Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Windows 7 End of Life

Microsoft's official support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020. Last week, the US company announced that it would continue to support the popular operating system for business customers until 2023 - for money. But even private customers who do not want to invest any money in a support contract can hope to be able to use Windows 7 beyond 2020.

Firewall and virus protection are crucial. Even today, Avast still offers free protection for the long-expired Windows XP operating system. If you don't store sensitive data on your hard drive and don't use the device for online banking, you can not only work well offline, but occasionally even go online, but you should only access websites that are known to be secure. The best browser for this is the latest XP-compatible version of Opera.

Windows 7 still runs on around 40 percent of all computers worldwide. As long as the market share is above 10 percent, providers will be found who provide the latest browsers and protection software. The real end of Windows 7 usage is therefore not expected before the second half of the 2020s.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Another Phishing Attempt

Here's an email I recently received:


The things to note are:
  • The email address of the sender is "ampress.com" Sounds similar to Amex.com, but certainly NOT the same.
  • While the privacy statement indicates my "account information" is included, nowhere in the email does it name me personally.
  • Any attachment that looks this odd just isn't to be trusted.
I'll post more examples as I receive them. This one was pretty basic and some are quite impressive in just how closely they'll mimic legitimate sites.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Refurbished???

Here's an interesting article by Adam Lovinus on the purchase of refurbished equipment. I sell brand new, refurbished, and used equipment. If purchasing from me, I differentiate between refurbished and used in the following manner:

Refurbished- Has been re-conditioned and thoroughly tested for proper performance by either my company or a reliable vendor that I deal with. Refurbished equipment always comes with a warranty of some sort that may vary in length between 1 month and 1 year.

Used- Anything I sell as used is typically not tested and may or may not be fully functional. Some used items may work just fine and I just don't have the means or time to test it, others may be good for parts only and still some may be just scrap. However, unless specified as "for parts only", any used item I sell online carry a full money back guarantee as to functionality.

Personally, I've purchased many refurbished items over the years and have not been disappointed. In fact, the digital camera I own was refurbished and I've been using it for 5 years now with no problems whatsoever.

Here's the article by Mr. Lovinus:

Anyone who has ever shopped for tech items knows that buying recertified or refurbished products can mean big-time savings. But there is something about the word “refurbished”—as if it connotes a rejected product that might not work, or is somehow inferior to something purchased new. Everyone likes to save money, but does not want to risk getting burned by a faulty item.
Historically, the difference between “recertified” and “refurbished” is that the former is covered by a warranty whereas the latter is sold “as-is.” For our intents and purposes, the terms are interchangeable. NeweggBuisness products called either recertified or refurbished come direct from manufacturers, and are guaranteed for a 90 day period.
There are other points of confusion as well. Let’s take a look at some of the other misconceptions about refurbished products to sort things out.
Myth #1: Refurbished hardware was at one time defective
Anyone who has ever worked in retail will tell you that devices are returned for a slew of reasons unrelated to defects. Retailers commonly have a 30 day return policy for electronics, and returns often happen as a result of buyer’s remorse, or the customer found a better deal after the purchase was made, or didn’t like some arbitrary feature about the product. Other reasons for a product being labeled as refurbished include:
  • The product incurred minor exterior damage from shipping;
  • The product served as a demo unit on the floor of a storeroom or tradeshow;
  • The product is an overstocked item not sold by the time the next generation becomes available.
We are not saying products are never returned due to defects—of course it happens. When it does, manufactures put them through a rigorous re-building process before placing them on the refurbished market. This process involves replacement of broken parts if needed, thorough testing of the product, and re-verification of the test results.
In any case, the best advice is to shop from a reputable authorized dealer that gets refurbished products direct from the manufacturer. This ensures that appropriate quality assurance measures were taken in restoring the product.

Myth #2: Refurbished computers are not guaranteed
On the contrary—manufacturers and authorized dealers commonly guarantee their refurbished products in writing. For example, NeweggBusiness includes a 90-day product warranty upon purchase of a refurbished product. Customers can further protect their refurbished item with an  extended warranty of up to three years for notebooks and desktops.  Should the refurbished product fail, the warranty guarantees free replacement of your item within five days, carries zero deductibles or shipping fees, and covers full parts and labor for any repairs. Buying an extended warranty comes highly recommended when dealing with refurbished products.

Myth #3: Refurbished computers are only for schools, libraries, and other public use places
There are plenty of feel-good stories about school districts saving taxpayers’ money by purchasing refurbished computers in bulk, and that’s great—saving money is the whole point of buying a refurbished item. But plenty of enterprise users are helping their bottom line by stocking up on refurbished equipment as well. The value-per-performance aspect of refurbished equipment is a solid bet for non-profits and small businesses, especially if the machines fit their performance needs. Even in larger scale enterprises and software development labs, it is not uncommon to find development environments comprised entirely of refurbished gear.
Myth #4 Refurbished PCs do not come with a Windows license
This all depends on where you buy the PC. Manufactures and authorized retailers like NeweggBusiness sell refurbished PCs that meet the Windows licensing requirement. If you buy a refurbished PC from Craigslist or some other third party source, you must ensure it meets certain criteria—and you must be careful with this to avoid a software piracy situation. A new Windows license is not required for a refurbished PC that has:
  1. The original Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for a Windows operating system affixed to the PC, and
  2. The original recovery media or hard-disk based recovery image associated with the PC. In most other instances, a Windows license must be purchased.
Myth #5 All refurbished items come at a deep discount
This is true a lot of the time, but some items—especially current generation, high-demand tech gadgets and some models of LED and plasma televisions—are discounted as little as 5-10 percent. It always pays to exercise due diligence as a consumer and double-check the price of a new item before pulling the trigger on a refurbished deal. New items will often have a longer warranty than a refurbished one, which could tip the scales in favor of buying new.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Help Me to Stop Scammers!

I just had another customer of mine call in a panic because of a message on their computer that they've been infected with a virus. This is a screenshot of what appeared on their computer:


What I've done, and would like anyone else so inclined to do, is call the number listed on the message which is: (855) 882-7403 and inform THEM that they have a problem with their computer and that YOU'D like to log in remotely to fix it. This seems to confuse them and the main purpose is to tie up their pones and "support" people to prevent them from scamming others.

I know this is kind of like trying to empty the lake with a teaspoon, but if you've got a little free time, every little bit can help. I've also tried lecturing the person that answers that they sound like a basically good, honest person and why don't they go out and get a real job.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Using FaxAway to send and receive faxes

As mentioned in my previous post, I'll briefly describe how to set up and use FaxAway for sending and receiving faxes via e-mail.

  1. Visit http://faxaway.com to get started. The main page looks like this:

  2. Click on the link "Apply Here!". You will then be presented with a page where you can select to either complete a secure online application or print out an application and fax it to them. For this example, we'll use the secure online application.

  3. Next, check the two boxes for payment terms and terms of service and click on submit:
  4. Complete the application process by entering the appropriate information on the next page and click on submit:
  5. Once you submit your application, your account will be created and you will then be taken to the welcome page where you will obtain your account information including a phone number to use when receiving faxes.

  6. Initially, your credit card will be charged an opening balance of $10.00. Their rates are as follows:
    $1.00 per month maintenance fee.
    All incoming faxes are delivered to your e-mail address for free.
    Outgoing faxes are transmitted at the rate (For U.S.) of $0.11 per minute. There is a one minute minimum and then transmission is billed in 6 second increments.
  7. To send a .pdf file as a fax, You use your e-mail program (set to plain text) and address it in this format:
    TO: "faxnumber"@fax2.faxaway.com
    Subject: FAXDOC
    Body: (Use your email program to insert or attach the file you want to send)

    A complete copy of the user's guide with all of the various options can be found here:
    http://www.faxaway.com/user_guide/Faxaway_User_GUIDE.pdf