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Knowing Just Enough To Be Dangerous

It could have been a very bad day for Jim (not his real name) and his company.  When he called me early one morning last week, I could tell he was panicking and desperately needed help.

Jim’s company recently added a new wing to their building.  They ran their own network cables, installed new switches, and even a new wireless access point so employees could connect to the Internet with their phones and tablets.

Now Jim is fairly knowledgeable about computers.   It’s not his main job at his company, but since he’s the one who knows the most, he’s tasked with handling all the technology.

But when some of his office computers couldn’t communicate with their server while others could, he was stumped.  As the problem progressed, more of his employees couldn’t do their jobs – costing his business time and money.

When I arrived on-site, I discovered Jim had missed one small, but VERY important box that needed to be unchecked when he installed the software controlling the wireless access point.  This minor detail completely disrupted his business operations for nearly three hours – and cost him the fee for an emergency service call.

Jim thought he was saving the company money by doing the work himself.  But in the long run, it cost the company a lot more than it would have if he would have let us install it.

Unfortunately, I see this all the time with both business and home users.

Someone will call describing a problem, and then throw in, “And I had my grandson look at.  He knows a lot about computers.  He tried a few things, but he couldn’t fix it.”

By the time we look at the computer, the original problem has been made worse.  Repairs now cost more than what they would have before the “tech savvy” relative had tried their fix.

Are you guilty of this?

I used to be.  I would try to save money by fixing broken things around the house on my own.  I’d call a friend or family member who knew more about whatever was broken than I to see if they could do it cheaper than a professional.

Most every time, I ended up having to call an expert anyway – and pay more than what I would have if I would have called them first.

Not only was I ticked that neither I nor my friend/relative couldn’t fix it and that we had wasted hours, but now I was mad at having to spend lots more money.

Eventually I learned this truth from business coach and mentor Darren Hardy: “If it’s not your specialty, you shouldn’t be doing it.  Hire someone who is.”

Friends and family are excellent supporters to help in times of need.  If they specialize in something you need help with and are willing to assist for free or reduced cost, absolutely take advantage of it!

But if they happen to know just a little more than you, but it’s not their field of expertise (i.e. what they went to school for or what they do every single day in their job), save yourself the frustration and the extra expense – call an expert to do the job right.

* * * *

I was saddened and surprised to learn earlier this month that Adam’s Computers in Princeton will be going out of business at the end of this month.  Adam Hudson opened his business three months prior to Calibre in 2004.

Adam and his team have been worthy competitors these nearly 11 years.  I know it had to be a very difficult decision for him to make.  I wish Adam the best in his new career.

If you have been a customer of Adam’s Computers, Mark, Will and I here at Calibre Computer Solutions can continue to provide you excellent LOCAL computer service and support – both home users and business clients.  No need to waste time traveling to Evansville and experiencing long service times.  Feel free to give us a call at (812) 386-8919.  We’ll welcome you with open arms.

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Addressing Controversy & A Verdict on Windows 10

Windows 10

The headline of my last column, “Porn sites aren’t as bad as you think,” grabbed people’s attention – for which it was designed – and apparently created a little controversy. 

Funny thing, tho – a handful of people either didn’t read the article or didn’t understand its point. 

But instead of emailing or calling ME to ask questions or discuss, they ran to OTHER key influencers in my life to complain I was promoting the perusing of perverted websites.  Despite the fact in paragraph 7, I clearly stated that I DON’T condone such sites for many reasons.

Two lessons to glean from this: 

1) Headlines are supposed to draw attention to the article and

2) Read the ENTIRE story first before drawing an erroneous conclusion from a short phrase. 

2.5)  If you ever have a question, a problem, or suggestion about the topics in this column, please call me first.  I promise I don’t bite and I’m always willing to have a civil conversation to discuss.

* * * *

MY VERDICT ON WINDOWS 10

 

“Should I upgrade to Windows 10 when it’s released?” has been a constant question I’ve answered over the past month.

Mark and I have continuously evaluated the new operating system since it first became available for testing purposes.  When its final release version debuted last Wednesday, we examined it closely to make our final determination regarding its suitability for you and our clients.

 

And the answer is …

For most home users, I would say it’s safe to upgrade to Windows 10.  BUT there are several things you MUST know before doing so, which I will explain below.  (Please … don’t stop reading now.)

For business users, I would strongly recommend AGAINST upgrading to Windows 10 for now.  The main reason is that some software programs used in businesses are NOT compatible with Windows 10, so you’ll only create headaches and problems for yourself by upgrading.  Wait until your software vendors tell you their software will work on Windows 10.

 

Better than Windows 8/8.1

Microsoft learned their lesson with the dismal failure of Windows 8/8.1 that desktop and laptop computers are not the same as tablets.  Thus, a more desktop friendly operating system emerges in Windows 10.

Windows 10 is pretty sleek.  Some of the positive changes include:

  • A functional start menu returns, making it easier to open programs and files. It combines features from the earlier versions of Windows with useful functions introduced in Windows 8.
  • Microsoft Edge replaces the problem-filled Internet Explorer as a faster, safer, and more website compatible web browser. It offers some neat features, like being able to make notes directly on a website and saving them to your computer.
  • Improved speed and performance. Even for older computers, Windows 10 starts up considerably faster than Windows Vista and Windows 7.

 

Warnings to consider

As much as there is to like about Windows 10, home users need to consider these important caveats:

  • Upgrading to Windows 10 on your own isn’t for the non-computer-savvy. While the upgrade process goes smoothly for most people, I’ve read of several instances where it didn’t – turning their computer into an expensive brick.

    Mark and I have identified a specific 6-step process to cautiously and safely upgrade your computer to Windows 10.  It’s well worth letting a trusted professional who’s developed a tested process to upgrade your PC for you, instead of forking out money for costly repairs caused by a failed upgrade.

  • Do you like playing solitaire and minesweeper on your PC? If so, don’t upgrade to Windows 10.  Microsoft removed these favorite pastimes for some unknown reason. 
  • Do you use more than one monitor? Hold off on upgrading.  Thousands of users who use dual monitors, especially using NVIDIA graphics cards, found that additional displays didn’t display anything.  No official fix has been released by Microsoft yet.
  • The biggest concern is Microsoft’s new Privacy Policy and Service Agreement which went into effect on August 1.

    In this 45 page document, Microsoft basically grants itself very broad rights to collect everything you do, say and write with and on your devices in order to sell more targeted advertising or to sell your data to third parties.  Microsoft appears to be granting itself the right to share your data either with your consent “or as necessary.”

    Here’s the most troubling statement from their new policy:  Microsoft “will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have good faith belief that doing so is necessary to,” for example, “protect their customers” or “enforce the terms governing the use of the services.”

    The definition of “good faith belief” leaves the door WIDE open to interpretation. 

    Hello, Big Brother!

It appears Microsoft is keeping its tradition of releasing a horrible operating system followed by a really good one a few years later. 

Windows 10 looks promising – if you can accept Microsoft’s deep intrusion into your personal life.

Before you upgrade, I encourage you to give us a call at (812) 386-8919 so we can help you determine if Windows 10 is the right thing for you to do.