Archive for March, 2014

Divorce, Cyberspace Style!

March 30, 2014


A client came to me with an interesting dilemma. He was in the midst of a painful, somewhat acrimonious divorce, and to help himself through these difficult times, he would write long, heartfelt letters to his estranged wife and then — NOT SEND THEM. Instead, he would send them to himself.

In doing this, he was following a fine tradition of unsent communications; FDR used to write angry letters to Churchill and Stalin, and then file them away in his desk, never to be sent. Had they been, these incendiary notes might have launched World War III, hot on the heels of the one before it.

Anyway, one of these not-meant-to-be-sent letters was accidentally sent to his wife, and he was slapped with a law suit for harassment or something. He came to me because he really hadn’t meant to send the letter — he routinely sent them to himself, and only himself, instead — and wondered what happened, and wanted to know if I could help establish that the letter was sent by accident.

I looked into the matter, and determined that his e-mail system’s “auto-fill” function contained two entries that began with the letter “M” — one was “ME,” the nickname for his own e-mail address, which he used whenever he wanted to send letters to himself, the other was “MXXXXX@AOL.COM,” his wife’s e-mail address. Yes, by unhappy coincidence, both his e-mail address shortcut (nickname), and his wife’s e-mail address, began with the letter “M.” It was a one in 26 shot, but there it was.


Knowing this, we were able to establish that he typed the letter “M,” intending to send the message to “ME,” but that his wife’s e-mail address automatically came up instead, and in the fury of creation and anguish and emotion and so on, he accepted his wife’s e-mail address (as offered by his e-mail program) without really noticing it. He may even have composed the letter first, as some of my clients do, and addressed it at the last minute, meaning that the erroneous address may have actually been on-screen for only a very short period of time…and, hence, easily-missed.

Unusual, sure, but all in a day’s work here at The Computer Guru! If you need an excellent new or refurbished computer system, or repairs or upgrades to your existing system (PC or MAC), or answers or advice, I can help. At the very least, I can help you find an excellent marriage counselor!  

LATE-BREAKING GOOD NEWS!   The client dropped by today and informed me that my “very clear, very persuasive letter” convinced the District Attorney to drop this charge against him, which saved him from heavy fines and a possible jail term!

Can you say “above and beyond the call of duty?”

Sonars and Lasers and Windows, Oh My!

March 9, 2014


Although many of my clients are just regular folks (individuals, members of families, and employees of businesses large and small), occasionally I get a high-tech client with unusual computing requirements.  Two such instances occurred just last week, and naturally, The Computer Guru was able to meet or exceed all of their needs.

One client needed to put a specialized laser cutting device into service (value: around $300,000), and the controller for this device required a very old computer system with an “ISA” expansion slot and Windows 98 (or earlier) operating system.  Computers like this have not been made for years, and most of them have long been relegated to the recycling bin, but I was able to scare up and prepare a suitable system for the client, a fully-operational museum piece, and deliver it under budget and ahead of schedule!

2014-03-28 12.16.28

The second client was using a fairly new Macintosh Pro notebook, but needed to run a “Windows Only” sonar training program (I asked him why he needed this, and he said if he told me, he’d have to kill me).  Before coming to see The Computer Guru, he purchased and attempted to install a “virtual Windows environment” on his Macintosh, but that didn’t work out.

I proposed instead a dual-boot Windows/Macintosh conversion, rather than attempting to emulate the Windows OS within MAC OSX.  This approach worked out nicely, and the client was even able to save a few hundred dollars by using an existing version of Office for Windows which he already owned, rather than having to buy a new copy of Office for Mac.  I also saved him money by supplying a single large external hard drive, partitioned into separate “Mac” and “PC” portions, which can back up both of his computer’s dual-personalities.

I told this die-hard Macintosh user that he would probably find the “Windows” side of his computer increasingly useful, now that I’d had my way with it, and he said he probably would!

Another week, another set of challenging computer issues solved in fine fashion by The Computer Guru here in the land of enchantment, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Don’t worry if your computing needs are less exceptional — I’m happy to help!

POSTSCRIPT:  The customer liked this setup so much he purchased another one!

The Quick(en) and the Dead (In the Water)

March 5, 2014


A client came in with a curious problem: she had years of important financial information on her Macintosh system and for years she used “Quicken 2004” to work with this information.  But when she upgraded to the latest “Mavericks” operating system, she could no longer run the Quicken 2004 program — it is not Mavericks-compatible.  So she downloaded the latest (indeed, the only) Quicken program available for Mavericks — “Quicken Essentials for Mac” — but found that this version could not open or convert her Quicken 2004 data files.

What to do?

I thought hard about the problem and came upon a workable solution:  we purchased a second-hand copy of “Quicken 2005 for Macintosh” and installed this program on an older Macintosh I keep in the shop for such occasions (Quicken 2005 does not run on Mavericks either).  We then opened each of her “Quicken 2004” files in “Quicken 2005,” which converted them automatically to Quicken 2005 format.  THIS format can be converted (using a special conversion tool included with Quicken Essentials for Mac) to a form that can be converted again (“imported,” to be precise) into the latest Quicken for Mac data format.

So, a few hours of labor, some expense, and one splitting headache later, she’s got all her important data completely intact and usable on Quicken Essentials running on her Mac with Mavericks.  Intuit (Quicken) technical support was absolutely no help, by the way — they said it absolutely, positively could not be done!

Another day, another Computer Guru success story!  Come on down to 844 Agua Fria Street if you, your computer, or your data are feeling unlucky…or if it’s time to upgrade or replace your existing machine with a new one!

New Dell Makeover (Or “Building ’em Right The Second Time Around”)

March 2, 2014


A client brought in a new Dell tower he’d bought recently, and — like thousands of users worldwide — he just couldn’t stand Windows 8.  Plus, the performance of this system wasn’t that terrific, surprising because it had a speedy Intel Core i7 processor and plenty of RAM.  And why couldn’t this expensive system, which supposedly had everything and did everything, even back itself up?!?!?

Could The Computer Guru salvage this system and help make it satisfying to use, keep its programs and data perennially safe, and transform it from an expensive, frustrating desktop paperweight to a pleasant and productive computing companion, and a worthwhile personal and business investment?

Of course!  Need you have asked?

Saving the baby here was a day-long effort, but the results were worth it.

First off, I replaced the primary 2TB traditional hard drive with a 512GB Solid State Drive — then added a second 1TB traditional hard drive for data storage — and made the original 2TB primary drive a “tertiary” (third) internal drive devoted solely to backup (specifically, backing up the primary and secondary drives mentioned above — i.e., backing up everything).

Naturally, all backup tasks are now fully-automatic and self-contained, requiring no external devices and no user intervention whatsoever.

Then I supplied and installed Windows 7 with a lifetime license onto the solid state disk, and reprogrammed the machine to deal easily and transparently with all three drives, and all the original Windows 8-compatible hardware (sound, video, chipset, network adapters, etc.).

The result?  Astounding performance (no “crapware” or “bloatware” ever comes installed on systems from The Computer Guru!), absolute data security, and an easy familiar computing experience with the popular, proven, and essentially excellent Windows 7.  Given carte blanche, I would have upgraded the video in the system as well — which would have resulted in superior graphics capabilities — but we decided to leave that for next time.

If, like my client, you’ve made the mistake of purchasing a Windows 8 system — or if your existing system, ANY system (Windows or Macintosh) requires a makeover upgrade for improved performance, reliability, security, ease-of-use, or what-have-you — just bring it to The Computer Guru in Santa Fe!

Only The Computer Guru has the knowledge, the experience, the problem-solving skills, the intelligence, and the creativity to turn all your electronic sow’s ears into silk purses.