Has Your Website Been Optimized for Mobile Users?

    Did you know that this year there will be more mobile web surfers than stationary ones? That means more prospects are accessing your business website more through their smart phones, tablets or other mobile devices than with a laptop or PC. If you thought you had time to make the switch this year, you may want to reconsider in light of new research. A recent study revealed that around 40% of prospects move on to a competitor if they have a poor mobile experience. How prepared is your business for this change? Well, if you are just starting out, the following checklist will help…   1. Make sure your mobile site is different from your regular website – While you must stick to yourRead Full Article

Five Ways Your Business Can Improve Its Search Engine Rankings through SEO

In an age where most business happens online, not showing up in Google search results can really hurt you. While there’s no real shortcut to showing up consistently on web searches, there are a few quick fixes to get your site to show up on your potential customer’s search results. In other words, improve your rankings through Search Engine Optimization or SEO, for short. 1. HTML tags – Important HTML tags include the title tag, meta description and meta keywords. Make sure each page of your website has appropriate HTML tags. The title tag of each page should be unique and relevant to that particular page.   2. Alternative text images – Ensure that most of the images on your website have alternative text tags. Alt tagsRead Full Article

Five Things You Should Do Right Now to Preserve Your Network and Systems

What are you doing to protect one of your most valuable assets — your computer network and its systems? Here are five things you should start doing right now: 1. Back Up Files Every Day – As catastrophic as data loss is, the number of businesses that still are not backing up their computer network is unbelievable. According to the Symantec Small to Medium Size Businesses (SMB) data, only 23% of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are backing up their data on a daily basis and fewer than 50% are backing up data weekly. Any number of events can result in data loss, so the importance of frequently backing up your computer network cannot be overstated. 2. Ensure Backup Procedures Are Checked Regularly – Many times businessRead Full Article

Data Loss Can Cause Your Law Firm to Shut Down

Small and medium sized businesses (MSPs), including law firms, rely more than ever on IT systems to efficiently run their business, support customers, and optimize productivity. These systems house sensitive digital data ranging from employee and customer information, to internal emails, documents, financial records, sales orders, and transaction histories. This is in addition to applications and programs critical to daily business functions and customer service. Preventing data loss is therefore an incredibly important function that your tech firm must be able to provide. While corporate-level data losses and insider theft, when they happen to Fortune 500 companies, are well publicized, many smaller businesses have also become casualties of data loss and theft. Following a significant data loss, it is estimated that a small-to-medium sized businessRead Full Article

Can You Really Afford Not to Have a Backup Plan?

 According to Symantec SMB, 50% of SMBs (small and medium businesses) admit to having no backup and disaster recovery plan in place. 41% of those surveyed confessed that they had never even given much thought to implementing a disaster recovery or business continuity plan. If you are one of them, then you really need to think about whether you can afford the status quo. Answering these questions will help you decide if you can really not afford to have a backup plan: 1. How often is employee productivity and customer accessibility or service stalled each day from a downed network or system?   2. How much downtime can your business truly afford and what kind of backup or recovery solutions are in effect when systemsRead Full Article

Computer Network Management and Maintenance

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc.’s co-owners, Charlotte and Darrin Piotrowski, published an article, “Don’t Wait Until It’s Broken,” in the September 2015 issue of Biz New Orleans (and also included in email blast and the Biz New Orleans online issue). In it, they discussed the many reasons why every business should have a computer network management and maintenance contract with a local IT firm, rather than simply calling their computer repair company every time something breaks or isn’t working properly. Here’s the link to the full article. Below is the top ten list of reasons, taken from the article, for contracting with Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. for your business’s computer network management and maintenance. Top 10 benefits of network/computer management and maintenance: 1 – You can truly think of your IT serviceRead Full Article

Prepare Your Business in Case of Disaster

You probably have a plan for your home in the case of a disaster, but what about your business? According to the Insurance Information Institute, as many as 40% of businesses fail after a disaster. There are a number of things that you can do in order to prepare your business in case of disaster (man-made or natural). And, since we are in the midst of hurricane season, now is as good a time as any to do so! You should begin by assessing what types of disasters are most likely to occur to your specific business. This can include fire, flooding, a hurricane, and even criminal activity, depending upon your location, type of business, and other factors. You should select point people who are trained toRead Full Article

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. Ribbon Cutting

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. is pleased to announce its upcoming ribbon cutting event to be held on Wednesday, October 5th at 10:00 a.m. at our new office, located at 2200 Tulane Avenue, Suite 302. We welcome local dignitaries, clients, media, friends, and the general public to attend, though ask that you R.s.v.p. to charlotte@rent-a-nerd.net. We are absolutely thrilled to have moved close to downtown, although that comes with mixed emotions, since Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. was founded and located in Old Metairie since its inception in 1997. Click here to read Darrin’s brief story of founding Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. Following the brief ceremony, guests will enjoy light refreshments and tours of our office and the rooftop garden of our new home in the high-tech and environmentally-friendly Campus Federal building. TheRead Full Article

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

Meet the Nerds: Chien Nguyen, Network Technician

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. is excited to introduce our newest Nerd, Chien Nguyen, to the team. Chien is a Network Technician, which means that he specializes in trouble shooting issues and setting up business networks. Of course he doesn’t always work, so we thought you’d like to get to know him a little better. After all, he may be at your office or home sometime in the near future! Here are Chien’s responses to our “fun facts” questions: What’s your favorite local restaurant:  I might be biased because the owner and I go way back; Kin on Washington Ave. is an AWESOME restaurant. Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars [Editor’s note: This is good since Darrin and Charlotte are Sith Lords.] What’s your favorite Mardi Gras Krewe: Krewe du Who of the Intergalactic KreweRead Full Article

CityBusiness Women of the Year Luncheon

I was incredibly honored to be selected as one of the New Orleans CityBusiness Women of the Year for the Class of 2015, and I was in very good company. Others chosen for this honor included doctors, attorneys, business leaders, and philanthropists, as well as the Woman of the Year, Clem Goldberger, Senior Specialist for Development, Communications, and External Affairs for the National World War II Museum. Her acceptance speech at the November 12th luncheon was deeply moving and her list of accomplishments seemed unending. The luncheon was a celebration of the wonderful diversity of successful women working and volunteering in Greater New Orleans.  As each honoree was named, their stories seemed to grow increasingly impressive. At one point, I told Darrin (Rent-A-Nerd’s founder and CEO,Read Full Article

CityBusiness Best Places to Work

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. is incredibly pleased to have been selected one of the 2015 CityBusiness Best Places to Work. Darrin, my husband and Rent-A-Nerd’s founder, and I are humbled by this honor and truly credit our talented and dedicated staff, as they represent our company with professionalism at all times. It is therefore a pleasure to create as congenial a work environment as possible. We are one of only fifteen small businesses to be honored this year. According to New Orleans CityBusiness, Honorees are chosen based on a questionnaire of benefits offered, including average salary, health care, paid time off and employee programs, coupled with an online survey of employees. Although we are a small, locally-owned business, we strive to provide our employees with the benefitsRead 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

CityBusiness honors Charlotte Piotrowski as a 2015 Women of the Year

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. is very pleased that our co-owner and Director of Marketing and Community Outreach has been selected by New Orleans CityBusiness as one of the Women of the Year honorees. Charlotte was selected based on her professional and community achievements. Per CityBusiness: Fifty honorees for the 2015 class of CityBusiness “Women of the Year” have been chosen, and they will be the guests of honor at an event highlighting their professional and community achievements. The 17th annual “Women of the Year” will be recognized at a noon Nov. 12 luncheon at the Hyatt Regency, when an overall Woman of the Year will be announced. A special insert spotlighting all “Women of the Year” honorees will run in the Nov. 27 issue of CityBusiness. SeatingRead 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

Survival Tips for Working with Your Spouse

Do you own your own business? Does your spouse? Have you ever considered working with your spouse? I certainly hadn’t! Even before we were married, I would help my then-boyfriend (then fiance) Darrin Piotrowski, Founder and President of Rent-A-Nerd, Inc., a New Orleans-area full-service IT company, whenever he asked me to proof a proposal, listen to a pitch, or consider a new idea.  So I certainly continued to do so after we were married. When he was accepted to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, I knew that I would be involved with his “homework,” which ultimately included a growth plan (you can read about his experience here and here). It was during this time, when we both spent hours (he many, many more thanRead Full Article

Meet the Nerds: Tyler Braddick, Network Technician

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. is excited to introduce our newest Nerd, Tyler Braddick, to the team. Tyler is a Network Technician, so you’re likely to see him working with other Nerds to set up a business’s entire computer network, trouble shooting issues that users may be experiencing, and other nerdy stuff. But, since he doesn’t always work, we thought it would be fun to sit down with him and learn a little more about him. Here are Tyler’s responses to our “fun facts” questions: Favorite local restaurant: Old Rail Brewing Company [Editor’s Note: It gets good reviews and is just across the Causeway at 639 Girod Street in Mandeville.] Star Wars or Star Trek: Star Wars, it was the first (although Episodes 1-3 are not all that great) [Editor’sRead 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

Guest Blogger Collecting Items for CASA

Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. is thrilled to have guest blogger and local student, Eleanor, write about her service project; we think you’re going to be very impressed with this young lady.   Hello everyone! My name is Eleanor and I am a freshman at Ursuline Academy, New Orleans. This year for my service hours I am working with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). CASA New Orleans fights for the rights of abused and neglected children. The majority of the children in foster care do not have anything to carry their belongings in when traveling from home to home, so they are forced to use a trash bag instead. To help contribute to CASA and these children, I will be collecting suitcases now through March. Please help whileRead 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

Nerds Care: Second Harvest Food Bank

The Nerds truly care about community outreach. In the past, we’ve collected toiletries for a homeless shelter, as well as sheets and towels for a local animal rescue organization. Right now we are collecting nonperishable food for Second Harvest Food Bank. The need is great, and any amount that you are able to give is absolutely appreciated. The Nerds are happy to pick up your donation during an upcoming service call, or you may drop off donations at our shop, located at 103 Focis Street, on the corner of Metairie Road.   Many of us know that Second Harvest distributes meals to those in need during the holiday season. What you may not know is that the organization provides those struggling with food insecurity year-round.Read Full Article

ABWA New Orleans: Crescent City Connections EN Chartered

October 9, 2014 was an exciting day. It was the day that the ABWA Crescent City Connections Express Network was officially chartered, marking the organization’s return to New Orleans following a nine year absence. You see, there had been six ABWA leagues in the Greater New Orleans area. However, after the storm that ripped apart our city, all six leagues disbanded. I’m please to say that ABWA is back in New Orleans, and growing quickly! I remember receiving an email via LinkedIn regarding the formation of a new ABWA league in New Orleans and was immediately interested. The nation-wide organization’s mission statement says it all: “The mission of the American Business Women’s Association is to bring together business women of diverse occupations and to provideRead 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

Meet the Nerds, Part VIII: Garren McKelvey

It’s been a while since we’ve introduced a new Nerd, and so we’re extra excited to bring you this most recent edition of Meet the Nerds!  Garren McKelvey was recently hired in the role of Field Service Technician, so if you need onsite help, there’s a good change you’ll meet Garren (not to be confused with Darrin, our Chief Nerd).  With his love of travel, cats, and all things nerdy, he fits right in.  Here are his responses to our “fun facts” questionnaire: What’s your favorite local restaurant? Juans Flying Burrito (on Magazine)   Star Wars or Star Trek? Apples and Oranges.  But Star Trek.  It represents a human race that has put countries and bigotry aside to create one earth and one human race.Read Full Article