Category Archives: Tech Tips

Computer Recycle in NOLA

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. has always been happy to accept our customers’ old computers–the picture above is of our former computer graveyard. After removing their memory, we’d send them off to be recycled, give them to students for projects, and recently we donated some to members of the Krewe du Who (they removed some really spectacular parts to use on their Dr. Who-themed contraptions). However, now that we’ve moved to our fabulous new space on the corner of Tulane Avenue and Galvez, we are no longer able to sustain this computer graveyard. Therefore, we have provided this list of computer recycle places in NOLA. The Department of Sanitation 2829 Elysian Fields Avenue New Orleans, LA 70122 Offers monthly recycling drop-off at the Recycling Drop-Off Center at 2829Read Full Article


Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is AMAZING

Disclaimer: I am not a techie and I don’t get overly excited when new devices come out. But I’m married to a techie and he does. We rotate through a lot of smartphones, tablets, and computers so that we can offer the best advice to our customers, and so I end up with hand-me-downs frequently. However, when Darrin told me about the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, well, I didn’t want to wait until he had moved on to the next great device; I wanted it as soon as possible! I won’t bore you with all of the specs, though they can be found on this link. For me, the most important qualities are these: It’s a Samsung, which means the screen is gorgeous, with brightRead Full Article


Windows 10 Upgrade

Windows 10 was globally launched on July 29, 2015 and consumers with Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 starting to receive free upgrade notifications. These free upgrades will be available only within the first year of the Windows 10 release. But many are asking whether they should upgrade or not. Here are a few things to consider before upgrading to Windows 10. First, the pros. Windows 10 fixes so many of the issues with Windows 8 that people have been griping about. The start button (it’s actually a “start menu” but we all just really care about having our start button back on the bottom left of our screen) has finally returned! That’s probably the number one complaint with the prior version, so the most popularRead Full Article


Business Tips to Start off the “School Year”

Students are back in school, looking forward to a new year, fresh uniforms, probably a new lunchbox, even some nice new school supplies. Now is also a great time to give your office that sort of fresh start and we’re here to offer you some business tips so that you can do just that. Take a walk around your own personal work space and then venture out into your entire business’s space. As you’re looking around, make a list of those areas that are problematic and those that are working well. What are the differences between these two lists? It’s just as important to focus on what is working, since you can learn from success and apply the same concepts to your deficiencies. Below is a listRead Full Article


Two-Factor Authentication: Security for Your Valuable Data

Two-factor authentication is an extra step that one takes when logging in to various sites and programs. It happens after the username and password have been entered. I know what you’re thinking, passwords are difficult enough. However, many times. in order to make it convenient to remember, we use the same password for nearly all websites (which I would never recommend) or we make simple passwords that are easily guessed, i.e. password, password 123. What two-factor authentication does is add an extra layer of security on top of those passwords, no matter how simple or complex they are, in order to further protect your information online. A quick and easy way to describe two-factor authentication is to think of when you call your bank’s customerRead Full Article


The Right Business Email Address

No matter if your business is fewer than ten employees or more than a 1,000, email is key in your communications with clients, vendors, staff, and other businesses. Often I find that a business’s emails are hosted by its Internet Service Provider or ISP, such as ATT, Cox, Comcast, etc. Without a better understanding of the benefits of a custom domain-hosted email, clients can potentially get lost. Therefore, it is so important that you have the right business email address. Business cards are exchanged on daily basis. A very basic card may include name, address, phone number, and email. An email address such as johndoe@cox.net or @att.com projects a different level of professionalism than a card reading johndoe@XYZcompany.com. Do you want your email to say, “We areRead Full Article


Top Ten Tech Tips

Here are my top ten tech tips (for today!): 1)      When in doubt, REBOOT.   Rebooting, not only computers, but a number of electronic devices, fixes numerous issues. For example: Windows is “running slowly” possibly means that a program may be misbehaving and hogging vital system resources; rebooting the computer can often times resolve that issue.  Another common example is when your “Internet is down;” rebooting your networking equipment (modem and router) can sometimes resolve this issue.  Unplugging your modem/router from power and plugging it back in is a common solution for a number of networking issues. 2)      If you don’t know the sender of an email DO NOT CLICK THE LINKS OR DOWNLOAD ANY ATTACHMENTS!   Bogus emails are one of the number one waysRead Full Article


Your New Computer: Do Not Get Too Attached

Remember those Maytag commercials where the guy sat there doing nothing because their washing machines worked forever?  Computers aren’t like that.  Computers break.  This can be frustrating, especially considering that computers are changing very quickly.  What was true a decade ago is not always true today in the computer world. You simply can’t get too attached to your new computer, because soon it will be outdated. So how long do computers last and stay relevant these days?  With constant upgrades and advances in technology, including programming, computers become outdated very quickly.  Desktop computers tend to be worth repairing for about five to six years.  After that you should use it until it either dies or becomes so problematic that it’s not worth using anymore. LaptopsRead Full Article


How did I get this computer virus??

“How’d I get this computer virus?” I think the question I get asked more often than any other is “how did that virus get on my computer?”  And most of the time I have to answer that I don’t know.  This is because tracing the source of an infection is often a very time consuming process.  Sometimes it is obvious, but most of the time it isn’t and can easily take me an hour or more to locate the source.  Most people don’t want to spend the money having me search in vain for the chance that I may figure out what caused the exact infection when I can just get rid of them all and be done with it. That being said, there areRead Full Article


Five Reasons You Should Retire Your Windows XP ASAP!

Here are five reasons why you should retire your Windows XP computer as soon as possible: 1. Updates & Bug Fixes: Since Microsoft decided to end support for Windows XP back in April 14, 2014, there have been no more security updates or technical support. Without any patches, updates, and hotfixes, your computer is more vulnerable to viruses, spywares, and hackers. Your identity could be more easily compromised. 2.  Software & Drivers: Now that Microsoft has ended the support for XP, all software developers and manufactures will ultimately follow suit. Newly purchased hardware, such as printers, scanners, webcams, etc., will no longer have supporting software for Windows XP. Programmers will stop develop compatible applications and programs for an outdated operating system. With limited software andRead Full Article


The Lowdown on Smartphone Battery Life

The battery in your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, is not as terrible as you may think.  Now don’t get me wrong, I too feel like I’m constantly plugging my phone into a charger.  I even keep a portable charger or two with me at all times.  This is in addition to having three chargers at home, one at work, and a car charger.  I constantly wish that smartphone battery life would improve.  Here’s the secret; it is improving.  The problem is that battery life is not improving faster than the phones that are sucking power from them. Computers are doubling in power every two years.  With each upgrade they require more and more power to keep all the apps, websites, music streams, and dataRead Full Article


aCar App Review

It’s been a while since I posted a blog. So, here’s my aCar app review. If you like to keep your car’s service records, everything from oil changes to brake jobs, and even fuel usage, the aCar app is a great option. The app offers predefined alerts for regularly scheduled car maintenance, and can be customized for your particular needs. I love the fact that I no longer need to remember (or write down) the last time the battery was replaced, the mileage for the last oil change, or when I last rotated my tires. This practical app can store data on multiple cars, even bicycles! Backup/Restore and other additional features are also available if you purchase the aCar Pro version. This app has beenRead Full Article


Kevin Lee’s Lifehacker Blog: Four Methods to Create a Secure Password You’ll Actually Remember

NOTE: This blog originally appeared elsewhere, and was repeated on www.Lifehacker.com.  The Nerds thought our readers would benefit from this information.  It is copied in its entirety below. How do you balance the necessity of highly secure passwords with the utility of easily recalling them all? The only secure password is one that you can’t remember, but there are times when you can’t use a password manager and need to rely on your memory. This post originally appeared on the Buffer blog. It’s a question I mull each and every time a security breach happens. When the Heartbleed vulnerability was discovered last spring, the mandate was for everyone to change all their passwords right away. It’s still on my to-do list. I cringe at the thought ofRead Full Article


Computer Repair Versus Network and Computer Maintenance

The average small business spends 6.4% of its revenue on technology.  That may not surprise you, but did you know 80% of the cost comes after the initial purchase?  Clearly, acquiring new technology isn’t nearly as expensive as keeping it performing well.  Shouldn’t your IT systems be an investment for business growth, rather than a drag on profitability? Traditionally, business owners would call a computer repair technician only when there were problems; in other words, a computer–or the entire network of computers–breaks, a technician fixes it until something within the network breaks again.  We now know that it is much less expensive, for many reasons, to simply maintain computer networks on an ongoing basis.  The old way is often called the “break/fix” method, whereas modernRead Full Article


Bluetooth Audio Receiver Product Review

Today I’d like to share with you an inexpensive little device I purchased recently. This new toy is a Bluetooth audio receiver.  The function of this little gizmo is to allow streaming audio from any of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as smartphones and tablets.  The specific unit that I purchased is a HomeSpot NFC-enabled Bluetooth Audio Receiver for Sound System, and here’s my review. The setup was about as straightforward as can be: Plug the device into an available a/c outlet. Plug the device into an audio receiver, boom box or shelf system that has an auxiliary input (rca plugs or mini-jack) with the provided cable. Pair your Bluetooth device of choice to the Bluetooth audio receiver. That’s about it. Now all of the audioRead Full Article


Komik Reader App Review

Komik Reader is a comic/manga (Japanese comics) viewer and collection manager designed for Android tablets and phones.  (Remember, Nerds prefer Android over iOS.  This could be one reason why!) This free app, or $1.99 for ad-free version ( available in the Google play store), lets fans of comics read all their CBR and CBZ files from an Android device.   I read mine on my Google Nexus 7 tablet (which I love!).  CBR files are “Comic Book Archive” files.  Being able to have entire comic book collection on a tablet or android phone is very handy, as opposed to carrying around tons of comic books in mylar bags everywhere. “I slammed my door and locked myself in with dungeons and dragons and Todd McFarlane”– TheRead Full Article


Avoiding Computer Hackers

We all use email as a primary source of communication on a daily basis–for business and personal use. Every day our in-boxes are bombarded with SPAM and advertisements. Some of these emails are legitimate, but some are phishing emails. Phishing emails are designed to steal your password, bank information, credit card information and other personal data from your computer. How can you tell if a message is a scam or legitimate? Here are a few tips to follow in order to avoid having your computer hacked  through these types of emails. Bad spelling and grammar – Hackers are great at coming up with ways to steal, but they aren’t so great at proofreading. If the message contains a misspelled word or poor grammar, it mayRead Full Article


Out of Milk App Review

Don’t you hate it when you get to the store and can’t remember everything you’re supposed to pick up (especially when it was only three or four items!)?  Wouldn’t you like to be able to easily send your spouse your list of items when he’s swinging by the store on the way home?  How about create a shared to-do list? I recently discovered the Out of Milk app, and it does all of the above, plus more!  This little app allows you to keep and share grocery lists and to-do lists, easily with other people.  And, it’s really easy to add items onto the grocery list–there’s even a quick scan option: just hold your phone above the bar code and press the scan button.  ThatRead Full Article


Help, my computer is infected! Or, Ways to Prevent Your Computer from Being Infected

Wikipedia defines Malware (short for malicious software) as: “software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software.’Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.” As a Rent A Nerd field technician, hardly a day goes by where I am not called upon to remove all manner of pop-ups, toolbars, fake antivirus programs and ransomware (a class of malware that restricts access to the computer system which it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed). The main thing most people want to knowRead Full Article


Sleepless in Cyberspace?

For many people, using electronic devices before going to bed has replaced reading a book or magazine.  Whether it is a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or even e-reader, more and more individuals use them in bed right before sleep.  But unlike the yellowish glow of paper illuminated by lamplight, the harsh blue light projected by an LED screen can have the effect of keeping us awake and can even affect the quality of the sleep that we get. I have to admit that I am guilty of doing this pretty often.  I spend all day on computers, phones, and tablets for work, but sometimes it is not until just before bed that I have a chance to read news articles, visit internet forums, check on socialRead Full Article


Oh no, I spilled something on my laptop!

So, you’ve spilled something on your laptop. Here are a few steps you can take to prevent further damage: Time is of the essence. It’s very important that you remove all power sources from the laptop immediately without having to go through the proper shutdown procedures. This includes unplugging the AC adapter and removing the battery from the laptop. Also remove any attached peripheral devices (such as your flash drive, printer, wireless mouse receiver, etc.). Turn your laptop upside down to avoid any liquid spilling beneath the keyboard and into the motherboard. Dry off any water residue from the exterior of the laptop. At this point you should take it to us—if possible—so that your laptop may be revived by one of the Nerds. IfRead Full Article


Google Chromecast: The Future of Television?

“Find me in the future.  You can live in the past.”  Jonwayne Google Chromecast is a small, inexpensive way to get a number of streaming video services directly to your television. Installation and setup is relatively easy.  First, you connect the Chromecast to any open HDMI port on the television. Then connect the micro-USB cable to the Chromecast and then any open USB port on the television.  Note: I also tested plugging the Chromecast into an open HDMI port on my Onkyo Reciever, which also worked great! Once connected and powered on, switch the television input to whatever HDMI port the Chromecast is plugged in to, and then connect Chromecast to your wireless network. Then open your Google Chrome Browser and install the Chromecast ExtensionRead Full Article


The REAL Cost of a Cheap Computer

It is not uncommon for customers to call Rent-A-Nerd or show up at our shop with a cheap laptop or desktop that was purchased “on sale.”  Why?  I always ask.  Well if it breaks, I can just purchase another one, is the response I hear most often.  I cannot think of a business—whether a sole proprietorship or a corporation with 500 employees—that does NOT rely on a computer for work.  Even home-users suffer tangible losses when their computers are down.  Believe me; I know these things.  I have seen and heard almost everything regarding computer failure, ever since I first opened Rent-A-Nerd in 1997. Here is my response to those who want to replace their cheap broken laptop/desktop with another cheap piece of equipment.  Let’sRead Full Article