mau64 Posts

Another Reason to Care About Microsoft Dropping XP Support

microsoft-windows-xp-broken-glass

With more than 30% of the marketshare of computer systems out there still working off of Windows XP, Microsoft dropping support is a problem being overlooked. And really, why should the general population care? Computer is working fine so why should I change? I’ve written about the change on my blog in the past, but now Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) on XP will also lose support. Here is a quote from their support page:

After April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date.

Which means that if you have MSE on an XP machine it will stop updating itself entirely leaving you vurnerable to any new viruses that could make your way. And yes, new viruses are created all the time. I’ve also written why you shouldn’t use MSE as your only defense against viruses, but know that it is hard to pass up a free product.

Maybe it is time to finally upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. They are both solid Operating Systems that offer WAY MORE in terms of features and security. Or you could always go the Linux route (preferred) and have the freedom of an open operating system. If you are looking to upgrade your XP machine and need help, email my company at michael@perryspcrepair.com.

originally written for Perryspcrepair.com

My Favorites of 2013

2013 was a wonderful year for me. So much positive experiences has happened this year and is leading into a great looking 2014. I had a blast with my growing family with another baby expected toward the end of next summer. My wife quit her job to do photography full time and has been killing it. School is going great and I can see the end in sight. I got a great promotion at work and they are giving me some freedom to do what I’ve wanted to for years.

Entertainment wise, I find myself searching for time for things like movies, TV, games, etc. With that said though I was able to put together my favorite things from 2013 with an honorable mention. While I enjoyed stuff that wasn’t released this year, especially books, I still had a lot of fun with the following. I present my favorites of 2013:

Favorite game

Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
zelda-a-link-between-worlds

I’m still playing through Zelda but have to say it was my favorite game I played in 2013. It was a downer year honestly, with companies being forced to churn out yet another sequel as they all prepare for the new console. Let’s hope having new consoles breathes new life into the industry, because it has gotten quite stale. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great Zelda game, but it goes to show that a sequel to a SNES game made my top game of the year. It brings back many childhood memories I had with the classic Zelda games. Play this game if you own a 3DS

honorable mention = Rogue Legacy
Rogue Legacy 1

Favorite Movie

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
hunger_games_catching_fire_poster

This movie took me by surprise, especially when I thought the first movie was fun but nothing special. Catching Fire came on with a bang, and a new director, that helped make this film better than I anticipated. It has charm, suspense, action, and Jennifer Lawrence. What more could you ask for? Oh, how about an always drunk Woody Harrelson?

honorable mention = This is The End
This-is-the-End

Favorite Soundtrack of 2013

Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
DaftPunk2013

Daft Punk is a weird band for me. Honestly, their music gets too repetitive and isn’t something I could just listen to as my leisure. Then they switch gears with this album. It’s been said they made this album for themselves, making music with who they wanted to and how they wanted it done. Turns out this was my favorite album they have ever produced. I keep going back and forth on my favorite track but is currently Fragments of Time which features Todd Edwards. Incredible album.

honorable mention = Kavinsky Outrun
kavinsky-outrun

Favorite TV Show

Game of Thrones
Game-of-Thrones-Season-3-Posters

Game of Thrones has been a success right out of the gate. It sets a high scale on how shows should be produced, shot, edited, etc. Just the scope this show achieves is incredible with each episode. Last year’s season ended with a large scale battle that split apart story lines and was a delight to watch. This season didn’t feature many big battles, but had one of the biggest shocks I’ve seen in a TV show. I was left speechless. Did my eyes just deceive me, is this a joke? George R. R. Martin is one ruthless dude!

honorable mention = Breaking Bad
breaking-bad

Favorite Books

The Ocean at the end of the lane
the_ocean_at_the_end_of_the_lane

This was the year I picked back up reading, and I’m glad I did. This was my first exposure to Neil Gaiman and led me to want to read all his other books. While it wasn’t my favorite book I read this year, due to the huge backlog I have ahead of me, it was the best book from 2013 I read.

honorable mention = Doctor Sleep
DoctorSleep_gift_desktop

So Long 2013, and Thanks For All The Memories

perry-family
In many ways, 2013 was the best year of my life. While it does have a few setbacks (anyone need a house, or know a way to take care of my parents health issues?) it has been filled with so many positive memories. The best was watching my daughter Alexandria growing up. Learning how to sit-up, crawl, walk, throw fits, force handfuls of food in her tiny mouth, dance to any music, and so much more. She can scream in my face, give me headaches, and keep me up all night, but is quickly forgiven with a simple smile or a “Daaa” (her saying dad I just know it!)

Ashley is pregnant again. I was shocked. It’s recent news so still slowly sinking in. The fact that next year Alexandria will have a baby brother or sister to annoy is great news. We wanted our kids to be close in age and are privileged to have a growing family. It’s going to be hard though. Jeez I’m tired. The way we told my parents ended up hilarious. My mom was so lost and we recorded the realization wash over her face. It was a priceless moment. I feel like my parents are so proud of me and Ashley.

I got a promotion at work doing exactly what I’m going to school for. They are giving me so much freedom to learn, to develop procedures, and to gain the knowledge I need to thrive as a computer technician. I sometimes gripe but ultimately thank Versatech/Speedflex/Samtec for providing me with a fantastic job and the opportunity to work in a field that I’m passionate about.

Lexi is dancing right now to Baby First, be right backā€¦

I don’t know how her arms don’t fly off with how fast she swings them.

My wife quit her job to pursue photography. She’s great at it and while we are still trying to settle in our finances, I wouldn’t change her decision at all. For her to be able to stay at home with Lexi is what she always wanted. Her dream is to be a photographer and a mom. She got the mom part last year and the photography this year. She’s tired as well. And nauseous.

I’m looking ahead at 2014 and already see how it can beat this amazing year. School is going strong and I finally see a degree in sight. My new baby will be due around August. We have plenty of goals set and have the motivation to achieve them all. I want to be the Chuck Norris of Computer Repair. I want to ninja through all the computer viruses that come to my business. I want to continue to grow my business, and learn more about the many local businesses around me. I also need to be a bit more social with the community. I’m pretty much a hermit right now in that sense.

Thanks everyone for the support. All the new people I’ve met this year. All my family and friends who have supported me. I’ve lost touch with many people but hope this coming year I can make more time for them. Happy New Year. Be safe!

My Final Book of 2013: The Kite Runner

kiterunnerI wrote some quick thoughts on Goodreads about this book. I love that website and plan on taking the 2014 Book challenge reading 30 books by the end of the year. Here are my thoughts on The Kite Runner:

This book is amazing. I had no idea what to expect out of The Kite Runner except it was a hit and people liked it for various reasons. It’s an emotional tale about two kids (Amir and Hassan) who grew up together in Afghanistan and how their lives drifted apart for various circumstances. Several instances left me in shock and tugged at my heartstrings like no book has done before. Just the entire arc of this story I thought was amazing. No spoilers but I really disliked a few main characters in this story.

It’s rare that I want to revisit a book I just read but I could honestly dive right back into this one. I also was surprised that this was the authors first novel he has ever written. I will for sure check out more of his books.

The first books I’ve started reading for the new year are Catch-22 by Joseph Heller and Night Shift Collection by Stephen King. You can keep up with all my book recommendations here and on my Goodreads account.

How to Start Better Protecting Your Computers

computer-security
We are coming up on a new year, which means it might be time to start thinking about beefing up security on your computer systems. It seems like a waste to some, but almost every client I get realizes that they waited too long before taking charge and it caused them headaches they could have avoided. If you own a business, or just use computers at home, add these steps to your New Year’s Resolutions to make yourself more protected against the many security threats out on the internet.

Run a Full Security Scan
When was the last time you ran a full AV scan on your computer? While you are reading this, open your Antivirus program, update it, and run a full scan. Many people will configure a set time for their Security program to run but will turn their computer or laptop off which the security program will miss. Make it a habit to load your AV software and see when the last scan was ran. It might surprise you that it has been a while. Don’t have an AV program? This leads to my next point.

Invest in a Good Antivirus Program
If you run Windows and get on the internet, you should have an Antivirus program. I tell all my clients this. A good AV program can help keep the bad guys out. There are many to choose from, some free and some that have a yearly charge. Everyone also has their personal favorite. You never know when clicking the wrong link or even going to a legitimate website can send you down the wrong path and get a virus on your computer that could affect everything with your PC. If you think you have a virus, first thing to do is to take the computer off the network and let a professional look at it. They will be able to help back up your files and take care of the virus.

Configure Your Wireless Router Security
Sitting at my house and scanning for a wireless access point shows lots of options. A few are even open. This means I can connect to their internet, download whatever I want to use their bandwidth, even hack into their files quite easily. It’s important to configure your wireless router with a strong password, and require a password to be entered to access your internet. Even if you never plan on having wireless at your location, a wireless router serves many more purposes and can help filter unneeded traffic to your computers.

Set Your Automatic Updates
You buy an Antivirus that must download its new definitions on a daily basis, yet the updates section wasn’t set up correctly. Or Microsoft releases a patch that can help stop certain software from harming your computer. Yet your updates are not configured and you don’t get the update notice. Most software now gives you the option to set up automatic updates. While businesses tend to shy away from this because it could break certain software, I believe all home users should set this up. Adobe is famous for having their software (like Adobe Reader) hacked or used as a way to gain access to computers that have it installed. Which is why I always load Foxit Reader instead of Adobe Reader.

Re-configure All Your Passwords With Stronger Options
Pretty much sums it up in the title. Doing a quick Google Search can find all sorts of password cracking tools that will run words out of the dictionary to try and “guess” what the password was set as. Use a strong password for everything you do on the computer. Example: 32B1nAna$

Start a Backup of Your Important Documents
Lastly, clients bring me their computers or I go to them and come across a failed hard drive. It happens and it is highly sporadic. They then regret not backing up their family pictures, or music collection, or folder full of school documents. Invest in an external hard drive and some backup software to automatically back up the important files to another drive. This is especially true in a business environment, but also equally as important when almost everyone uses a camera with a SD card which they load onto their computer and wipe the card.

originally written for perryspcrepair.com