Clay tablets or real iPads – which do you prefer?

Scammers recently paid cash for some iPad 2s in Vancouver, replaced the real iPads with carefully-weighed bags of modeling clay, resealed the packaging, and returned them to the store for a full refund.

The first buyers of the “refurbished” iPads were treated suspiciously like criminals when they tried to return their bags of modeling clay.  It wasn’t until the mainstream media caught wind of the story that other victims came forward.

The moral of the story: You can’t always trust retail packaging.

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Satellite Internet users: Exede is faster & costs less.

Yes, here comes a commercial.  For Internet users out in the country, a new satellite Internet provider has joined the playing field among HughesNet and WildBlue.

I have never endorsed HughesNet because I felt they underdelivered and overpriced their service.  WildBlue overdelivered for the price, and now that I read ViaSat owns both WildBlue and Exede – with Exede boasting the faster speeds – I am curious to see if they will market Exede to the more demanding Internet users, where WildBlue will be marketed to the more casual Internet user.

Keep in mind – satellite is still satellite, and is very subject to weather conditions.  So on a stormy or snowy day, your Internet experience might be terrible, but if you don’t have any other connectivity options, take a look at Exede:  http://www.viasatresidential.com/exede .

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Please turn off all electronic devices while plane is in flight.

For well over a decade, we have been told to turn off our cell phones, laptops, video games, etc. while flying on a commercial airplane.  Originally the Federal Aviation Administration claimed that the frequencies emitted by our devices would cause interference with the airplane’s onboard equipment.

That claim has been debunked multiple times, yet the FAA left the policy in place.  I suspect it was left in place to minimize the distraction by non-technology-using passengers.

My opinions aside, the FAA is pending a review of that policy.  As they need to conduct extensive testing to verify no interference, don’t think you can start hauling your gear en masse tomorrow.  But the winds of change are indeed blowing…

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A computer by any other name…

Expectant parents put significant thought into their childrens’ names.  Maybe they’re named after a relative, your best friend from college, the EMT who saved your life years earlier, or your favorite NASCAR driver.

I.T. folks likewise put significant thought into naming their computers and servers.  Sometimes they’re functional names like ‘SQLSVR1′ or fun like ‘MONKEYBUTT’ (yes, I have seen this one recently).  Personally, I have used fun names like MILK, HONEY, GIBSON, MONOPOLY, MUSIC, and PINKY, to the more mundane like XPS, DIAG, HPA810N, and PE840.

What have you named your computer?  (You don’t have to work in I.T. to answer this question.)  And for more examples of fun computer names and the reasoning behind them, read these ITWorld articles.

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beware These Signs Of An Online Tax Scam

As tax season continues, be alert for phishing emails that appear to be messages from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Scammers use email, websites and even social media like Facebook and Twitter to trick taxpayers into sharing personal and financial information, which they can then use to steal your identity.  Meant to either frighten or entice, these fraudulent messages may threaten a tax audit or offer a tax refund.

But know this: The IRS does not generally send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers or request financial account security information, such as PIN numbers.  Further, they will not discuss tax account information with taxpayers via e-mail or use it to request sensitive financial and personal information from taxpayers.

Signs of a tax scam

Scams may appear legitimate and some may even use the IRS logo.  Warning signs that you’ve received a fraudulent message include:

  • Requests for personal and/or financial information, such as your Social Security number and bank or credit card account numbers.
  • Tempting offers that might persuade readers to click on links or respond to messages.
  • Threats that suggest consequences for not responding to the email.
  • Incorrect grammar, spelling or phrasing—especially when referencing the IRS or other government agencies—and links to inaccurate URLs.  Rather than relying on links listed in the message, manually type the official IRS website directly into your search engine address bar to follow up.

Reporting scams

If you receive an online message you suspect is a scam, the IRS suggests taking the following steps:

  • Do not open any attachments or links.  These could lead you to a fake IRS website, where opening a link could download malware or allow someone to hack into your computer.
  • Ignore messages that offer a refund.  Instead, go to the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” site to determine if you are actually receiving a refund.
  • Forward the message or web address to phishing@irs.gov.
  • Delete the message.

The IRS also provides additional information about precautions to take if you receive messages that appear to be from the agency.  Visit http://www.irs.gov for more information.

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Could your dirty bathwater show up in an online search?

Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other operators of massive data centres are always looking for ways to make their facilities more energy-efficient, primarily to drive down the skyrocketing costs of running these operations, as well as to lessen the impact these data centres have on the surrounding communities and their environments.

One method in place since at least 2008 is pumping dirty bathwater from neighboring communities and evaporating it through the massive data centers filled with servers.  Originally fresh clean water was used but they soon realized that they didn’t need to use clean drinking-quality water in their evaporation systems.

So the next time you watch your bathwater go down the drain, remind yourself that your water could be helping you do that next online search.

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Should your business consider Office 365?

If your business has an in-house Exchange server, here’s why you should consider Office 365 for email and calendaring:

  • No hardware purchase or maintenance costs.
  • World-class reliability and support.
  • Easier integration with mobile devices.
  • No worries about in-house disaster recovery.

Before your business upgrades an in-house Exchange server or sets up a new one, do yourself a favor and call us to determine if it truly makes sense for your individual business.

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Encyclopedia Brittanica is nothing more than a collectible memory…

What was once sold door-to-door, has celebrated 244 birthdays, and is something we have all used?  The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

As a sign of the times, the Encyclopaedia Britannica is no longer being released in print, moving instead to their website exclusively.  Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., said in an interview: “Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.”

Their company won’t go out of business anytime soon, as they still publish other information products that are widely used in academia, but sales of their print edition flagship product has waned as Internet access has become more prevalent, including usage of the well-known site Wikipedia.

How do you feel about such tangible information no longer being in print?

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Don’t steal iPads if you run a meth lab.

In early March, San Jose police were tracking down a stolen iPad and had traced its possible whereabouts to an apartment complex.  Without a warrant, officers knocked on the apartment door, and were politely let in by the tenants to search for the stolen iPad.

Inside they found 780 pounds of crystal meth, worth about $35 million.  Yes, that’s a “35″ with six zeroes behind it.  That’s over six times the average amount recovered annually for that county.

So today’s lesson: If you run a meth lab, don’t steal iPads.  Better yet, if you have that kind of money, buy an iPad.

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Need wireless? Let’s exploit the homeless!

The story goes that a marketing firm is partnering with a homeless shelter in Austin, Texas, to outfit their homeless clients with backpacks that turn them into pay-as-you-go mobile 4G hotspots.

Mobile users wanting to use the 4G send a text message to a number printed on t-shirts given to the homeless by the marketing company and they donate funds via Paypal to the homeless shelter in exchange for the privilege of using the 4G service.  More information on the whole operation can be found at http://homelesshotspots.org/ .

What do you think about this alleged exploitation of the homeless?

Isaac Grover is the senior I.T. consultant at Quality Computer Services.  When he’s not enveloped in technology, he enjoys being with his family and being involved in the community.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment