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Many of us have one solution to try when something goes wrong with our computers: turn it off and back on again. When that doesn’t work, we panic: “How am I supposed to do anything?” People often turn to a friend or family member for help in the moment. But computer repair is better left to experts.
Calling tech support (if that’s an option) can be time-consuming and frustrating. So, people turn to the nearest teenager or that cousin with all the latest technological gadgets. Think of it this way, though: Driving a car doesn’t mean you can fix one. Having a lot of cars doesn’t show the owner knows what to do when one of those vehicles breaks down.
Consider the investment you’ve made in your computer. Now, ask yourself: when was the last time I backed up? Please, say recently! If not, think about the value of the content you might lose if the computer is not handled with care.
When a computer expert sets out to investigate the problem, they do so with utmost caution. Before doing anything, they’ll know to make a clone of your hard drive. Then, in identifying and solving the problem, they know what is safe to try. They also know what actions to avoid.
The Price of Amateur Fixes
Your family/friend tech support might turn to the internet for help. Sure, Google and YouTube will provide some answers, but context matters. Will your oh-so-helpful friend know which answers are relevant to your situation? Trying different things can be dangerous if the approach isn’t suited to the problem. Ask any computer repair expert. They'll have stories to tell about computers “fixed” by amateurs who made the problem worse. They may even have lost data along the way.
Just as you wouldn’t turn to the Web to diagnose cancer, don't trust just anyone with the health of your computer. Computer repair may look simple, but expert decision-making determines the best solution.
As with most jobs, computer experts draw upon specialized training and hands-on experience. They’re also up on the latest threats, technologies, and solutions. This helps them to diagnose the problem more quickly. They can go in and fix the problem right away, because they’ve seen it before read about the problem. Or perhaps they have colleagues who have done something like this before, or they’ve researched the technology to identify different options. Can your Aunt Sue or friend Frank say the same thing?
Think also of your typical answer when someone asks you for help. You’re human. You want to help, even if you don’t actually know that much about the problem. So, when you ask a family member, they’re likely to say, “sure.” Even when they should be saying, “I don’t know how to fix that.” When friends admit the repair is beyond them, you’ve already wasted time letting them take a crack at it. Worse, they may actually break your computer or lose important files. You have to go to the experts now for that new part or in the hope of retrieving the data. Meanwhile, you’re not feeling so friendly towards the person who created the new problem, are you? They may also feel annoyed that you didn’t pay them for their services. Don’t jeopardize your relationships and avoid doing more damage to your computer. Bypass the friend/family tech support solution and turn to the professionals first.
Fixing a computer isn’t always simple. Get expert help to preserve as much data as you can and avoid expensive replacements as long as possible.
Have computer problems? We can help. Fixing computers is our profession, and our experts are friendly too!
How you do unbox the new ThinkPad X1 Extreme? By hiring an extremely large grizzly bear to do the unboxing.
Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. Apple itself has run ad campaigns promising its computers “don’t get viruses”. And those who have owned a Mac for years, decades even, are particularly prone to believing. After all, nothing’s happened to them yet. Regrettably, Macs do get viruses, and the threat is growing. For a long time, the argument was that cybercriminals didn’t bother to develop Mac viruses. There weren’t enough users to justify the effort. Instead, they’d focus on the lower hanging fruit – PCs running Windows.
Yet Apple’s market share is on the rise, and it’s increasingly common to see Macs in the workplace, especially in creative industries. Plus, there’s a widespread assumption that Mac users are a smart target as they are likely to be better off. So, while Macs remain harder to infect (installing most software requires a password), there’s often a greater payoff. The research reflects the reality. In 2017, for instance, the iPhone OS and Mac OS X placed #3 and #6 in CVE Details’ top 50 ranked by total number of distinct vulnerabilities. Apple TV and Safari also made the list at #17 and #18, respectively. In 2017, Malwarebytes also reported it “saw more Mac malware in 2017 than in any previous year”. By the end of 2017, the cybersecurity firm had counted 270% more unique threats on the Mac platform than in 2016.
Finding Apple’s Weak Spots
It’s obvious then that bad actors are no longer steering clear. They are actively looking for ways to exploit Macs. A common approach is to use Trojans. Named after a wooden gift horse that hid an army, Trojans look like something you would want to install. So, Mac users happily enter their passwords to download that application and open the gates to the cybercriminal.
In 2011, for instance, a Trojan called “Mac Defender” took advantage of people’s desire to protect their computers. The fake program appeared to be anti-virus software. Once the users installed it, they’d get an onslaught of pop-up ads encouraging them to buy more fake software.
Trojans get through the gates because you let your guard down. You are taken in by that supposed note from a long-lost friend. You think you want to see that pic of that famous celebrity. All it takes to stop this type of attack is suspicion of everything you might install or download.
A business would want to educate its employees about the importance of:
Apple is always working to protect its users from malware. It has measures in place, and user caution can make a big difference, too. Still, it’s not true that Macs are completely safe.
Find out what you can do to protect your Macs and guard against threats. Partner with our managed services to gauge your security levels.
The average person spends 90,000 hours at work. These hours can cost us sleep, affect our mood, and cause us to gain weight. Oh, and work can cause stress, too. We can’t give you a “get out of work free” card, but these essential Windows shortcuts will help you save time.
By gaining efficiency at your computer, you may find you have more time for what matters. At work, this may be devising new innovations or getting out in the field. At home, these shortcuts can free up time to play a board game with the kids or do some gardening with Grandma.
Ctrl + X to Cut
Think about X marking the spot in the text where you want to cut words, an image, or a URL. Drag your cursor over the selection to highlight the particular text/table/image/file (or a part of it). If you don’t want it at all, the cut function is another version of delete. If you want to move the selection, this is your first step.
Ctrl + C to Copy
Similar to the cut function, Ctrl + C will copy the item you have selected, allowing you to quickly duplicate it. The item will remain in the clipboard until you copy something else, so combine this function with Paste (Ctrl + V, outlined below) to rapidly duplicate your selection.
Ctrl + V to Paste
With this simple shortcut you can place the information you just cut (or copied using Ctrl + C) anywhere you want. The important thing to remember is that the paste function only holds one selection in memory. So, if you cut a phrase from one place, don’t get distracted by an image you want to copy or other text to cut. You want to paste what you have first, then go back and copy or cut the next thing so as not to risk risking losing anything.
Ctrl + Z to Undo
If only this shortcut was available in real life. We could retract that thing we inadvertently said to Uncle Steve, or take out the salt we put in a recipe instead of sugar, or avoid leaving the house for the gym without our running shoes. Still, Windows users are able to undo their most recent action with this key combination. Whichever Windows program you’re in, you can use Ctrl + Z to reverse your last action. To redo something, go with Ctrl + Y.
Alt then Tab to Switch Screens
There are many things you can do with Windows. Perhaps you’re multitasking: you have a PowerPoint open, as well as an Excel spreadsheet, and a web browser, too. By pressing Alt and then the Tab key, you can switch between tabs or screens. If you hold down the Alt button while tapping Tab, you’ll scroll through all screens.
Ctrl + N to open a new window
Pressing Ctrl+N together opens up a new document file or browser window, depending on the program you’re in. It saves you a few drop-down menus and works in most Windows applications and Web browsers.
Ctrl + F to Find
This is another one we’d love to see in the real world. Using the find shortcut calls up a pop-up box where you can enter text or numbers. You can use this shortcut to find what you’re looking for on a Web page, in a PDF document, or in your rough draft of a speech. In fact, you’ll be able to see how many times your search text appears and toggle from one selection to the next.
Ctrl + Mouse Wheel to Zoom
Forget your reading glasses? Looking at a too-small infographic? Having a tough time locating the right tiny file on your desktop? You can zoom in with this shortcut. Using this shortcut on your desktop makes files and folders larger. In your browser, this function zooms in on the page. Hold down the Control key and scroll up to zoom in, and scroll down to zoom out.
Want to know more about Windows and technology to streamline processes? Our experts can help you find the right computer solutions for your home or office. Contact us at 715-255-0325 today!
The following is a poem I found in The Patriotic Anthology of 1941 and it seems appropriate given the holiday. Each time I read it, I weep. It is about the Baltimore Riot of 1861, which is considered the "First Bloodshed of the Civil War". The first casualty in the battle with rebellion was that of Private Arthur Ladd, of the Sixth Massachusetts, killed in the attack of the Baltimore mob.
Apocalypse - Richard Realf
Straight to his heart the bullet crushed;
Down from his breast the red blood gushed,
And o'er his face a glory rushed.
A sudden spasm shook his frame,
And in his ears there went and came
A sound as of devouring flame.
Which in a moment ceased, and then
The great light clasped his brows again,
So that they shone like Stephen's when
Saul stood apart a little space
And shook with shuddering awe to trace
God's splendors settling o'er his face.
Thus, like a king, erect in pride,
Raising clean hands toward heaven, he cried:
"All hail the Stars and Stripes!" and died.
Died grandly. But before he fell—
(O blessedness ineffable!)
Was granted to him, and his eyes,
All radiant with glad surprise,
Looked forward through the Centuries,
And saw the seeds which sages cast
In the world's soil in cycles past,
Spring up and blossom at the last;
Saw how the souls of men had grown,
And where the scythes of Truth had mown
Clear space for Liberty's white throne;
Saw how, by sorrow tried and proved,
The blackening stains had been removed
Forever from the land he loved;
Saw Treason crushed and Freedom crowned,
And clamorous Faction, gagged and bound,
Gasping its life out on the ground.
With far-off vision gazing clear
Beyond this gloomy atmosphere
Which shuts us out with doubt and fear
He—marking how her high increase
Ran greatening in perpetual lease
Through balmy years of odorous Peace
Greeted in one transcendent cry
Of intense, passionate ecstasy
The sight which thrilled him utterly;
Saluting, with most proud disdain
Of murder and of mortal pain,
The vision which shall be again!
So, lifted with prophetic pride,
Raised conquering hands to heaven and cried:
"All hail the Stars and Stripes!" and died.
April 19, 1861
In several recent articles, we’ve talked about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and increased automation. One thing that I’ve heard repeatedly is how these and other technological advancements are taking away jobs from real people. But this perceived problem is nothing new. When we look back at history, we find numerous examples of technology “stealing” jobs from people, only to find that these changes led to the creation of more jobs, albeit of a different sort. What I want to remind people of is this; life is full of change, and while at times uncomfortable or undesired, humanity is very good at adapting to these changes. We can choose to live in fear and sorrow over what we may be losing, or we can view it as an opportunity for greater things.
According to a recent McKinsey report, by 2030 up to 800 million jobs worldwide could be lost to automation. In the US, the figure is likely to be 39 to 73 million jobs, or around one-third of the workforce. The report sees “a rich mosaic of potential shifts in occupations in the years ahead, with important implications for workforce skills and wages.” Importantly, “while there may be enough work to maintain full employment to 2030 under most scenarios, the transitions will be very challenging.”
With automation providing compelling benefits for users and businesses, a workplace transition is inevitable. But what tools will you require to successfully navigate this exciting future?
While many jobs will cease to exist, and all work will be completely redefined, one of the biggest advantages people seem to forget they have over a machine is their humanity. Simply put, there are skills that are beyond even the most advanced artificial intelligence – for example, emotional intelligence. According to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence is set to “become one of the top skills needed by all,” as it’s not something you can teach a robot. By comparison, the abilities to negotiate and be flexible are going to be far less important “as machines, using masses of data, begin to make our decisions for us.” It’s a case of identifying what skills you bring that no computer or algorithm can successfully recreate.
Cheaper Goods Create Employment
It may seem counter-intuitive that having machines create our goods could ultimately fuel further employment – after all, if a robot is doing a job, that necessitates a human not having one. However, as has been shown throughout history, improved automation leads to prices falling, which leads to greater spending, thus creating more demand and new jobs. Deloitte gives the example of grooming services: “In 1871, there was 1 hairdresser/barber for every 1,793 citizens in England and Wales; today there is one for every 287.” As life has grown more affordable, people have had enough disposable income to spend money on services that would have seemed frivolous if they were living in poverty. Greater automation will make life cheaper, increasing demand and thus creating jobs.
The End of Mundane Tasks
Ultimately, the kind of tasks that are going to be performed by machines and AI are the ones that people would probably rather not be doing in the first place. Dr. Don Perugini, co-founder of AI company Presagen, explained in Revolver that his own staff were far more productive as a result of increased automation in the office: “An example is our former staff’s productivity was 70 percent. They were spending 30 percent on all these mundane administrative tasks that they just didn’t want to do, filling out timesheets and so forth. AI can easily take over those specific tasks for people, and we can become a lot more productive, and people may actually enjoy their jobs more.” At the end of the day, automation is dramatically changing employment, and change tends to be daunting. But if the outcome is cheaper goods, more jobs and more enjoyable work, perhaps this is a change we should embrace.
Bridging the digital divide between what Marc Prensky coined digital “native” students and digital “immigrant” teachers will mean a rethink in education as the pace of technological change picks up. Fundamental to this shift is the way teachers view technology as something new and innovative, while their students just regard it as a normal part of everyday life. It just is. Let that sink in.
Throw in a recent PwC study that showed teachers lack confidence when it comes to using technology in the classroom and it is the teachers who have been thrown a steep and uncomfortable learning curve. Two trends seem to emerge from this discomfort: either a passive use of technology for watching clips or reading websites, or denial by not using technology at all.
Many teachers feel they simply cannot compete in the attention economy against the power of the internet. After all, the web provides a slew of distractions: games, social media, YouTube. Add to that for every 30 students to keep an eye on, there are 30 screens to supervise. Students can easily hide their device as they aim for a new high score on Fortnite. Griffith University lecturer Jason M. Lodge warns the prevalence of technology can hinder rather than help. “The most scarce and precious resource that the internet is designed to capture is attention,” he says. “The very same resource that is required for students to learn effectively.” Then there’s Murphy’s law and technology. Frozen screens, uncharged devices, and a network outage can really disrupt the flow of a lesson. But the tide of technology is not going to reverse, so teachers do not want to be caught on the wrong side of history.
Effective use of technology in the classroom means putting the pedagogy first. Throwing technology into schools is an expensive exercise if it does not serve a purpose. That is the argument of Michael Cowling from Central Queensland University, whose visit to the EduTech conference forced him to think hard about the role of technology in the classroom. “I’m not questioning the ability of teachers to develop good lessons; I’m questioning how they will be able to integrate technology into their class for maximum effect without a full understanding of the technology and what it is capable of,” he writes. Google can see the gap and is attempting to close it with professional learning.
Effective Professional Learning
Choosing the right type of professional learning to help close the technological gap is key. Making time to master a new piece of technology is important. But not as important as understanding how that technology can be harnessed to supercharge student learning gains. Teachers need to be shown the promise of technology so they can focus on its potential rather than its pitfalls. They can become part of a school-based professional learning community. A meeting once or twice a week with colleagues can provide an environment to discuss and solve technology-related issues in the classroom as well as allow peers to share knowledge. Building a technology-rich classroom has the potential to transform student learning and lead to greater engagement. Students are screaming out for challenge. We know this because they look for it in sports teams and online games. Becoming more confident users of technology in the classroom requires teachers to become the students for a while.
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