up fake online shop fronts to lure consumers into submitting their personal information and credit account numbers. Be […]

How Your Teen is Hiding Online

According to a study commissioned by Internet Technology specialist McAfee, “The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents,” more than half of teens feel confident that they know how to hide what they do online and 71% have actually done something to hide their online behavior – a frightening statistic for parents struggling to keep up with the technology that their teens use every day. Yet half of teens polled said they’d change their online behaviors if they knew their parents were watching. Here’s how to learn if your kid is hiding something with the […]

Teens Hiding Online: Study Reveals Shocking Data

A 2012 Teen Internet Behavior study commissioned by the security technology company, McAfee, reveals a surprising chasm between the number of teens hiding what they do on the Internet and parents who are confident that they’re in-the-know about their kids’ online activities. Perhaps most telling: 71% of teens have done something to hide their online behavior but only 56% of parents are aware of this. Over the next two weeks, we’ll explore what your teen may be hiding and how they may be doing it. In the McAfee study, 2,017 online interviews were conducted in the U.S. Among respondents, 1,004 […]

Learn About Two-Step Verification and Which Services Use It

A lot of online services have announced recently that they’re introducing two-step or two-factor verification for their users. It all started when Google implemented the security feature into their Google services, but what exactly is two-step verification? Two-step verification solves a very old problem with computer security. If a hacker gained access to a user’s password that they were using across multiple accounts, they could string together their hacks by sending password resets to alternate email accounts. Two-step verification solves this in an ingenious way. There are a few ways to implement two-step verification. The simplest way, like LinkedIn’s two-step […]

Get the Best Home Theater Setup

You spent a lot of money on your that big TV and surround sound, so you should just be able to plug it and watch, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There are a lot of different factors that affect your home theater looks and sounds. Getting a home theater that provides an experience comparable to the movie theater requires some tweaking, but it can be done. You can have a home theater setup that is the envy of all your friends if you take the time to learn how to optimize each individual component of your system. HDTV Your […]

Choose a Monitor Part 3: Touch-Screen Monitors

In this, the last of my three-part series on choosing the right computer monitor, we get to the fun part: touch-screen and 3-D technology. Is it worth paying more to get your hands on the newest technology? Touch-screen technology is everywhere — from mobile devices to kids’ toys. As consumers start to expect all screens to respond to touch, monitors that integrate touch-screen technology are becoming more prevalent. The increased demand has started to drive down price, but you should still expect to pay a premium. A 22-inch touch-screen monitor starts at around $275, while a comparably sized LCD monitor […]

Nerds On Call Reviews Summer Travel Websites: Save Precious Vacation Time

Summer vacations hold a special appeal to me, harking back to the excitement heralded by the final bell on the last day of the school year, so many years ago.  But now that I’m grown up and have to do the leg-work to plan the trip, I’m often exhausted before I get out the door.  The wealth of online resources dedicated to travel planning can make it hard for me to make a decision.  How do I know when I’ve found the best use of my vacation dollars? Over the next three weeks, we’ll explore some great online resources to […]

Sharing a Computer: How to Live in Harmony

Sharing a computer can be tricky.  Whether it’s the kids vying for screen time or summer house guests looking to check their email, following some easy tips can save your sanity. First, create separate user accounts for each family member and one for “Guest.”  This allows each user a sense of individuality as they can set customized backgrounds, desktop icons and folders.  Establishing individual passwords allows everyone some privacy, while your administrator access lets you maintain ultimate control.  Separating users also helps reduce the impact of your kid’s activities on your productivity – no one wants to come home to […]

The Best Way to Choose a Computer Monitor Part 2

While your monitor has a huge impact on your computing experience, the multitude of performance indicators can be confusing.  Last week I reviewed some of the primary factors that you should consider when shopping for a new display, including screen size, components effecting clarity and pairing with the right graphics card. If you missed it, check it out here: www.callnerds.com/choose-a-computer-monitor-part-1/ Yet there are even more factors that cause one monitor to cost $150 while another is $900.  While I can’t stress strongly enough the benefits of seeing first-hand how a monitor performs and produces images before you buy it, if […]

The Best Way to Choose a Computer Monitor Part 1

Your computer’s monitor can make or break your ability to work comfortably, enjoy high quality media and efficiently manage multiple processes simultaneously.   Yet many users choose their monitor based on what’s included in a package deal, or opt for the largest screen available within their budget.  While size does matter, there are several other factors to consider before choosing the screen you’ll be staring at for hours on end. Before you get seduced by a 32” widescreen behemoth, keep in mind that the screen will likely be a few feet away from your face.  Make sure your desk big enough […]

Want to Control Privacy Online? Read this

Typing your own name into Google may prove an eye-opening experience.  Even if your personal information isn’t easily accessible, your computer may be sharing information about your habits, preferences and activities that you’d prefer to remain private.  Here’s how to keep a lid on what your computer shares about you with strangers. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have the right to change their privacy options at will and some exercise this right regularly (I’m talking to you, Facebook).  Even if you meticulously reviewed each setting when you activated your account, system updates can change default settings, or […]

Spring Clean your Computer and Improve Boot Time

One of the most common questions I get from customers, family and friends alike is how to improve system start up time.  When your system was new it probably felt like you were able to boot up and get working at record speed.  Over time, as you install more programs and maybe collect a few malware programs, system boot up can take longer and longer. Fully powering off your computer when you’re done using it for the day is a good idea – it saves energy and reduces hardware degradation.  But it may leave you feeling like you could make […]

Been Hacked? Here’s What to Do

Headlines have been shouting out, that the FBI recently investigated a website which had obtained personal information of high-profile people, and posted it online. Their credit card and social security numbers were available for anyone to see. These numbers have been conned out of the victims, through various methods of hacking. Now it’s unlikely that anyone would want to target you specifically in order to take your information, but hackers have special tools that allow them to mine the information of hundreds or thousands of people and computers at the same time, exploiting any holes that they find. In previous […]

Tired of Spotty Reception? Boost WiFi at Home

Wi-Fi makes connecting to the Internet seem like magic.  There’s a wonderful signal passing through the air that makes my phone work faster and unplugs my laptop from the cable – miraculous!  If you’re affected by slow speed or bad reception, however, staying connected can be a drag.  Try these tricks to improve your home or office WiFi. Step one: consider your hardware.  If your router is even a few years old, it may be time to upgrade.  A router that’s slow or incapable of transmitting a lot of data at once will compromise your whole network. Anyone using an […]

Avoid Social Media Scams with These Tips

From identity theft to fake contests to “send me money” scams, Facebook and Twitter are host to all manner of Internet criminals looking to swindle unsuspecting users out of money or information.  Don’t fall victim!  Here’s how to identify and avoid the most common social media ploys. Tug at your heartstrings. Most people want to help someone in need, and criminals are on the lookout for any way to exploit this.  Within hours of the Newtown Connecticut shooting, “victims” pages popped up everywhere.  Some of these were created by scammers asking for donations.  Another common ploy is to hack into […]

Options for Computers for Seniors in Your Life

When you think “cutting edge technology,” you probably don’t think “senior citizens,” but recent advances in technology are aimed at making life easier for grandma and grandpa, as well as those that care for them.  These devices make it possible for the less tech-savvy to stay connected to friends and family and for remote caregivers to monitor health and wellness. Associate Professor of Psychology T.J. McCallum, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University conducted a three-month study wherein he found that seniors that used technology had higher self-esteem and greater social interaction than those that did not use technology.  Social media, […]

New Facebook Privacy Settings: How to decipher

It seems like every time Facebook makes a change to their privacy policies or security settings, someone throws a fit about how it reflects a reduction in personal privacy and how Facebook is eventually going to own your life. But the world’s most popular social networking site just rolled out a new privacy feature and no one is complaining – in fact, this is the least I’ve heard about a Facebook change in years. The reason: they’ve made something intuitive and easy-to-understand that allows you to take control of your privacy. If you haven’t noticed it, or haven’t logged into […]

Catfishing Isn’t What it Used to be: Online Dating Safety

Many looking for a partner this Valentine’s Day will turn to social media or dating websites to make a potential love connection.  If you’re wary about trying them, or you’ve been burned in the past, you’re right to be dubious.  Internet dating and romance scams, dubbed “catfishing,” are on the rise according to the FBI, and the Better Business Bureau has seen a two-fold increase in complaints over the last year regarding online dating services. Arm yourself with information to protect yourself before you take a dip in the online dating pool. Social networking and online-dating websites now surpass churches, […]

Claim Parental Tablet Control Before It’s Too Late

If the family computer has been getting a lot of miles on it lately – perhaps you have one or more youngster in the house clamoring for screen time – you may be in the market for a second PC to share the load.  Some parents may consider a tablet PC because of its cheaper price tag, but handing an un-monitored internet-connected device to your child has risks.  Luckily, there are parental controls you can easily activate to protect your child from the wild west of the internet. Restrict the YouTube App: Even watching their favorite Muppets song on YouTube […]

Curtail Teen Computer Use

Clearly, many teens and tweens spend a lot of time in front of their computers and texting on cell phones — and much of that time is spent social networking. But is it that all bad? Surveys show the answer to that question is… no. Common Sense Media in a recent study found that in over 1000 teens, 13 to 17 had a pretty healthy perspective on social media.  “Teens are aware of the dangers of excessive usage and the online potential of cruelty. However, most young adults say social media and technology positively affects their social and mental well-being. […]

Nerdy Women You Should Know

Most people think of goofy looking guys in horn rimmed glasses when they think of geeks, bloggers, or businesspeople, like the quintessential geek, Bill Gates.  These stereotypes completely embody a “nerd” persona in our mind’s eye, but rarely you think of a computer-savvy successful person as feminine – but that is about to change! The powerful and talented women who make up the list below are in no particular order, because geeks don’t have to be better than each other when they’re better than everyone else! EBay Maven:  Marsha Collier is well-known for building a career off a website – […]

Files Gone? Could be a Hidden Files Virus

Hidden Files Virus Hits Victims Hard Imagine starting up your system one fine morning only to discover that everything appears to be missing – your files, installed programs, even your Start menu shortcuts.  If you’re one of the many people who’ve recently become victims of the “Hidden Files Virus,” this scenario may be a painful reality. The good news: your files aren’t actually gone for good.  The bad news: your system has a virus and getting your files back will require some work. First, a few things NOT to do: DON’T install any “anti-virus” or “removal utility” program that presents […]

Speed up Windows – Software Alternatives

“My computer is so blazingly fast I can hardly keep up with it!” – said no one, ever. The complaint I hear voiced most often by people calling to have their computer serviced is that their system is sluggish, slow to boot up and unresponsive. While the usual culprits (viruses and spyware) often factor in, sometimes even clean computers run slower than they should. If you have a decent, malware-free system that’s underperforming, you may be able to get noticeable improvement by replacing some of its resource-sucking software with less bloated alternatives. Norton and McAfee are the most well-known anti-virus […]

Great New Year’s Resolution Websites

Whether you’ve dreamed of making delicious meals like a professional chef or would like to become fluent in French, this is the year you’ve resolved to make it happen.  In the past, you would have had to enroll in a class at your local college, requiring that you accommodate your work or personal commitments around the class time parameters.  Today you need only a computer and access to the Internet to dive into the abundance of knowledge available online – in many cases for free if you know where to look. Start Cooking Like a Pro.  We love Epicurious (www.epicurious.com) […]

Use Amazon at Your best

Whether you’re in the market for the latest hit movie, coffee, electronics, or even a drum set, Amazon.com has just about anything you can imagine buying online. In addition to massive selection, Amazon is known for its competitive pricing. Save even more time and money by taking advantage of some of its shopper incentive programs. While the $79 price tag may seem steep at first glance, Amazon Prime entitles users to more than just free 2-day shipping on eligible items – though that’s a big selling point. One-click shopping stores your billing and shipping information so you don’t have to […]

Hidden Mac Features: Getting the most from your computer

Last week I explored some of the cool, less-well-known things your Windows PC can do and this week it’s Mac’s turn. If you’re ready to unleash your Mountain Lion, here are some under-utilized tools built into Mac OS X. Dictation and Text to Speech: Imagine how quickly you could reply to Aunt Edna’s email if you could talk instead of type. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner and select System Preferences. Choose the Dictation & Speech icon. Use the Dictation tab to turn it on and set a shortcut to launch (such as “Press Left Command Key […]

Before You Upgrade to Windows 8, Prepare your PC

Windows 8 officially hit the market on Friday, October 26th. I haven’t waivered in my recommendation that you use caution when considering upgrading to such a drastically different Operating System, but if you’re eager to join the ranks of early adopters, here are some tips to smooth your transition to the next generation of Windows. First, make sure your computer is compatible with and able to support Windows 8. It actually doesn’t require many resources to run (one of its benefits – its streamlined nature helps it to boot up and run fast), so if your system was built in […]

Mobile Security: Protecting your Phone

Whether you’re one of the millions of Americans that already owns a mobile handheld device (like a Smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch), or you’re hoping Santa slips one under your tree this year, there’s something you likely haven’t put much thought towards: mobile security. According to a report released by Forrester Research, it’s estimated that 46% of all bank account holders will utilize mobile banking services by 2017.  Even if you aren’t accessing your bank or credit account from your handheld device, you likely have email; social networking and a multitude of apps that give a would-be thief plenty of […]

Computer Won’t Turn On? Check for Viruses

If you’ve ever had a virus that kept your system from booting at all, you know how infuriating it is. One mistake and your computer is now a very expensive brick. If you’ve never had this happen to you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Viruses are on the rise and show no signs of becoming less of a problem in the future. Fortunately, there are now tools that can save your computer even when you can’t start Windows, and they’re much cheaper than buying a new computer. If you don’t have access to another computer, or can’t follow […]

Borrow eBooks: All of the Library, None of the Late Fees

Whether you read them on an e-reader, tablet, smartphone or your computer, e-books are growing increasingly popular, and with good reason. Instant download capability lets you get right into the newest bestseller, you can hoard thousands of books without having to build a library in your basement, and with a mobile handheld device you can have your library always at your fingertips. It may come as a surprise that e-books aren’t necessarily less expensive than their printed counterparts. That can lead many frugal bookworms back to the budget-saving oasis of the library to borrow the latest best seller. Luckily, more […]

Why You Need a Router

Firewall Router is Necessary While most of us have less than fond memories of dial-up Internet – gritting teeth through the high-pitched squeal while your computer connected, heading to the kitchen for a snack while you waited for a website to load – these days just about everyone uses a high speed Internet connection like DSL or cable. While you may think that the moment your ISP (Internet Service Provider) installer leaves you’re good to go, there’s one more piece of equipment that everyone with a high speed Internet connection needs: a router. Yes, even if you don’t plan to […]

Video Editing for Beginners

Video Editing: How to Ours is a video generation. We grew up with parents shooting camcorder footage of every birthday and graduation, and most of us have hours of movie footage without any cohesive organization or engaging content. Any novice with a video camera can benefit from editing. If you’ve ever forced your friends and family to suffer through six minutes of boring for two seconds of awesome, I’m talking to you. Before you post that cell phone video to YouTube, a little polish with a free editing program can make your friends actually want to click on your Facebook […]

Windows 8 is Here! Now What?

Windows 8 is finally here. If you’ve been reading our recent articles, you know that it’s promised to change many things about how we use our computers. If you’re one of those who have decided to make the switch, there are a few things you should know before installing it on your computer. First, make sure that your computer is actually compatible with Windows 8. This shouldn’t be a problem for most computers made within the last six years or so. The minimum requirements are: 1GHz processor 1GB RAM 16GB of Hard Drive space Graphics card with DirectX 9 and […]

Browser Extensions: Make Your Internet Browser More Awesome

For a brief introduction on browsers, read our article “What is a Browser?” When you first pulled your cell phone out of the box, you probably spent the next few hours making it uniquely yours. From selecting ring tones to choosing a photo or theme wallpaper, or downloading apps to make your Smartphone more productive or fun, the customization transformed it from “a phone” to “your phone.” You can tailor your Web surfing experience in a similar way with browser extensions and add-ons. Most are free and they allow you to personalize the look, functionality and features of Firefox, Chrome, […]

Staying Safe on Google+

For those of us who have opted to use Google+, there are already a great many options such as circles that help keep your information where you want it. But here are a few tips on making sure you have complete control of your data.

Under-Utilized Windows 7 Features

Most of us utilize a Windows PC regularly enough that we navigate through our go-to functions with little exploration or modification. Yet hidden in the Windows 7 framework are some handy tools that you’ve likely never taken advantage of. Here are just a few of the more under-utilized tools that are already at your disposal. Windows Logo Key Shortcuts The Windows logo key (likely located on the bottom left of your keyboard, next to your Alt key) allows for nifty keyboard-driven functionality. Win Logo Key (Win) opens or closes the Start menu. Win+F opens the search function, allowing you to […]

Take Control of Your Facebook Account

When you join Facebook it all seems so blissfully easy. You supply your email address, let it magically hook you up with everyone in your contacts list, and voila! Instant social connectivity is yours. Before you know it, however, your news feed is clogged with notifications from games your friends are playing and posts from retailers you “liked” in order to claim some special offer, your photos are being commented on by your cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s sister and you have more than a hundred “friends” who you couldn’t point out in a mostly empty room. Where did it all go so […]

Tips for Staying Safe on Twitter

A lot of us use the social blogging site Twitter every day. With that use comes the possibility that someone can get your personal information from you. We’ve assembled a few tips so that you can stay safe while using the website. The infographic below will walk you through the steps necessary to protect yourself online. Feel free to send us an email at http://www.callnerds.com/andrea with any questions!

Should You Be Cloud Computing?

Using cloud services such as Microsoft Live SkyDrive, Amazon’s “Cloud Drive,” Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox or SugarSync to store and/or backup your data has some clear advantages. Most notably: unlimited storage capability and the reliability of offsite redundant servers maintaining multiple mirror images of your data without having to invest in costly equipment. However, moving a large amount of data to the cloud will likely require a commitment to ongoing monthly fees. There are some additional benefits that may make the investment more cost effective. Create a personal streaming media library. Anyone who’s amassed an extensive collection of music, movies […]

Resist Tech Distractions

Ever have one of those mornings at work where 10 o’clock rolls around and you wonder what you’ve been doing for the past two hours? Between “catching up” on your friends’ Facebook posts and maintaining the little farm game you downloaded to your phone, tech distractions abound and they can make it extremely difficult to concentrate. An ongoing study by a New York-based research company, Basex, found that these interruptions, and the time it takes to get your focus back, can eat up as much as 28 percent of your workday if you’re not careful. Here’s how to resist the […]

Should You Shutdown Your Computer or Leave It On All The Time?

There are a number of myths floating around about what you should do with your computer when you’re not using it. Some say that you should always shut it down, while others claim that shutting down regularly will shorten the life of your computer. The fact is that neither of these is totally correct. Shutting down your computer will do no harm, but it may not be the most practical option for your circumstance. It all comes down to your personal preference – as long as you’re informed. Let’s take a look at the options. Shut down computer regularly On […]

The Best Windows 8 Gadgets

At this year’s Computex show in Taipei (June 5th-9th, 2012), leading manufacturers previewed the next generation of tablets, ultrabooks, hybrids, and touch screen technology, designed to take advantage of the touch-friendly functionality of Windows 8. Here are a few of the cool gadgets you can expect to see near the end of the year. Asus Taichi Dual-Screen Ultrabook. If a tablet and an ultrabook (super thin and lightweight notebook) got married, this could be their offspring. It has dual displays: the one integrated into the top is touch screen, allowing it to function as a tablet when the cover is […]

Back to School Supplies

It’s pretty well-established that back-to-school is the best time to buy school and office supplies. To be more specific, the best prices are typically found either now (when retailers compete for your back-to-school dollars) or at the end of September (when stores get rid of their leftovers). Many factors contribute to “savings” when we’re shopping, and sometimes it’s not all about saving a dollar. How do you decide whether to buy online or in-store? STELLAService, an independent company that rates online businesses for customer service and quality recently performed a detailed comparison of the in-store experience to the online experience […]

Back to School: Homework Help

When I was in high school I kept meticulous notes. The piece de resistance in my collection of classroom organization was my prized weekly planner with calendar and task lists. At the end of every class I’d furiously scribble in my assignments and notes about what I needed to read or research. What can I say? I’m a Nerd. The problem with paper organization is that it’s so easily destroyed. One errant soda spill and all my hard work was a sopping sticky mess. Today’s students can use online tools at their disposal to stay on top of assignments and […]

When is the Best Time to Buy a New Computer?

Bargain hunters everywhere swear by shopping seasonally. Buy when demand is lowest (who thinks to replace their air conditioner in February?) or when retailers are pushing out old inventory in anticipation of new models. When is the best time to buy a new computer or gadget? Unless you stay up on trending tech news, it’s hard to know when a new generation of the Smartphone or laptop you’ve had your eye on is due to be released. Luckily keeping up on tech trends is what we live for and we’re here to share the secrets of electronic buying seasons. Back […]

Living Without an Optical Drive

This time of year, you may be contemplating adding a new laptop to your gadget family, whether it’s for back-to-school or to take advantage of the season’s sales. Thinner, lighter, super portable systems that remain high functioning (like Intel’s Ultrabooks (TM) and Apple’s Macbook Air) are all the rage, but the sleek design comes with a price: no internal DVD drive. Can you live without one? The answer is yes! Count on the Cloud. Most Netbooks and tablets lack significant storage space, with hard disks that are nearly impossible to upgrade. This may lead you to wonder how in the […]

Data Backup Basics

There are certain things we all know we should do: change the oil every 3,000 miles, choose different passwords for every online login, and back up our computers. Though I know better, I sometimes get to 5,000 miles before changing the oil, I can’t remember 500 different passwords, and I rarely back up my computer. I am a bad person. While mom showed me how to balance a checkbook (thanks mom!), no one ever showed me how to back up my computer. Now I can return the favor and teach my mom, and you, how to back up your system. […]

Secret Benefits Of Video Games

Anyone who has looked up from their computer to discover that they just lost two hours to Farmville or World of Warcraft would like to believe that there is some redeeming value to playing video games. On August 3rd, PBS MediaShift published an article asserting that video games teach our kids a “new literacy”. Even though I am not personally a gamer, I would argue that there are plenty of secret benefits to playing video games. “One benefit of Video Games is that they teach our kids a “new literacy”. My husband is a gamer and I can virtually guarantee […]

What To Do Before You Call Tech Support

I am clueless when it comes to appliances. More than once I have called out a repair person to fix my dishwasher or dryer, only to discover that the power cable is loose, or that the exhaust is clogged with lint. A little basic troubleshooting could have saved me $100 or so (luckily for you, Nerds On Call doesn’t charge for estimates), if only I’d known what easy things to try before having someone out. Over the years at Nerds on Call I have discovered that there are some simple things that fix a surprising number of computer problems, and […]

Slow Computer? Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM

The term RAM is probably pretty familiar. You may know it as memory and that it affects the speed of your PC, laptop, or handheld electronics. But will upgrading and adding more RAM speed up a slow computer? If you need a clear distinction, check out our article on memory vs storage here. The amount of RAM in your system is the primary factor in how fast it boots up, launches programs, navigates between them, and responds to your inputs. If you have too little RAM for the amount of tasks you ask your system to perform, it will run […]

How to Take Better Photos With Your Smartphone

Are you on Pinterest? How about Facebook or Google + or even Reddit? Now ask yourself what makes these sites so engaging and fun to participate in? That’s right—we’re addicted making and sharing photographs. Back in the olden days of the late 1990s it used to take an expensive camera to make good digital photos, but now-a-days many of us are running around with powerful Smartphone cameras in our pockets at all times. So how can you make sure the social pictures you take stand out in your friends’ streams? Taking quality photos with your phone isn’t particularly challenging, but […]

Facebook’s Timeline? Take control now

I’ve been dragging my heels about adopting Timeline, the Facebook profile introduced in September. I haven’t wanted to accept that my comfy, familiar profile will soon be gone for good. But there’s no delaying anymore: Facebook announced last week that “over the next few weeks, everyone will get Timeline.” Instead of waiting for Timeline to be sprung on you, I’d suggest that you jump in now and spend a few hours on www.facebook.com/about/timeline. Watch the tutorial video. Then click the “Get Timeline” button to get started, which I find preferable to logging in one day to a different layout. Timeline […]

4 Secrets Online Job Hunting

How To: Online Job Hunting If you’re one of the millions of Americans looking for work, the Internet can be a key resource, albeit a daunting one. Spend time searching through Monster.com online job listings, and you may even argue that the Internet is counter-productive to your job hunt. However, a discussion paper written in September 2011 for The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, found that Internet job searching “reduces individual workers’ unemployment durations by about 25 percent.” Here’s how to use the Web to connect with the right people for your job hunt.  Ironically, the […]

BEWARE! The Latest Scams – Arm Yourself and Outsmart those Thieves

I’m a big fan of technology making life easier. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for scam artists to target potential victims. For many, the relative newness of using email and Web access for banking, shopping and paying bills leaves them vulnerable to crooks looking to steal personal information for financial gain. Trust your instincts and arm yourself with knowledge to protect yourself from these common scams: – “Your account has been compromised.” Whether you receive this notice via email, text or telephone, you’re typically directed to a website that downloads malicious software onto your computer or requests that you […]

Computer Repair: What to buy now that can save you later

You don’t have to buy the latest, top-of-the-line option every time you shop for technology. I know I risk being shunned by the nerd community for saying it, but there are times to splurge and times to save. This doesn’t apply to some people — gamers, graphic designers, photographers and others — with special requirements for their computers and gadgets. However, many computer users have a basic set of technology needs that can be met without shelling out a lot of money for the best of the best. Surprisingly, you can shop for a deal on desktop or tower PCs. […]

Some tech tips for going more green for Earth Day

Do you find it odd that we dedicate full days, or weeks, to celebrate things like General Pulaski Memorial Day and National Dairy Goat Awareness Week? When I was younger, I viewed Earth Day in a similar fashion. Sure, I’d recycle bottles and cans, but only if it was convenient and I certainly wasn’t going to pay more or go out of my way. Now that I have a family of my own, the idea of finite resources has more impact. Unfortunately, my need for things to be easy and cost-effective remains, perhaps more so now that it’s driven by […]

How To Keep Teens Safe Behind The Wheel

Parents of teenage drivers inwardly struggle every time their child gets behind the wheel, hoping that their teen is “doing the right thing,” refraining from speeding and not driving distractedly. Statistics affirm that teens with involved parents are involved in fewer accidents and exhibit overall better driving. Driver’s education provides them with the rules of the road, but it’s not enough. Here some techno-tools to add to your arsenal. Start the conversation about your safe-driving expectations early and check in with your teen on an ongoing basis. You’ll probably receive some eye rolls, but remind them that the rules you […]

Just Because It’s An Apple, Doesn’t Mean You Should Buy It.

To buy nor not to buy? I didn’t buy a 3rd generation iPad. There, I said it. Some people may suggest that it’s time to strip me of my “nerd” credentials, particularly when I admit that I’ve been underwhelmed by all the “new” Apple gadgets to hit the market in the last year. I intended to write about the great features of the new iPad and why it’s worth shelling out upwards of $500 for one. Yet there’s nothing particularly revolutionary about it. There’s an improved display that, while certainly beautiful, is only noticeable to the average passerby if you’re […]

What Else Can A Google Search Do?

It’s simple to Google, but it’s not always easy to get it right. We’ve all been frustrated by typing something into the search bar, only to be bombarded with a bunch of junk: pages of search results, filled with Web links from questionable sources. Results that aren’t what you were looking for. Google is unquestionably the most popular search engine, with an estimated 900 million unique visitors every month, according to eBizMBA, which compiles website statistics. Its nearest competitor, Bing, gets an estimated 165 million unique visitors every month by comparison. It would be impossible to give tips for every […]

Blogging Project: How Anyone Can Start A Blog

      Blogging is no longer just for the online-savvy. It’s for anyone who wants to share a little bit of themselves with the world. When our son was born, my husband started a blog chronicling every little coo and giggle so our friends and family could share in the experience as he grew. The site still draws readers several years later. One of my friends, a fantastic cook, created a blog to share her inventive recipes. I’m far more inclined to try something off her site than out of a cookbook. Before you bust out the laptop and […]

4 Things Everyone Should Read Before They Buy A New Printer

      By: Andrea Eldridge As ironic as it may seem coming from the girl who a few short months ago wrote an article about how to get by without a printer, the reality is that life is still easier if you have one around. In this two-part series we’ll review all you need to know when picking a printer. Printer specifications are their own special language. Ink jet, laser, DPI, ppm seriously, where’s the human-to-printer dictionary? The truth is that certain functions and abilities are going to matter more to different users, and everyone wants to balance price […]

Yep, They’re Watching

You think the things that you do online are between you and your computer. Not so. Your cyber-privacy is constantly being chipped away: by your Internet provider, your cellphone carrier and lawmakers. Before you post to a social-media site or browse the Internet for that report you’re compiling on pedophiles, keep in mind how your actions online are anything but private. At issue is the struggle to protect privacy rights while fighting the online theft of American intellectual property. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives shelved its proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA (H.R. 3261). The legislation’s surface […]

Facebook Timeline Tips: Soon It Will be A Requirement

I’ve been dragging my heels about adopting Timeline, the Facebook profile introduced in September. I haven’t wanted to accept that my comfy, familiar profile will soon be gone for good. But there’s no delaying anymore: Facebook announced last week that “over the next few weeks, everyone will get Timeline.” Instead of waiting for Timeline to be sprung on you, I’d suggest that you jump in now and spend a few hours on www.facebook.com/about/timeline. Watch the tutorial video. Then click the “Get Timeline” button to get started, which I find preferable to logging in one day to a different layout. Timeline […]

New Facebook Timeline: Tips, FAQs and Need To Knows

By: Andrea Eldridge I’ve been dragging my heels about adopting Timeline, the Facebook profile introduced in September. I haven’t wanted to accept that my comfy, familiar profile will soon be gone for good. But there’s no delaying anymore: Facebook announced last week that “over the next few weeks, everyone will get Timeline.” Instead of waiting for Timeline to be sprung on you, I’d suggest that you jump in now and spend a few hours on www.facebook.com/about/timeline. Watch the tutorial video. Then click the “Get Timeline” button to get started, which I find preferable to logging in one day to a […]

How To Pick The Right Web Browser

Think of your web browser as your window into Internet, web pages and applications. Which browser should you choose, and what security measures should you take to protect your view? (For more information on your browser, read our article What is a Browser?) The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. Internet Explorer — preinstalled on all Windows machines — used to dominate but now Chrome does with 40 percent of all users. People primarily try out a new browser for appearance and ease of use, but security should be a concern, too. Choosing […]

Question & Answer | Nerds On Call

    Q&A: These are real questions by real people. We figured if someone wanted to know enough to email us, maybe you’re out there secretly wondering the same thing.   Do I Need An Anti-Virus Program On My Kindle? Q: Is an anti-virus program necessary on a Kindle Fire tablet? A: The short answer is that any gadget that connects to the Internet should have an anti-virus program installed on it. In theory, because the Kindle Fire uses an Android operating system, you should be able to install any Android compatible app by going to the company’s website from […]

Do You Still Need A Printer?

      One of the more inefficient habits that I can’t seem to break myself of is stubbornly maintaining a paper trail in a digital world. I print confirmations of online purchases, email correspondence, even documents sent to me electronically. I can’t explain it. If pressed I readily admit that it’s unnecessary and less secure, and yet I’d probably print out our email conversation, just to have it on file. However, as portable electronics become more popular and cloud-based applications get more integrated into our day-to-day lives, printers will surely go the way of fax machines. Here are some […]

A Guide to Clearing Personal Data From Old Devices

Before You give away your computer or cellphone, make sure you permanently delete your personal information from the hard drive. If you were fortunate enough to receive a new tech gadget this holiday season, it can be a great opportunity to donate or sell an older device that you no longer need. Before you send it off, keep in mind that most electronic items contain a wealth of personal information that you want to ensure doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Whether you’re handing down your laptop to your teenager, giving your old phone to Uncle Fred, or donating your gadget to Goodwill, make […]

How To Clear Personal Data From Old Devices

Before You give away your computer or cellphone, make sure you permanently delete your personal information from the hard drive. If you were fortunate enough to receive a new tech gadget this holiday season, it can be a great opportunity to donate or sell an older device that you no longer need. Before you send it off, keep in mind that most electronic items contain a wealth of personal information that you want to ensure doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Whether you’re handing down your laptop to your teenager, giving your old phone to Uncle Fred, or donating your […]

Last Minute Gift Ideas

      The other day someone mentioned to me, very casually, that they’d had their holiday shopping done since Halloween. What? How is that even possible? I scramble every year for at least one or two people who I still haven’t decided on and inevitably end up with some sad mug filled with stale taffy ’97 all that was left on the Target holiday shelf on the day before Christmas. As much as I curse myself for procrastinating and vow to do better next year, I haven’t been able to break my pattern ’97 until now. I’ve discovered some […]

The 6 Best Gift Cards Gift Ideas

      Despite my best intentions to give personalized gifts to everyone on my holiday list, at least one or two people always end up with a gift card. Deep down I can’t shake the feeling that I’m calling it in. This year, I’ve resolved to consider gifting some great online services, a gift that keeps on giving, month after month. The Best Gift Cards For Music Lovers: There are several great options to stream music either to a computer or to any number of wireless-enabled personal electronic devices. Streaming music has gotten really popular — and really easy. […]

Christmas Gifts For Guy With Almost Everything

      By: Andrea Eldridge. I’d wager that just about everyone has a video game lover on their holiday list this year. From the armchair commando hunting down fellow players on Xbox live to the dedicated World of Warcraft dwarf, gaming has become a recreation activity for at least one or two members of most American households. As one of the few holdouts in my family that is not active in this virtual community, it can be challenging to find the perfect gift for the gamers in my life. After much polling and research, here are my suggestions to […]

Christmas Gift Ideas For Her.

One of the sweetest parts of giving a gift to someone you care about is that excited, “I love it!” response, especially when you know that it’s genuine. Sadly, it can be surprisingly elusive this time of year. With so many gadgets on your loved one’s must-have lists, how’s a holiday shopper to find the perfect gift that won’t get added to the return or exchange pile? Don’t resign yourself to that tired gift card. I humbly offer for your consideration my “Buy This, Not That” picks for the women in your life. Not to worry if your husband is […]

My PC won’t turn on!

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with a computer, the most flustering, is when the computer just doesn’t turn on at all. If you are having difficulty turning on your PC, there is one thing you can try before you call Nerds On Call. My PC won’t turn on, how can I fix it? One thing to try is to plug it into a different outlet. You would be surprised how many customers we’ve helped just by plugging the computer into a new outlet. Sometimes it is just a bad outlet. If this doesn’t work you […]

Permissions not granted error

What is a “permissions not granted error” and what does it mean? Usually this error message is a networking problem. If you are on a public or shared computer, then a permissions not granted error means you are trying to do something that you aren’t allowed to access. This message could mean that you don’t have access to a specific file because you’re not the administrator of the computer. If you’re the admin of the computer (or the owner of the computer) you can do anything you want! You should not be seeing the permissions not granted error, and there […]

Google+ Saved The World From Facebook

  What’s the difference between Google+ and Facebook? Imagine you’re at a party. In attendance are friends, family, co-workers, celebrities, and maybe even a politician or two. As you mingle with the crowd, you selectively share information with certain groups of people. For example you’d only want your friends to hear, “I drank too much last night, maybe I should call in sick,” not your boss or co-workers. On the other hand your friends don’t want to hear about your plan to optimize profits in the social media sector. Your conservative friends don’t want to hear your liberal rants on […]

5 Backyard gadgets for the 4th of July 2011

  The Fourth of July is almost here. This year, make the 4th of July a time to gather friends and family, aat lots of food, play with fire(works). Of course, Nerd Chicks are always looking for ways to add some sparkle to any get-together, and your backyard barbecue is no exception. Pick up one or two of these cool tech gadgets for your upcoming party and your bash is sure to be the talk of the town! MUSIC No party is complete without a soundtrack of great tunes, but who has time to DJ while you’re manning the barbecue? Use your […]

5 Spring Cleaning Tips You’ve Overlooked.

So now that you’ve untangled the rats nest of wires, and you’re down to one remote, you look over at your keyboard and it looks like you’ve got a crumb factory EEK! Well DON’T put your keyboard in the dishwasher (like some suggest) use these neat tips and tricks to make your tech sparkling clean again! One word of caution though before trying any of these tricks please make sure to have your tech turned off. Better safe than sorry! 1. Silly Putty: See your toddler had it right! That silly putty is a great way to lift up all […]

Top Three Easy Smart Home Upgrades

Smart home technology offers ways to make your home more state-of-the-art than the Jetsons’ abode. They can offer better energy efficiency, innovative security systems and a myriad of added conveniences to your living space. The multitude of choices can be quite overwhelming: where should you begin when exploring ways to make your home more “connected?” Here are three easy and inexpensive options for bringing your home into the next generation. If you’ve ever set the thermostat down to its “crisp and cool” setting and then kicked yourself for forgetting to turn it up before walking out the door for work, […]

Celebrity Photo Hack – Is Your Data Safe?

Unless you spent Labor Day and the week following on a Zen, digital media blackout, you’ve probably caught wind of a huge leak of hacked celebrity nude photos. Early reports blamed an iCloud breach, leaving many wondering if their own photos and files are vulnerable. Here’s how to keep yourself and your personal data safer – not safe, but safer – online. When hundreds of nude photos of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton first surfaced on anonymous photo sharing sites 4Chan and AnonIB over the weekend, the initial concern was that someone had hacked into iCloud. The sheer […]

Apps for Health and Wellness

Our handy smartphones improve our lives in so many ways, from providing a source of entertainment to keeping us conveniently connected with loved ones and driving us to be punctual for our myriad of appointments throughout the week. Armed with a few handy apps, your smartphone could even help you to improve your health, wellness and general state of mind. I went on a wellness field trip without leaving home to check out some of the many health and wellness apps on the market. Here are a few of my favorites. Happify promises to “increase your happiness with real, life-changing […]

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Can’t Beat the Public Library

As a reader of three or four novels a month, purchased primarily through my Kindle Fire, I am always looking to save money on book purchases. When I heard about Amazon Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99/month service allowing you to borrow all the books you wish in a month, keep them as long as you like, and then return them when you’re done, it sounded like a smokin’ hot deal. Is it worth the hype? Not really. Here’s what I found out. I’ll start with the good things about the program – or at least the parts that got me to […]

Nerd News: Watch Out for Fake GoDaddy Email

GoDaddy customers, beware! There is a new phishing scam making the email rounds this month. Here is an example of what to look for: Subject: Status Alert: Your account contains more than [number] directories. Body: Your account contains more than [number] directories and may pose a potential performance risk to the server. Please reduce the number of directories for your account to prevent possible account deactivation. In order to prevent your account from being locked out we recommend that you create special tmp directory. Or use the link below: [innocuous-looking GoDaddy link which really points to a Russian domain] If […]

Finding Tech Bargains

As a self-professed Nerd and spouse of a gadget junkie, I can attest to one thing: technology is expensive. Now that many back-to-school lists include computers, mobile devices or parts to rehab an ailing family PC, the fall has become a good time to find tech bargains since stores compete to get your business. You can save a few bucks, if you know some “insider” tips. 1. Comparison shop. There are some great bargain consolidation sites that gather all the best deals from across the Internet and post them in one place. Even if you have your heart set on […]

Three Free Programs Every Windows PC Should Have

You probably already know how important it is to have virus and malware protection on any computer that gets on the Internet, but with so many options it can be difficult to know what you need, and it’s easy to overpay. Here are three free programs that every Windows PC should have installed to stay safe and run smoothly. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus program that comes pre-installed on Windows 8 machines and is available for download here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-download. It’s compatible with older versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Once you install the program, […]

Hiding from Social Media

Social media can be great: funny posts from your best friend about her new job antics, keeping up with your nephews in Des Moines, and impromptu get togethers – “John just posted he’s at Starbucks. Let’s go meet up!” But what about when you’d rather NOT be found by your Facebook followers? Or when you want to cut ties with someone you’ve purged from your life but they’re still ingrained in your Facebook history? It turns out, there’s an app for that. Location-based social-media sites like Foursquare and Social Radar are designed to make it easier to connect with your […]

New PC Must-Do Checklist

Whether your reliable old PC was finally beaten down by the kids this summer, or you are springing for a new laptop for your back-to-schooler, ‘tis the season of new computers. Before you plug and play that new PC, take these steps to ensure your computer runs optimally from the beginning and to protect your investment for years to come. Step 1: Get rid of the junk programs. Anyone who has booted up a new, off-the-shelf Windows PC can attest to the deluge of junk programs that come pre-installed to the average Dell or HP machine. Widely known as “bloatware,” […]

Back to School Tech

As a new school year rapidly approaches, parents everywhere are pondering, “What tech tools do my kids really need to succeed?” Here’s a rundown of the most helpful computer and gadget choices for every age of student. College Co-Ed: When it comes to outfitting your college-bound kiddo, it’s all about reliable mobility. The most useful tool for any college student is a lightweight laptop. While a smaller screen usually corresponds with a lighter device, you want to be sure that the keyboard and screen are large enough to accommodate the strain of spending long, sleepless nights typing out a thesis […]

How to Get Better Tech Support

Despite my “Nerd Chick” credentials, I’ve had to call technical support many times in my life, and I can’t say that it’s always been a pleasant experience. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few things that can make the experience less painful. The next time you need to make that call, here are some ways to assure it’ll go more smoothly. Computers, routers, printers and, frankly, most electronic devices, can get buggy after long periods of use without a break. It never hurts to do a full system shut down and restart to see if that fixes the problem before […]

Introducing Amazon’s Fire Phone

Amazon has joined the smartphone circus.  Their Fire smartphone is set to be released on July 25th, and they’re betting that it can offer enough intriguing perks to carve out a piece of the already-crowded smartphone market including top contenders from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung.  Is this untested newbie worth giving a chance? Starting with the basics, it’s only offered through AT&T (a sizeable limitation) and will be available July 25th for $200 (for the 32GB model) and $300 (64GB) with an AT&T cell provider contract, or $650 and $750, respectively, off-contract.  Phone purchase comes with a year free […]

Tech for Toddlers: How to Help, not Harm

In their book, “Toddlers on Technology,” Patti Wollman Summers (early childhood educator and Head of the Parenting Program at the Mandell School), neuropsychologist Ann DeSollar-Hale, PhD, and Heather Ibrahim-Leathers explore the way today’s toddlers are interacting with technology. Is time spent with digital media helpful, harmful, or both? According to a study released in October 2013 by Common Sense Media, “Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013”: “Among families with children age 8 and under, there has been a five-fold increase in ownership of tablet devices such as iPads, from 8% of all families in 2011 to 40% […]

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 […]

The Lowdown on Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is not just a fight between the big tech companies like Google, Netflix and AT&T. Whether or not Net Neutrality is upheld will affect the future of how every American accesses the Internet. Here’s the low down of what it means, why you should care, and what you can do to have your voice heard in the debate. The current state of the Internet in America is one of “Net Neutrality.” It means that all traffic is treated the same regardless of what data is being sent – emails, web searches, VOIP calls, streaming videos, etc.. – all […]

Tech Gifts for Dad on Father’s Day

He’s always there to help you out of a jam, be it a flat tire or first date advice. There’s one day a year dedicated to showing Dad how much you appreciate him. Before you grab a tie and a box of golf balls for dad this year, consider some tech-inspired alternatives to take your Father’s Day gift up a notch. The Commuter: When dad sets off for work or on a car trip, ensure that his coffee or tea is hot to the last sip with the Retro Smart Mug, made by Princess International and sold through Amazon for […]

All About Apple’s New Features from WWDC

Every year Apple holds a conference for programmers called the WWDC. The biggest nerds in the world get together and Apple tells them about its new software before it’s released. In the months til launch, us Nerds can write programs for the new software. This year Apple announced major updates to its two flagship softwares: OSX and iOS. On iOS the biggest two changes came in new directions for Apple. The first was the addition of HealthKit, a fitness “hub.” Apple has tracked some fitness aspects for years with its Nike + iPod program, but nothing of this scale. The […]

Avoid Scams While Job Hunting Online

While the job market appears to be improving, there are still plenty of people out there either unemployed or underemployed looking for work.  An urgent need to find work can lead some to the point where they’ll “take anything.”  Here’s where the scammer strikes: preying on individuals who need to be solicitous, polite and willing to jump through hoops to prove themselves accommodating to potential employers.  Don’t be swindled!  Here are some ways to identify potential scams and prevent yourself from becoming a victim. The first step of a job-hunting scam typically employs posting a fake job listing.  Scammers advertise […]

Kid-Proof your Tablet for Summer

Even if you aren’t ready to accept that summer vacation has arrived, it’s here.  Before your kid has way too many free hours to surf the net and spend her college savings fund on in-app purchases, get your mobile devices ready by activating some quick and easy parental controls. It’s all too common for parents to diligently restrict access to the Internet and adult content on the family PC, but forget the handheld mobile devices like iPods, Kindle Fires or other tablets.  While these kinds of gadgets seem like toys, they can get online and give access to games, media […]

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.  […]

Read Your eBooks Anywhere

When I bought a Kindle Fire, I went from my book-a-month habit to about a book-a-week, practically overnight.  This could be a costly endeavor, and yet when it comes to eBooks, I stuck with my old habit of purchasing new titles directly through Amazon, simply because it was easier.  It never occurred to me to price compare other vendors, even though saving a few bucks on a new release could equate to some serious cash over the course of the year.  Is it possible to shop around e-book vendors, but still read the e-books on my Kindle?  Here’s what I […]

Amazon Fire: Cable Killer?

Amazon Fire TV is just the latest debut in a number of streaming devices on the market allowing you to stream content from video applications like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime directly to your TV.  To hear Amazon speak of it, you’re destined to cut the cord with your cable or satellite company after investing in one.  If you’d like to cut back on your cable bill, or eliminate it completely, here’s what you need to know about the streaming devices on the market, what you can watch – and what you’ll miss – if you make the switch […]

3D Camera Frees Your Focus

What if you could take a picture and not worry about focus, or even the direction you’re taking it from? You could go back later and compose the picture exactly the way you want it, and re-tune the angle or focal point. This magic technology is called “light field photography,” and it’s the next big step in taking photos. Cameras up until now have captured an image on a flat medium, whether a frame of  film or a digital camera sensor. Cameras using light field technology capture information about *how* the light got there, which means that the camera’s computer […]

New Internet Explorer Vulnerability Found

Researchers at FireEye security have discovered a vulnerability in all current versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer that would allow a “threat actor” to run code on a target’s system without their permission. According to FireEye, this security “hole” is being used to attack financial and defense organizations in the U.S.A. Shortly after the vulnerability was discovered, FireEye passed their findings on to Microsoft, who subsequently posted a security advisory regarding the bug. Microsoft recommends “enabling a firewall, applying all software updates, and installing antimalware software.” However, other organizations advise more dramatic measures. The threat is so serious that the U.S. […]

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 […]

Build Your Own Phone

Us Nerds have been building our own computers for years. For many of us it was the first thing we learned how to do: order the parts we wanted, read the instruction manuals, mess up the first time. So we’ve gotten used to being able to customize our computers. It’s been frustrating not being able to customize our phones in the same way. But that’s all changing. There’s a new type of phone on the way: one that allows you to only have the features you really want. Say you want a fingerprint scanner but aren’t big on the newest […]

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 […]

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 […]

Twitter Redesign Starts Rolling Out

The original and most-popular ‘microblogging’ site, Twitter, is getting its most significant redesign. While the site has remained much the same since its inception in 2006, this latest design is shifting towards a more ‘profile-friendly’ design. Online commenters have noted the similarity between its design and fellow social network Facebook’s. The most prominent change is the rearrangement of the header. While the previous version of the site only had space for a small, expandable photo above the user’s basic name and information, Twitter’s redesign now also features a large ‘cover’ photo. This cover photo spans the width of the page […]

“Heartbleed” Bug Discovered – Affects 2/3 of Internet

Researchers today discovered a serious flaw in the security software that keeps two-thirds of the web private. The bug, called “heartbleed,” has been a part of the “OpenSSL” software for two years without being detected. A patch has been written and is being distributed, but web servers running the old version are still affected. Don’t change your password just yet though – that could get stolen too until changes are rolled out. SSL is a standard for communicating secretly over the internet – and not just for things like chat and email, but for just about any information that needs […]

Apps for Children with Special Needs

Note: I have updated this article with reader feedback at the end. Please read it and my response For parents of children with special needs, it can be heartbreaking to feel that their child’s potential to communicate, learn, or participate in school activities is hindered by a disability. Touch-screen devices such as tablets can offer your children unique opportunities to learn and develop because they aren’t mired by such things as input devices (e.g., mouse and keyboard). They can scroll through applications, play games or navigate the device more easily, allowing them to engage in the activity, practice or learn […]

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 […]

Get Kids to Love Science and Technology

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re totally gadget crazy. From my cell phone when we’re out to dinner to the console game at home, I am lucky if I can pry the little devices out of their fingers. They also tend to be more technically savvy than me, relying upon their natural curiosities to experiment until they get the results they want, instead of being bound by many of the “shoulds” and “should-nots” that sometimes limit my own abilities. According to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the US is currently […]

Share Secrets on New Social Network

Secret is the latest social media site to garner buzz. It’s different from Facebook or Twitter because you post anonymously to a pool of people gathered from your contact list, or linked through a series of friends-of-friends. You may ponder, “How is it social to post anonymously?” The hot new app is a like a social media masquerade ball and fans insist that the anonymity allows them to be more themselves than when they have to “face” their fellow users. Anyone who’s used Facebook or Twitter has likely censored themselves at some point or another. By the time you gather […]

The Nerd World of March 17: US Gives Up Internet Control, Google Goes Out, OneNote Goes Free

U.S. Relinquishes Internet Control The Internet has always been an American phenomenon. Since Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet for the US Military, the government has always had tight control over the structure of the web. However, they are starting to relinquish some of that control. The US Department of Commerce announced that it is giving up its oversight role in ICANN. ICANN is the organization that governs which domain names are available and how they can be used. Initially ICANN was a government contractor, but will now become an independent organization. The action comes in the wake of complaints about […]

Mid-March Tech News Roundup

If you ever feel as though you’d like a cliff-notes version of the latest tech news, I’m here to help.  It was a busy week in technology.  Here are the highlights. XP Users to Get Pop-Up Reminder Starting on March 8th, Windows XP users will begin seeing a pop-up notice on their screen, warning that support for the OS will end on April 8th.  Microsoft is pushing out the pop-up warnings, which include a link to the Windows XP “Support is ending soon” site, in the hope that more users will migrate off the 12-year-old software. Before you click the […]

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows XP

It’s time to remove Windows XP, upgrade, and move on. We published an earlier article about XP’s end of life, and the deadline is here – On March 8, 2014, you may have been greeted with a message telling you that “Windows XP End of Support is on April 8th, 2013” and a link to learn more. For the 29 percent of computers around the World still running Windows XP, this will be the last chance they have to upgrade before the storm of malware rolls in. The End of Support date is the point at which Microsoft will no […]

IRS Releases Top Tax Scams of 2014

On February 19th, the IRS released its annual list of the top tax scams for 2014. As more taxpayers prepare, file, and store their data online, incidents of crimes like identity theft, phone scams and phishing increase. While these scams happen year round, the IRS warns taxpayers to be particularly cautious during tax season. Here’s what to look out for. Identity theft tops the IRS’s list of most pervasive tax scams in 2014. This is a broad term that encompasses any time someone uses your personal information like your name, Social Security number or driver’s license without your permission to […]

The Nerd World of February 25, 2014 – Bitcoin Exchange Topples, Apple Discovers Flaw, Nokia X Announced

Bitcoin Exchange Crashes The tech world is abuzz today with the news of MtGox closing its doors. MtGox is a Bitcoin exchange, a site that allows users to buy and sell the virtual currency. For years, the site has been a staple of the Bitcoin community and has transferred millions of dollars worth. Today, the site reads “In light of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being…(cont).” The recent news referenced refers to the site’s series of troubles since February 7th. It […]

Wearable Tech

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was crowded with wearable technology like smart watches, fitness trackers, and Bluetooth jewelry. Google Glass is already in the hands of a few select early-adopters. Even those brands without a wearable device on the market, such as Apple and Microsoft, are rumored to have them in the works. Manufacturers believe it will be an integral part of how we will interact with technology in the future. Is it ready to join your arsenal of mobile technology? Smart Watches and Bluetooth Jewelry Wearable technology appeals to those looking to have constant access to certain information. If […]

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 […]

The Nerd World of February 14, 2014 – Jedis in Love, Sony Shutters PCs, Windows 8 Sales Disappointing

Facebook Valentine’s All week long, Facebook has been releasing their data on love. Through a series of posts on the Facebook Data page, the social network has compiled their statistics on their users’ romantic relationships. The posts range in topic from “Love and Religion” to “The Formation of Love.” The statistics include intriguing graphs, like one that indicates that Facebook posts rise to a peak before someone is involved in a relationship and take a sharp downturn as soon as they start getting serious. The piece of data we found most interesting: those with their religion listed as Jedi have […]

The Nerd World of February 13, 2014 – Cable Merger, Malware Targets Veterans, Facebook Expands Genders

Cable Companies Merge Two of the biggest cable companies merged today in a $45 billion deal. Comcast bought Time Warner Cable and its 11 million subscribers today. The two companies “do not compete in a single zip code in America,” according to Comcast executive VP David Cohen, amid monopoly allegations. Comcast Corporation is a part of NBC Universal, while Time Warner Cable has been independent since 2009. Originally part of Time Warner, it became its own company as part of internal restructuring. Charter Communications had been trying to acquire Time Warner Cable as recently as yesterday. Malware Discovered on VFW […]

The Nerd World of February 12, 2014 – iPhone 6 Leaks, Android on Windows, Chinese Moon Rover Dies

China’s Rover Dies on Moon China has been ramping up its space program in the last few years and plans to have a human on the moon the next decade. Those plans suffered a minor setback today when China lost contact with its rover on the moon named Jade Rabbit. The moon rover which has been there since December today lost contact with mission command. It had been suffering mechanical problems for two weeks and those following the situation feared this was inevitable. Google Play Radio now Available Offline Google Play Music, Google’s streaming music service, now allows you to […]

The Nerd World of February 11, 2014 – Iron Man Suit, In-Flight Social, Twitter Redesign, and the Mask Virus

Iron Man Suit Nearing Testing The United States Military has been developing a suit of armor based on Iron Man’s. This is science, not fiction. The suit is described as a “Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit” and contains such functions as night vision, super-strength, and bulletproof armor. It also provides heat, water, and oxygen to the user. According to Defense Tech, the suit will be ready for testing in June. 56 corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities, and 10 national laboratories are reported to be working on the project. The military hopes to have the suit field-ready by August of […]

Is Facebook Depressing You?

While Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been shown to increase a user’s feeling of connectedness with friends, family and their community, a growing body of research highlights the negative effects of social media on our general state of mind. From envy, to anger, to depression, for some users these forums offer more pain than joy. Here are some of the most common social media ailments and what to do if you find yourself being brought down by your social networking. Facebook is a hugely popular medium for sharing life updates, photos, stories and opinions with a […]

The Nerd World of February 10, 2014 – Credit Card PINs, Nook, and Flappy Bird

Credit Cards to use PINs Traditional money is getting a little bit more security in the United States. The rest of the world uses a PIN-based system for credit card transactions, while the US is the last to use the signature-based method. Multiple credit card companies are setting an October 2015 date to phase out the old method and implement a PIN system similar to that used for debit cards. The news comes in the wake of the theft of credit card data from retailers including Target. New Nook Knell Barnes & Noble, the popular book retailer, has used its […]

The Nerd World of February 7, 2014 – Twitter Stock, NYPD, Bitcoin Theft, and Amazon

Twitter Stock Plummets Twitter is worth 18% less than it was yesterday. The microblogging platform today announced their first quarterly earnings report as a public company, declaring significant growth. But while the company’s financial worth has been increasing, their growth has been on a steady decline. Since this time last year, the company has seen significantly decreasing adoption. Seeing this trend continue, investors collectively dumped 8.7 billion dollars worth of Twitter stock. According to TechCrunch, this is the equivalent of losing 12.14 Instagrams based on the company’s net worth. NYPD Testing Glass The New York Police Department is testing Google […]

The Nerd World of February 6, 2014 – Videoconferencing, Audio Streaming, Bitcoin, and Car Hacking

Videoconferencing Made Easy Google today announced “Chromebox for Meetings,” which is a videoconferencing system for businesses. The device, which costs $999 is based on the recently-released Chromebox. The Chromebox is a small computer with the Android operating system. The “Chromebox for Meetings” includes a Chromebox as well as accessories. The accessories include a high-definition camera, a room microphone, speaker, and remote control. Included in the deal is one year of technical support that can be extended for $250 a year. The video-conferencing is powered by Google’s Hangouts service. Updates to Google’s Android have revealed that the exclusive “Google Now Launcher” […]

The Muse Headband Exercises your Brain

Last night I was startled awake with a bad dream. I found myself staring at the ceiling at 4 AM, unable to get back to sleep and wishing I could relax my buzzing mind enough to catch a couple more hours of sleep. Sometimes it happens when my day’s been go-go-go, working at the office, rushing the kids to karate practice, making dinner, hustling everyone to bed … life’s little stresses start to build up so I just can’t relax. Most doctors will tell you that this kind of stress is detrimental to your health. Approximately 75% of all doctor’s […]

The Nerd World of February 4, 2014 – Microsoft CEO, Facebook Turns 10, Beer Shot Down

New Microsoft CEO Microsoft today announced that Satya Nadella would be its next CEO. As CEO, Nadella says that he will focus on the mobile and cloud-based aspects of Microsoft, signaling that the company will be refocused on software and services, instead of devices. Nadella has been with the company for more than twenty years and is filling the CEO position to take over from former CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer had been CEO since 2000 when he took over from Bill Gates. Bill Gates Takes Active Role Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is taking on a new role at […]

The Nerd World of February 3, 2014

Better Than a Turn Signal Your car may soon be talking to to other cars. But don’t worry, it won’t break up with you. It will break less in general, actually, according to news from the Obama administration. Officials in Washington today said that they are considering a communication standard for vehicles. This communication standard won’t have any information that people can spy on, however. Instead, this standard is proposed to end vehicle collisions. By sensing nearby vehicles, the system can alert the driver and/or car and make the necessary adjustments in time. While analysts predict that it will take […]

The Nerd World of January 30, 2014

Paper is Dead, Long Live Paper Facebook has been the go-to source for millions of people to find out what’s going on. According to a recent study, only 4% of Americans read a traditional newspaper regularly. Instead, we’re getting more of our content online. In order to predict and hopefully create that trend, Facebook today announced Paper, a content-aggregation platform and app. Paper integrates with your Facebook feed and pulls in stories from other sources to provide a constant stream of the things it thinks are most relevant to you. An introduction video can be seen here. Paper has reportedly […]

The Nerd World of January 29, 2014

“How I lost my $50,000 Twitter Username” Naoki Hiroshima, a Twitter user, today revealed that he had been the victim of a hack that stole his his Twitter username. But this was no ordinary hack. Hiroshima was, until yesterday, the owner of the Twitter name @N. Because of its short length, he had received many offers to buy it (up to $50,000) and more attempts to hack its password. But yesterday Hiroshima finally lost the battle. The hacker gained access to his email and his GoDaddy account and extorted him into releasing the Twitter username. The worst part of the […]

The Nerd World of January 28, 2014

The world of Nerds is full of exciting innovations, though not all of them deserve an article. Fact is, most things in the computer world are incremental: small advances build on top of each other. It’s hard to get a picture of what’s going on just by seeing that “oh, Google bought another company.” In “The Nerd World,” we’ll be taking a daily look at technology news and breaking it down to the important parts. Get caught up one paragraph at a time! Machines are Learning Google yesterday bought DeepMind, a company that specializes in simulating the way humans think. […]

Is Your PC Spreading Malware?

I often receive emails from people who haven’t contacted me in years, with a subject line such as “check this out!” I open the email and contained within is simply a web link. When you get emails like this don’t click on the links – they usually contain malware that will infect your computer. If the person sending the malware is you, here are some steps you can take to fix the problem, and hopefully assure that it doesn’t happen again. First, determine where the message came from. Messages sent from your email or your Facebook account should show in […]

CES 2014 Gadgets

Every year in January the tech industry gathers in Las Vegas to ogle the latest gadgets and innovations at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. While much of what is on display is prototype and concept, it’s a great sneak peek into the future of what we’ll see on the shelves in years to come. As they do every year at CES, TVs got bigger (Vizio showed off a 120” model), but the main change up in design is the push toward curved screens, which manufacturers promise will offer an IMAX-like experience provided you can spring for a 50” or larger […]

Should You Remove Windows XP?

In April 2012, Microsoft announced that it would stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014. After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer write software patches and push out updates to fix software vulnerabilities, leaving those still utilizing the Windows XP Operating System vulnerable to malware, viruses and worse. With the date of support termination rapidly approaching, here’s why you should bite the bullet and ditch Windows XP. Windows XP was released in 2001. Since then, Microsoft has released several new versions of Windows operating systems including Windows Vista, Windows 7, and most recently Windows 8. With every new generation, […]

Best Tech of 2013

Nerds love sci-fi because it makes us excited for the future. Technology keeps improving and at this rate Star Trek will be real soon! 2013 was a great year for technology. Many new devices that had been promised for years finally made their way to the commercial sector, and people are loving them. Here are a few of the futuristic gadgets that found their place this year: “Now listening” – Voice recognition has been a mixed bag for years. Dragon Naturally Speaking, a dictation program, used to be the name in voice recognition until Siri appeared on iPhones in 2011. […]

Manage Gift Cards with Online Services

There’s nothing I hate more than wasting money. Yet it seems as though every time I need to return something at Target or Macys they give me a gift card, and then I forget to use it at the checkout counter. Even worse – the next time I go, the gift card is buried in my wallet somewhere and I can’t track it down. This year I am vowing to use my mobile phone to keep track of all my gift cards so I can stop hoarding plastic cards. Here’s how you can too. Before you get started, a few […]

Internet Addiction: Is it real?

I play World of Warcraft – a massive, multiplayer online role-playing game. My husband and I have friends that we enjoy playing with regularly, and sometimes spend a few hours at a time questing together and fighting imaginary monsters. A few months ago, I read an article about a guy in the UK who was so addicted to the game that he played for 40 hours straight and didn’t leave his apartment for five weeks. Whoa. I do know some people who spend a lot more of their time playing online than I do, but how can something that’s simply […]

Target Credit Card Breach

If you were one of the thousands packing Target stores on Black Friday or if you’ve shopped there since, you may be the victim of credit card theft. Target admitted Thursday in response to allegations that its data had been compromised. More than 40 million credit cards of Target shoppers have been accessed. As of December 20, it is unclear as to the exact extent of losses sustained. On December 13, security journalist Brian Krebs reported on his site, KrebsOnSecurity, that “multiple reliable sources” had informed him of an internal investigation by Target. His sources at “two different top 10 […]

Last Minute Tech Gifts

Now that the deadline to have something shipped and arrive before Christmas has officially passed and the truly desperate are combing the malls, you may have resigned yourself to picking up some generic gift cards for the remaining recipients on your gift list. Oh contraire! Before you resort to the modern day equivalent of handing someone an envelope filled with cash, consider these last minute gift options that will allow you to find a personal gift for all the loved ones left on your list. That iTunes gift card hanging in the grocery store checkout aisle may seem like a […]

Kindle: Matchbook & Mayday Button

My Christmas present to myself this year was a Kindle Fire HDX. I’ve had a traditional Kindle for years, but found myself abandoning it in favor of my iPhone because frankly I just love the touch screen. Call me lazy, but I just didn’t like tabbing through pages with the little buttons on the sides and having to use the little keyboard at the bottom when searching for new books was downright annoying. My research told me that the Fire would be cool for the touch screen, rich colors for watching movies and robust parental controls. What I discovered after […]

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 […]

Live Online Help Resources

The Internet provides a wealth of resources to find information, but sometimes you need a little one-on-one assistance for a specific question. Launched in November, Google Helpouts joins a host of online resources, including Just Answer, and eHow Now, that connect people who have questions to experts in a multitude of fields. Here’s how to get live help online for just about any question, problem, or learning opportunity. Disclaimer: My Company, Nerds on Call, provides the Tech Support experts for eHow Now and receives compensation for our services. Google Helpouts (https://helpouts.google.com/) links experts in a myriad of fields (from plumbing […]

Sites to Make Santa Real

When I was a kid, Santa visited our neighbor’s house every Christmas Eve, at midnight, to deliver presents. He hopped down off the roof with a big red bag and a “ho-ho-ho!” and walked into their living room to the squeals of delight from the waiting children. Every year, we tried hard to stay up until midnight so we could spy Santa through the window, brimming with excitement ourselves. As soon as we saw him go inside the neighbor’s house, we’d rush off to bed so we would be “asleep” when he made it to our house next. Spoiler alert: […]

Fix or Replace Your Old Computer?

When I talk to customers about the work needed to fix their ailing computer they often ponder, “Should I just replace it?” Whether your “old reliable” isn’t so reliable any more, or you have your eye on a shiny new PC for the holidays, here’s how to determine if you should fix your old PC or ditch it. For most people, the decision to replace a computer comes down to cost. Since a basic desktop computer starts at around $300 and a laptop around $500, most people consider replacing their system when a repair will cost $300 or more. However, […]

CryptoLocker Ransomware

There’s a new and nasty “ransomware” virus called CryptoLocker sweeping the web, taking computers hostage and demanding that users pay an exorbitant “ransom” to get their data back. Here’s what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim of this malicious software. Ransomware is the term adopted by those in the tech industry to describe malware that infects a computer and then demands a fee to reverse its own ill effects. CryptoLocker is spread most commonly through an infected email attachment, though it can be imbedded in hacked or malicious websites. Users that happen upon the compromised site will […]

What is Bitcoin?

New digital currency called “legitimate” by SEC – but what is it? Yesterday the Securities Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice declared bitcoins a “legal means of exchange.” But what exactly are bitcoins? They’re a nerdy new type of currency that has a lot in common with gold, except for one important detail: they’re not physical. A bitcoin only exists as a string of numbers; a string of numbers that is now worth around $800 each. So how does bitcoin have value? Well, it has value in the same way that gold does. Gold is valuable because it’s a […]

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 […]

Avoid Online Scams

As the holiday shopping season gains momentum, those looking to swindle online shoppers get creative in their attempts to lure victims. I consulted with Scambook (www.scambook.com), an online complaint resolution website, about the top scams from last holiday season – they’re likely to appear again either in the same form or with slight variations – and what consumers can do to avoid falling prey. Last season, many Scambook users received a text claiming that they’d won a $1,000 Best Buy gift card – I received a text like this myself. The text directed recipients to go to a webpage (most […]

Benefits of Reducing Screen Time

I’m a mom who lives a life surrounded by technology. I struggle every day with the desire to do the best for my kids (Crafting! Healthy meals! No TV!) juxtaposed against the demands of working, chores and straight up exhaustion: “how bad is a half hour of iPad games so I can dry my hair?” Screen time can offer educational benefits, particularly when there’s parental involvement and age-appropriate content. However, there are some definite dangers, not only to your children’s ability to develop non-electronic coping skills, but in your family’s ability to connect with each other. Here’s why you should […]

Smartphone Fingerprint Security

Apple’s iPhone 5S includes fingerprint scanning technology called Touch ID to unlock the phone and make purchases in iTunes. Some are calling it the key to the future of your Smartphone – a more secure way to authenticate mobile transactions and protect your data from theft if your phone is lost or stolen. Others are concerned about the privacy of users, worried that fingerprints will be kept on record at Apple or made available to 3rd party software developers. Smartphones let you bring your photos, email, and social media everywhere you go. Many use Smartphones for mobile banking, shopping and […]

Tablets in School

All across the country, “1:1 technology programs” that aim to get a mobile computing device in the hands of every student are gaining popularity among educators. Schools are spending educational resource dollars to acquire tablets for students to use for classwork, homework and educational games. In early 2013, schools in Los Angeles allocated $50 million to start buying tablets for every student, a project that is likely to cost $500 million to complete. Schools in McAllen, Texas spent $20.5 million to provide 6,800 Apple tablets to students. Guilford County, North Carolina was the first paying customer to the newest major […]

Spot Fake Online Reviews

Online reviews can be a great tool to help find a hotel for your next trip, a reputable handy man or the best coffeemaker around. On our last trip to San Francisco, we ate our way from one delicious restaurant to the next, all with the assistance of kindly Yelp reviewers. Unfortunately, there are some companies who post fake online product or service reviews, hoping to get your business. Here’s how to know if you’re reading a real review or a fabricated one. One way that companies artificially increase their positive reviews is called “astroturfing.” Here’s how it works: a […]

Which Browser is Best?

Pop quiz: what browser do you use to access the Internet? If you’re like many computer users, you may have answered “Google,” or “Yahoo,” but while the company Google does have a browser (Chrome), Google and Yahoo are search engines. A browser is the piece of software on your computer that you use to navigate the Internet and view web content (read more about browsers here). You use your browser to go to webpages or to a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. The search engine acts like an online yellow pages. Your choice of browser can effect whether […]

Smartwatches Reviewed

Samsung’s commercials for their new Galaxy Gear “Smart Watch” (www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxynote3-gear/, $299) tell us that the future is here.  After growing up watching Captain Kirk and the Knight Rider talk into their tiny, wristwatch communicators, the day has finally arrived where you too can have a mini phone on your wrist… well, sort of. Here’s what you need to know about the next generation of Smartphone accessories – the Smart Watch. When I first saw the Smart Watch in concept-form I was intrigued. Who wouldn’t like to leave their phone behind when heading out for a workout or to a concert, […]

Social Ads

A few months ago, I noticed a curious phenomenon on Facebook. Suddenly it seemed like my friends were posting ads for companies like Starbucks, Walmart and Tide in my newsfeed. “That’s weird,” I thought, “Why would Jennifer post an ad for Tide? Does she want everyone to know how much she loves clean sheets?” It turns out Jennifer probably had no idea that her profile photo was linked to an advertisement on my newsfeed, and what’s more, she is probably seeing ads that look like they were posted from my profile on her newsfeed as well. It’s called “social advertising.” […]

Make a Personal Website

From promoting your small business to getting yourself noticed by a potential employer, having your own website can allow you to better control the information, stories and images attached to your online persona. Yet the task of creating a website from scratch seems daunting, leaving many believing that a personal webpage is out of their grasp. Luckily, there are tools available that even a novice user can employ to create and maintain their very own real estate on the Internet. Start a blog. The easiest way to create your own a website is to establish a blog. Google’s Blogger (www.blogger.com, […]

Can Minors Remove Content Online?

It’s nearly impossible to impress on children the permanence of things they share online through social media, emails or via text. Once they click “send,” that text message, photo or video is out there, available for sharing, forwarding and re-posting by anyone who gets ahold of it. A recent law passed last month in California is aimed at giving kids a chance to delete their digital mistakes, but there are some pretty big loop holes. In September 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 568 which, among other things, requires that operators of any website or online […]

Chromecast Review

There are bevy of devices on the market aimed to allow you to stream content from the Internet to your TV, most notably Roku and Apple TV set-top boxes. Google has officially entered the fray with their $35 Chromecast device (www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromecast), leaving many to ponder how it’s different and whether it can serve their streaming needs. The Roku (www.roku.com, $50-100 depending on model) and Apple TV (www.apple.com/appletv, $100) are “set-top” boxes that connect to your TV with a cable and connect to the Internet or compatible devices over your home’s WiFi. The initial buzz for Google’s Chromecast is based on […]

Chromebook 11 Announced

Google added to its collection of “Chromebooks” yesterday, with their announcement of the HP Chromebook 11. If you haven’t been following the search engine giant’s every move, they’ve already produced four Chromebooks and announced another three, including today’s 11-inch mini-laptop. The Chromebook 11 is produced by HP, like the HP Pavillion Chromebook and the upcoming Chromebook 14. Available immediately for $279, the device sports a sleek new design and is promised as “the Chromebook for everybody,” although that moniker has been applied to Chromebooks in the past. The Chromebook 11 comes in five different accent colors: Google Blue, Yellow, Red […]

Best App Sequels

From Mario Brothers to World of Warcraft, I’ve tackled my fair share of games in my day. It tickles me that now I can play a game on my hand-held device from anywhere, whether I am early for an appointment or waiting to pick up the kids from school. A few of my favorites have recently released sequels, so I was eager to check them out. Angry Birds Star Wars 2 ($.99): Angry Birds, published by Rovio, was one of the first games I downloaded on my phone, and our super-nerd family jumped at the chance to play the Star […]

iOS 7 Reviewed

Last week Apple released iOS 7, an update that CEO Tim Cook called the biggest change to the platform since the iPhone was introduced. Available for free for every iPhone after the iPhone 4, the latest iPod Touch, the iPad 2 and later versions, and the iPad mini, millions will be seeing iOS 7 in the coming weeks. Here’s what you can expect. The most dramatic change is visual: everything looks different. Icons for core functions like Photos, Settings and Newstand have new images, there’s a new palette of colors and everything looks brighter. Icons appear flat while visually layered […]

Clean up Your Email

I established my Yahoo email account many years ago. In those days, email was something to look forward to, usually a nice correspondence with a friend or family member. Boy have times changed. My account now receives upwards of 500 spam messages weekly, and most of the messages I receive are certainly not from family and friends, which is what used to make reading email fun. Can we get back to the way it used to be? Probably not, but we can “get to the good stuff” quicker with a few tweaks to the system. Create and use a “junk […]

New Surface Tablets from Microsoft

When Microsoft first unveiled their new Surface tablets last year, they were received with middling reviews, especially the lower-end Surface RT. Less than a year after the original release, Microsoft has already announced the next generation of Surface tablets. The “RT” designation has been dropped and the new tablets are now the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2. The technical specs for both devices have been significantly upgraded and the performance gap between the two remains about the same as before. However, the real innovation with Microsoft’s next round of tablet wars comes in the accessories: Users of the […]

The Switch to Windows 8 – Part 3

It’s been almost a month since I made the switch to Windows 8, and my feelings are mixed. Here are some of the things that, so far, I like and others that I’d like to ditch. Windows 8’s integration with touch screen devices is undeniably cool. Being able to touch to launch an app, slide a program left or right with your finger, pinch to minimize or spread your fingers to zoom, or drag a program down to close it takes some of the frustration out of getting used to the new look and functionality of the OS. I love […]

Apps That Pay You Back

My four year old has a serious case of the “gimmes.” From every toy his friends have to things on the shelf in the store, just about everything elicits a “can I have that?” from his early consumer mouth. This has led to many discussions about how “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “you can’t get something for nothing.” It turns out that I may have been mistaken about that second part. Armed with a Smartphone and a few free apps, you can earn rewards, gift cards or sometimes even cash for doing things you probably already do. Here’s how […]

The Switch to Windows 8 – Part 2

Last week my foray into Windows 8 began in earnest. I discovered that I like the look of Metro with its apps displayed as “tiles,” though I’m withholding judgment on its user-friendliness. I also learned that I will need to get used to clicking on the corners of the screen to navigate between applications and access the new “Charms” menu. I lamented to loss of the Start key, but just briefly, before I found most of its functions hidden in a lower left corner right-click launched menu. This week I will explore apps, the cornerstone of the new Metro layout. […]

Find Charity Online

The other day I was sitting in the Starbucks drive-through line. I pulled up to the window to pay and I was informed that the car in front of me had paid my bill. It was surprising how such a simple gesture made my day. There’s no quicker path to a warm fuzzy feeling than giving to others, whether it be money or time. While the Internet gives you the ability to help any cause that touches you, it also makes it confusing to narrow down where your contribution can make the most difference. Luckily there are some great tools […]

The Switch to Windows 8 – Part 1

Despite my tech-writer status, I’ve held out against moving to Windows 8. I am strongly in favor of productivity and I find that learning an entirely new layout and way of getting around in my PC tends to hinder my ability to get things done. And yet, my trusty Windows 7 laptop has seen better days. This is where our story begins: I’m throwing myself under the proverbial bus and taking on Windows 8 once and for all. Here’s what I learned to make the transition easier for you, when your time comes to upgrade. The new Windows default home […]

Internet.org – Universal Internet Access

If you’re reading this article, you’re in a minority of two billion: people with internet access. While it seems like nearly everyone has access to the internet, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to make sure that everyone does. Zuckerberg announced recently the launch of Internet.org, “a global partnership with the goal of making internet access available to the next 5 billion people.” His goal is to see that information is open and publicly accessible not only everywhere, but to everyone in the world. While Facebook has been Zuckerberg’s cash cow, his aim with Internet.org is more humanitarian. According to Internet.org, […]

Back to School Apps

While I’ve consistently proclaimed that no student needs a tablet or Smartphone to succeed, handheld internet-enabled gadgets can serve a purpose. From downloading textbooks to syncing notes and reference materials, there are some amazing tools for studying, research and organization. I wish that I’d had them when schlepping back and forth to class oh-so-many years ago. If your back-to-schooler has been lucky enough to get their hands on a tablet or WiFi-capable mobile device, these apps can help them make the most of it. Save yourself from the backache resulting from lugging around that huge Chemistry tome with Kno Textbooks […]

Choose a Tablet – Part 2

Tablets are growing in popularity. Lightweight, ultra-portable and with a user-friendly and immersive touch-screen, it’s no wonder that more and more people are wondering if a tablet could replace their PC. Last week, I started to answer a reader’s inquiry about choosing a tablet for email, Internet, Facebook and reading books and magazines. This week, we’ll explore getting and storing content on a tablet, as well as offline functionality. A tablet’s operating system and manufacturer determines where content originates from and this should factor into your decision if you plan to purchase games, movies, books or magazines. Amazon has a […]

Save Money on Tech

If there’s one thing we Nerds learn early it’s that technology doesn’t come cheap. Even after you shell out the dough for the computer, home theater set up or mobile device, you have to pay for Internet, data plans, and tons of monthly subscription fees to keep the toys buzzing and clicking. This week, I’ll share some ways that I’ve found to enjoy my tech to its fullest and live the “nerd” lifestyle for less. Drop your cable or satellite. Recently, my husband and I ditched satellite TV. It took us almost a year of paying over $100 a month […]

Choose a Tablet – Part 1

Last week, Christina P. sent me a great question about how to choose a tablet and what they do, an inquiry I receive regularly so I thought I’d share my reply in this two-part series: I am considering a tablet for Internet, Facebook and reading – books and magazines, but I don’t even own a smart phone, so I’m very confused. Do all tablets generally offer the same features? I don’t understand why iPads are a lot more expensive than other tablets. Is the retina display worth the extra cost? If I plan to use a tablet on the road, will I need […]

Nextdoor – Facebook for Neighborhoods?

If you live in a Nerdy Neighborhood, you might want to check out the newest web service that’s making a buzz. It’s called “Nextdoor,” and it’s a social network for neighborhoods. Users can advertise garage sales, post community messages, and connect with others in their area. It’s been described as a “Craigslist and LinkedIn hybrid.” Not too quick to post your home address online? You should be - identity theft is a growing problem. Fortunately, Nextdoor requires address verification, which means that everyone in a Nextdoor neighborhood must enter a PIN sent to their home address. Users outside of a neighborhood […]

Mac vs Windows Part 2

In the debate between Windows and Mac operating systems, each has certain advantages over the other – I reviewed the primary differences a couple of weeks ago (see article here). For some users, running Windows on a Mac or OSX on a PC allows for the best of both worlds. Most Mac lovers will tell you that Apple makes reliable hardware, but there’s no denying that compatibility with 3rd party software designed for Windows can pose a challenge. One way to work around this is to establish a dual boot on an Apple computer using Apple’s Bootcamp software which comes […]

Who Does Online Shopping Better? – Amazon, Google, or Bing

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t like shopping. Wandering around a store, searching for what I need has no appeal to me. As an Amazon Prime member, I find online shopping to be closer to my taste. I search for what I want, click “purchase” and I’m done. Yet Amazon isn’t perfect. The selection can be poor or the search results yield things completely unrelated. Do Google or Bing offer a better selection, or an experience worthy of paying a few bucks for shipping? I ventured online to find out. I decided to shop […]

Hard Drive Diagnostics

Hard drive failure can be devastating, particularly if it’s been a while since you backed up your data. It can lead to costly data retrieval or worse, loss of data if your drive becomes completely corrupted. Don’t be caught by surprise: make it a habit to regularly run a hard drive diagnostics software tool or at least know what to do if your drive begins to show signs of imminent failure. A traditional hard drive is similar to a DVD or (for those of us that remember them) a record player. Data is written to one or more “hard” disks […]

Tech for Students

If you’re replacing an old, reliable PC that just isn’t cutting it anymore, or you’re outfitting your student with some computing power, the back to school season is a prime time to buy electronics. The wave of shoppers drives down prices as retailers compete for your dollars, so it’s a good time to find a great deal. But with all the choices – desktops, laptops, Ultrabooks and tablets – how do you pick the best device to suit your needs? We’re here to help you choose. Desktop tower: Even though their popularity is waning, there are benefits to a stationary […]

Moto X Announced

There have been rumors around the internet for months concerning the “Moto X.” So what exactly is the big deal about this phone, which is the result of close collaboration between Google and Motorola? Today everyone finally got their answers at Motorola’s press conference during which they officially announced the Moto X. The phone is the first hardware manufactured by Google, which owns Motorola. As a result, the phone is sleek, glossy, and well-designed; any phone nerd‘s dream. It includes two cameras: a 10-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. It can be customized with 16 or 32 gigabytes […]

Mac vs Windows

The debate over which PC platform is best, Mac or Windows, has waged for years with both sides equally passionate about which OS reigns supreme. While there’s no single answer for every user, you can find a computer with the right characteristics to meet your computing needs. Here’s the low-down on the matchup between Mac and Windows. WHERE THEY’RE EQUAL: Usability. You may have heard that Macs are more intuitive than Windows. In reality, neither OS is fundamentally easier to learn. Novice computer users will face challenges learning to navigate either a Mac or a Windows system, and a user […]

Best Online Tutoring Resources for 2013

When I was in high school, the subject I struggled with most was Biology. There was a mysterious step between how atoms became cells and how cells became, well, anything, that was incomprehensible. The worst part was that the rest of the class just seemed to get it, and I couldn’t work it out in my head. I was interested enough in learning that I asked for help and I was lucky to find a great tutor that was able to talk me through it from a new direction. Suddenly the “miracle happens here” step became clear enough that I […]

Prep Your PC for Back to School

After spending the summer surfing the net, playing video games, and whatever else your kids do when you turn them loose on the computer, your family PC is probably in need of some R and R. Before you enter the season of homework and research projects, whip your system in shape to head back to school. The first step to resuscitate the family computer is to clean off the deluge of programs and junk add-ons accumulated over the summer months. Wrestle the kids off the PC for a few hours and do some much needed maintenance. How thorough you get […]

Upgrade to Windows 8

We received a great question from local reader Dorothy N. about whether or not she should upgrade to Windows 8. I still have Windows XP.  I have read that Windows will not support XP after April of next year.  I like to have a start button and prefer using a mouse instead of my fingers to touch a screen, so have not bought a new computer.  I understand putting out a version 8.1, which will have a start button and be similar to the computer I am using.  I would be willing to buy a new one, if I can keep […]

Use Pinterest for Back to School

While it may seem like summer vacation just started (or perhaps for some, it feels like it will never end), the time to get the kids geared up and ready to head back to school is right around the corner. Pinterest can help take some of the guess work out of getting your little (or not so little) ones back to school. Here’s how to track down some of the most useful board highlighting gear, fashion, lunch inspiration and tips to help your students have a great year. First, some tips on searching Pinterest. The huge variety of “pinners” and […]

How to Use Google Better

Even though more web users search with Google than any other search engine, take advantage of the full power of the tool at their disposal. From finding a quick answer to just about any question, query or calculation you encounter to more easily finding relevant results in weblinks, here’s how to get more from your Google search experience. In mid-2012, Google rolled out Knowledge Graph, a way to view a quick summary of the information that the search algorithm determines to be most relevant to your query as well as quickly link to different results. For example, typing “Taj Mahal” […]

Nexus 7 and Android 4.3 Jellybean Announced

If you’ve been considering getting a tablet but nothing has caught your eye yet, you might want to take a second look at Google’s Nexus 7, which just received a major update, along with its operating system, Android 4.3. Google today announced the release of updates to two of their flagship products, the Nexus 7 and the Android operating system. The Android update, number 4.3, codenamed “Jellybean,” offers a number of incremental changes to the operating system. The biggest change is the addition of restricted profiles. Restricted profiles allow parents to change application behaviors on their childrens’ accounts. This means […]

Repair your Online Reputation

When you enter your name into Google (or the search engine of your choice), are the results flattering, or at least accurate? Even if you aren’t keeping tabs on your online reputation, others may be. From potential employers to prospective love interests, information linked to you on the Internet can affect your livelihood, your love life; even create a first impression for new people you meet. Take control of your online reputation with a few simple steps to ensure that when someone searches you out online the results are favorable. According to a research report commissioned by Microsoft in 2009(.doc […]

Geocaching

The game is afoot. You’re getting closer to the treasure, you can feel it. “It’s supposed to be right here,” you say, “the location is marked on my GPS!” You move a rock leaning up against a nearby tree, and suddenly there it is, the cache you’ve been hunting for, hidden inside. Success! What is this adventure, you ask? It’s called “Geocaching,” and it’s a growing phenomenon. Around 2000, global positioning satellites became much more accurate at pinpointing a target’s location. Nerdy GPS enthusiasts took advantage and created the game for challenge and entertainment. The fad has been growing ever […]

iPhone Electrocution: Shocking News

Ryan Talks about iPhone Electrocution This week our very own Ryan Eldridge appeared on the Brandmeier show to talk about phones and electrocution. Read about the iPhone electrocution. Listen to the segment here: Transcript: Brandemeier: Andrea did a story that piqued my interest about this lady who was on her iPhone 5 while it was charging. She took a phone while it was charging, she’s on the phone, the phone is charging, she picks it up, she’s electrocuted to death. Cohost: Woah Brandemeier: On a charging mobile iphone 5. Her sister tweeted out that she collapsed and died and warned […]

Easy Ways to Increase Laptop Lifespan

The compact, mobile loveliness that is a laptop brings with it a shorter lifespan than a typical desktop PC. On average, a laptop has a lifespan of about four years. The hardware begins to age after 2-3 years and they’re usually more expensive to upgrade than a desktop PC. Get every ounce of life from your laptop by following a few simple tips. While the likelihood of dropping a desktop PC is pretty slim, dragging your laptop between work, home and the local coffee shop leads to a greatly increased chance of accidental damage. Prevent the majority of the physical […]

Android Phones Vulnerable to Hackers

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, installed on three quarter of a billion devices. Having a master key to all of those would give a hacker near-total control in the mobile world. Fortunately, this doomsday scenario has been narrowly avoided. Bluebox Labs, a computer security company, recently discovered http://bluebox.com/corporate-blog/bluebox-uncovers-android-master-key/ a vulnerability in the Android operating system that leaves “99%” of Android users open to the possibility of malicious software. But the most shocking thing about this discovery is not only the breadth of the vulnerability, but its depth as well. The “Master Key” vulnerability, if […]

Can Facebook Give Me a Virus?

Can Facebook Give Me A Virus? One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “can Facebook give me a virus?” With over a billion people logging in at least once a month, it’s no surprise that criminals are constantly working to find ways to get access to and exploit users. Here are the most common ways you can encounter malware from using Facebook. The good news is that just cruising Facebook, reading your friend’s posts in your newsfeed and updating your timeline can’t give you a virus. However, many posts include links to other pages, either to read […]

Dropbox Announcement Promises Much

With the amount of devices that the average person works on, it can take a lot of effort to keep track of your files. I can’t count the number of times I’ve hunted for the latest version of a file on my phone, computer, or in the cloud. Today, Dropbox announced their plan to put an end to all of that. The Dropbox Platform, announced at their developer conference, aims to “replace the hard drive.” Most of us are already familiar with the basic premise of the Dropbox Platform: if you’ve ever edited anything online, and then accessed that same […]

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. According to data compiled by Zone Alarm, maker of antivirus and firewall software, identity theft results in an average cost to victim of $4,841 and takes, on average, 33 hours to resolve. With more and more of our personal information available online, it’s imperative that you take steps to protect yourself online. Buyer beware. For as little as $30 in web hosting fees, criminals can set up fake online shop fronts to lure consumers into submitting their personal information and credit account numbers. Be […]

Protect Gadgets from Heat this Hot Summer

Are you enjoying the 100+ degree summer temperatures? I am pretty sure your gadgets are not. Summer heat and activities can be brutal on electronic devices, but no one wants to leave them behind when taking the kids to the beach or the lake. There are ways to protect your phone, camera and portable media player from summer mayhem. DriveSavers (www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com), an expert in the data recovery industry since 1985, has some advice to share on the subject. Summer sunburn. The baking sun will exact its toll on your skin, and it can be equally brutal to your electronic devices. […]

HD Antenna Makes it Easy to Get Rid of Cable

One of the home theater questions I get asked most often is how to get rid of cable or satellite bills without losing TV entirely. I’ve highlighted how to stream content over the Internet to your TV or computer, but many readers balk at the idea of losing real-time network TV, particularly sports and local news. If you have an HDTV with a built-in digital tuner, an HD Antenna may be the secret to ditching your cable or satellite provider once and for all. In most metropolitan areas of the country you can receive high-def broadcasts from ABC, NBC, CBS, […]

How Your Teen is Hiding Online

According to a study commissioned by Internet Technology specialist McAfee, “The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents,” more than half of teens feel confident that they know how to hide what they do online and 71% have actually done something to hide their online behavior – a frightening statistic for parents struggling to keep up with the technology that their teens use every day. Yet half of teens polled said they’d change their online behaviors if they knew their parents were watching. Here’s how to learn if your kid is hiding something with the […]

Microsoft Announces Windows 8.1 Preview: Fixes Windows 8 Frustrations

Microsoft kicked off their build conference for developers this week. During the keynote speech, they announced the release of the preview version of Windows 8.1, the next version of their flagship Windows 8 operating system.  Windows 8 has suffered its share of complaints, and Microsoft aims to fix many of the issues that have kept users at bay from the program. The Windows 8.1 upgrade, previously named “Windows Blue,”  offers a number of fixes for common frustrations. A New Start: One of the biggest complaints about Windows 8 was the disappearance of the start button from the taskbar at the […]

Teens Hiding Online: Study Reveals Shocking Data

A 2012 Teen Internet Behavior study commissioned by the security technology company, McAfee, reveals a surprising chasm between the number of teens hiding what they do on the Internet and parents who are confident that they’re in-the-know about their kids’ online activities. Perhaps most telling: 71% of teens have done something to hide their online behavior but only 56% of parents are aware of this. Over the next two weeks, we’ll explore what your teen may be hiding and how they may be doing it. In the McAfee study, 2,017 online interviews were conducted in the U.S. Among respondents, 1,004 […]

Find Free WiFi (almost) Anywhere

To get a good understanding of exactly what WiFi is, read our article here. You can find free WiFi just about anywhere, particularly if you plan ahead and know where to look. Here’s how to stay productive, or kill some time surfing the net, when you’re on the go. From Panera to McDonalds to Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, getting online for free in a metropolitan area is just a matter of driving down the street. If you’re on unfamiliar terrain, check the comprehensive list of free WiFi options posted on WiFiFreeSpot (www.wififreespot.com). Start with the huge list of multi-location […]

Take Better Photos with these Smartphone Photography Tips

We take our Smartphones with us everywhere, so chances are when you’re ready to snap a quick picture of your kid or four-legged friend doing something especially cute, you’re not going to have your fancy-schmancy camera handy. Yet more often than not, these fast photo-ops end up looking dark or fuzzy and out-of-focus. Here are a few tips for making your Smartphone photos go from blah to beautiful. Experiment with apps. You can generally take better pictures with your phone if you’re using an app to do it. Photo apps often have settings that may not be offered with the […]

Big Developments for Apple at WWDC 2013

On June 10, 2013, Apple held their annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA. The event serves as a forum for Apple to announce upcoming product releases and innovations so that developers can begin to create supporting applications and hardware. It has become a reveal party for Apple fans. Here are some of the highlights of what you can expect from your iPhone, iPad or Apple computer in the months to come. Mobile devices get an OS overhaul. Slated to be released this fall, iOS 7 is a major redesign of Apple’s mobile operating system, updating the look […]

Zeus Trojan Steals Bank Account Info via Facebook

UPDATE: The Zeus Trojan has been neutralized by the U.S. Department of Justice. A nasty Trojan virus nicknamed Zeus has been spreading quickly through social media forums like Facebook and via links to fake webpages. Once a system is compromised, the virus lays in wait until the user accesses a banking account or credit card website wherein it captures login and personal data. That information is then transferred to servers controlled by cybercriminals who sell the data or drain the victim’s bank account. Zeus began circulating the net about six years ago, but has seen resurgence in recent months according […]

Mobile Malware Explodes in 2013

The numbers are out: McAfee‘s report on viruses in the first quarter of the year shows mobile malware, which exploded last year, is showing no signs of stopping. Smartphones, which just recently outnumbered “dumb phones” worldwide are increasingly becoming the targets of the same sorts of viruses and malware that we’ve worried about on our computers for years. McAfee, a large security firm owned by Intel, reports that 28% of all malicious smartphone software has appeared in the first quarter of 2013. The year previous saw a huge spike in which the rest of the 50,000 programs emerged, although some […]

Waterproof your Phone and Other Gadgets this Summer

It’s finally the summer and it’s time to spend less time indoors and more time soaking up sun. Whether you have a pool or head to the lake to get your fill of vitamin D, everyone spends more time outdoors in the summer. And most of us will end up bringing at least a few gadgets with us, like our cell phones. But while the beach is a relaxing place for us humans, our phones don’t react to well to sand, water, or heat – common ingredients for summer fun. Fortunately they’re not too hard to protect. We’ve gathered a few ways […]

Tech Gifts for Dad on Father’s Day

Father’s Day, aka “Dad Appreciation Day,” is rapidly approaching and there are some great online resources that can help you to show dad (or help the kiddos show their main man) that he’s one of a kind. Before you pick up another tie or coffee mug, consider easy ways to customize and make it unique. Get inspired with Pinterest and links to simple crafts, or if dad is a technophile we’ll suggest a few of our favorite gift-worthy gadgets. One of the quickest ways to make a gift distinctive is to use custom labels, referred to as “printables.” Armed with […]

Job Hunting after Graduation: Manage your Online Reputation

Once your proud graduate has grown up too quickly and has left the podium with her diploma, she’s probably ready to jump into the “real world” of getting a stable job at a big company and starting a career. But we all know that the “real world” has gotten much more complicated than that. One of the biggest complications is navigating the tricky world of social media and its affects on finding a job after college. So many young people spend their teenage years posting content on the internet that can be difficult to manage when they’re going to look […]

Learn About Two-Step Verification and Which Services Use It

A lot of online services have announced recently that they’re introducing two-step or two-factor verification for their users. It all started when Google implemented the security feature into their Google services, but what exactly is two-step verification? Two-step verification solves a very old problem with computer security. If a hacker gained access to a user’s password that they were using across multiple accounts, they could string together their hacks by sending password resets to alternate email accounts. Two-step verification solves this in an ingenious way. There are a few ways to implement two-step verification. The simplest way, like LinkedIn’s two-step […]

Bing vs Google: The Challenge

When it comes to searching the net, Google is the far and away market leader.  In the U.S., Google captures an average of 67% of monthly queries with the runner-up, Microsoft’s Bing, accounting for just about 17%.  Microsoft wants to change the public’s searching habits with their “Bing It On” campaign wherein users are asked to perform a blind, side-by-side comparison of the two search engines and vote on which they prefer.  Can Bing take-on heavyweight Google? I started off by taking the “Bing It On” challenge at www.bingiton.com.  You’re prompted to perform five searches.  Results are presented side-by-side with […]

Summer Computer Protection for and from the Kids

Summer is the season for computer mayhem.  The kids are home from school, often unsupervised, and boredom does not bode well for you system’s health and welfare.  Your endlessly-curious teenager will inevitably find a million add-ons, applications and potentially shifty files to download onto your system while you’re at work.  Before chaos ensues, here are some quick tips to protect your computer from having “too much fun” this season. Anti-virus/ anti-malware software is an absolute must.  Make sure the software is current by configuring it to automatically update itself when new versions are released.  Set it up to scan your […]

Nerds On Call: Complaints about Windows 8 lead Microsoft to Deploy Fixes

If you’ve used Windows 8 yet, chances are you have your fair share of frustrations with the operating system. Perhaps it’s the lack of the start button, the way that snapping works, or otherwise it’s just too confusing. In a welcome move, the maker of the operating system, the software giant Microsoft announced that it would be fixing a number of these problems in an update to Windows 8 that will be available on June 26. It will certainly be a welcome upgrade at Nerds On Call Computer Repair. Complaints about some of its more frustrating features have become commonplace […]

Get the Best Home Theater Setup

You spent a lot of money on your that big TV and surround sound, so you should just be able to plug it and watch, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There are a lot of different factors that affect your home theater looks and sounds. Getting a home theater that provides an experience comparable to the movie theater requires some tweaking, but it can be done. You can have a home theater setup that is the envy of all your friends if you take the time to learn how to optimize each individual component of your system. HDTV Your […]

Cyber Attacks Increasing Around the World

There’s a new type of war being waged in the metropolitan areas of the digital world.  Just like the “war on terror,” this war is also composed of highly unpredictable attacks by an unseen and unknown enemy. These attacks are called “cyber attacks,” and they’re carried out not just by the traditional “bad guy,” but by anyone ambitious enough to learn how to get started in cyber crime. Cyber attacks can be carried out in one of a few ways. The first is a DDOS attack. DDOS stands for Dynamic Denial-Of-Service. A DDOS attack is not an attack meant to […]

Xbox One Controversy Has Begun

On May 21, 2013, Microsoft revealed details of their highly anticipated new game console, the Xbox One, scheduled to be available for sale near the end of the year.  The first major hardware overhaul for the Xbox in over seven years, gamers have been eagerly awaiting details since rumors of the new console began to circulate last year.  Yet in the end, it’s what Microsoft isn’t saying that has many gamers up in arms. With its new console, Microsoft aims to give users a more complete media experience.  It communicates with cable and satellite, allowing users to watch live TV […]

Get the Most out of Travel Booking Websites – Part 2

Over the last few weeks we’ve been exploring online tools to plan a great summer vacation.  From finding the best deals to doing Disney to cruising, the Internet offers a wealth of resources to get you where you want to go with fewer headaches.  Now that we’ve covered deciding where and when to go, we wrap up our travel series with sites that can help stretch your travel dollars. Twitter (https://twitter.com/) has become the place for travel companies to announce insider sales that seem too good to be true.  Followers receive first-dibs on fare cuts before they hit the web, […]

Don’t Trash it: Use a Monitor to Watch TV

Anyone with a monitor in their closet gathering dust has probably thought the same thing: “Why can’t I just use this to watch TV?”  You can!  As more people transition to mobile devices or upgrade their screen when replacing their PC, there are decent monitors taking up room in storage cabinets everywhere.  Before you retire your old monitor to the landfill, consider repurposing it. You don’t need a computer for the monitor to work; it can connect to a cable or satellite receiver, tuner box or movie player using the same inputs as a standard TV.  A decently sized LCD […]

The Next Xbox: Xbox One

Microsoft today announced the release of the newest version of the flagship video game console, the Xbox. The new version is christened the Xbox One, and it boasts the usual regimen of hardware upgrades along with a fair measure of new features that send the game back to their competition, the Sony Playstation 4 and the Nintendo Wii U. Microsoft’s singularity-focused approach to the Xbox One featured advanced computer systems including artificial intelligence and better cloud connectivity. In addition, the Kinect sensor can now track 3D rotations and users’ heartbeats. The Xbox One uses the upgraded sensor to personalize your […]

Get the Most out of Travel Booking Websites

Hopefully you’ve set aside time this summer for a nice vacation in between summer school and the kids’ band camp.  Many of us have already started perusing various travel sites, on the lookout for the perfect get-away.  How do you know you’re getting the best deal on the vacation of your dreams?  This week we’ll explore ways to stretch your travel dollars and avoid some of the common pitfalls to booking travel online. A few years ago, my sister and I were looking up flights on Hawaiian Airlines together, planning a family vacation.  We found a flight we were interested […]

Choose a Monitor Part 3: Touch-Screen Monitors

In this, the last of my three-part series on choosing the right computer monitor, we get to the fun part: touch-screen and 3-D technology. Is it worth paying more to get your hands on the newest technology? Touch-screen technology is everywhere — from mobile devices to kids’ toys. As consumers start to expect all screens to respond to touch, monitors that integrate touch-screen technology are becoming more prevalent. The increased demand has started to drive down price, but you should still expect to pay a premium. A 22-inch touch-screen monitor starts at around $275, while a comparably sized LCD monitor […]

Google IO Conference Keynote Rolls out Amazing New Features

Remember watching Star Trek, where the crew members could just speak to their computer and it would instantly know what they were referring to and provide them with that information? Well, nerds are ahead of schedule on developing that computer, and they work at Google. Google kicked off their sixth annual three-day IO conference for software developers today with a three-hour keynote talk announcing new developments. The tech behemoth has already announced some groundbreaking improvements to not only their flagship search product but to many of their other products as well. We’ve rounded up some of the big ones for […]

Nerds On Call Reviews Summer Travel Websites: Save Precious Vacation Time

Summer vacations hold a special appeal to me, harking back to the excitement heralded by the final bell on the last day of the school year, so many years ago.  But now that I’m grown up and have to do the leg-work to plan the trip, I’m often exhausted before I get out the door.  The wealth of online resources dedicated to travel planning can make it hard for me to make a decision.  How do I know when I’ve found the best use of my vacation dollars? Over the next three weeks, we’ll explore some great online resources to […]

Sharing a Computer: How to Live in Harmony

Sharing a computer can be tricky.  Whether it’s the kids vying for screen time or summer house guests looking to check their email, following some easy tips can save your sanity. First, create separate user accounts for each family member and one for “Guest.”  This allows each user a sense of individuality as they can set customized backgrounds, desktop icons and folders.  Establishing individual passwords allows everyone some privacy, while your administrator access lets you maintain ultimate control.  Separating users also helps reduce the impact of your kid’s activities on your productivity – no one wants to come home to […]

Cyberbullying Infographic: The Facts & Statistics About Online Bullying

We’ve covered cyberbullying in previous articles, but it can be difficult to slog through technical talk on the subject. Here are some numbers and facts that make the subject easy to comprehend, as hard as it may be to understand. Learn what you can do to protect your child from bullies.

Helping Mom Out With Mother’s Day Tech

The best Mother’s Day gifts are often those that don’t come wrapped with a pretty bow.  It’s great when you’re able to buy Mom the latest new gadget, but she may not know the first thing about setting it up or operating it.  What better way to show Mom your love than to spend a few hours together helping her to get comfortable with her new toy?  You will both love the one-on-one time.  Just don’t forget to take her out to brunch when you’re done. Mom wants a new laptop.  Instead of sending her off to the store on […]

The Best Way to Choose a Computer Monitor Part 2

While your monitor has a huge impact on your computing experience, the multitude of performance indicators can be confusing.  Last week I reviewed some of the primary factors that you should consider when shopping for a new display, including screen size, components effecting clarity and pairing with the right graphics card. If you missed it, check it out here: www.callnerds.com/choose-a-computer-monitor-part-1/ Yet there are even more factors that cause one monitor to cost $150 while another is $900.  While I can’t stress strongly enough the benefits of seeing first-hand how a monitor performs and produces images before you buy it, if […]

Facebook Home Initially Disappointing; Will Evolve

Facebook recently released a new kind of app called Facebook Home, and the reviews are lackluster so far. But if the tech giant’s history proves to be any indicator of long-term success, this is just the beginning of a long relationship with the software. Facebook Home, launched April 12, 2013, promised to turn the user’s phone into an all-in-one social hub with pictures, live updates, and easier chatting with Facebook friends. But reviews over the days since its launch have not been favorable. Complaints frequently mention how much battery the app consumes, though many people seem hopeful to use it […]

Smart Mobile Games for Kids to Download

Anyone stuck in line at the grocery store with a cranky toddler can’t deny the sweet nirvana to be had by simply handing over your Smartphone or iPod Touch.  But what happens when you discover that little Sammy has been playing Angry Birds Star Wars instead of practicing early reading skills with Bob Books?  Luckily, many games that aren’t classified as educational can impart some great skills, all in the course of fun.  Here are some of the surprising skills my son has picked up from games he really shouldn’t have been playing. First things first: before you hand off […]

The Best Way to Choose a Computer Monitor Part 1

Your computer’s monitor can make or break your ability to work comfortably, enjoy high quality media and efficiently manage multiple processes simultaneously.   Yet many users choose their monitor based on what’s included in a package deal, or opt for the largest screen available within their budget.  While size does matter, there are several other factors to consider before choosing the screen you’ll be staring at for hours on end. Before you get seduced by a 32” widescreen behemoth, keep in mind that the screen will likely be a few feet away from your face.  Make sure your desk big enough […]

Smartphone Driving Apps

You certainly shouldn’t ever use your phone to text while you’re driving, and making calls is possible with Bluetooth but risky. However, there’s no reason to turn off your Smartphone all the way while you’re driving. USA Today reports on a few apps that make using a Smartphone in the car practical. Our computer repair Nerds checked them out so they could give you the scoop on Smartphone driving apps. All Inclusive:  The first and one of the most full-featured is Waze. Waze has been making big ripples on the grid for a while now, even being featured in the […]

Make Money Online… No, Really

If I tell you that you can make money using the Internet without leaving your PJs, you’d probably expect me to continue with a sob story about a Nigerian prince or sell you a training course to be a stay-at-home medical transcriptionist. While “get-rich-quick” schemes abound, there do exist some legitimate portals to make a small but potentially steady income online. Unfortunately, there are far more scams than there are legitimate avenues of income. Beware of any offer that requires you to supply a credit card, pay for “training,” or fork over a membership fee. Avoid doing a Google search […]

Facts about Google Fiber

There’s nothing Nerds love more than fast internet access everywhere, so that’s why we’ve been excited to follow Google Fiber. They’ve just announced they’ll be expanding to a new city, so we thought we’d take the time to share a little bit about the service with you. Google Fiber is a project by Google to implement a fiber-optic network throughout an entire city, providing high-speed internet access anywhere. Google offers three options for people fortunate enough to be in one of the few cities where the network is implemented. The first option is free, following Google’s usual approach to their […]

Teen Facebook Usage Declining

If you use Facebook to keep tabs on what your kids are doing, you may need to resort to more traditional methods…like talking. A report released by Piper Jaffray shows that while Facebook is still the most popular social network for teens, its usage has declined steeply in the last year –by nine percent. This comes as no surprise in the web world – after all Myspace, once the king of social networking, turned into a wasteland after the hype had worn off. In addition, the site’s popularity has driven everyone to it – including those people that teens may […]

Facebook Account Hacked? Don’t Panic.

Anyone who’s received a message from a friend’s Facebook account urging them to click a link or “like” a page to “Win a Free iPad” or “Get a Free Starbucks Gift Card” knows that social media sites are prime targets for spam and data mining.  What do you do if it’s YOUR account that’s doing the spamming? As soon as you discover that your account has been compromised, report it to Facebook at www.facebook.com/hacked.  Enter your password and follow the instructions to reinstate the account in your name.  You’ll need to identify yourself, either through your e-mail address, phone number, […]

Read the Facts about Facebook Bullying

Cyberbullying is a topic on the minds of most parents with Internet-using youngsters.  That’s just about all parents, by the way – 95% of all teens age 12-17 are now online.  But online harassment doesn’t just affect kids and teens.  A recent study in the UK found that 8 out of 10 workers surveyed at several UK universities had been harassed online in the last six months (most commonly being humiliated, ignored or gossiped about online).  Many researchers suggest a link between the relative anonymity of comments posted online as well as the lack of social cues inherent in non-visual […]

Want to Control Privacy Online? Read this

Typing your own name into Google may prove an eye-opening experience.  Even if your personal information isn’t easily accessible, your computer may be sharing information about your habits, preferences and activities that you’d prefer to remain private.  Here’s how to keep a lid on what your computer shares about you with strangers. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have the right to change their privacy options at will and some exercise this right regularly (I’m talking to you, Facebook).  Even if you meticulously reviewed each setting when you activated your account, system updates can change default settings, or […]

Spring Clean your Computer and Improve Boot Time

One of the most common questions I get from customers, family and friends alike is how to improve system start up time.  When your system was new it probably felt like you were able to boot up and get working at record speed.  Over time, as you install more programs and maybe collect a few malware programs, system boot up can take longer and longer. Fully powering off your computer when you’re done using it for the day is a good idea – it saves energy and reduces hardware degradation.  But it may leave you feeling like you could make […]

Windows Blue Details – What to expect

If you’re using Windows 8, you’re about to get a big upgrade. In June, Microsoft will roll out some big changes (Windows Blue) to their operating system that will significantly help the user. While it’s not available for download yet, a development version was leaked on the internet and us Nerds have had the time to check it out and analyze the features. Refined Metro UI:  The first improvements come on the surface. Most of the tweaks to the operating system are refining the metro UI, and not the base of the operating system itself. The upgrade, nicknamed Windows Blue, […]

About Facebook Home – The Next Big Thing

Facebook has taken one of the requisite steps to becoming an established software company – their first into the world of hardware. While it isn’t the Facebook phone that had been rumored for a few months, it’s close. It’s called “Facebook Home” and it’s a piece of software that comes on a phone manufactured by HTC, called the “First.” The app will also be available to download on other android phones. The app itself is essentially a Facebook operating system that provides a suite of apps and new features to the android operating system. The most touted feature of the […]

New Game Console Launching in June

There’s a new kind of video game platform coming out, and you guessed it – we Nerds are excited about it. This isn’t just any old Xbox or Playstation though – it’s something completely different, and it’s making as much as possible free. This will be a platform to keep an eye out next time your kids are asking for video games: it’s cheap, has tons of games, and you might even end up finding yourself using it as a TV. The device is called OUYA. It runs a version of the same operating system that is used in Android […]

Looking for a Weather Site? Try Forecast.io

If you’re not a Nerd constantly combing the web for new info, you’ve probably missed the release of yet another app in the sea that seems to surge in daily. But those of us who spend our days wading in that briny ocean occasionally find a pearl worth bringing back to land to show off. Today’s pearl is called forecast.io. Forecast.io is a new way to get your weather. Rather than go through a major corporation like weather.com for your weather, forecast.io gives you real-time coverage of the weather in your area as well as minute-by-minute forecasts for the next […]

Maintain Public WiFi Safety: Some tips

It seems every shop and gathering place proclaims “Free WiFi,” but is it safe to check your email at the airport, library or McDonalds?  There are risks to accessing private data while connected to an unsecured, community network.  Here’s how to surf safely when you’re on public WiFi. When you access the Internet on a public network, your computer or Smartphone is at risk of being accessed by other users on the same network.  It’s surprisingly easy for the person sipping the macchiato next to you to run simple programs to collect passwords and information entered by fellow patrons.  Most […]

For April Fools’: Best of the Web

Last year, I completely forgot about April Fool’s Day until I was listening to a news story on the radio and thought, “That’s odd.  Is that really true?”  Two seconds later, I remembered “Oh, that’s right, it’s April Fools!” The big day is right around the corner.  Love it or hate it, the tricks will be out there.  If, like us, you’re looking forward to some of the best spoofs the Internet has to offer, here are some of our favorites from last year.  These sites are sure to offer some gems you won’t want to miss this April Fools. […]

Google Keep Launches, Offers Tough Competition to Evernote

In its carefully-plotted quest to take over the entire internet, Google yesterday released their “Keep” service. It had been previously rumored and “accidentally leaked” a short while beforehand, but now that it’s out, how good of a job does it do at what it claims? Keep is clearly taking shots at Evernote, which is currently the most-popular note-taking service available right now. For those of you who haven’t used either, both services are intended to be used primarily on your smartphone, for taking notes, capturing images and sound bytes for later, and basically keeping track of your life. They can […]

Options on the Internet for Kids

My two kids can’t keep their hands off Daddy’s iPad, so it’s important that I find age appropriate applications, movies and TV shows that I consider to be educational, or at least a valuable use of their time.  While I love recommendations from other parents with kids the same age, I also have a couple resources at my disposal to track down the gems in the sea of available media. Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) provides ratings for every category of media: books, movies, TV shows, games, applications, websites and music.  But it’s more than just a simple ratings website.  Their […]

Wireless Security UPDATE: Reaver

In December we posted this article, reposted here so to jog your memory: Having wireless internet access is awesome, especially with how many devices these days use the technology. And with proper network security, we can be sure that al our data is safe from intrusion…as long as we don’t make any silly mistakes, right? Well, that would be nice. However, there is a new piece of software in distribution that makes it easy for anyone with the know-how to crack into your wireless network. It’s called “Reaver” and it’s available to anyone online. Now don’t worry too much just […]

Boost WiFi at Home, Part 2

After last week’s article about how to boost your WiFi network, I’m sure you headed straight out to buy a Wireless-N, dual-band router and removed all the cement or brick walls in your home or office to allow for optimal placement and signal transmission, right? No? Never fear.  While an up-to-date router is an integral part of a stable, strong WiFi network, there are even more ways to improve your home or office network that don’t require a sledge hammer or building permit. First, a quick recap of last week’s tips one through three: upgrade to Wireless-N, eliminate signal interference […]

Companies Announce Streaming Television Options

Future of Television:  Pay-Per-View – Personalized Streaming Television Since the advent of streaming video, consumers have been presented with a few options: either they can watch a limited number of shows for free on the internet, pay for video rentals of TV shows after they’ve aired, or pay for an expensive cable/satellite bill that includes the cost of hundreds of shows they’ve never watched nor will care to watch. One of the lead telecom providers in the US plans to change that. The Wall Street Journal announced recently that Verizon is planning on offering a pay-per-view TV subscription service. The […]

Been Hacked? Here’s What to Do

Headlines have been shouting out, that the FBI recently investigated a website which had obtained personal information of high-profile people, and posted it online. Their credit card and social security numbers were available for anyone to see. These numbers have been conned out of the victims, through various methods of hacking. Now it’s unlikely that anyone would want to target you specifically in order to take your information, but hackers have special tools that allow them to mine the information of hundreds or thousands of people and computers at the same time, exploiting any holes that they find. In previous […]

Tired of Spotty Reception? Boost WiFi at Home

Wi-Fi makes connecting to the Internet seem like magic.  There’s a wonderful signal passing through the air that makes my phone work faster and unplugs my laptop from the cable – miraculous!  If you’re affected by slow speed or bad reception, however, staying connected can be a drag.  Try these tricks to improve your home or office WiFi. Step one: consider your hardware.  If your router is even a few years old, it may be time to upgrade.  A router that’s slow or incapable of transmitting a lot of data at once will compromise your whole network. Anyone using an […]

Avoid Social Media Scams with These Tips

From identity theft to fake contests to “send me money” scams, Facebook and Twitter are host to all manner of Internet criminals looking to swindle unsuspecting users out of money or information.  Don’t fall victim!  Here’s how to identify and avoid the most common social media ploys. Tug at your heartstrings. Most people want to help someone in need, and criminals are on the lookout for any way to exploit this.  Within hours of the Newtown Connecticut shooting, “victims” pages popped up everywhere.  Some of these were created by scammers asking for donations.  Another common ploy is to hack into […]

Options for Computers for Seniors in Your Life

When you think “cutting edge technology,” you probably don’t think “senior citizens,” but recent advances in technology are aimed at making life easier for grandma and grandpa, as well as those that care for them.  These devices make it possible for the less tech-savvy to stay connected to friends and family and for remote caregivers to monitor health and wellness. Associate Professor of Psychology T.J. McCallum, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University conducted a three-month study wherein he found that seniors that used technology had higher self-esteem and greater social interaction than those that did not use technology.  Social media, […]

Six Strikes Anti-Piracy Program Begins

The last week of February 2013 marked the official launch of the Copyright Alert System, a joint program between major internet service providers, aka ISPs (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner) and entities working to protect content copyrights, such as The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  This system is also known as the “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Program since users suspected of participating in the sharing of copyright-protected material will receive up to six warning notices from their ISP, with escalating consequences for repeat offenders. The policy was created by the […]

Updated Facebook Newsfeed Coming

Facebook users will be seeing a significant number of changes coming from the familiar blue-and-white website in the near future. In a press conference today, Mark Zuckerberg announced that they would be rolling out some dramatic alterations to the website’s layout. The new layout will come in the form of a news feed redesign. Facebook is attempting to unify the look and function of the website over all devices, including tablets, desktops, and mobile phones. Zuckerberg started the press conference by comparing the new look to a “personalized newspaper,” which is an apt metaphor for the new look, which can […]

Get Turn-by-Turn Navigation in your Car

by Heather Neal In the “old days,” if I was going somewhere new I’d call the business and ask for directions – a daunting proposition since not everyone is “good” with directions.  Those days are thankfully over and today I rely mainly upon the GPS in my car, with a little of my own instincts.  For the vast majority who don’t have GPS standard-equipped in their car, how do you get where you’re going? There are several great turn-by-turn navigation applications for Smartphone users: Google Maps for your mobile phone (www.google.com/mobile/maps/, free, iPhone and Android) offers a wide variety of […]

Rumors of Youtube Streaming Music Service Surface

There’s already a host of streaming music services available, like Spotify or Pandora, but soon there may be another, created by the most powerful company in the world. Fortune reported today that “Youtube…will launch a subscription music service later this year.” This information was provided to Forbes by an unnamed source, and Google declined to comment, perhaps testing the waters with their ambitious idea. The company, which owns Youtube, already has a content delivery network for downloadable content. This service, Google Play, allows users to purchase music, but does not allow anyone to stream without first paying for the song. […]

Speed Up Boot Time on Your Computer

My system takes FOREVER to start up.  Is there any way to make it boot up faster? Fully powering off your computer when you’re done using it for the day is a good practice to save energy and reduce hardware degradation.  However, it can make getting to work the next time you start up your computer seem to take forever.  Before you resolve to never again power down your PC, here are a few things to try to speed up your PC’s boot time: 1. Run your anti-malware software. Viruses and spyware can wreck all manner of havoc on your […]

Find the Best Tech Deals with These Tips

There’s no denying that indulging a love of electronics can get pricey.  Here are a few tips to ensure that you don’t overpay for technology. Don’t pay more for “high end” cables/connectors: It may come as a surprise that part of your TV, home theater or computer purchase that is typically most profitable for the electronics store is the additional cables you were sold on your way out the door.  When it comes to cables that transfer digital information (such as HDMI or DVI cables), in almost all cases you aren’t going to experience a noticeable improvement in image or […]

Your Common Computer Questions Answered by a Nerd

Every week I receive questions from readers – anything from what wireless mouse I would recommend to how to edit cell phone videos.  Here are a few of the most common queries: Q: Do I need an anti-virus program on my tablet (iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, etc.)? A: While viruses on tablet computers are rare, as tablets continue to grow in popularity they’re likely to be targeted more frequently by virus writers.  Any device that accesses the Internet should maintain up-to-date anti-malware software to protect your data from being compromised or Internet surfing hindered by pop-ups or web re-directs.  There […]

In-Home Computers for Everyone

The home of the future shall be one of seamless, intuitive automation – a home that anticipates the needs of its occupants while saving energy and keeping out predators. It has been promised since my first childhood trip to Disney’s EPCOT Center (more years ago than I care to disclose). The challenge up to now is that many of the products on the market are pieces of the puzzle but don’t work together, or they require such a massive home installation that it’s simply cost prohibitive for the average Joe. Yet new products on the market promise easy installation, expansion […]

Nerdy Valentines Day Gifts

If your beloved is more envious of gadgets than chocolates, there are many ways to show him or her how much you care with a gift of technology this Valentine’s Day.  You don’t need to break the bank, either.  The secret to an unforgettable token of your affection is to make it unique and personal and these gifts for your techie Valentine are a great alternative to generic flowers, cards or candy. Music can be a powerful communicator.  It can impart a message or feeling more eloquently than many of us could hope to accomplish on our own.  When we […]

New Facebook Privacy Settings: How to decipher

It seems like every time Facebook makes a change to their privacy policies or security settings, someone throws a fit about how it reflects a reduction in personal privacy and how Facebook is eventually going to own your life. But the world’s most popular social networking site just rolled out a new privacy feature and no one is complaining – in fact, this is the least I’ve heard about a Facebook change in years. The reason: they’ve made something intuitive and easy-to-understand that allows you to take control of your privacy. If you haven’t noticed it, or haven’t logged into […]

Future Tech Debuts at CES 2013

In recent articles I’ve explored some of the new technology that was previewed at this year’s CES, the Consumer Electronics Show.  The products I’ve highlighted so far are all “in the works,” most of which will be available to the consumer within the year.  However, CES is also a platform for innovators and inventors to showcase concept work, technology that promises potential improvements to a multitude of different existing gadgets or software.  While these ideas aren’t likely to show up on products in the very near future, some are sure to become part of our day to day lives in […]

Catfishing Isn’t What it Used to be: Online Dating Safety

Many looking for a partner this Valentine’s Day will turn to social media or dating websites to make a potential love connection.  If you’re wary about trying them, or you’ve been burned in the past, you’re right to be dubious.  Internet dating and romance scams, dubbed “catfishing,” are on the rise according to the FBI, and the Better Business Bureau has seen a two-fold increase in complaints over the last year regarding online dating services. Arm yourself with information to protect yourself before you take a dip in the online dating pool. Social networking and online-dating websites now surpass churches, […]

Watch out! Top Tech Scams of 2012

Social media, online databases and our “connected” lifestyle has made it easier than ever for criminals to use technology to steal identities, money, and data from unsuspecting users.  Here are some of the most prevalent technology scams of 2012, so you don’t fall victim to these tricky ploys. You get a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft (or your cable company, or Norton, etc..).  They identify themselves as Adam or some common moniker yet likely have a distinct accent.  The caller informs you that they’ve tracked virus transmissions to your computer, claiming that you have malicious code on […]

New Router Vulnerability Surfaces

Yesterday the US Department of Homeland Security’s “Computer Emergency Readiness Team” issued a statement stating that a feature available on almost every router had been discovered to have a security vulnerability. But don’t worry just yet. While the vulnerability is widespread, it is not particularly serious, and this particular feature has been known to be problematic for a while. The feature is called Universal Plug and Play or “UPnP.” UPnP allows networks to communicate directly with networked devices. This feature is built in to almost every router. The specific part that has a vulnerability is called “libupnp,” and it’s a […]

Nerds On Call Reviews Blackberry 10

The BlackBerry used to be the undisputed queen of mobile computing. In the days when “smartphone” wasn’t even in the culture’s lexicon, a little company named Research in Motion developed the BlackBerry, a device which could manage your email on a phone, unheard of in 2003. The company has gone through many iterations of their software and their edge has been lost in recent years with the arrival of the iPhone and Android options. The company, however, has refused to sink. In a highly-anticipated press conference, they announced their new line of phones and new BlackBerry OS, which promises to […]

Claim Parental Tablet Control Before It’s Too Late

If the family computer has been getting a lot of miles on it lately – perhaps you have one or more youngster in the house clamoring for screen time – you may be in the market for a second PC to share the load.  Some parents may consider a tablet PC because of its cheaper price tag, but handing an un-monitored internet-connected device to your child has risks.  Luckily, there are parental controls you can easily activate to protect your child from the wild west of the internet. Restrict the YouTube App: Even watching their favorite Muppets song on YouTube […]

Facebook Graph Search Begins Testing

Facebook has its sleeves rolled up and it’s off to work on something new. Don’t worry though; this change won’t come in the form of yet another visual redesign of the site. It’s something much more subtle, and with luck much more significant. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, hopes that this new project will one day even compete with Google. The new project is called graph search. It “is designed to take a precise query and return to you the answer, not links to other places where you might get the answer,” according to Zuckerberg. Facebook hopes that graph […]

CES 2013 Part 2

There were many exciting product announcements and prototypes demoed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, but few so plentiful as next generation gaming innovations.  Whether you dedicate a large part of your free time video game playing or are simply intrigued by the potential uses of virtual reality in the future of computing, CES 2013 didn’t disappoint. Nvidia, known primarily as a manufacturer of graphics cards and chipsets, announced that they’re joining the likes of Nintendo DS and Playstation PSP with the Nvidia Shield.  “Project Shield” is a handheld gaming device that resembles an Xbox controller with a flip-up screen.  […]

Bits Vs Bytes Explained

If you’ve ever shopped for internet packages or tried to buy storage, you’ve run into the bit/byte issue before – and you may not even have known it. It’s a concept that everyone who uses computer should at least familiarize themselves with. After all, it’s like not knowing the difference between kilometers and miles! When computer speed or storage is measured, it’s done using two units and their derivatives. The first unit is the bit, and the second is the byte. The bit is a one or a zero. It comes from the physical components of the computer, which either […]

Curtail Teen Computer Use

Clearly, many teens and tweens spend a lot of time in front of their computers and texting on cell phones — and much of that time is spent social networking. But is it that all bad? Surveys show the answer to that question is… no. Common Sense Media in a recent study found that in over 1000 teens, 13 to 17 had a pretty healthy perspective on social media.  “Teens are aware of the dangers of excessive usage and the online potential of cruelty. However, most young adults say social media and technology positively affects their social and mental well-being. […]

Selling or Donating Old Computers: How To

Once you’ve set up that brand new shiny PC or laptop, it’s time to ditch the old clunker taking up coveted space under your desk. Before you sell or donate your old PC, however,ensure that the information you stored on it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Back Up Your Data. First, make sure you get everything you need off your old system because the rest of this process is irreversible.  Don’t count on your memory of what files are important – take a complete disk image of your computer to capture everything from data to bookmarks and application settings. […]

Pay by Phone: Next big thing?

If you’ve noticed offers at your gas station or grocery store to “pay with your phone,” you’ve seen what many claim is the future of how we’ll pay for goods and services: Near Field Communication, or NFC.  Whether you relish the idea of ditching your wallet in favor of swiping your phone everywhere you go or you shudder at the thought of losing a phone laden with all your credit card info, NFC is likely to gain in popularity in years to come. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are familiar forms of electronic communications that allow devices to transfer information back and […]

Java Virus Vulnerability Discovered

You may have experienced this situation before: out of nowhere, a friend messages you on Facebook or via email with a link. You instinctively click on it, and sometimes as you’re clicking on it, sometimes later, you realize it’s probably a virus. In those split seconds while you’re scrambling to close the browser window, tiny lines of code are working away inside your computer through “holes” in its programming. They’re trying to gain access through a “backdoor exploit” and reprogram your computer for their creator’s own intents. These backdoor exploits are not created on purpose – they are just human […]

Health Websites to Keep you to your Resolution

Now that 2012 is nearing its close (and we all made it through that “end-of-days” Mayan calendar thing), the dawning of 2013 heralds a new opportunity to make those life changes you shelved over the busy holiday season.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore ways your computer or mobile device can help you keep this year’s resolutions, from eating better to learning a new skill. One of the most common resolutions year after year is to eat better.  Whether it’s to lose weight or simply be healthier, the temptation to fall off the wagon assaults you every time you […]

Great Pinterest Style Boards to Inspire You

Pinterest is all about what impassions you. That makes picking a few top boards about style incredibly tricky. Here are some beautiful choices that offer a glimpse into some very stylish people’s lives and loves. Polyvore: For anyone who has ever stood in a clothing store pondering an adorable top and wondering what to pair it with, or anyone who’s played a similar game in their own closet, Polyvore is for you. Like a virtual Barbie, the associated website lets you mix and match pieces to create a style collage that you can pin to your own wall. Their Pinterest page hosts […]

Nerdy Women You Should Know

Most people think of goofy looking guys in horn rimmed glasses when they think of geeks, bloggers, or businesspeople, like the quintessential geek, Bill Gates.  These stereotypes completely embody a “nerd” persona in our mind’s eye, but rarely you think of a computer-savvy successful person as feminine – but that is about to change! The powerful and talented women who make up the list below are in no particular order, because geeks don’t have to be better than each other when they’re better than everyone else! EBay Maven:  Marsha Collier is well-known for building a career off a website – […]

Daily Dose of Funny Websites

When I was working in an office, the latest joke email circulating was always there to give me a chuckle and brighten my day.  Nowadays, my LOLs come from many places and social media makes it easier to share the laughs with friends and family.  There are lots of online sources for a daily dose of smiles.  A word of caution: while I attempted to find as-clean-as-possible recommendations, racier videos and pictures cropped up everywhere I looked.  There are plenty of alternatives if one doesn’t suit you, but clicker beware! If you ever think, “it’s funny because it’s true,” one […]

A Tour of CES 2013 Part 1

Every year, tech enthusiasts and future-focused consumers alike converge on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show.  From the innovative to the downright wacky, it’s a platform to showcase the newest tech gadgets and get a preview of what electronics will be capable of in the years to come.   CES 2013 offered an expansive collection of cool – from next generation TVs to connected homes and cars, the future of gaming, and more. Televisions typically dominate CES.  Last year brought a bevy of integrated 3D options, while this year heralds the next stage in high definition resolution.  Current model high […]

Files Gone? Could be a Hidden Files Virus

Hidden Files Virus Hits Victims Hard Imagine starting up your system one fine morning only to discover that everything appears to be missing – your files, installed programs, even your Start menu shortcuts.  If you’re one of the many people who’ve recently become victims of the “Hidden Files Virus,” this scenario may be a painful reality. The good news: your files aren’t actually gone for good.  The bad news: your system has a virus and getting your files back will require some work. First, a few things NOT to do: DON’T install any “anti-virus” or “removal utility” program that presents […]

Speed up Windows – Software Alternatives

“My computer is so blazingly fast I can hardly keep up with it!” – said no one, ever. The complaint I hear voiced most often by people calling to have their computer serviced is that their system is sluggish, slow to boot up and unresponsive. While the usual culprits (viruses and spyware) often factor in, sometimes even clean computers run slower than they should. If you have a decent, malware-free system that’s underperforming, you may be able to get noticeable improvement by replacing some of its resource-sucking software with less bloated alternatives. Norton and McAfee are the most well-known anti-virus […]

Great New Year’s Resolution Websites

Whether you’ve dreamed of making delicious meals like a professional chef or would like to become fluent in French, this is the year you’ve resolved to make it happen.  In the past, you would have had to enroll in a class at your local college, requiring that you accommodate your work or personal commitments around the class time parameters.  Today you need only a computer and access to the Internet to dive into the abundance of knowledge available online – in many cases for free if you know where to look. Start Cooking Like a Pro.  We love Epicurious (www.epicurious.com) […]

What is Siri, Really?

Apple made headlines in December when it introduced Siri with the latest iteration of their iPhone, the 4S. Siri has been billed as an “intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done by just asking.” It’s a new feature to the phone and coming to the iPad that allows you to control pretty much every life-related feature on the device. It has been touted to be able to do just about everything that your phone is capable of by entering simple, natural-language voice commands. So, what is Siri, really? How does it work in the real world we interact […]

Antivirus Problems: Overzealous Scanning

Whether you’re a Nerd who’s adept at surfing the web, or an amateur who has yet to learn the ins and outs of it, a virus scanner is one of the most critical parts of your computer. If you don’t have a virus scanner, you should probably stop reading this article and go download Microsoft Security Essentials right now. Back? Alright…Now, virus scanners are wonderful, but often a little paranoid. Back in 2010, McAfee’s virus protection had a glitch which caused it to register critical system files as viruses. So even though you have virus protection, you should probably double-check […]

Use Amazon at Your best

Whether you’re in the market for the latest hit movie, coffee, electronics, or even a drum set, Amazon.com has just about anything you can imagine buying online. In addition to massive selection, Amazon is known for its competitive pricing. Save even more time and money by taking advantage of some of its shopper incentive programs. While the $79 price tag may seem steep at first glance, Amazon Prime entitles users to more than just free 2-day shipping on eligible items – though that’s a big selling point. One-click shopping stores your billing and shipping information so you don’t have to […]

Hidden Mac Features: Getting the most from your computer

Last week I explored some of the cool, less-well-known things your Windows PC can do and this week it’s Mac’s turn. If you’re ready to unleash your Mountain Lion, here are some under-utilized tools built into Mac OS X. Dictation and Text to Speech: Imagine how quickly you could reply to Aunt Edna’s email if you could talk instead of type. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner and select System Preferences. Choose the Dictation & Speech icon. Use the Dictation tab to turn it on and set a shortcut to launch (such as “Press Left Command Key […]

Computer Tune Up for 2013

New Year’s morning – you wake up and within a few hours you’ve broken half the resolutions you’ve set for the year. “I’ll start tomorrow,” you swear. You log on the computer, go directly to Facebook (another resolution down) and start to browse. Just like you, another year passes and your computer gets a little bit slower. If only there were some way to make sure it went to the gym and ate more healthily. According to a study performed by Crucial.com, 4 out of 5 computer users would like to change something about their computer. The top 5 changes […]

Using Technology at Work

Now that almost half of all Americans own a smartphone and roughly a quarter of all Americans own a tablet computer, it’s apparent that we are growing increasingly dependent on mobile handheld devices. Yet most companies haven’t outfitted their workforce with these gadgets, leading many of us to use personal devices at work. While this may make it easier to get the job done, there are some issues to consider, whether you’re a business owner or employee. In an ideal situation, your company should have a written policy in place detailing expectations and procedures for using your personal device at […]

Before You Upgrade to Windows 8, Prepare your PC

Windows 8 officially hit the market on Friday, October 26th. I haven’t waivered in my recommendation that you use caution when considering upgrading to such a drastically different Operating System, but if you’re eager to join the ranks of early adopters, here are some tips to smooth your transition to the next generation of Windows. First, make sure your computer is compatible with and able to support Windows 8. It actually doesn’t require many resources to run (one of its benefits – its streamlined nature helps it to boot up and run fast), so if your system was built in […]

Mobile Security: Protecting your Phone

Whether you’re one of the millions of Americans that already owns a mobile handheld device (like a Smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch), or you’re hoping Santa slips one under your tree this year, there’s something you likely haven’t put much thought towards: mobile security. According to a report released by Forrester Research, it’s estimated that 46% of all bank account holders will utilize mobile banking services by 2017.  Even if you aren’t accessing your bank or credit account from your handheld device, you likely have email; social networking and a multitude of apps that give a would-be thief plenty of […]

Speed Up Mac Computers with Software Alternatives

Apple fans may claim that Macs have a blissfully symbiotic relationship between software and hardware, but the truth is that some of the applications that come standard (or are very common) on Macs could be improved upon. Here are some alternatives to Mac’s most ditch-able software. Last week I highlighted iTunes as a program Windows users should avoid unless necessary. While it tends to work faster on Macs, it can still be a system hog, and users commonly complain of random track deletions and duplications. Consider using iTunes to download music and podcasts and Spotify (www.spotify.com/us/) to do everything else. […]

What is Twitter: Microblogging 101

What is Twitter? Well, when I think of Twitter, the first thing I think is: too much information. Do we really need to share the blow-by-blow of our lives with the world, or follow along on our friends’ every move? Yet with over 300 million users, it’s the second most popular social media outlet (following behind Facebook’s behemoth 850+ million users) – they can’t all be wrong, right? I set out to figure out what I’ve been missing, or rather, if I’m missing something about Twitter. What makes Twitter different from other forms of social media? Facebook helps you stay […]

Computer Won’t Turn On? Check for Viruses

If you’ve ever had a virus that kept your system from booting at all, you know how infuriating it is. One mistake and your computer is now a very expensive brick. If you’ve never had this happen to you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Viruses are on the rise and show no signs of becoming less of a problem in the future. Fortunately, there are now tools that can save your computer even when you can’t start Windows, and they’re much cheaper than buying a new computer. If you don’t have access to another computer, or can’t follow […]

Borrow eBooks: All of the Library, None of the Late Fees

Whether you read them on an e-reader, tablet, smartphone or your computer, e-books are growing increasingly popular, and with good reason. Instant download capability lets you get right into the newest bestseller, you can hoard thousands of books without having to build a library in your basement, and with a mobile handheld device you can have your library always at your fingertips. It may come as a surprise that e-books aren’t necessarily less expensive than their printed counterparts. That can lead many frugal bookworms back to the budget-saving oasis of the library to borrow the latest best seller. Luckily, more […]

Internet Printing with Google Cloud Print

I refuse to replace my old, ailing printer because I believe it’s a dying technology, like landline phones and fax machines. Yet just as a home phone is good for emergencies and faxing is often convenient, sometimes you just need to print – forms that require signature, travel confirms, etc. Enter Google Cloud Print: a simple application that allows you to print remotely to any Google Print-enabled printer from any computer or mobile electronic device with access to the Internet. Finally, I can print without wrestling with my own printer. Let’s say you’re working from home and finish tomorrow’s presentation. […]

Wireless Security Breach: Reaver

Having wireless internet access is awesome, especially with how many devices these days use the technology. And with proper network security, we can be sure that al our data is safe from intrusion…as long as we don’t make any silly mistakes, right? Well, that would be nice. However, there is a new piece of software in distribution that makes it easy for anyone with the know-how to crack into your wireless network. It’s called “Reaver” and it’s available to anyone online. Now don’t worry too much just yet – most people using it are just going to use it to […]

Travel Pages on Pinterest: Trip Out

Whether you’re compiling your own personal “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” planning your summer vacation, or just collecting gorgeous images for your desktop screensaver, Pinterest’s many travel boards offer ample material. If you just love drooling over white sand beaches, iconic landmarks, and picturesque cityscapes, there’s more than enough inspiration for a thousand daydream vacations. You’ll also find useful tips to make your trips more enjoyable and insider information to visit like a local, making Pinterest a great resource for planning a real-life getaway. With so many amazing destinations to discover, the hardest part will be narrowing it […]

Malware Primer: Deciphering the Digital Devils

You’ve probably heard the terms “virus,” “malware,” “spyware,” and others all used interchangeably. However, these are actually all different types of bad software. The blanket term for software that harms your computer is “malware.” If you paid attention in Latin class, you’ll know that “mal” is a prefix that means “bad” and “ware” simply refers to any type of computer program. Now the second-most-popular term that gets thrown around is “virus.” A virus is pretty much the same as its biological counterpart, but on the computer. It attaches itself to files on your computer, replicates itself, and spreads itself out […]

Slow Computer Myths and Fixes

“My computer is running so slow!” – said everyone who’s ever owned a computer. It’s true: your computer never quite runs as fast as the day that you bought it. While a large part of that is simply your perception of it, it’s true that computers tend to slow down over time. That being said, there are a lot of misconceptions on why exactly this happens. Here are few of the common ones that you may have heard. Myth 1: You need to pay for an antivirus program. When peoples’ computers start running slowly, many assume that it’s because they […]

Internet Speed: Netflix Takes A Test

It’s hard to find an unbiased comparison of various internet service providers. If you’re one of those fortunate enough to have a number of choices as far as ISPs go, chances are you only have two options for choosing the best. Either you’ll have to listen to the companies’ marketing pitches or you’ll have to find reviews from other customers, which may not always be reliable. However, one of the biggest sites on the internet is now offering their unbiased evaluation of every major ISP in the US. Netflix, which serves high-bandwidth video on demand to 30 million members, is […]

Facebook Messaging: Pay to Send

Claims of Change to Facebook Messaging… sort of If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t even know your Facebook account had two in boxes That’s right; when you go to your messages, there’s a little grey link at the top that says “other.” This is where less-relevant messages end up. Check it out: you may be surprised at what you find. But most of the time the “other” category just catches messages that you never really wanted to read anyway. If a page that you’ve “liked” or someone you don’t know sends you a message, it’s likely to end […]

Why You Need a Router

Firewall Router is Necessary While most of us have less than fond memories of dial-up Internet – gritting teeth through the high-pitched squeal while your computer connected, heading to the kitchen for a snack while you waited for a website to load – these days just about everyone uses a high speed Internet connection like DSL or cable. While you may think that the moment your ISP (Internet Service Provider) installer leaves you’re good to go, there’s one more piece of equipment that everyone with a high speed Internet connection needs: a router. Yes, even if you don’t plan to […]

Video Editing for Beginners

Video Editing: How to Ours is a video generation. We grew up with parents shooting camcorder footage of every birthday and graduation, and most of us have hours of movie footage without any cohesive organization or engaging content. Any novice with a video camera can benefit from editing. If you’ve ever forced your friends and family to suffer through six minutes of boring for two seconds of awesome, I’m talking to you. Before you post that cell phone video to YouTube, a little polish with a free editing program can make your friends actually want to click on your Facebook […]

Top Pinterest Pages For The Bride and Groom

They’re just three letters, but they’ll change your life forever: “Yes” to the proposal and soon, “I do.” But as any bride or groom can attest, the time between those two utterances can be overwhelming, stressful, and even crazy. Whether you’re planning an unforgettable affair for 400 or so of your nearest and dearest, or searching to instill your own unique style into your special day, Pinterest has boards to make your vows full of wows. The Perfect Palette http://pinterest.com/perfectpalette/ What started out as a wedding blog aimed at “exploring the color palette possibilities for your wedding,” has grown into […]

Top Pinterest Pages for Cooks and Foodies

The world of cooking and food is a perfect match to the visual scrapbook nature of Pinterest. From gorgeous images of food art to helpful tutorials for the novice chef, finding inspiration isn’t hard; narrowing it down to a few great boards to follow so you don’t get overwhelmed… well that’s a bigger challenge. Here are my favorites: Two Peas and Their Pod http://pinterest.com/twopeasandpod/ Brought to you by Salt Lake City food blogger and recipe developer Maria Lichty, she promises her over 13,000 followers “simple, fresh and family-friendly” fare. There are 107 boards filled with sweet treats, dishes for every […]

Windows 8 Upgrade Questions

Reader Questions about Window 8 Upgrade As we near the brink of massive Operating System overhaul (i.e., the release of Windows 8), readers want to know what to do to prepare and if they should upgrade. Here are some tips to save time, money and headaches. My family PC is on its last leg. Should I wait to replace it until Windows 8 is released? Maybe, but probably not for the reason you think. If you are planning to replace your dying PC with a laptop, it’s a good idea to see what the release of Windows 8 brings to […]

Video Chat to Connect this Holiday

Video Chat With Family & Friends The holidays are all about connecting with loved ones, but it can be a challenge when you’re separated by miles… or oceans. While you can pick up the phone, you miss out on seeing your nephew’s gleeful happy dance when he opens the super deluxe Batman Batcave action set you sent. There’s never been a better time to try one of the free video chat services to host a virtual get together. It’s the best way to feel like you’re there when you can’t be. Everyone needs to have a computer, high-speed internet connection […]

Last Minute Unique Gifts

Unique Gifts For The Procrastinator Every year I swear I will have my Christmas presents bought, wrapped and under the tree by the first week in December. Yet as the big day nears I inevitably note the passing of the last day to reasonably expect to ship online purchases with dismay, knowing I have at least a few gifts left to find and acquire. Lucky for you, dear reader, this has led me to amass a variety of great last minute gift alternatives that are easy to get a hold of yet more unique than a standard gift card. Check […]

The 6 Best Christmas Card Gift Ideas

Despite my best intentions to give personalized gifts to everyone on my holiday list, at least one or two people always end up with a gift card. Deep down I can’t shake the feeling that I’m calling it in. This year, I’ve resolved to consider gifting some great online services, a gift that keeps on giving, month after month. The Best Gift Cards For Music Lovers: There are several great options to stream music either to a computer or to any number of wireless-enabled personal electronic devices. Streaming music has gotten really popular — and really easy. Services such as […]

Things Nerds are Thankful For

Nerds Give Thanks like a Baws! Everyone has a nerd or two in their life these days, whether it’s a computer guru, video gamer or mobile gadget aficionado. From texting to email to blogging, the typical nerd often favors electronic communication over “real world” conversations, and this can make it difficult to connect. In honor of Thanksgiving, here’s a bit of insight into the heart of the nerd you love with a few things that just about every nerd is thankful for this year. Nerds are thankful for loved ones that accept our quirks. We are thankful you finally got […]

Create Custom Gifts Online

Nothing says you put time, thought and effort into a gift like personalization. I don’t mean just pasting Uncle Barry’s name on the coffee mug you bought at Target. I mean creating something unique for that special individual. Before you book a weeklong craft-a-thon at your neighborhood paint your own pottery shop, check out these great ideas for creating a totally custom gift online. These days it’s easy to get your photos printed on any number of items, from shirts to mugs to jewelry to canvas. Costco, Snapfish and Shutterfly are just a few of the sites that offer a […]

Top Tech Gifts You Don’t Know About

Now that so many of us rely on electronics to read, watch movies and listen to music, you may be thinking that giving gift cards is the only option to help fill out your loved ones media library this holiday season. Yet the generic ease of a gift card makes for a very impersonal gift. Luckily you can achieve gift nirvana with a variety of truly useful digital products and services that are sure to please even the most difficult to buy for loved ones on your list. Here are our Top Tech Gifts of 2012. With the increasing popularity […]

3 Easy Ways to Save on Gift Cards

Gift cards are a ubiquitous staple of the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to show some appreciation to someone you don’t know very well (like your newspaper delivery person or your gardener), or have someone on your list that’s hard to buy for, a gift card can be the perfect present for giver and receiver. However, sometimes you get a gift card that you can’t or don’t use. What can you do with it? This dilemma has led to the creation of a gift card resale market where you can snap up gift cards at a discount. Saving money while […]

Move over Black Friday, Cyber Monday Tops Charts

Many have heard the term “Cyber Monday” floating around. But what exactly is it? Is it just a marketing term designed to sell more products or it is actually an event worth taking note of? It’s mostly both – and definitely worth paying attention to if you’re looking to buy lots of gifts this Christmas season. The National Retail Federation is an international group of retail companies, the largest in the world. One of their major divisions, and one that is growing quickly, is shop.org, a consortium of online retailers. In 2005, shop.org coined the term “Cyber Monday,” claiming that […]

Trendy Tech Gifts for 2012

In the sea of tech toys and gadgets that hit the shelves every holiday season, a few stand out as the year’s sure-to-sell-out favorites. With the first new console gaming system in six years and a mini-tablet war, this year is no exception. Here are the hottest trending tech goodies of the 2012 holiday season. Video Game Consoles Nintendo’s Wii U (http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu, $299.99 for an 8GB “basic”, $349.99 for a 32GB “deluxe”) is the first new console gaming system released since the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 first debuted in 2006. In addition to the standard game controls, the GamePad […]

Use Tech to Conquer Black Friday

For the truly dedicated Black Friday deal hunters, Thanksgiving marks the start of a shopper’s frenzy. With sales starting earlier and earlier, those elusive “doorbuster deals” can be as hard to get your hands on as a housecat that senses its ½ price vaccination day at the vet. Whether you’re a seasoned Black Friday pro, or considering joining the fray this year, your computer or Smartphone can help you plan your attack and find the best deals before you set foot in the store. Preview the Ads There are several sites that post the ads well in advance of when […]

Use Pinterest to UP Your Holiday Game

The holidays are my favorite time of year – gathering with friends and family over special meals, showing you care with gifts, watching the kids explode with excitement over pumpkins, decorated houses, lit Christmas trees… you get the idea. If you’ve yet to explore the wealth of inspiration that is Pinterest, this season is the perfect time to take a tour. Whether you’re a holiday lover like me, looking to build some memorable traditions without going overboard, or a budding Martha Stewart ready to make over your home in festive extravaganza, Pinterest has something for everyone. Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/) is a […]

Top 5 Ways to Save on Your Holiday Shopping

November seems to sneak up on me every year. I’m minding my own business, working out costume details and sugar coating trick-or-treaters when, BAM! Out of the blue it’s time to get cracking on holiday shopping. To help myself get in the game and to help you save some money, here are my top five ways you can use your tech savvy to save money on your holiday shopping. 1. Check out the resale market: I know, you’re thinking, “wrapping up used gifts?” but a lot of things available though sites like Craigslist and Ebay, or even at your local […]

The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan

The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan is the latest rootkit virus to gain widespread infiltration into a huge number of computers. While traditional viruses attempt to infect and destroy as many computers in their path before they’re stopped by anti-virus software, rootkits aim to keep your system working but under the control of an outside party. They typically give a remote user administrative power, allowing them to manipulate files and maintain control of your system. Once your system is controlled by the administrator of the rootkit, he can cause it to execute actions. Your system becomes a “botnet,” or “zombie” computer, assisting […]

Social Media Election Apps

Politics used to be an old man’s game. I mean, just look at the writers of the constitution. For years, it stayed that way. Then in the twenties, women got the right to vote and the game changed a little. But one of the last holdouts of the voting populace has not been by law, but by choice – or the lack thereof. For many years, the youth of America have not been nearly as actively involved in politics as the older generation. The 18-29 demographic turns out to polls about 14% less than those older than they. But that […]

FBI Virus is “Ransomware”

I never thought I’d look back fondly on the days when malware just caused annoying pop-ups. The newest bug crawling the Web is called “ransomware,” and it holds your computer hostage until you pay a demanded ransom. The latest has several names: FBI Moneypak, Citadel Reveton or simply, Reveton Virus. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is the result of a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Designed to give cybercrime victims an easy way to report crimes, they also assist law enforcement in obtaining evidence to prosecute culprits. The IC3 first began receiving complaints […]

Windows 8 is Here! Now What?

Windows 8 is finally here. If you’ve been reading our recent articles, you know that it’s promised to change many things about how we use our computers. If you’re one of those who have decided to make the switch, there are a few things you should know before installing it on your computer. First, make sure that your computer is actually compatible with Windows 8. This shouldn’t be a problem for most computers made within the last six years or so. The minimum requirements are: 1GHz processor 1GB RAM 16GB of Hard Drive space Graphics card with DirectX 9 and […]

Browser Extensions: Make Your Internet Browser More Awesome

For a brief introduction on browsers, read our article “What is a Browser?” When you first pulled your cell phone out of the box, you probably spent the next few hours making it uniquely yours. From selecting ring tones to choosing a photo or theme wallpaper, or downloading apps to make your Smartphone more productive or fun, the customization transformed it from “a phone” to “your phone.” You can tailor your Web surfing experience in a similar way with browser extensions and add-ons. Most are free and they allow you to personalize the look, functionality and features of Firefox, Chrome, […]

The Perils of Online Free Trial Offers

Free trial offers, particularly those that require your credit card to sign up, are like internet quicksand. The bright, shiny “Try Now for Free!” emblazoned all over the webpage lures you in. You think, “30 days is a long time. I can test it out and if it’s not something I use I can just cancel.” Before you know it, though, you spot the charge on your credit card statement for the service you forgot to use and forgot to cancel. The Better Business Bureau included “Not So “Free” Trial Offers” on their list of Top Online Scams. Many companies […]

Comparison Shop Your Life

While all the money-saving forums suggest you take a look at your latte habit to trim a few dollars from your budget, it’s good to take stock of the things you pay for regularly to make sure you’re getting a fair shake. This includes everything from your prescription medication coverage to your car insurance. We all know that prices continue going up. As much as we can’t stop them, at least we can make sure what we’re paying is fair. Medical and Dental I don’t know about you, but I haven’t got a clue what medical or dental procedures should […]

Keep Your Credit Cards Safe From Skimmers!

Seventeen percent of Americans have been the victim of card fraud, whether credit or debit. Worldwide, card fraud costs people almost six billion dollars annually. That’s an alarmingly high number, and good reason to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you. So how does it happen, and more importantly, how can you avoid it? Skimming is one of the most common methods that thieves use to steal card data from an unsuspecting victim – and it can happen to almost anyone, due to the methods that they use. Gas pumps are quite possibly the most vulnerable locations, and the […]

How to Stay Safe Online

A lot of people these days have two lives: the one that they live using their body and a second one that only exists online. Facebook alone has more than 800 million accounts, which is over twice the population of the United States. However, not all of these accounts are owned by people who are looking out for you, much like in the physical world. There’s no need to worry, though. It’s very unlikely that you will be the subject of a specifically targeted attack, but there are some steps that you should take so that you won’t ever be […]

Staying Safe on Google+

For those of us who have opted to use Google+, there are already a great many options such as circles that help keep your information where you want it. But here are a few tips on making sure you have complete control of your data.

Apple’s New iPad Mini

Apple Unveils Star of the Show: iPad Mini In a much-anticipated event, Apple today released a spread of new devices, highlighting and improving the smallest form factors that the company has become well-known for. Two of the devices were additions to their iPad line of tablets. With the first viewing, our inner Nerd died a little… The iPad 4 is relatively unremarkable. Except for the fact that they have ditched the “new iPad” branding in favor of numbers again, there is little to differentiate this device from its predecessors. So how do they get away with calling it new and […]

Apple’s New iMac

iMac: “Sleek” Makeovers Unveiled: Apple’s Newest Additions Topping today’s announcements, Apple unveiled a number of new and sleek devices, including a major update to both their laptop and desktop lines. Popularity gets a makeover: The first device is an addition to the MacBook Pro line. The “world’s most popular notebook” now comes in a 13-inch size with retina display for crisp and highly detailed graphics, which also reduce eye strain. Coming in at a resolution of 1680×1050, the laptop is able to handle an impressive amount of computing, including HD video while rending audio and photo graphics. The device adheres […]

Nerds On Call Reviews Windows 8

Windows 8: Finally, Microsoft ahead of the Curve It’s been a few years since Microsoft came out with their last operating system, and in those years there have been some big changes to computing technologies. Windows 8, scheduled to release on October 26, attempts to evolve software in a direction that is compatible with the changes that have come to the hardware world since then. So how well did they do? Even more importantly, how well does it introduce users familiar with the old methods of computing to the future that Microsoft is looking to build? Touch screen Trends: Windows […]

Windows 8: Worth the $40 Upgrade?

In just a few days, Microsoft will release the newest version of its flagship product: the Windows operating system. Named Windows 8, this piece of software promises to completely overhaul the PC computing experience, while adding functionality, security, and efficiency. Didn’t Windows 7 Just Come Out? Windows 8 has been in development for three years. Earlier this year, Microsoft released the Consumer Preview to registered Microsoft users, which allowed the public to see the direction that the operating system was heading in, and allowed them to give their feedback. On August 1, it was finalized and shipped to the manufacturing […]

Staying Safe on LinkedIn

If you use the popular networking site LinkedIn, you should take a look at this handy infographic on how to make sure your online privacy is protected while using the website.

Never Worry About Losing Those (not-quite) Smart Devices Again

A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. This means that one tenth of laptops ever bought are either stolen are lost, usually along with all the data on it. Only three percent make it back to their owners. And 70 million smartphones are stolen every year – seven percent of these are recovered. Considering that half of all mobile device users keep passwords, personal info, or banking data on those devices, the chances that your information will fall into the wrong hands are too high to simply ignore. Don’t get too worried though – most malicious users of information are […]

Try These Web Sources For A Fun Halloween!

Halloween is coming up in another week or so, and many of us are still making last-minute decorations or additions to our costumes. As always, the internet can offer some helpful tips to pull off the perfect ghoul-fest. If you’re keeping track of a couple of kids, or have enough trouble just making sure one stays where they should, consider the “Mommy I’m Here Alert” remote child-locator. You can buy it at Amazon.com for about thirty dollars. It’s a small teddy-bear-shaped wireless device that you can attack to your child’s belt loop. You keep the second piece with you, and […]

Under-Utilized Windows 7 Features

Most of us utilize a Windows PC regularly enough that we navigate through our go-to functions with little exploration or modification. Yet hidden in the Windows 7 framework are some handy tools that you’ve likely never taken advantage of. Here are just a few of the more under-utilized tools that are already at your disposal. Windows Logo Key Shortcuts The Windows logo key (likely located on the bottom left of your keyboard, next to your Alt key) allows for nifty keyboard-driven functionality. Win Logo Key (Win) opens or closes the Start menu. Win+F opens the search function, allowing you to […]

Take Control of Your Facebook Account

When you join Facebook it all seems so blissfully easy. You supply your email address, let it magically hook you up with everyone in your contacts list, and voila! Instant social connectivity is yours. Before you know it, however, your news feed is clogged with notifications from games your friends are playing and posts from retailers you “liked” in order to claim some special offer, your photos are being commented on by your cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s sister and you have more than a hundred “friends” who you couldn’t point out in a mostly empty room. Where did it all go so […]

Tips for Staying Safe on Twitter

A lot of us use the social blogging site Twitter every day. With that use comes the possibility that someone can get your personal information from you. We’ve assembled a few tips so that you can stay safe while using the website. The infographic below will walk you through the steps necessary to protect yourself online. Feel free to send us an email at http://www.callnerds.com/andrea with any questions!

Should You Be Cloud Computing?

Using cloud services such as Microsoft Live SkyDrive, Amazon’s “Cloud Drive,” Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox or SugarSync to store and/or backup your data has some clear advantages. Most notably: unlimited storage capability and the reliability of offsite redundant servers maintaining multiple mirror images of your data without having to invest in costly equipment. However, moving a large amount of data to the cloud will likely require a commitment to ongoing monthly fees. There are some additional benefits that may make the investment more cost effective. Create a personal streaming media library. Anyone who’s amassed an extensive collection of music, movies […]

Resist Tech Distractions

Ever have one of those mornings at work where 10 o’clock rolls around and you wonder what you’ve been doing for the past two hours? Between “catching up” on your friends’ Facebook posts and maintaining the little farm game you downloaded to your phone, tech distractions abound and they can make it extremely difficult to concentrate. An ongoing study by a New York-based research company, Basex, found that these interruptions, and the time it takes to get your focus back, can eat up as much as 28 percent of your workday if you’re not careful. Here’s how to resist the […]

5 Tricks to Revive an Old PC

If every click on your old, slow computer makes you want to tear your hair out but your budget just won’t permit replacing it, take heart. Even if you’ve already upgraded the hardware to the extent you can and performed all maintenance to rule out a malware infection, there are a few tweaks left that may make life with an old PC more bearable. While the biggest performance boost most often results from hardware upgrades (more RAM and replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive can make a world of difference), bulky software can overly tax your system’s […]

Stop Using Internet Explorer, Right Now!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a browser, read our article “What is a Browser?” here. A bug in all versions of Internet Explorer leaves anyone using IE in conjunction with the Windows Operating System (more than 40% of Internet users in North America according to StatCounter) vulnerable to infection by Trojan horse viruses. In a Security Advisory released by Microsoft on September 17, 2012, Microsoft explains that “an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user,” meaning the hacker could control your system remotely. While Microsoft promises that they’re working […]

Breaking Up in the Digital Age

Breakups suck. There’s no way around it. But the good old days of being reminded of your ex’s existence only at the rare mutual friend birthday party or when flipping through old photos are over. From Facebook updates to emails to shared passwords, today’s digital connectivity makes it even harder to disentangle yourself from a relationship gone wrong. Before you de-friend and delete your way through emails, texts and tagged photos, there are some ways to smooth the transition and save yourself some heartache. Technology has taught us that everything is nearly instant. From texts to tweets, we’ve grown accustomed […]

Should You Shutdown Your Computer or Leave It On All The Time?

There are a number of myths floating around about what you should do with your computer when you’re not using it. Some say that you should always shut it down, while others claim that shutting down regularly will shorten the life of your computer. The fact is that neither of these is totally correct. Shutting down your computer will do no harm, but it may not be the most practical option for your circumstance. It all comes down to your personal preference – as long as you’re informed. Let’s take a look at the options. Shut down computer regularly On […]

Apple iOS and Android New Targets of Malware

As computers become more prevalent, the viruses that prey on them increase as well. According to McAfee, a protection provider, malware is multiplying faster now than it ever has. In the last quarter alone, there have been 1.5 million more attacks than previously. With new technology, comes changes in the threats – botnets and ransomware are just some of the new things to watch out for. Computers using Windows operating systems are still hit the hardest, but more and more viruses are now targeting Macs and Android systems, like smartphones, two of the emerging computer foundations. Vincent Weafer, Senior Vice […]

Emma Watson Will Give You A Computer Virus

Emma Watson is at the top of the list “Most Dangerous Celeb to Search For.” If you’re reading this and you don’t know who Emma Watson is yet, you might want to finish reading this article before you perform a Google search for her. The young actress starred in the Harry Potter films over the last decade and has eventually become more and more popular. In fact, she may have become too popular. A recent study from McAffee, a security company, revealed that the young Ms. Watson has surpassed supermodel Heidi Klum to become the most dangerous celebrity to search […]

iPhone 5 Rumors: “It’s almost here” Worth the Hype?

On September 12th, Apple is holding an event that announces “It’s almost here” and features a prominent iPhone 5. Many people have speculated on what this means, most coming to the conclusion that the computer giant is about to release the fifth iteration of their incredibly popular iPhone. If announced on the 12th, chances are that the phone will become available in stores on the 21st of September. Analysts are already predicting that Apple will sell ten million of the devices in the first week. So what’s the big deal all about? Here we’ve collected the best of the speculation […]

Cyber Bullying Facts

In today’s schools you don’t see kids getting shoved in lockers or walking around with wedgies as much anymore. That’s not because kids are necessarily getting nicer – there are just more rules that really crack down on physical bullying in school. So instead of physical abuse, bullies are turning to online methods to target their victims. This is called Cyber Bullying – using electronics to belittle and demean their targets, often with scary results.  Here are two of the more popular electronic methods of targeting for Cyber Bullies: Social Sites:  Creating a Facebook account is available to anyone with […]

Inc. Magazine names Nerds On Call One of America’s Fastest Growing Companies, Again.

Nerds have done it again! For the fourth year in a row, Inc. Magazine named Nerds On Call to their annual Inc. 500|5000, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies in the United states. This list represents the companies which make up the backbone of America’s economy – the independent entrepreneurs, which represent the American spirit. We’re honored to join companies like Unified Payments, which tops this year’s list, as well as the online review site Yelp, yogurt maker Chobani, giftcards.com, and literally thousands more. However, we’re especially proud to be the only company based in our home city of Redding […]

The Best Windows 8 Gadgets

At this year’s Computex show in Taipei (June 5th-9th, 2012), leading manufacturers previewed the next generation of tablets, ultrabooks, hybrids, and touch screen technology, designed to take advantage of the touch-friendly functionality of Windows 8. Here are a few of the cool gadgets you can expect to see near the end of the year. Asus Taichi Dual-Screen Ultrabook. If a tablet and an ultrabook (super thin and lightweight notebook) got married, this could be their offspring. It has dual displays: the one integrated into the top is touch screen, allowing it to function as a tablet when the cover is […]

Back to School Supplies

It’s pretty well-established that back-to-school is the best time to buy school and office supplies. To be more specific, the best prices are typically found either now (when retailers compete for your back-to-school dollars) or at the end of September (when stores get rid of their leftovers). Many factors contribute to “savings” when we’re shopping, and sometimes it’s not all about saving a dollar. How do you decide whether to buy online or in-store? STELLAService, an independent company that rates online businesses for customer service and quality recently performed a detailed comparison of the in-store experience to the online experience […]

Back to School: Homework Help

When I was in high school I kept meticulous notes. The piece de resistance in my collection of classroom organization was my prized weekly planner with calendar and task lists. At the end of every class I’d furiously scribble in my assignments and notes about what I needed to read or research. What can I say? I’m a Nerd. The problem with paper organization is that it’s so easily destroyed. One errant soda spill and all my hard work was a sopping sticky mess. Today’s students can use online tools at their disposal to stay on top of assignments and […]

Back to School Deals

Well, it’s time to send the kids back to school. It used to be so simple to buy back-to-school supplies. Buy a few blank notepads, a couple packs of pencils, and maybe a calculator and you were set to go. These days, it’s a little more complicated. The advent of technology has made life simpler for the ones in school and more difficult for those who send them there, like you and me. Of course, the young ones are going to try and convince you that a new Xbox or PS3 is going to help their grades. (Mom tip: it’s […]

Taking Your iPad Back to School

The new iPad is loaded with features and also has the highest quality screen available in a portable device. The new Retina display touch screen makes colors and resolution more vivid than ever, allowing for an even more amazing user experience than with previous generations of iPads. The iPad’s combination of power and portability make it great for school. It allows the student to carry just about an entire library of books and offers access to literally thousands of educational apps. All of this adds up to making learning easier — and more fun! No matter if you have the […]

Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

On August 3rd, 2012, a tech writer for Wired’s “Gadget Lab,” Mat Honan, was the victim of identity theft. His iPhone, iPad and MacBook were remotely wiped, his Twitter account hijacked and his Gmail deleted. He lost irreplaceable photos from the first year of his daughter’s life, hundreds of emails, and his ability to ever again feel secure online. Here’s how to significantly reduce the chances it could happen to you. In the immediate wake of the attack, Mat Honan assumed that his Apple ID password had been compromised. It turns out the perpetrator provided just two pieces of information […]

Simple & Easy Computer Maintenance

You may think computer maintenance is only for the Nerds among us, but there are many easy things you can do to speed up your PC without investing a lot of time or money. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, performing some basic computer maintenance can ensure your system stays in top form. First, the easiest tip: shut down and restart your computer regularly so that it can install all necessary software and operating system updates. Next, ensure automatic update is turned on, both for your Operating System updates as well as your anti-malware programs. If you don’t have […]

When is the Best Time to Buy a New Computer?

Bargain hunters everywhere swear by shopping seasonally. Buy when demand is lowest (who thinks to replace their air conditioner in February?) or when retailers are pushing out old inventory in anticipation of new models. When is the best time to buy a new computer or gadget? Unless you stay up on trending tech news, it’s hard to know when a new generation of the Smartphone or laptop you’ve had your eye on is due to be released. Luckily keeping up on tech trends is what we live for and we’re here to share the secrets of electronic buying seasons. Back […]

Back to School Tablets: iPad vs. Laptop

As parents everywhere prepare to send sons and daughters back to school, they want to arm them with the best possible resources. For many families, computers or tech gadgets are alongside clothes, pens and paper on the list of purchases to budget for. As tablets grow in popularity, you may be wondering if your student would benefit from having an iPad or inexpensive back to school tablets like a Kindle Fire, Google Nexus or Barnes and Noble Nook in their book bag. As I’ve explored in previous articles, tablets can play a role in our children’s education. Studies have shown […]

Tech Bargains: Sites You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

It seems summer gets shorter and shorter every year. How is it that back to school is already here? Whether you’re in the market for a PC, printer or router to get set up for the new academic year, or you’re just poised to take advantage of the season’s sales, you’ll be joining thousands of shoppers buying computers, peripherals and gadgets in the coming weeks. Before you walk into your local electronics store, there are many websites, some that you may have never heard of, that offer great tech bargains. Newegg: While the name may be a head scratcher, Newegg.com […]

Get In Shape Using Gadgets

When the Wii Fit was released it was all the rage and for good reason: it made exercise fun by turning it into a game. You earned points while working out and the ability to compete against your friends to better your score motivated you to continue. There have been many additions to the fitness “game” since then, all designed to make you come back for more while keeping it fun. Whether you’re already working out and just need a little extra motivation, or you need a serious shove off the couch, here are a few tools to get you […]

Small Business Data BackUp

Data backup is the flossing of the tech world: you know you should do it, but you just never get around to it. There’s something in human nature that makes us learn the hard way – cavities are no fun. Yet when it comes to risking the data that you need to run your business, the price of procrastination is too high. For small and medium businesses, data backup is all about automation, redundancy, and reliability. The first step to reducing your exposure to hardware failure is consolidating your data in one more reliable and easier to backup location. Instead […]

Living Without an Optical Drive

This time of year, you may be contemplating adding a new laptop to your gadget family, whether it’s for back-to-school or to take advantage of the season’s sales. Thinner, lighter, super portable systems that remain high functioning (like Intel’s Ultrabooks (TM) and Apple’s Macbook Air) are all the rage, but the sleek design comes with a price: no internal DVD drive. Can you live without one? The answer is yes! Count on the Cloud. Most Netbooks and tablets lack significant storage space, with hard disks that are nearly impossible to upgrade. This may lead you to wonder how in the […]

Small Business Network: Buy This Not That!

These days a business that can’t get online can’t go very far. From emailing appointment confirmations to processing credit cards, when the network goes down, business productivity grinds to a halt. Small business owners are stuck in a unique position: they need more reliability than a standard wireless firewall router can offer, but likely can’t afford the enterprise solutions offered by Cisco. In this, part two of my “Buy This, Not That” series for small businesses, I’ll explore a mid-range networking solution to bridge the gap. When I started my company in 2004, I ran our call center out of […]

DNSChanger: What you need to know

On Monday, July 9th, the FBI will pull the plug on internet access to hundreds of thousands of computers infected with a malware Trojan known as DNSChanger. Even if your computer is clean, companies that have compromised systems in their network will be taken offline, hindering their ability to do business and possibly breaking their websites, in what many are referring to as “Internet Doomsday.” In November 2011, the FBI (together with international cyber crime agencies) identified and located a ring of cyber criminals that had infected more than four million computers across the world with a Trojan virus known […]

Data Backup Basics

There are certain things we all know we should do: change the oil every 3,000 miles, choose different passwords for every online login, and back up our computers. Though I know better, I sometimes get to 5,000 miles before changing the oil, I can’t remember 500 different passwords, and I rarely back up my computer. I am a bad person. While mom showed me how to balance a checkbook (thanks mom!), no one ever showed me how to back up my computer. Now I can return the favor and teach my mom, and you, how to back up your system. […]

How to Share Photos and Videos with Friends and Family.

Share Photos and Videos Like A Nerd The opportunity to capture your adorable kidlet trying their first taste of lemon only comes along once. If you’re fast enough to capture that shot on your phone or camera, how do you share that priceless pucker with all your friends and family? There are so many ways to share that grandma and grandpa need never miss another moment from junior’s milestones, regardless of their computer expertise. You Can Email Pictures. The most basic way to share pictures or videos stored on your computer is by emailing them. While social networking sites or […]

3 Things To Do When You Set Up A New PC

After scrimping and saving, researching and debating, you finally settle on the perfect new PC, only to realize once you get it home and plugged in that you can’t get much use out of it until you get the files and programs from your old PC onto your new one. Here are my top 3 steps to set up a new PC. If you’d have asked me three years ago how I get a new system set up like the old one, I’d have told you how lucky I was to have a team of skilled technicians to set up […]

How to Win at Facebook Birthdays

In my circle of family and friends, summer is the season of birthdays. I know more than ten people who celebrate between the months of June and August. Even if I’m fortunate to live near enough to join their party, these days posting Happy Birthday wishes on their Facebook wall seems to be an unspoken requirement. Before you post a generic “have a happy birthday!” on your sister-in-law’s wall, here are some ways to make a Facebook Birthday wish stand out from the crowd. While I love that Facebook allows me to stay more in tune to distant loved ones […]

Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire vs. Nook

This week Google went and set the tech world abuzz by announcing their new Nexus7 tablet, the result of a partnership with ASUS. Recent success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire has given Google hope that the small screen, inexpensive tablet market is one worth pursuing. Anyone who has considered adding a tablet to their arsenal of tech gadgets but has balked at the price tag (or paltry performance of most low-end tablets) should take a second look at the Nexus 7. While your first inclination is probably to compare it to the iPad, the dominant tablet on the market, in truth […]

Pinterest for Parents:Top Pinterest Pages for Parents

Pinterest for Parents From adorable onesies to DIY crafts, Pinterest is full of great links for parents looking for ideas or guidance. Therein lies the rub: how can busy moms or dads narrow down the overwhelming sea of boards to find the ones that bring a little joy, peace, or motivation to their busy family? While everyone has their own parenting style, here are some pages that offer a great launching ground to find inspiration in the images and tools that fellow parents love. Zina: Let’s Lasso the Moon Creator of the hugely popular “The Parent Water Cooler” and “The […]

Cheap Summer Fun

Summer is the time for fun in the sun (or the shade if you live with heat like we do), but it’s tough when you have limited cash for leisurely activities. What can you do when you’re low on funds for cheap summer fun? We’ve got you made in the shade with these cool ideas for finding free or inexpensive summer activities. Get Inspired After vowing never to be sucked in, Andrea is officially addicted to Pinterest. It’s truly one of the most plentiful sources of ideas for DIY crafts, projects, games and activities to do on your own or […]

Small Business Computers: Buy This Not That!

According to a May 2012 report by the National Economic Council, there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. employing 60 million Americans – roughly half of the private sector workforce. The balance between budgeting and productivity can be challenging to small firms, particularly those working to get (or maintain) a foothold in today’s economy. As I travel for appearances on TV and radio, I am often asked what technology small business owners really need and what they can live without. With no further ado, here’s my “Buy This, Not That” series for the small office environment. Buy Laptops, […]

How To: Set Up A Wireless Network

These days, you need a wireless network to take full advantage of high-speed Internet, streaming TV, handheld electronics, gaming systems and even some appliances. But most users have no real understanding of how a wireless network works, or what to do when it drops a connection. This two-part series will address the basic components in a network, its setup, and troubleshooting tips to keep you surfing the net smoothly. If you have more than one Internet-ready device, you’ll find many advantages to setting up a network. All the computers on your network can share files, access network-capable devices (such as […]

Laptop Repair: Fix it or replace it?

When I made the switch from a desktop computer to a laptop, the idea that everything that previously took up my entire desk could now fit in such a small, portable device was revolutionary. However, the first time that my keyboard failed, I realized it wasn’t all wine and roses. With the smaller footprint comes the fact that parts and pieces often aren’t as easily interchangeable. I could no longer toss the old keyboard and plug in a new $30 generic version; this one was going to have to come from the manufacturer and was going to require a specifically […]

Secret Benefits Of Video Games

Anyone who has looked up from their computer to discover that they just lost two hours to Farmville or World of Warcraft would like to believe that there is some redeeming value to playing video games. On August 3rd, PBS MediaShift published an article asserting that video games teach our kids a “new literacy”. Even though I am not personally a gamer, I would argue that there are plenty of secret benefits to playing video games. “One benefit of Video Games is that they teach our kids a “new literacy”. My husband is a gamer and I can virtually guarantee […]

How to Stop Spam

Now that I have a newborn in the house, the last thing I have time for is weeding through an email inbox filled with offers for 30 percent off at a store I bought one thing from three years ago, or daily newsletters from an online magazine touting ways to make my life more creative. I don’t have time to shower, let alone bake sweet potato muffins. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make my email more of a tool and less hassle, and stop spam with very little work from me. Most email providers have an integrated spam […]

Safe Online Shopping: 5 Tips You Need to Know!

Safe Online Shopping: Don’t get scammed Whether you do your online shopping for Christmas, Back to School or just to restock your paper-towels NERDS want to make sure that you protect your personal information while finding the best deals out there. NERDS put together their top five tips to follow for safe online shopping. Safe Online Shopping Tip #1: Create some Cyber distance. Nerds recommend keeping some distance between your online shopping and your bank and credit cards by not using the same email account for retail logins and purchase confirms as you use for your bank login and password […]

How to Remove a Virus

Do you remember back when your computer was shiny and new, it likely came with pre-installed Norton or McAfee antivirus software. It would periodically pop up little notices that it had downloaded the latest updates, and you felt snug and secure when you surfed online. Then that trial membership expired. You may not have even noticed the lapse in coverage, assuming that the icon in your toolbar was a sign that all was well — or, like many, you may have been wary to spend your hard-earned cash to subscribe. This story is so common that it’s one reason why […]

New MacBooks a $2,200 disposable computer?

When it comes to portable electronics, bigger is not better. From the new line of UltraBooks announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show to the highly anticipated MacBook Pro with Retina Display released by Apple this month, laptops are getting ever smaller and lighter to compete with the growing popularity of tablet PCs. Yet with a smaller footprint comes limitations. When they’re impossible to upgrade and more costly to repair, is smaller truly superior? If you are going to carry a device in your bag most everywhere you go, lightweight and durable is of paramount importance. To accommodate the increased […]

Tips & Tricks: Simple tricks to edit a PDF

Edit a PDF like a Boss! Portable Document Format (PDF) is a great tool when you want to send a document electronically that you don’t want the recipient to edit. But what about when you’re on the receiving end of a PDF that you need to change, such as an online form or application? Those blank gray fields stare back at you, mocking your attempts to click on them. Before you resort to printing the document and filling it in by hand, check out these great tools to outsmart the restrictions and edit a PDF and master those gray boxes […]

9 Tips for Hosting Captivating Video Calls

Advances in communications technology and Internet infrastructure have brought us to the place where video conferencing is more than a reality – it’s a necessity, for many businesses. Video calls are regularly used for internal meetings, sales presentations, and more. They enable a team to work together despite geographic barriers, and they give participants the ability to communicate nonverbally as well as with words. Yet, video calls can become staid and dry, just like any other type of meeting. If you want to host captivating video calls that engage your participants, here are some places to start: Start with quality […]

Can An iPad Replace A Laptop

As the new school year approaches, the question I get asked most often is, “Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?” Apple’s Steve Jobs has asserted that we are living in a “post-PC world”. can an iPad replace a laptop? To test the theory, I traveled to Florida with my 2-year old, bearing my iPad 2 but no laptop. When an article needed editing, I realized that while it would be possible for the iPad to do everything I needed, it wasn’t going to work for me straight out of the box. It needed modification. If you are considering […]

Computer Upgrades: Hard Drives, Part 2

The most vulnerable part of a hard drive is its moving parts. The disk spins, the spindle arm moves to read data, all the while creating heat, friction, and an opportunity to break when the moving stops. The next generation of hard drives – solid state drives and hybrid drives -attempt to rectify this by eliminating the spinning and swinging. However there are some tradeoffs: less storage and higher price. Is it worth upgrading? Solid state drives (SSDs) are a flash storage device, meaning they work like a USB flash drive, just without the USB part. While from the outside, […]

Job Hunting Grads: Social Media Warning (With Infographic)

Once your little prodigy has diploma fast in hand, she may be eager to jump into “the real world,” and go job hunting online. When I was entering the workforce, this meant polishing up the resume and hitting the want ads. Yet in today’s socially connected internet space, the foray into life after school is rife with more hidden pitfalls. In January 2012, Microsoft released data from a study they commissioned about consumer behaviors online. After polling more than 5,000 respondents, the study found that 14% of adults surveyed report negative consequences resulting from their online activities. Of those reporting […]

Travel Tips: Best Apps for the Summer

Summertime is all about fun under the sun and now this even includes apps for your smartphone. Whether you’re looking for show times at your local drive-in theater, recipes for a great backyard BBQ, or the best beaches to hit on your vacation to the coast, there’s an app out there just waiting for you to download and tryout. Here’s a look at some of the top apps for summer. GateGuru Summetime is all about hitting the airports to head off to some elegant resort, or an awesome beach, or even to a family reunion across the country. Unfortunately, airports […]

Cyber Bullying: Protecting Your Kids Online

Nerd Chicks love a happy ending. Cliff hangers at the end of our favorite TV shows drive us nuts. After last weeks discussion of types of cyber bullying and the ways our kids are at risk, you may have been left thinking, ‘Ok, now that we’re sufficiently concerned, what’s a parent to do?’ Never fear, this week we’re exploring ways to reduce the risk that your child will become a victim of cyber bullying. Disclaimer time: you know your kids and your family best. Some parents may be comfortable with a more hands off approach involving open communication with a […]

Online Computer Repair: Is It Safe?

These days, we want everything fast, from food to computer repairs. If you’ve seen the TV ads for iYogi.net, you may have wondered, “How can a tech in India fix a computer in Nantucket?” I’m here to unravel some of the mystery of Internet-based tech support or online computer repair. Whether you take a faulty computer to a repair shop or have a tech come to you, it can take days or even weeks to get your system back on its feet. The major benefit of online computer repair is that in many cases it’s immediate. Answer a few questions, […]

Father’s Day Gift Ideas: Nerd Dad Day

There is a relatively pervasive voice in my head that whispers, “Hallmark Holiday” whenever Mother’s Day or Father’s Day approaches. Yet there’s no denying that reminding our loved ones of their importance can’t be bad. If possible, I prefer giving time and attention to mom or dad over wrapping up a gift or emailing a card. Here are some ideas to tap your inner Nerd and give dad some quality time this Father’s Day. Whether you treasure memories of building a rocket out of Legos with your dad or want to establish a legacy of exploration with your own child, […]

How To Help Kids Deal With Social Media Cyber Bullying

From Facebook, to Twitter, to Foursquare, social media sites are everywhere and full of virtual land mines for our teens. They can quickly become a victim of cyber bullying. Anything they say can and may be used against them by a bully at school, a college admissions counselor or a future boss. There are numerous ways they’re exposed to the world, from harsh life lessons to predators and scam artists. It’s important for parents to teach them how to navigate social media safely, and avoid cyber bullying. Our mom used to say, “Never put anything in writing that you don’t […]

Want a New Computer? What You Need to Know Now!

Buying a new computer can be almost as stressful as buying a new car. How do you find the best fit for your needs without blowing your budget? If you sign on for all the bells and whistles, or have your heart set on a top-of-the-line Mac, that new computer could set you back more than a down payment on a Civic. Before you pull out your credit card, let’s review some options so you can pick the right machine. New Computer: The Best PC: Desktop: A desktop PC is usually the most appropriate PC option for a family in which […]

Computer parts: CPU, Hard Drive, Giga…what?

Going Back to school is a great time to take advantage of retailers competing for parent’s dollars, and finally upgrade from that old Windows 98 machine limping along in your basement. In fact, please do yourself a favor, if you still have windows 98, please upgrade! However, between gigabytes and megabytes, the component descriptions can be harder to decipher than your teenager’s last six text messages. From RAM to hard drive to software, how does the non-nerd decide what’s worth upgrading, and what to forego to save a few bucks? Allow me to demystify some of the tech terms so […]

What To Do Before You Call Tech Support

I am clueless when it comes to appliances. More than once I have called out a repair person to fix my dishwasher or dryer, only to discover that the power cable is loose, or that the exhaust is clogged with lint. A little basic troubleshooting could have saved me $100 or so (luckily for you, Nerds On Call doesn’t charge for estimates), if only I’d known what easy things to try before having someone out. Over the years at Nerds on Call I have discovered that there are some simple things that fix a surprising number of computer problems, and […]

Best Computer Repair: Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know.

Computer repair is like taking your car to the mechanic, at least for most of us. As much as I depend on my car, it’s a mystery how all the parts work together to get me down the road. This lack of fundamental understanding of the car’s inner workings makes me feel vulnerable and out of control every time the mechanic tells me what’s wrong, and what needs to be done to fix it. If he tells me it’s the flux capacitor, how would I know if I was being taken for a ride? That makes it especially hard to […]

Computer Upgrades: Hard Drives, Part 1

My computer repair company services thousands of PCs each year.  In my experience, there are some constants: no one’s computer or Internet speed is ever fast enough and all hard drives will eventually fail. Hard drives physically fail more than any other internal component: no surprise, given it’s the workhorse of your PC or laptop.  This data-storage and data-retrieval device consists of one or more “hard” discs that spins really fast and a read/write spindle that accesses and records data on the disc.  I liken it to a record player (remember those?).  Now ponder that the ability of your system […]

Computer Problems: Dirty Little Tech Mistakes

I ate breakfast in front of my computer for over a year before that fateful day when a coffee-in-the-laptop accident made me change my ways. Well, at least my habits involving liquids in proximity to electronics.  You’re probably saying you’ll never have computer problems like this… until you do. Here are ten more high-tech bad habits to break: 1. Computer Problems: Bad Password Practices.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever used 123456 as your password.  The most popular passwords are also the worst: password, letmein, abc123.   If your password makes the list, it’s time to get more creative.  Try using […]

4 Essential Tech Travel Tips

Whether you’re taking the kids to Disney World for the first time this summer, or making the yearly migration to Grandma’s house, there are many things you can do to help ensure that the trip a success.  Here are some tech travel tips to help you travel smarter and save money. Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to get there.  With both gas and airline ticket prices skyrocketing, it can be tough to determine the most cost effective route to your destination.  Try to factor in the value of your time, and the equation is even harder to decipher.  […]

Why You Should Upgrade Windows NOW!

Your computer’s operating system is the most integral part of how your machine functions. It determines how you view and launch programs, how stable software runs, and how your desktop looks and functions. Whether you’re nursing a trusty Windows XP machine or have resigned yourself to living with Vista, the prospect of “upgrade windows” can be daunting. There are a number of reasons to consider making the leap. Let’s face it, change isn’t always good. Anyone using Windows Vista can attest to that. It seems Microsoft is doomed to release a dud every decade; before Vista it was ME (Millennium […]

Cyber bullying: What It’s All About

As a computer repair company we feel a responsibility, not just to fix computers, but to also be a positive influence in the world of technology. These days we spend more of our lives online than ever before and our kids are certainly no exception. Parents and caregivers hear more and more about the risks our kids are exposed to on the internet and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the flood of risks and tips. One question we get over and over from parents is how to protect their family from cyber bullying. In this 2-part series, we’ll explain […]

Slow Computer? Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM

The term RAM is probably pretty familiar. You may know it as memory and that it affects the speed of your PC, laptop, or handheld electronics. But will upgrading and adding more RAM speed up a slow computer? If you need a clear distinction, check out our article on memory vs storage here. The amount of RAM in your system is the primary factor in how fast it boots up, launches programs, navigates between them, and responds to your inputs. If you have too little RAM for the amount of tasks you ask your system to perform, it will run […]

How to Take Better Photos With Your Smartphone

Are you on Pinterest? How about Facebook or Google + or even Reddit? Now ask yourself what makes these sites so engaging and fun to participate in? That’s right—we’re addicted making and sharing photographs. Back in the olden days of the late 1990s it used to take an expensive camera to make good digital photos, but now-a-days many of us are running around with powerful Smartphone cameras in our pockets at all times. So how can you make sure the social pictures you take stand out in your friends’ streams? Taking quality photos with your phone isn’t particularly challenging, but […]

Travel Tips: Unplug from the Internet on vacation

If you’re going on holiday this year, you’re probably already counting down the days. It’s a chance to escape the daily stress of work and family life and take some time out to re-charge those batteries. However, with more and more of us living our lives online, it can be incredibly hard to escape the internet – particularly because it’s everywhere. From Wi-Fi in cafes and restaurants, to computers in hotel lobbies – resisting the internet can be incredibly difficult when you’re on holiday. However, if you succumb to logging on when you’re on holiday (and many of us do), […]

Spring Clean: 1 in 6 Phones Have Poop on Them

Spring Clean Your Computer, iPhone, or Gadgets When I’m greeted by a fine layer of yellow pollen dust coating my car, I know that Spring has sprung. The brighter days and open windows lead many of us to notice the layer of dust that has also settled indoors, followed by a mental note to pull out the Swiffer. It’s easy to neglect some of the things that need our spring cleaning attention more than anything else our hard-used gadgets. While at our fingertips 24/7, these workhorses get grungy. Keyboard and Mouse—The Worst Offenders You probably touch your keyboard and mouse […]

Use Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest to follow the candidates

From 24-hour news streams to Facebook rants about hot-button issues, the Internet allows so many voices to shout that it can feel like a lot of noise. Yet it also allows the candidates to present themselves and what they stand for, communicating with constituents in a way that is unparalleled. I searched out where to go to see what they have to say, not what CNN, MSNBC or Fox News wants me to hear. The best place to start is at each candidate’s website: Use the candidate’s name followed by .com (not .gov as I anticipated). You don’t have to […]

Travel tips: Easy Prep To Avoid a Ruined Trip

You may have a nifty waterproof case, but there’s more you can do to get the most out of your tech while you’re away from home. Before you head out on that much needed vacation, use our travel tips to prep your tech for the road. Sync your stuff. If you have i-devices or use cloud services such as Dropbox, sync before you leave home so that all your documents, photos, music and videos are up to date, especially if you won’t have access to the Internet while you’re gone. This will also ensure that little Tommy doesn’t riot when […]

4 Secrets Online Job Hunting

How To: Online Job Hunting If you’re one of the millions of Americans looking for work, the Internet can be a key resource, albeit a daunting one. Spend time searching through Monster.com online job listings, and you may even argue that the Internet is counter-productive to your job hunt. However, a discussion paper written in September 2011 for The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, found that Internet job searching “reduces individual workers’ unemployment durations by about 25 percent.” Here’s how to use the Web to connect with the right people for your job hunt.  Ironically, the […]

Easy and Reliable Internet Research–When to “Google It”

Most of us use the Internet as a trusted source of information, whether you’re trying to remember the name of your favorite actor, or learn more about a medical condition. However, the quality of material you receive when you “Google it” varies extensively in its accuracy, reliability and value. Here’s how to sift through the mass quantities of data and feel confident that what you’re reading can be believed. Goals First, what is the goal of your online search? If you’re looking for a new cookie recipe, professional accountability of the source probably isn’t as important as when you’re looking […]

Mother’s Day—Tech Treats Just for Her

Give the Gift of Time As a mom, I’ve discovered that technology typically falls into two categories: that which makes my life easier (by making me more efficient, helping me to connect with loved ones, etc.), or that which makes my life harder (by taking too much time to learn, use or master). As a daughter, I’ve discovered that some of the items that fall into the first category for me fall into the second category for my mom. This makes Mother’s Day a great opportunity to share the gift of time to help mom get comfortable with a procedure, […]

BEWARE! The Latest Scams – Arm Yourself and Outsmart those Thieves

I’m a big fan of technology making life easier. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for scam artists to target potential victims. For many, the relative newness of using email and Web access for banking, shopping and paying bills leaves them vulnerable to crooks looking to steal personal information for financial gain. Trust your instincts and arm yourself with knowledge to protect yourself from these common scams: – “Your account has been compromised.” Whether you receive this notice via email, text or telephone, you’re typically directed to a website that downloads malicious software onto your computer or requests that you […]

Computer Repair: What to buy now that can save you later

You don’t have to buy the latest, top-of-the-line option every time you shop for technology. I know I risk being shunned by the nerd community for saying it, but there are times to splurge and times to save. This doesn’t apply to some people — gamers, graphic designers, photographers and others — with special requirements for their computers and gadgets. However, many computer users have a basic set of technology needs that can be met without shelling out a lot of money for the best of the best. Surprisingly, you can shop for a deal on desktop or tower PCs. […]

Re-Purpose Old Tech to get the Most out of Them

“Every year, tons of electronics are thrown in the garbage, creating a severe worldwide e-waste problem. Still, most of us love our gadgets and pine for the newest versions when they’re released.” What should we do with our tech leftovers so we don’t contribute to the dilemma? ‘a0Here are some ways to re-purpose your old PC, Smartphone or monitor that will help you get more life out of it while taking care of Mother Earth. Make a Media Center —Your PC or laptop isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer anymore, but it can still be a useful media storage […]

Some tech tips for going more green for Earth Day

Do you find it odd that we dedicate full days, or weeks, to celebrate things like General Pulaski Memorial Day and National Dairy Goat Awareness Week? When I was younger, I viewed Earth Day in a similar fashion. Sure, I’d recycle bottles and cans, but only if it was convenient and I certainly wasn’t going to pay more or go out of my way. Now that I have a family of my own, the idea of finite resources has more impact. Unfortunately, my need for things to be easy and cost-effective remains, perhaps more so now that it’s driven by […]

How Pinterest Is Transforming Social Media

I’m a Facebook addict. I had to “LOL” when I read a statistic that the average user spends about seven hours every month on Facebook. When several friends started posting about Pinterest, exclaiming, “Wow, this is more addictive than Facebook,” I thought, “uh-oh.” The last thing I need is another compulsion. Still, my curiosity got the best of me. Here’s the scoop. Pinterest is a social, image-sharing website that functions like a shareable scrapbook. You “pin” images to your virtual board from the Internet, other users’ boards or your own computer. Create theme-based image collections for all of your interests, […]

Recycling Websites to Save the World

By: Andrea Eldrige. I have a lengthy list of things I should do but don’t get around to, such as cleaning out the garage. A little monetary persuasion pushes me to action. With the approach of Earth Day (April 22) and the fact that I really need to get on with reducing, reusing and recycling, I’ve found some technical solutions for going green that sometimes even make some greenbacks. Recyclebank First stop is Recyclebank.com, website of a New York-based firm that awards points for recycling, participating in contests, watching videos with eco-friendly tips or taking surveys from sponsors such as […]

How To Keep Teens Safe Behind The Wheel

Parents of teenage drivers inwardly struggle every time their child gets behind the wheel, hoping that their teen is “doing the right thing,” refraining from speeding and not driving distractedly. Statistics affirm that teens with involved parents are involved in fewer accidents and exhibit overall better driving. Driver’s education provides them with the rules of the road, but it’s not enough. Here some techno-tools to add to your arsenal. Start the conversation about your safe-driving expectations early and check in with your teen on an ongoing basis. You’ll probably receive some eye rolls, but remind them that the rules you […]

Hilarious April Fools’ Day Tech Pranks

I am extremely gullible. I once believed that my husband had scaled the Disneyland Matterhorn on a drunken dare. Never mind the fact that he doesn’t drink and I’m pretty sure that it’s impossible. If you can say it with a straight face, I will likely believe it. I tell myself that it’s my eternal optimism that makes me believe, but whatever it is makes April Fool’s Day fraught with opportunity for those around me. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that we are a family of Nerds. This means that I’ve been duped by plenty of tech pranks over the years. […]

What More Can A Google Search Do?

It’s simple to Google, but it’s not always easy to get it right. We’ve all been frustrated by typing something into the search bar, only to be bombarded with a bunch of junk: pages of search results, filled with Web links from questionable sources. Results that aren’t what you were looking for. Google is unquestionably the most popular search engine, with an estimated 900 million unique visitors every month, according to eBizMBA, which compiles website statistics. Its nearest competitor, Bing, gets an estimated 165 million unique visitors every month by comparison. It would be impossible to give tips for every […]

Blogging Project: How Anyone Can Start A Blog

      Blogging is no longer just for the online-savvy. It’s for anyone who wants to share a little bit of themselves with the world. When our son was born, my husband started a blog chronicling every little coo and giggle so our friends and family could share in the experience as he grew. The site still draws readers several years later. One of my friends, a fantastic cook, created a blog to share her inventive recipes. I’m far more inclined to try something off her site than out of a cookbook. Before you bust out the laptop and […]

Free Tax Prep Resources 2012

By: Andrea Eldridge April will be here before you know it, and so will that mid-month deadline for filing your tax returns. If you haven’t already tried electronic filing, give it a go. But with so many programs that offer roughly the same service, how’s a tax e-filer to choose? I checked out some popular options so you wouldn’t have to. I’m not sure if it’s intentional, but the pricing plans offered by some of the major tax preparation services — TurboTax, H&R Block and FreeTax USA — are confusing. Their home pages are emblazoned with the word “free,” but […]

DIY: How To Fix A Broken Wireless Network

Once you have a wireless network set up in your home or office, it should work seamlessly about 80% of the time. The remaining 20% will likely cause you to tear your hair out. Before you resign yourself to your Sudoku book the next time you can’t get online, here are some basic tips to keep your wireless network fully operational. If you need a primer on WiFi, read our article “What is WiFi?” first.   If Your network was working fine yesterday and suddenly today you can’t get online. Whether you set up your own network or hire a […]

4 Things Everyone Should Read Before They Buy A New Printer

      By: Andrea Eldridge As ironic as it may seem coming from the girl who a few short months ago wrote an article about how to get by without a printer, the reality is that life is still easier if you have one around. In this two-part series we’ll review all you need to know when picking a printer. Printer specifications are their own special language. Ink jet, laser, DPI, ppm seriously, where’s the human-to-printer dictionary? The truth is that certain functions and abilities are going to matter more to different users, and everyone wants to balance price […]

15 Keyboard Shortcuts That Will Save You 15 Days During Your Lifetime

Every time I find an easier way to do something it’s a small victory. When it’s something I do all the time, like finding a shortcut to the office or a quicker way to make dinner, it’s even sweeter. There are some easy shortcuts to accomplish common tasks in Windows. Shaving a couple mouse or key strokes may not seem like a big deal, but you’d be surprised how big of an impact they can make on your day to day. I use copy, cut and paste all the time. I used to highlight the text, right-click, choose “Copy,” then […]

Yep, They’re Watching

You think the things that you do online are between you and your computer. Not so. Your cyber-privacy is constantly being chipped away: by your Internet provider, your cellphone carrier and lawmakers. Before you post to a social-media site or browse the Internet for that report you’re compiling on pedophiles, keep in mind how your actions online are anything but private. At issue is the struggle to protect privacy rights while fighting the online theft of American intellectual property. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives shelved its proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA (H.R. 3261). The legislation’s surface […]

How To Date Like A Nerd

      By: Andrea Eldridge Before I joined the ranks of happily married mommies, I was a single girl once.’a0After college, I learned that anyone who held to not dating from their pool of coworkers had a relatively narrow field of potential mate options. Bar hopping requires fending off drunken advances and getting set up by your friends involves a lot of baggage: “what do you mean you didn’t like my favorite cousin Melvin?” These days, online dating allows singles to cyber-meet before committing to a face-to-face, a great way to get a hint of compatibility before giving out […]

When You Know Better, You Do Better: iTunes U Is Educating A Generation

      Itunes U: A new kind of learning, for a new generation. By: Andrea Eldridge The day my husband handed his iPad to our 2-year-old, I cringed, fearful of the $700 device’s imminent destruction and of introducing technology at perhaps far too young an age. But after seeing how quickly he picked up easy lessons on colors, matching and numbers from his first interactions with “Monkey Preschool Lunchbox” (a 99-cent app), I swallowed my protests. Anecdotal evidence aside, recent studies have shown that working with a touch-screen tablet and an interactive learning application can improve test scores of […]

7 Apps That Will Save Every Mom Time And Money

      By: Andrea Eldridge As a mom and a CEO (of Nerds On Call Computer Repair), I understand wanting to get the most out of every minute of every day. As much as I love tech, I’m not going to waste time that I could be spending planning my kids’ birthday parties on figuring out confusing apps or programs. There are precious few minutes in the day as it is, and technology should help you to make the most of them. To help you join the ranks of the tech-efficient, I’ve compiled a list of some of my […]

New Facebook Timeline: Tips, FAQs and Need To Knows

By: Andrea Eldridge I’ve been dragging my heels about adopting Timeline, the Facebook profile introduced in September. I haven’t wanted to accept that my comfy, familiar profile will soon be gone for good. But there’s no delaying anymore: Facebook announced last week that “over the next few weeks, everyone will get Timeline.” Instead of waiting for Timeline to be sprung on you, I’d suggest that you jump in now and spend a few hours on www.facebook.com/about/timeline. Watch the tutorial video. Then click the “Get Timeline” button to get started, which I find preferable to logging in one day to a […]

Sexy Tech: Use Technology To Spice Up Your Relationship

-HAPPY VALENTINES DAY FROM NERDS ON CALL     I’ll admit it: I’ve never been much of a romantic.I love spending time with my hubby, going out to dinner and a movie, or just curling up on the couch to watch a movie together, but I’ve never been very creative in thinking up ideas to “spice things up.” This Valentine’s Day, I resolved to use my tech resources to think outside the box. Here are some places you can go for ideas to put a little fire into your relationship. The Dating Divas My first stop was a visit to […]

CES 2012: Dell ‘ultrabook,’ Nokia Lumia 900 draw kudos

Every January, thousands of industry professionals and gadget-lovers flock to Las Vegas for the nerd Mecca, the Consumer Electronics Show. The recent gathering showcased tech toys slated to hit the market in the coming year, providing a shopping list for those who are first in line for everything new and cool, and more of a wish list for the rest of us. Ultrabooks Among the highlights was the “ultrabook,” a super-thin and lightweight notebook that’s bigger and more functional than a tablet, but more portable than a traditional laptop. Every major manufacturer had its models, but my favorite was the […]

Online Banking Finally Explained And Made Easy

A new year is a great time to explore new goals or recommit to ones you’ve had for a while.’a0My ongoing goal is to use technology to make my life easier, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in what I’m used to and not explore new tools.’a0Managing my finances is one area where I’ve only halfheartedly taken advantage of the advances in the digital age to simplify. With the arrival of kiddo No. 2, this year I’ve resolved to make my life easier by finally exploring more ways to take care of my banking online. I know, I know, […]

How To Pick The Right Web Browser

Think of your web browser as your window into Internet, web pages and applications. Which browser should you choose, and what security measures should you take to protect your view? (For more information on your browser, read our article What is a Browser?) The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. Internet Explorer — preinstalled on all Windows machines — used to dominate but now Chrome does with 40 percent of all users. People primarily try out a new browser for appearance and ease of use, but security should be a concern, too. Choosing […]

4 Time Saving Apps & Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier

This year, we have a renewed dedication to using technology to make my life easier. With precious few minutes to waste in the day, it seems like certain technological “advances” actually cause me to waste more time than they save. Here are some great resources to turn the tables and have your tech tools work for you again. 1: It’s impossible is for me to keep track of my phone. I can actually have it in my hand while I’m looking for it. Even though I realize I’m an extreme case, everyone has misplaced a phone between the couch cushions […]

Question & Answer | Nerds On Call

    Q&A: These are real questions by real people. We figured if someone wanted to know enough to email us, maybe you’re out there secretly wondering the same thing.   Do I Need An Anti-Virus Program On My Kindle? Q: Is an anti-virus program necessary on a Kindle Fire tablet? A: The short answer is that any gadget that connects to the Internet should have an anti-virus program installed on it. In theory, because the Kindle Fire uses an Android operating system, you should be able to install any Android compatible app by going to the company’s website from […]

New Years Eve Resolutions For Your Computer

      As we venture into 2012, let’s resolve to ditch bad computing habits. Resolve to stay virus free: This year, take the’a0necessary’a0steps to keep viruses and spyware off your computer. Every day, frustrated computer users call about slow systems that are bogged down with pop-up ads, re-directing them on the Internet, generating error messages or preventing booting up. The most common culprits are viruses and spyware or malware. Le me repeat my mantra: Install a free anti-virus and anti-spyware program such as Microsoft Security Essentials, and set it to automatically download and install updates. If you haven’t done […]

Do You Still Need A Printer?

      One of the more inefficient habits that I can’t seem to break myself of is stubbornly maintaining a paper trail in a digital world. I print confirmations of online purchases, email correspondence, even documents sent to me electronically. I can’t explain it. If pressed I readily admit that it’s unnecessary and less secure, and yet I’d probably print out our email conversation, just to have it on file. However, as portable electronics become more popular and cloud-based applications get more integrated into our day-to-day lives, printers will surely go the way of fax machines. Here are some […]

Smartphone 101: Which Cellphone Should You Use?

Confession: It took me a long time to abandon my old flip-phone. I had just gotten the hang of texting on it and I really didn’t want to shell out the extra 30 bucks a month for the data package.When I finally decided to make the switch, I chose an iPhone, but I have many friends who swear by their Android and Windows 7 phones. If you’ve finally decided to ditch the old phone and make the switch to a smartphone, how do you decide which one is right for you? Here’s the skinny on what each of the smartphone […]

How To Clear Personal Data From Old Devices

Before You give away your computer or cellphone, make sure you permanently delete your personal information from the hard drive. If you were fortunate enough to receive a new tech gadget this holiday season, it can be a great opportunity to donate or sell an older device that you no longer need. Before you send it off, keep in mind that most electronic items contain a wealth of personal information that you want to ensure doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Whether you’re handing down your laptop to your teenager, giving your old phone to Uncle Fred, or donating your […]

Those Presents Are Going To Need Batteries & Cables

If you splurged on that perfect gadget gift, you’ve probably imagined an ecstatic squeal accompanying its discovery. But if you extend that fantasy five minutes, is the scene as jubilant? Gadget givers everywhere forget to make their toys useable straight out of the box, leading to frustration before the fun can begin. So, here are my last-minute reminders to make your tech gifts truly perfect. #1 Make sure portable electronics are charged. If they require batteries, add them before the gift goes under the tree. If it’s too late for that, make sure you have the appropriate batteries on hand […]

How To Guide: Stress Free Gadget Set Up

Online How to Guide: The easiest way to set up your Christmas Toys! Once the wrapping paper is piled in the corner and the toys have been wrestled from their packaging, you’ll realize that now you have to figure out how to get all your new gadgets and gizmos set up and configured. Talk about a post-holiday letdown. Before you send your spouse out to quiz the neighborhood teenagers about their experience with electronics configuration, there are some great online how to guides to help you get all of your new holiday loot up and running, without turning to the […]

Last Minute Gift Ideas

      The other day someone mentioned to me, very casually, that they’d had their holiday shopping done since Halloween. What? How is that even possible? I scramble every year for at least one or two people who I still haven’t decided on and inevitably end up with some sad mug filled with stale taffy ’97 all that was left on the Target holiday shelf on the day before Christmas. As much as I curse myself for procrastinating and vow to do better next year, I haven’t been able to break my pattern ’97 until now. I’ve discovered some […]

The 6 Best Gift Cards Gift Ideas

      Despite my best intentions to give personalized gifts to everyone on my holiday list, at least one or two people always end up with a gift card. Deep down I can’t shake the feeling that I’m calling it in. This year, I’ve resolved to consider gifting some great online services, a gift that keeps on giving, month after month. The Best Gift Cards For Music Lovers: There are several great options to stream music either to a computer or to any number of wireless-enabled personal electronic devices. Streaming music has gotten really popular — and really easy. […]

Tech Gift Guide For Kids

      Every holiday season, retailers release a bevy of new toys and electronics aimed at capturing the attention of our little ones. While little Jane may be cooing, “Oooohh!” many of us are moaning, “Arghh! How am I supposed to pick among four versions of Nintendo handheld products?” Never fear, the Nerd Chicks are here to share our “Buy This, Not That” tips to navigate the sea of choices and ensure you’re up to the challenge of finding your kids the perfect gadget. Does anyone else remember fondly the days when there was only one choice in handheld […]

Video Game Gift Ideas

By: Andrea Eldridge. Id wager that just about everyone has a video game lover on their holiday list this year. From the armchair commando hunting down fellow players on Xbox live to the dedicated World of Warcraft dwarf, gaming has become a recreation activity for at least one or two members of most American households. As one of the few holdouts in my family that is not active in this virtual community, it can be challenging to find the perfect gift for the gamers in my life. After much polling and research, here are my suggestions to please just about […]

Buy This Not That: Ladies Edition

One of the sweetest parts of giving a gift to someone you care about is that excited, ‘I love it!’ response, especially when you know that it’s genuine. Sadly, it can be surprisingly elusive this time of year. With so many gadgets on your loved one’s must-have lists, how’s a holiday shopper to find the perfect gift that won’t get added to the return or exchange pile? Don’t resign yourself to that tired gift card. I humbly offer for your consideration my ‘Buy This, Not That’ picks for the women in your life. Not to worry if your husband is […]

Cyber Monday: A Resource Guide To The Best Deals & Sites

As seen on Good Day Sacramento. Cyber Monday Resource Guide. It’92s Cyber Monday, the day online retailers roll out their best deals and slashed prices to lure you to spend your shopping dollars online. There are great deals to be had on tech, electronics, and much more, without ever leaving your PJs. Did you miss out on today’92s Cyber Monday Segment on Good Day Sacramento? Never fear NERDS have the coolest and best products you were looking for right here. Still wanting to do your Cyber Monday Shopping? Check out a couple of the best places to find deals…   […]

Nerdy Stocking Stuffers

By: Andrea Eldridge Its fun to be a nerd chick in a time when being called a nerd is no longer an insult. From video gamers to Star Wars lovers to gadget collectors, we all have nerds in our lives. As the holidays approach, many of you will be wondering where to find a suitably cool gift for your own nerdy friends or family members. This week we’92ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite places for fun nerd toys, gear, and clothes. For the nerd who has everything,Think Geek offers an awesome selection of gifts for anyone […]

What is the Best Tablet: Kindle Fire vs The Nook

One of the hottest items on many a gadget lover’s holiday list is a tablet PC, often the iPad. Just in time to muddy the waters, two more budget-friendly tablet e-readers have arrived on the market. I’ll review their pros and cons. The primary draw of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet is undoubtedly price. The Kindle Fire starts at $199 and the Nook starts at $249 — both considerably less than Apple’s iPad2, which this week could be found online for $541 and up. Both e-readers offer ultra-clear, 7-inch, full-color touch screens and weigh about 14 […]

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

      Every year I vow to try something new for Thanksgiving and every year I end up making the same tried and true staples. As the food preparation checklist gets longer and the day looms closer, the thought of trying something untested and possibly ruining a dish I serve to my friends and family shouts down any lingering dream of getting creative. However, I’92ve discovered that, as with so many things, the internet has a wealth of resources to make trying something new this holiday season easier and less risky. Perhaps this is the year for pumpkin souffl’e9 […]

How Your Computer Can Help With Thanksgiving Party Planning

There are certain things that seem to sneak up on me over and over. Dentist appointments (who remembers an appointment they made six months ago?), flu season (I think my aversion to shots makes me resist this one), and daylight savings are always here before I expect them. I really have no excuse for the fact that Thanksgiving can be included in this list. How is it that, despite the fact that I host every year, I still find myself two days before the holiday with no turkey, no table extension, and no grocery list? This year I’92m vowing to […]

Introducing the iPhone 4s

There are certain things in ’93Nerd Land’94 that make my husband giddy: the release of a new Call of Duty game for Xbox, a well-done Star Wars spoof, or an announcement of a new product or upgrade from Apple. He’92s what I lovingly refer to as an Apple fan-boy. The release of the new iPhone 4s led to a near instant debate of how he could get it soonest; wait in line at the store or pre-order? Meanwhile, I shook my head and wondered, is it really all that different from the iPhone 4? Why didn’t Apple release the iPhone […]

Planning The Perfect Halloween

      Planning the Perfect Halloween By: Andrea Eldridge Every year when I see the Halloween candy and costumes hit the store shelves, I get just a little bit anxious. From planning costumes, to mapping out a trick or treating route, to d’e9cor, to what to pass out, this spooky celebration can be a lot of work! If you’92re throwing your very own ghost and goblin soiree, there’92s even more on your to-do. This week, Nerd Chicks explore some of our favorite resources to help you have a fun and safe Halloween. Helpful Halloween Websites! Halloween Recipes, Costumes and […]

Windows 8 Preview

I’m not a big fan of change. It took me five years with the same haircut to finally try bangs. When Microsoft announced at their developer’s conference on September 13th that they are releasing a new version of Windows, I received the news less enthusiastically than my nerdy cohorts. However, just as my Keurig coffeemaker took some getting used to before I discovered its awesomeness, change can sometimes be well worth it. I took Windows 8 developer’92s preview out for a spin to see if it’s something I can drag my stubborn self on board for. Windows 8 is significantly […]

In Case Of (Electronic) Emergency

By: Heather Neal : Recently, Heather experienced electronic calamity. Here is her story. About a month ago, I was sitting in front of my laptop, eating my breakfast and drinking my morning coffee. I reached forward to type a witty response to my friend’s Facebook post, when disaster struck. I caught the edge of my cup just right with my hand and (in slow motion) my coffee spilled on my laptop. In a panic, I hit the power button and immediately flipped my laptop upside down. I watched in horror as coffee and cream seeped out of the keys. Oh […]

The World’s Best Free Downloads (part2)

(Read Part 1) Like the familiar route you take to work every day, or the path your dog walks you on every night, we all find ourselves doing things out of habit even when there may be a faster or easier way. There’s some process you follow to get online, get your email, or watch a video file, that’s a little odd or hard to explain, but you’re used to it. Step out of your comfort zone, just a little, and one of the following programs may make your computing experience a whole lot easier. #6 Download Pidgin: Instant messaging has become […]

The Worlds Best Free Downloads

Though my job is to discover new things technology can do to make life easier, I am a creature of habit. I rarely deviate from using the same few programs and applications. Just like when I was 7 and my mom finally convinced me to try broccoli again, sometimes branching out from a comfort zone can lead to wonderful discoveries. This week and next, I’m suggesting some downloadable programs that are worth taste testing. In my opinion, these are the best free downloads in the world. #1 Download: Google Chrome.  If you’re still surfing the net using the old, familiar […]

Social Networking Help

Almost everyone is on Facebook, as of 2011 there are 700 million Facebook members. If you have waited until now to set up your account, or if you just want someone to help you figure out some of Facebook’s features, give us a call. Our Nerds offer friendly, and easy to understand tutoring. We can help you set up any account, and help you learn to use it. If you would like to set up social networks for your small business, we offer additional graphic design services to help brand your account. Set up personal or business profiles on any […]

Apple and Mac Networking

Would you like to network your home Apple computers? We can two or more computers together. We can network iMacs with Macbook laptops, or even PC computers with Apples. If you want, we can even network your coffee pot to your computer. Call for a free in-home consultation, Apple Computer Networking Services Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air Networks iMac Network iPad Network iPhone Network Pc Computer and Apple Computer Network How can you network a Mac and a Pc? Easily, our Nerds can connect almost any type of computer device. Apple TV Network Nerds On Call offers free estimates, you […]

The Best IT Jobs, An Overview Of The Tech Industry

    By: Andrea Eldridge The Tech industry is a booming business, despite that the country is still recovering from a recession. Technology and electronics continue to outperform other major industries. To put the tech industry in perspective, of the 5,000 companies on the 2011 INC. 5000, 999 of them were tech companies. That is a whopping 19.98%. So almost 20% of the fastest growing, private American companies are in one of the following fields, IT, Computer Hardware or Computer Software. Our industry offers opportunities today that didn’t even exist five years ago (can anyone say Smartphone apps). I’m glad […]

5 Easy Steps To A Clean Computer

Long summer days with the kids downloading all manner of Internet sludge has likely left your computer with the technology equivalent of a hangover. Before you give in to your kids’ pleas to replace your old reliable, try a few simple things to help you get back to a clean computer. After all, your computer needs to run smoothly for schoolwork (at least until winter break). Clean Computer Tip #1 Run your antivirus and antispyware: I know, I know, you’re probably tired of me saying it. However, when the kids have been wreaking havoc on your system all summer, it’s […]

HELP! How To Clean Up Your Computer.

Long summer days with the kids downloading all manner of Internet sludge has likely left your computer with the technology equivalent of a hangover. Before you give in to your kids’ pleas to replace your old reliable, try a few simple things to help your computer get back on track. After all, your computer needs to run smoothly for schoolwork (at least until winter break). #1 Run your antivirus and antispyware. I know, I know, you’re probably tired of me saying it. However, when the kids have been wreaking havoc on your system all summer, it’s highly likely that viruses […]

A New Age Of Note Taking

By: Heather Neal While I have no intention of admitting my age, in “my day” taking notes in class could be a harrowing experience. I would scribble as fast as I could while the teacher rattled off information way too fast, then run back to my dorm room to try to fill in the blanks before I forgot everything I had just learned. The evolution of my technique involved taping lectures so I could try to absorb the information, then later transcribing the audio by hand. Thank goodness times have changed. These days, some amazing tools help make taking notes […]

Oops We Did It Again! Nerds On Call Made Inc. 5000

On August 23, 2011 Inc. magazine announced its fifth annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy— America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. Nerds On Call is one of the fastest growing private companies in America for a third year in a row. This year NERDS was ranked 3,010 out of 5,000 companies. Rankings based on revenue figures from 2007 through 2010. NERDS’ growth from 2007 to 2010 was 68%! You can oogle over the official article. And it all began on a dark […]

Cozy Up To This Multitasking Organizer

    #1 GET ORGANIZED WITH COZI Keeping track of a busy schedule can be overwhelming, especially if you count on the reminder cards from your dentist and vet’s office buried in the leaning tower of paperwork that constitutes your to-do list.Add kids to the mix and chaos can quickly become pandemonium. Luckily there are some great tech tools available to help you stay in control of your life, from your calendar to your to-do, even help your kids manage their school assignments. One of the ultimate online tools to keep your family organized is the free calendar, task and […]

CEO Andrea Eldridge Interview with KPTV

    Buying A New Computer For School Q: If you had to pick one thing that was the most important component of a laptop, what would it be? A:If I had to be forced to pick just one, I’d say screen size. Most people transitioning from a desktop system have to adjust to the smaller screen size, but that’s what allows for the portability. If you go too small, you’ll notice it every time you use it, too big, and you’ll notice it every time you lug it across town. Since bigger screen equates to heavier machine, I’d recommend […]

The 4 Greatest Accessories That Every Student Needs To Succeed

    Article by: Andrea Eldridge As the new school year looms, families everywhere are shopping for new computers, laptops and tablets. Yet just as no outfit is complete without the perfect shoes, there are some techno accessories that can not only simplify homework and term paper completion, but may save you from an agonizing night helping little Jane recreate the science project lost to a virus attack . Even more importantly then everything else, there are actually tools that can help aid over-all student success. Here are some must have gadgets to add to your back to school checklist. #1 The best flash […]

Don’t Break The Bank Going Back To School

  How can you save on back to school shopping? We will show you the easiest ways to save money! By: Andrea Eldridge When I was a little girl, back to school was my second favorite time of year (after Christmas, of course). I loved picking out new fall outfits and shoes, and my mom would let me get a special treat at the start of every year: a pen from the Hello Kitty store. I was in heaven. Now that I’m a mom, it’s hard not to cringe at the dollar signs plastered over the back-to-school goodies. If you […]

The Amazing Merits Of Social Media

  By: Andrea Eldridge Have you ever noticed that “Like us on Facebook”! stamp on the back of a chips or cookies package and wondered who in the world loves their snack foods so much as to want to get daily updates in their Facebook news feed? Social media has become the marketing Holy Grail. How to sell something successfully to the mass of social media users is the subject of countless how-to books and lecture series, yet few companies have really found much success. We would argue that while Facebook isn’t the best place for Dove to sing the […]

How Google+ Saved The World From Facebook

  What’s the difference between Google+ and Facebook? Imagine you’re at a party. In attendance are friends, family, co-workers, celebrities, and maybe even a politician or two. As you mingle with the crowd, you selectively share information with certain groups of people. For example you’d only want your friends to hear, “I drank too much last night, maybe I should call in sick,” not your boss or co-workers. On the other hand your friends don’t want to hear about your plan to optimize profits in the social media sector. Your conservative friends don’t want to hear your liberal rants on […]

3 Ways Technology Can Protect Your Home

    By: Andrea Eldridge My home is definitely where my heart is. As I build my house into a home, one tile and shingle at a time, I grow more and more inclined to protect my investment of sweat and, sometimes, tears. Home and personal security is definitely an area where technology has advanced in leaps and bounds. This week, I explore some ways to use technology to protect your home, and what you keep in it. Home Safety Tips #1: Home Surveillance System. Do you ever wonder what happens in your house when you’re not around? Does your […]

Summer Safety Gadgets

    The Eldridges are a summer loving family.  From lazy afternoons floating in the lake, to the cool tingle from the first lick of an ice cream cone, it’s no wonder we spend the winter counting down the days. Now that I’m a mom of a water-obsessed toddler, however, the season also brings some extra worries.  Will those new water wings make him less cautious around the pool?  Is it too hot to load him, or the dog, into the car?  What if we have car trouble when out on one of our weekend exploration drives?  Luckily I’ve found […]

The War Over The Future Of Music

  Everyone has a summer anthem. I’m partial to Will Smith’s “Summertime,” but please don’t look up when that was popular. These days, getting access to your favorite tunes is easier than ever with services that allow you to stream music to Internet-capable and mobile devices. There are even options for families like mine that cross over between Apple, Android and Windows devices. Finally, we can all just get along — and share our music again. While Google Music Beta , Apple iCloud and even Amazon Cloud duel for your loyalty, we have delved into the trenches and reviewed the […]

3 Ways To Secretly Entertain Your Kids With Education

Ahhh summer…As the sun rises, you spring from bed to make the kids a healthy breakfast before setting up the day’s roster of educational games and activities. Little Sally will be spending the day learning architecture and exploring other cultures while she builds a scale replica of the Louvre. Timmy will be splicing tomato seeds to create a new species more resistant to the summer heat. Suddenly the smell of pop-tarts burning in the toaster wakes you from your reverie to the realization: you have an hour to make it into the office, and the kids will most likely spend […]

Never Worry About Losing Those Smart Devices Again

Check out these 4 cool security apps to protect your computer!. About a month ago, I walked away from a coffee shop without my iPad. After I collected my stomach from my feet, I frantically raced back to the shop and practically offered to kiss the employee that had held it for me. I’m sure many can relate to the panic of losing a portable electronic device. Many of us carry personal and financial data on a multitude of devices — from laptops to tablets to smartphones — that can be easily lost or stolen. My experience got me thinking: […]

Five Backyard gadgets for the 4th of July 2011

  The Fourth of July is almost here. This year, make the 4th of July a time to gather friends and family, aat lots of food, play with fire(works). Of course, Nerd Chicks are always looking for ways to add some sparkle to any get-together, and your backyard barbecue is no exception. Pick up one or two of these cool tech gadgets for your upcoming party and your bash is sure to be the talk of the town!     MUSIC No party is complete without a soundtrack of great tunes, but who has time to DJ while you’re manning the barbecue? […]

Nerds On Call Reviews The 4 Most Trustworthy Movie Review Websites

In a world where your swamp cooler just isn’t enough… Our hero wilts on the couch, surrounded by melted popsicles, and a sea of rapidly deteriorating moods… Things are about to get dangerous. One family will embark on a journey that will change the course of Wednesday afternoon. “Let’s go to the movies!” exclaims Sally, and the adventure begins. How do they find out what’s playing near them? How do they find a movie that will appeal to everyone, and not be too scary or risqué for the little ones? Will they make it in time to procure tickets? Have […]

Fathers Day: Top 5 Gadgets for Dad

Let’s face it: Dad is simply the gadget-guru of the house. He programs the DVR, fixes Mom’s camera on the fly and has every tool known to man available at a moment’s notice from the garage. When it comes to trying to buy a gadget for Dad, how do you surprise a man who camps out at the local tech shop on a regular basis? If you have absolutely no idea what to buy him for father’s day, don’t panic! The Nerd Chicks are here to help, luckily for you, this is not our first rendezvous! We’ve scoured the internet […]

Features of: OSX LION Revealed!

For us Apple-ites here at Nerds, today is a big day! Apple has released information on the newest version of OSX! While it won’t be available on the App Store until July, we still can’t wait for the lastest update to our OS! Apple has promised that Lion will be more similar to the iOS software with application organization that will group all of your programs and applications, Mission Control so that you are able to see everything that is running, and multi-touch gestures on the magic mouse and track pad to give you an experience more similar to the […]

Nerds On Call Reviews Review Sites for Planning Your Trip

With summer officially here for most students, parents are planning their summer trips, but beware of review sites. Last week we highlighted unusual review sites but this week I want to talk about Oyster.com in particular. Oyster is such a great website here at Nerds we wish that they could expand. The fact that they have their own independent reviews really cuts out any suspicion that you may have regarding the amenities at a particular hotel. In the news recently there has been quite a bit of coverage on hotels that are posting false images or reviews in order to […]

Get Net Nanny For Free!

Our newest Customer Contest has just launched! We are giving away a copy of one of our favorite programs. Click this link, hop on over to our contest page and follow the 4 easy steps. All you have to do to enter our contest is click 4 buttons.    

How Many Kids Can You Take On A Road Trip?

Nerd Chick Adventures By: Andrea Eldridge. In your wild college days, the words “ROAD TRIP!” meant squeezing your friends into the back of a compact car and hitting the road. You survived on a steady diet of fast food burgers and Jolt Cola, and spent your time arguing about which songs to play, and whether Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums” or “On the Road” best captured your adventure. Now, “ROAD TRIP!” is more likely to mean squeezing the stroller into the back of your SUV and hitting the road for several sleep deprived days. Burgers are probably still a staple, but now […]

Awesome Travel Sites You’ve Never Heard Of

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The kids are getting out of school and antsy to get out of town. Don’t have the same ol’ vacation as everyone use these great travel websites to have the best vacation possible. Here is a list of the best travel sites which are chalked up with deals, discounts, and quite frankly just unusual tourist destinations. #1 Oyster.com: similar to other review sites but with a twist. They send out their own in-house photo-journalist crew to test the hotels ahead of time. Their staff is fully committed to objectivity and their findings are constantly honest. No more worrying […]

Conquer The Tech Clutter With Andrea on Sacramento & Co.

Summer may be right around the corner but it’s never to late for spring cleaning. Here are a few ways to clean up the mess around your home office or entertainment center. #1 Use a REAL universal remote: Logitech harmony remote actually does what it’s supposed to. This remote is the epitome of  smart and simple, it will manage your TV, Radio, Computer and up to 225,000 other devices. #2 Blue Lounge Cable drops: These cute “weights” will clip to your chords and help  you to keep wires out of sight. #3 Cable Boxes: A Cable Box is exactly what it sounds like, but […]

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

Ok, confession time. I didn’t join Facebook until a few months ago. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be on the cutting edge of all things tech, and today that includes social media. But frankly, I’m a busy girl and it sounded like a lot of work. Then I started hearing about all the evils of Facebook – how strangers will rob my house if I go on vacation, how I will immediately get hounded by online marketers, or worse, stalkers who will be able to read all about me and my family online. Well, it turns out Facebook […]

Which Gadgets Should I Bring With Me On Vacation?

Nerd Chick Adventures: An Essential Packing list for your Summer Vacation. Whether you dream of lounging on the beach with a margarita and a good book or prefer the thought of trailblazing through the rain forest, vacations can be a great opportunity to unplug from technology. However, we’ve tracked down some gadgets that can make your trip even better. From ensuring that you never lose power to your handheld electronics, to keeping the troops entertained on an eight-hour plane trip, let us take you from, “Ahhh! No WiFi?!” to “Ahhhh serenity!” If the thought of going off the grid makes […]

Get To Know Your Redding California Nerd: Dustin R.

Hi, my name is Dustin and I am a Computer Repair Rockstar in Redding California. Here is everything you need to know about me.   1. I am taller than the other so called “tallest Nerd” (Benjamin). 2. When I’m not fixing computers, I make the most epic breakfasts known to man kind. 3. Was in a Guild Wars Guild that was ranked 3rd in the world. 4. My favorite movie is We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson. 5. I drive a Dodge Charger R/T and got obliterated by a SRT10 Dodge Viper ( don’t worry Redding, it was a […]

Get to know your Nerd: Kevin H.

Kevin is one of our AMAZING Nerds. In addition to spear-heading the Computer Repair industry in Portland, Oregon he lives an active and interesting life. Read some of the interesting facts about him and leave a comment. 1. I’m a sucker for pasta 2. I play a tabletop RPG called Mordheim 3. I’ve lost 20 lbs in the past three months 4. I can flip a pen between my fingers (and do it often) 5. I’m somewhat of a bass junkie

Apple get your act together! We’re waiting!

Excited about getting your hands on the latest iPhone this Summer? Think again. Normally Apple releases a new iPhone every summer, but this year Apple has danced around the issue of this summer’s release only stating that the focus of the WWDC conference will be all software based. So here at Nerds we’re all waiting with baited breath for the latest version. When do we think it will be coming out? We’re hoping for an October release, but most likely were probably looking at a release closer to the holiday season. With possible NFC capibilities (being able to use your […]

5 Quick Last Minute (Tech Savvy) Gifts for Mom

Nerd Chick Adventures: Mother’s Day   I rolled out of bed this time last year and thought, “hmmm… it’s Mother’s Day. Wait! That’s TODAY?!” I don’t know about you, but I am a horrible planner. Add kids of my own to the mix, and I am pretty much useless. Don’t panic. Before you resign yourself to picking daisies on the way to Mom’s house (which, in case you’re considering it, only works when you’re under the age of ten), here are five tech savvy ways to create a great last minute gift from a fellow procrastinator. I promise that Mom […]

The Yuba City California Nerd, Adam F.

      Adam is a Nerd in Yuba City, California. Adam is a terrific computer repair technician! Adam has a long record of providing quality computer repair services to our customers in Yuba City. People often wonder, what does a Nerd do with his free time? I’m sure you imagine that we are ALWAYS thinking about computers and technology…. Well, you are right, but we are highly capable multi-taskers (which is why we are so good at fixing computers). Here are a few things that Adam enjoys doing around Yuba City California. 1.My favorite food is mexican, Check out […]

The Lowdown on Location Tracking

Recent news headlines shouting about iPhones, iPads and Android phones tracking your every move can make you wonder if the information being transmitted from your phone is being used for nefarious means. Like that high school friend that was so fun and helpful, but secretly gossiped behind your back, or dated your ex, Smartphones have a stash of secrets that you may not know about. We’re here to help you get to know ALL sides of your Smartphone, even the darker one. It may sound scary that your iPhone, iPad or Android phone is collecting and transmitting detailed location data […]

The best travel websites that you’ve never heard of

The best tips for discount travel sites. Hip Munk. In addition to performing price specific searches, Hip Munk also helps you find the most convenient fights. This site has an “agony factor rating”. Their agony meter factors in everything from departure time to the length of layovers. Travel Zoo. Travel Zoo has some of the cheapest deals I’ve ever seen (Andrea). They specialize in personalized email updates. You can ask to be notified about travel packages that meet your preferred specifications. “When booking through Travel Zoo you have to be fast, because the best deals can go fast”. Booking Buddy. […]

The 5 Travel Gadgets You Can’t Live Without.

Mobile Wifi Hot Spot: If the thought of going off the grid makes you more tense than tranquil, have no fear.  The MiFi 2200 is a device roughly the size of a business card that will give you internet access for up to five devices anywhere you have a cell signal.  You can get this card through most cell carriers, but we prefer the pay as you go option provided by Virgin Mobile (www.virginmobileusa.com/mobile-broadband/mifi-2200.html).  They retail the MiFi for $125, and there is no contract like with other carriers.  You can sign up for unlimited broadband for the month you […]

Be Green! Learn the best ways to recycle your e-waste!

The easiest, little known secrets to recycling. Recycle, repurpose, and  resell.   In this video Andrea talks about the best local recycling resources. She shares about some companies who will even pay you for used merchandise. Local resources covered in this video include: Epa.gov Ecosquid.com Goodwill.org Salvationarmy.org

Nerd Chicks: Conquer your tech clutter for spring

Nothing makes a Nerd Chick question her dedication to gadgets more than seeing six remote controls lined up on the edge of the couch.While it may be mildly amusing to pretend you’re Indiana Jones conquering the tangle of cables to wrestle out your iPod charger, it’s really more annoying than anything else. Spring heralds a desire to get rid of the clutter, and we’ve found some great gizmos to clean up your most unruly tech toys. If you have had to resort to labeling your remote controls, or if you have a shelf dedicated to them in your entertainment center, […]

Spring Clean With the Nerds! As Seen On Good Day Sacramento

As the days get longer and brighter, many of us start to notice the dust and clutter we’ve accumulated over the winter. From the tangle of cords surrounding your computer, to the ten remote controls lining your couch, Andrea Eldridge , CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, has brought us some fun tools to Spring Clean your tech. I’ve got at least four remotes, and all of them claim to be all-in-one, but you need to be a rocket scientist to use them. What makes this one different? Harmony Universal Remote – simple command buttons (“Watch TV”, “Watch a […]

Beware of Fake Reviews!

- In reply to,  “How can I tell if a customer review is fake” This week we highlighted how to find a contractor online, and while our sources are legitimate not all reviews are. The fact is that fake reviews happen much more than we all realize. Here are a few tips to figure out if a business is really as good as it seems (and this goes for more than just contractors). – If one company has exponentially more reviews than other similar local companies (especially if all of the reviews are glowing). – Check the posters of the […]

Safely Dispose of Techno Gadgets: Nerd Chicks

I am a Nerd Chick, but first and foremost I define myself by one word: Mommy. As a parent of young children, I can’t help but see the world through their eyes. My son celebrates the drive to the park, exclaiming “Look at all the TREES, Mommy! Mommy, there are TEN trees!” I love his pure joy with the world around him, and I would love to preserve that world for his generation and the generations to come. When I look around the house and see the bevy of old techno gadgets, batteries, ink cartridges and electronic toys the kids […]

Watch our resident Nerd Chick Andrea on Good Morning AZ!

or watch the article on their website

Great travel deal websites!

HipMunk: http://www.hipmunk.com/ The site claims that most flight searches do not update their interface often, if at all. HipMunk, on the other hand, strives to create a pleasant experience for the user with a very simple design that is not intimidating and makes locating the best hotels and rates on air fare an easy. This travel planning resource is good for those who want to find lodgings and airfare, but do not need to find the other frills and extras, like rental cars. TravelZoo:http://www.travelzoo.com/ A pretty basic website. No bells or whistles, just a basic site with all of the […]

The Best Travel Gadgets

iPad: Want endless hours of entertainment for the kiddos on that never ending plane ride? The iPad is the way to go. With 10 hours of active battery life they can watch Tangled over and over again or spend endless hours playing Angry Birds Rio (That’s what I did on my last international flight) The iPad can also be used as an educational tool as well with fun educational games. (iPad from $399, iPad 2 from $499) www.apple.com/ipad. iPod Touch: Dont want to pack such a big gadget? Bring along the iPod Touch for the compact version of the iPad. […]

Get to know your Nerd: Andrew R.

Andrew is a Nerd In Sacramento California. Along with helping the awesome customers of Sacramento with computer repair he also…   1. I like Chinese food (preferrably Rice <—–Seriously addicted) 2. I have a Xbox Gamerscore of 23,640 3. I have owed over 10 cars 4. Built my first computer at age of 12 5. Oldest of 6 kids (I am 25, youngest is 2)

Nerd Chick Adventures: Find Your Own Mr. Fix-It

You started that DIY project only to realize that you may be in over your head. When you find yourself in the position of needing a contractor, how do you go about finding one? If you’re like us, you probably start with family or friends, but where do you turn if they don’t have a referral? Don’t pull out the phone book and hope you’re lucky when you close your eyes and point to a name. There are some great online resources at your disposal to help you find just the right person or company to help you get the […]

Get to know your Eugene Oregon Nerd: Benjamin G.

Benjamin the famous Nerd from Eugene, Oregon. Ben has been charming computers and Eugene residents for years. His computer repair skills are top notch, and he’s a lot of fun to work with!   Ben has received hundreds of positive customer reviews, which you can read here. If you need any computer, laptop, pc or system fixed, NERDS are confident that Ben can take care of it! Here at Nerds On Call Computer Repair, we want customers to feel 100% comfortable around us; after all we are an “In-Home” computer repair company. Here are some interesting facts about Ben, which will […]

Nerd Chick Adventures: DIY Divas

Spring is officially here (despite the weather indications to the contrary…) and we all know the drill. It’s time for some Spring Cleaning. As you’re polishing your faucets to glimmer like a disco ball, you realize that the tarnish just isn’t lifting like it used to. Maybe it’s time to replace it, but… hire a handy man to install a new faucet?! No way! Nerd Chicks are here to help you to find the best resources to do-it-yourself on the cheap and get in touch with your inner DIY Master! There are hundreds of websites dedicated to DIY projects. You […]

Insure your tech with a personal items policy!

So now that you’re protecting your smartphones with antivirus software does that get you thinking about other “what ifs” regarding your tech? Questions like what if my cell phone gets stolen, or my toddler just dropped it in the toilet? Yes, We all know that cellphone providers all have insurance that you can add on, but often times it doesn’t cover everything (like water damage). Thats where a personal insurance policy comes in. Often times for just a few dollars a month you can insure your tech against the unforeseen disasters. Think your homeowners or renters insurance covers you? Think […]

Nerd Chicks: Protect your smartphone from viruses!

I love my smartphone. As a self-proclaimed Nerd Chick, I should probably be ashamed by how reluctant I was to jump on the smartphone bandwagon, but once my old flip-phone finally dialed its last digit I took the leap and will never look back. This thing is awesome! I can keep up with my email and Facebook, sync my calendar with my husband’s, even use apps to find the best shopping deals and cheapest gas in town. Why did I wait so long for this technological goodness? You can imagine my panic when I learned that smartphone viruses have officially […]

Save now with IRAs!

Here at NERDS were all about saving money, wether its that $1.00 off coupon for paper towels, or more substantial chunks of change like investing in IRAs. But why talk about IRAs now? Well with this tax season there have been some changes in how much money you can contribute to your IRA, and different levels of returns on your investment. Find out here if IRAs are something that may work for you! Essentially there are two kinds of IRAs, So whats the difference? Traditional IRA: Tax deductible contributions (depending on income level) Withdraws begin at age 59 1/2 and […]

Nerd Chick Adventures: Tax Preparedness for Nerds

There’s nothing like tax prep time to bring my finances into focus.  Albert Einstein, upon filling out his tax forms was quoted as saying, “This is too difficult for a mathematician; it takes a philosopher.”  I find it to be a great time to wax a little philosophic about the past year and reflect upon ways to make 2011 better financially for myself and my family.  As the big day looms ahead, there are some online resources to make the process go a little smoother, so you can stay in the black this coming year, and in the years to […]

15 Great iPad apps for business!

Thinking about buying an iPad, but just cant justify spending that kind of money on a toy? Well The iPad isn’t just some plaything, it can also be a seriously helpful tool for business. With these apps you’ll save a lot of time and frustration so you can get more work done (or have more time to play Angry Birds). Power ME HD- (29.99) Handles file and workflow organization, cloud synchronization, and a drawing tool for making notes or diagrams. Notable- (Free) Basic note taking app. iWork for iPad- (9.99 Each) Keynote, Numbers, and Pages for basic docs and worksheets. […]

Here’s why you may need an iPad

What is it about the iPad that is so alluring to husbands everywhere? Every time an iPad commercial comes on, you get jabbed in the ribs as he announces for the hundredth time “I need one of those!” It’s like living with a toddler when the “Tickle Me Elmo” was introduced. You look at his fairly new laptop, while you ice your ribs, and wonder, “What’s the big deal?” On March 11, Apple released the newest generation, the iPad 2. Was it worth the anticipation? This week we unravel the hype so you can decide whether it’s time to jump […]

Great anti-cyberbullying websites for kids!

Call out card from thatsnotcool.com Are you talking to your kids about cyberbullying but not feeling like you’re really getting through? Or would you like a few websites with games and other interactive features to really drive the message home? Well you’re in luck, we’ve searched out some of the best websites and iPad apps for kids and teens of all ages. Here Is Our List Of The Best Cyber Bullying Websites For Kids, Ages 5-7 Professor Garfield Cyberbullying: Download this Garfield app on your iPad with comics regarding to cyberbullying, it keeps kids entertained and its free! Professor Garfield […]

Turn clutter into cash by selling it online

photo by: sindesign Do you have a closet full of discarded electronics, a garage teeming with pet projects your husband insists he’ll “get to,” or cupboards filled with toys the kids don’t play with anymore? Do you ever feel like you’re trapped in an episode of “Hoarders?” It may be time to consider selling some stuff online. First, make sure you price it right. Search for the item you want to sell on eBay, Amazon and Craigslist and see what other people have it listed for. Take into account comparable age, condition and quality so you can adjust your price. […]

What can you expect from your child’s school about cyber bullying?

Photo by: Andrew Scott There are a few things that you should expect from your school in regards to cyber bullying, but one point that I can’t stress enough is that if you are not getting results from the faculty of your school do not hesitate to contact the Superintendent of the school district. This is something that most parents don’t do they don’t follow through if the school administrators are ineffective. The school should start investigating the situation as soon as it is brought to their attention. Once they have done a full investigation they should come to you […]

Budgeting Online

I love being an adult. I decide my own bedtime, sometimes eat dessert for dinner and even (shhh, don’t tell my mother-in-law) skip making the bed when I want to. However, I know that with my great adult powers comes great responsibility. I have to plan ahead for large purchases. I have to save for my retirement, and I can’t spend more money than my husband and I bring in. Although I am mathematically inclined, I hate making spreadsheets. Keeping them up-to-date is such a headache. Luckily, I’ve discovered some cool online resources that save me tons of time, and […]

Things you can do to help fight against cyberbullying.

Photo by purpleslog Cyberbullying is an epidemic there is no getting around that but what can we do as adults to prevent the problem? Here are a few tips. The first line of defense against cyberbullying is communication. Define what cyberbullying is and go over the seriousness of it, making kids aware that the behavior is unacceptable. Also monitoring phone and internet usage is an important practice to keep these behaviors at bay. Checking text messages and installing inexpensive key loggers on your computer to monitor instant messages is another good way to keep tabs on what kids are doing. […]

Geotagging Putting Your Privacy in Danger?

Smart phones seem to be taking over the mobile device industry, but many who don’t understand all the features, may be putting more personal information out there than they know The popular setting of Geotagging is revealing your exact location. If you’ve ever perused the collection of pictures posted to twitpics every day, you probably didn’t notice one glaring issue. Embeded in the codes of thousands of pictures that were taken on smart phones is the GPS data or geo data. Professor of Computer Science at Chico State Len Fisk says, “Information as to what geo location, the longitude and […]

Computer going slow? Don’t ditch it, fix it!

Newer, faster, bigger — it seems like the makers of computers and gadgets want us to see them as disposable. Why bother fixing it, just replace it! Yet we like our stuff — we are comfortable with how it works, and while it may not be the flashiest, it gets the job done. Who wants to have to learn how to use something new? Of course, budget-savvy Nerd Chicks are always looking for ways to save some dough, and fixing what we have is a great way to do it. Before you grab your trusty credit card to run out […]

Do You Google at Starbucks?

If you spend a lot of time “Googling” on a public wifi connection, then maybe you should think twice. misterbisson Love getting free Wi-Fi? Yep so do we, but free Wi-Fi may have more risks than we think while we’re sucking down our soy vanilla lattes and shopping on Ebay at the local Starbucks. The truth is, that with any unsecured network your putting yourself at risk for someone seeing what your doing and possibly sealing your information. Most Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt the information sent over the internet and are not secure. If a person uses an unsecured network to […]

Nerd Chicks: Never leave home without it — your smart phone, that is

As budget-conscious Nerd Chicks, it was hard to get us on board the smart phone bandwagon. “It’s going to cost me how much every month to have my e-mail sent to my phone?!?” was a refrain heard often by our spouses, friends, co-workers, you get the idea. It turns out, however, smart phones fall squarely in the category of tech gadget that we never knew we needed and now can’t live without. In past articles we’ve mentioned quite a few resources and applications smart phone owners can use to stay organized, work more efficiently, even stay in shape. You can […]

Cyber-bullying, is it really something we need to worry about?

Photo by Ange I would bet that if you have watched one of the major news channels in the last few months that you have seen an article on cyber-bullying. Is it something that we really need to worry about, or is it just the buzz phrase of the moment? This entire week Ill be highlighting the things that every parent needs to know about cyber-bullying. Stay tuned!

Coupons help save you cash

If there’s one thing frugal Nerd Chicks love to do, it’s save money on, well, everything! We’ve all learned that the Internet is great for comparison shopping, but did you know that there are a wealth of coupons available online to help you save money on anything from groceries to your next night out on the town? From codes you enter when purchasing online to printable coupons you can take with you to the store, we’ve scoped out some great resources to help you save a few bucks. We love saving money with “loyalty” memberships at grocery stores and retail […]

Save Money This Valentine’s Day With Printable Cards From Etsy

Yep, Valentine’s Day is less than 2 weeks away. Instead of getting the regular old tear out cards from a box last minute from the drugstore be the cool parent and get these awesome printable cards from Etsy! They’re cute, relatively inexpensive, and don’t take that much more effort than buying them out of the box! Check it out at www.Etsy.com Photo by Sunday Girls Designs Photo by Studio30Baby

Gadgets take the ‘work’ out of workout

Does it sometimes feel like you’ve been making (and breaking) the same resolutions, year after year? Go to the gym. Lose weight. Eat better. If, like us, you are trying to improve your health and get in better shape (have you met anyone who isn’t? Yes, we hate them too.) exploring your inner-Nerd really can make it easier and more fun. It turns out there are techno gadgets and Web resources that can take some of the “work” out of workout and make it easier to improve your health. Finding an hour or two in the day to get to […]

Can an iPhone app really change the way we eat?

The iPhone app Fooducate helps decode the mysterious language of food labels and will help parents choose nutritious foods for their kids. The app is free, and easy to use: you scan a barcode into your iPhone and get ratings, nutritional reviews, and suggested alternatives. If an item doesn’t exist in their database of over 200,000 food products, Fooducate makes it easy enough for users to photograph and submit the label and nutritional information to be indexed and rated. After a weekend of rummaging through my cupboard, iPhone in hand, I learned that my cereals rated fairly well, but that […]

Using Your Smartphone To Help You Get Fit!

Just as your smartphone makes it easy to find healthy recipes and track everything you put in your mouth, so too can it help you learn new exercises, train for an upcoming goal (5K, anyone?), map your routes and monitor your progress. We sampled an assortment of mobile exercise apps, determined to find the most useful and motivational programs in the bunch. Our top finds follow: 1. Best virtual treadmill: iTreadmill (iPhone, $0.99)No time or money for the gym, and no desire to exercise outside in the winter weather? There’s an app for that. Walk or run in place at […]

The must-have gadgets of 2011

We’ve all had our spouse or partner come home and say “I NEED a (insert newfangled gadget here).” Most of the time, we look at him like he’s nuts, having no idea what he’s talking about. This is one reason that we Nerd Chicks look forward to the yearly Consumer Electronics Show. Yes, a little bit for ourselves (is there anything new that’ll make our lives easier?), but mostly because we’re excited to see what new gadgets will arrive to feed our hubbys’ addictions in the coming year. Many of the products revealed fit the “user friendly” generation we are […]

NERDS ON CALL: HELPS YOU GET FIT

Using Technology to Get it Done REDDING, Calif. (January 1, 2011) – In mid 2010, an archeologist in the Middle East unearthed an ancient dwelling. Almost perfectly preserved was what appeared to be a kitchen and dining area. Frozen in time were bowls, cups and small bits of papyrus. After nearly six months of endless analysis, one of the scraps of paper’s content was revealed: 431 [B.C] New Year’s Resolutions Since at least 431 B.C. people have been putting these items on their New Year’s list. 2011 is the last year you are going to put them on your list. […]

TABLET WARS: Is now the time to buy a tablet?

Heres a small breakdown of what is out currently and what is coming soon. Photo by Luis A. Munoz This year is supposed to be a huge year for tablets. If you’re in the market for one, it’s starting to look like a mess in the tablet race, isn’t it? We’ve made a little tablet roundup for you, so you can see what’s currently available, what’s on its way, and what’s unknown. What’s currently available Currently, there are only two true competitors out there if you’re in the tablet market. Apple iPad Obviously, this is the 800-pound gorilla of tablets. […]

5 Tech Tips To Get Organized

While most of us jot down our New Year’s resolutions in low tech notebooks and organizers there are billions of helpful websites and handy tech tips that can help us reach our goals. If you spend your whole day in front of a computer or carry a PDA in your pocket or purse (meaning you have constant web and calendar access) you really don’t have an excuse to be disorganized. * Put everything in its place! – This one is a no brainer, but you’ll be destined for organization if you create a proper home for your PDAs, iPods, cell […]

A Mommy-Tech Testimonial: How Google Calendar Saved My Life

Out goes the desktop calendar of old and in comes the calendar of the future. If you have more than one person living in your household, you will understand that everyone runs in different directions at any time of any day. Being a mother of two, it has become imperative to have a way to keep track of my family’s schedule. Lucky for us, Google has a product that helps to keep us a little bit more organized. Google Calendar has too many outstanding features for me to cover them all, so I will stick to the best: 1.) Share […]

No need for Post-it notes to simplify your life

photo by: Kevharb Resolutions can be a great motivator to make changes to improve our daily life. If, however, like us, one of your goals is to get organized… well, that can make it a bit harder to stay on track. In the past, we might have written our “make life easier!” goal on a Post-It note or note card and put it someplace where we would see it — the bathroom mirror, refrigerator or bulletin board — only to later find it curled up and forgotten. Frankly, with the rainbow of Post-Its already covering the desk, do you really […]

Things that excited us from the Consumer Electronics Show this year

Let’s face it, we all like gadgets, and we like them even more if they make our life easier! This year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) one of the main focuses was “Mommy Tech”. There were gadgets, and apps galore focused on making the household run a little smoother. In this blog I’ll highlight a few things that caught my eye! Motorola MBP35 The newest in baby monitors The Motorola MBP35 digital video baby monitor comes with everything you need to monitor and see your baby anywhere in the home. With crystal clear sound, 3.5 LCD color screen, infrared […]

Use Google to Get Organized

Confession time: I am not the most organized person when it comes to my life. I use sticky-notes on the fridge to track appointments, as I’ve yet to upgrade to the latest Smartphone (shocking, I know, since I am technically-savvy by nature). I’ve had to shame-facedly apologize to my chiropractor for missed appointments on more than one occasion. Add to that mix two kids under two (can you say “mommy brain”?), and it’s a recipe for disaster. That’s why this year, rather than resolving to lose those pesky “last 5 pounds” (which frankly I am never going to lose), I […]

Now That The Holidays Are Over We Want To know…..

Photo by: Eirik Newth Does anyone have any funny holiday tech stories? Did you catch Grandpa snoring in the background of your Skype call to Grandma? Play Dance Dance Revolution on your new Kinect with your 3 year old? Or did you find your husband completely trapped in a rats nest of wires? Share your funny stories here, because everyone deserves a little bit of a chuckle after the holiday stress!

My Computer’s 2011 Resolutions

photo by: erikcharlton Andrea, here. If only my computer could wrestle the mouse from my fingers, I have a feeling it would have a few choice words with me. If it could stop me from opening that link, or downloading that “great new application,” I’m sure both of us would be much happier. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I bring you “My Computer’s 2011 Resolutions” (as translated by me, of course!): Dearest human user, It can be so easy to keep me clean and happy. I want to help you finish that spreadsheet, really I do. But when […]

Optimizing Your New Gadgets.

T’was the day after Christmas… and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse…iPod…Xbox…eReader… How many of us have experienced the joy of little Johnny’s face when he opens that perfect present only to see the smile replaced by frustration when his new toy is too complicated to hook up? Mom and Dad read the instructions, try to set it up, spend hours working on it and in the end—Dad is frustrated, Johnny is upset and mom has gone upstairs for a bubble bath. While it’s too late to roll back time and get that […]

The Best Gifts Tech Gifts To Buy For The Holidays

photo by:wicho Tape? Check. Wrapping Paper? Check. Batteries batteries?! It’s 5 a.m. Christmas morning. The kids are shaking all the presents under the tree, pleading: “Come on Mom, just one PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE?” A satisfied smile crosses your face as you anticipate their cute little faces when they see the perfect gift you picked out for them. Then without warning, dread hits you. You forgot the batteries! Today’s techno toys and gadgets require accessories to use them. Here are a few simple extras to pick up, that will make your perfect present work right out of the box. 1. Rechargeable batteries and […]

Internet Hit by Wave of Fake PC ‘defrag’ Tools

Photo by: basykes A spate of scareware apps that trick users into buying useless hard disk repair tools appears to be part of a concerted campaign to push fake ‘defrag’ software, a security company has said. The Internet abounds with Windows utilities, usually free, some not very good. Users have an unquenchable appetite for them. According to a GFI-Sunbelt Security blog, a new type of bogus disk software has suddenly become very common on the back of this, with a clutch of convincing examples appearing in recent weeks. Users encountering new examples HDDRepair, HDDRescue and HDDPlus should ignore them. They […]

Software Spotlight: Prey

Prey is an open-source anti-theft software designed for computers and smart phones. Basically, if you have a lost or stolen phone or computer with this software installed, you can easily track it and locate it from another computer. Prey has some pretty exciting features, such as: 100% Geolocation Aware- Uses existing gps or wifi hotspots to triangulate its location. Wifi Auto Connect- Prey will automatically connect to the nearest wifi hotspot in order to communicate. Monitoring- When active, you can monitor remotely what is being done on your computer, grab a screenshot, and hopefully identify the person using your machine. […]

As seen On Good Day Sacramento: Black Friday Deals

We did too, so here they are! 1. Leapfrog Tag Writing System 16MB $33.99 Toy-Safari.com 2. Xbox Kinect (heres the tricky part the Kinect attachment is out of stock all of the internet but we found the best deal on the whole system) Utimate Xbox 360 Kinect Starter Pack $349.98 ToysRus.com 3. Call of Duty- Black Ops from $45.99 Amazon.com 4. iPod Touch (4th Gen) 8Gig $204.99 w/Free Shipping (this is a temporary price cut so you want to act fast!) Target.com 32Gig $279.95 Amazon.com 5. Kindle $139 (Wi-fi only) $189 (Wi-fi & 3G) Amazon.com 6. iPad $499(16GB Wi-fi only) […]

A few good gifts for the holidays

We are a family of readers, and these days no dedicated reader is complete without an ebook reader. There are several to choose from on the market, but we think Amazon’s Kindle Free 3G + Wi-Fi is the sure bet over the Barnes & Noble Nook Free 3G + Wi-Fi. Kindle’s internal memory is the largest on the market (4 GB) – holding a whopping 3,500 books, audiobooks, periodicals and documents in store. Its battery life is up to 1 month with the wireless disabled compared to Nook’s 10 days. The 3G and Wi-Fi capabilities allow you to wirelessly download […]

“Buy this, not that” for kids and teens

Now that I have kids of my own, the world of gifting opportunities has grown dramatically. How does one choose between a remote control Big Foot and a remote control Buzz Lightyear, when they seem so similar? This year in particular it seems that there are lots of products that do roughly the same thing — how do you choose? Never fear! The Nerd Chicks have scoured the Internet and toy aisles to bring you this holiday season’s “Buy This, Not That!” best of the best. Growing up, one of my favorite traditions was family game night. These days, it’s […]

The Great Smartphone Debate; A Nerd Perspective on, wait, what?

Photo by: Bundini As a bonus, here is a nice counter-argument to the whole smartphone debate: I feel like I’m in that movie where everyone turns into zombies and I’m the last one left fighting for humanity.  Ok, maybe that’s extreme, but this smart phone craze is almost equivalent.  I see people everywhere with their faces glued to a little device that cause them to ignore anyone in their company.  I see kids at restaurants, silent and still.  I see people using them in stores, at the movies, while driving, while brushing their teeth and sometimes both at the same […]

5 Tips To Keep You Cyber-Safe This Buying Season!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may mark the high points of the holiday shopping season, but they are by no means the end of it. In a still struggling economy, with everyone searching for value, consumers will encounter technology deals that might seem too good to be true. As reported by the Dow Jones newswires, online shopping may well top $1 billion dollars on a single day this year. With more and more consumers willing to spend money online, sales will rise, but so will the risk of exposure to some sort of scam or cyber-crime right alongside those fabulous […]

Essential tools for online communication

photo by:trekkyandy So now that we’ve decided to try out Skype/Google for communication with our far-off loved ones, what hardware do we need in order to make it happen? The basics would include a microphone, and headset, and a web cam. All of these things can be fairly inexpensive. Amazon. com has a variety of headset/microphone combos ranging anywhere from about $10 to over $100. I really recommend the combo, even though its hard to look cool wearing one, they really are quite convenient. Once you have your headset, you will need a web cam. As far as those go, […]

The Great Smartphone Debate; A Nerd Perspective on iPhone

Why buy an iPhone you ask? Well if you ask me, you buy an iPhone if you want the total smart phone experience. My experience has been nothing short of spectacular. Before owning my first iPhone I owned a Blackberry Curve, and let me tell you I hated it! From the complicated sub menus, to the ever “sticky” track ball there wasn’t a day that I didn’t want to chuck that phone across the room. In my opinion there was nothing smart about that smart phone! When I purchased my first iPhone it was like the heavens opened and the […]

5 Helpful Cyber Monday Websites!

With so many sites offering deals, how do you know where to start? The first thing you can do is check out the list below for the top five online resources for Cyber Monday deals. I’ve compiled a list of deal aggregators, coupon sites, and even a few major retailers you should keep your eye on throughout the day. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the best references to kick off your online shopping extravaganza. CyberMonday.com (My personal nerdy fave!) Powered by Shop.org, the digital division of the NRF, CyberMonday.com is a top source for Cyber Monday […]

Become Black Friday pro with these online tools

When it comes to standing in line at 3 in the morning to get a good deal, savvy Nerd Chicks do everything possible to plan ahead. There are some great websites available to view the Black Friday deals online, before the ads arrive at your door. Use these online tools to strategize so you can conquer the sales like a pro. While there are plenty of sites that offer text lists of the items that will be on sale on Black Friday, we find it difficult to get excited by their generic product descriptions. Far more motivating are the full-color […]

Amazon releases Black Friday deals early, and they’ve added a nifty price comparing app!

Hold on to your credit cards: Amazon launched its Black Friday store this morning, and you’re in for a treat — there’s awesome deals on everything from gadgets and electronics to home goods. Best part? The store is open now for you to browse, buy, cash in on featured products, even put your name on the wait list for upcoming limited-time items. Upcoming deals include some awesome Creative Labs Gaming Headset for $50 (half off), and mystery items are being offered up at deep discounts during the “Lightning Deals” every few hours. See what else you can get in the […]

Are You Still Out Of The Email Loop?

Is there anyone out there who DOESN’T email? I find it hard to believe, but then again, anything is possible. I was originally planning on debating the difference between free email services and pay services, but then I realized, I don’t know about any email provider that actually requires payment. I don’t think they exist! So instead, I suppose I will just lament on how email has made our life so much easier. The biggest benefit,  I believe, is the fact that we can communicate instantly anywhere on the globe. No need for postage, envelopes, writing a letter by hand […]

New Online Phishing Scam on Paypal. Buyers Beware!

With Black Friday quickly approaching, and retailers racing to outdo each other with earlier and earlier deals, it is safe to say that the holiday shopping season has begun. If you’re shopping online, though, and paying with PayPal–be warned. There is a phishing attack targeted just for you. The holidays come with a dramatic spike in shopping, and nobody appreciates the increase in online commerce more than cyber criminals. While you’re preparing for a Thanksgiving celebration of beer and watching the Detroit Lions make a mockery of professional football…Hey, don’t judge. You try supporting a team that has been consistently […]

Free calls with Skype

So Google Voice is pretty cool, huh? If you haven’t already, check out our resident Nerd Mommy Lana’s raving review of the service here. But did you know that aside from Google, the Internets top Voice/Video chat resource was/is Skype? Skype has been around for a long time, but is just recently reaching some popularity among the masses.   With the downturn in the economy, long distance phone calls have started to become a drain on our pocket books. And lets face it. Calling someone long distance has never been cheap. But with the popularity of broadband Internet, services like these […]

5 Best Video Chat Applications

When you really want to stay in touch over a long distance, a simple phone call or voice chat pales in comparison to a face-to-face video chat. You can look your long-distance significant other in the eyes while you talk; and under the right circumstances, video chat can also be an excellent tool for work-related calls and collaboration. The question is, what tools should you be using to get the most out of your calls? Keep reading for a closer look at the best video chat tools! Google Video Chat (Web-based, Windows/Mac OS X) Google launched video chat inside Gmail […]

Bring family virtually together for holidays

Last Thanksgiving, I was marooned in Kansas City for the longest three weeks of my life. It was a joyous time, since we were in the process of adopting our second child, but also heartbreaking because I was 1,800 miles away from my husband and 15-month-old son. I can truly say that video chat saved my sanity. The holidays can be tough if you’re away from the people you love, but many of us simply cannot afford to get on a plane this year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sit down with Grandma for Thanksgiving dinner as if she was […]

How social media makes your life easier

I think by now we’re all aware of Facebook. It’s all over the news, all our friends are talking about it, and it’s even the subject of a major motion picture. But why the fascination? I know that at least for me, its a way to connect with my friends who have scattered across the country in the past few years. But there are also other options out there for online social interaction. You have Myspace (for the kids), Twitter (for the busy bodies) and now even Google has joined the fray with their Buzz network. Facebook is clearly the […]

Stuff The Nerdmobile Full Of Toys

Nerds On Call have begun efforts in Redding, CA and Chico, CA to stuff one of the NERD mobiles full of toys for the less fortunate children in the community. Last year it was estimated that “1,235 Children received toys from the Redding community” (Salvation Army, 2010) and that number is expected to rise this year because of the slow economy and high unemployment rates. With help from customers and community members we can bring Christmas to those who may otherwise not get one this year. Toys will be donated to the Salvation Army STUFF THE BUS efforts in December. […]

How to Tell If a File Is Infected Before You Open It

All of us have experienced computer viruses in some way. One of the more common ones is when you receive a slightly suspicious email from a friend or a coworker. You trust them, and so you click on the link. All of a sudden, your computer could be asking you to install software or it takes you to a website that you really didn’t want to see. Sometimes you can even get viruses from a flash drive – if the person giving it to you has accidentally infected their flash drive. If something comes up when you pop it in, […]

Sanity Saving Gadgets For The Traveling Family

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and you’ve been locked in a car with your teenage kids for six hours. How do you keep calm amongst the troops, and your sanity? Check out these Nerd Chick-approved gadgets to have you smooth sailing this holiday season. There’s nothing worse than the death of your kid’s Nintendo DS when you still have hours left in the car or on the plane. Never again! For about $50, the Power Monkey is pocket-sized and charges all your portable electronics, including mobile phone, iPod, digital camera, portable gaming system, and any other USB-powered device. It has […]

Fix for iPhone Alarm Woes Revealed

A bug in the iPhone operating system iOS, which resulted in alarms going off an hour late as Europe this week can be easily fixed. Many iPhone users found themselves waking late and even missing important appointments thanks to the glitch. The issue has been noted online, on Twitter, Facebook, and attracted mainstream coverage in newspapers, radio and on TV. Matthew Wright, who presents The Wright Stuff on five each weekday, announced he was late for show this morning thanks to his iPhone. Broadband Genie’s Rob Clymo offers the following advice for resolving the problem caused by a move back […]

A Few Unknown Tips About Travel Websites

As the holidays approach, family time becomes that much more important. So how can we use technology to help us get in touch with those long lost relatives? How about searching for travel deals that are light on the wallet? We’ve all seen Captain Kirk on TV peddling priceline.com, but did you know there are many other choices out there? Many people will find that these sites are handy in finding online deals for airfare, hotel accommodation, and even rental cars. Did you know that Expedia.com offers a rewards program for booking on their site? I didn’t either until now. Another one thats […]

A Few Great Websites for Travel Plans

The holidays are a great time to reconnect with friends and family. Often, that involves the opportunity to travel to visit loved ones we may not see but once every year or so. How does a savvy Web user find the best bang for their travel buck? There are some great Web resources available to help you decide when to travel and find the best deals. Before booking anything online, our first stop when we travel is www.tripadvisor.com. It provides detailed user reviews and ratings of hotels, restaurants and attractions, ranking them by highest rated. You can find unbiased reviews […]

Facebook launches quirky ‘friendship pages’

Facebook today launched a feature called “Friendship Pages,” which lets users load up the interactions between themselves and individual friends, or between any two friends, on the social network. You’ll see their posts on one another’s walls, events to which both RSVP’d, photos in which both are tagged, and other interactions that you would otherwise be able to access on either friend’s profile (i.e. nothing that wouldn’t otherwise be public). Friendship Pages are live as of Thursday but are not yet accessible to all members. It’s another feature, like the redesigned Facebook Groups, that highlights the intimacy of real-world connections […]

Firefox Trojan Targets Older Versions of Windows

A new Firefox vulnerability reported on Tuesday affects primarily users of the browser on older versions of Windows, security firm Trend Micro has determined. Present in both Firefox 3.5 and 3.6, according to Mozilla, the zero-day flaw causes a “drive-by download” whereby a malicious file is downloaded and run without the user’s knowledge. It was first discovered on the official site for the Nobel Peace Prize, which was compromised by a malicious PHP Script called JS_NINDYA.A, Trend Micro found. The exploit accomplishes its mischief by downloading a “back door” onto user systems, detected by Trend Micro as BKDR_NINDYA.A. It then […]

New Firefox Add-On Can Hijack Facebook and Twitter!

A freelance software developer has created a Firefox plug-in that allows the user to scan a network and steal cookies for hijacking user accounts. ZoomMonday at the ToorCon 12 security conference, Seattle-based freelance software developer Eric Butler announced the release of Firesheep, a Firefox plug-in that allows a user to scan a Wi-Fi network and hijack another user’s access to Twitter, Facebook and many other websites. According to Butler, the plug-in was created to show how popular websites still leave users exposed despite their “privacy” feature upgrades. “It’s extremely common for websites to protect your password by encrypting the initial […]

Does Mac OS X Need Malware Protection?

Everyone knows that the Mac OS X operating system is just inherently secure. Any Apple loyalist will gladly explain to you everything that is wrong with Microsoft Windows, and how happy they are with not having to worry about malware and exploits on their shiny new Mac. So, I guess Macs don’t need security software and we have nothing left to talk about… Well, hold on a minute. While it is true that there are aspects of Mac OS X that might make it more difficult to compromise or exploit, it is by no means invulnerable. Macs have enjoyed a […]

Facebook 101: Getting Started

Does it seem like all your friends have a Facebook account, and you’re out of the loop? Are you worried that if you start an account, your creepy ex-boyfriend from high school will track you down and start stalking you again? Well, keep reading. Here’s how to set up your Facebook account and keep the creepy ex at bay. First, go ahead and click where it says “Sign Up,” provide your information. Don’t worry about providing information here that you don’t want shared with the world. We’ll customize your privacy settings in a minute. Step 1: “Are your friends on […]

Think Your Tweet Is Private? Think Again

Twitter has established itself as a means of broadcasting information to wide group of people all at once. But, for those times where you want to talk more intimately, Twitter also has the ability to send a Direct Message (DM) that is private between the two parties. Well, it’s supposed to be private, but the reality is perhaps not as secretive as one might expect. However, if you want to go out for sushi for lunch with your best friend, and you don’t necessarily want the rest of the world to know about, or feel as if they have been […]

Rest and Relax Nerd Chick Style

Do you feel like your computer has a split personality? On the one hand, it can be so helpful: keeping you in touch with friends and family and helping you find recipes, books and cool travel deals. Yet, on the other hand, it crashes, gets infected with viruses and spyware, and takes you places you never wanted to go. You could probably say the same thing about your cell phone, camera, hand-held electronics — they have such potential, but often end up just giving you a headache. Well, we are here to help make your technology fun again. Look no […]

Tools To Keep Your Data Safe

Makeover that old Computer Part Five: Backup and Save Now that your computer is clean, it is time to learn how to keep your documents and files safe. There is nothing worse than spending hours on that paper—when disaster strikes and it vanishes!  Many things cause your computer to crash and in some cases you lose all your important data/music/photos. There are three options available in order to ensure your files are safe: 1. USB Flash Drive (Thumb Drive)-flash drives are small devices that plug into your USB port and allow you to save files directly to them. You can […]

Make Free Calls With Google

As a working mother with two boys under the age of four, I am always looking for new ways to make my life more efficient and cost effective. Google’s free services are my saving grace.  One of the newest ways I save money with Google is by making free phone calls directly from my Google Email account. (Gmail.com)  This fantastic new service could not be easier to use.  I simply log into Gmail and press the “Call phone” button.  A dial pad appears, allowing me to call any cell phone or land line in the United States or Canada, completely […]

Security alert for people still using AVG 8.0

According to AVG Tech Support a glitch has been found for those using AVG version 8.0.  In the article found here, the latest definition update 271.1.1/3048 will cause an .exe or .dll file to be recognized as a virus or infection in AVG versions 8.5.437 and older. What does this mean for you? Well— .dll and .exe files are necessary for the basic operation of your Windows operating system.  If they are considered infected, removing them will cause your operating system to crash. On the AVG website, they offer a couple of solutions, such as, reverting your definitions to a […]

Get The Junk Out Of Your Computer

Make over that old PC for the upcoming school year, Part IV: CCleaner and Glary Utilities CCleaner and Glary Utilities are two easy-to-use programs to help you clean up “junk” files and correct registry errors that will often clog up your computer and make it run slow.  Both programs are available for free HERE. Once both are installed, double click the CCleaner icon to open the program. First you are going to scan for temporary (trash) files. First select the “Cleaner” button on the left    , then you are going to start the cleanup with . If you have […]

A Free Way To Get Rid Of Malware

Makeover that old computer for the school year, Part III: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Malware is a form of malicious software designed to infiltrate a users computer without their knowledge. The most common type of Malware is   referred to as “scareware“. As a computer repair company, we remove scareware, almost, on a daily basis. Scareware shows up on a computer in the guise of a legitimate anti-virus software by popping up a warning that  you have serious infection.  While in reality, what you see is the infection itself-the Malware trying to scare you into believing that you are under attack and the only […]

Spyware Problem? Read This Article

Make over that old PC for the upcoming school year, Part Two: Spybot Search & Destroy Now that you have cleared any infection from your system, its time to do a sweep for Spyware. We recommend Spybot Search & Destroy available for download HERE. Click the link above, and follow the prompts to install. Unlike AVG, Spybot has to be run manually and like all security software, we do recommend that you run these scans at least once a week. Once installed, double-click on the Spybot icon, and click the”Search for Updates” button. It is important to keep your software […]

Keep The Virus’s Away With AVG

Make-over that old computer for the upcoming school year-Part One: AVG Can’t afford a new computer this school year? NERDS will show you steps you can take to get extra life out of that old computer. Many people fall victim to the belief that computers go obsolete soon after purchase, this may be true in terms of hardware technology but does not mean your current computer cannot be used to its fullest potential. First, you need to make sure your computer is safe and clean of threats of infection. There are many free Anti-virus programs available, however NERDS recommend AVG […]

Nerds On Call KMAX Sacramento: “The Great Great Smartphone Debate”

Our Nerds take place in “The Great Great Smartphone Debate” on Good Morning Sacramento

Live Online Help Resources

The Internet provides a wealth of resources to find information, but sometimes you need a little one-on-one assistance for a specific question. Launched in November, Google Helpouts joins a host of online resources, including Just Answer, and eHow Now, that connect people who have questions to experts in a multitude of fields. Here’s how to get live help online for just about any question, problem, or learning opportunity. Disclaimer: My Company, Nerds on Call, provides the Tech Support experts for eHow Now and receives compensation for our services. Google Helpouts (https://helpouts.google.com/) links experts in a myriad of fields (from plumbing […]

The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan

The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan is the latest rootkit virus to gain widespread infiltration into a huge number of computers. While traditional viruses attempt to infect and destroy as many computers in their path before they’re stopped by anti-virus software, rootkits aim to keep your system working but under the control of an outside party. They typically give a remote user administrative power, allowing them to manipulate files and maintain control of your system. Once your system is controlled by the administrator of the rootkit, he can cause it to execute actions. Your system becomes a “botnet,” or “zombie” computer, assisting […]

5 Tricks to Revive an Old PC

If every click on your old, slow computer makes you want to tear your hair out but your budget just won’t permit replacing it, take heart. Even if you’ve already upgraded the hardware to the extent you can and performed all maintenance to rule out a malware infection, there are a few tweaks left that may make life with an old PC more bearable. While the biggest performance boost most often results from hardware upgrades (more RAM and replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive can make a world of difference), bulky software can overly tax your system’s […]

Stop Using Internet Explorer, Right Now!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a browser, read our article “What is a Browser?” here. A bug in all versions of Internet Explorer leaves anyone using IE in conjunction with the Windows Operating System (more than 40% of Internet users in North America according to StatCounter) vulnerable to infection by Trojan horse viruses. In a Security Advisory released by Microsoft on September 17, 2012, Microsoft explains that “an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user,” meaning the hacker could control your system remotely. While Microsoft promises that they’re working […]

Breaking Up in the Digital Age

Breakups suck. There’s no way around it. But the good old days of being reminded of your ex’s existence only at the rare mutual friend birthday party or when flipping through old photos are over. From Facebook updates to emails to shared passwords, today’s digital connectivity makes it even harder to disentangle yourself from a relationship gone wrong. Before you de-friend and delete your way through emails, texts and tagged photos, there are some ways to smooth the transition and save yourself some heartache. Technology has taught us that everything is nearly instant. From texts to tweets, we’ve grown accustomed […]

Should You Shutdown Your Computer or Leave It On All The Time?

There are a number of myths floating around about what you should do with your computer when you’re not using it. Some say that you should always shut it down, while others claim that shutting down regularly will shorten the life of your computer. The fact is that neither of these is totally correct. Shutting down your computer will do no harm, but it may not be the most practical option for your circumstance. It all comes down to your personal preference – as long as you’re informed. Let’s take a look at the options. Shut down computer regularly On […]

Simple & Easy Computer Maintenance

You may think computer maintenance is only for the Nerds among us, but there are many easy things you can do to speed up your PC without investing a lot of time or money. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, performing some basic computer maintenance can ensure your system stays in top form. First, the easiest tip: shut down and restart your computer regularly so that it can install all necessary software and operating system updates. Next, ensure automatic update is turned on, both for your Operating System updates as well as your anti-malware programs. If you don’t have […]

Tech Bargains: Sites You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

It seems summer gets shorter and shorter every year. How is it that back to school is already here? Whether you’re in the market for a PC, printer or router to get set up for the new academic year, or you’re just poised to take advantage of the season’s sales, you’ll be joining thousands of shoppers buying computers, peripherals and gadgets in the coming weeks. Before you walk into your local electronics store, there are many websites, some that you may have never heard of, that offer great tech bargains. Newegg: While the name may be a head scratcher, Newegg.com […]

Small Business Data BackUp

Data backup is the flossing of the tech world: you know you should do it, but you just never get around to it. There’s something in human nature that makes us learn the hard way – cavities are no fun. Yet when it comes to risking the data that you need to run your business, the price of procrastination is too high. For small and medium businesses, data backup is all about automation, redundancy, and reliability. The first step to reducing your exposure to hardware failure is consolidating your data in one more reliable and easier to backup location. Instead […]

Living Without an Optical Drive

This time of year, you may be contemplating adding a new laptop to your gadget family, whether it’s for back-to-school or to take advantage of the season’s sales. Thinner, lighter, super portable systems that remain high functioning (like Intel’s Ultrabooks (TM) and Apple’s Macbook Air) are all the rage, but the sleek design comes with a price: no internal DVD drive. Can you live without one? The answer is yes! Count on the Cloud. Most Netbooks and tablets lack significant storage space, with hard disks that are nearly impossible to upgrade. This may lead you to wonder how in the […]

Small Business Network: Buy This Not That!

These days a business that can’t get online can’t go very far. From emailing appointment confirmations to processing credit cards, when the network goes down, business productivity grinds to a halt. Small business owners are stuck in a unique position: they need more reliability than a standard wireless firewall router can offer, but likely can’t afford the enterprise solutions offered by Cisco. In this, part two of my “Buy This, Not That” series for small businesses, I’ll explore a mid-range networking solution to bridge the gap. When I started my company in 2004, I ran our call center out of […]

DNSChanger: What you need to know

On Monday, July 9th, the FBI will pull the plug on internet access to hundreds of thousands of computers infected with a malware Trojan known as DNSChanger. Even if your computer is clean, companies that have compromised systems in their network will be taken offline, hindering their ability to do business and possibly breaking their websites, in what many are referring to as “Internet Doomsday.” In November 2011, the FBI (together with international cyber crime agencies) identified and located a ring of cyber criminals that had infected more than four million computers across the world with a Trojan virus known […]

Data Backup Basics

There are certain things we all know we should do: change the oil every 3,000 miles, choose different passwords for every online login, and back up our computers. Though I know better, I sometimes get to 5,000 miles before changing the oil, I can’t remember 500 different passwords, and I rarely back up my computer. I am a bad person. While mom showed me how to balance a checkbook (thanks mom!), no one ever showed me how to back up my computer. Now I can return the favor and teach my mom, and you, how to back up your system. […]

Small Business Computers: Buy This Not That!

According to a May 2012 report by the National Economic Council, there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. employing 60 million Americans – roughly half of the private sector workforce. The balance between budgeting and productivity can be challenging to small firms, particularly those working to get (or maintain) a foothold in today’s economy. As I travel for appearances on TV and radio, I am often asked what technology small business owners really need and what they can live without. With no further ado, here’s my “Buy This, Not That” series for the small office environment. Buy Laptops, […]

Laptop Repair: Fix it or replace it?

When I made the switch from a desktop computer to a laptop, the idea that everything that previously took up my entire desk could now fit in such a small, portable device was revolutionary. However, the first time that my keyboard failed, I realized it wasn’t all wine and roses. With the smaller footprint comes the fact that parts and pieces often aren’t as easily interchangeable. I could no longer toss the old keyboard and plug in a new $30 generic version; this one was going to have to come from the manufacturer and was going to require a specifically […]

How to Stop Spam

Now that I have a newborn in the house, the last thing I have time for is weeding through an email inbox filled with offers for 30 percent off at a store I bought one thing from three years ago, or daily newsletters from an online magazine touting ways to make my life more creative. I don’t have time to shower, let alone bake sweet potato muffins. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make my email more of a tool and less hassle, and stop spam with very little work from me. Most email providers have an integrated spam […]

How to Remove a Virus

Do you remember back when your computer was shiny and new, it likely came with pre-installed Norton or McAfee antivirus software. It would periodically pop up little notices that it had downloaded the latest updates, and you felt snug and secure when you surfed online. Then that trial membership expired. You may not have even noticed the lapse in coverage, assuming that the icon in your toolbar was a sign that all was well — or, like many, you may have been wary to spend your hard-earned cash to subscribe. This story is so common that it’s one reason why […]

New MacBooks a $2,200 disposable computer?

When it comes to portable electronics, bigger is not better. From the new line of UltraBooks announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show to the highly anticipated MacBook Pro with Retina Display released by Apple this month, laptops are getting ever smaller and lighter to compete with the growing popularity of tablet PCs. Yet with a smaller footprint comes limitations. When they’re impossible to upgrade and more costly to repair, is smaller truly superior? If you are going to carry a device in your bag most everywhere you go, lightweight and durable is of paramount importance. To accommodate the increased […]

9 Tips for Hosting Captivating Video Calls

Advances in communications technology and Internet infrastructure have brought us to the place where video conferencing is more than a reality – it’s a necessity, for many businesses. Video calls are regularly used for internal meetings, sales presentations, and more. They enable a team to work together despite geographic barriers, and they give participants the ability to communicate nonverbally as well as with words. Yet, video calls can become staid and dry, just like any other type of meeting. If you want to host captivating video calls that engage your participants, here are some places to start: Start with quality […]

Can An iPad Replace A Laptop

As the new school year approaches, the question I get asked most often is, “Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?” Apple’s Steve Jobs has asserted that we are living in a “post-PC world”. can an iPad replace a laptop? To test the theory, I traveled to Florida with my 2-year old, bearing my iPad 2 but no laptop. When an article needed editing, I realized that while it would be possible for the iPad to do everything I needed, it wasn’t going to work for me straight out of the box. It needed modification. If you are considering […]

Computer Upgrades: Hard Drives, Part 2

The most vulnerable part of a hard drive is its moving parts. The disk spins, the spindle arm moves to read data, all the while creating heat, friction, and an opportunity to break when the moving stops. The next generation of hard drives – solid state drives and hybrid drives -attempt to rectify this by eliminating the spinning and swinging. However there are some tradeoffs: less storage and higher price. Is it worth upgrading? Solid state drives (SSDs) are a flash storage device, meaning they work like a USB flash drive, just without the USB part. While from the outside, […]

Online Computer Repair: Is It Safe?

These days, we want everything fast, from food to computer repairs. If you’ve seen the TV ads for iYogi.net, you may have wondered, “How can a tech in India fix a computer in Nantucket?” I’m here to unravel some of the mystery of Internet-based tech support or online computer repair. Whether you take a faulty computer to a repair shop or have a tech come to you, it can take days or even weeks to get your system back on its feet. The major benefit of online computer repair is that in many cases it’s immediate. Answer a few questions, […]

Want a New Computer? What You Need to Know Now!

Buying a new computer can be almost as stressful as buying a new car. How do you find the best fit for your needs without blowing your budget? If you sign on for all the bells and whistles, or have your heart set on a top-of-the-line Mac, that new computer could set you back more than a down payment on a Civic. Before you pull out your credit card, let’s review some options so you can pick the right machine. New Computer: The Best PC: Desktop: A desktop PC is usually the most appropriate PC option for a family in which […]

Computer parts: CPU, Hard Drive, Giga…what?

Going Back to school is a great time to take advantage of retailers competing for parent’s dollars, and finally upgrade from that old Windows 98 machine limping along in your basement. In fact, please do yourself a favor, if you still have windows 98, please upgrade! However, between gigabytes and megabytes, the component descriptions can be harder to decipher than your teenager’s last six text messages. From RAM to hard drive to software, how does the non-nerd decide what’s worth upgrading, and what to forego to save a few bucks? Allow me to demystify some of the tech terms so […]

What To Do Before You Call Tech Support

I am clueless when it comes to appliances. More than once I have called out a repair person to fix my dishwasher or dryer, only to discover that the power cable is loose, or that the exhaust is clogged with lint. A little basic troubleshooting could have saved me $100 or so (luckily for you, Nerds On Call doesn’t charge for estimates), if only I’d known what easy things to try before having someone out. Over the years at Nerds on Call I have discovered that there are some simple things that fix a surprising number of computer problems, and […]

Best Computer Repair: Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know.

Computer repair is like taking your car to the mechanic, at least for most of us. As much as I depend on my car, it’s a mystery how all the parts work together to get me down the road. This lack of fundamental understanding of the car’s inner workings makes me feel vulnerable and out of control every time the mechanic tells me what’s wrong, and what needs to be done to fix it. If he tells me it’s the flux capacitor, how would I know if I was being taken for a ride? That makes it especially hard to […]

Computer Upgrades: Hard Drives, Part 1

My computer repair company services thousands of PCs each year.  In my experience, there are some constants: no one’s computer or Internet speed is ever fast enough and all hard drives will eventually fail. Hard drives physically fail more than any other internal component: no surprise, given it’s the workhorse of your PC or laptop.  This data-storage and data-retrieval device consists of one or more “hard” discs that spins really fast and a read/write spindle that accesses and records data on the disc.  I liken it to a record player (remember those?).  Now ponder that the ability of your system […]

Computer Problems: Dirty Little Tech Mistakes

I ate breakfast in front of my computer for over a year before that fateful day when a coffee-in-the-laptop accident made me change my ways. Well, at least my habits involving liquids in proximity to electronics.  You’re probably saying you’ll never have computer problems like this… until you do. Here are ten more high-tech bad habits to break: 1. Computer Problems: Bad Password Practices.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever used 123456 as your password.  The most popular passwords are also the worst: password, letmein, abc123.   If your password makes the list, it’s time to get more creative.  Try using […]

Why You Should Upgrade Windows NOW!

Your computer’s operating system is the most integral part of how your machine functions. It determines how you view and launch programs, how stable software runs, and how your desktop looks and functions. Whether you’re nursing a trusty Windows XP machine or have resigned yourself to living with Vista, the prospect of “upgrade windows” can be daunting. There are a number of reasons to consider making the leap. Let’s face it, change isn’t always good. Anyone using Windows Vista can attest to that. It seems Microsoft is doomed to release a dud every decade; before Vista it was ME (Millennium […]

Slow Computer? Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM

The term RAM is probably pretty familiar. You may know it as memory and that it affects the speed of your PC, laptop, or handheld electronics. But will upgrading and adding more RAM speed up a slow computer? If you need a clear distinction, check out our article on memory vs storage here. The amount of RAM in your system is the primary factor in how fast it boots up, launches programs, navigates between them, and responds to your inputs. If you have too little RAM for the amount of tasks you ask your system to perform, it will run […]

Spring Clean: 1 in 6 Phones Have Poop on Them

Spring Clean Your Computer, iPhone, or Gadgets When I’m greeted by a fine layer of yellow pollen dust coating my car, I know that Spring has sprung. The brighter days and open windows lead many of us to notice the layer of dust that has also settled indoors, followed by a mental note to pull out the Swiffer. It’s easy to neglect some of the things that need our spring cleaning attention more than anything else our hard-used gadgets. While at our fingertips 24/7, these workhorses get grungy. Keyboard and Mouse—The Worst Offenders You probably touch your keyboard and mouse […]

Computer Repair: What to buy now that can save you later

You don’t have to buy the latest, top-of-the-line option every time you shop for technology. I know I risk being shunned by the nerd community for saying it, but there are times to splurge and times to save. This doesn’t apply to some people — gamers, graphic designers, photographers and others — with special requirements for their computers and gadgets. However, many computer users have a basic set of technology needs that can be met without shelling out a lot of money for the best of the best. Surprisingly, you can shop for a deal on desktop or tower PCs. […]

5 Easy Steps To A Clean Computer

Long summer days with the kids downloading all manner of Internet sludge has likely left your computer with the technology equivalent of a hangover. Before you give in to your kids’ pleas to replace your old reliable, try a few simple things to help you get back to a clean computer. After all, your computer needs to run smoothly for schoolwork (at least until winter break). Clean Computer Tip #1 Run your antivirus and antispyware: I know, I know, you’re probably tired of me saying it. However, when the kids have been wreaking havoc on your system all summer, it’s […]

Get to know your Eugene Oregon Nerd: Benjamin G.

Benjamin the famous Nerd from Eugene, Oregon. Ben has been charming computers and Eugene residents for years. His computer repair skills are top notch, and he’s a lot of fun to work with!   Ben has received hundreds of positive customer reviews, which you can read here. If you need any computer, laptop, pc or system fixed, NERDS are confident that Ben can take care of it! Here at Nerds On Call Computer Repair, we want customers to feel 100% comfortable around us; after all we are an “In-Home” computer repair company. Here are some interesting facts about Ben, which will […]

Nerds On Call KMAX Sacramento: “The Great Great Smartphone Debate”

Our Nerds take place in “The Great Great Smartphone Debate” on Good Morning Sacramento

Parts of a Link (URL) Explained

You’ve seen hundreds or thousands of URLs in your life, but they might still seem like an arcane code. Truth is, there’s only a few parts you have to pay attention to. Here’s how to read a URL, or website address: The first part is usually http:// or https://. This is the protocol, which means “the requested document is a “Hyper Text” document. Hyper Text is the language that websites are written in. If you right-click on a website and click “view page source,” you can see the actual language that it’s written in. It’s more human-readable than you might […]

What Does Desktop Mean?

What is your computer desktop? The answer can be confusing because there are three different desktops involved with a computer. Here’s what they are, and when to refer to each: The first desktop is just the top of your desk that your computer sits on. Most people don’t refer to this desktop when they’re talking about your computer, though. It’s this desk’s top that gives the second use of the word “desktop” its meaning. A desktop computer means one that sits at your desk, as opposed to one that sits on your lap, called a laptop. A handheld computer would […]

Basic Computer Parts Explained

Most people just call everything that came in the box “the computer.” But if you’re looking for some more advanced vocabulary, we’ve outlined the definitions for basic computer parts here: The Monitor The monitor is the screen – it’s what you look at most of the time, and many people refer to this as their computer. But in fact the monitor doesn’t do any of the computing. It just shows you what’s going on inside your computer. The Tower The actual computing goes on in the box your monitor is attached to. Many people refer to this as the “tower,” […]

What does “Open” Mean?

You’ve probably heard the term “Open” in reference to a lot of things on the Internet. Just like any word with so open-ended(ha!) a definition, it gets thrown around a lot and misused for marketing’s sake. So we’re writing a bit about what it means to help clarify what “open” really refers to online. At its core, the word “open” means that nothing is concealed. An open system is any system which makes its methods publically available and allows the public to modify those methods according to consensus.The opposite of an open system is a closed system, one which is […]

What does 404 Mean?

So what IS a 404 page? Whether you were linked here from a missing page on our website, or you just want to know what those numbers mean, we’ll explain it to you here: You tell your computer that you want to see a webpage in a lot of different ways. Sometimes you click on a link from email, or a search result, or another website. Whenever you do this, your computer makes a “request” from the website that the link points at. The part right after the http:// is the computer where the page lives, called a “server.” It’s […]

What are Software, Programs, and Apps?

Since you’re on a computer right now, you’ve doubtless heard the terms “app,” “program,” and “software.” But do you know what the difference is? The truth is, they’re all the same thing. But they are used in specific contexts: The most basic word is software. Any part of a computer that isn’t physical (i.e. “hard”ware) is software. Software is written in code that machines can process. Software “does” everything on your computer. The hardware just sits there and gets used by the software. There are levels of software that build on each other: the bootloader allows the operating system to […]

What is Defragmentation?

If you’ve been using a computer for a while, you’ve probably heard talk of “defragmentation.” Maybe you’ve even run a defragmentation utility. But what does defragmentation really do? Is your computer really fragmented? It doesn’t look like it’s in pieces…The truth is, you almost assuredly don’t need to defragment anymore. Here’s what the situation is. When a computer stores files on its hard drive, it says “This file goes here and this file goes here and this file goes here.” Hard drives are magnetic, and therefore each bit of your data has a physical location on your hard drive. The […]

What are Bytes & Their Units?

Everything on your computer that’s not hardware is software, and in the same way that you can measure hardware in ounces, you can measure software in bytes. (for information on Bits Vs. Bytes, see here). Bytes are a way of measuring how large software is. A byte is eight bits of information. Bits of information are either “on” or “off,” represented by a 0 or 1. Eight in a row, e.g. 10110100, is a byte, and forms a number in the binary system of counting. Because there are eight digits, a byte has 256 possible combinations. Chunks of these numbers […]

What is the Windows Key?

The Windows key is that key with the Windows logo that always makes your computer act weird when you press it. It’s the one usually located on the lower left of your keyboard near the ctrl and alt keys. Everyone who’s used a computer goes through a phase where that mysterious key gets avoided like the plague. But like most things that people avoid for little reason, the Windows key has a lot of secret power. It’s a shortcut to directly interface with Windows. Where the shift and alt and ctrl keys all change their function depending on the program […]

What’s the Difference Between Memory & Storage?

One of the most confusing set of terms in everyday computer usage is “‘Memory’ & ‘Storage’.” People often use one term when they mean to refer to the other thing. It can be confusing because both memory and storage are measured in the same units: bytes, kilobytes, megabytes, etc. This is because both memory and storage are places to hold your data, but they do very different things with it. The two components that ‘memory’ & ‘storage’ refer to are RAM & the hard drive. The memory is known as RAM. It is is a part of your computer that […]

What is a Web Browser?

Before the Internet was a part of everyone’s lives, people used their computers in a very different way. Instead of connecting to a “service” in “the cloud,” we had to install a program on our computer. A web browser was one of those programs, and those lucky few with access to the Internet used a web browser to “browse” pages online, like a global collection of documents. The web browser was just the window to all these documents. However the Internet has become exponentially larger, and most tasks can be done online, including ones that the early Internet wasn’t even […]

What are Cookies?

You may have heard of cookies, and know that people get upset about having cookies they don’t want. But why wouldn’t you want a cookie? In the context of the computer world, a cookie is a text file given to your computer by websites that you visit. This text file contains some basic information: the most common type of cookie is to keep track of logins. Say you go to xyz.com, login, use the site, and then move onto a different site. Xyz.com stores a cookie on your computer that says “this computer is logged into xyz.com.” When you leave […]

Mouse Basics: Left vs. Right Click

The standard mouse has two buttons, plus a scroll wheel in the middle which sometimes is a button. But most mice do just two things: right- and left-click. Left-click is often referred to as “normal-click” or “regular-click.” Most tasks on a computer can be accomplished solely through using the left mouse button. Pressing the left mouse button seems to simulate the mouse cursor being pressed down on the screen: you can drag items or select text or open files. A double-click is a special type of left-mouse-button click which is getting used less and less. A double-click is usually used […]

What is The Cloud?

“The Cloud” is a popular term in the tech world and much like a cloud it doesn’t have a clear definition. People have personal clouds, companies have clouds, and the Internet is a cloud by itself. So what is a “cloud?” Think of a cloud in the sky. While it looks solid from the ground, everyone knows that clouds can be passed through. Clouds are made of trillions and trillions of water drops all floating in the air together. A small cloud can become part of a big cloud and a big cloud can be separated into small clouds. The […]

Recovery Vs. Reset

Recovery and Reset are both techniques used to fix a broken computer, but they are vastly different. They are similar in that they attempt to “put back” the computer to a state in which it was working. If you’re trying to get your computer fixed and surgical repairs aren’t working, one of your options is often to perform “recovery.” Recovery is when you take the original disk that your computer’s operating system was installed with and attempt to “patch” the broken files on your computer with the original files of the operating system. It leaves all the other files alone, […]

What is Wifi?

What is WiFi? It seems to be everywhere, but it’s invisible so that makes it hard to define. Many people think of WiFi as a service in itself, but it’s not quite; it’s like a gateway. The service that people pay for is the Internet. Paying for Internet service is like paying for electricity: the connection to your house exists, but you need to pay for access to the service. Once the service is at your house, you’re free to do with it as you please. Wifi is one of those things that you can do to the Internet service […]

Bits Vs Bytes Explained

If you’ve ever shopped for internet packages or tried to buy storage, you’ve run into the bit/byte issue before – and you may not even have known it. It’s a concept that everyone who uses computer should at least familiarize themselves with. After all, it’s like not knowing the difference between kilometers and miles! When computer speed or storage is measured, it’s done using two units and their derivatives. The first unit is the bit, and the second is the byte. The bit is a one or a zero. It comes from the physical components of the computer, which either […]

Amazon Fire: Cable Killer?

Amazon Fire TV is just the latest debut in a number of streaming devices on the market allowing you to stream content from video applications like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime directly to your TV.  To hear Amazon speak of it, you’re destined to cut the cord with your cable or satellite company after investing in one.  If you’d like to cut back on your cable bill, or eliminate it completely, here’s what you need to know about the streaming devices on the market, what you can watch – and what you’ll miss – if you make the switch […]

Home Theater Selection

Would you like a Nerd to take you shopping? Nerds on call will actually send a Nerd shopping with you, to the store of your choice. We can help you pick the perfect Home Theater set to fit your needs. We will explain the difference between a new LG Home Theater System and a Samsung HDTV with Surround Sound. Give us a call to set up a shopping spree. 1-800-919-6373

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 […]

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.  […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Avoid Online Scams

As the holiday shopping season gains momentum, those looking to swindle online shoppers get creative in their attempts to lure victims. I consulted with Scambook (www.scambook.com), an online complaint resolution website, about the top scams from last holiday season – they’re likely to appear again either in the same form or with slight variations – and what consumers can do to avoid falling prey. Last season, many Scambook users received a text claiming that they’d won a $1,000 Best Buy gift card – I received a text like this myself. The text directed recipients to go to a webpage (most […]

Spot Fake Online Reviews

Online reviews can be a great tool to help find a hotel for your next trip, a reputable handy man or the best coffeemaker around. On our last trip to San Francisco, we ate our way from one delicious restaurant to the next, all with the assistance of kindly Yelp reviewers. Unfortunately, there are some companies who post fake online product or service reviews, hoping to get your business. Here’s how to know if you’re reading a real review or a fabricated one. One way that companies artificially increase their positive reviews is called “astroturfing.” Here’s how it works: a […]

Which Browser is Best?

Pop quiz: what browser do you use to access the Internet? If you’re like many computer users, you may have answered “Google,” or “Yahoo,” but while the company Google does have a browser (Chrome), Google and Yahoo are search engines. A browser is the piece of software on your computer that you use to navigate the Internet and view web content (read more about browsers here). You use your browser to go to webpages or to a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. The search engine acts like an online yellow pages. Your choice of browser can effect whether […]

Social Ads

A few months ago, I noticed a curious phenomenon on Facebook. Suddenly it seemed like my friends were posting ads for companies like Starbucks, Walmart and Tide in my newsfeed. “That’s weird,” I thought, “Why would Jennifer post an ad for Tide? Does she want everyone to know how much she loves clean sheets?” It turns out Jennifer probably had no idea that her profile photo was linked to an advertisement on my newsfeed, and what’s more, she is probably seeing ads that look like they were posted from my profile on her newsfeed as well. It’s called “social advertising.” […]

Make a Personal Website

From promoting your small business to getting yourself noticed by a potential employer, having your own website can allow you to better control the information, stories and images attached to your online persona. Yet the task of creating a website from scratch seems daunting, leaving many believing that a personal webpage is out of their grasp. Luckily, there are tools available that even a novice user can employ to create and maintain their very own real estate on the Internet. Start a blog. The easiest way to create your own a website is to establish a blog. Google’s Blogger (www.blogger.com, […]

Clean up Your Email

I established my Yahoo email account many years ago. In those days, email was something to look forward to, usually a nice correspondence with a friend or family member. Boy have times changed. My account now receives upwards of 500 spam messages weekly, and most of the messages I receive are certainly not from family and friends, which is what used to make reading email fun. Can we get back to the way it used to be? Probably not, but we can “get to the good stuff” quicker with a few tweaks to the system. Create and use a “junk […]

New Surface Tablets from Microsoft

When Microsoft first unveiled their new Surface tablets last year, they were received with middling reviews, especially the lower-end Surface RT. Less than a year after the original release, Microsoft has already announced the next generation of Surface tablets. The “RT” designation has been dropped and the new tablets are now the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2. The technical specs for both devices have been significantly upgraded and the performance gap between the two remains about the same as before. However, the real innovation with Microsoft’s next round of tablet wars comes in the accessories: Users of the […]

The Switch to Windows 8 – Part 3

It’s been almost a month since I made the switch to Windows 8, and my feelings are mixed. Here are some of the things that, so far, I like and others that I’d like to ditch. Windows 8’s integration with touch screen devices is undeniably cool. Being able to touch to launch an app, slide a program left or right with your finger, pinch to minimize or spread your fingers to zoom, or drag a program down to close it takes some of the frustration out of getting used to the new look and functionality of the OS. I love […]

Apps That Pay You Back

My four year old has a serious case of the “gimmes.” From every toy his friends have to things on the shelf in the store, just about everything elicits a “can I have that?” from his early consumer mouth. This has led to many discussions about how “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “you can’t get something for nothing.” It turns out that I may have been mistaken about that second part. Armed with a Smartphone and a few free apps, you can earn rewards, gift cards or sometimes even cash for doing things you probably already do. Here’s how […]

The Switch to Windows 8 – Part 2

Last week my foray into Windows 8 began in earnest. I discovered that I like the look of Metro with its apps displayed as “tiles,” though I’m withholding judgment on its user-friendliness. I also learned that I will need to get used to clicking on the corners of the screen to navigate between applications and access the new “Charms” menu. I lamented to loss of the Start key, but just briefly, before I found most of its functions hidden in a lower left corner right-click launched menu. This week I will explore apps, the cornerstone of the new Metro layout. […]

Find Charity Online

The other day I was sitting in the Starbucks drive-through line. I pulled up to the window to pay and I was informed that the car in front of me had paid my bill. It was surprising how such a simple gesture made my day. There’s no quicker path to a warm fuzzy feeling than giving to others, whether it be money or time. While the Internet gives you the ability to help any cause that touches you, it also makes it confusing to narrow down where your contribution can make the most difference. Luckily there are some great tools […]

The Switch to Windows 8 – Part 1

Despite my tech-writer status, I’ve held out against moving to Windows 8. I am strongly in favor of productivity and I find that learning an entirely new layout and way of getting around in my PC tends to hinder my ability to get things done. And yet, my trusty Windows 7 laptop has seen better days. This is where our story begins: I’m throwing myself under the proverbial bus and taking on Windows 8 once and for all. Here’s what I learned to make the transition easier for you, when your time comes to upgrade. The new Windows default home […]

Hard Drive Diagnostics

Hard drive failure can be devastating, particularly if it’s been a while since you backed up your data. It can lead to costly data retrieval or worse, loss of data if your drive becomes completely corrupted. Don’t be caught by surprise: make it a habit to regularly run a hard drive diagnostics software tool or at least know what to do if your drive begins to show signs of imminent failure. A traditional hard drive is similar to a DVD or (for those of us that remember them) a record player. Data is written to one or more “hard” disks […]

Prep Your PC for Back to School

After spending the summer surfing the net, playing video games, and whatever else your kids do when you turn them loose on the computer, your family PC is probably in need of some R and R. Before you enter the season of homework and research projects, whip your system in shape to head back to school. The first step to resuscitate the family computer is to clean off the deluge of programs and junk add-ons accumulated over the summer months. Wrestle the kids off the PC for a few hours and do some much needed maintenance. How thorough you get […]

Upgrade to Windows 8

We received a great question from local reader Dorothy N. about whether or not she should upgrade to Windows 8. I still have Windows XP.  I have read that Windows will not support XP after April of next year.  I like to have a start button and prefer using a mouse instead of my fingers to touch a screen, so have not bought a new computer.  I understand putting out a version 8.1, which will have a start button and be similar to the computer I am using.  I would be willing to buy a new one, if I can keep […]

Use Pinterest for Back to School

While it may seem like summer vacation just started (or perhaps for some, it feels like it will never end), the time to get the kids geared up and ready to head back to school is right around the corner. Pinterest can help take some of the guess work out of getting your little (or not so little) ones back to school. Here’s how to track down some of the most useful board highlighting gear, fashion, lunch inspiration and tips to help your students have a great year. First, some tips on searching Pinterest. The huge variety of “pinners” and […]

How to Use Google Better

Even though more web users search with Google than any other search engine, take advantage of the full power of the tool at their disposal. From finding a quick answer to just about any question, query or calculation you encounter to more easily finding relevant results in weblinks, here’s how to get more from your Google search experience. In mid-2012, Google rolled out Knowledge Graph, a way to view a quick summary of the information that the search algorithm determines to be most relevant to your query as well as quickly link to different results. For example, typing “Taj Mahal” […]

Repair your Online Reputation

When you enter your name into Google (or the search engine of your choice), are the results flattering, or at least accurate? Even if you aren’t keeping tabs on your online reputation, others may be. From potential employers to prospective love interests, information linked to you on the Internet can affect your livelihood, your love life; even create a first impression for new people you meet. Take control of your online reputation with a few simple steps to ensure that when someone searches you out online the results are favorable. According to a research report commissioned by Microsoft in 2009(.doc […]

Easy Ways to Increase Laptop Lifespan

The compact, mobile loveliness that is a laptop brings with it a shorter lifespan than a typical desktop PC. On average, a laptop has a lifespan of about four years. The hardware begins to age after 2-3 years and they’re usually more expensive to upgrade than a desktop PC. Get every ounce of life from your laptop by following a few simple tips. While the likelihood of dropping a desktop PC is pretty slim, dragging your laptop between work, home and the local coffee shop leads to a greatly increased chance of accidental damage. Prevent the majority of the physical […]

5 Easy Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. According to data compiled by Zone Alarm, maker of antivirus and firewall software, identity theft results in an average cost to victim of $4,841 and takes, on average, 33 hours to resolve. With more and more of our personal information available online, it’s imperative that you take steps to protect yourself online. Buyer beware. For as little as $30 in web hosting fees, criminals can set up fake online shop fronts to lure consumers into submitting their personal information and credit account numbers. Be […]

Protect Gadgets from Heat this Hot Summer

Are you enjoying the 100+ degree summer temperatures? I am pretty sure your gadgets are not. Summer heat and activities can be brutal on electronic devices, but no one wants to leave them behind when taking the kids to the beach or the lake. There are ways to protect your phone, camera and portable media player from summer mayhem. DriveSavers (www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com), an expert in the data recovery industry since 1985, has some advice to share on the subject. Summer sunburn. The baking sun will exact its toll on your skin, and it can be equally brutal to your electronic devices. […]

HD Antenna Makes it Easy to Get Rid of Cable

One of the home theater questions I get asked most often is how to get rid of cable or satellite bills without losing TV entirely. I’ve highlighted how to stream content over the Internet to your TV or computer, but many readers balk at the idea of losing real-time network TV, particularly sports and local news. If you have an HDTV with a built-in digital tuner, an HD Antenna may be the secret to ditching your cable or satellite provider once and for all. In most metropolitan areas of the country you can receive high-def broadcasts from ABC, NBC, CBS, […]

Take Better Photos with these Smartphone Photography Tips

We take our Smartphones with us everywhere, so chances are when you’re ready to snap a quick picture of your kid or four-legged friend doing something especially cute, you’re not going to have your fancy-schmancy camera handy. Yet more often than not, these fast photo-ops end up looking dark or fuzzy and out-of-focus. Here are a few tips for making your Smartphone photos go from blah to beautiful. Experiment with apps. You can generally take better pictures with your phone if you’re using an app to do it. Photo apps often have settings that may not be offered with the […]

Get the Best Home Theater Setup

You spent a lot of money on your that big TV and surround sound, so you should just be able to plug it and watch, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There are a lot of different factors that affect your home theater looks and sounds. Getting a home theater that provides an experience comparable to the movie theater requires some tweaking, but it can be done. You can have a home theater setup that is the envy of all your friends if you take the time to learn how to optimize each individual component of your system. HDTV Your […]

Get the Most out of Travel Booking Websites – Part 2

Over the last few weeks we’ve been exploring online tools to plan a great summer vacation.  From finding the best deals to doing Disney to cruising, the Internet offers a wealth of resources to get you where you want to go with fewer headaches.  Now that we’ve covered deciding where and when to go, we wrap up our travel series with sites that can help stretch your travel dollars. Twitter (https://twitter.com/) has become the place for travel companies to announce insider sales that seem too good to be true.  Followers receive first-dibs on fare cuts before they hit the web, […]

Don’t Trash it: Use a Monitor to Watch TV

Anyone with a monitor in their closet gathering dust has probably thought the same thing: “Why can’t I just use this to watch TV?”  You can!  As more people transition to mobile devices or upgrade their screen when replacing their PC, there are decent monitors taking up room in storage cabinets everywhere.  Before you retire your old monitor to the landfill, consider repurposing it. You don’t need a computer for the monitor to work; it can connect to a cable or satellite receiver, tuner box or movie player using the same inputs as a standard TV.  A decently sized LCD […]

Choose a Monitor Part 3: Touch-Screen Monitors

In this, the last of my three-part series on choosing the right computer monitor, we get to the fun part: touch-screen and 3-D technology. Is it worth paying more to get your hands on the newest technology? Touch-screen technology is everywhere — from mobile devices to kids’ toys. As consumers start to expect all screens to respond to touch, monitors that integrate touch-screen technology are becoming more prevalent. The increased demand has started to drive down price, but you should still expect to pay a premium. A 22-inch touch-screen monitor starts at around $275, while a comparably sized LCD monitor […]

Sharing a Computer: How to Live in Harmony

Sharing a computer can be tricky.  Whether it’s the kids vying for screen time or summer house guests looking to check their email, following some easy tips can save your sanity. First, create separate user accounts for each family member and one for “Guest.”  This allows each user a sense of individuality as they can set customized backgrounds, desktop icons and folders.  Establishing individual passwords allows everyone some privacy, while your administrator access lets you maintain ultimate control.  Separating users also helps reduce the impact of your kid’s activities on your productivity – no one wants to come home to […]

The Best Way to Choose a Computer Monitor Part 2

While your monitor has a huge impact on your computing experience, the multitude of performance indicators can be confusing.  Last week I reviewed some of the primary factors that you should consider when shopping for a new display, including screen size, components effecting clarity and pairing with the right graphics card. If you missed it, check it out here: www.callnerds.com/choose-a-computer-monitor-part-1/ Yet there are even more factors that cause one monitor to cost $150 while another is $900.  While I can’t stress strongly enough the benefits of seeing first-hand how a monitor performs and produces images before you buy it, if […]

The Best Way to Choose a Computer Monitor Part 1

Your computer’s monitor can make or break your ability to work comfortably, enjoy high quality media and efficiently manage multiple processes simultaneously.   Yet many users choose their monitor based on what’s included in a package deal, or opt for the largest screen available within their budget.  While size does matter, there are several other factors to consider before choosing the screen you’ll be staring at for hours on end. Before you get seduced by a 32” widescreen behemoth, keep in mind that the screen will likely be a few feet away from your face.  Make sure your desk big enough […]

Make Money Online… No, Really

If I tell you that you can make money using the Internet without leaving your PJs, you’d probably expect me to continue with a sob story about a Nigerian prince or sell you a training course to be a stay-at-home medical transcriptionist. While “get-rich-quick” schemes abound, there do exist some legitimate portals to make a small but potentially steady income online. Unfortunately, there are far more scams than there are legitimate avenues of income. Beware of any offer that requires you to supply a credit card, pay for “training,” or fork over a membership fee. Avoid doing a Google search […]

Facebook Account Hacked? Don’t Panic.

Anyone who’s received a message from a friend’s Facebook account urging them to click a link or “like” a page to “Win a Free iPad” or “Get a Free Starbucks Gift Card” knows that social media sites are prime targets for spam and data mining.  What do you do if it’s YOUR account that’s doing the spamming? As soon as you discover that your account has been compromised, report it to Facebook at www.facebook.com/hacked.  Enter your password and follow the instructions to reinstate the account in your name.  You’ll need to identify yourself, either through your e-mail address, phone number, […]

Maintain Public WiFi Safety: Some tips

It seems every shop and gathering place proclaims “Free WiFi,” but is it safe to check your email at the airport, library or McDonalds?  There are risks to accessing private data while connected to an unsecured, community network.  Here’s how to surf safely when you’re on public WiFi. When you access the Internet on a public network, your computer or Smartphone is at risk of being accessed by other users on the same network.  It’s surprisingly easy for the person sipping the macchiato next to you to run simple programs to collect passwords and information entered by fellow patrons.  Most […]

Boost WiFi at Home, Part 2

After last week’s article about how to boost your WiFi network, I’m sure you headed straight out to buy a Wireless-N, dual-band router and removed all the cement or brick walls in your home or office to allow for optimal placement and signal transmission, right? No? Never fear.  While an up-to-date router is an integral part of a stable, strong WiFi network, there are even more ways to improve your home or office network that don’t require a sledge hammer or building permit. First, a quick recap of last week’s tips one through three: upgrade to Wireless-N, eliminate signal interference […]

Been Hacked? Here’s What to Do

Headlines have been shouting out, that the FBI recently investigated a website which had obtained personal information of high-profile people, and posted it online. Their credit card and social security numbers were available for anyone to see. These numbers have been conned out of the victims, through various methods of hacking. Now it’s unlikely that anyone would want to target you specifically in order to take your information, but hackers have special tools that allow them to mine the information of hundreds or thousands of people and computers at the same time, exploiting any holes that they find. In previous […]

Tired of Spotty Reception? Boost WiFi at Home

Wi-Fi makes connecting to the Internet seem like magic.  There’s a wonderful signal passing through the air that makes my phone work faster and unplugs my laptop from the cable – miraculous!  If you’re affected by slow speed or bad reception, however, staying connected can be a drag.  Try these tricks to improve your home or office WiFi. Step one: consider your hardware.  If your router is even a few years old, it may be time to upgrade.  A router that’s slow or incapable of transmitting a lot of data at once will compromise your whole network. Anyone using an […]

Get Turn-by-Turn Navigation in your Car

by Heather Neal In the “old days,” if I was going somewhere new I’d call the business and ask for directions – a daunting proposition since not everyone is “good” with directions.  Those days are thankfully over and today I rely mainly upon the GPS in my car, with a little of my own instincts.  For the vast majority who don’t have GPS standard-equipped in their car, how do you get where you’re going? There are several great turn-by-turn navigation applications for Smartphone users: Google Maps for your mobile phone (www.google.com/mobile/maps/, free, iPhone and Android) offers a wide variety of […]

Find the Best Tech Deals with These Tips

There’s no denying that indulging a love of electronics can get pricey.  Here are a few tips to ensure that you don’t overpay for technology. Don’t pay more for “high end” cables/connectors: It may come as a surprise that part of your TV, home theater or computer purchase that is typically most profitable for the electronics store is the additional cables you were sold on your way out the door.  When it comes to cables that transfer digital information (such as HDMI or DVI cables), in almost all cases you aren’t going to experience a noticeable improvement in image or […]

PREVENT TECH INJURIES: ERGONOMICS FOR TECH USERS

California, (February, 2013) – Whether it is an aching wrist from too much keyboard and mouse use or neck strain from looking down at your laptop or tablet screen, tech injuries typically result from repetitive motion, poor body posture and eyestrain.  Lessen your incidence of pain with these easy changes to your environment and habits. Hands, Wrists and Fingers:  Repetitive motion or strain injuries (RSIs) are caused when you repeat the same motion over and over for an extended period of time.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is well known, but tendinitis, trigger finger and even tennis elbow are growing more common. […]

New Facebook Privacy Settings: How to decipher

It seems like every time Facebook makes a change to their privacy policies or security settings, someone throws a fit about how it reflects a reduction in personal privacy and how Facebook is eventually going to own your life. But the world’s most popular social networking site just rolled out a new privacy feature and no one is complaining – in fact, this is the least I’ve heard about a Facebook change in years. The reason: they’ve made something intuitive and easy-to-understand that allows you to take control of your privacy. If you haven’t noticed it, or haven’t logged into […]

Claim Parental Tablet Control Before It’s Too Late

If the family computer has been getting a lot of miles on it lately – perhaps you have one or more youngster in the house clamoring for screen time – you may be in the market for a second PC to share the load.  Some parents may consider a tablet PC because of its cheaper price tag, but handing an un-monitored internet-connected device to your child has risks.  Luckily, there are parental controls you can easily activate to protect your child from the wild west of the internet. Restrict the YouTube App: Even watching their favorite Muppets song on YouTube […]

Bits Vs Bytes Explained

If you’ve ever shopped for internet packages or tried to buy storage, you’ve run into the bit/byte issue before – and you may not even have known it. It’s a concept that everyone who uses computer should at least familiarize themselves with. After all, it’s like not knowing the difference between kilometers and miles! When computer speed or storage is measured, it’s done using two units and their derivatives. The first unit is the bit, and the second is the byte. The bit is a one or a zero. It comes from the physical components of the computer, which either […]

Curtail Teen Computer Use

Clearly, many teens and tweens spend a lot of time in front of their computers and texting on cell phones — and much of that time is spent social networking. But is it that all bad? Surveys show the answer to that question is… no. Common Sense Media in a recent study found that in over 1000 teens, 13 to 17 had a pretty healthy perspective on social media.  “Teens are aware of the dangers of excessive usage and the online potential of cruelty. However, most young adults say social media and technology positively affects their social and mental well-being. […]

Selling or Donating Old Computers: How To

Once you’ve set up that brand new shiny PC or laptop, it’s time to ditch the old clunker taking up coveted space under your desk. Before you sell or donate your old PC, however,ensure that the information you stored on it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Back Up Your Data. First, make sure you get everything you need off your old system because the rest of this process is irreversible.  Don’t count on your memory of what files are important – take a complete disk image of your computer to capture everything from data to bookmarks and application settings. […]

Use Amazon at Your best

Whether you’re in the market for the latest hit movie, coffee, electronics, or even a drum set, Amazon.com has just about anything you can imagine buying online. In addition to massive selection, Amazon is known for its competitive pricing. Save even more time and money by taking advantage of some of its shopper incentive programs. While the $79 price tag may seem steep at first glance, Amazon Prime entitles users to more than just free 2-day shipping on eligible items – though that’s a big selling point. One-click shopping stores your billing and shipping information so you don’t have to […]

Hidden Mac Features: Getting the most from your computer

Last week I explored some of the cool, less-well-known things your Windows PC can do and this week it’s Mac’s turn. If you’re ready to unleash your Mountain Lion, here are some under-utilized tools built into Mac OS X. Dictation and Text to Speech: Imagine how quickly you could reply to Aunt Edna’s email if you could talk instead of type. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner and select System Preferences. Choose the Dictation & Speech icon. Use the Dictation tab to turn it on and set a shortcut to launch (such as “Press Left Command Key […]

Computer Tune Up for 2013

New Year’s morning – you wake up and within a few hours you’ve broken half the resolutions you’ve set for the year. “I’ll start tomorrow,” you swear. You log on the computer, go directly to Facebook (another resolution down) and start to browse. Just like you, another year passes and your computer gets a little bit slower. If only there were some way to make sure it went to the gym and ate more healthily. According to a study performed by Crucial.com, 4 out of 5 computer users would like to change something about their computer. The top 5 changes […]

Speed Up Mac Computers with Software Alternatives

Apple fans may claim that Macs have a blissfully symbiotic relationship between software and hardware, but the truth is that some of the applications that come standard (or are very common) on Macs could be improved upon. Here are some alternatives to Mac’s most ditch-able software. Last week I highlighted iTunes as a program Windows users should avoid unless necessary. While it tends to work faster on Macs, it can still be a system hog, and users commonly complain of random track deletions and duplications. Consider using iTunes to download music and podcasts and Spotify (www.spotify.com/us/) to do everything else. […]

Facebook Messaging: Pay to Send

Claims of Change to Facebook Messaging… sort of If you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t even know your Facebook account had two in boxes That’s right; when you go to your messages, there’s a little grey link at the top that says “other.” This is where less-relevant messages end up. Check it out: you may be surprised at what you find. But most of the time the “other” category just catches messages that you never really wanted to read anyway. If a page that you’ve “liked” or someone you don’t know sends you a message, it’s likely to end […]

Why You Need a Router

Firewall Router is Necessary While most of us have less than fond memories of dial-up Internet – gritting teeth through the high-pitched squeal while your computer connected, heading to the kitchen for a snack while you waited for a website to load – these days just about everyone uses a high speed Internet connection like DSL or cable. While you may think that the moment your ISP (Internet Service Provider) installer leaves you’re good to go, there’s one more piece of equipment that everyone with a high speed Internet connection needs: a router. Yes, even if you don’t plan to […]

Video Editing for Beginners

Video Editing: How to Ours is a video generation. We grew up with parents shooting camcorder footage of every birthday and graduation, and most of us have hours of movie footage without any cohesive organization or engaging content. Any novice with a video camera can benefit from editing. If you’ve ever forced your friends and family to suffer through six minutes of boring for two seconds of awesome, I’m talking to you. Before you post that cell phone video to YouTube, a little polish with a free editing program can make your friends actually want to click on your Facebook […]

Top Pinterest Pages For The Bride and Groom

They’re just three letters, but they’ll change your life forever: “Yes” to the proposal and soon, “I do.” But as any bride or groom can attest, the time between those two utterances can be overwhelming, stressful, and even crazy. Whether you’re planning an unforgettable affair for 400 or so of your nearest and dearest, or searching to instill your own unique style into your special day, Pinterest has boards to make your vows full of wows. The Perfect Palette http://pinterest.com/perfectpalette/ What started out as a wedding blog aimed at “exploring the color palette possibilities for your wedding,” has grown into […]

Top Pinterest Pages for Cooks and Foodies

The world of cooking and food is a perfect match to the visual scrapbook nature of Pinterest. From gorgeous images of food art to helpful tutorials for the novice chef, finding inspiration isn’t hard; narrowing it down to a few great boards to follow so you don’t get overwhelmed… well that’s a bigger challenge. Here are my favorites: Two Peas and Their Pod http://pinterest.com/twopeasandpod/ Brought to you by Salt Lake City food blogger and recipe developer Maria Lichty, she promises her over 13,000 followers “simple, fresh and family-friendly” fare. There are 107 boards filled with sweet treats, dishes for every […]

Windows 8 Upgrade Questions

Reader Questions about Window 8 Upgrade As we near the brink of massive Operating System overhaul (i.e., the release of Windows 8), readers want to know what to do to prepare and if they should upgrade. Here are some tips to save time, money and headaches. My family PC is on its last leg. Should I wait to replace it until Windows 8 is released? Maybe, but probably not for the reason you think. If you are planning to replace your dying PC with a laptop, it’s a good idea to see what the release of Windows 8 brings to […]

Video Chat to Connect this Holiday

Video Chat With Family & Friends The holidays are all about connecting with loved ones, but it can be a challenge when you’re separated by miles… or oceans. While you can pick up the phone, you miss out on seeing your nephew’s gleeful happy dance when he opens the super deluxe Batman Batcave action set you sent. There’s never been a better time to try one of the free video chat services to host a virtual get together. It’s the best way to feel like you’re there when you can’t be. Everyone needs to have a computer, high-speed internet connection […]

Last Minute Unique Gifts

Unique Gifts For The Procrastinator Every year I swear I will have my Christmas presents bought, wrapped and under the tree by the first week in December. Yet as the big day nears I inevitably note the passing of the last day to reasonably expect to ship online purchases with dismay, knowing I have at least a few gifts left to find and acquire. Lucky for you, dear reader, this has led me to amass a variety of great last minute gift alternatives that are easy to get a hold of yet more unique than a standard gift card. Check […]

Things Nerds are Thankful For

Nerds Give Thanks like a Baws! Everyone has a nerd or two in their life these days, whether it’s a computer guru, video gamer or mobile gadget aficionado. From texting to email to blogging, the typical nerd often favors electronic communication over “real world” conversations, and this can make it difficult to connect. In honor of Thanksgiving, here’s a bit of insight into the heart of the nerd you love with a few things that just about every nerd is thankful for this year. Nerds are thankful for loved ones that accept our quirks. We are thankful you finally got […]

Create Custom Gifts Online

Nothing says you put time, thought and effort into a gift like personalization. I don’t mean just pasting Uncle Barry’s name on the coffee mug you bought at Target. I mean creating something unique for that special individual. Before you book a weeklong craft-a-thon at your neighborhood paint your own pottery shop, check out these great ideas for creating a totally custom gift online. These days it’s easy to get your photos printed on any number of items, from shirts to mugs to jewelry to canvas. Costco, Snapfish and Shutterfly are just a few of the sites that offer a […]

Top Tech Gifts You Don’t Know About

Now that so many of us rely on electronics to read, watch movies and listen to music, you may be thinking that giving gift cards is the only option to help fill out your loved ones media library this holiday season. Yet the generic ease of a gift card makes for a very impersonal gift. Luckily you can achieve gift nirvana with a variety of truly useful digital products and services that are sure to please even the most difficult to buy for loved ones on your list. Here are our Top Tech Gifts of 2012. With the increasing popularity […]

3 Easy Ways to Save on Gift Cards

Gift cards are a ubiquitous staple of the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to show some appreciation to someone you don’t know very well (like your newspaper delivery person or your gardener), or have someone on your list that’s hard to buy for, a gift card can be the perfect present for giver and receiver. However, sometimes you get a gift card that you can’t or don’t use. What can you do with it? This dilemma has led to the creation of a gift card resale market where you can snap up gift cards at a discount. Saving money while […]

Move over Black Friday, Cyber Monday Tops Charts

Many have heard the term “Cyber Monday” floating around. But what exactly is it? Is it just a marketing term designed to sell more products or it is actually an event worth taking note of? It’s mostly both – and definitely worth paying attention to if you’re looking to buy lots of gifts this Christmas season. The National Retail Federation is an international group of retail companies, the largest in the world. One of their major divisions, and one that is growing quickly, is shop.org, a consortium of online retailers. In 2005, shop.org coined the term “Cyber Monday,” claiming that […]

Trendy Tech Gifts for 2012

In the sea of tech toys and gadgets that hit the shelves every holiday season, a few stand out as the year’s sure-to-sell-out favorites. With the first new console gaming system in six years and a mini-tablet war, this year is no exception. Here are the hottest trending tech goodies of the 2012 holiday season. Video Game Consoles Nintendo’s Wii U (http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu, $299.99 for an 8GB “basic”, $349.99 for a 32GB “deluxe”) is the first new console gaming system released since the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 first debuted in 2006. In addition to the standard game controls, the GamePad […]

Use Tech to Conquer Black Friday

For the truly dedicated Black Friday deal hunters, Thanksgiving marks the start of a shopper’s frenzy. With sales starting earlier and earlier, those elusive “doorbuster deals” can be as hard to get your hands on as a housecat that senses its ½ price vaccination day at the vet. Whether you’re a seasoned Black Friday pro, or considering joining the fray this year, your computer or Smartphone can help you plan your attack and find the best deals before you set foot in the store. Preview the Ads There are several sites that post the ads well in advance of when […]

Use Pinterest to UP Your Holiday Game

The holidays are my favorite time of year – gathering with friends and family over special meals, showing you care with gifts, watching the kids explode with excitement over pumpkins, decorated houses, lit Christmas trees… you get the idea. If you’ve yet to explore the wealth of inspiration that is Pinterest, this season is the perfect time to take a tour. Whether you’re a holiday lover like me, looking to build some memorable traditions without going overboard, or a budding Martha Stewart ready to make over your home in festive extravaganza, Pinterest has something for everyone. Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/) is a […]

Top 5 Ways to Save on Your Holiday Shopping

November seems to sneak up on me every year. I’m minding my own business, working out costume details and sugar coating trick-or-treaters when, BAM! Out of the blue it’s time to get cracking on holiday shopping. To help myself get in the game and to help you save some money, here are my top five ways you can use your tech savvy to save money on your holiday shopping. 1. Check out the resale market: I know, you’re thinking, “wrapping up used gifts?” but a lot of things available though sites like Craigslist and Ebay, or even at your local […]

The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan

The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan is the latest rootkit virus to gain widespread infiltration into a huge number of computers. While traditional viruses attempt to infect and destroy as many computers in their path before they’re stopped by anti-virus software, rootkits aim to keep your system working but under the control of an outside party. They typically give a remote user administrative power, allowing them to manipulate files and maintain control of your system. Once your system is controlled by the administrator of the rootkit, he can cause it to execute actions. Your system becomes a “botnet,” or “zombie” computer, assisting […]

Social Media Election Apps

Politics used to be an old man’s game. I mean, just look at the writers of the constitution. For years, it stayed that way. Then in the twenties, women got the right to vote and the game changed a little. But one of the last holdouts of the voting populace has not been by law, but by choice – or the lack thereof. For many years, the youth of America have not been nearly as actively involved in politics as the older generation. The 18-29 demographic turns out to polls about 14% less than those older than they. But that […]

FBI Virus is “Ransomware”

I never thought I’d look back fondly on the days when malware just caused annoying pop-ups. The newest bug crawling the Web is called “ransomware,” and it holds your computer hostage until you pay a demanded ransom. The latest has several names: FBI Moneypak, Citadel Reveton or simply, Reveton Virus. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is the result of a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Designed to give cybercrime victims an easy way to report crimes, they also assist law enforcement in obtaining evidence to prosecute culprits. The IC3 first began receiving complaints […]

Windows 8 is Here! Now What?

Windows 8 is finally here. If you’ve been reading our recent articles, you know that it’s promised to change many things about how we use our computers. If you’re one of those who have decided to make the switch, there are a few things you should know before installing it on your computer. First, make sure that your computer is actually compatible with Windows 8. This shouldn’t be a problem for most computers made within the last six years or so. The minimum requirements are: 1GHz processor 1GB RAM 16GB of Hard Drive space Graphics card with DirectX 9 and […]

Browser Extensions: Make Your Internet Browser More Awesome

For a brief introduction on browsers, read our article “What is a Browser?” When you first pulled your cell phone out of the box, you probably spent the next few hours making it uniquely yours. From selecting ring tones to choosing a photo or theme wallpaper, or downloading apps to make your Smartphone more productive or fun, the customization transformed it from “a phone” to “your phone.” You can tailor your Web surfing experience in a similar way with browser extensions and add-ons. Most are free and they allow you to personalize the look, functionality and features of Firefox, Chrome, […]

The Perils of Online Free Trial Offers

Free trial offers, particularly those that require your credit card to sign up, are like internet quicksand. The bright, shiny “Try Now for Free!” emblazoned all over the webpage lures you in. You think, “30 days is a long time. I can test it out and if it’s not something I use I can just cancel.” Before you know it, though, you spot the charge on your credit card statement for the service you forgot to use and forgot to cancel. The Better Business Bureau included “Not So “Free” Trial Offers” on their list of Top Online Scams. Many companies […]

Comparison Shop Your Life

While all the money-saving forums suggest you take a look at your latte habit to trim a few dollars from your budget, it’s good to take stock of the things you pay for regularly to make sure you’re getting a fair shake. This includes everything from your prescription medication coverage to your car insurance. We all know that prices continue going up. As much as we can’t stop them, at least we can make sure what we’re paying is fair. Medical and Dental I don’t know about you, but I haven’t got a clue what medical or dental procedures should […]

Keep Your Credit Cards Safe From Skimmers!

Seventeen percent of Americans have been the victim of card fraud, whether credit or debit. Worldwide, card fraud costs people almost six billion dollars annually. That’s an alarmingly high number, and good reason to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you. So how does it happen, and more importantly, how can you avoid it? Skimming is one of the most common methods that thieves use to steal card data from an unsuspecting victim – and it can happen to almost anyone, due to the methods that they use. Gas pumps are quite possibly the most vulnerable locations, and the […]

How to Stay Safe Online

A lot of people these days have two lives: the one that they live using their body and a second one that only exists online. Facebook alone has more than 800 million accounts, which is over twice the population of the United States. However, not all of these accounts are owned by people who are looking out for you, much like in the physical world. There’s no need to worry, though. It’s very unlikely that you will be the subject of a specifically targeted attack, but there are some steps that you should take so that you won’t ever be […]

Under-Utilized Windows 7 Features

Most of us utilize a Windows PC regularly enough that we navigate through our go-to functions with little exploration or modification. Yet hidden in the Windows 7 framework are some handy tools that you’ve likely never taken advantage of. Here are just a few of the more under-utilized tools that are already at your disposal. Windows Logo Key Shortcuts The Windows logo key (likely located on the bottom left of your keyboard, next to your Alt key) allows for nifty keyboard-driven functionality. Win Logo Key (Win) opens or closes the Start menu. Win+F opens the search function, allowing you to […]

Take Control of Your Facebook Account

When you join Facebook it all seems so blissfully easy. You supply your email address, let it magically hook you up with everyone in your contacts list, and voila! Instant social connectivity is yours. Before you know it, however, your news feed is clogged with notifications from games your friends are playing and posts from retailers you “liked” in order to claim some special offer, your photos are being commented on by your cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s sister and you have more than a hundred “friends” who you couldn’t point out in a mostly empty room. Where did it all go so […]

Should You Be Cloud Computing?

Using cloud services such as Microsoft Live SkyDrive, Amazon’s “Cloud Drive,” Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox or SugarSync to store and/or backup your data has some clear advantages. Most notably: unlimited storage capability and the reliability of offsite redundant servers maintaining multiple mirror images of your data without having to invest in costly equipment. However, moving a large amount of data to the cloud will likely require a commitment to ongoing monthly fees. There are some additional benefits that may make the investment more cost effective. Create a personal streaming media library. Anyone who’s amassed an extensive collection of music, movies […]

Resist Tech Distractions

Ever have one of those mornings at work where 10 o’clock rolls around and you wonder what you’ve been doing for the past two hours? Between “catching up” on your friends’ Facebook posts and maintaining the little farm game you downloaded to your phone, tech distractions abound and they can make it extremely difficult to concentrate. An ongoing study by a New York-based research company, Basex, found that these interruptions, and the time it takes to get your focus back, can eat up as much as 28 percent of your workday if you’re not careful. Here’s how to resist the […]

5 Tricks to Revive an Old PC

If every click on your old, slow computer makes you want to tear your hair out but your budget just won’t permit replacing it, take heart. Even if you’ve already upgraded the hardware to the extent you can and performed all maintenance to rule out a malware infection, there are a few tweaks left that may make life with an old PC more bearable. While the biggest performance boost most often results from hardware upgrades (more RAM and replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive can make a world of difference), bulky software can overly tax your system’s […]

Stop Using Internet Explorer, Right Now!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a browser, read our article “What is a Browser?” here. A bug in all versions of Internet Explorer leaves anyone using IE in conjunction with the Windows Operating System (more than 40% of Internet users in North America according to StatCounter) vulnerable to infection by Trojan horse viruses. In a Security Advisory released by Microsoft on September 17, 2012, Microsoft explains that “an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user,” meaning the hacker could control your system remotely. While Microsoft promises that they’re working […]

Breaking Up in the Digital Age

Breakups suck. There’s no way around it. But the good old days of being reminded of your ex’s existence only at the rare mutual friend birthday party or when flipping through old photos are over. From Facebook updates to emails to shared passwords, today’s digital connectivity makes it even harder to disentangle yourself from a relationship gone wrong. Before you de-friend and delete your way through emails, texts and tagged photos, there are some ways to smooth the transition and save yourself some heartache. Technology has taught us that everything is nearly instant. From texts to tweets, we’ve grown accustomed […]

Should You Shutdown Your Computer or Leave It On All The Time?

There are a number of myths floating around about what you should do with your computer when you’re not using it. Some say that you should always shut it down, while others claim that shutting down regularly will shorten the life of your computer. The fact is that neither of these is totally correct. Shutting down your computer will do no harm, but it may not be the most practical option for your circumstance. It all comes down to your personal preference – as long as you’re informed. Let’s take a look at the options. Shut down computer regularly On […]

Cyber Bullying Facts

In today’s schools you don’t see kids getting shoved in lockers or walking around with wedgies as much anymore. That’s not because kids are necessarily getting nicer – there are just more rules that really crack down on physical bullying in school. So instead of physical abuse, bullies are turning to online methods to target their victims. This is called Cyber Bullying – using electronics to belittle and demean their targets, often with scary results.  Here are two of the more popular electronic methods of targeting for Cyber Bullies: Social Sites:  Creating a Facebook account is available to anyone with […]

The Best Windows 8 Gadgets

At this year’s Computex show in Taipei (June 5th-9th, 2012), leading manufacturers previewed the next generation of tablets, ultrabooks, hybrids, and touch screen technology, designed to take advantage of the touch-friendly functionality of Windows 8. Here are a few of the cool gadgets you can expect to see near the end of the year. Asus Taichi Dual-Screen Ultrabook. If a tablet and an ultrabook (super thin and lightweight notebook) got married, this could be their offspring. It has dual displays: the one integrated into the top is touch screen, allowing it to function as a tablet when the cover is […]

Back to School Supplies

It’s pretty well-established that back-to-school is the best time to buy school and office supplies. To be more specific, the best prices are typically found either now (when retailers compete for your back-to-school dollars) or at the end of September (when stores get rid of their leftovers). Many factors contribute to “savings” when we’re shopping, and sometimes it’s not all about saving a dollar. How do you decide whether to buy online or in-store? STELLAService, an independent company that rates online businesses for customer service and quality recently performed a detailed comparison of the in-store experience to the online experience […]

Back to School: Homework Help

When I was in high school I kept meticulous notes. The piece de resistance in my collection of classroom organization was my prized weekly planner with calendar and task lists. At the end of every class I’d furiously scribble in my assignments and notes about what I needed to read or research. What can I say? I’m a Nerd. The problem with paper organization is that it’s so easily destroyed. One errant soda spill and all my hard work was a sopping sticky mess. Today’s students can use online tools at their disposal to stay on top of assignments and […]

Back to School Deals

Well, it’s time to send the kids back to school. It used to be so simple to buy back-to-school supplies. Buy a few blank notepads, a couple packs of pencils, and maybe a calculator and you were set to go. These days, it’s a little more complicated. The advent of technology has made life simpler for the ones in school and more difficult for those who send them there, like you and me. Of course, the young ones are going to try and convince you that a new Xbox or PS3 is going to help their grades. (Mom tip: it’s […]

Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

On August 3rd, 2012, a tech writer for Wired’s “Gadget Lab,” Mat Honan, was the victim of identity theft. His iPhone, iPad and MacBook were remotely wiped, his Twitter account hijacked and his Gmail deleted. He lost irreplaceable photos from the first year of his daughter’s life, hundreds of emails, and his ability to ever again feel secure online. Here’s how to significantly reduce the chances it could happen to you. In the immediate wake of the attack, Mat Honan assumed that his Apple ID password had been compromised. It turns out the perpetrator provided just two pieces of information […]

Simple & Easy Computer Maintenance

You may think computer maintenance is only for the Nerds among us, but there are many easy things you can do to speed up your PC without investing a lot of time or money. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, performing some basic computer maintenance can ensure your system stays in top form. First, the easiest tip: shut down and restart your computer regularly so that it can install all necessary software and operating system updates. Next, ensure automatic update is turned on, both for your Operating System updates as well as your anti-malware programs. If you don’t have […]

When is the Best Time to Buy a New Computer?

Bargain hunters everywhere swear by shopping seasonally. Buy when demand is lowest (who thinks to replace their air conditioner in February?) or when retailers are pushing out old inventory in anticipation of new models. When is the best time to buy a new computer or gadget? Unless you stay up on trending tech news, it’s hard to know when a new generation of the Smartphone or laptop you’ve had your eye on is due to be released. Luckily keeping up on tech trends is what we live for and we’re here to share the secrets of electronic buying seasons. Back […]

Back to School Tablets: iPad vs. Laptop

As parents everywhere prepare to send sons and daughters back to school, they want to arm them with the best possible resources. For many families, computers or tech gadgets are alongside clothes, pens and paper on the list of purchases to budget for. As tablets grow in popularity, you may be wondering if your student would benefit from having an iPad or inexpensive back to school tablets like a Kindle Fire, Google Nexus or Barnes and Noble Nook in their book bag. As I’ve explored in previous articles, tablets can play a role in our children’s education. Studies have shown […]

Tech Bargains: Sites You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

It seems summer gets shorter and shorter every year. How is it that back to school is already here? Whether you’re in the market for a PC, printer or router to get set up for the new academic year, or you’re just poised to take advantage of the season’s sales, you’ll be joining thousands of shoppers buying computers, peripherals and gadgets in the coming weeks. Before you walk into your local electronics store, there are many websites, some that you may have never heard of, that offer great tech bargains. Newegg: While the name may be a head scratcher, Newegg.com […]

Get In Shape Using Gadgets

When the Wii Fit was released it was all the rage and for good reason: it made exercise fun by turning it into a game. You earned points while working out and the ability to compete against your friends to better your score motivated you to continue. There have been many additions to the fitness “game” since then, all designed to make you come back for more while keeping it fun. Whether you’re already working out and just need a little extra motivation, or you need a serious shove off the couch, here are a few tools to get you […]

Small Business Data BackUp

Data backup is the flossing of the tech world: you know you should do it, but you just never get around to it. There’s something in human nature that makes us learn the hard way – cavities are no fun. Yet when it comes to risking the data that you need to run your business, the price of procrastination is too high. For small and medium businesses, data backup is all about automation, redundancy, and reliability. The first step to reducing your exposure to hardware failure is consolidating your data in one more reliable and easier to backup location. Instead […]

Small Business Network: Buy This Not That!

These days a business that can’t get online can’t go very far. From emailing appointment confirmations to processing credit cards, when the network goes down, business productivity grinds to a halt. Small business owners are stuck in a unique position: they need more reliability than a standard wireless firewall router can offer, but likely can’t afford the enterprise solutions offered by Cisco. In this, part two of my “Buy This, Not That” series for small businesses, I’ll explore a mid-range networking solution to bridge the gap. When I started my company in 2004, I ran our call center out of […]

DNSChanger: What you need to know

On Monday, July 9th, the FBI will pull the plug on internet access to hundreds of thousands of computers infected with a malware Trojan known as DNSChanger. Even if your computer is clean, companies that have compromised systems in their network will be taken offline, hindering their ability to do business and possibly breaking their websites, in what many are referring to as “Internet Doomsday.” In November 2011, the FBI (together with international cyber crime agencies) identified and located a ring of cyber criminals that had infected more than four million computers across the world with a Trojan virus known […]

Data Backup Basics

There are certain things we all know we should do: change the oil every 3,000 miles, choose different passwords for every online login, and back up our computers. Though I know better, I sometimes get to 5,000 miles before changing the oil, I can’t remember 500 different passwords, and I rarely back up my computer. I am a bad person. While mom showed me how to balance a checkbook (thanks mom!), no one ever showed me how to back up my computer. Now I can return the favor and teach my mom, and you, how to back up your system. […]

How to Share Photos and Videos with Friends and Family.

Share Photos and Videos Like A Nerd The opportunity to capture your adorable kidlet trying their first taste of lemon only comes along once. If you’re fast enough to capture that shot on your phone or camera, how do you share that priceless pucker with all your friends and family? There are so many ways to share that grandma and grandpa need never miss another moment from junior’s milestones, regardless of their computer expertise. You Can Email Pictures. The most basic way to share pictures or videos stored on your computer is by emailing them. While social networking sites or […]

3 Things To Do When You Set Up A New PC

After scrimping and saving, researching and debating, you finally settle on the perfect new PC, only to realize once you get it home and plugged in that you can’t get much use out of it until you get the files and programs from your old PC onto your new one. Here are my top 3 steps to set up a new PC. If you’d have asked me three years ago how I get a new system set up like the old one, I’d have told you how lucky I was to have a team of skilled technicians to set up […]

How to Win at Facebook Birthdays

In my circle of family and friends, summer is the season of birthdays. I know more than ten people who celebrate between the months of June and August. Even if I’m fortunate to live near enough to join their party, these days posting Happy Birthday wishes on their Facebook wall seems to be an unspoken requirement. Before you post a generic “have a happy birthday!” on your sister-in-law’s wall, here are some ways to make a Facebook Birthday wish stand out from the crowd. While I love that Facebook allows me to stay more in tune to distant loved ones […]

Pinterest for Parents:Top Pinterest Pages for Parents

Pinterest for Parents From adorable onesies to DIY crafts, Pinterest is full of great links for parents looking for ideas or guidance. Therein lies the rub: how can busy moms or dads narrow down the overwhelming sea of boards to find the ones that bring a little joy, peace, or motivation to their busy family? While everyone has their own parenting style, here are some pages that offer a great launching ground to find inspiration in the images and tools that fellow parents love. Zina: Let’s Lasso the Moon Creator of the hugely popular “The Parent Water Cooler” and “The […]

Cheap Summer Fun

Summer is the time for fun in the sun (or the shade if you live with heat like we do), but it’s tough when you have limited cash for leisurely activities. What can you do when you’re low on funds for cheap summer fun? We’ve got you made in the shade with these cool ideas for finding free or inexpensive summer activities. Get Inspired After vowing never to be sucked in, Andrea is officially addicted to Pinterest. It’s truly one of the most plentiful sources of ideas for DIY crafts, projects, games and activities to do on your own or […]

Small Business Computers: Buy This Not That!

According to a May 2012 report by the National Economic Council, there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. employing 60 million Americans – roughly half of the private sector workforce. The balance between budgeting and productivity can be challenging to small firms, particularly those working to get (or maintain) a foothold in today’s economy. As I travel for appearances on TV and radio, I am often asked what technology small business owners really need and what they can live without. With no further ado, here’s my “Buy This, Not That” series for the small office environment. Buy Laptops, […]

How To: Set Up A Wireless Network

These days, you need a wireless network to take full advantage of high-speed Internet, streaming TV, handheld electronics, gaming systems and even some appliances. But most users have no real understanding of how a wireless network works, or what to do when it drops a connection. This two-part series will address the basic components in a network, its setup, and troubleshooting tips to keep you surfing the net smoothly. If you have more than one Internet-ready device, you’ll find many advantages to setting up a network. All the computers on your network can share files, access network-capable devices (such as […]

How to Stop Spam

Now that I have a newborn in the house, the last thing I have time for is weeding through an email inbox filled with offers for 30 percent off at a store I bought one thing from three years ago, or daily newsletters from an online magazine touting ways to make my life more creative. I don’t have time to shower, let alone bake sweet potato muffins. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make my email more of a tool and less hassle, and stop spam with very little work from me. Most email providers have an integrated spam […]

Safe Online Shopping: 5 Tips You Need to Know!

Safe Online Shopping: Don’t get scammed Whether you do your online shopping for Christmas, Back to School or just to restock your paper-towels NERDS want to make sure that you protect your personal information while finding the best deals out there. NERDS put together their top five tips to follow for safe online shopping. Safe Online Shopping Tip #1: Create some Cyber distance. Nerds recommend keeping some distance between your online shopping and your bank and credit cards by not using the same email account for retail logins and purchase confirms as you use for your bank login and password […]

How to Remove a Virus

Do you remember back when your computer was shiny and new, it likely came with pre-installed Norton or McAfee antivirus software. It would periodically pop up little notices that it had downloaded the latest updates, and you felt snug and secure when you surfed online. Then that trial membership expired. You may not have even noticed the lapse in coverage, assuming that the icon in your toolbar was a sign that all was well — or, like many, you may have been wary to spend your hard-earned cash to subscribe. This story is so common that it’s one reason why […]

Tips & Tricks: Simple tricks to edit a PDF

Edit a PDF like a Boss! Portable Document Format (PDF) is a great tool when you want to send a document electronically that you don’t want the recipient to edit. But what about when you’re on the receiving end of a PDF that you need to change, such as an online form or application? Those blank gray fields stare back at you, mocking your attempts to click on them. Before you resort to printing the document and filling it in by hand, check out these great tools to outsmart the restrictions and edit a PDF and master those gray boxes […]

9 Tips for Hosting Captivating Video Calls

Advances in communications technology and Internet infrastructure have brought us to the place where video conferencing is more than a reality – it’s a necessity, for many businesses. Video calls are regularly used for internal meetings, sales presentations, and more. They enable a team to work together despite geographic barriers, and they give participants the ability to communicate nonverbally as well as with words. Yet, video calls can become staid and dry, just like any other type of meeting. If you want to host captivating video calls that engage your participants, here are some places to start: Start with quality […]

Can An iPad Replace A Laptop

As the new school year approaches, the question I get asked most often is, “Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?” Apple’s Steve Jobs has asserted that we are living in a “post-PC world”. can an iPad replace a laptop? To test the theory, I traveled to Florida with my 2-year old, bearing my iPad 2 but no laptop. When an article needed editing, I realized that while it would be possible for the iPad to do everything I needed, it wasn’t going to work for me straight out of the box. It needed modification. If you are considering […]

Computer Upgrades: Hard Drives, Part 2

The most vulnerable part of a hard drive is its moving parts. The disk spins, the spindle arm moves to read data, all the while creating heat, friction, and an opportunity to break when the moving stops. The next generation of hard drives – solid state drives and hybrid drives -attempt to rectify this by eliminating the spinning and swinging. However there are some tradeoffs: less storage and higher price. Is it worth upgrading? Solid state drives (SSDs) are a flash storage device, meaning they work like a USB flash drive, just without the USB part. While from the outside, […]

Job Hunting Grads: Social Media Warning (With Infographic)

Once your little prodigy has diploma fast in hand, she may be eager to jump into “the real world,” and go job hunting online. When I was entering the workforce, this meant polishing up the resume and hitting the want ads. Yet in today’s socially connected internet space, the foray into life after school is rife with more hidden pitfalls. In January 2012, Microsoft released data from a study they commissioned about consumer behaviors online. After polling more than 5,000 respondents, the study found that 14% of adults surveyed report negative consequences resulting from their online activities. Of those reporting […]

Travel Tips: Best Apps for the Summer

Summertime is all about fun under the sun and now this even includes apps for your smartphone. Whether you’re looking for show times at your local drive-in theater, recipes for a great backyard BBQ, or the best beaches to hit on your vacation to the coast, there’s an app out there just waiting for you to download and tryout. Here’s a look at some of the top apps for summer. GateGuru Summetime is all about hitting the airports to head off to some elegant resort, or an awesome beach, or even to a family reunion across the country. Unfortunately, airports […]

Cyber Bullying: Protecting Your Kids Online

Nerd Chicks love a happy ending. Cliff hangers at the end of our favorite TV shows drive us nuts. After last weeks discussion of types of cyber bullying and the ways our kids are at risk, you may have been left thinking, ‘Ok, now that we’re sufficiently concerned, what’s a parent to do?’ Never fear, this week we’re exploring ways to reduce the risk that your child will become a victim of cyber bullying. Disclaimer time: you know your kids and your family best. Some parents may be comfortable with a more hands off approach involving open communication with a […]

Online Computer Repair: Is It Safe?

These days, we want everything fast, from food to computer repairs. If you’ve seen the TV ads for iYogi.net, you may have wondered, “How can a tech in India fix a computer in Nantucket?” I’m here to unravel some of the mystery of Internet-based tech support or online computer repair. Whether you take a faulty computer to a repair shop or have a tech come to you, it can take days or even weeks to get your system back on its feet. The major benefit of online computer repair is that in many cases it’s immediate. Answer a few questions, […]

Father’s Day Gift Ideas: Nerd Dad Day

There is a relatively pervasive voice in my head that whispers, “Hallmark Holiday” whenever Mother’s Day or Father’s Day approaches. Yet there’s no denying that reminding our loved ones of their importance can’t be bad. If possible, I prefer giving time and attention to mom or dad over wrapping up a gift or emailing a card. Here are some ideas to tap your inner Nerd and give dad some quality time this Father’s Day. Whether you treasure memories of building a rocket out of Legos with your dad or want to establish a legacy of exploration with your own child, […]

How To Help Kids Deal With Social Media Cyber Bullying

From Facebook, to Twitter, to Foursquare, social media sites are everywhere and full of virtual land mines for our teens. They can quickly become a victim of cyber bullying. Anything they say can and may be used against them by a bully at school, a college admissions counselor or a future boss. There are numerous ways they’re exposed to the world, from harsh life lessons to predators and scam artists. It’s important for parents to teach them how to navigate social media safely, and avoid cyber bullying. Our mom used to say, “Never put anything in writing that you don’t […]

Want a New Computer? What You Need to Know Now!

Buying a new computer can be almost as stressful as buying a new car. How do you find the best fit for your needs without blowing your budget? If you sign on for all the bells and whistles, or have your heart set on a top-of-the-line Mac, that new computer could set you back more than a down payment on a Civic. Before you pull out your credit card, let’s review some options so you can pick the right machine. New Computer: The Best PC: Desktop: A desktop PC is usually the most appropriate PC option for a family in which […]

Computer parts: CPU, Hard Drive, Giga…what?

Going Back to school is a great time to take advantage of retailers competing for parent’s dollars, and finally upgrade from that old Windows 98 machine limping along in your basement. In fact, please do yourself a favor, if you still have windows 98, please upgrade! However, between gigabytes and megabytes, the component descriptions can be harder to decipher than your teenager’s last six text messages. From RAM to hard drive to software, how does the non-nerd decide what’s worth upgrading, and what to forego to save a few bucks? Allow me to demystify some of the tech terms so […]

What To Do Before You Call Tech Support

I am clueless when it comes to appliances. More than once I have called out a repair person to fix my dishwasher or dryer, only to discover that the power cable is loose, or that the exhaust is clogged with lint. A little basic troubleshooting could have saved me $100 or so (luckily for you, Nerds On Call doesn’t charge for estimates), if only I’d known what easy things to try before having someone out. Over the years at Nerds on Call I have discovered that there are some simple things that fix a surprising number of computer problems, and […]

Best Computer Repair: Secrets They Don’t Want You To Know.

Computer repair is like taking your car to the mechanic, at least for most of us. As much as I depend on my car, it’s a mystery how all the parts work together to get me down the road. This lack of fundamental understanding of the car’s inner workings makes me feel vulnerable and out of control every time the mechanic tells me what’s wrong, and what needs to be done to fix it. If he tells me it’s the flux capacitor, how would I know if I was being taken for a ride? That makes it especially hard to […]

Computer Upgrades: Hard Drives, Part 1

My computer repair company services thousands of PCs each year.  In my experience, there are some constants: no one’s computer or Internet speed is ever fast enough and all hard drives will eventually fail. Hard drives physically fail more than any other internal component: no surprise, given it’s the workhorse of your PC or laptop.  This data-storage and data-retrieval device consists of one or more “hard” discs that spins really fast and a read/write spindle that accesses and records data on the disc.  I liken it to a record player (remember those?).  Now ponder that the ability of your system […]

Computer Problems: Dirty Little Tech Mistakes

I ate breakfast in front of my computer for over a year before that fateful day when a coffee-in-the-laptop accident made me change my ways. Well, at least my habits involving liquids in proximity to electronics.  You’re probably saying you’ll never have computer problems like this… until you do. Here are ten more high-tech bad habits to break: 1. Computer Problems: Bad Password Practices.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever used 123456 as your password.  The most popular passwords are also the worst: password, letmein, abc123.   If your password makes the list, it’s time to get more creative.  Try using […]

4 Essential Tech Travel Tips

Whether you’re taking the kids to Disney World for the first time this summer, or making the yearly migration to Grandma’s house, there are many things you can do to help ensure that the trip a success.  Here are some tech travel tips to help you travel smarter and save money. Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to get there.  With both gas and airline ticket prices skyrocketing, it can be tough to determine the most cost effective route to your destination.  Try to factor in the value of your time, and the equation is even harder to decipher.  […]

Why You Should Upgrade Windows NOW!

Your computer’s operating system is the most integral part of how your machine functions. It determines how you view and launch programs, how stable software runs, and how your desktop looks and functions. Whether you’re nursing a trusty Windows XP machine or have resigned yourself to living with Vista, the prospect of “upgrade windows” can be daunting. There are a number of reasons to consider making the leap. Let’s face it, change isn’t always good. Anyone using Windows Vista can attest to that. It seems Microsoft is doomed to release a dud every decade; before Vista it was ME (Millennium […]

Slow Computer? Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM

The term RAM is probably pretty familiar. You may know it as memory and that it affects the speed of your PC, laptop, or handheld electronics. But will upgrading and adding more RAM speed up a slow computer? If you need a clear distinction, check out our article on memory vs storage here. The amount of RAM in your system is the primary factor in how fast it boots up, launches programs, navigates between them, and responds to your inputs. If you have too little RAM for the amount of tasks you ask your system to perform, it will run […]

How to Take Better Photos With Your Smartphone

Are you on Pinterest? How about Facebook or Google + or even Reddit? Now ask yourself what makes these sites so engaging and fun to participate in? That’s right—we’re addicted making and sharing photographs. Back in the olden days of the late 1990s it used to take an expensive camera to make good digital photos, but now-a-days many of us are running around with powerful Smartphone cameras in our pockets at all times. So how can you make sure the social pictures you take stand out in your friends’ streams? Taking quality photos with your phone isn’t particularly challenging, but […]

Travel Tips: Unplug from the Internet on vacation

If you’re going on holiday this year, you’re probably already counting down the days. It’s a chance to escape the daily stress of work and family life and take some time out to re-charge those batteries. However, with more and more of us living our lives online, it can be incredibly hard to escape the internet – particularly because it’s everywhere. From Wi-Fi in cafes and restaurants, to computers in hotel lobbies – resisting the internet can be incredibly difficult when you’re on holiday. However, if you succumb to logging on when you’re on holiday (and many of us do), […]

Facebook’s Timeline? Take control now

I’ve been dragging my heels about adopting Timeline, the Facebook profile introduced in September. I haven’t wanted to accept that my comfy, familiar profile will soon be gone for good. But there’s no delaying anymore: Facebook announced last week that “over the next few weeks, everyone will get Timeline.” Instead of waiting for Timeline to be sprung on you, I’d suggest that you jump in now and spend a few hours on www.facebook.com/about/timeline. Watch the tutorial video. Then click the “Get Timeline” button to get started, which I find preferable to logging in one day to a different layout. Timeline […]

Spring Clean: 1 in 6 Phones Have Poop on Them

Spring Clean Your Computer, iPhone, or Gadgets When I’m greeted by a fine layer of yellow pollen dust coating my car, I know that Spring has sprung. The brighter days and open windows lead many of us to notice the layer of dust that has also settled indoors, followed by a mental note to pull out the Swiffer. It’s easy to neglect some of the things that need our spring cleaning attention more than anything else our hard-used gadgets. While at our fingertips 24/7, these workhorses get grungy. Keyboard and Mouse—The Worst Offenders You probably touch your keyboard and mouse […]

Use Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest to follow the candidates

From 24-hour news streams to Facebook rants about hot-button issues, the Internet allows so many voices to shout that it can feel like a lot of noise. Yet it also allows the candidates to present themselves and what they stand for, communicating with constituents in a way that is unparalleled. I searched out where to go to see what they have to say, not what CNN, MSNBC or Fox News wants me to hear. The best place to start is at each candidate’s website: Use the candidate’s name followed by .com (not .gov as I anticipated). You don’t have to […]

Travel tips: Easy Prep To Avoid a Ruined Trip

You may have a nifty waterproof case, but there’s more you can do to get the most out of your tech while you’re away from home. Before you head out on that much needed vacation, use our travel tips to prep your tech for the road. Sync your stuff. If you have i-devices or use cloud services such as Dropbox, sync before you leave home so that all your documents, photos, music and videos are up to date, especially if you won’t have access to the Internet while you’re gone. This will also ensure that little Tommy doesn’t riot when […]

4 Secrets Online Job Hunting

How To: Online Job Hunting If you’re one of the millions of Americans looking for work, the Internet can be a key resource, albeit a daunting one. Spend time searching through Monster.com online job listings, and you may even argue that the Internet is counter-productive to your job hunt. However, a discussion paper written in September 2011 for The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, found that Internet job searching “reduces individual workers’ unemployment durations by about 25 percent.” Here’s how to use the Web to connect with the right people for your job hunt.  Ironically, the […]

BEWARE! The Latest Scams – Arm Yourself and Outsmart those Thieves

I’m a big fan of technology making life easier. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for scam artists to target potential victims. For many, the relative newness of using email and Web access for banking, shopping and paying bills leaves them vulnerable to crooks looking to steal personal information for financial gain. Trust your instincts and arm yourself with knowledge to protect yourself from these common scams: – “Your account has been compromised.” Whether you receive this notice via email, text or telephone, you’re typically directed to a website that downloads malicious software onto your computer or requests that you […]

Computer Repair: What to buy now that can save you later

You don’t have to buy the latest, top-of-the-line option every time you shop for technology. I know I risk being shunned by the nerd community for saying it, but there are times to splurge and times to save. This doesn’t apply to some people — gamers, graphic designers, photographers and others — with special requirements for their computers and gadgets. However, many computer users have a basic set of technology needs that can be met without shelling out a lot of money for the best of the best. Surprisingly, you can shop for a deal on desktop or tower PCs. […]

Re-Purpose Old Tech to get the Most out of Them

“Every year, tons of electronics are thrown in the garbage, creating a severe worldwide e-waste problem. Still, most of us love our gadgets and pine for the newest versions when they’re released.” What should we do with our tech leftovers so we don’t contribute to the dilemma? ‘a0Here are some ways to re-purpose your old PC, Smartphone or monitor that will help you get more life out of it while taking care of Mother Earth. Make a Media Center —Your PC or laptop isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer anymore, but it can still be a useful media storage […]

How Keep Teens Safe Behind The Wheel

Parents of teenage drivers inwardly struggle every time their child gets behind the wheel, hoping that their teen is “doing the right thing,” refraining from speeding and not driving distractedly. Statistics affirm that teens with involved parents are involved in fewer accidents and exhibit overall better driving. Driver’s education provides them with the rules of the road, but it’s not enough. Here some techno-tools to add to your arsenal. Start the conversation about your safe-driving expectations early and check in with your teen on an ongoing basis. You’ll probably receive some eye rolls, but remind them that the rules you […]

How To Keep Teens Safe Behind The Wheel

Parents of teenage drivers inwardly struggle every time their child gets behind the wheel, hoping that their teen is “doing the right thing,” refraining from speeding and not driving distractedly. Statistics affirm that teens with involved parents are involved in fewer accidents and exhibit overall better driving. Driver’s education provides them with the rules of the road, but it’s not enough. Here some techno-tools to add to your arsenal. Start the conversation about your safe-driving expectations early and check in with your teen on an ongoing basis. You’ll probably receive some eye rolls, but remind them that the rules you […]

What Else Can A Google Search Do?

It’s simple to Google, but it’s not always easy to get it right. We’ve all been frustrated by typing something into the search bar, only to be bombarded with a bunch of junk: pages of search results, filled with Web links from questionable sources. Results that aren’t what you were looking for. Google is unquestionably the most popular search engine, with an estimated 900 million unique visitors every month, according to eBizMBA, which compiles website statistics. Its nearest competitor, Bing, gets an estimated 165 million unique visitors every month by comparison. It would be impossible to give tips for every […]

Blogging Project: How Anyone Can Start A Blog

      Blogging is no longer just for the online-savvy. It’s for anyone who wants to share a little bit of themselves with the world. When our son was born, my husband started a blog chronicling every little coo and giggle so our friends and family could share in the experience as he grew. The site still draws readers several years later. One of my friends, a fantastic cook, created a blog to share her inventive recipes. I’m far more inclined to try something off her site than out of a cookbook. Before you bust out the laptop and […]

How To Fix A Broken Wireless Network

By: Andrea Eldridge. Once you have a wireless network set up in your home or office, it should work seamlessly… about 80% of the time. The remaining 20% will likely cause you to tear your hair out. Before you resign yourself to your Soduku book the next time you can’t get online, here are some basic tips to keep your wireless network fully operational. If Your network was working fine yesterday and suddenly today you can’t get online. Whether you set up your own network or hire a professional to do it for you, there will likely come a day when your internet connection […]

DIY: How To Fix A Broken Wireless Network

Once you have a wireless network set up in your home or office, it should work seamlessly about 80% of the time. The remaining 20% will likely cause you to tear your hair out. Before you resign yourself to your Sudoku book the next time you can’t get online, here are some basic tips to keep your wireless network fully operational. If you need a primer on WiFi, read our article “What is WiFi?” first.   If Your network was working fine yesterday and suddenly today you can’t get online. Whether you set up your own network or hire a […]

How To Date Like A Nerd

      By: Andrea Eldridge Before I joined the ranks of happily married mommies, I was a single girl once.’a0After college, I learned that anyone who held to not dating from their pool of coworkers had a relatively narrow field of potential mate options. Bar hopping requires fending off drunken advances and getting set up by your friends involves a lot of baggage: “what do you mean you didn’t like my favorite cousin Melvin?” These days, online dating allows singles to cyber-meet before committing to a face-to-face, a great way to get a hint of compatibility before giving out […]

How To Pick The Right Web Browser

Think of your web browser as your window into Internet, web pages and applications. Which browser should you choose, and what security measures should you take to protect your view? (For more information on your browser, read our article What is a Browser?) The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. Internet Explorer — preinstalled on all Windows machines — used to dominate but now Chrome does with 40 percent of all users. People primarily try out a new browser for appearance and ease of use, but security should be a concern, too. Choosing […]

Question & Answer | Nerds On Call

    Q&A: These are real questions by real people. We figured if someone wanted to know enough to email us, maybe you’re out there secretly wondering the same thing.   Do I Need An Anti-Virus Program On My Kindle? Q: Is an anti-virus program necessary on a Kindle Fire tablet? A: The short answer is that any gadget that connects to the Internet should have an anti-virus program installed on it. In theory, because the Kindle Fire uses an Android operating system, you should be able to install any Android compatible app by going to the company’s website from […]

A Guide to Clearing Personal Data From Old Devices

Before You give away your computer or cellphone, make sure you permanently delete your personal information from the hard drive. If you were fortunate enough to receive a new tech gadget this holiday season, it can be a great opportunity to donate or sell an older device that you no longer need. Before you send it off, keep in mind that most electronic items contain a wealth of personal information that you want to ensure doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Whether you’re handing down your laptop to your teenager, giving your old phone to Uncle Fred, or donating your gadget to Goodwill, make […]

How To Clear Personal Data From Old Devices

Before You give away your computer or cellphone, make sure you permanently delete your personal information from the hard drive. If you were fortunate enough to receive a new tech gadget this holiday season, it can be a great opportunity to donate or sell an older device that you no longer need. Before you send it off, keep in mind that most electronic items contain a wealth of personal information that you want to ensure doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Whether you’re handing down your laptop to your teenager, giving your old phone to Uncle Fred, or donating your […]

How To Guide: Stress Free Gadget Set Up

Online How to Guide: The easiest way to set up your Christmas Toys! Once the wrapping paper is piled in the corner and the toys have been wrestled from their packaging, you’ll realize that now you have to figure out how to get all your new gadgets and gizmos set up and configured. Talk about a post-holiday letdown. Before you send your spouse out to quiz the neighborhood teenagers about their experience with electronics configuration, there are some great online how to guides to help you get all of your new holiday loot up and running, without turning to the […]

How To Reinstall Your Windows Disk

I know that you are used to reading tons of helpful free tips and tricks on our site. However, as a computer repair company, we have to consider the risks involved here, and our official opinion is that you should not reinstall your Windows disk yourself. A complete reinstall should be handled by a professional repair tech. The reason for this, is because operating systems can be very touchy, and if you do one thing wrong, you can erase your data beyond repair. If you put the windows startup disk in your computer, there is a good chance you are going to wipe your whole computer, and not even mean to. When […]

Computer Selection, Installation and Setup

Congratulations! It’s time to finally buy a new computer or laptop. You go to the store and start looking around, but wait, how are you supposed to understand what 2.3GHz, DDR2, 4 Gigs of Ram and an Intel Dual Core Processor means? Sometimes the engineers who make computers forget that regular people buy their products. We would love to answer any questions you have about how to pick out a new computer. Let’s Go Shopping! Our Nerds will go with you to the store of your choice to help you buy a new computer, and unlike the employees at a […]

5 Easy Steps To A Clean Computer

Long summer days with the kids downloading all manner of Internet sludge has likely left your computer with the technology equivalent of a hangover. Before you give in to your kids’ pleas to replace your old reliable, try a few simple things to help you get back to a clean computer. After all, your computer needs to run smoothly for schoolwork (at least until winter break). Clean Computer Tip #1 Run your antivirus and antispyware: I know, I know, you’re probably tired of me saying it. However, when the kids have been wreaking havoc on your system all summer, it’s […]

HELP! How To Clean Up Your Computer.

Long summer days with the kids downloading all manner of Internet sludge has likely left your computer with the technology equivalent of a hangover. Before you give in to your kids’ pleas to replace your old reliable, try a few simple things to help your computer get back on track. After all, your computer needs to run smoothly for schoolwork (at least until winter break). #1 Run your antivirus and antispyware. I know, I know, you’re probably tired of me saying it. However, when the kids have been wreaking havoc on your system all summer, it’s highly likely that viruses […]

10 Free Ways To Clean Up Your PC

Does it feel like you can make a pot of coffee and clean the kitchen all in the time it takes for your computer system to boot up? Do you find yourself daydreaming of dropping it off the top of your office building while you’re waiting for web pages to load? If it seems like your computer is running slower every day, here are some things to do to get your “old reliable” running in tip-top shape. Of course, budget-savvy Nerd Chicks are always looking for ways to save some dough, so we’ve made sure they are all free. 1. […]

5 Free Tips On How To Speed Up Your Mac

  There are a few basic rules in the tech world that are NEVER questioned. First, never type “Google” into Google, or you’ll break the Internet. Second, you’re only one great idea from launching the greatest tech company in the world and becoming as rich as Bill Gates. Finally, Macs are better than PCs. Macs don’t crash, they don’t slow down, they run forever, and every Mac user’s worth is based on the first Mac they’ve ever owned. I still have an original Apple II hidden in a closest. What most Mac users would never admit, buried deep in their […]

3 Easy Ways To Keep Kids Safe Online

As the days get longer and warmer, they herald the coming of summer vacation. Who doesn’t remember the joy of lazy days spent roaming the neighborhood with your buddies, swimming in the pool or lake, or inventing games to play in the backyard? Yet these days our kids are more likely to spend the summer roaming the Internet, swimming in a sea of media, and inventing stories for their Facebook page. How do you get your kids to unplug and see the sun? When they are online, how do you keep your kids safe when they’re home free and you’re […]

5 Spring Cleaning Tips You’ve Overlooked.

So now that you’ve untangled the rats nest of wires, and you’re down to one remote, you look over at your keyboard and it looks like you’ve got a crumb factory EEK! Well DON’T put your keyboard in the dishwasher (like some suggest) use these neat tips and tricks to make your tech sparkling clean again! One word of caution though before trying any of these tricks please make sure to have your tech turned off. Better safe than sorry! 1. Silly Putty: See your toddler had it right! That silly putty is a great way to lift up all […]

Be Green! Learn the best ways to recycle your e-waste!

The easiest, little known secrets to recycling. Recycle, repurpose, and  resell.   In this video Andrea talks about the best local recycling resources. She shares about some companies who will even pay you for used merchandise. Local resources covered in this video include: Epa.gov Ecosquid.com Goodwill.org Salvationarmy.org

Conquer your tech clutter for spring

Nothing makes a Nerd Chick question her dedication to gadgets more than seeing six remote controls lined up on the edge of the couch.While it may be mildly amusing to pretend you’re Indiana Jones conquering the tangle of cables to wrestle out your iPod charger, it’s really more annoying than anything else. Spring heralds a desire to get rid of the clutter, and we’ve found some great gizmos to clean up your most unruly tech toys. nerds on call If you have had to resort to labeling your remote controls, or if you have a shelf dedicated to them in […]

Internet Hit by Wave of Fake PC ‘defrag’ Tools

Photo by: basykes A spate of scareware apps that trick users into buying useless hard disk repair tools appears to be part of a concerted campaign to push fake ‘defrag’ software, a security company has said. The Internet abounds with Windows utilities, usually free, some not very good. Users have an unquenchable appetite for them. According to a GFI-Sunbelt Security blog, a new type of bogus disk software has suddenly become very common on the back of this, with a clutch of convincing examples appearing in recent weeks. Users encountering new examples HDDRepair, HDDRescue and HDDPlus should ignore them. They […]

Essential tools for online communication

photo by:trekkyandy So now that we’ve decided to try out Skype/Google for communication with our far-off loved ones, what hardware do we need in order to make it happen? The basics would include a microphone, and headset, and a web cam. All of these things can be fairly inexpensive. Amazon. com has a variety of headset/microphone combos ranging anywhere from about $10 to over $100. I really recommend the combo, even though its hard to look cool wearing one, they really are quite convenient. Once you have your headset, you will need a web cam. As far as those go, […]

Bring family virtually together for holidays

Last Thanksgiving, I was marooned in Kansas City for the longest three weeks of my life. It was a joyous time, since we were in the process of adopting our second child, but also heartbreaking because I was 1,800 miles away from my husband and 15-month-old son. I can truly say that video chat saved my sanity. The holidays can be tough if you’re away from the people you love, but many of us simply cannot afford to get on a plane this year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to sit down with Grandma for Thanksgiving dinner as if she was […]

Read Your eBooks Anywhere

When I bought a Kindle Fire, I went from my book-a-month habit to about a book-a-week, practically overnight.  This could be a costly endeavor, and yet when it comes to eBooks, I stuck with my old habit of purchasing new titles directly through Amazon, simply because it was easier.  It never occurred to me to price compare other vendors, even though saving a few bucks on a new release could equate to some serious cash over the course of the year.  Is it possible to shop around e-book vendors, but still read the e-books on my Kindle?  Here’s what I […]

Twitter Redesign Starts Rolling Out

The original and most-popular ‘microblogging’ site, Twitter, is getting its most significant redesign. While the site has remained much the same since its inception in 2006, this latest design is shifting towards a more ‘profile-friendly’ design. Online commenters have noted the similarity between its design and fellow social network Facebook’s. The most prominent change is the rearrangement of the header. While the previous version of the site only had space for a small, expandable photo above the user’s basic name and information, Twitter’s redesign now also features a large ‘cover’ photo. This cover photo spans the width of the page […]

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.  […]

Apps for Children with Special Needs

Note: I have updated this article with reader feedback at the end. Please read it and my response For parents of children with special needs, it can be heartbreaking to feel that their child’s potential to communicate, learn, or participate in school activities is hindered by a disability. Touch-screen devices such as tablets can offer your children unique opportunities to learn and develop because they aren’t mired by such things as input devices (e.g., mouse and keyboard). They can scroll through applications, play games or navigate the device more easily, allowing them to engage in the activity, practice or learn […]

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 […]

Share Secrets on New Social Network

Secret is the latest social media site to garner buzz. It’s different from Facebook or Twitter because you post anonymously to a pool of people gathered from your contact list, or linked through a series of friends-of-friends. You may ponder, “How is it social to post anonymously?” The hot new app is a like a social media masquerade ball and fans insist that the anonymity allows them to be more themselves than when they have to “face” their fellow users. Anyone who’s used Facebook or Twitter has likely censored themselves at some point or another. By the time you gather […]

Wearable Tech

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was crowded with wearable technology like smart watches, fitness trackers, and Bluetooth jewelry. Google Glass is already in the hands of a few select early-adopters. Even those brands without a wearable device on the market, such as Apple and Microsoft, are rumored to have them in the works. Manufacturers believe it will be an integral part of how we will interact with technology in the future. Is it ready to join your arsenal of mobile technology? Smart Watches and Bluetooth Jewelry Wearable technology appeals to those looking to have constant access to certain information. If […]

Smartphone Fingerprint Security

Apple’s iPhone 5S includes fingerprint scanning technology called Touch ID to unlock the phone and make purchases in iTunes. Some are calling it the key to the future of your Smartphone – a more secure way to authenticate mobile transactions and protect your data from theft if your phone is lost or stolen. Others are concerned about the privacy of users, worried that fingerprints will be kept on record at Apple or made available to 3rd party software developers. Smartphones let you bring your photos, email, and social media everywhere you go. Many use Smartphones for mobile banking, shopping and […]

Chromebook 11 Announced

Google added to its collection of “Chromebooks” yesterday, with their announcement of the HP Chromebook 11. If you haven’t been following the search engine giant’s every move, they’ve already produced four Chromebooks and announced another three, including today’s 11-inch mini-laptop. The Chromebook 11 is produced by HP, like the HP Pavillion Chromebook and the upcoming Chromebook 14. Available immediately for $279, the device sports a sleek new design and is promised as “the Chromebook for everybody,” although that moniker has been applied to Chromebooks in the past. The Chromebook 11 comes in five different accent colors: Google Blue, Yellow, Red […]

Best App Sequels

From Mario Brothers to World of Warcraft, I’ve tackled my fair share of games in my day. It tickles me that now I can play a game on my hand-held device from anywhere, whether I am early for an appointment or waiting to pick up the kids from school. A few of my favorites have recently released sequels, so I was eager to check them out. Angry Birds Star Wars 2 ($.99): Angry Birds, published by Rovio, was one of the first games I downloaded on my phone, and our super-nerd family jumped at the chance to play the Star […]

iOS 7 Reviewed

Last week Apple released iOS 7, an update that CEO Tim Cook called the biggest change to the platform since the iPhone was introduced. Available for free for every iPhone after the iPhone 4, the latest iPod Touch, the iPad 2 and later versions, and the iPad mini, millions will be seeing iOS 7 in the coming weeks. Here’s what you can expect. The most dramatic change is visual: everything looks different. Icons for core functions like Photos, Settings and Newstand have new images, there’s a new palette of colors and everything looks brighter. Icons appear flat while visually layered […]

Choose a Tablet – Part 2

Tablets are growing in popularity. Lightweight, ultra-portable and with a user-friendly and immersive touch-screen, it’s no wonder that more and more people are wondering if a tablet could replace their PC. Last week, I started to answer a reader’s inquiry about choosing a tablet for email, Internet, Facebook and reading books and magazines. This week, we’ll explore getting and storing content on a tablet, as well as offline functionality. A tablet’s operating system and manufacturer determines where content originates from and this should factor into your decision if you plan to purchase games, movies, books or magazines. Amazon has a […]

Choose a Tablet – Part 1

Last week, Christina P. sent me a great question about how to choose a tablet and what they do, an inquiry I receive regularly so I thought I’d share my reply in this two-part series: I am considering a tablet for Internet, Facebook and reading – books and magazines, but I don’t even own a smart phone, so I’m very confused. Do all tablets generally offer the same features? I don’t understand why iPads are a lot more expensive than other tablets. Is the retina display worth the extra cost? If I plan to use a tablet on the road, will I need […]

Moto X Announced

There have been rumors around the internet for months concerning the “Moto X.” So what exactly is the big deal about this phone, which is the result of close collaboration between Google and Motorola? Today everyone finally got their answers at Motorola’s press conference during which they officially announced the Moto X. The phone is the first hardware manufactured by Google, which owns Motorola. As a result, the phone is sleek, glossy, and well-designed; any phone nerd‘s dream. It includes two cameras: a 10-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. It can be customized with 16 or 32 gigabytes […]

Nexus 7 and Android 4.3 Jellybean Announced

If you’ve been considering getting a tablet but nothing has caught your eye yet, you might want to take a second look at Google’s Nexus 7, which just received a major update, along with its operating system, Android 4.3. Google today announced the release of updates to two of their flagship products, the Nexus 7 and the Android operating system. The Android update, number 4.3, codenamed “Jellybean,” offers a number of incremental changes to the operating system. The biggest change is the addition of restricted profiles. Restricted profiles allow parents to change application behaviors on their childrens’ accounts. This means […]

iPhone Electrocution: Shocking News

Ryan Talks about iPhone Electrocution This week our very own Ryan Eldridge appeared on the Brandmeier show to talk about phones and electrocution. Read about the iPhone electrocution. Listen to the segment here: Transcript: Brandemeier: Andrea did a story that piqued my interest about this lady who was on her iPhone 5 while it was charging. She took a phone while it was charging, she’s on the phone, the phone is charging, she picks it up, she’s electrocuted to death. Cohost: Woah Brandemeier: On a charging mobile iphone 5. Her sister tweeted out that she collapsed and died and warned […]

Android Phones Vulnerable to Hackers

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, installed on three quarter of a billion devices. Having a master key to all of those would give a hacker near-total control in the mobile world. Fortunately, this doomsday scenario has been narrowly avoided. Bluebox Labs, a computer security company, recently discovered http://bluebox.com/corporate-blog/bluebox-uncovers-android-master-key/ a vulnerability in the Android operating system that leaves “99%” of Android users open to the possibility of malicious software. But the most shocking thing about this discovery is not only the breadth of the vulnerability, but its depth as well. The “Master Key” vulnerability, if […]

Mobile Malware Explodes in 2013

The numbers are out: McAfee‘s report on viruses in the first quarter of the year shows mobile malware, which exploded last year, is showing no signs of stopping. Smartphones, which just recently outnumbered “dumb phones” worldwide are increasingly becoming the targets of the same sorts of viruses and malware that we’ve worried about on our computers for years. McAfee, a large security firm owned by Intel, reports that 28% of all malicious smartphone software has appeared in the first quarter of 2013. The year previous saw a huge spike in which the rest of the 50,000 programs emerged, although some […]

Google IO Conference Keynote Rolls out Amazing New Features

Remember watching Star Trek, where the crew members could just speak to their computer and it would instantly know what they were referring to and provide them with that information? Well, nerds are ahead of schedule on developing that computer, and they work at Google. Google kicked off their sixth annual three-day IO conference for software developers today with a three-hour keynote talk announcing new developments. The tech behemoth has already announced some groundbreaking improvements to not only their flagship search product but to many of their other products as well. We’ve rounded up some of the big ones for […]

Pay by Phone: Next big thing?

If you’ve noticed offers at your gas station or grocery store to “pay with your phone,” you’ve seen what many claim is the future of how we’ll pay for goods and services: Near Field Communication, or NFC.  Whether you relish the idea of ditching your wallet in favor of swiping your phone everywhere you go or you shudder at the thought of losing a phone laden with all your credit card info, NFC is likely to gain in popularity in years to come. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are familiar forms of electronic communications that allow devices to transfer information back and […]

What is Siri, Really?

Apple made headlines in December when it introduced Siri with the latest iteration of their iPhone, the 4S. Siri has been billed as an “intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done by just asking.” It’s a new feature to the phone and coming to the iPad that allows you to control pretty much every life-related feature on the device. It has been touted to be able to do just about everything that your phone is capable of by entering simple, natural-language voice commands. So, what is Siri, really? How does it work in the real world we interact […]

Mobile Security: Protecting your Phone

Whether you’re one of the millions of Americans that already owns a mobile handheld device (like a Smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch), or you’re hoping Santa slips one under your tree this year, there’s something you likely haven’t put much thought towards: mobile security. According to a report released by Forrester Research, it’s estimated that 46% of all bank account holders will utilize mobile banking services by 2017.  Even if you aren’t accessing your bank or credit account from your handheld device, you likely have email; social networking and a multitude of apps that give a would-be thief plenty of […]

Social Media Election Apps

Politics used to be an old man’s game. I mean, just look at the writers of the constitution. For years, it stayed that way. Then in the twenties, women got the right to vote and the game changed a little. But one of the last holdouts of the voting populace has not been by law, but by choice – or the lack thereof. For many years, the youth of America have not been nearly as actively involved in politics as the older generation. The 18-29 demographic turns out to polls about 14% less than those older than they. But that […]

Comparison Shop Your Life

While all the money-saving forums suggest you take a look at your latte habit to trim a few dollars from your budget, it’s good to take stock of the things you pay for regularly to make sure you’re getting a fair shake. This includes everything from your prescription medication coverage to your car insurance. We all know that prices continue going up. As much as we can’t stop them, at least we can make sure what we’re paying is fair. Medical and Dental I don’t know about you, but I haven’t got a clue what medical or dental procedures should […]

Apple iOS and Android New Targets of Malware

As computers become more prevalent, the viruses that prey on them increase as well. According to McAfee, a protection provider, malware is multiplying faster now than it ever has. In the last quarter alone, there have been 1.5 million more attacks than previously. With new technology, comes changes in the threats – botnets and ransomware are just some of the new things to watch out for. Computers using Windows operating systems are still hit the hardest, but more and more viruses are now targeting Macs and Android systems, like smartphones, two of the emerging computer foundations. Vincent Weafer, Senior Vice […]

iPhone 5 Rumors: “It’s almost here” Worth the Hype?

On September 12th, Apple is holding an event that announces “It’s almost here” and features a prominent iPhone 5. Many people have speculated on what this means, most coming to the conclusion that the computer giant is about to release the fifth iteration of their incredibly popular iPhone. If announced on the 12th, chances are that the phone will become available in stores on the 21st of September. Analysts are already predicting that Apple will sell ten million of the devices in the first week. So what’s the big deal all about? Here we’ve collected the best of the speculation […]

Cyber Bullying Facts

In today’s schools you don’t see kids getting shoved in lockers or walking around with wedgies as much anymore. That’s not because kids are necessarily getting nicer – there are just more rules that really crack down on physical bullying in school. So instead of physical abuse, bullies are turning to online methods to target their victims. This is called Cyber Bullying – using electronics to belittle and demean their targets, often with scary results.  Here are two of the more popular electronic methods of targeting for Cyber Bullies: Social Sites:  Creating a Facebook account is available to anyone with […]

Back to School: Homework Help

When I was in high school I kept meticulous notes. The piece de resistance in my collection of classroom organization was my prized weekly planner with calendar and task lists. At the end of every class I’d furiously scribble in my assignments and notes about what I needed to read or research. What can I say? I’m a Nerd. The problem with paper organization is that it’s so easily destroyed. One errant soda spill and all my hard work was a sopping sticky mess. Today’s students can use online tools at their disposal to stay on top of assignments and […]

Back to School Deals

Well, it’s time to send the kids back to school. It used to be so simple to buy back-to-school supplies. Buy a few blank notepads, a couple packs of pencils, and maybe a calculator and you were set to go. These days, it’s a little more complicated. The advent of technology has made life simpler for the ones in school and more difficult for those who send them there, like you and me. Of course, the young ones are going to try and convince you that a new Xbox or PS3 is going to help their grades. (Mom tip: it’s […]

Taking Your iPad Back to School

The new iPad is loaded with features and also has the highest quality screen available in a portable device. The new Retina display touch screen makes colors and resolution more vivid than ever, allowing for an even more amazing user experience than with previous generations of iPads. The iPad’s combination of power and portability make it great for school. It allows the student to carry just about an entire library of books and offers access to literally thousands of educational apps. All of this adds up to making learning easier — and more fun! No matter if you have the […]

Back to School Tablets: iPad vs. Laptop

As parents everywhere prepare to send sons and daughters back to school, they want to arm them with the best possible resources. For many families, computers or tech gadgets are alongside clothes, pens and paper on the list of purchases to budget for. As tablets grow in popularity, you may be wondering if your student would benefit from having an iPad or inexpensive back to school tablets like a Kindle Fire, Google Nexus or Barnes and Noble Nook in their book bag. As I’ve explored in previous articles, tablets can play a role in our children’s education. Studies have shown […]

How to Share Photos and Videos with Friends and Family.

Share Photos and Videos Like A Nerd The opportunity to capture your adorable kidlet trying their first taste of lemon only comes along once. If you’re fast enough to capture that shot on your phone or camera, how do you share that priceless pucker with all your friends and family? There are so many ways to share that grandma and grandpa need never miss another moment from junior’s milestones, regardless of their computer expertise. You Can Email Pictures. The most basic way to share pictures or videos stored on your computer is by emailing them. While social networking sites or […]

Nexus 7 vs. Kindle Fire vs. Nook

This week Google went and set the tech world abuzz by announcing their new Nexus7 tablet, the result of a partnership with ASUS. Recent success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire has given Google hope that the small screen, inexpensive tablet market is one worth pursuing. Anyone who has considered adding a tablet to their arsenal of tech gadgets but has balked at the price tag (or paltry performance of most low-end tablets) should take a second look at the Nexus 7. While your first inclination is probably to compare it to the iPad, the dominant tablet on the market, in truth […]

Pinterest for Parents:Top Pinterest Pages for Parents

Pinterest for Parents From adorable onesies to DIY crafts, Pinterest is full of great links for parents looking for ideas or guidance. Therein lies the rub: how can busy moms or dads narrow down the overwhelming sea of boards to find the ones that bring a little joy, peace, or motivation to their busy family? While everyone has their own parenting style, here are some pages that offer a great launching ground to find inspiration in the images and tools that fellow parents love. Zina: Let’s Lasso the Moon Creator of the hugely popular “The Parent Water Cooler” and “The […]

Small Business Computers: Buy This Not That!

According to a May 2012 report by the National Economic Council, there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. employing 60 million Americans – roughly half of the private sector workforce. The balance between budgeting and productivity can be challenging to small firms, particularly those working to get (or maintain) a foothold in today’s economy. As I travel for appearances on TV and radio, I am often asked what technology small business owners really need and what they can live without. With no further ado, here’s my “Buy This, Not That” series for the small office environment. Buy Laptops, […]

How To: Set Up A Wireless Network

These days, you need a wireless network to take full advantage of high-speed Internet, streaming TV, handheld electronics, gaming systems and even some appliances. But most users have no real understanding of how a wireless network works, or what to do when it drops a connection. This two-part series will address the basic components in a network, its setup, and troubleshooting tips to keep you surfing the net smoothly. If you have more than one Internet-ready device, you’ll find many advantages to setting up a network. All the computers on your network can share files, access network-capable devices (such as […]

Safe Online Shopping: 5 Tips You Need to Know!

Safe Online Shopping: Don’t get scammed Whether you do your online shopping for Christmas, Back to School or just to restock your paper-towels NERDS want to make sure that you protect your personal information while finding the best deals out there. NERDS put together their top five tips to follow for safe online shopping. Safe Online Shopping Tip #1: Create some Cyber distance. Nerds recommend keeping some distance between your online shopping and your bank and credit cards by not using the same email account for retail logins and purchase confirms as you use for your bank login and password […]

9 Tips for Hosting Captivating Video Calls

Advances in communications technology and Internet infrastructure have brought us to the place where video conferencing is more than a reality – it’s a necessity, for many businesses. Video calls are regularly used for internal meetings, sales presentations, and more. They enable a team to work together despite geographic barriers, and they give participants the ability to communicate nonverbally as well as with words. Yet, video calls can become staid and dry, just like any other type of meeting. If you want to host captivating video calls that engage your participants, here are some places to start: Start with quality […]

Can An iPad Replace A Laptop

As the new school year approaches, the question I get asked most often is, “Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?” Apple’s Steve Jobs has asserted that we are living in a “post-PC world”. can an iPad replace a laptop? To test the theory, I traveled to Florida with my 2-year old, bearing my iPad 2 but no laptop. When an article needed editing, I realized that while it would be possible for the iPad to do everything I needed, it wasn’t going to work for me straight out of the box. It needed modification. If you are considering […]

Job Hunting Grads: Social Media Warning (With Infographic)

Once your little prodigy has diploma fast in hand, she may be eager to jump into “the real world,” and go job hunting online. When I was entering the workforce, this meant polishing up the resume and hitting the want ads. Yet in today’s socially connected internet space, the foray into life after school is rife with more hidden pitfalls. In January 2012, Microsoft released data from a study they commissioned about consumer behaviors online. After polling more than 5,000 respondents, the study found that 14% of adults surveyed report negative consequences resulting from their online activities. Of those reporting […]

Travel Tips: Best Apps for the Summer

Summertime is all about fun under the sun and now this even includes apps for your smartphone. Whether you’re looking for show times at your local drive-in theater, recipes for a great backyard BBQ, or the best beaches to hit on your vacation to the coast, there’s an app out there just waiting for you to download and tryout. Here’s a look at some of the top apps for summer. GateGuru Summetime is all about hitting the airports to head off to some elegant resort, or an awesome beach, or even to a family reunion across the country. Unfortunately, airports […]

Cyber Bullying: Protecting Your Kids Online

Nerd Chicks love a happy ending. Cliff hangers at the end of our favorite TV shows drive us nuts. After last weeks discussion of types of cyber bullying and the ways our kids are at risk, you may have been left thinking, ‘Ok, now that we’re sufficiently concerned, what’s a parent to do?’ Never fear, this week we’re exploring ways to reduce the risk that your child will become a victim of cyber bullying. Disclaimer time: you know your kids and your family best. Some parents may be comfortable with a more hands off approach involving open communication with a […]

How To Help Kids Deal With Social Media Cyber Bullying

From Facebook, to Twitter, to Foursquare, social media sites are everywhere and full of virtual land mines for our teens. They can quickly become a victim of cyber bullying. Anything they say can and may be used against them by a bully at school, a college admissions counselor or a future boss. There are numerous ways they’re exposed to the world, from harsh life lessons to predators and scam artists. It’s important for parents to teach them how to navigate social media safely, and avoid cyber bullying. Our mom used to say, “Never put anything in writing that you don’t […]

Want a New Computer? What You Need to Know Now!

Buying a new computer can be almost as stressful as buying a new car. How do you find the best fit for your needs without blowing your budget? If you sign on for all the bells and whistles, or have your heart set on a top-of-the-line Mac, that new computer could set you back more than a down payment on a Civic. Before you pull out your credit card, let’s review some options so you can pick the right machine. New Computer: The Best PC: Desktop: A desktop PC is usually the most appropriate PC option for a family in which […]

4 Essential Tech Travel Tips

Whether you’re taking the kids to Disney World for the first time this summer, or making the yearly migration to Grandma’s house, there are many things you can do to help ensure that the trip a success.  Here are some tech travel tips to help you travel smarter and save money. Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to get there.  With both gas and airline ticket prices skyrocketing, it can be tough to determine the most cost effective route to your destination.  Try to factor in the value of your time, and the equation is even harder to decipher.  […]

Cyber bullying: What It’s All About

As a computer repair company we feel a responsibility, not just to fix computers, but to also be a positive influence in the world of technology. These days we spend more of our lives online than ever before and our kids are certainly no exception. Parents and caregivers hear more and more about the risks our kids are exposed to on the internet and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the flood of risks and tips. One question we get over and over from parents is how to protect their family from cyber bullying. In this 2-part series, we’ll explain […]

How to Take Better Photos With Your Smartphone

Are you on Pinterest? How about Facebook or Google + or even Reddit? Now ask yourself what makes these sites so engaging and fun to participate in? That’s right—we’re addicted making and sharing photographs. Back in the olden days of the late 1990s it used to take an expensive camera to make good digital photos, but now-a-days many of us are running around with powerful Smartphone cameras in our pockets at all times. So how can you make sure the social pictures you take stand out in your friends’ streams? Taking quality photos with your phone isn’t particularly challenging, but […]

Travel tips: Easy Prep To Avoid a Ruined Trip

You may have a nifty waterproof case, but there’s more you can do to get the most out of your tech while you’re away from home. Before you head out on that much needed vacation, use our travel tips to prep your tech for the road. Sync your stuff. If you have i-devices or use cloud services such as Dropbox, sync before you leave home so that all your documents, photos, music and videos are up to date, especially if you won’t have access to the Internet while you’re gone. This will also ensure that little Tommy doesn’t riot when […]

Computer Repair: What to buy now that can save you later

You don’t have to buy the latest, top-of-the-line option every time you shop for technology. I know I risk being shunned by the nerd community for saying it, but there are times to splurge and times to save. This doesn’t apply to some people — gamers, graphic designers, photographers and others — with special requirements for their computers and gadgets. However, many computer users have a basic set of technology needs that can be met without shelling out a lot of money for the best of the best. Surprisingly, you can shop for a deal on desktop or tower PCs. […]

4 Time Saving Apps & Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier

This year, we have a renewed dedication to using technology to make my life easier. With precious few minutes to waste in the day, it seems like certain technological “advances” actually cause me to waste more time than they save. Here are some great resources to turn the tables and have your tech tools work for you again. 1: It’s impossible is for me to keep track of my phone. I can actually have it in my hand while I’m looking for it. Even though I realize I’m an extreme case, everyone has misplaced a phone between the couch cushions […]

Smartphone 101: Which Cellphone Should You Use?

Confession: It took me a long time to abandon my old flip-phone. I had just gotten the hang of texting on it and I really didn’t want to shell out the extra 30 bucks a month for the data package.When I finally decided to make the switch, I chose an iPhone, but I have many friends who swear by their Android and Windows 7 phones. If you’ve finally decided to ditch the old phone and make the switch to a smartphone, how do you decide which one is right for you? Here’s the skinny on what each of the smartphone […]

How To Guide: Stress Free Gadget Set Up

Online How to Guide: The easiest way to set up your Christmas Toys! Once the wrapping paper is piled in the corner and the toys have been wrestled from their packaging, you’ll realize that now you have to figure out how to get all your new gadgets and gizmos set up and configured. Talk about a post-holiday letdown. Before you send your spouse out to quiz the neighborhood teenagers about their experience with electronics configuration, there are some great online how to guides to help you get all of your new holiday loot up and running, without turning to the […]

What is the Best Tablet: Kindle Fire vs The Nook

One of the hottest items on many a gadget lover’s holiday list is a tablet PC, often the iPad. Just in time to muddy the waters, two more budget-friendly tablet e-readers have arrived on the market. I’ll review their pros and cons. The primary draw of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet is undoubtedly price. The Kindle Fire starts at $199 and the Nook starts at $249 — both considerably less than Apple’s iPad2, which this week could be found online for $541 and up. Both e-readers offer ultra-clear, 7-inch, full-color touch screens and weigh about 14 […]

Understanding Verizon’s Tiered Data Plans

    When I was little, one of my favorite cartoons was the Jetsons. I would watch George video chatting with his boss, and proclaim to my sister, “The future is going to be awesome!” With every generation of portable technology, from walkmans to cell phones, it seemed my childhood dreams would soon be realized. As I watch my two year old video chat with his cousin on my iPhone, I can’t help but smile: this future is pretty awesome. Then the news broke that Verizon is joining the ranks of AT&T in eliminating unlimited data on mobile devices, and […]

They War Over The Future Of Music

Everyone has a summer anthem. I’m partial to Will Smith’s “Summertime,” but please don’t look up when that was popular. These days, getting access to your favorite tunes is easier than ever with services that allow you to stream music to Internet-capable and mobile devices. There are even options for families like mine that cross over between Apple, Android and Windows devices. Finally, we can all just get along — and share our music again. While Google Music Beta , Apple iCloud and even Amazon Cloudduel for your loyalty, we have delved into the trenches and reviewed the 3 best Music Clouds that let […]

Computer Freezes When I Turn It Off

Why does my computer freeze when I try to turn it off? When your computer freezes during a shut down there is something you can try. First, you should hold down your computer’s power button for 10 seconds. Holding your computer’s power button for 10 seconds is called a hard shut down. Doing a hard shut down is safe to do, and most of the time makes your computer turn off. Then let it rest for a minute or so and try turning it on again. 9 out of 10 times this works and you have no further issues. When […]

How To Install A Printer

Set Up A Windows Printer: With Windows based computers there are two ways to set up a printer. Usually the easiest way to install a printer is to plug the printer into the USB port on the computer and it will install the printer drivers automatically. But on rare occasions, simply plugging in your printer won’t properly install all of your drivers. For example, if you have bought an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier, the computer may only install one or two of the printer drivers. The better way to install a printer is to do a manual install. To manually install a […]

Fix Laptop Cables

Laptop cables can break for a number of reasons (to name a few: children, pets, general wear and tear…), laptop cables tend to frey more often because they are attached to a mobile device. If you have a broken laptop cord, we can fix it. However, we can’t stop your cat from chewing on your laptop power cables, sorry! There are a few different ways to fix a broken laptop cable, and our Nerds can help you decide which repair method will work best for you. If you have broken cables, give us a call, or talk to us through […]

The World’s Best Free Downloads (part2)

(Read Part 1) Like the familiar route you take to work every day, or the path your dog walks you on every night, we all find ourselves doing things out of habit even when there may be a faster or easier way. There’s some process you follow to get online, get your email, or watch a video file, that’s a little odd or hard to explain, but you’re used to it. Step out of your comfort zone, just a little, and one of the following programs may make your computing experience a whole lot easier. #6 Download Pidgin: Instant messaging has become […]

The Worlds Best Free Downloads

Though my job is to discover new things technology can do to make life easier, I am a creature of habit. I rarely deviate from using the same few programs and applications. Just like when I was 7 and my mom finally convinced me to try broccoli again, sometimes branching out from a comfort zone can lead to wonderful discoveries. This week and next, I’m suggesting some downloadable programs that are worth taste testing. In my opinion, these are the best free downloads in the world. #1 Download: Google Chrome.  If you’re still surfing the net using the old, familiar […]

The Best Free Downloads In The World

Though my job is to discover new things technology can do to make life easier, I am a creature of habit. I rarely deviate from using the same few programs and applications. Just like when I was 7 and my mom finally convinced me to try broccoli again, sometimes branching out from a comfort zone can lead to wonderful discoveries. This week and next, I’m suggesting some downloadable programs that are worth taste testing. In my opinion, these are the best free downloads in the world. #1 Download: Google Chrome.  If you’re still surfing the net using the old, familiar […]

Cellphone Reception Boost

Boost your smart phone/cell phone’s reception by installing a reception booster. Reception boosters can increase the speed and connection of any cellphone. If you’re living in a black hole of cellphone reception, we will stop by your house and install a top of the line reception booster. Cellphone Booster Services: Vehicle Reception Amplifier Home Cellphone Reception Booster Office Phone Reception Booster Portable Phone Reception Booster

Bug fixes

OS (operating system) fixes: Is your phone deleting text messages before you’ve read them. Do you have a phone that turns your alarm off for you, while your still sleeping? We can fix all of those funny phone problems for you. OS upgrades: Just like your home computer, cell phone companies release updates. We can make sure your phone is up to date, call us at 1-800-919-6373

Phone Hardware fixes

Has your cell phone been randomly pocket dialing your friends, even when your phone isn’t in your pocket? Hardware glitches like this are extremely annoying. If you are having trouble with your phone’s hardware give us a call. We can fix any smart phone or cellphone. Phone Hardware Repair Services: Broken Buttons Replacement Broken Cellphone Battery Replacement Camera Replacement Cell Phone Diagnostic

Cellphone Screen Repair

Do you have a broken cellphone screen? We fixed broken and cracked cell phone screens. Nerds understand how important a cellphone can be, we will get your phone fixed as quickly as possible. Broken Screen Repair Services Blank Cell Phone Screen Bleeding LCD Screen Cracked or Shattered Touch Screen Unresponsive Touch Screen Give us a call (or use live chat), we can replace any brand or model number that is still in production.

Online Documents and Calendar

Google Docs is a realistic alternative to Microsoft Word and Apple’s iWork software. Google Docs is a safe, reliable and best of all free program that does everything Word does. Millions of people trust Google docs as their primary word processing program. Google offers a free alternative to: Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and even Auto Cad. Google Docs also offers the connivence of universal access! With a web based document program, you can log into your account from any where to access your files. If you are interested in setting up Google Docs for your home or office, we would […]

Blog Setup

Set up a custom blog. Nerds On Call currently services small businesses and personal blogs. We can design a custom blog for you and build it on a CMS (content management system) so you will be able to easily write and edit your blog’s content. You can call us to set up a free quote and consultation at 1-800-919-6373

Video Chat Services

Video Chat Technology can be used to connect with family, no matter how far away they live. Technology gives us the ability to communicate in more ways. Webcams and video chat programs will let you talk to your friends and family no matter where they live. Nerds On Call will set you up with a web cam, and a video chat application (such as Skype, TokBox, or Google chat). Video chat can be done on a PC, an Apple Computer or even a smartphone. Give us a call to get started! 1-800-919-6373

Social Networking Help

Almost everyone is on Facebook, as of 2011 there are 700 million Facebook members. If you have waited until now to set up your account, or if you just want someone to help you figure out some of Facebook’s features, give us a call. Our Nerds offer friendly, and easy to understand tutoring. We can help you set up any account, and help you learn to use it. If you would like to set up social networks for your small business, we offer additional graphic design services to help brand your account. Set up personal or business profiles on any […]

Application Services

Your computer, phone or tablet has the ability to run useful and fun “apps”. Apps add additional convenience to your life and they are a major reason you have a computer. There are thousands of applications to choose from and it can be challenging to find the right one for what you’re trying to do. Nerds On Call can help you find the perfect combination of applications to help your computer fly to new heights! Our Nerds are here to answer any questions you have, we have free live chat 7 days a week, and we offer private computer tutoring […]

Internet Security

Your computer contains personal and sensitive data. NERDS understand how important it is to keep your files private. Our computer and internet security services are designed to keep viruses and hackers out of your computer. When you choose Nerds On Call for Internet Security you get two things. Firstly, you can feel confident that we only suggest the best Internet Security programs. We do not make money from selling you software; you can rest assured that we are not going to “push” a specific program. Secondly, Nerds On Call has hundreds of years of computer repair experience, our combined experience […]

Smart Home Design

The first home was designed by the Ancient Egyptians around 3000 B.C. Luckily, we have come a long way since those first mud roof homes. Today, home owners and contractors are starting to integrated technology directly into the foundation of their homes. Smart-Home technology is used to make your life simpler, and safer. Did you know that you can control your homes oven and stove right from a Smartphone? You can install programs to tell your house to heat up, cool down, unlock, play music, record TV shows, and sync your family’s calendar with your computer and cell phones! There […]

Parental Controls

Parental Controls is something that Nerds On Call takes very seriously. Parental settings and filters are a reliable way to protect your children while they surf the internet. Nerds On Call has always advocated anti cyber bully efforts. We teach parents how to use simple programs to monitor and filter their family’s internet consumption. You can control the content that parental controls block. Do you want to limit the time your kids spend online, or would you prefer to protect your kids from “explicit material” we can set that up for you. Parental Control Settings can also be set up […]

Game System Repair

If your kids (or husbands) are anything like us, they spend hours playing video games. A game console is a lot of fun, and more recently, they are even becoming athletic! Nerds are great at fixing game systems, and best of all, we offer free estimates! Whether your game system is experiencing the dreaded, “red ring of death” or simply not turning on at all, Nerds On Call will fix it. Game Systems Supported: Xbox Systems Xbox 360 Repair Xbox Kinect Nintendo Nintendo DS Wii Systems PS3 Game Boy Systems Any other Video Game Systems. Nerds believe video games are […]

Home Theater Selection

Would you like a Nerd to take you shopping? Nerds on call will actually send a Nerd shopping with you, to the store of your choice. We can help you pick the perfect Home Theater set to fit your needs. We will explain the difference between a new LG Home Theater System and a Samsung HDTV with Surround Sound. Give us a call to set up a shopping spree. 1-800-919-6373

Apple and Mac Networking

Would you like to network your home Apple computers? We can two or more computers together. We can network iMacs with Macbook laptops, or even PC computers with Apples. If you want, we can even network your coffee pot to your computer. Call for a free in-home consultation, Apple Computer Networking Services Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air Networks iMac Network iPad Network iPhone Network Pc Computer and Apple Computer Network How can you network a Mac and a Pc? Easily, our Nerds can connect almost any type of computer device. Apple TV Network Nerds On Call offers free estimates, you […]

Remote Accessing Solutions

Now you can safely access the data on your computer from anywhere in the world. Remote accessing programs will allow you to log into your computer from any computer, smartphone or tablet. We will help you pick out a remote control solution that also has the highest security and encryption standards. As with all of our services, Our Nerds will explain the program to you in “plain english”, and we will help you understand how to use the Remote Accesses Program. This is a perfect solution for Business professionals and students. This can replace the need to use flash drives, […]

Virus Removal and Virus Protection

Viruses are the arch-nemesis of Nerds On Call. We spend most of our time cleaning up after viruses. Luckily, antivirus programs will keep you safe from prying, and hacking threats. You computer needs to stay updated against viruses, and spyware. We can remember a day when the only way to get a virus was from going to a “bad website”, well times have definitely changed. Some viruses, called “scare-ware” will actually make you pay money, just to use your computer! Can you believe it? Today the virus industry has evolved, worms, trojan horses, spyware, malware, adware, storm worms are all […]

Software Upgrade Services

Software can do almost anything you can imagine, today computer programs make our lives easier and more convenient. New software is great! If you need any help learning how to use, and upgrade new software, we would love to help. We can upgrade your entire operating system (windows or osx), or we can update the programs that you use most. Software Upgrades are actually fun, we will show you how to upgrade your programs, and then we will teach you how to use them. Nerds On Call will make sure your computer settings are optimized for speed and performance! Software […]

Data Transfer

Have you bought a new computer lately, or do you need to transfer files from your work computer to your home computer? We offer a safe and dependable Data Transfer Service. Data Transfer can be used to move files from one computer to another, if done properly, (which Nerds will do) your valuable files will stay 100% safe. Data transfer If you entrust your priceless data to us, then we will treat it as if it were our own. Transferring Data can be done safety and securely. NERDS will move all of your Home Videos and pictures safely from one […]

Apple Computer Repair

Macintosh computers are amazing, to borrow a phrase from Steve Jobs, “they just work”. Apple computers offer high quality hardware and software options, and are very reliable. Everyone knows that Macs don’t get traditional viruses, unfortunately, on occasion your beloved iMac or Macbook Pro will need a little extra tlc. The Apple Computer Nerds here at Nerds On Call are highly skilled at repairing and troubleshooting all Apple Computer Problems. We can also install security software that will protect your computer from hackers, spammers and malicious activity. Macintosh Computer Repair Services Apple Software Troubleshooting Apple Hardware Repair. Replacement Hardware Parts. […]

Privacy and Security

Home Network Security Your computer contains private and sensitive data. Nerds On Call understands how important it is to keep your files safe. Our computer and internet security services are designed to protect your computer from viruses and hackers. When you choose Nerds On Call for Internet Security you get two things. Firstly, you can feel confident that we only suggest the best Internet Security programs. We do not make money from selling you software; so you can rest assured that we are not going to “push” a specific program. Secondly, Nerds On Call has hundreds of years of computer […]

Internet Services

Nerds On Call offers comprehensive internet connection services, we will repair, install and teach you anything you need to know about your internet connection. Who can still remember the days of dial-up internet; you could brew a pot of coffee, fold the laundry and send your kids off to school, all before your computer connected with Aol.com. Thankfully, most internet service providers have vastly improved since those days, but we still have occasional internet connection problems. Luckily Internet help is only one phone call away, we service all high-speed, cable and internet configurations. If you need any help with your […]

Home Networking Services

Home networking will allow you to seamlessly integrated your computers, laptops, printers, smart-phones and tablets. If you have more than one computer and more than one user in your home, odds are you would benefit from our Home Network services. Imagine being at work, and logging into your home computer to print an important memo, or what if your kids could access their homework (that they left at home) from any school computer? These days installing a network can be done one of two ways, wired or wireless. Nerds On Call will come out to your house for free to […]

Computer Selection, Installation and Setup

Congratulations! It’s time to finally buy a new computer or laptop. You go to the store and start looking around, but wait, how are you supposed to understand what 2.3GHz, DDR2, 4 Gigs of Ram and an Intel Dual Core Processor means? Sometimes the engineers who make computers forget that regular people buy their products. We would love to answer any questions you have about how to pick out a new computer. Let’s Go Shopping! Our Nerds will go with you to the store of your choice to help you buy a new computer, and unlike the employees at a […]

Mobile Device Repair

SmartPhones are fun, and they keep getting smarter. Today our phones do things that computers couldn’t even do ten years ago (do you remember when phones were simple, and we actually plugged them into a wall). The only downside to smartphones, is that fixing them keeps getting harder! iPhones, and Android phones are quickly becoming a replacement for many of the other gadgets, so now when they break, fixing them is paramount. Nerds On Call offers competitive Cellphone Repair Services. Here is our list of Cellphone Repair, Tablet Repair, and E Reader Repair Services. Mobile Device Repair Services Smartphone and […]

Laptop Repair

Laptops are amazing, they allow us to enjoy a flexible and convenient lifestyle. Laptops allow us to bring information with us anywhere we go. Years ago, laptops were heavy and expensive, now you can find laptops and notebooks that only weight 2 lbs! The only problem with these machines, is that all the wear and tear can effect their performance. In addition to getting bugs and viruses, laptop computers are also pruned to things like: broken keys, broken screens, frayed cables and dead batteries. If you own a laptop computer, chances are at some point you will need to get […]

Computer Repair Services

Can you remember how fast your computer ran when you first brought it home? Playing with a new computer is so much fun. Unfortunately, as time goes on, your computer will start to slow down. Your favorite programs don’t run as fast, and it even starts to freeze (don’t even get us started on the blue screen of death). Luckily for you, Nerds On Call can make your computer run as good as new again. We are here to save your day. Our computer repair services can fix any, and all computer problems. Our Computer Repair & Standard PC Tune […]

Computer Repair Redding: Origin Story

Nerds On Call Computer Repair Redding began in February 2004, although its exact location has changed over the years. When we started the company near the beginning of the millennium, we worked out of the Eldridges’ house! All advertising was done through a newspaper ad, and our company phone was Andrea’s cell. Our first Nerd was Shawna Bell, who worked in the extra room of their house, watching a crazy squirrel while helping customers. At the time, she was the entire call center. It now takes a lot more people just to do that job! Shawna recalls working in the […]

Computer Repair Tacoma

By 2010, Nerds had meandered Northwards where we had met with success and had happily integrated into the community of the city. We liked the area and the weather. That year, we were afflicted with gold fever and decided to head for the Yukon. We packed up our dreams of the 1890s and headed further North in search of Gold. Unfortunately, our mule team died of exhaustion a scant distance into our journey and we were stranded in Tacoma. Alright, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. What actually happened was this: Merl Valles, who had set up many of […]

Computer Repair Modesto

Nerds On Call Computer Repair Modesto was started at the same time as its sister store – in 2007. At that time we were just embarking on a journey that would lead us to open a record five stores during that year. These two were founded right after Vacaville. Both Shane Rivers and Merl Valles moved to Manteca and rented an apartment. From this apartment, they actually ran all of Nerds On Call Computer Repair Modesto for a few months. While waiting for business to pick up, they spent many hours’ playing cards together.   Soon they became quite the card […]

We don’t want to set the city on fire – we just want to start a flame in your hearts

Quick history lesson (we Nerds always like to teach people new things): in 1889, there was a large fire in Bakersfield. It was called, in the most inventive fashion, the “Great Bakersfield Fire of 1889.” This conflagration consumed almost the entire city, burning it to the ground and making thousands homeless. But this tragedy had its upside. Because the old wooden infrastructure was destroyed, the town was completely rebuilt with modern (at the time) amenities. From this point on, Bakersfield was no longer a frontier town, but grew into what is now the 73rd largest municipality in the US, as […]

Computer Repair Stockton

Nerds On Call Computer Repair Stockton was started at the same time as its sister store in Modesto – in 2007. Near the beginning of that year we were starting on a journey that would end in us founding five locations – a record year. These two were founded right after Vacaville. Shane Rivers, our VP and Merl Valles moved to Manteca and rented an apartment there. When not running the business and being so far away from home, the two spent many hours’ playing cards.  Both became quite the card sharks!  While in this location, they actually ran all […]

Computer Repair Roseburg

In 2008, Nerds On Call established its first store in Oregon.After about a year in the area, our Nerds quickly fell in love with the rolling hills, the green trees, and the pastures. As Nerds had originally come from a near-desert town, the cool, fresh air and frequent rain came as a delightful relief. In fact, we liked it so much here that by the next year, we had decided to open a number of new locations. Our involvement in Roseburg actually lies very closely tied with our expansion in Oregon. After Merl founded the location there, he continued to […]

Computer Repair Yuba City

After Nerds On Call had established Chico and Sacramento outside of our home Redding location, we started looking for another place to settle a new location. We had caught expansion fever and it wasn’t looking like it was going to settle down any time soon. (It didn’t, as it turned out). The college town of Chico was great, but we wanted something more significant – somewhere with a population that actually needed our services more – after all, all those college kids are learning to fix their own computers. Plus, we wanted somewhere that was a bit greener, we love […]

Computer Repair Chico

After Nerds On Call Computer Repair had spread our wings in Redding, we started to really take off. The next location we were looking at expanding into was Chico. The city is near our home base of Redding, but significantly far away enough that we would be able to draw in new customers and efficiently cover a broad swath of the North State in tech-support goodness. In March 2005, we opened our first office for Nerds On Call Computer Repair in Chico. At the time, we rented an office above Hula’s BBQ. Back in the days before we had a […]

Computer Repair Vacaville

Believe it or not, Nerds On Call used to be a tiny little company back in the day. By the end of 2006, we just had four stores – those in Redding, Chico, Sacramento, and Yuba City. By the end of 2007, just a year later, Nerds had doubled the number of locations where we operated. The first store that we opened that year was in Vacaville. After opening the last location in Yuba City, Nerds was looking to branch out, but didn’t want to stray too far from home. As we already had a location in Sacramento, Vacaville seemed […]

Computer Repair Eugene

This was the year that we made the Inc 5000 and… Nerds were looking to expand further North after starting in that direction with the opening of the Medford store in 2008. We had already made that first step into the colder northern territories, and we couldn’t get enough of the beautiful Oregon countryside. So we decided to set our sights on Eugene and to see where it took us. Merl Valles, our fearless Admiral of Northward Expansion, headed up to Oregon in 2009 and started an office for Nerds On Call Computer Repair Eugene. This was the second store […]

Computer Repair Fresno

Computer Repair Fresno: Sign Wavers and Bull Dogs The year was 2007. Nerds On Call had already opened two stores that year: one in Vacaville and one in Stockton. We were looking at providing the computer repair Fresno needed, but didn’t know from what location to offer it. We scoured Fresno for the perfect place to build our Nerd base of operations. Eventually we settled on Shaw Avenue – one of the busiest streets in the area. It would offer us the perfect place to be able to serve the people of Fresno in a place where they already were. […]

Computer Repair Portland

Computer Repair Portland: Building the Dream In 2009, Nerds On Call was looking for another opportunity to expand our business and offer computer repair in more locations. We wanted to find a city that fit our interests and one that we could help the greatest number of people in. We had heard that the dream of the 90’s was alive and well in Portland – the 1890’s in fact. We couldn’t wait to establish Nerds On Call Computer Repair, Portland branch. Being the retro enthusiasts that we Nerds are, we eagerly jumped on the opportunity to set up shop in […]

Computer Repair Sacramento: How it Started

Computer Repair Sacramento: How The Big City Was Almost The End In 2005, we had two stores – Redding and Chico. We were about to open a third: Nerds On Call Computer Repair Sacramento Branch. But providing computer repair to a much bigger city posed some unique challenges. First it would be much more expensive to maintain a location. Ryan and Andrea Eldridge, the founders of Nerds On Call Computer Repair Sacramento, wanted to open a location in or around Carmichael, Fair Oaks, or Arden. After looking for a few weeks, they settled on the shop at 4315 Marconi Avenue, […]

Chris Chapin on “Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline

Chris Chapin, our manager in charge of California was featured on “Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline.

Nerds On Call KMAX Sacramento: “The Great Great Smartphone Debate”

Our Nerds take place in “The Great Great Smartphone Debate” on Good Morning Sacramento

Boomertech

Company Co-founder Ryan Eldridge talks about computer repair on boomertech radio.

KUGN 590

Company Co-founder Ryan Eldridge on Morning News with Al Kline & Storm Kennedy in Eugene, Oregon

Chris Chapin on KSEETV

Chris Chapin with Nerds On Call is on KSEETV News in Fresno, CA

Nerds on Call on Good Morning Sacramento 10-28-2010

Company Co-founder Ryan Eldridge talking about photo processing on Good Morning Sacramento

Nerds on Consumer Watch KPTV 10-3-2010

Nerds on Call was featured on Consumer Watch in Portland Oregon

KHSL Reports on Nerds On Call Being in Inc. 5000

This is a recent report from KHSL about Nerds being placed in inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the US.

Nerds On Call on Better Portland 9-13-2010

Company Co-Founder Ryan Eldridge Talking On Better Portland talking about Malware, Virus and Spyware Removal

NERDS ON CALL: ARE YOU SPREADING MALWARE?

California, (January, 2014) – Have you ever had this happen to you:  Often you receive emails from people who haven’t contacted you in years, with a subject line such as “check this out!”  You open the email and contained within is simply a web link.  When you get emails like this don’t click on the links – they usually contain malware that will infect your computer.  If the person sending the malware is you, here are some steps you can take to fix the problem, and hopefully assure that it doesn’t happen again. First, determine where the message came from. […]

NERDS ON CALL: STOP USING WINDOWS XP

California, (January, 2014) – In April 2012, Microsoft announced that it would stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014.  After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer write software patches and push out updates to fix software vulnerabilities, leaving those still utilizing the Windows XP Operating System vulnerable to malware, viruses and worse.  With the date of support termination rapidly approaching, here’s why you should bite the bullet and ditch Windows XP. Windows XP was released in 2001.  Since then, Microsoft has released several new versions of Windows operating systems including Windows Vista, Windows 7, and most recently Windows 8. […]

NERDS ON CALL: LIVE ONLINE HELP RESOURCES

California, (December, 2013) -The Internet provides a wealth of resources to find information, but sometimes you need a little one-on-one assistance for a specific question.  Launched in November, Google Helpouts joins a host of online resources, including Just Answer, and eHow Now, that connect people who have questions to experts in a multitude of fields.  Here’s how to get live help online for just about any question, problem, or learning opportunity. Google Helpouts (https://helpouts.google.com/) links experts in a myriad of fields (from plumbing to pet care) with users in need of assistance using video chat.  Google Helpout is the only major […]

NERDS ON CALL: CRYPTOLOCKER RANSOMWARE

California, (November, 2013) - There’s a new and nasty “ransomware” virus called CryptoLocker sweeping the web, taking computers hostage and demanding that users pay an exorbitant “ransom” to get their data back. Here’s what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim of this malicious software. Ransomware is the term adopted by those in the tech industry to describe malware that infects a computer and then demands a fee to reverse its own ill effects. CryptoLocker is spread most commonly through an infected email attachment, though it can be imbedded in hacked or malicious websites. Users that happen upon the compromised […]

NERDS ON CALL: AVOID ONLINE SCAMS

During the holiday shopping season California, (November, 2013) - As the holiday shopping season gains momentum, those looking to swindle online shoppers get creative in their attempts to lure victims.  I consulted with Scambook (www.scambook.com), an online complaint resolution website, about the top scams from last holiday season – they’re likely to appear again either in the same form or with slight variations – and what consumers can do to avoid falling prey. Last season, many Scambook users received a text claiming that they’d won a $1,000 Best Buy gift card – I received a text like this myself.  The text directed […]

NERDS ON CALL: DIGITAL DISCONNECT

California, (November, 2013) –We all struggle every day with the desire to do the best for our kids (Crafting! Healthy meals! Limited TV!) juxtaposed against the demands of working, chores and straight up exhaustion: “how bad is a half hour of iPad games so I can take a shower?” Screen time can offer educational benefits, particularly when there’s parental involvement and age-appropriate content.  However, there are some definite dangers, not only to your children’s ability to develop non-electronic coping skills, but in your family’s ability to connect with each other.  Here’s why you should consider pulling the plug, at least […]

NERDS ON CALL: DELETING DIGITAL MISTAKES

California, (October, 2013) –It’s nearly impossible to impress on children the permanence of things they share online through social media, emails or via text.  Once they click “send,” that text message, photo or video is out there, available for sharing, forwarding and re-posting by anyone who gets a hold of it.  A recent law passed last month in California is aimed at giving kids a chance to delete their digital mistakes, but there are some pretty big loop holes. In September 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 568 which, among other things, requires that operators of […]

NERDS ON CALL: SOCIAL ADVERTISING

California, (October, 2013) –Have you noticed a curious phenomenon on Facebook? Suddenly it seems like your friends are posting ads for companies like Starbucks, Walmart and Tide in your newsfeed. “Why would your friend Jennifer post an ad for Tide? Does she want everyone to know how much she loves clean sheets?” It turns out Jennifer probably had no idea that her profile photo was linked to an advertisement on your newsfeed, and what’s more, she is probably seeing ads that look like they were posted from your profile on her newsfeed as well. It’s called “social advertising.” According to […]

NERDS ON CALL: GOOGLE CHROMECAST

A Top Contender in Video Streaming California, (October, 2013) –There are bevy of devices on the market aimed to allow you to stream content from the Internet to your TV, most notably Roku and Apple TV set-top boxes. Google has officially entered the fray with their $35 Chromecast device (www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromecast), leaving many to ponder how it’s different and whether it can serve their streaming needs. The Roku (www.roku.com, $50-100 depending on model) and Apple TV (www.apple.com/appletv, $100) are “set-top” boxes that connect to your TV with a cable and connect to the Internet or compatible devices over your home’s WiFi. […]

NERDS ON CALL: IOS7 REVIEWED

A Nerds-Eye Review California, (October, 2013) –Apple released iOS 7, an update that CEO Tim Cook called the biggest change to the platform since the iPhone was introduced. Available for free for every iPhone after the iPhone 4, the latest iPod Touch, the iPad 2 and later versions, and the iPad mini, millions will be seeing iOS 7 in the coming weeks. Here’s what you can expect. The most dramatic change is visual: everything looks different. Icons for core functions like Photos, Settings and Newsstand have new images, there’s a new palette of colors and everything looks brighter. Icons appear […]

NERDS ON CALL: CLEAN UP YOUR INBOX

California, (October, 2013) –Many of us established an email account many years ago. In those days, email was something to look forward to, usually a nice correspondence with a friend or family member. Boy, have times changed! Do you notice now that you receive hundreds of spam messages, and most of the messages received are certainly not from family and friends, which is what used to make reading email fun. Can we get back to the way it used to be? We can “get to the good stuff” quicker with a few tweaks to the system. Create and use a […]

NERDS ON CALL: MAKE MONEY WITH APPS

California, (September, 2013) – Most kids this time of year have a serious case of the “gimmes.” From every toy friends have to things on the shelf in the store, just about everything elicits a “can I have that?” As parents we know this can lead to many discussions about how “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “you can’t get something for nothing.” It turns out that sometimes, “you can get something for nothing.” Armed with a Smartphone and a few free apps, you can earn rewards, gift cards or sometimes even cash for doing things you probably already do. Here’s […]

NERDS ON CALL: FIND CHARITY ONLINE

California, (September, 2013) –There’s no quicker path to a warm fuzzy feeling than giving to others, whether it be money or time. While the Internet gives you the ability to help any cause that touches you, it also makes it confusing to narrow down where your contribution can make the most difference. Luckily there are some great tools available online to help you get started making the world a better place. Navigate to Accountability: When you donate to a charity, you should choose a cause that is near and dear to your heart, but as a smart donor you want […]

NERDS ON CALL: BACK TO SCHOOL APPS

California, (September, 2013) – While we’ve consistently proclaimed that no student needs a tablet or Smartphone to succeed, handheld internet-enabled gadgets can serve a purpose.  From downloading textbooks to syncing notes and reference materials, there are some amazing tools for studying, research and organization.  If your back-to-schooler has been lucky enough to get their hands on a tablet or WiFi-capable mobile device, these apps can help them make the most of it. Lighten the Load:  Save yourself from the backache resulting from lugging around that huge Chemistry tome with Kno Textbooks (www.kno.com, free for iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows), an […]

NERDS ON CALL: TABLETS 2.0

California, (September, 2013) – Not all tablets are created equal, but there are some great options available that will give you the functionality that you’re looking for. The leader in the tablet market is undoubtedly the iPad, with sales figures leaving nearest competitors Samsung and Amazon in the dust. It’s a proven, reliable product that will definitely handle surfing the net, cruising Facebook, and keeping up on your news and magazines. Apple products are generally more expensive than their competitors. This doesn’t inherently make them superior, but the price point is set due to its market share and frankly, Apple […]

NERDS ON CALL: SAVE MONEY ON TECH

California, (August, 2013) –If there’s one thing we Nerds learn early it’s that technology doesn’t come cheap. Even after you shell out the dough for the computer, home theater set up or mobile device, you have to pay for Internet, data plans, and tons of monthly subscription fees to keep the toys buzzing and clicking. This week, we’ll share some ways that we’ve found to enjoy tech to its fullest and live the “nerd” lifestyle for less. Drop your cable or satellite. With some of us paying over $100 a month you might want to take the big leap. You […]

NERDS ON CALL: BACK TO SCHOOL TECH

California, (August, 2013) –If you’re replacing an old, reliable PC that just isn’t cutting it anymore, or you’re outfitting your student with some computing power, the back to school season is a prime time to buy electronics. The wave of shoppers drives down prices as retailers compete for your dollars, so it’s a good time to find a great deal. But with all the choices – desktops, laptops, Ultrabooks and tablets – how do you pick the best device to suit your needs? We’re here to help you choose. Desktop tower: Even though their popularity is waning, there are benefits […]

NERDS ON CALL: BACK TO SCHOOL

California, (August, 2013) – After spending the summer surfing the net, playing video games, and whatever else your kids do when you turn them loose on the computer, your family PC is probably in need of some R and R. Before you enter the season of homework and research projects, whip your system in shape to head back to school. The first step to resuscitate the family computer is to clean off the deluge of programs and junk add-ons accumulated over the summer months. Wrestle the kids off the PC for a few hours and do some much needed computer maintenance. […]

NERDS ON CALL: ULTIMATE MATCHUP

California, (August, 2013) – The debate over which PC platform is best, Mac or Windows, has waged for years with both sides equally passionate about which OS reigns supreme. While there’s no single answer for every user, you can find a computer with the right characteristics to meet your computing needs. Here’s the low-down on the matchup between Mac and Windows. WHERE THEY’RE EQUAL: Usability.You may have heard that Macs are more intuitive than Windows. In reality, neither OS is fundamentally easier to learn. Novice computer users will face challenges learning to navigate either a Mac or a Windows system, and […]

NERDS ON CALL: BETTER GOOGLE EXPERIENCE

California, (July, 2013) – Even though more web users search with Google than any other search engine, take advantage of the full power of the tool at their disposal. From finding a quick answer to just about any question, query or calculation you encounter to more easily finding relevant results in web links, here’s how to get more from your Google search experience. Knowledge Graph: In mid-2012, Google rolled out Knowledge Graph, a way to view a quick summary of the information that the search algorithm determines to be most relevant to your query as well as quickly link to […]

NERDS ON CALL: REPAIR YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Media Contact Shawna Bell 1-800-919-6373 marketing@callnerds.com NERDS ON CALL: REPAIR YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION With a Few Simple Tips California, (July, 2013) – When you enter your name into Google (or the search engine of your choice), are the results flattering, or at least accurate? Even if you aren’t keeping tabs on your online reputation, others may be. From potential employers to prospective love interests, information linked to you on the Internet can affect your livelihood, your love life; even create a first impression for new people you meet. Take control of your online reputation with a few […]

NERDS ON CALL: SIMPLE LIFESAVING TIPS

California, (July, 2013) – The compact, mobile excellence that is a laptop brings with it a shorter lifespan than a typical desktop PC. On average, a laptop has a lifespan of about four years. The hardware begins to age after 2-3 years and they’re usually more expensive to upgrade than a desktop PC. Get every ounce of life from your laptop by following a few simple tips. Promise to protect it: While the likelihood of dropping a desktop PC is pretty slim, dragging your laptop between work, home and the local coffee shop leads to a greatly increased chance of […]

NERDS ON CALL: PROTECTING YOUR IDENTITY ONLINE

California, (July, 2013) – The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. According to data compiled by Zone Alarm, maker of antivirus and firewall software, identity theft results in an average cost to victim of $4,841 and takes, on average, 33 hours to resolve. With more and more of our personal information available online, it’s imperative that you take steps to protect yourself online. Buyer Beware: For as little as $30 in web hosting fees, criminals can set up fake online shop fronts to lure consumers into submitting their personal information and […]

NERDS ON CALL: PARENTS BEWARE

California, (July, 2013) – According to a study commissioned by Internet Technology specialist McAfee, “The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents,” more than half of teens feel confident that they know how to hide what they do online and 71% have actually done something to hide their online behavior – a frightening statistic for parents struggling to keep up with the technology that their teens use every day. Yet half of teens polled said they’d change their online behaviors if they knew their parents were watching. Here’s how to learn if your kid is […]

NERDS ON CALL: FIND FREE WIFI

California, (June, 2013) – You can find free WiFi just about anywhere, particularly if you plan ahead and know where to look. Here’s how to stay productive, or kill some time surfing the net, when you’re on the go. Search It: From Panera to McDonalds to Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, getting online for free in a metropolitan area is just a matter of driving down the street. If you’re on unfamiliar terrain, check the comprehensive list of free WiFi options posted on WiFiFreeSpot (www.wififreespot.com). Start with the huge list of multi-location chain stores that offer free WiFi nationwide, or […]

NERDS ON CALL: WWDC 2013

California, (June, 2013) – On June 10, 2013, Apple held their annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA. The event serves as a forum for Apple to announce upcoming product releases and innovations so that developers can begin to create supporting applications and hardware. It has become a reveal party for Apple fans. Here are some of the highlights of what you can expect from your iPhone, iPad or Apple computer in the months to come. Mobile devices get an OS overhaul. Slated to be released this fall, iOS 7 is a major redesign of Apple’s mobile operating […]

NERDS ON CALL: BEWARE OF ZEUS

California, (June, 2013) – A nasty Trojan virus nicknamed Zeus has been spreading quickly through social media forums like Facebook and via links to fake webpages. Once a system is compromised, the virus lays in wait until the user accesses a banking account or credit card website wherein it captures login and personal data. That information is then transferred to servers controlled by cybercriminals who sell the data or drain the victim’s bank account. Zeus began circulating the net about six years ago, but has seen resurgence in recent months according to Internet security firm Trend Micro. The New York […]

NERDS ON CALL: PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER NOW

California, (June, 2013) – Summer is the season for computer mayhem. The kids are home from school, often unsupervised, and boredom does not bode well for your system’s health and welfare. Your endlessly-curious teenager will inevitably find a million add-ons, applications and potentially shifty files to download onto your system while you’re at work. Before chaos ensues, here are some quick tips to protect your computer from having “too much fun” this season. Anti-virus/ anti-malware software is an absolute must. Make sure the software is current by configuring it to automatically update itself when new versions are released. Set it […]

NERDS ON CALL: XBOX ONE ANNOUNCEMENT CAUSES CONFUSION

California, (May, 2013) – On May 21, 2013, Microsoft revealed details of their highly anticipated new game console, the Xbox One, scheduled to be available for sale near the end of the year.  The first major hardware overhaul for the Xbox in over seven years, gamers have been eagerly awaiting details since rumors of the new console began to circulate last year.  Yet in the end, it’s what Microsoft isn’t saying that has many gamers up in arms. With its new console, Microsoft aims to give users a more complete media experience.  It communicates with cable and satellite, allowing users […]

NERDS ON CALL: DON’T TRASH THAT MONITOR

California, (May, 2013) – Anyone with a monitor in their closet gathering dust has probably thought the same thing: “Why can’t I just use this to watch TV?”  You can!  As more people transition to mobile devices or upgrade their screen when replacing their PC, there are decent monitors taking up room in storage cabinets everywhere.  Before you retire your old monitor to the landfill, consider repurposing it. You don’t need a computer for the monitor to work; it can connect to a cable or satellite receiver, tuner box or movie player using the same inputs as a standard TV.  […]

NERDS ON CALL: SHARING A COMPUTER

California, (May, 2013) – Sharing a computer can be tricky.  Whether it’s the kids vying for screen time or summer house guests looking to check their email, following some easy tips can save your sanity. First, create separate user accounts for each family member and one for “Guest.”  This allows each user a sense of individuality as they can set customized backgrounds, desktop icons and folders.  Establishing individual passwords allows everyone some privacy, while your administrator access lets you maintain ultimate control.  Separating users also helps reduce the impact of your kid’s activities on your productivity – no one wants to […]

NERDS ON CALL: BEST MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS

California, (May, 2013) – The best Mother’s Day gifts are often those that don’t come wrapped with a pretty bow.  It’s great when you’re able to buy Mom the latest new gadget, but she may not know the first thing about setting it up or operating it.  What better way to show Mom your love than to spend a few hours together helping her to get comfortable with her new toy?  You will both love the one-on-one time.  Just don’t forget to take her out to brunch when you’re done.  Be Her Personal Shopper:  Mom wants a new laptop.  Instead […]

NERDS ON CALL: CHOOSING THE RIGHT COMPUTER MONITOR

California, (April, 2013) – Your computer’s monitor can make or break your ability to work comfortably, enjoy high quality media and efficiently manage multiple processes simultaneously.   Yet many users choose their monitor based on what’s included in a package deal, or opt for the largest screen available within their budget.  While size does matter, there are several other factors to consider before choosing the screen you’ll be staring at for hours on end. Site for Sore Eyes:  Before you get seduced by a 32” widescreen behemoth, keep in mind that the screen will likely be a few feet away from […]

NERDS ON CALL: TOP TIPS TO FIX YOUR HACKED FACEBOOK

California, (April, 2013) – Anyone who’s received a message from a friend’s Facebook account urging them to click a link or “like” a page to “Win a Free iPad” or “Get a Free Starbucks Gift Card” knows that social media sites are prime targets for spam and data mining.  What do you do if it’s YOUR account that’s doing the spamming? Report It:  As soon as you discover that your account has been compromised, report it to Facebook at www.facebook.com/hacked.  Enter your password and follow the instructions to reinstate the account in your name.  You’ll need to identify yourself, either through […]

NERDS ON CALL: SOCIAL MEDIA CYBERBULLYING

California, (April, 2013) – Cyberbullying is a topic on the minds of most parents with Internet-using youngsters.  That’s just about all parents, by the way – 95% of all teens age 12-17 are now online.  But online harassment doesn’t just affect kids and teens.  A recent study in the UK found that 8 out of 10 workers surveyed at several UK universities had been harassed online in the last six months (most commonly being humiliated, ignored or gossiped about online).  Many researchers suggest a link between the relative anonymity of comments posted online as well as the lack of social […]

NERDS ON CALL: AUDIT YOUR ONLINE PRIVACY

California, (April, 2013) – Typing your own name into Google may prove an eye-opening experience.  Even if your personal information isn’t easily accessible, your computer may be sharing information about your habits, preferences and activities that you’d prefer to remain private.  Here’s how to keep a lid on what your computer shares about you with strangers.   Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have the right to change their privacy options at will and some exercise this right regularly (I’m talking to you, Facebook).  Even if you meticulously reviewed each setting when you activated your account, system updates […]

Maintain Public WiFi Safety: Some tips

It seems every shop and gathering place proclaims “Free WiFi,” but is it safe to check your email at the airport, library or McDonalds?  There are risks to accessing private data while connected to an unsecured, community network.  Here’s how to surf safely when you’re on public WiFi. When you access the Internet on a public network, your computer or Smartphone is at risk of being accessed by other users on the same network.  It’s surprisingly easy for the person sipping the macchiato next to you to run simple programs to collect passwords and information entered by fellow patrons.  Most […]

NERDS ON CALL: KID FRIENDLY MEDIA RESOURCES

California, (March, 2013) – These days the iPad is so popular most kids can’t keep their hands off them, so it’s important as parents we find age appropriate applications, movies and TV shows that are considered to be educational, or at least a valuable use of their time.  While parents love recommendations from other parents with kids the same age, NERDS have found a couple resources to help you track down the “gems” in the sea of available media. Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) provides ratings for every category of media: books, movies, TV shows, games, applications, websites and music.  But […]

NERDS ON CALL: SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS

California, (March, 2013)-From identity theft to fake contests to “send me money” scams, Facebook and Twitter are host to all manner of Internet criminals looking to swindle unsuspecting users out of money or information.  Don’t fall victim!  Here’s how to identify and avoid the most common social media ploys. Tug at your heartstrings. Most people want to help someone in need, and criminals are on the lookout for any way to exploit this.  Within hours of the Newtown Connecticut shooting, “victims” pages popped up everywhere.  Some of these were created by scammers asking for donations.  Another common ploy is to […]

NERDS ON CALL: COMPUTERS FOR SENIORS

California, (March, 2013)- When you think “cutting edge technology,” you probably don’t think “senior citizens,” but recent advances in technology are aimed at making life easier for grandma and grandpa, as well as those that care for them.  These devices make it possible for the less tech-savvy to stay connected to friends and family and for remote caregivers to monitor health and wellness. Associate Professor of Psychology T.J. McCallum, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University conducted a three-month study wherein he found that seniors that used technology had higher self-esteem and greater social interaction than those that did not use […]

NERDS ON CALL: COPYRIGHT ALERT SYSTEM

California, (March, 2013)- The last week of February 2013 marked the official launch of the Copyright Alert System, a joint program between major internet service providers, aka ISPs (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner) and entities working to protect content copyrights, such as The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  This system is also known as the “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Program since users suspected of participating in the sharing of copyright-protected material will receive up to six warning notices from their ISP, with escalating consequences for repeat offenders. The policy was […]

NERDS ON CALL: SMART HOME AUTOMATION

California, (February, 2013) – As criminals become more sophisticated in their abilities to attack our homes with technology, we need our home security to be smarter too.  While traditional house alarms are fine for basic security, Smart Home automation systems integrate with video and online monitoring.  Check up on your house live on your computer or mobile device, or have footage stored in the cloud so you can catch perpetrators “on tape.”  Here are some security components of the Smart Home products NERDS like. Wireless IP cameras can be installed inside and outside your home and offer high-quality, digital surveillance. […]

NERDS ON CALL: DON’T OVERPAY FOR TECH

California, (February, 2013) – There’s no denying that indulging a love of electronics can get pricey.  Here are a few tips to ensure that you don’t overpay for technology. Don’t pay more for “high end” cables/connectors: It may come as a surprise that part of your TV, home theater or computer purchase that is typically most profitable for the electronics store is the additional cables you were sold on your way out the door.  When it comes to cables that transfer digital information (such as HDMI or DVI cables), in almost all cases you aren’t going to experience a noticeable […]

Catfishing Isn’t What it Used to be: Online Dating Safety

California, (February, 2013) – Many looking for a partner this Valentine’s Day will turn to social media or dating websites to make a potential love connection. If you’re wary about trying them, or you’ve been burned in the past, you’re right to be dubious. Internet dating and romance scams, dubbed “catfishing,” are on the rise according to the FBI, and the Better Business Bureau has seen a two-fold increase in complaints over the last year regarding online dating services. Arm yourself with information to protect yourself before you take a dip in the online dating pool. Social networking and online-dating […]

NERDS ON CALL: TOP TECH SCAMS OF 2012

California, (February, 2013) – Social media, online databases and our “connected” lifestyle has made it easier than ever for criminals to use technology to steal identities, money, and data from unsuspecting users.  Here are some of the most prevalent technology scams of 2012, so you don’t fall victim to these tricky ploys. Fake Service Provider:  You get a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft (or your cable company, or Norton, etc…).  They identify themselves as Adam or some common moniker yet likely have a distinct accent.  The caller informs you that they’ve tracked virus transmissions to your computer, […]

NERDS ON CALL: PARENTAL CONTROL FOR TABLETS

California, (January, 2013) – If the family computer has been getting a lot of miles on it lately – perhaps you have one or more youngster in the house clamoring for screen time – you may be in the market for a second PC to share the load.  Some parents may consider a tablet PC because of its cheaper price tag, but handing an un-monitored internet-connected device to your child has risks.  Luckily, there are parental controls you can easily activate to protect your child from the wild west of the internet. Restrict the YouTube App: Even watching their favorite […]

CES 2013 Part 2

There were many exciting product announcements and prototypes demoed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, but few so plentiful as next generation gaming innovations.  Whether you dedicate a large part of your free time video game playing or are simply intrigued by the potential uses of virtual reality in the future of computing, CES 2013 didn’t disappoint. Nvidia, known primarily as a manufacturer of graphics cards and chipsets, announced that they’re joining the likes of Nintendo DS and Playstation PSP with the Nvidia Shield.  “Project Shield” is a handheld gaming device that resembles an Xbox controller with a flip-up screen.  […]

NERDS ON CALL Java Virus

California, (January, 2013) – You may have experienced this situation before: out of nowhere, a friend messages you on Facebook or via email with a link. You instinctively click on it, and sometimes as you’re clicking on it, sometimes later, you realize it’s probably a virus. In those split seconds while you’re scrambling to close the browser window, tiny lines of code are working away inside your computer through “holes” in its programming. They’re trying to gain access through a “backdoor exploit” and reprogram your computer for their creator’s own intents. These backdoor exploits are not created on purpose – […]

CES 2013 Part 1 – Press Blog

Every year, tech enthusiasts and future-focused consumers alike converge on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show.  From the innovative to the downright wacky, it’s a platform to showcase the newest tech gadgets and get a preview of what electronics will be capable of in the years to come.   CES 2013 offered an expansive collection of cool – from next generation TVs to connected homes and cars, the future of gaming, and more. Televisions typically dominate CES.  Last year brought a bevy of integrated 3D options, while this year heralds the next stage in high definition resolution.  Current model high […]

Nerds On Call: Smartphone Security

California, (January, 2013) – If you’ve noticed offers at your gas station or grocery store to “pay with your phone,” you’ve seen what many claim is the future of how we’ll pay for goods and services: Near Field Communication, or NFC.  Whether you relish the idea of ditching your wallet in favor of swiping your phone everywhere you go or you shudder at the thought of losing a phone laden with all your credit card info, NFC is likely to gain in popularity in years to come. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are familiar forms of electronic communications that allow devices to […]

Security for a Mobile Generation

California, (December, 2012) – Whether you’re one of the millions of Americans that already owns a mobile handheld device (like a Smartphone, tablet or iPod Touch), or you’re hoping Santa slips one under your tree this year, there’s something you likely haven’t put much thought towards: mobile security. According to a report released by Forrester Research, it’s estimated that 46% of all bank account holders will utilize mobile banking services by 2017.  Even if you aren’t accessing your bank or credit account from your handheld device, you likely have email; social networking and a multitude of apps that give a […]

Bring Your Own Device To Work

California, (December, 2012) – Now that almost half of all Americans own a Smartphone and roughly a quarter of all Americans own a tablet computer, it’s apparent that we are growing increasingly dependent on mobile handheld devices. Yet most companies haven’t outfitted their workforce with these gadgets, leading many of us to use personal devices at work. While this may make it easier to get the job done, there are some issues to consider, whether you’re a business owner or employee. Is there written policy in place? In an ideal situation, your company should have a written policy in place […]

Netiquette For The Digital Age

California, (December, 2012) – As children we were taught that there are a few cornerstones to polite social interactions: don’t interrupt someone when they’re speaking, say please and thank you and always send a written thank you note. Yet in today’s world of texts, emails, Facebook posts and tweets, many of the basic guidelines we try to follow in face-to-face interactions can be easily overlooked. One of the biggest challenges of written communication such as email and texting is the inability to convey tone or humor. Because people can’t see your facial expression or hear the tone in your voice, […]

TOP TECH GIFTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT

California, (December, 2012) – Now that so many of us rely on electronics to read, watch movies and listen to music, you may be thinking that giving gift cards is the only option to help fill out your loved ones media library this holiday season. Yet the generic ease of a gift card makes for a very impersonal gift. Luckily you can achieve gift nirvana with a variety of truly useful digital products and services that are sure to please even the most difficult to buy for loved ones on your list. For the Avid Reader With the increasing popularity […]

3 Easy Ways to Save on Gift Cards

California, (NOVEMBER, 2012) – Gift cards are a ubiquitous staple of the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to show some appreciation to someone you don’t know very well (like your newspaper delivery person or your gardener), or have someone on your list that’s hard to buy for, a gift card can be the perfect present for giver and receiver. However, sometimes you get a gift card that you can’t or don’t use. What can you do with it? This dilemma has led to the creation of a gift card resale market where you can snap up gift cards at a […]

Top Tech Gifts of 2012

California, (NOVEMBER, 2012) – In the sea of tech toys and gadgets that hit the shelves every holiday season, a few stand out as the year’s sure-to-sell-out favorites. With the first new console gaming system in six years and a mini-tablet war, this year is no exception. Here are the hottest trending tech goodies of the 2012 holiday season. Game System of the Year: Nintendo’s Wii U Nintendo’s Wii U (http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu, $299.99 for an 8GB “basic”, $349.99 for a 32GB “deluxe”) is the first new console gaming system released since the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 first debuted in 2006. […]

Use Tech to Conquer Black Friday

California, (NOVEMBER, 2012) – For the truly dedicated Black Friday deal hunters, Thanksgiving marks the start of a shopper’s frenzy. With sales starting earlier and earlier, those elusive “doorbuster deals” can be as hard to get your hands on as a housecat that senses its ½ price vaccination day at the vet. Whether you’re a seasoned Black Friday pro, or considering joining the fray this year, your computer or Smartphone can help you plan your attack and find the best deals before you set foot in the store. Preview the Ads There are several sites that post the ads well […]

Use Pinterest to UP Your Holiday Game

California, (NOVEMBER, 2012) -The holidays are usually everyone’s favorite time of year – gathering with friends and family over special meals, showing you care with gifts, watching the kids explode with excitement over pumpkins, decorated houses, lit Christmas trees… you get the idea. If you’ve yet to explore the wealth of inspiration that is Pinterest, this season is the perfect time to take a tour. Whether you’re a holiday lover like us, looking to build some memorable traditions without going overboard, or a budding Martha Stewart ready to make over your home in festive extravaganza, Pinterest has something for everyone. […]

ALERT: Top 5 Ways to Save on Your Holiday Shopping

California, (NOVEMBER, 2012) -November seems to sneak up on us every year. You’re minding your own business, working out costume details and sugar coating trick-or-treaters when, BAM! Out of the blue November 1st hits and it’s time to get cracking on holiday shopping. To help you get in the game and to help you save some money, here are our top five ways you can use your tech savvy to save money on your holiday shopping. 1. Check out the resale market: We know, you’re thinking, “wrapping up used gifts?” but a lot of things available though sites like Craigslist […]

STUFF THE NERDMOBILE

California, (NOVEMBER, 2012) -For the third year, Nerds On Call have begun efforts in Redding, CA to stuff one of the NERD mobiles full of toys for the less fortunate children in the community. Last year, “we distributed 4000 gifts to children of the North State.” Marie Moore, spokesperson for the Redding Salvation Army states. Sadly that number is expected to rise this year because of the slow economy and high unemployment rates. With help from customers and community members we can bring Christmas to those who may otherwise not get one this year. Toys will be donated to the […]

The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan

California, (NOVEMBER, 2012) -The ZeroAccess Rootkit Trojan is the latest rootkit virus to gain widespread infiltration into a huge number of computers. While traditional viruses attempt to infect and destroy as many computers in their path before they’re stopped by anti-virus software, rootkits aim to keep your system working but under the control of an outside party. They typically give a remote user administrative power, allowing them to manipulate files and maintain control of your system. Once your system is controlled by the administrator of the rootkit, he can cause it to execute actions. Your system becomes a “botnet,” or […]

Book Release – “iPad for PC Users”

California, (October, 2012) -With over 3 million of the newest iPads sold since its launch on March 16th, Apple has created one of the latest popular consumer electronic gadgets in history. iPad and iPad mini owners think the only issue with this techno marvel is the transition for users traditionally “tethered to their personal computers to tablet devices.” The millions of new iPad owners are left to figure out the capabilities their iPads represent and the programs that complement them. (Apple, 2012). How do you do type a document? How do watch my videos? What about data storage? Most of […]

Book Release – “The Cloud for Hard Drive Refugees”

California, (October, 2012) -In a recent study by Seagate, computer repair experts were asked “How Much Is Your Customer’s Data Worth? 36% of consumers have “priceless” data, but few back it up.” For those reluctant to journey from hard drive to “the cloud,” author Andrea Eldridge offers this reality check: “You’re already there. Sort of. In one way or another, most computer users at least passively employ cloud technology — even if only by accessing email.” Now it’s time to explore your options, so you can proactively utilize a cloud storage and backup account. (Seagate, 2012). Eldridge offers a sky-full […]

Windows 8: Worth the $40 Upgrade?

California, (October, 2012) -In just a few days, Microsoft will release the newest version of its flagship product: the Windows operating system. Named Windows 8, this piece of software promises to completely overhaul the PC computing experience, while adding functionality, security, and efficiency. Didn’t Windows 7 Just Come Out? Windows 8 has been in development for three years. Earlier this year, Microsoft released the Consumer Preview to registered Microsoft users, which allowed the public to see the direction that the operating system was heading in, and allowed them to give their feedback. On August 1, it was finalized and shipped […]

Under-Utilized Windows 7 Features

California, (October, 2012) -Most of us utilize a Windows PC regularly enough that we navigate through our go-to functions with little exploration or modification. Yet hidden in the Windows 7 framework are some handy tools that you’ve likely never taken advantage of. Here are just a few of the more under-utilized tools that are already at your disposal. Windows Logo Key Shortcuts The Windows logo key (likely located on the bottom left of your keyboard, next to your Alt key) allows for nifty keyboard-driven functionality. Win Logo Key (Win) opens or closes the Start menu. Win+F opens the search function, […]

Take Full Control of Your Facebook Account

California, (October, 2012) -When you join Facebook it all seems so blissfully easy. You supply your email address, let it magically hook you up with everyone in your contacts list, and voila! Instant social connectivity is yours. Before you know it, however, your news feed is clogged with notifications from games your friends are playing and posts from retailers you “liked” in order to claim some special offer, your photos are being commented on by your cousin’s ex-boyfriend’s sister and you have more than a hundred “friends” who you couldn’t point out in a mostly empty room. Where did it […]

Should You Be Cloud Computing?

California, (September, 2012) – Using cloud services such as Microsoft Live SkyDrive, Amazon’s “Cloud Drive,” Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox or SugarSync to store and/or backup your data has some clear advantages. Most notably: unlimited storage capability and the reliability of offsite redundant servers maintaining multiple mirror images of your data without having to invest in costly equipment. However, moving a large amount of data to the cloud will likely require a commitment to ongoing monthly fees. There are some additional benefits that may make the investment more cost effective. Create a personal streaming media library. Anyone who’s amassed an extensive […]

5 Tricks to Revive an Old PC

California, (September, 2012) -If every click on your old, slow computer makes you want to tear your hair out but your budget just won’t permit replacing it, take heart. Even if you’ve already upgraded the hardware to the extent you can and performed all maintenance to rule out a malware infection, there are a few tweaks left that may make life with an old PC more bearable. While the biggest performance boost most often results from hardware upgrades (more RAM and replacing your hard drive with a solid state drive can make a world of difference), bulky software can overly […]

Stop Using Internet Explorer, Right Now!

California, (September, 2012) -Over the weekend of September 15, researchers discovered a large security hole in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. The security hole is more pervasive than any previously discovered and affects the last four versions of the browser, IE 6, 7, 8, and 9. The bug has been revealed to affect Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, putting all Windows users, who browse the web with Internet Explorer, at risk. (http://eromang.zataz.com/2012/09/16/zero-day-season-is-really-not-over-yet/) A Trojan virus called “Poison Ivy,” which triggers when users visit an infected website, is exploiting the security hole. According to Microsoft, “an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability […]

Breaking Up in the Digital Age

California, (September, 2012) -Breakups suck. There’s no way around it. But the good old days of being reminded of your ex’s existence only at the rare mutual friend birthday party or when flipping through old photos are over. From Facebook updates to emails to shared passwords, today’s digital connectivity makes it even harder to disentangle yourself from a relationship gone wrong. Before you de-friend and delete your way through emails, texts and tagged photos, there are some ways to smooth the transition and save yourself some heartache. Take a Moment Technology has taught us that everything is nearly instant. From […]

iPhone 5 Rumors: “It’s almost here” Worth the Hype?

California, (September, 2012) -On September 12th, Apple is holding an event that announces “It’s almost here” and features a prominent iPhone 5. Many people have speculated on what this means, most coming to the conclusion that the computer giant is about to release the fifth iteration of their incredibly popular iPhone. If announced on the 12th, chances are that the phone will become available in stores on the 21st of September. Analysts are already predicting that Apple will sell ten million of the devices in the first week. So what’s the big deal all about? Here we’ve collected the best […]

The Best Windows 8 Gadgets

California, (August, 2012) – At this year’s Computex show in Taipei (June 5th-9th, 2012), leading manufacturers previewed the next generation of tablets, UltraBooks, hybrids, and touch screen technology, designed to take advantage of the touch-friendly functionality of Windows 8. Here are a few of the cool gadgets you can expect to see near the end of the year. Asus Taichi Dual-Screen Ultrabook. If a tablet and an Ultrabook (super thin and lightweight notebook) got married, this could be their offspring. It has dual displays: the one integrated into the top is touch screen, allowing it to function as a tablet […]

Nerds On Call On Inc. 5,000 List For Fourth Year In A Row!

California, (August, 2012) -Inc. magazine today ranked Nerds On Call at number 3634 on its sixth annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs. Unified Payments tops this year’s list. Nerds On Call joins Yelp, yogurt maker Chobani, Giftcards.com, KIND and famed hat maker Tilly’s, among other prominent brands featured on this year’s list. Last year NERDS ranked 3,010 out of 5,000 companies. Rankings based on revenue figures from 2006 through 2009. NERDS’ growth from 2007 to 2010 was […]

Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

California, (August, 2012) -On August 3rd, 2012, a tech writer for Wired’s “Gadget Lab,” Mat Honan, had his digital identity brutally hacked. His iPhone, iPad and MacBook were remotely wiped, his Twitter account hijacked and his Gmail deleted. He lost irreplaceable photos from the first year of his daughter’s life, hundreds of emails, and his ability to ever again feel secure online. Here’s how to significantly reduce the chances it could happen to you. In the wake of the attack, Mat Honan assumed that his Apple ID password had been compromised. It turns out the perpetrator provided just two pieces […]

Simple & Easy Computer Maintenance

California, (August, 2012) -You may think that upgrades are only available to the Nerds among us, but there are many easy things you can do to speed up your PC without investing a lot of time or money. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, performing some basic maintenance can ensure your system stays in top form. First, the easiest tip: shut down and restart your computer regularly so that it can install all necessary software and operating system updates. Next, ensure automatic update is turned on, both for your Operating System updates as well as your anti-malware programs. If […]

When is the Best Time to Buy a New Computer?

California, (August, 2012) -Bargain hunters everywhere swear by shopping seasonally. Buy when demand is lowest (who thinks to replace their air conditioner in February?) or when retailers are pushing out old inventory in anticipation of new models. Unless you stay up on trending tech news, it’s hard to know when a new generation of the Smartphone or laptop you’ve had your eye on is due to be released. Luckily keeping up on tech trends is what we live for and we’re here to share the secrets of electronic buying seasons. You don’t have to be a student to take advantage […]

Back to School Tablets: iPad vs. Laptop

California, (August, 2012) -As parents everywhere prepare to send sons and daughters back to school, they want to arm them with the best possible resources. For many families, computers or tech gadgets are alongside clothes, pens and paper on the list of purchases to budget for. As tablets grow in popularity, you may be wondering if your student would benefit from having an iPad or an inexpensive tablet like a Kindle Fire, Google Nexus or Barnes and Noble Nook in their book bag. As Nerds have explored in previous articles, tablets can play a role in our children’s education. Studies […]

Back to School: Tech Bargain Sites You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

California, (July, 2012) – It seems summer gets shorter and shorter every year. How is it that back to school is already here? Whether you’re in the market for a PC, printer or router to get set up for the new academic year, or you’re just poised to take advantage of the season’s sales, you’ll be joining thousands of shoppers buying computers, peripherals and gadgets in the coming weeks. Before you walk into your local electronics store, there are many websites, some that you may have never heard of, that offer great deals on tech. Newegg: While the name may […]

Get In Shape Using Gadgets Press

California, (July, 2012)– When the Wii Fit was released it was all the rage and for good reason: it made exercise fun by turning it into a game. You earned points while working out and the ability to compete against your friends to better your score motivated you to continue. There have been many additions to the fitness “game” since then, all designed to make you come back for more while keeping it fun. Whether you’re already working out and just need a little extra motivation, or you need a serious shove off the couch, here are a few tools […]

Small Business Data BackUp

California, (July, 2012)– Data backup is the flossing of the tech world: you know you should do it, but you just never get around to it. There’s something in human nature that makes us learn the hard way – cavities are no fun. Yet when it comes to risking the data that you need to run your business, the price of procrastination is too high. For small and medium businesses, data backup is all about automation, redundancy, and reliability. The first step to reducing your exposure to hardware failure is consolidating your data in one more reliable and easier to […]

Small Business Networking: Buy This Not That!

California, (July, 2012)– These days a business that can’t get online can’t go very far. From emailing appointment confirmations to processing credit cards, when the network goes down, business productivity grinds to a halt. Small business owners are stuck in a unique position: they need more reliability than a standard wireless firewall router can offer, but likely can’t afford the enterprise solutions offered by Cisco. When Nerds On Call started in 2004, owners Ryan and Andrea Eldridge ran the call center out of a room in their house. Budgeting was tight and they used a DSL connection and a standard […]

NEXUS 7 GOOGLE TAKES ON THE TABLETS

California, (July, 2012)– This week Google went and set the tech world abuzz by announcing their new Nexus7 tablet, the result of a partnership with ASUS. Recent success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire has given Google hope that the small screen, inexpensive tablet market is one worth pursuing. Anyone who has considered adding a tablet to their arsenal of tech gadgets but has balked at the price tag (or paltry performance of most low-end tablets) should take a second look at the Nexus 7. iPad or Hybrid eReader?: While your first inclination is probably to compare it to the iPad, the […]

DNSChanger: July 9th FBI Pulls Plug

California, (July, 2012) – On Monday, July 9th, the FBI will pull the plug on internet access to hundreds of thousands of computers infected with a malware Trojan known as DNSChanger. Even if your computer is clean, companies that have compromised systems in their network will be taken offline, hindering their ability to do business and possibly breaking their websites, in what many are referring to as “Internet Doomsday.” In November 2011, the FBI (together with international cyber crime agencies) identified and located a ring of cyber criminals that had infected more than four million computers across the world with […]

New MacBooks a $2,200 Disposable Computer?

California, (June, 2012)– When it comes to portable electronics, bigger is not better. From the new line of UltraBooks announced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show to the highly anticipated MacBook Pro with Retina Display released by Apple this month, laptops are getting ever smaller and lighter to compete with the growing popularity of tablet PCs. Yet with a smaller footprint comes limitations. When they’re impossible to upgrade and more costly to repair, is smaller truly superior? If you are going to carry a device in your bag most everywhere you go, lightweight and durable is of paramount importance. To […]

Job Hunting Tips for Grads

California, (June, 2012)– Once your little prodigy has diploma fast in hand, she may be eager to jump into “the real world,” and go job hunting online. Years past when entering the workforce, this meant polishing up the resume and hitting the want ads. Yet in today’s socially connected internet space, the foray into life after school is rife with more hidden pitfalls. In January 2012, Microsoft released data from a study they commissioned about consumer behaviors online. After polling more than 5,000 respondents, the study found that 14% of adults surveyed report negative consequences resulting from their online activities. […]

Stalking the candidates, this ain’t your Granddad’s election.

California, (June, 2012)– The candidates have been chosen; the race to the White House has begun in earnest. From 24-hour news streams to Facebook rants about hot-button issues, the internet allows so many voices to shout that it can feel like a lot of noise. Yet it also allows the candidates to present themselves, what they stand for, and communicate with constituents in a way that is unparalleled. We’ve searched out where to go to see what they have to say, not what CNN or Fox News wants us to hear. Start with their website:  The best place to start […]

Travel tips: Easy prep to avoid a ruined trip

California, (May, 2012)– Bags packed? Check. Gas in the car? Check. Tech ready? Probably not…  You may have a nifty waterproof case, but there’s more you can do to get the most out of your tech while you’re away from home.  Before you head out on that much needed vacation, prep your tech for the road: Sync Your Stuff:  If you have i-devices or use cloud services such as Dropbox, sync before you leave home so that all your documents, photos, music and videos are up-to-date, especially if you won’t have access to the Internet while you’re gone.  This will […]

NERDS ON CALL: FIND A JOB—Using the Internet

California, (May, 2012) – If you’re one of the millions of Americans looking for work, the internet can be a good resource, albeit a daunting one.  Spend a few hours, or days, searching through Monster.com job listings, and you may even argue that the internet is counter-productive to your job hunt. However, a discussion paper written in September 2011, for The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany (http://ftp.iza.org/dp5955.pdf), found that internet job searching “reduces individual workers’ unemployment durations by about 25%.”  Here’s how to use the web to connect with the right people to aid your job […]

NERDS ON CALL:  MOTHER’S DAY—Tech Treats just for Her

California, (May, 2012) – We’ve discovered that technology typically falls into two categories: that which makes our life easier (by making us more efficient, helping us to connect with loved ones, etc), or that which makes our life harder (by taking too much time to learn, use or master).  We’ve discovered that some of the items which fall into the first category for us might fall into the second category for mom.  This makes Mother’s Day a great opportunity to share the gift of time to help mom get comfortable with a procedure, web resource, or gadget that we know […]

NERDS ON CALL: ONLINE SCAMS—Arm Yourself and Outsmart those Thieves

California, (April, 2012) – We are big fans of how technology makes life easier. Unfortunately, it also makes it easier for scam artists to target potential victims. For many, the relative newness of using email and web access for banking, shopping and paying bills leaves them vulnerable to crooks looking to steal personal information for financial gain. Trust your instincts and arm yourself with knowledge to protect yourself from these common scams. •   Compromising positions: “We suspect that your account has been compromised.” Whether you receive this notice via email, text, or telephone, you’re typically directed to a website that […]

NERDS ON CALL: RE-PURPOSE — Your Obsolete Tech

California, (April, 2012) – Every year, tons of electronics are thrown in the garbage, creating a severe worldwide e-waste problem. Still, most of us love our gadgets and pine for the newest versions when they’re released. What should we do with our tech leftovers so we don’t contribute to the dilemma? Here are some ways to re-purpose your old PC, Smartphone or monitor that will help you get more life out of it while taking care of Mother Earth. • Make a Media Center: Your PC or laptop isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer anymore, but it can still […]

NERDS ON CALL: EARTH DAY

California, (April, 2012) – Do you find it odd that we dedicate full days, or weeks, to celebrate things like General Pulaski Memorial Day and National Dairy Goat Awareness Week? When younger did you view Earth Day in a similar fashion? Sure, we’d recycle bottles and cans, but only if it was convenient and didn’t have to pay more or take us out of our way. Now that we have families of our own, the idea of finite resources has more impact. Unfortunately, our need for things to be easy and cost effective remains, perhaps more so now that it’s […]

NERDS ON CALL: IT’S A REVOLUTION

California, (April, 2012) – With over 180 million iPhones sold since its launch, Apple has created the single most popular consumer electronic gadget in history. The only problem is this magical gadget doesn’t come with an instruction manual. The denizens of new iPhone owners are left to figure it out for themselves. How do you get pictures from your iPhone to your computer? How do you know which apps to buy? How do you do all of those amazing things the commercials do? Most of us, sadly, use only a fraction of the features the iPhone has, and leaves us […]

NERDS ON CALL: DISPELS RUMOR, NERDS to replace Geek Squad

California, (April 2, 2012) – Nerds On Call on Monday denied it was merging with Best Buy, to replace the retailer’s Geek Squad, after Best Buy’s CEO Brian Dunn announced he would be closing 50 of Best Buy’s big box stores and laying off about 400 employees. http://www.startribune.com/business/144875875.html Many have speculated the restructuring and cost cutting by the retailer didn’t go far enough. Rumors began circulating Best Buy could consider abandoning its Geek Squad brand and replace it with one of it biggest competitors. “Within hours of the announcement I began hearing about Best Buy and the Geek Squad, and I was shocked,” said […]

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NERDS ON CALL: TEENS & SOCIAL MEDIA

California, (March, 2012) – From Facebook, to Twitter, to Foursquare, social media sites are everywhere and full of virtual land mines for our teens. Anything they say can, and may be used against them, by a bully at school, a college admissions counselor, or a future boss. There are numerous ways they’re exposed to the world, from harsh life lessons to predators and scam artists. It’s important for parents to teach them how to navigate social media safely. Our moms used to say, “never put anything in writing that you don’t want published on the front page of the New York Times,” and this warning […]

NERDS ON CALL: TEEN DRIVERS & SAFETY Yes there is even Tech for that

California, (March, 2012) – Parents of teenage drivers inwardly struggle every time their child gets behind the wheel, hoping that their teen is “doing the right thing,” refraining from speeding, and not driving distractedly. Statistics affirm that teens with involved parents are involved in fewer accidents and exhibit overall better driving. Driver’s education provides them with the rules-of-the-road, but it’s not enough. Here some techno-tools to add to your arsenal. Strike up a conversation: Start the conversation about your safe-driving expectations early and “check-in” with your teen on an ongoing basis. You’ll probably receive some eye rolls, but remind them that the rules you set are intended […]

NERDS ON CALL: TAX DAY 2012, ISN’T THE 15TH Tax Resources for April 17th

California, (March, 2012) – We hate to bear bad news, but April is going to be here before you know it. If you haven’t already tried electronic filing your tax returns, it doesn’t take a Nerd to tell you it’s the way to go. With so many choices that offer roughly the same service, how’s a tax e-filer to choose? NERDS suffered the headache of checking out some of the most popular options available to file your returns electronically. We’re not sure if it’s intentional, but the pricing plans offered by the major tax preparation services are pretty confusing. Their homepages are emblazoned with “Free!” […]

Sick of Spam? Here’s an Easy Way to Stop Spam

California, (February, 2012) – Most of us have a hectic lifestyle with work, kids and finding time to just catch our breath, so the last thing we have time for is weeding through an email inbox filled with offers for 30 percent off at a store were we bought one thing from three years ago, or daily newsletters from an online magazine touting ways to make “your life” simple. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make email more of a tool and less hassle, with very little work. Most email providers have an integrated spam filter, and many have […]

NERDS ON CALL: CYBER PRIVACY NERDS ON CALL

California, (February, 2012) – You might think the things that you do online are between you and your computer. Not so. Your cyber-privacy is constantly being chipped away: by your Internet provider, your cell phone carrier and lawmakers. Before you post to a social-media site or browse the Internet for that report you’re compiling on pedophiles, keep in mind how your actions online are anything but private. At issue is the struggle to protect privacy rights while fighting the online theft of American intellectual property. Here is what you should know: SOPA Shelved, or is it? Last month, the U.S. […]

NERDS ON CALL & PHONE SMART LIAISON

Redding, CA: February, 2012— “The most common cause of death for cell phones is a drop or fall, which accounts for 66% of failed phones. Another 25% of them were due to water damage (e.g. dropping your phone into the toilet or pool).”  (Techcrunch, 2011).  But have no fear; a new liaison promises to help more people in Redding survive such disasters. On February 6th, Nerds On Call teamed up with Phone Smart technician, Sydnee Rodgers.   Sydnee has helped local customers with small electronics and cell phone repairs in Redding, since 2010.  With the combined skills of Sydnee and exceptional […]

NERDS ON CALL: SEXY TECH

California, (February, 2012) – We’ll admit it: NERDS aren’t very romantic at times.  Most love spending time on the computer, going out to dinner and a movie, or just curling up on the couch to play the latest video game, so NERDS have never been very creative in thinking up ideas to “spice things up.”  This Valentine’s Day, we’ve resolved to use tech resources to think outside that Heart shaped candy box.  Here are some places you can go for ideas to put a little fire into your Valentine’s Day. Date Night:  Check out “The Dating Divas” www.thedatingdivas.com .  Their motto […]

RESOLVE TO MAKE LIFE EASIER: Tech Timesavers

California, (January, 2012) – With the New Year brings a new dedication to do everything better.  For us NERDS our resolution is to utilize technology to make life easier.  With precious few minutes to waste in the day, it seems like certain technological “advances” actually cause us to waste more time than they save.  So NERDS found some great resources to turn the tables and have your tech tools work for you again.     Keep track of your phone:  Have you ever had that “Doh” moment… of having your phone in your hand while you’re looking for it?  While […]

NERDS ON CALL: CES 2012

California, (January, 2012) – Every January, thousands of industry professionals and gadget-lovers alike flock to the Nerd Mecca, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  Showcasing the tech toys slated to hit the market in the upcoming year, CES presents a dream wish-list for those that are first in line for everything new and cool, and a preview of what will soon be available to the rest of us.  Here are the highlights. ULTRABOOK:  This was the year of the “Ultrabook”, Intel’s answer to the Macbook Air.  A super thin and lightweight laptop, it’s bigger and more functional than a […]

Resolve to Make Life Easier Your Computer’s New Year’s Resolutions

California, (January, 2012) – As the holiday season draws to a close, many of us resolve to try to improve ourselves or our habits in the New Year. As we venture forth into 2012, let’s take this opportunity to resolve to change some of the less savory habits we have probably all fallen into with our computers and gadgets. This year, let your computer have some New Year’s resolutions of its own. Resolve to Stay Virus and Spyware-free: Every day NERDS get calls from frustrated computer users with slow systems that are bogged down with pop-up ads, re-directing them on […]

4 WAYS TO SAFELY REPLACE YOUR TECH

California, (January, 2012) – If you were fortunate enough to receive a new tech gadget this holiday season, it can be a great opportunity to donate or sell an older device that you no longer need.  Before you send it off with a fond farewell, however, keep in mind that most electronic items contain a wealth of personal information that you want to ensure doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.  Whether you’re handing down your laptop to your teenager, giving your old phone to Uncle Fred, or donating your gadget to Goodwill, make sure that you take a few steps […]

Guide: Stress Free Gadget Set Up

California, (December, 2011) – Once the wrapping paper is piled in the corner and the toys have been wrestled from their packaging, you’ll realize that now you have to figure out how to get all your new gadgets and gizmos set up and configured.  Talk about a post-holiday letdown.  Before you set out to quiz the neighborhood teenagers about their experience with electronics configuration, there are some great online resources to help you get all of your new holiday loot up and running, without turning to the leftover eggnog for comfort. How to beginner:  Are you tempted to throw that […]

Don’t Forget the Batteries

Calif. (December, 2011)– It’s 5:00am Christmas morning.  The kids are shaking all the presents under the tree, pleading, “Come on Dad, just one…PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE?”  A satisfied smile crosses your face as you anticipate their cute little faces when they see the perfect gift you picked out for them.  Then without warning—dread hits you. You forgot the batteries! Today’s techno toys and gadgets require accessories to use them; NERDS can help you save the day.  Here are a few simple reminders and tips that will make your perfect present work on Christmas Day… Play with their toys first:  It seems inevitable; there […]

Last Minute Tech Gifts: Way Better Than A Gift Card

California, (December, 2011) — As the big day approaches, many of us are scrambling to finish our holiday shopping, especially for those people on the list who seem to have everything… Some people seem to be just impossible to buy for, so you think, “Isn’t it safest just to get them a gift card they can use to pick something out themselves?” Safe? Absolutely. But it’s also pretty boring, and kind of calling it in, don’t you think? So before you resign yourself to buying that generic gift card, NERDS found some great last minute gifts of online services that […]

Nerd School: Skype Class By Cameron Moody

  One of our Nerds, gave a free community class in Phoenix Arizona. One of the attendees was so happy with Cameron’s presentation that he wrote a very helpful review of the class. Excerpt from Cyber Coyote’s Article: “Cameron Moody from the local Nerds On Call in Peoria was here today to show us how to set up and use Skype for internet calls. He was very energetic and covered the topic quite thoroughly. Their company has helped quite a few people here at Happy Trails, and it was their way to get better acquainted. 1-800-919-NERD No obligation, and they […]

Top Five Tips: Stay Safe Shopping Online

California, (December, 2011) — ‘Tis the season for shopping online and NERDS want to make sure that you protect your personal information while finding the best deals out there. NERDS put together their top five tips to follow to stay safe when shopping online. Create some Cyber distance: NERDS recommend keeping some distance between your online shopping and your bank and credit cards by not using the same email account for retail logins and purchase confirms as you use for your bank login and password resets. Also, we suggest you don’t use the same password at retail sites as you […]

Buy This, Not That – Men’s Edition

We all know at least one: the man who has everything. You regularly find him drooling over previews of the next hot item and as soon as the newest gadget hits the shelves, he buys it before anyone else even knows it exists. When a tie or another pair of pajamas just won’t cut it, allow me to suggest some options that even the most hard to shop for men in your life are bound to love, and probably don’t have yet. Before you resign yourself to getting him another Blu Ray disk that may already be in his Netflix […]

Comparing Nook And Kindle: An Affordable Option To A Tablet PC

California, (November, 2011) — One of the hottest items on many a gadget lover’s holiday list is a tablet PC, often the iPad. Just in time to muddy the waters, two more budget-friendly tablet e-readers have arrived on the market. NERDS will review their pros and cons. The primary draw of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet is undoubtedly price. The Kindle Fire starts at $199 and the Nook starts at $249 — both considerably less than Apple’s iPad2, which so far could be found online for $499 and up. Both e-readers offer ultra-clear, 7-inch, full-color touch […]

Good Day Sacramento Cyber Monday Specials

It’s Cyber Monday, the day online retailers roll out their best deals and slashed prices to lure you to spend your shopping dollars online. There are great deals to be had on tech, electronics, and much more, without ever leaving your PJs. Andrea and Ryan Eldridge, Co-Founders of Nerds on Call, are here to find you the best prices for all of you holiday must haves. Main Talking Points: Q: What’s hot this holiday shopping season? • Tech: Tablets (especially the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet), Cameras, Laptops, Nintendo 3DS • Toys: Lets Rock Elmo, LeapPad Explorer, Monster High Dolls, […]

NERDY STOCKING STUFFERS

California, (November, 2011) — It’s fun to be a “nerd” in a time when being called a nerd is no longer an insult. From video gamers to Star Wars lovers to gadget collectors, we all have our inner nerds. As the holidays approach, many of you will be wondering where to find a suitably cool gift for your own nerdy friends or family members. This week NERDS have pulled together a list of some of our favorite places for fun nerd toys, gear, and clothes. For the Nerd who has everything: www.thinkgeek.com offers an awesome selection of gifts for anyone […]

BLACK FRIDAY Survival Tips and Maneuvers

California, (November, 2011) — Black Friday is the shopper’s nirvana, the day eagerly awaited by bargain hunters looking to snag their holiday gifts for the lowest price. While it’s easy to get most NERDS excited about the idea of steeply discounted electronics, it’s not so easy to get them on board to risk life and limb sprinting to limited numbers of a hot item along with hundreds of other bargain hunters at 4 in the morning, the day after Thanksgiving. However, dedicated Black Friday shoppers have assured us a little advance planning online can make the experience more valuable. So […]

THANKSGIVING TECH RESOURCES LET’S TALK TURKEY

[nerdsbyline] California, (November, 2011) — Every year we vow to try something new for Thanksgiving and every year we end up making the same tried and true staples. As the food preparation checklist gets longer and the day looms closer, the thought of trying something untested and possibly ruining a dish to serve to friends and family shouts down any lingering dream of getting creative. However, NERDS have discovered that, as with so many things, the internet has a wealth of resources to make trying something new this holiday season easier and less risky. Perhaps this is the year for […]

UNRAVEL THE MYSTERIES Of Remote Support

California, (November, 2011) — These days, we want everything fast, from food to computer repairs.  If you’ve seen the TV ads for iYogi.net, you may have wondered, “How can a tech in India fix a computer in Nantucket?” NERDS want to unravel some of the mysteries of Internet-based tech support. Whether you take a faulty computer to a repair shop or have a tech come to you, it can take days or even weeks to get your system back on its feet. The obvious benefit of remote service is that in many cases it’s immediate.  It’s instant gratification with many […]

STUFFS NERD MOBILE FULL OF TOYS


Redding, CA-November, 2011:  Nerds On Call have begun efforts in Redding, CA to stuff one of the NERD mobiles full of toys for the less fortunate children in the community. Last year it was estimated that “2541 Children received toys from the Redding community” (Salvation Army, 2011) and that number is expected to rise this year because of the slow economy and high unemployment rates. With help from customers and community members we can bring Christmas to those who may otherwise not get one this year. Toys will be donated to the Salvation Army STUFF THE BUS efforts on December […]

Press Release: Back Up Data

California, (October, 2011) — Whether your computer’s hard drive has moving parts or uses solid-state technology, it eventually will break. Sometimes it takes years, but it usually fails when you least expect it — say, a doctoral thesis or as you’re putting the finishing touches on your family tree. You need to prepare for that day with a regular and reliable backup system. There are two methods for backing up data, and you can use one or both. That depends on how much you’d miss the photos of your kids’ first steps (NERD hint, you should do both).   The […]

Press Release: Before You Call Tech Support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Media Contact: Shawna Bell 1-800-919-6373 marketing@callnerds.com California, (October, 2011)– More than once most of us have had to call a repair person to fix a dishwasher or dryer, only to discover that the power cable is loose, or that the exhaust is clogged with lint.  A little basic troubleshooting could have saved $100 or so, if only we’d known what easy things to try before having someone out.  Over the years us NERDS have discovered that there are some simple things that fix a surprising number of computer problems, and trying them before you call a repair […]

Press Release: A WINDOWS 8 PREVIEW

California, (October, 2011) — NERDS are not always big fans of change. So when Microsoft announced at their developer’s conference on September 13th that they are releasing a new version of Windows, we received the news less enthusiastically than many nerdy cohorts. Don’t get us wrong, NERDS love new technologies, but let’s face it we are creatures of habit and we all like the way we have our desktops set up. However, knowing change can sometimes be worth it, NERDS took the Windows 8 developer’s preview out for a spin to see if it’s something we can get on board […]

PR: Cyber Bullying What It’s All About

California, (October, 2011) — These days our kids spend more of their lives online than ever before. Parents and caregivers hear more and more about the risks our kids are exposed to on the internet and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. One question NERDS get over and over from parents is how to protect their family from cyberbullying? Let NERDS explain the lingo and give you some tips so you can protect them even when you’re not with them. There are so many terms that refer to online abuses; it can be hard to keep them straight. “Cyberbullying” is harassing […]

PR: In Case of (Electronic) Emergency

California, (September, 2011) — Imagine you are sitting in front of your laptop, drinking your morning coffee, when you reach forward to type a witty response on Facebook. Then disaster strikes. You catch the edge of your coffee cup and watch in horror as the entire contents pour onto the keyboard! In a panic, you hit the power button and madly grab for the paper towels. Oh no! You wonder, “Is my laptop doomed?” What do you do next? As it turns out, many of us have experienced this emergency and have made a few mistakes that result in having […]

NERDS ON CALL: SEQUEL TO DISCOVER THE TOP TEN Downloads

California, (September, 2011) — Like the familiar route you take to work every day, or the path your dog walks you on every night, we all find ourselves doing things out of habit even when there may be a faster or easier way. There’s some process you follow to get online, get your email, or watch a video file, that’s a little odd or hard to explain, but you’re used to it. Step out of your comfort zone, just a little, and one of the following programs may make your computing experience a whole lot easier. Pidgin: Instant messaging has […]

Discover The Top 10 Windows Downloads

California, (October, 2011) — Even though it is a NERDS job is to discover new and wonderful things technology can do to make life easier, like many we are creatures of habit by nature.  Using the same few programs and applications, we rarely deviate from the tried and true comfortable software.  Change can be scary for many of us, but sometimes branching out from our comfort zone can lead to wonderful discoveries.  Think about Steve Jobs and Apple, what if he had never ventured outside of that garage…  Over the next two weeks, NERDS will help you out of that […]

TIME FOR THE CLOUD? Options To Sync Your Data

California, (September, 2011) — Many of us have the same data problem. We create data in different places with multiple devices.  During our busy personal and professional lives we take pictures with our Smartphones, buy songs on our iPods, download movies to iPads, and create documents on our computers.  All of these devices fragment our data, and taking the time to converge them together can take up a lot of our time. The “cloud” (click here for an explanation of the term) may be the solution to the problem.  Microsoft’s been promoting their “To the Cloud” campaign for over a […]

How To Fix A Slow Computer From Kid’s Summer Break Use

Redding, Calif. (August, 2011) – It’s that time of year again: the kids have gone back to school and parents-you suddenly notice your computer is acting sluggish. Now what? Don’t stress, says Nerds On Call, a Redding, Calif.-based computer company offering personalized computer and electronic repair services to businesses and consumers, there are some easy fixes for parents to troubleshoot the problems. “The start of the school year is always our busiest time, and we get most of our calls from frustrated parents who are helping their kids with homework but are unable to use their computer properly, let alone […]

NERDS ON CALL: LOCAL COMPANY IN TOP LIST FOR THIRD YEAR

Redding, CA: August, 2011–On August 23, 2011 Inc. magazine announced its fifth annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy— America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs.  Nerds On Call is one of the fastest growing private companies in America for a third year in a row. This year Nerds was ranked 3,010 out of 5,000 companies. Rankings based on revenue figures from 2007 through 2010.  NERDS’ growth from 2007 to 2010 was 68%! Last year NERDS ranked 2,495 out of 5,000 companies.  Rankings based […]

Nerds On Call: Ditch Your Cable With Internet TV

California, (August, 2011) —The new fall TV season is almost here! If you’re like us you’ll be setting up your DVR to record every new show. During these tough times many of us use TV as an escape, but one thing brings us back to reality faster than commercials, the cable bill. Sure we could turn to the internet to see the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy, but who can appreciate McDreamy on such a small screen? Let’s face it HDTV and surround sound make for a better viewing experience. Luckily, NERDS found some great options to bring the multitude […]

Secret Benefits Of Video Games Press

California, (August, 2011)- Anyone who has looked up from their computer to discover that they just lost two hours to Farmville or World of Warcraft would like to believe that there is some redeeming value to playing video games. On August 3rd, PBS MediaShift published an article ascertaining, “When people learn to play video games,” according to James Paul Gee, “they are learning a new literacy.” (2011). NERDS would have to agree with Gee and argue that there are plenty of secret benefits to playing video games. Creative Thinking Skills: As hard as it is, not to see playing Xbox […]

BACK TO SCHOOL “MUST HAVES”

California, (August, 2011)— As the new school year draws near, families everywhere are shopping for new computers, laptops and tablets. Yet just as no outfit is complete without the perfect shoes, there are some techno accessories that can not only simplify homework and term paper completion, but may save you from an agonizing night helping little Jane recreate the science project lost to a virus attack. So NERDS found some “must have” gadgets to add to your back to school shopping list. The end of, “The dog ate my homework”: Now that computers in the classroom are as common as […]

Don’t Break the Bank Getting Back to School

California, (August, 2011)— For kids, Back to School is a great time of year. They get new clothes, new school supplies, and maybe even a new gadget or two. For adults, though, Back to School means new expenses and new bills. All of us have had an argument in the middle of the department store with our kids. What they want is too expensive, what we want for them is too un-cool. If you also have to find room in the budget for a new computer or gadgets, this time of year can be daunting for many parents. Luckily NERDS, […]

Laptop Or Tablet – Can an iPad Replace your Computer?

California, (June, 2012)— As the school year approaches, the question NERDS get asked most often is, “should I buy a laptop, or a tablet?”  Steve Jobs has asserted that we are living in a “post-PC world”.  Is it really possible to replace a laptop with the smaller and (many would say) cooler iPad? While it is possible, it won’t work straight out of the box.  If you are considering taking the plunge and ditching your laptop, whether it’s for a trip or for good, here’s the NERD guide to making it possible. Keyboard:  The touch screen is definitely our favorite […]

Using Technology to Secure your Home: NERDS ON CALL

California. (July, 2011)—Our homes are definitely where our hearts are. As we build our houses into a home, one tile and shingle at a time, we are more and more inclined to protect our investments of sweat and, sometimes, tears. Home and personal security is definitely an area where technology has advanced in leaps and bounds. This week, Nerds On Call explores some ways to use technology to protect your home, and what you keep in it. Keep an Eye on your Home: Do you ever wonder what happens in your house when you’re not around? Does your dog really […]

NERDS ON CALL: SUMMER SAFETY GADGETS

California, (July, 2011).—Like many families, the Eldridges are a summer loving family.  From lazy afternoons floating in the lake, to the cool tingle from the first lick of an ice cream cone, it’s no wonder we spend the winter counting down the days.  Now that I’m a mom of a water-obsessed toddler, however, the season also brings some extra worries.  Will those new water wings make him less cautious around the pool?  Is it too hot to load him, or the dog, into the car?  What if we have car trouble when out on one of our weekend exploration drives?  […]

Back To School.

California. (July, 2011) – It’s that time of year again: the kids are heading back to school and parents-you suddenly notice your computer is acting sluggish. Now what?  Don’t stress, says Nerds On Call, a Redding, Calif.-based computer company offering personalized computer and electronic repair services to businesses and consumers, there are some easy fixes for parents to troubleshoot the problems.   “The start of the school year is always our busiest time, and we get most of our calls from frustrated parents who are helping their kids with homework but are unable to use their computer properly, let alone […]

NERDS ON CALL: SUMMER PROOF THOSE TECHNO GADGETS

That lounge chair next to the pool is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the latest summer romance on your eReader, or take out some Angry Birds’ pigs on your iPad.  With Pina Colada in hand and toes in the pool or sand, there’s surely no better way to spend a lazy summer afternoon… until the kids decide to practice their cannonballs, leaving you and your gadgets soaked.  Perhaps you want to use your snazzy GPS program on the boat or hiking, but are worried about your Smartphone taking a permanent nap in the depths of the lake or […]

Nerds On Call: Good Day Sacramento “Keeping kid’s Cyber Safe for the Summer.”

Andrea Eldridge appears on Good Day Sacramento, talking about relevant cyber safety issues.  

NERDS ON CALL: SECRETLY EDUCATE KIDS THIS SUMMER

Redding, CA. June, 2011. — Every parent secretly hopes their child will grow up to be the next Einstein or Bill Gates. However, with summer break well under way kids have already started the common cry, “I’m bored!” While we’d love to pull out the old Scrabble board game, create a cool science experiment or read the Classics with them, the many demands of work and life pull us in other directions. Wading through the mounds of laundry to stop dinner from burning on the stove, with harried desperation we pull out the video games or DVD’s, hoping for a […]

NERDS ON CALL: Gadgets Add Bang To Your Techie 4th of July

Redding, CA. June, 2011. — The 4th of July is a great time to gather your friends and family for food, fireworks and festivities. Of course, NERDS are always looking for ways to add some sparkle to any get together, and your backyard BBQ is no exception. Pick up one or two of these cool tech gadgets for your upcoming party and your bash is sure to be the talk of the town. • Sound? Check. No party is complete without a soundtrack of great tunes, but who has time to DJ while you’re manning the BBQ? Use your iPod […]

NERDS ON CALL: SUMMER MOVIE ADVENTURES

Redding, CA. June, 2011. — In a world where your swamp cooler just isn’t enough… It was a hot and sultry afternoon. Our hero wilts on the couch, surrounded by melted popsicles, and a sea of rapidly deteriorating moods… Things are about to get dangerous. One family will embark on a journey that will change the course of Wednesday afternoon. “Let’s go to the movies!” exclaims Sally, and the adventure begins. How do they find a movie that will appeal to everyone, and not be too scary or risqué for the little ones? Will they make it in time to […]

NERDS ON CALL: Top 5 Gadgets for Father’s Day

Redding, CA. May, 2011. Let’s face it: Dad is simply the gadget-guru of the house. He programs the DVR, fixes Mom’s camera on the fly and has every tool known to man available at a moment’s notice from the garage. When it comes to trying to buy a gadget for Dad, how do you surprise a man who camps out at the local tech shop on a regular basis? If you have absolutely no idea what to get him, don’t panic! The Nerd Chicks are here to help! We’ve scoured the internet for some gift-giving ideas that are sure to […]

NERDS ON CALL: WHEN YOU’RE A NERD You’re Family

California. (June, 2011) — “I quit. My family and I are moving to South Dakota.” When Daniel Hughes told his employer, Nerds On Call, about the tough decision he and his family had made, it was met with more understanding than he expected. Daniel loved his job as a computer repair tech with Nerds On Call, and had been a loyal Nerd for years. While he enjoyed his work and made a decent wage, he always knew someday he’d go back home. “Daniel is a great employee and an important part of our staff. We hated to hear we were […]

NERDS ON CALL: Road Trip Survival Guide

In your wild college days, the words “ROAD TRIP!” meant squeezing your friends into the back of a compact car and hitting the road. You survived on a steady diet of fast food burgers and Jolt Cola, and spent your time arguing about which songs to play, and whether Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums” or “On the Road” best captured your adventure. Now, “ROAD TRIP!” is more likely to mean squeezing the stroller into the back of your SUV and hitting the road for several sleep deprived days. Burgers are probably still a staple, but now it’s more about which Blue’s Clues […]

NERDS ON CALL: 5 Essential Travel Gadgets Don’t leave home without them

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Media Contact Shawna Bell 1-800-919-6373 marketing@callnerds.com Redding, CA. May, 2011. Whether you dream of lounging on the beach with a margarita and a good book, or prefer the thought of trailblazing through the rainforest, vacations can be a great opportunity to unplug from technology. However, we’ve tracked down some gadgets that can make your trip even better. From ensuring that you never lose power to your handheld electronics, to keeping the troops entertained on an eight hour plane trip, let us take you from, “Ahhh! No WiFi?!?” to “Ahhhh… serenity!” • Mobile Wifi Hot Spot: If the […]

Keep Kids Cyber Safe During Summer Vacation

Redding, Calif. (May, 2011) – As the days get longer and warmer, they herald the coming of summer vacation. Who doesn’t remember the joy of lazy days spent roaming the neighborhood with your buddies, swimming in the pool or lake, or inventing games to play in the backyard? Yet these days, our kids are more likely to spend the summer roaming the internet, swimming in a sea of media, and inventing stories for their Facebook page. How do you get your kids to unplug and see the sun? When they are online, how do you keep your kids safe when […]

NERDS ON CALL: LAST MINUTE TECH TREATS FOR MOM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Shawna Bell 1-800-919-6373 marketing@callnerds.com NERDS ON CALL: LAST MINUTE TECH TREATS FOR MOM REDDING, Calif. (May) – Every year you vow to plan ahead, but you glance at the calendar and realize, Zoinks! Mother’s Day is this weekend… or tomorrow… or the worse we’ll admit to… TODAY! Before you resign yourself to picking daisies on the way to her house (which only works when you’re under the age of ten, by the way), use your tech savvy to create some great last minute gifts from your fellow procrastinators at Nerds on Call. We promise that […]

NERDS ON CALL: SECRETS YOUR SMARTPHONE KEEPS

REDDING, Calif. (May) – Recent news headlines shouting about iPhones, iPads and Android phones tracking your every move can make you wonder if the information being transmitted from your phone is being used for nefarious means, the truth is if you use GPS or like to get suggestions for restaurants, cheap gas, or movie times from your phone or iPad, your phone needs to know where you are. Location tracking is a necessary part of thousands of useful apps. However, it gets a bit shady when we learned that data is tagged with an “identifier”, that while supposedly anonymous still […]

NERDS ON CALL: 10 “MOST” WANTED LIST

Redding, CA. (April, 2011) – “Mommy, what’s for dinner?” Most of us don’t give this question much of a thought. We pull something from our pantry, or look at what’s defrosted. Many Shasta county families don’t have the luxury of stocked cabinets and freezers. Too many local children go to bed at night with rumbling bellies. The local Salvation Army last spring, “served 1,103 clients, of those, 239 were first time clients” (Salvation Army, June 2010) The number of needy families is expected to grow this year because of the slow economy and high unemployment rates. NERDS, in an effort […]

NERDS ON CALL: Wallets are so 2010!

Redding, CA: April 21, 2011: Whenever we’re out with friends, just as the conversation starts to get juicy, the waiter shows up with the bill. We have to delay the fun and turn to business. Who has cash? Who wants to pay with their credit card? How much do you tip again? Now, leave your wallet at home, and let’s find out who kissed who in the copy room without interruption. Nerds On Call has some fun and easy ways to use your Smartphone as your wallet. Once you get the lowdown on the office gossip, use your Smartphone to […]

NERDS ON CALL: HELP YOU SPRING CLEAN YOUR GADGETS

Nothing makes one question our dedication to gadgets more than seeing six remote controls lined up on the edge of the couch. While it may be mildly amusing to pretend you’re Indiana Jones conquering the tangle of cables to wrestle out your iPod charger, it’s really more annoying than anything else. Spring heralds a desire to get rid of the clutter, and we’ve found some great gizmos to clean up your most unruly tech toys. If you have had to resort to labeling your remote controls, or if you have a shelf dedicated to them in your entertainment center, allow […]

NERDS ON CALL: Safely Dispose of Techno Gadgets

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been the battle cry of go-green citizens for many years. When you look around your house and see the bevy of used techno gadgets, batteries, ink cartridges and electronic toys your kids have outgrown, you wonder: where is it safe to dispose of these things? You want to do your part to help your community and/or recycle, especially since local waste authorities ask you not to dump them in the trash. What to do? Let NERDS help you donate, recycle or safely dispose of those old Techno Gadgets so you can do your part to save […]

NERDS ON CALL: USE TECH TO SPIFF UP YOUR SPACE

You started that DIY project only to realize that you may be in over your head. When you find yourself in the position of needing a contractor, how do you go about finding one? If you’re like us, you probably start with family or friends, but where do you turn if they don’t have a referral? Don’t pull out the phone book and hope you’re lucky when you close your eyes and point to a name. Nerds On Call has some great online resources to help you find just the right person or company to help you get the job […]

NERDS ON CALL TO THE RESCUE: KEEP KIDS SAFE

When we were kids, bullying happened in public. Bullies would follow us around the playground, and try to insult us, or worse physically hurt us. However, we could always escape to the safety of home and family. Today, it isn’t that easy. Now, the bullies reach into victims’ homes, mass text their friends, post to their Facebook pages, and harm them relentlessly with technology. Cyber bullying may seem like a buzzword but people are buzzing for a reason. Cyber bullying has exploded and parents and educators are left scrambling to figure out a solution to the problem. With the growth […]

NERDS ON CALL: GETS YOU IN TOUCH With your inner DIY DIVA

Spring is officially here and we all know the drill, it’s time for some Spring Cleaning. As you’re polishing your faucets to glimmer like a disco ball, you realize that the tarnish just isn’t lifting like it used to and maybe it’s time to replace it, but… (Gasp!!)… Hire a handy man to install a new faucet?! No way! Let NERDS help you to find the best resources to do-it-yourself on the cheap and get in touch with your inner DIY Diva! Be your own Handyman (or handywoman): There are hundreds of websites dedicated to DIY projects. You could spend […]

NERDS ON CALL: Smartphone Viruses?!? There’s an App for That!

I have to admit, I loved my old cell phone. It was simple to use, it was bright red and I was proud of how I personally bedazzled it. However, work requires that I be “connected”, and for some strange reason my kids were embarrassed to be seen with me and my phone, so I finally traded in my old phone for a new Smartphone. It took me a bit to learn all the fun things I could do with it, but now I am sold! I love having constant access to my email and Facebook. I have cool applications […]

NERDS ON CALL: HELPING YOU MANAGE YOUR MONEY One Click at Time

When Albert Einstein had to fill out his tax forms he was quoted as saying “This is too difficult for a mathematician, it takes a philosopher.” If you’re like most Americans, you’ll feel the same way as Tax day approaches. This year NERDS wants to help you stay in the black, with great tax prep resources and money management tools. Prepare your own Taxes: If you’re filing a simple return, you can save a bundle using online tax preparation programs. NERDS recommends using an online program instead of purchasing software – they are automatically updated and don’t require installing anything […]

Nerds On Call: iPad 2, Is it time to get one?

What is it about the iPad that is so alluring to husbands everywhere? Every time an iPad commercial comes on, you get jabbed in the ribs as he announces for the hundredth time “I need one of those!” It’s like living with a toddler when the “Tickle Me Elmo” was introduced. You look at his fairly new laptop, while you ice your ribs, and wonder, “What’s the big deal?” On Wednesday, Apple revealed the newest generation, the iPad 2. Was it worth the anticipation? Let NERDS unravel the hype so you can decide if it’s time to jump on board. […]

NERDS ON CALL: TAKE THE “OUCH” OUT OF BUDGETING

Redding, CA: February 27, 2011: Being an adult has its advantages. We get to make our own bedtimes, eat desert whenever we want and we can even skip making the bed if we want to. Just like a comic book super hero, though, with this great power also comes great responsibility. For one, we have to plan ahead. Gone are the carefree days when we could sneak a new toy into mom’s cart without her seeing. Now we have to plan out when we can afford the new toy. With this comes the painful task of budgeting. Let NERDS help […]

NERDS ON CALL: HELP YOU FIX IT

REDDING, Calif. (February 21, 2011) Psstt…..NERDS wants to share a little known secret—there are quick and easy ways to repair your gadgets and save you some serious coin. Newer, faster, bigger… it seems like the makers of computers and gadgets want us to see them as disposable. Why bother fixing it, just replace it! Yet we like our stuff – we are comfortable with how it works, and while it may not be the flashiest, it gets the job done. Who wants to have to learn how to use something new? So before you grab your trusty credit card to […]

NERDS ON CALL: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BREAK INTO YOUR PIGGY BANK

REDDING, Calif. (February 1, 2011) –Remember when you were a kid, and getting something in the mail was fun? These days a trek to the mailbox yields, coupons, special offers and bills. Groceries, electricity, gas all of life’s essentials keep getting more and more expensive. How can you get ahead and out of this financial malaise? Let NERDS help you with some practical and easy ways to keep more of your money this year. Many of these resources and tools can save you anywhere from a few cents to several dollars. 1.Loyalty memberships at grocery stores and retail outlets can […]

NERDS ON CALL: DON’T BUY THE VERIZON iPHONE

Redding, Calif. (February 4th, 2011) – At long last Verizon is riding in on its powerful network to save the day. So if you are an existing Verizon customer or someone switching from another network, we have a few words of advice: DON’T BUY A VERIZON iPHONE…YET! Anyone who has used an iPhone in the past few years is very familiar with the failings of the AT&T network. All too often a phone call is jumbled, or you’re literally left holding the phone as your phone call becomes a cliffhanger because your call dropped, “Sooo, Jim was with Sally when […]

NERDS ON CALL: 2011 TOP CES TECHNO GADGETS REVEALED

Redding, Calif. (January 11, 2011) – Last week the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2011) revealed the latest gadgets the tech industry has to offer. You may ask, “So what? I’m not a NERD?” Techno gadgets are no longer just for the nerdy or the computer experts; they are a part of our daily lives. We use gizmos for education, entertainment, organization, and to show off how we are the coolest NERDS on the block. Nerds On call, co-founder, Andrea Eldridge, just got back from the Las Vegas show and couldn’t contain her excitement at some of the products slated for […]

NERDS ON CALL: Your computer’s New Years Resolutions

REDDING, Calif. (January 1, 2011) – If only your computer could wrestle the mouse from your fingers, we have a feeling it would have a few choice words with you. If it could stop you from opening that link, or downloading that “great new application”, we’re sure both of you would be much happier. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, Nerds On Call brings you “Your Computer’s 2011 Resolutions” (as translated by us, of course!). “Dearest human user, it can be so easy to keep me clean and happy. I want to help you finish that spreadsheet, really I […]

NERDS ON CALL: Helps you get organized with Google

REDDING, Calif. (January 1, 2011) – Your desk is overrun with piles of paper, your computer screen is a confusing map of icons, and you can’t remember where you put the electric bill. You resolve with glass held high, “This is the year to get organized,” but how do you get started? Nerds On Call’s has some advice for getting organized: “Get in the Cloud!” Cloud computing offers a single point of access for your computing needs and will help you get organized. If you are away from your home computer and need to get to an important document, your […]

NERDS ON CALL: Helps you get organized with these online tools

Fresno, CA. (January 19, 2011): Here you are, two weeks into the New Year, and you have already stalled on your resolutions. You have all the best intentions, but your friend Mr. Procrastination seduces you in your weakest moments. He says to sleep in a little longer, eat the last doughnut, and who’s to know you spent an extra 30 minutes looking at cute cat videos online when you’re supposed to be working. Your resolve is weakening…already. Nerds on Call is here to get you back on track, we’ll be your New Year’s Resolution personal trainer, so to speak. Here […]

PR: Stuff the nerd mobile full of toys

Redding, CA-November 2, 2010: Nerds On Call have begun efforts in Redding, CA to stuff one of the NERD mobiles full of toys for the less fortunate children in the community. Last year it was estimated that “1,235 Children received toys from the Redding community” (Salvation Army, 2010) and that number is expected to rise this year because of the slow economy and high unemployment rates. With help from customers and community members we can bring Christmas to those who may otherwise not get one this year. Toys will be donated to the Salvation Army STUFF THE BUS efforts in […]

PR: Nerds On Call in top 5000 for second year.

Redding, CA: September 10, 2010–On August 24, 2010 Inc. magazine announced its fourth annual Inc. 5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy— America’s independent-minded entrepreneurs. Nerds On Call is one of the fastest growing private companies in America for a second year. This year Nerds was ranked 2,495 out of 5,000 companies. Rankings based on revenue figures from 2006 through 2009. NERDS’ growth from 2006 to 2009 was 96%! Last year NERDS ranked 1,732 out of 5,000 companies. Rankings based on revenue […]

PR: “Nerds” makes connecting with loved ones simple

REDDING, Calif. (November 1, 2010) – When it comes to staying close with those we love; deep down we all know what needs to be done. All too often a busy life or money worries get in the way, and suddenly our close-knit family becomes a loose connection of people rushing off to do their own things. Life moves quickly, especially around the holidays, which makes it even harder to stay connected. We all have memories of stuffing into the car with the rest of the family and heading off to grandma’s house to see relatives we haven’t seen in […]

PR: Nerds On Call starts weekly column in newspaper

REDDING, Calif. (October 11, 2010) – When you think of NERDS-you probably picture thick glasses, chess champs, and computer wizards but Andrea Eldridge, President and Co-founder of Nerds On Call is here to change that stereotype. Never judge a NERD by its cover, with her bright smile and adventurous manner, this nerdy company president and new columnist brings a fresh perspective to tech talk…female, fun, and contemporary. “I wouldn’t say I am an avid reader of technology columns, most of the content I’ve seen isn’t geared to my interests,” said Andrea Eldridge. “I wanted to create a place where women […]

Apps for Children with Special Needs

Note: I have updated this article with reader feedback at the end. Please read it and my response For parents of children with special needs, it can be heartbreaking to feel that their child’s potential to communicate, learn, or participate in school activities is hindered by a disability. Touch-screen devices such as tablets can offer your children unique opportunities to learn and develop because they aren’t mired by such things as input devices (e.g., mouse and keyboard). They can scroll through applications, play games or navigate the device more easily, allowing them to engage in the activity, practice or learn […]

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 […]

CES 2014 Gadgets

Every year in January the tech industry gathers in Las Vegas to ogle the latest gadgets and innovations at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. While much of what is on display is prototype and concept, it’s a great sneak peek into the future of what we’ll see on the shelves in years to come. As they do every year at CES, TVs got bigger (Vizio showed off a 120” model), but the main change up in design is the push toward curved screens, which manufacturers promise will offer an IMAX-like experience provided you can spring for a 50” or larger […]

Best Tech of 2013

Nerds love sci-fi because it makes us excited for the future. Technology keeps improving and at this rate Star Trek will be real soon! 2013 was a great year for technology. Many new devices that had been promised for years finally made their way to the commercial sector, and people are loving them. Here are a few of the futuristic gadgets that found their place this year: “Now listening” – Voice recognition has been a mixed bag for years. Dragon Naturally Speaking, a dictation program, used to be the name in voice recognition until Siri appeared on iPhones in 2011. […]

Target Credit Card Breach

If you were one of the thousands packing Target stores on Black Friday or if you’ve shopped there since, you may be the victim of credit card theft. Target admitted Thursday in response to allegations that its data had been compromised. More than 40 million credit cards of Target shoppers have been accessed. As of December 20, it is unclear as to the exact extent of losses sustained. On December 13, security journalist Brian Krebs reported on his site, KrebsOnSecurity, that “multiple reliable sources” had informed him of an internal investigation by Target. His sources at “two different top 10 […]

Last Minute Tech Gifts

Now that the deadline to have something shipped and arrive before Christmas has officially passed and the truly desperate are combing the malls, you may have resigned yourself to picking up some generic gift cards for the remaining recipients on your gift list. Oh contraire! Before you resort to the modern day equivalent of handing someone an envelope filled with cash, consider these last minute gift options that will allow you to find a personal gift for all the loved ones left on your list. That iTunes gift card hanging in the grocery store checkout aisle may seem like a […]

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 […]

Live Online Help Resources

The Internet provides a wealth of resources to find information, but sometimes you need a little one-on-one assistance for a specific question. Launched in November, Google Helpouts joins a host of online resources, including Just Answer, and eHow Now, that connect people who have questions to experts in a multitude of fields. Here’s how to get live help online for just about any question, problem, or learning opportunity. Disclaimer: My Company, Nerds on Call, provides the Tech Support experts for eHow Now and receives compensation for our services. Google Helpouts (https://helpouts.google.com/) links experts in a myriad of fields (from plumbing […]

What is Bitcoin?

New digital currency called “legitimate” by SEC – but what is it? Yesterday the Securities Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice declared bitcoins a “legal means of exchange.” But what exactly are bitcoins? They’re a nerdy new type of currency that has a lot in common with gold, except for one important detail: they’re not physical. A bitcoin only exists as a string of numbers; a string of numbers that is now worth around $800 each. So how does bitcoin have value? Well, it has value in the same way that gold does. Gold is valuable because it’s a […]

Chromecast Review

There are bevy of devices on the market aimed to allow you to stream content from the Internet to your TV, most notably Roku and Apple TV set-top boxes. Google has officially entered the fray with their $35 Chromecast device (www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromecast), leaving many to ponder how it’s different and whether it can serve their streaming needs. The Roku (www.roku.com, $50-100 depending on model) and Apple TV (www.apple.com/appletv, $100) are “set-top” boxes that connect to your TV with a cable and connect to the Internet or compatible devices over your home’s WiFi. The initial buzz for Google’s Chromecast is based on […]

iOS 7 Reviewed

Last week Apple released iOS 7, an update that CEO Tim Cook called the biggest change to the platform since the iPhone was introduced. Available for free for every iPhone after the iPhone 4, the latest iPod Touch, the iPad 2 and later versions, and the iPad mini, millions will be seeing iOS 7 in the coming weeks. Here’s what you can expect. The most dramatic change is visual: everything looks different. Icons for core functions like Photos, Settings and Newstand have new images, there’s a new palette of colors and everything looks brighter. Icons appear flat while visually layered […]

Apps That Pay You Back

My four year old has a serious case of the “gimmes.” From every toy his friends have to things on the shelf in the store, just about everything elicits a “can I have that?” from his early consumer mouth. This has led to many discussions about how “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “you can’t get something for nothing.” It turns out that I may have been mistaken about that second part. Armed with a Smartphone and a few free apps, you can earn rewards, gift cards or sometimes even cash for doing things you probably already do. Here’s how […]

Back to School Apps

While I’ve consistently proclaimed that no student needs a tablet or Smartphone to succeed, handheld internet-enabled gadgets can serve a purpose. From downloading textbooks to syncing notes and reference materials, there are some amazing tools for studying, research and organization. I wish that I’d had them when schlepping back and forth to class oh-so-many years ago. If your back-to-schooler has been lucky enough to get their hands on a tablet or WiFi-capable mobile device, these apps can help them make the most of it. Save yourself from the backache resulting from lugging around that huge Chemistry tome with Kno Textbooks […]

Easy Ways to Increase Laptop Lifespan

The compact, mobile loveliness that is a laptop brings with it a shorter lifespan than a typical desktop PC. On average, a laptop has a lifespan of about four years. The hardware begins to age after 2-3 years and they’re usually more expensive to upgrade than a desktop PC. Get every ounce of life from your laptop by following a few simple tips. While the likelihood of dropping a desktop PC is pretty slim, dragging your laptop between work, home and the local coffee shop leads to a greatly increased chance of accidental damage. Prevent the majority of the physical […]

Protect Gadgets from Heat this Hot Summer

Are you enjoying the 100+ degree summer temperatures? I am pretty sure your gadgets are not. Summer heat and activities can be brutal on electronic devices, but no one wants to leave them behind when taking the kids to the beach or the lake. There are ways to protect your phone, camera and portable media player from summer mayhem. DriveSavers (www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com), an expert in the data recovery industry since 1985, has some advice to share on the subject. Summer sunburn. The baking sun will exact its toll on your skin, and it can be equally brutal to your electronic devices. […]

Find Free WiFi (almost) Anywhere

To get a good understanding of exactly what WiFi is, read our article here. You can find free WiFi just about anywhere, particularly if you plan ahead and know where to look. Here’s how to stay productive, or kill some time surfing the net, when you’re on the go. From Panera to McDonalds to Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, getting online for free in a metropolitan area is just a matter of driving down the street. If you’re on unfamiliar terrain, check the comprehensive list of free WiFi options posted on WiFiFreeSpot (www.wififreespot.com). Start with the huge list of multi-location […]

Take Better Photos with these Smartphone Photography Tips

We take our Smartphones with us everywhere, so chances are when you’re ready to snap a quick picture of your kid or four-legged friend doing something especially cute, you’re not going to have your fancy-schmancy camera handy. Yet more often than not, these fast photo-ops end up looking dark or fuzzy and out-of-focus. Here are a few tips for making your Smartphone photos go from blah to beautiful. Experiment with apps. You can generally take better pictures with your phone if you’re using an app to do it. Photo apps often have settings that may not be offered with the […]

Waterproof your Phone and Other Gadgets this Summer

It’s finally the summer and it’s time to spend less time indoors and more time soaking up sun. Whether you have a pool or head to the lake to get your fill of vitamin D, everyone spends more time outdoors in the summer. And most of us will end up bringing at least a few gadgets with us, like our cell phones. But while the beach is a relaxing place for us humans, our phones don’t react to well to sand, water, or heat – common ingredients for summer fun. Fortunately they’re not too hard to protect. We’ve gathered a few ways […]

Tech Gifts for Dad on Father’s Day

Father’s Day, aka “Dad Appreciation Day,” is rapidly approaching and there are some great online resources that can help you to show dad (or help the kiddos show their main man) that he’s one of a kind. Before you pick up another tie or coffee mug, consider easy ways to customize and make it unique. Get inspired with Pinterest and links to simple crafts, or if dad is a technophile we’ll suggest a few of our favorite gift-worthy gadgets. One of the quickest ways to make a gift distinctive is to use custom labels, referred to as “printables.” Armed with […]

Learn About Two-Step Verification and Which Services Use It

A lot of online services have announced recently that they’re introducing two-step or two-factor verification for their users. It all started when Google implemented the security feature into their Google services, but what exactly is two-step verification? Two-step verification solves a very old problem with computer security. If a hacker gained access to a user’s password that they were using across multiple accounts, they could string together their hacks by sending password resets to alternate email accounts. Two-step verification solves this in an ingenious way. There are a few ways to implement two-step verification. The simplest way, like LinkedIn’s two-step […]

Summer Computer Protection for and from the Kids

Summer is the season for computer mayhem.  The kids are home from school, often unsupervised, and boredom does not bode well for you system’s health and welfare.  Your endlessly-curious teenager will inevitably find a million add-ons, applications and potentially shifty files to download onto your system while you’re at work.  Before chaos ensues, here are some quick tips to protect your computer from having “too much fun” this season. Anti-virus/ anti-malware software is an absolute must.  Make sure the software is current by configuring it to automatically update itself when new versions are released.  Set it up to scan your […]

Get the Most out of Travel Booking Websites

Hopefully you’ve set aside time this summer for a nice vacation in between summer school and the kids’ band camp.  Many of us have already started perusing various travel sites, on the lookout for the perfect get-away.  How do you know you’re getting the best deal on the vacation of your dreams?  This week we’ll explore ways to stretch your travel dollars and avoid some of the common pitfalls to booking travel online. A few years ago, my sister and I were looking up flights on Hawaiian Airlines together, planning a family vacation.  We found a flight we were interested […]

Cyberbullying Infographic: The Facts & Statistics About Online Bullying

We’ve covered cyberbullying in previous articles, but it can be difficult to slog through technical talk on the subject. Here are some numbers and facts that make the subject easy to comprehend, as hard as it may be to understand. Learn what you can do to protect your child from bullies.

Helping Mom Out With Mother’s Day Tech

The best Mother’s Day gifts are often those that don’t come wrapped with a pretty bow.  It’s great when you’re able to buy Mom the latest new gadget, but she may not know the first thing about setting it up or operating it.  What better way to show Mom your love than to spend a few hours together helping her to get comfortable with her new toy?  You will both love the one-on-one time.  Just don’t forget to take her out to brunch when you’re done. Mom wants a new laptop.  Instead of sending her off to the store on […]

Smartphone Driving Apps

You certainly shouldn’t ever use your phone to text while you’re driving, and making calls is possible with Bluetooth but risky. However, there’s no reason to turn off your Smartphone all the way while you’re driving. USA Today reports on a few apps that make using a Smartphone in the car practical. Our computer repair Nerds checked them out so they could give you the scoop on Smartphone driving apps. All Inclusive:  The first and one of the most full-featured is Waze. Waze has been making big ripples on the grid for a while now, even being featured in the […]

Facts about Google Fiber

There’s nothing Nerds love more than fast internet access everywhere, so that’s why we’ve been excited to follow Google Fiber. They’ve just announced they’ll be expanding to a new city, so we thought we’d take the time to share a little bit about the service with you. Google Fiber is a project by Google to implement a fiber-optic network throughout an entire city, providing high-speed internet access anywhere. Google offers three options for people fortunate enough to be in one of the few cities where the network is implemented. The first option is free, following Google’s usual approach to their […]

Looking for a Weather Site? Try Forecast.io

If you’re not a Nerd constantly combing the web for new info, you’ve probably missed the release of yet another app in the sea that seems to surge in daily. But those of us who spend our days wading in that briny ocean occasionally find a pearl worth bringing back to land to show off. Today’s pearl is called forecast.io. Forecast.io is a new way to get your weather. Rather than go through a major corporation like weather.com for your weather, forecast.io gives you real-time coverage of the weather in your area as well as minute-by-minute forecasts for the next […]

Maintain Public WiFi Safety: Some tips

It seems every shop and gathering place proclaims “Free WiFi,” but is it safe to check your email at the airport, library or McDonalds?  There are risks to accessing private data while connected to an unsecured, community network.  Here’s how to surf safely when you’re on public WiFi. When you access the Internet on a public network, your computer or Smartphone is at risk of being accessed by other users on the same network.  It’s surprisingly easy for the person sipping the macchiato next to you to run simple programs to collect passwords and information entered by fellow patrons.  Most […]

Options on the Internet for Kids

My two kids can’t keep their hands off Daddy’s iPad, so it’s important that I find age appropriate applications, movies and TV shows that I consider to be educational, or at least a valuable use of their time.  While I love recommendations from other parents with kids the same age, I also have a couple resources at my disposal to track down the gems in the sea of available media. Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org) provides ratings for every category of media: books, movies, TV shows, games, applications, websites and music.  But it’s more than just a simple ratings website.  Their […]

Avoid Social Media Scams with These Tips

From identity theft to fake contests to “send me money” scams, Facebook and Twitter are host to all manner of Internet criminals looking to swindle unsuspecting users out of money or information.  Don’t fall victim!  Here’s how to identify and avoid the most common social media ploys. Tug at your heartstrings. Most people want to help someone in need, and criminals are on the lookout for any way to exploit this.  Within hours of the Newtown Connecticut shooting, “victims” pages popped up everywhere.  Some of these were created by scammers asking for donations.  Another common ploy is to hack into […]

Your Common Computer Questions Answered by a Nerd

Every week I receive questions from readers – anything from what wireless mouse I would recommend to how to edit cell phone videos.  Here are a few of the most common queries: Q: Do I need an anti-virus program on my tablet (iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, etc.)? A: While viruses on tablet computers are rare, as tablets continue to grow in popularity they’re likely to be targeted more frequently by virus writers.  Any device that accesses the Internet should maintain up-to-date anti-malware software to protect your data from being compromised or Internet surfing hindered by pop-ups or web re-directs.  There […]

Nerdy Valentines Day Gifts

If your beloved is more envious of gadgets than chocolates, there are many ways to show him or her how much you care with a gift of technology this Valentine’s Day.  You don’t need to break the bank, either.  The secret to an unforgettable token of your affection is to make it unique and personal and these gifts for your techie Valentine are a great alternative to generic flowers, cards or candy. Music can be a powerful communicator.  It can impart a message or feeling more eloquently than many of us could hope to accomplish on our own.  When we […]

Watch out! Top Tech Scams of 2012

Social media, online databases and our “connected” lifestyle has made it easier than ever for criminals to use technology to steal identities, money, and data from unsuspecting users.  Here are some of the most prevalent technology scams of 2012, so you don’t fall victim to these tricky ploys. You get a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft (or your cable company, or Norton, etc..).  They identify themselves as Adam or some common moniker yet likely have a distinct accent.  The caller informs you that they’ve tracked virus transmissions to your computer, claiming that you have malicious code on […]

New Router Vulnerability Surfaces

Yesterday the US Department of Homeland Security’s “Computer Emergency Readiness Team” issued a statement stating that a feature available on almost every router had been discovered to have a security vulnerability. But don’t worry just yet. While the vulnerability is widespread, it is not particularly serious, and this particular feature has been known to be problematic for a while. The feature is called Universal Plug and Play or “UPnP.” UPnP allows networks to communicate directly with networked devices. This feature is built in to almost every router. The specific part that has a vulnerability is called “libupnp,” and it’s a […]

Nerds On Call Reviews Blackberry 10

The BlackBerry used to be the undisputed queen of mobile computing. In the days when “smartphone” wasn’t even in the culture’s lexicon, a little company named Research in Motion developed the BlackBerry, a device which could manage your email on a phone, unheard of in 2003. The company has gone through many iterations of their software and their edge has been lost in recent years with the arrival of the iPhone and Android options. The company, however, has refused to sink. In a highly-anticipated press conference, they announced their new line of phones and new BlackBerry OS, which promises to […]

CES 2013 Part 2

There were many exciting product announcements and prototypes demoed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, but few so plentiful as next generation gaming innovations.  Whether you dedicate a large part of your free time video game playing or are simply intrigued by the potential uses of virtual reality in the future of computing, CES 2013 didn’t disappoint. Nvidia, known primarily as a manufacturer of graphics cards and chipsets, announced that they’re joining the likes of Nintendo DS and Playstation PSP with the Nvidia Shield.  “Project Shield” is a handheld gaming device that resembles an Xbox controller with a flip-up screen.  […]

Nerdy Women You Should Know

Most people think of goofy looking guys in horn rimmed glasses when they think of geeks, bloggers, or businesspeople, like the quintessential geek, Bill Gates.  These stereotypes completely embody a “nerd” persona in our mind’s eye, but rarely you think of a computer-savvy successful person as feminine – but that is about to change! The powerful and talented women who make up the list below are in no particular order, because geeks don’t have to be better than each other when they’re better than everyone else! EBay Maven:  Marsha Collier is well-known for building a career off a website – […]

Daily Dose of Funny Websites

When I was working in an office, the latest joke email circulating was always there to give me a chuckle and brighten my day.  Nowadays, my LOLs come from many places and social media makes it easier to share the laughs with friends and family.  There are lots of online sources for a daily dose of smiles.  A word of caution: while I attempted to find as-clean-as-possible recommendations, racier videos and pictures cropped up everywhere I looked.  There are plenty of alternatives if one doesn’t suit you, but clicker beware! If you ever think, “it’s funny because it’s true,” one […]

A Tour of CES 2013 Part 1

Every year, tech enthusiasts and future-focused consumers alike converge on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show.  From the innovative to the downright wacky, it’s a platform to showcase the newest tech gadgets and get a preview of what electronics will be capable of in the years to come.   CES 2013 offered an expansive collection of cool – from next generation TVs to connected homes and cars, the future of gaming, and more. Televisions typically dominate CES.  Last year brought a bevy of integrated 3D options, while this year heralds the next stage in high definition resolution.  Current model high […]

Speed up Windows – Software Alternatives

“My computer is so blazingly fast I can hardly keep up with it!” – said no one, ever. The complaint I hear voiced most often by people calling to have their computer serviced is that their system is sluggish, slow to boot up and unresponsive. While the usual culprits (viruses and spyware) often factor in, sometimes even clean computers run slower than they should. If you have a decent, malware-free system that’s underperforming, you may be able to get noticeable improvement by replacing some of its resource-sucking software with less bloated alternatives. Norton and McAfee are the most well-known anti-virus […]

Great New Year’s Resolution Websites

Whether you’ve dreamed of making delicious meals like a professional chef or would like to become fluent in French, this is the year you’ve resolved to make it happen.  In the past, you would have had to enroll in a class at your local college, requiring that you accommodate your work or personal commitments around the class time parameters.  Today you need only a computer and access to the Internet to dive into the abundance of knowledge available online – in many cases for free if you know where to look. Start Cooking Like a Pro.  We love Epicurious (www.epicurious.com) […]

What is Twitter: Microblogging 101

What is Twitter? Well, when I think of Twitter, the first thing I think is: too much information. Do we really need to share the blow-by-blow of our lives with the world, or follow along on our friends’ every move? Yet with over 300 million users, it’s the second most popular social media outlet (following behind Facebook’s behemoth 850+ million users) – they can’t all be wrong, right? I set out to figure out what I’ve been missing, or rather, if I’m missing something about Twitter. What makes Twitter different from other forms of social media? Facebook helps you stay […]

Internet Printing with Google Cloud Print

I refuse to replace my old, ailing printer because I believe it’s a dying technology, like landline phones and fax machines. Yet just as a home phone is good for emergencies and faxing is often convenient, sometimes you just need to print – forms that require signature, travel confirms, etc. Enter Google Cloud Print: a simple application that allows you to print remotely to any Google Print-enabled printer from any computer or mobile electronic device with access to the Internet. Finally, I can print without wrestling with my own printer. Let’s say you’re working from home and finish tomorrow’s presentation. […]

Wireless Security Breach: Reaver

Having wireless internet access is awesome, especially with how many devices these days use the technology. And with proper network security, we can be sure that al our data is safe from intrusion…as long as we don’t make any silly mistakes, right? Well, that would be nice. However, there is a new piece of software in distribution that makes it easy for anyone with the know-how to crack into your wireless network. It’s called “Reaver” and it’s available to anyone online. Now don’t worry too much just yet – most people using it are just going to use it to […]

Travel Pages on Pinterest: Trip Out

Whether you’re compiling your own personal “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” planning your summer vacation, or just collecting gorgeous images for your desktop screensaver, Pinterest’s many travel boards offer ample material. If you just love drooling over white sand beaches, iconic landmarks, and picturesque cityscapes, there’s more than enough inspiration for a thousand daydream vacations. You’ll also find useful tips to make your trips more enjoyable and insider information to visit like a local, making Pinterest a great resource for planning a real-life getaway. With so many amazing destinations to discover, the hardest part will be narrowing it […]

Malware Primer: Deciphering the Digital Devils

You’ve probably heard the terms “virus,” “malware,” “spyware,” and others all used interchangeably. However, these are actually all different types of bad software. The blanket term for software that harms your computer is “malware.” If you paid attention in Latin class, you’ll know that “mal” is a prefix that means “bad” and “ware” simply refers to any type of computer program. Now the second-most-popular term that gets thrown around is “virus.” A virus is pretty much the same as its biological counterpart, but on the computer. It attaches itself to files on your computer, replicates itself, and spreads itself out […]

Video Editing for Beginners

Video Editing: How to Ours is a video generation. We grew up with parents shooting camcorder footage of every birthday and graduation, and most of us have hours of movie footage without any cohesive organization or engaging content. Any novice with a video camera can benefit from editing. If you’ve ever forced your friends and family to suffer through six minutes of boring for two seconds of awesome, I’m talking to you. Before you post that cell phone video to YouTube, a little polish with a free editing program can make your friends actually want to click on your Facebook […]

Last Minute Unique Gifts

Unique Gifts For The Procrastinator Every year I swear I will have my Christmas presents bought, wrapped and under the tree by the first week in December. Yet as the big day nears I inevitably note the passing of the last day to reasonably expect to ship online purchases with dismay, knowing I have at least a few gifts left to find and acquire. Lucky for you, dear reader, this has led me to amass a variety of great last minute gift alternatives that are easy to get a hold of yet more unique than a standard gift card. Check […]

The 6 Best Christmas Card Gift Ideas

Despite my best intentions to give personalized gifts to everyone on my holiday list, at least one or two people always end up with a gift card. Deep down I can’t shake the feeling that I’m calling it in. This year, I’ve resolved to consider gifting some great online services, a gift that keeps on giving, month after month. The Best Gift Cards For Music Lovers: There are several great options to stream music either to a computer or to any number of wireless-enabled personal electronic devices. Streaming music has gotten really popular — and really easy. Services such as […]

Create Custom Gifts Online

Nothing says you put time, thought and effort into a gift like personalization. I don’t mean just pasting Uncle Barry’s name on the coffee mug you bought at Target. I mean creating something unique for that special individual. Before you book a weeklong craft-a-thon at your neighborhood paint your own pottery shop, check out these great ideas for creating a totally custom gift online. These days it’s easy to get your photos printed on any number of items, from shirts to mugs to jewelry to canvas. Costco, Snapfish and Shutterfly are just a few of the sites that offer a […]

Top Tech Gifts You Don’t Know About

Now that so many of us rely on electronics to read, watch movies and listen to music, you may be thinking that giving gift cards is the only option to help fill out your loved ones media library this holiday season. Yet the generic ease of a gift card makes for a very impersonal gift. Luckily you can achieve gift nirvana with a variety of truly useful digital products and services that are sure to please even the most difficult to buy for loved ones on your list. Here are our Top Tech Gifts of 2012. With the increasing popularity […]

3 Easy Ways to Save on Gift Cards

Gift cards are a ubiquitous staple of the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to show some appreciation to someone you don’t know very well (like your newspaper delivery person or your gardener), or have someone on your list that’s hard to buy for, a gift card can be the perfect present for giver and receiver. However, sometimes you get a gift card that you can’t or don’t use. What can you do with it? This dilemma has led to the creation of a gift card resale market where you can snap up gift cards at a discount. Saving money while […]

Trendy Tech Gifts for 2012

In the sea of tech toys and gadgets that hit the shelves every holiday season, a few stand out as the year’s sure-to-sell-out favorites. With the first new console gaming system in six years and a mini-tablet war, this year is no exception. Here are the hottest trending tech goodies of the 2012 holiday season. Video Game Consoles Nintendo’s Wii U (http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu, $299.99 for an 8GB “basic”, $349.99 for a 32GB “deluxe”) is the first new console gaming system released since the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 first debuted in 2006. In addition to the standard game controls, the GamePad […]

Social Media Election Apps

Politics used to be an old man’s game. I mean, just look at the writers of the constitution. For years, it stayed that way. Then in the twenties, women got the right to vote and the game changed a little. But one of the last holdouts of the voting populace has not been by law, but by choice – or the lack thereof. For many years, the youth of America have not been nearly as actively involved in politics as the older generation. The 18-29 demographic turns out to polls about 14% less than those older than they. But that […]

Staying Safe on LinkedIn

If you use the popular networking site LinkedIn, you should take a look at this handy infographic on how to make sure your online privacy is protected while using the website.

Try These Web Sources For A Fun Halloween!

Halloween is coming up in another week or so, and many of us are still making last-minute decorations or additions to our costumes. As always, the internet can offer some helpful tips to pull off the perfect ghoul-fest. If you’re keeping track of a couple of kids, or have enough trouble just making sure one stays where they should, consider the “Mommy I’m Here Alert” remote child-locator. You can buy it at Amazon.com for about thirty dollars. It’s a small teddy-bear-shaped wireless device that you can attack to your child’s belt loop. You keep the second piece with you, and […]

Under-Utilized Windows 7 Features

Most of us utilize a Windows PC regularly enough that we navigate through our go-to functions with little exploration or modification. Yet hidden in the Windows 7 framework are some handy tools that you’ve likely never taken advantage of. Here are just a few of the more under-utilized tools that are already at your disposal. Windows Logo Key Shortcuts The Windows logo key (likely located on the bottom left of your keyboard, next to your Alt key) allows for nifty keyboard-driven functionality. Win Logo Key (Win) opens or closes the Start menu. Win+F opens the search function, allowing you to […]

The Best Windows 8 Gadgets

At this year’s Computex show in Taipei (June 5th-9th, 2012), leading manufacturers previewed the next generation of tablets, ultrabooks, hybrids, and touch screen technology, designed to take advantage of the touch-friendly functionality of Windows 8. Here are a few of the cool gadgets you can expect to see near the end of the year. Asus Taichi Dual-Screen Ultrabook. If a tablet and an ultrabook (super thin and lightweight notebook) got married, this could be their offspring. It has dual displays: the one integrated into the top is touch screen, allowing it to function as a tablet when the cover is […]

Back to School Supplies

It’s pretty well-established that back-to-school is the best time to buy school and office supplies. To be more specific, the best prices are typically found either now (when retailers compete for your back-to-school dollars) or at the end of September (when stores get rid of their leftovers). Many factors contribute to “savings” when we’re shopping, and sometimes it’s not all about saving a dollar. How do you decide whether to buy online or in-store? STELLAService, an independent company that rates online businesses for customer service and quality recently performed a detailed comparison of the in-store experience to the online experience […]

Simple & Easy Computer Maintenance

You may think computer maintenance is only for the Nerds among us, but there are many easy things you can do to speed up your PC without investing a lot of time or money. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, performing some basic computer maintenance can ensure your system stays in top form. First, the easiest tip: shut down and restart your computer regularly so that it can install all necessary software and operating system updates. Next, ensure automatic update is turned on, both for your Operating System updates as well as your anti-malware programs. If you don’t have […]

When is the Best Time to Buy a New Computer?

Bargain hunters everywhere swear by shopping seasonally. Buy when demand is lowest (who thinks to replace their air conditioner in February?) or when retailers are pushing out old inventory in anticipation of new models. When is the best time to buy a new computer or gadget? Unless you stay up on trending tech news, it’s hard to know when a new generation of the Smartphone or laptop you’ve had your eye on is due to be released. Luckily keeping up on tech trends is what we live for and we’re here to share the secrets of electronic buying seasons. Back […]

Small Business Network: Buy This Not That!

These days a business that can’t get online can’t go very far. From emailing appointment confirmations to processing credit cards, when the network goes down, business productivity grinds to a halt. Small business owners are stuck in a unique position: they need more reliability than a standard wireless firewall router can offer, but likely can’t afford the enterprise solutions offered by Cisco. In this, part two of my “Buy This, Not That” series for small businesses, I’ll explore a mid-range networking solution to bridge the gap. When I started my company in 2004, I ran our call center out of […]

9 Tips for Hosting Captivating Video Calls

Advances in communications technology and Internet infrastructure have brought us to the place where video conferencing is more than a reality – it’s a necessity, for many businesses. Video calls are regularly used for internal meetings, sales presentations, and more. They enable a team to work together despite geographic barriers, and they give participants the ability to communicate nonverbally as well as with words. Yet, video calls can become staid and dry, just like any other type of meeting. If you want to host captivating video calls that engage your participants, here are some places to start: Start with quality […]

4 Essential Tech Travel Tips

Whether you’re taking the kids to Disney World for the first time this summer, or making the yearly migration to Grandma’s house, there are many things you can do to help ensure that the trip a success.  Here are some tech travel tips to help you travel smarter and save money. Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to get there.  With both gas and airline ticket prices skyrocketing, it can be tough to determine the most cost effective route to your destination.  Try to factor in the value of your time, and the equation is even harder to decipher.  […]

Spring Clean: 1 in 6 Phones Have Poop on Them

Spring Clean Your Computer, iPhone, or Gadgets When I’m greeted by a fine layer of yellow pollen dust coating my car, I know that Spring has sprung. The brighter days and open windows lead many of us to notice the layer of dust that has also settled indoors, followed by a mental note to pull out the Swiffer. It’s easy to neglect some of the things that need our spring cleaning attention more than anything else our hard-used gadgets. While at our fingertips 24/7, these workhorses get grungy. Keyboard and Mouse—The Worst Offenders You probably touch your keyboard and mouse […]

Use Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest to follow the candidates

From 24-hour news streams to Facebook rants about hot-button issues, the Internet allows so many voices to shout that it can feel like a lot of noise. Yet it also allows the candidates to present themselves and what they stand for, communicating with constituents in a way that is unparalleled. I searched out where to go to see what they have to say, not what CNN, MSNBC or Fox News wants me to hear. The best place to start is at each candidate’s website: Use the candidate’s name followed by .com (not .gov as I anticipated). You don’t have to […]

4 Secrets Online Job Hunting

How To: Online Job Hunting If you’re one of the millions of Americans looking for work, the Internet can be a key resource, albeit a daunting one. Spend time searching through Monster.com online job listings, and you may even argue that the Internet is counter-productive to your job hunt. However, a discussion paper written in September 2011 for The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, found that Internet job searching “reduces individual workers’ unemployment durations by about 25 percent.” Here’s how to use the Web to connect with the right people for your job hunt.  Ironically, the […]

Mother’s Day—Tech Treats Just for Her

Give the Gift of Time As a mom, I’ve discovered that technology typically falls into two categories: that which makes my life easier (by making me more efficient, helping me to connect with loved ones, etc.), or that which makes my life harder (by taking too much time to learn, use or master). As a daughter, I’ve discovered that some of the items that fall into the first category for me fall into the second category for my mom. This makes Mother’s Day a great opportunity to share the gift of time to help mom get comfortable with a procedure, […]

A List of The Greatest And Friendliest Recycling Websites

By: Andrea Eldridge. I have a lengthy list of things I should do but don’t get around to, such as cleaning out the garage. A little monetary persuasion pushes me to action. With the approach of Earth Day (April 22) and the fact that I really need to get on with reducing, reusing and recycling, I’ve found some technical solutions for going green that sometimes even make some greenbacks. Recylebak First stop is Recyclebank.com, website of a New York-based firm that awards points for recycling, participating in contests, watching videos with eco-friendly tips or taking surveys from sponsors such as […]

Recycling Websites to Save the World

By: Andrea Eldrige. I have a lengthy list of things I should do but don’t get around to, such as cleaning out the garage. A little monetary persuasion pushes me to action. With the approach of Earth Day (April 22) and the fact that I really need to get on with reducing, reusing and recycling, I’ve found some technical solutions for going green that sometimes even make some greenbacks. Recyclebank First stop is Recyclebank.com, website of a New York-based firm that awards points for recycling, participating in contests, watching videos with eco-friendly tips or taking surveys from sponsors such as […]

What Else Can A Google Search Do?

It’s simple to Google, but it’s not always easy to get it right. We’ve all been frustrated by typing something into the search bar, only to be bombarded with a bunch of junk: pages of search results, filled with Web links from questionable sources. Results that aren’t what you were looking for. Google is unquestionably the most popular search engine, with an estimated 900 million unique visitors every month, according to eBizMBA, which compiles website statistics. Its nearest competitor, Bing, gets an estimated 165 million unique visitors every month by comparison. It would be impossible to give tips for every […]

Free Tax Prep Resources

April will be here before you know it, and so will that mid-month deadline for filing your tax returns. If you haven’t already tried electronic filing, give it a go. But with so many programs that offer roughly the same service, how’s a tax e-filer to choose? I checked out some popular options so you wouldn’t have to. , I’m not sure if it’s intentional, but the pricing plans offered by some of the major tax preparation services — TurboTax, H&R Block and FreeTax USA — are confusing. Their home pages are emblazoned with the word “free,” but that typically […]

Free Tax Prep Resources 2012

By: Andrea Eldridge April will be here before you know it, and so will that mid-month deadline for filing your tax returns. If you haven’t already tried electronic filing, give it a go. But with so many programs that offer roughly the same service, how’s a tax e-filer to choose? I checked out some popular options so you wouldn’t have to. I’m not sure if it’s intentional, but the pricing plans offered by some of the major tax preparation services — TurboTax, H&R Block and FreeTax USA — are confusing. Their home pages are emblazoned with the word “free,” but […]

15 Keyboard Shortcuts That Will Save You 15 Days During Your Lifetime

Every time I find an easier way to do something it’s a small victory. When it’s something I do all the time, like finding a shortcut to the office or a quicker way to make dinner, it’s even sweeter. There are some easy shortcuts to accomplish common tasks in Windows. Shaving a couple mouse or key strokes may not seem like a big deal, but you’d be surprised how big of an impact they can make on your day to day. I use copy, cut and paste all the time. I used to highlight the text, right-click, choose “Copy,” then […]

How To Pick The Right Web Browser

Think of your web browser as your window into Internet, web pages and applications. Which browser should you choose, and what security measures should you take to protect your view? (For more information on your browser, read our article What is a Browser?) The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. Internet Explorer — preinstalled on all Windows machines — used to dominate but now Chrome does with 40 percent of all users. People primarily try out a new browser for appearance and ease of use, but security should be a concern, too. Choosing […]

4 Time Saving Apps & Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier

This year, we have a renewed dedication to using technology to make my life easier. With precious few minutes to waste in the day, it seems like certain technological “advances” actually cause me to waste more time than they save. Here are some great resources to turn the tables and have your tech tools work for you again. 1: It’s impossible is for me to keep track of my phone. I can actually have it in my hand while I’m looking for it. Even though I realize I’m an extreme case, everyone has misplaced a phone between the couch cushions […]

New Years Eve Resolutions For Your Computer

As we venture into 2012, let’s resolve to ditch bad computing habits. Resolve to stay viruses fre: This year, take the necessary steps to keep viruses and spyware off your computer. Every day, frustrated computer users call about slow systems that are bogged down with pop-up ads, re-directing them on the Internet, generating error messages or preventing booting up. The most common culprits are viruses and spyware or malware. Le me repeat my mantra: Install a free anti-virus and anti-spyware program such as Microsoft Security Essentials, and set it to automatically download and install updates. If you haven’t done this yet, make […]

A Guide to Clearing Personal Data From Old Devices

Before You give away your computer or cellphone, make sure you permanently delete your personal information from the hard drive. If you were fortunate enough to receive a new tech gadget this holiday season, it can be a great opportunity to donate or sell an older device that you no longer need. Before you send it off, keep in mind that most electronic items contain a wealth of personal information that you want to ensure doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Whether you’re handing down your laptop to your teenager, giving your old phone to Uncle Fred, or donating your gadget to Goodwill, make […]

How To Guide: Stress Free Gadget Set Up

Online How to Guide: The easiest way to set up your Christmas Toys! Once the wrapping paper is piled in the corner and the toys have been wrestled from their packaging, you’ll realize that now you have to figure out how to get all your new gadgets and gizmos set up and configured. Talk about a post-holiday letdown. Before you send your spouse out to quiz the neighborhood teenagers about their experience with electronics configuration, there are some great online how to guides to help you get all of your new holiday loot up and running, without turning to the […]

Christmas Gifts For Guy With Almost Everything

      By: Andrea Eldridge. I’d wager that just about everyone has a video game lover on their holiday list this year. From the armchair commando hunting down fellow players on Xbox live to the dedicated World of Warcraft dwarf, gaming has become a recreation activity for at least one or two members of most American households. As one of the few holdouts in my family that is not active in this virtual community, it can be challenging to find the perfect gift for the gamers in my life. After much polling and research, here are my suggestions to […]

Holiday shopping for electronics? Nook vs Fire

      One of the hottest items on many a gadget lover’s holiday list is a tablet PC, often the iPad. Just in time to muddy the waters, two more budget-friendly tablet e-readers have arrived on the market. I’ll review their pros and cons. The primary draw of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet is undoubtedly price. The Kindle Fire starts at $199 and the Nook starts at $249 — both considerably less than Apple’s iPad2, which this week could be found online for $541 and up. Both e-readers offer ultra-clear, 7-inch, full-color touch screens and […]

Video Game Gift Ideas

By: Andrea Eldridge. Id wager that just about everyone has a video game lover on their holiday list this year. From the armchair commando hunting down fellow players on Xbox live to the dedicated World of Warcraft dwarf, gaming has become a recreation activity for at least one or two members of most American households. As one of the few holdouts in my family that is not active in this virtual community, it can be challenging to find the perfect gift for the gamers in my life. After much polling and research, here are my suggestions to please just about […]

Buy This Not That: Ladies Edition

One of the sweetest parts of giving a gift to someone you care about is that excited, ‘I love it!’ response, especially when you know that it’s genuine. Sadly, it can be surprisingly elusive this time of year. With so many gadgets on your loved one’s must-have lists, how’s a holiday shopper to find the perfect gift that won’t get added to the return or exchange pile? Don’t resign yourself to that tired gift card. I humbly offer for your consideration my ‘Buy This, Not That’ picks for the women in your life. Not to worry if your husband is […]

Nerdy Stocking Stuffers

By: Andrea Eldridge Its fun to be a nerd chick in a time when being called a nerd is no longer an insult. From video gamers to Star Wars lovers to gadget collectors, we all have nerds in our lives. As the holidays approach, many of you will be wondering where to find a suitably cool gift for your own nerdy friends or family members. This week we’92ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite places for fun nerd toys, gear, and clothes. For the nerd who has everything,Think Geek offers an awesome selection of gifts for anyone […]

My PC won’t turn on!

There are a lot of things that can go wrong with a computer, the most flustering, is when the computer just doesn’t turn on at all. If you are having difficulty turning on your PC, there is one thing you can try before you call Nerds On Call. My PC won’t turn on, how can I fix it? One thing to try is to plug it into a different outlet. You would be surprised how many customers we’ve helped just by plugging the computer into a new outlet. Sometimes it is just a bad outlet. If this doesn’t work you […]

Permissions not granted error

What is a “permissions not granted error” and what does it mean? Usually this error message is a networking problem. If you are on a public or shared computer, then a permissions not granted error means you are trying to do something that you aren’t allowed to access. This message could mean that you don’t have access to a specific file because you’re not the administrator of the computer. If you’re the admin of the computer (or the owner of the computer) you can do anything you want! You should not be seeing the permissions not granted error, and there […]

How To Reinstall Your Windows Disk

I know that you are used to reading tons of helpful free tips and tricks on our site. However, as a computer repair company, we have to consider the risks involved here, and our official opinion is that you should not reinstall your Windows disk yourself. A complete reinstall should be handled by a professional repair tech. The reason for this, is because operating systems can be very touchy, and if you do one thing wrong, you can erase your data beyond repair. If you put the windows startup disk in your computer, there is a good chance you are going to wipe your whole computer, and not even mean to. When […]

Understanding Verizon’s Tiered Data Plans

    When I was little, one of my favorite cartoons was the Jetsons. I would watch George video chatting with his boss, and proclaim to my sister, “The future is going to be awesome!” With every generation of portable technology, from walkmans to cell phones, it seemed my childhood dreams would soon be realized. As I watch my two year old video chat with his cousin on my iPhone, I can’t help but smile: this future is pretty awesome. Then the news broke that Verizon is joining the ranks of AT&T in eliminating unlimited data on mobile devices, and […]

They War Over The Future Of Music

Everyone has a summer anthem. I’m partial to Will Smith’s “Summertime,” but please don’t look up when that was popular. These days, getting access to your favorite tunes is easier than ever with services that allow you to stream music to Internet-capable and mobile devices. There are even options for families like mine that cross over between Apple, Android and Windows devices. Finally, we can all just get along — and share our music again. While Google Music Beta , Apple iCloud and even Amazon Cloudduel for your loyalty, we have delved into the trenches and reviewed the 3 best Music Clouds that let […]

5 Backyard gadgets for the 4th of July 2011

  The Fourth of July is almost here. This year, make the 4th of July a time to gather friends and family, aat lots of food, play with fire(works). Of course, Nerd Chicks are always looking for ways to add some sparkle to any get-together, and your backyard barbecue is no exception. Pick up one or two of these cool tech gadgets for your upcoming party and your bash is sure to be the talk of the town! MUSIC No party is complete without a soundtrack of great tunes, but who has time to DJ while you’re manning the barbecue? Use your […]

Conquer your tech clutter for spring

Nothing makes a Nerd Chick question her dedication to gadgets more than seeing six remote controls lined up on the edge of the couch.While it may be mildly amusing to pretend you’re Indiana Jones conquering the tangle of cables to wrestle out your iPod charger, it’s really more annoying than anything else. Spring heralds a desire to get rid of the clutter, and we’ve found some great gizmos to clean up your most unruly tech toys. nerds on call If you have had to resort to labeling your remote controls, or if you have a shelf dedicated to them in […]

Review of Oleg at Nerds On Call

Sirs/Madams: Excellent Work Over the past two weeks, your staff spent many hours helping Patricia and me get our PC’s Email working after I had let the domain lapse. Once renewed, your staff provided support to our needs. In fact, Oleg, cleaned out substantial malware that had crept onto my computer. I appreciate all the extra work your staff did for us over the past two weeks. We rely on your great staff to fix our problems. Thank you!

Review of Jeff at Nerds On Call

RE: Mr. Jeff Jackson We are writing this letter to commend the exceptional work and customer service we have received from Mr. Jeff Jackson. We do not know him personally and have dealt with your wonderful company and employees for over two years. We are very pleased with your company’s all over service, however, we felt compelled to express our tremendous satisfaction with Jeff. He has such superb qualities with not only his technical skills and knowledge, but also unrivaled customer service. He is genuine and personable. In this day and age, this kind of personal service is rare and […]

Review of Tim’s Crew at Nerds On Call

Tim, Please accept this as a token of our thanks for your awesome crew. It took 3 days of 6+ hours each day to figure out what was the problem and how to fix it, hopefully it was a learning tool for everyone. I think it was Garrett L. who said he had never seen this problem before, hope none of you will experience it again. Again, an outstanding job well done. Thanks and enjoy, For: Jason, Alex, Eric T, Allen H, Matt W, Elliot S, Nick T, Garrett L. & Daniel L and Tim Johnston

Review of Garrett at Nerds On Call

Sirs/Madams: EXCELLENCE! Once again, the expertise and performance of your staff has provided superb resolution of four computer concerns. GARRETT L. Corrected and revised four programs to improve ease of operation and concern: 1. Advice and remove unnecessary McAfee security software, 2. Delete unnecessary search programs and install Yahoo as my default search engine, 3. Confirm Comic Sans as my E-mail default text, and 4. Alphabetize the items in Favorites. Garrett was expert and efficient in these tasks. He was courteous and patient with this lazy Geek! Thanks for your rapid and effective support. My wife and I appreciate your […]

Review of Kiel at Nerds On Call

Dear Kiel, Yesterday you helped me sort out a few things on my Apple computer, and you helped me in a very friendly and professional manner. Thank you so much for your expertise, your kindness, AND your patience!! A Happy Customer – forever!

Review of Peter at Nerds On Call Computer Repair

Dear General Manager: This letter is intended to express our appreciation for the service Peter gave us on August 6, 2012. Peter was professional and courteous and he fixed our computer problem with ease. He explained why we had the problems and how we could avoid them in the future. He was thorough and conscientious and we felt completely at ease having in our home. Just saying ‘thank you’ to him did not seem adequate because he was so clearly above and beyond what we expected, hence this letter. I hope your company appreciates him because he truly is an […]

Review of Shawna at Nerds On Call

Dear Shawna, It sure was a wonderful surprise to receive the beautiful NERDS candy arrangement, your Nerdapalooza. What a great idea.! I have it on display on my table. Love it. Thank you very much and thank you for the $20.00 dollars gift certificate too, I am sure I will use it sooner or later, ha ha. I must say it has been a pleasure doing business with your Corporation and I will continue to recommend you to my friends. Please accept my most sincere gracias and againa appreciation to all of you. Jason, Kurt, Tim, Nick, Dylan, Russel, and […]

Thank You Letter: Eugene, Oregon Alzheimer’s Association

Dear Shawna, We deeply appreciate your support of the Eugene walk to end alzheimer’s 2011! Community partners like you provide essential support for the Oregon Chapter’s major awareness and fund raising event. Your in-kind donation of gift cards for Nerds services, valued by you at 150.00, was received on April 5, 2011. Thank you, again, for your support of our cause to end Alzheimer’s! Positive regards,

Review of Russell at Nerds On Call

To Whom it May Concern: This is my 1st experience with Nerds on Call and I am very impressed with Russell – he has been to my house twice for long periods of time and I felt he was very professional, kind + went the extra mile

Review of Seth at Nerds On Call

To manager/owner This thank you is in regards to a service call that was done on January 17, 2011 by Seth. I want to let you know what a great employee you have. Seth explained every thing he was doing waited for hours because of our slow computer and was friendly and very capable of what he was doing. In the future I will highly recommend your company and especially Seth to my family and friends. I believe Seth should get a good size raise and extra praise.

Review of Andrew at Nerds On Call

Sir: SUPERB SERVICE Compliments to NERDS for the excellent and efficient service provided yesterday and on two previous calls by: Andrew, who installed Outlook to set up and retrieve my email. He expertly installed my new HP 8500 wireless Printer and connected my wife’s laptop to it. His epertise and efficiency is the best I have experienced. Last week: Zed expertly installed Canon Printer at my sister’s and updated her programs and PC performance. She was very happy. I am very happy with both the Redding and service staffs.

Review of Chris at Nerds On Call

To Corporate HQs, My name is [redacted]. I have been with your company several years. I have always been satisfied with your many talented workers. However Chris Chapin was outstanding. He really listened to me. He took over my computer and make it act like a new one. The service he provided me was over & above what I asked for. You have an excellent nerd there, and I thank him.

Nextdoor – Facebook for Neighborhoods?

If you live in a Nerdy Neighborhood, you might want to check out the newest web service that’s making a buzz. It’s called “Nextdoor,” and it’s a social network for neighborhoods. Users can advertise garage sales, post community messages, and connect with others in their area. It’s been described as a “Craigslist and LinkedIn hybrid.” Not too quick to post your home address online? You should be - identity theft is a growing problem. Fortunately, Nextdoor requires address verification, which means that everyone in a Nextdoor neighborhood must enter a PIN sent to their home address. Users outside of a neighborhood […]

Mobile Malware Explodes in 2013

The numbers are out: McAfee‘s report on viruses in the first quarter of the year shows mobile malware, which exploded last year, is showing no signs of stopping. Smartphones, which just recently outnumbered “dumb phones” worldwide are increasingly becoming the targets of the same sorts of viruses and malware that we’ve worried about on our computers for years. McAfee, a large security firm owned by Intel, reports that 28% of all malicious smartphone software has appeared in the first quarter of 2013. The year previous saw a huge spike in which the rest of the 50,000 programs emerged, although some […]

Speed up Windows – Software Alternatives

“My computer is so blazingly fast I can hardly keep up with it!” – said no one, ever. The complaint I hear voiced most often by people calling to have their computer serviced is that their system is sluggish, slow to boot up and unresponsive. While the usual culprits (viruses and spyware) often factor in, sometimes even clean computers run slower than they should. If you have a decent, malware-free system that’s underperforming, you may be able to get noticeable improvement by replacing some of its resource-sucking software with less bloated alternatives. Norton and McAfee are the most well-known anti-virus […]

Speed Up Mac Computers with Software Alternatives

Apple fans may claim that Macs have a blissfully symbiotic relationship between software and hardware, but the truth is that some of the applications that come standard (or are very common) on Macs could be improved upon. Here are some alternatives to Mac’s most ditch-able software. Last week I highlighted iTunes as a program Windows users should avoid unless necessary. While it tends to work faster on Macs, it can still be a system hog, and users commonly complain of random track deletions and duplications. Consider using iTunes to download music and podcasts and Spotify (www.spotify.com/us/) to do everything else. […]

Never Worry About Losing Those (not-quite) Smart Devices Again

A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. This means that one tenth of laptops ever bought are either stolen are lost, usually along with all the data on it. Only three percent make it back to their owners. And 70 million smartphones are stolen every year – seven percent of these are recovered. Considering that half of all mobile device users keep passwords, personal info, or banking data on those devices, the chances that your information will fall into the wrong hands are too high to simply ignore. Don’t get too worried though – most malicious users of information are […]

DNSChanger: What you need to know

On Monday, July 9th, the FBI will pull the plug on internet access to hundreds of thousands of computers infected with a malware Trojan known as DNSChanger. Even if your computer is clean, companies that have compromised systems in their network will be taken offline, hindering their ability to do business and possibly breaking their websites, in what many are referring to as “Internet Doomsday.” In November 2011, the FBI (together with international cyber crime agencies) identified and located a ring of cyber criminals that had infected more than four million computers across the world with a Trojan virus known […]

3 Things To Do When You Set Up A New PC

After scrimping and saving, researching and debating, you finally settle on the perfect new PC, only to realize once you get it home and plugged in that you can’t get much use out of it until you get the files and programs from your old PC onto your new one. Here are my top 3 steps to set up a new PC. If you’d have asked me three years ago how I get a new system set up like the old one, I’d have told you how lucky I was to have a team of skilled technicians to set up […]

How to Remove a Virus

Do you remember back when your computer was shiny and new, it likely came with pre-installed Norton or McAfee antivirus software. It would periodically pop up little notices that it had downloaded the latest updates, and you felt snug and secure when you surfed online. Then that trial membership expired. You may not have even noticed the lapse in coverage, assuming that the icon in your toolbar was a sign that all was well — or, like many, you may have been wary to spend your hard-earned cash to subscribe. This story is so common that it’s one reason why […]

Tips & Tricks: Simple tricks to edit a PDF

Edit a PDF like a Boss! Portable Document Format (PDF) is a great tool when you want to send a document electronically that you don’t want the recipient to edit. But what about when you’re on the receiving end of a PDF that you need to change, such as an online form or application? Those blank gray fields stare back at you, mocking your attempts to click on them. Before you resort to printing the document and filling it in by hand, check out these great tools to outsmart the restrictions and edit a PDF and master those gray boxes […]

Can An iPad Replace A Laptop

As the new school year approaches, the question I get asked most often is, “Should I buy a laptop or a tablet?” Apple’s Steve Jobs has asserted that we are living in a “post-PC world”. can an iPad replace a laptop? To test the theory, I traveled to Florida with my 2-year old, bearing my iPad 2 but no laptop. When an article needed editing, I realized that while it would be possible for the iPad to do everything I needed, it wasn’t going to work for me straight out of the box. It needed modification. If you are considering […]

Online Computer Repair: Is It Safe?

These days, we want everything fast, from food to computer repairs. If you’ve seen the TV ads for iYogi.net, you may have wondered, “How can a tech in India fix a computer in Nantucket?” I’m here to unravel some of the mystery of Internet-based tech support or online computer repair. Whether you take a faulty computer to a repair shop or have a tech come to you, it can take days or even weeks to get your system back on its feet. The major benefit of online computer repair is that in many cases it’s immediate. Answer a few questions, […]

Computer Problems: Dirty Little Tech Mistakes

I ate breakfast in front of my computer for over a year before that fateful day when a coffee-in-the-laptop accident made me change my ways. Well, at least my habits involving liquids in proximity to electronics.  You’re probably saying you’ll never have computer problems like this… until you do. Here are ten more high-tech bad habits to break: 1. Computer Problems: Bad Password Practices.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever used 123456 as your password.  The most popular passwords are also the worst: password, letmein, abc123.   If your password makes the list, it’s time to get more creative.  Try using […]

4 Essential Tech Travel Tips

Whether you’re taking the kids to Disney World for the first time this summer, or making the yearly migration to Grandma’s house, there are many things you can do to help ensure that the trip a success.  Here are some tech travel tips to help you travel smarter and save money. Tech Travel Tip: Determine the best way to get there.  With both gas and airline ticket prices skyrocketing, it can be tough to determine the most cost effective route to your destination.  Try to factor in the value of your time, and the equation is even harder to decipher.  […]

Slow Computer? Upgrade Your Computer’s RAM

The term RAM is probably pretty familiar. You may know it as memory and that it affects the speed of your PC, laptop, or handheld electronics. But will upgrading and adding more RAM speed up a slow computer? If you need a clear distinction, check out our article on memory vs storage here. The amount of RAM in your system is the primary factor in how fast it boots up, launches programs, navigates between them, and responds to your inputs. If you have too little RAM for the amount of tasks you ask your system to perform, it will run […]

How To Pick The Right Web Browser

Think of your web browser as your window into Internet, web pages and applications. Which browser should you choose, and what security measures should you take to protect your view? (For more information on your browser, read our article What is a Browser?) The most popular browsers are Microsoft’s Windows Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. Internet Explorer — preinstalled on all Windows machines — used to dominate but now Chrome does with 40 percent of all users. People primarily try out a new browser for appearance and ease of use, but security should be a concern, too. Choosing […]

The World’s Best Free Downloads (part2)

(Read Part 1) Like the familiar route you take to work every day, or the path your dog walks you on every night, we all find ourselves doing things out of habit even when there may be a faster or easier way. There’s some process you follow to get online, get your email, or watch a video file, that’s a little odd or hard to explain, but you’re used to it. Step out of your comfort zone, just a little, and one of the following programs may make your computing experience a whole lot easier. #6 Download Pidgin: Instant messaging has become […]

A New Age Of Note Taking

By: Heather Neal While I have no intention of admitting my age, in “my day” taking notes in class could be a harrowing experience. I would scribble as fast as I could while the teacher rattled off information way too fast, then run back to my dorm room to try to fill in the blanks before I forgot everything I had just learned. The evolution of my technique involved taping lectures so I could try to absorb the information, then later transcribing the audio by hand. Thank goodness times have changed. These days, some amazing tools help make taking notes […]

The 4 Greatest Accessories That Every Student Needs To Succeed

    Article by: Andrea Eldridge As the new school year looms, families everywhere are shopping for new computers, laptops and tablets. Yet just as no outfit is complete without the perfect shoes, there are some techno accessories that can not only simplify homework and term paper completion, but may save you from an agonizing night helping little Jane recreate the science project lost to a virus attack . Even more importantly then everything else, there are actually tools that can help aid over-all student success. Here are some must have gadgets to add to your back to school checklist. #1 The best flash […]

Never Worry About Losing Those Smart Devices Again

Check out these 4 cool security apps to protect your computer!. About a month ago, I walked away from a coffee shop without my iPad. After I collected my stomach from my feet, I frantically raced back to the shop and practically offered to kiss the employee that had held it for me. I’m sure many can relate to the panic of losing a portable electronic device. Many of us carry personal and financial data on a multitude of devices — from laptops to tablets to smartphones — that can be easily lost or stolen. My experience got me thinking: […]

Get Net Nanny For Free!

Our newest Customer Contest has just launched! We are giving away a copy of one of our favorite programs. Click this link, hop on over to our contest page and follow the 4 easy steps. All you have to do to enter our contest is click 4 buttons.    

Optimizing Your New Gadgets.

T’was the day after Christmas… and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse…iPod…Xbox…eReader… How many of us have experienced the joy of little Johnny’s face when he opens that perfect present only to see the smile replaced by frustration when his new toy is too complicated to hook up? Mom and Dad read the instructions, try to set it up, spend hours working on it and in the end—Dad is frustrated, Johnny is upset and mom has gone upstairs for a bubble bath. While it’s too late to roll back time and get that […]

Essential tools for online communication

photo by:trekkyandy So now that we’ve decided to try out Skype/Goo