Recent Articles


A Testament To My Honesty

First, I would like to say that I base my business on honesty and integrity, something that most computer repair shops lack in.  It came as no real shock to me when I opened up a letter from Microsoft informing me that I had a mystery shopper come to me some time in January of 2012.  This person inquired about purchasing a custom built system and had asked if I provide genuine software with the packaging.  At this point I must say that I will NEVER sell or install illegal/pirated software of any kind for anyone. The letter went on to say that it appears that I sell legal genuine copies of Microsoft software and it’s packaging.

 

So after I finished reading this letter, of which I will enclose, the one thought that came to mind is that one of my competitors must have put in a complaint against me.  Microsoft does not normally investigate a business unless there has been a complaint or another business in the area had been investigated. So here I am an honest businessperson trying to run an honest business in a field that can and is very corrupt.  All I can say is be very careful of who you allow to work on your computer. If you don’t you could end up with illegal software on your computer which will cause more headaches then it’s worth.

Is Your Wireless Network Secure?

I recently entered into a discussion on a website for computer technicians about accessing unsecured wireless networks.  It really got me to thinking about both sides of it.  On one side I have to ask…is your wireless network secure from someone gaining access to your network and using up your bandwidth? The other side is, how many of you have accessed an unsecured network to surf the internet or check emails?

Not many people are aware of this but according to the Canadian Criminal Code Section 326; it is illegal to access a wireless network without permission. Also the onus is on you to prove whether or not you had permission to use that network.  Therefore think twice before you access that open wireless connection unless you’re in a coffee shop or restaurant that allows open access.

In order to stop someone from gaining access to your network you need to secure it with a password.  The most common types of wireless security are WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access).  . The most secure is the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2) security protocols that were created to address the problems with WEP. WEP is the easiest protocol to crack and has been known to be cracked within 3 minutes.

So if your wireless network isn’t secure you had better do so now.  Not sure how? Read the instructions that came with your router or call someone who knows how to check it.

 Need someone to look at your security concerns

Call Scott’s Computer Emporium @ 519-802-2721

Or email: scott@computeremporium.ca www.computeremporium.ca

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Going Green with your computer part 2

There are a number of ways to go Green with your computer but for now I’m going to talk about the power supply.  Most power supplies are not very efficient wasting 30 or 40% of the power they consume and this turns into a higher electricity bill.  There is however an alternative.  Antec produces a power supply that is 80% or more efficient which in turn will lower you electricity bill and is better for the environment.  Their series of power supplies is called the EarthWatt series and are available in 380, 430, 500, and 650 Watts. As quoted from their website “The Antec EarthWatts line offers some of the most environmentally friendly power supplies available. With universal input, Active PFC, and a robust cooling system, EarthWatts is everything you could want in an energy-efficient power supply.” To find out more about Antec and the power supplies they provide please visit their website.

With today’s desktops consuming more power then ever it only makes sense to use a power supply that is more efficient and in turn more environmentally friendly. These power supplies are 80Plus compliant meaning they must be 80% or greater energy efficient at 20%, 50% and 100% rate load. This makes an 80 PLUS certified power supply substantially more efficient than typical power supplies. To learn more about 80Plus please visit their website at www.80plus.org .  The cost of these power supplies may be slightly higher but well worth the money considering how efficient they are and how well they stay cool.

Although there are other manufacturers that also produce 80Plus compliant power supplies, I’ve only mentioned Antec because they are a well known company and readily available. Antec also makes a power supply called True Power that is also 80Plus compliant.  To find out what I can get or what I have available please call

Scott’s Computer Emporium at 519-802-2721.

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Ways to go green with your computer

For the last couple of years or so the biggest BUZZ word is going GREEN.  By now everyone should know how to go green with everyday living like recycling, reusing, etc., but do you know how to go green with your computer?  If not here are 3 tips to go green with your computer:

1:    The first thing you can do is shut your computer down when it’s not in use.  If you can’t shut it right down because you need to work on it throughout the day then you can put the computer to sleep or hibernate.  To do this check your power options for your computer or laptop through the control panel

 2:    The second thing you can do has to do with your printer.  Try not to use paper is better but when you have to print something try and use recycled paper.  You can also use a refilled ink cartridge.  Refilled ink cartridges are not as good as the original ink, but are a good alternative for everyday printing.  Just make sure it’s after the manufacturer’s warranty before you use them.  Some manufacturers will not cover warranty issues if you’re using refilled ink.

3:    Last but not least, when your computer is at the end of its life or you’re upgrading and need to get rid of your computer there are options available. One option is to recycle your computer.  It will be stripped down and any useful parts are reused, anything else is sent out for further processing back to raw materials. The other option is to donate your computer to be refurbished and resold to those who can’t afford to buy a new computer. If you decide to have it refurbished please make sure that you donate it to a company that is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher.  Microsoft has strict rules as to how a computer must be refurbished and resold.

In further articles I will discuss what computer products are considered green.  For further details on the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher program please feel free to contact Scott’s Computer Emporium at 519-802-2721 or email scott@computeremporium.ca

Skype Call Recorder

I was asked to review a program that integrates very well with Skype called Riviera for Skype and it’s a Skype call recorder.   According to their website you can record your calls to an mp3 file and then later play that file on the built in player.  I was a little skeptical at first considering I’m not a big fan of Skype but after using this program along with Skype it seems that I was wrong about it.  It worked very well and I can see where it could come in handy for business calls or whatever.

The installation of Riviera was very straight forward, just like any other piece of software.  Once I opened up Skype and made a call I was asked to allow the Riviera software access to Skype. When you make or receive a call the Skype call recorder shows the dialog box asking if you want to record this call.  If accepted the call will then be recorded. When you hang up the recorded file will appear and you can decide to play the file or not. You can choose to have calls recorded automatically or you can choose when to record and that can be found in the settings window.

Why would you want to record your conversation you might ask? Well if you’re in business you would then have a record of your conversations. At the very least if you’re like me and forget what was said you would then have a record of what was said. You could also use it as a training session and record the session for later use. I’m sure you could come up with other uses as well.

The software sells for $11.21 Canadian which really isn’t bad for what you’re getting.  In my opinion this is an excellent piece of software to have on hand to record your conversations on Skype.

The software can be found here Skype Call Recorder, try it and let me know what you think.

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