Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

If You Don’t Watch Your (Internet) Speed, Who Will?

January 25, 2017

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Is Your Internet Scary Fast, Or Just Scary?

It happens more and more often — customers bring in a machine for service, and magically, it runs much, much better here in my shop than it did at home, or at the office.

Now, part of that is all the good computer vibes I’ve accumulated here since I opened my doors 20 years ago, but the other part is the fact that I have excellent high-speed internet service (two independent lines, actually) here in my shop.

But what do these customers have at home, or at their office?  Sometimes, something downright scary.  Scary slow.  Scary obsolete.  Scary erratic.

Scary inadequate, in other words.

Which Internet Service To Choose?

Here in the Santa Fe area, and many surrounding towns, there isn’t much choice, when it comes to internet.  The best, fastest, most reliable service by a very large margin is offered by Comcast (XFINITY).  If you can get Comcast internet at your location, just get it.  They have a variety of plans and packages, some including telephone and cable television, but you can get internet-only service, if you desire.  Talk to Comcast (1-800-COMCAST) for details.

The other choice, offered by Centurylink (“The Phone Company”), employs older, slower “DSL” technology, not cable.  It is much, much slower than Comcast cable, often extremely slow, and sometimes unreliable.  It’s a very basic, low-speed choice.

There are only two scenarios I can think of where you might want Centurylink DSL.  First, is when you simply can not GET Comcast at your location, it’s unavailable (sometimes in remote or rural areas), and Second, if you are indifferent to speed and want or need to keep your monthly internet bill as low as possible.

That’s it!  Only two choices.  Don’t you wish everything was that simple?

Is My Equipment Up To The Task?

Your internet service is an important factor in the quality of your computing experience, but there’s more to it.  The quality, capabilities, and capacity of the computers you use also play a part.  In fact, the very latest Comcast Cable Internet Speeds require certain specific hardware configurations in order to function effectively. Unless your computer meets certain standards, you won’t get any of that extra speed, even if you’re paying for it!

But don’t worry, you don’t have to puzzle any of this out.  Just visit The Computer Guru of Santa Fe.  We sit down, and review your situation in detail.  If I can upgrade your existing equipment to achieve good results, that’s what we’ll do.  Otherwise, I can recycle your old machinery and offer you a fine selection of small, attractive, affordable yet powerful state-of-the-art systems.

You can choose from among desktops or laptops, a range of fast processors and monitor sizes, solid state and traditional hard drives (with virtually no storage limit), integrated automatic fail-safe full-time backup systems, business or gaming graphics — you name it!

The Computer Guru Makes It All Easy

You can test drive your newly-configured system right here in my shop. Working together, we set up your internet, your email, your programs, your favorites, your passwords, your existing documents, photographs, and music…everything. So when you take your new system home, all you do is plug and play! And down the line, whether it’s service or upgrades, you know exactly where to go, and who to talk to.

The Computer Guru of Santa Fe is located at 844 Agua Fria Street at the Southeast corner of the intersection of Agua Fria Street and St. Francis Drive, across from Lotus Beauty. There is plenty of free parking.

The Computer Guru of Santa Fe is open Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, Wednesday & Friday from 10AM to 2PM, other days/times by appointment.

For the newbies, The Computer Guru is One Person — Serving Santa Fe in One location, since 1996 — working hard to keep Santa Fe’s computers up and running beautifully, and their owners happy, satisfied, and productive!

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In One Location Since 1996, The Computer Guru of Santa Fe: Solving The Tough Problems, Keeping Customers Happy and Machines Working Beautifully.

 

 

 

 

Are You Foggy About “The Cloud?”

April 11, 2016

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Many people are a little confused about “The Cloud,” and how it can help their computing life (or whether it can help them at all). Some folks think there is just “one cloud” (as if the cloud were, say, Mick Jagger or Hillary Clinton), and that once they “find it,” all they have to do is “use it.”

These individuals are forgiven, because “The Cloud” is in fact a bunch of clouds, a whole mess of clouds. And the best way to extract benefit from these clouds can differ considerably, depending on what type of computer you own, your work patterns, your tastes, your habits, your interests, and your needs.

Just so you know what you’re up against, I will list some popular clouds (which include, but are not limited to, “cloud-enabled apps”): Apple iCloud. Microsoft OneDrive (formerly “SkyDrive”). The Google Cloud (which includes a bevy of fresh-faced Google Apps, all cloud-based). The Amazon Cloud. Cloud-Based personal storage and online operation for programs like Quicken Online (now Mint.com), QuickBooks Online, and RealTimes with RealPlayer. The ubiquitous Gmail is a cloud-based mail application. So is Microsoft’s Outlook.com (Microsoft’s answer to Gmail), and their new Office Online (that’s right, your old friends Microsoft Word and Excel now have a second home in the cloud).

Even dinosaurs like AOL and EarthLink’s webmail programs are, in fact, cloud-based programs.

Many familiar desktop applications are “moving to the cloud,” where they join a host of new, cloud-only based applications and services. Truth is, anytime that any part of your data or programs resides on the internet “somewhere,” rather than exclusively on your own computer’s hard drive, they are “cloud-based,” like it or not. On some days, it’s hard not to see everything moving to the cloud…

So, are you on the bus, or off the bus? Or should I say, are you soaring in the cloud(s), or stuck (perhaps reluctantly, perhaps not) on the ground?

If “The Cloud” has you scratching your head, don’t worry. Just pay The Computer Guru in Santa Fe a visit, and bring your computer(s) with you. I will look them over and provide a free diagnostic estimate for everything that’s required to make your equipment function correctly, reliably, and speedily in today’s fast-changing personal computing environment. I can install easy, inexpensive backup systems to keep all your stuff perfectly safe. I can upgrade your computer’s older, slower, tired components, to help you get an extra lease on life from your investment.

And if you’re better off with a new computer, I’ll show you a variety of outstanding new and refurbished machines in my world-class showroom. While we’re at it, we can talk about how you can get your head “into the clouds” and back to work — or play — in today’s challenging, fast-changing computing world.

The Computer Guru is located at 844 Agua Fria Street at the Southeast corner of the intersection of Agua Fria Street and St. Francis Drive, across from Lotus Beauty. There is plenty of free parking. The Computer Guru is open Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, Wednesday & Friday from 10AM to 2PM, other days/times by appointment.

For the newbies, The Computer Guru is One Person — Serving Santa Fe in One location — since 1997!

iMACs, Be Afraid…Be Very Afraid!!!

March 30, 2016

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It’s a long story, but to boil it down, my client’s 27″ iMAC died a sorry, premature, unexpected, and inconvenient death.  The video card, a weak spot on this model, failed, and took the logic board with it.  Time for a new machine…but which machine?

My client was tempted to buy a new 27″ iMAC Retina, but the price was a little scary ($3,000, not including the “Apple Care” extended warranty you’d be crazy not to buy with a machine this expensive), and she was dubious because her “old” iMAC only lasted a few years before dying.  Could I put something better together for her?

You bet!  The Computer Guru in Santa Fe loves a challenge.  First, I selected a high-performance desktop workstation system, and configured it to provide superior performance and capabilities compared to the iMAC.

I used an Intel Xeon (Server-Class) processor, instead of the consumer-grade Intel i5 found in the iMAC.  I provided 16GB of RAM, instead of the iMAC’s 8GB.  I included THREE hard drives — a 240GB solid state drive, and two 2TB traditional drives (one for data storage, one for backup — a total of 4.25TB of disk storage!) — the iMAC’s hard drive is a single 1TB “hybrid” hard-drive, not even an SSD.  I used a high-end video card with 4GB of RAM instead of the 2GB card used in the iMAC.  And I topped it all off with a state-of-the-art CURVED 27″ LCD monitor (“Sexy!”), a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an HD webcam.

The end result?  A beautiful, elegant, high-performance computer, hand-built by The Computer Guru in Santa Fe, superior in virtually every way to the 27″ iMAC, for hundreds of dollars of less.  It is also more capable, easier to service, and easier to upgrade than any iMAC ever made.

So ladies and gentleman, before you help yourself to another glass of Apple Kool-Aid, come see The Computer Guru in Santa Fe first.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the variety, quality, capabilities, appearance, pricing, and performance of the new and refurbished desktop and notebook systems I offer in my showroom.  You can always use your iPhone to get your “Apple Kicks,” and leave the computers to us.

The Computer Guru is located at 844 Agua Fria Street at the Southeast corner of the intersection of Agua Fria Street and St. Francis Drive, across from Lotus Beauty. There is plenty of free parking. The Computer Guru is open Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, Wednesday & Friday from 10AM to 6PM, other days/times by appointment.  Serving Santa Fe in one location since 1997!

 

 

 

Help your Macbook (Air) Take Flight!

March 27, 2016

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Before I learned to love Macs, I enjoyed focusing on their many flaws and shortcomings when compared to Windows PCs.  But since I learned to love Macs (a long time ago, now), I still find it hard to ignore their occasional weaknesses and annoyances.  Luckily for my clients, these weaknesses can be overcome, with expert help from The Computer Guru in Santa Fe!

Many people bring me their MacBook and MacBook Air computers, and these machines are barely running.  Sometimes it’s a fouled-up software environment or failing hard drive or inadequate RAM or something, but more often, it’s the simple fact that the hard drive (in a MacBook Air, as small as 64GB, smaller than many smartphones and, on average, much smaller than a Windows PC) has filled up completely, and the machine is bursting at the seams with photos, documents, music…

I suppose Apple thought they could “get away” with using small hard drives because they figured everyone would just “store everything on the cloud,” but the problem is that people just can’t seem to figure out how to use “the cloud” effectively to store and retrieve their data.  Many people don’t even know what “the cloud” is, exactly, or where to find it, or…and which cloud are we talking about?  The Apple cloud?  The Microsoft cloud?  The Google cloud?  The Real Player cloud?

People are hereby forgiven for having difficulty with understanding and using “the cloud,” and advised to come to see The Computer Guru in Santa Fe for help.  One can also argue (and I will!) that the cloud is a fine “backup” system for your hard drive’s data, but (contrary to the opinion of cloud-advocates) no substitute:  it is more convenient to store everything on your computer’s built-in hard drive, which makes all your stuff quickly and easily accessible, without having to know the ins and outs of the cloud, and without requiring an active internet connection or long data-transfer times.

So don’t worry too much about the cloud, and especially, don’t worry if the hard drive on your MacBook Air or Pro (or your Windows PC, for that matter, desktop or portable) is full.  Just come to see The Computer Guru in Santa Fe.  I can upgrade your computer with a larger, faster hard drive, and all your “space problems” will disappear immediately.  Most machines receive same day service — in by noon, out by 6 — so come on down!

 

 

 

 

Time for A New Computer? More is More!

February 14, 2016

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Time for a New Computer? What shall it be, a Laptop or Desktop?

Think Twice, Buy Once!

In addition to selling all types of excellent new and refurbished desktop and notebook systems, The Computer Guru in Santa Fe does a lot of service, repairs, and upgrades. So I’m in a good position to see what kinds of machines operate well for all types of customers under various conditions.

Many people, it seems, “automatically” choose laptop over desktop computers, nowadays, perhaps without even giving it much thought. There is a perception that desktop (“tower”) systems are somehow old-fashioned, unnecessarily large, “bulky” or “clunky,” and that smaller lightweight portable systems are more advanced, or reliable, or convenient, or sensible, or something.

In fact, this isn’t true at all, if it ever was.  For one thing, The Computer Guru in Santa Fe builds and sells desktop systems in many different shapes and sizes, and many — if you can believe it — are smaller than portable computers!!! As for elegance, are desktop computers styled by the BMW Design Group (yes, THAT BMW!) elegant enough for you?

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More urgently, even the best portable computers are severely compromised machines, engineered primarily for small size, light weight, and battery-powered operation. These capabilities are fine when you really need them, but when you don’t, they nevertheless affect the performance, reliability, servicability, upgradability, cost-of-ownership, and expected lifespan of the machine.

The “downside” of portable computers is significant, so I’ll mention just two major limitations:

The first is the very common problem of portable computers being dropped, or when liquids are spilled onto them. In both these cases, the computers are usually “toast” and must be replaced. I have one client who is going broke because his young children keep trashing the family’s  $1500 Macintosh laptops!  Whereas desktop computers are seldom dropped, and when liquid is spilled on the keyboard, a $25 keyboard replacement will usually take care of the problem.

The second limitation of laptops is demonstrated clearly by two customers who came into my shop recently. Both were carrying dead portable computers.

The first computer, a dead HP Laptop, had to go back to HP for a factory repair. It needed a new hard drive, a new “mainboard,” and a complete reinstallation of the operating system. Only HP could do the service, because only HP had the replacement mainboard. The system was promptly sent away, and the customer was without their computer for THREE FULL WEEKS while HP fixed it.

The second computer, a custom-built desktop, was also completely dead. But after 45 minutes of testing, I determined that the system needed a new video card. I replaced this component (I keep most desktop repair parts in stock), and the system ran perfectly.

Repair time for the desktop computer? TWO HOURS!

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I could go on, but it should be clear by now: when it’s time for a new computer, you may not want to just run out and buy the first laptop you see. Come visit The Computer Guru in Santa Fe instead, sit down, and have a cozy chat. You may find that a larger, faster, reliable and robust desktop system is a much more sensible choice.  You can always take a laptop with you when you travel — or simply use an iPhone when you are not at home or in the office.

The Computer Guru is located (since 1997) at 844 Agua Fria Street in Santa Fe, at the Southeast corner of the intersection of Agua Fria Street and St. Francis Drive, across from Lotus Beauty. There is plenty of free parking. Open Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday from 10AM to 6PM, Wednesday & Friday from 10AM to 6PM, other days/times (occasionally) by appointment.

THE COMPUTER GURU HELPS YOU (AND YOUR COMPUTER) KEEP YOUR COOL!!!

February 1, 2015

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Although I suppose I’m opening myself up to criticism (if not mockery!) for using the U.S. Government as an example of how to run anything, in fact the “separation of powers” ensured by the founding fathers of our country (and first developed in Ancient Greece) is pretty good thinking.

The same good thinking should be applied to your computer — and can be, if you purchase your new computer from The Computer Guru, or have your existing system upgraded by The Computer Guru.

In your typical factory-built off-the-shelf computer system, the kind you buy from Best Buy or Office Depot or Amazon or Apple or Dell or Ebay or something, you typically get a single large, inexpensive hard drive that is meant to store EVERYTHING — your operating system, your applications, and your data (documents, music, photographs, videos, e-mail).

This may seem reasonable, but in fact is intensely problematic:

1.  Where’s the backup?  You can’t back up to the same drive on which everything is stored, because when the drive dies, there goes your backup!

2.  What about Solid State Drives?  SSDs, as they are called, are beautifully fast drives, and can really make computing pleasurable and productive.  But SSDs are usually not large enough to store everything you’ve got.  So ordinarily you have a choice — forego the benefits of SSDs, or enjoy them, but at the risk of constantly running out of room (or spending a small fortune on jumbo SSDs).  How many 64GB or 128GB MacBook Air notebooks have come to the Computer Guru, stuffed absolutely full and inoperative, and requiring costly storage upgrades?

3.  What happens when things go south?  Computer operating systems get fouled-up all the time, due to virus infections and corrupted files and programs and other software and hardware problems, but why put your precious data at the very same risk?

Remember the “Separation of Powers?”  Well, The Computer Guru in Santa Fe specializes in “Separation of Content,” creating affordable systems with as many as three hard drives, all-of-them speedy and reliable, located inside the computer box, and dedicated to separate, specific functions (or “jobs.”).

The primary operating system drive is a solid state drive, and is large enough for your operating system and your applications (iTunes, Photoshop or iPhoto, QuickBooks or Quicken, Microsoft Office, etc.), but small enough to be affordable.

The second hard drive is where all “your stuff” goes — your documents, music, photographs, financial and medical records, e-mail, and so on.  This drive is as large as you want it to be, affordably priced, and can easily be upgraded at any time — you need NEVER run out of space, lose important information, or be forced to replace your computer as a result!

Moving data off of the primary drive and onto a second dedicated data drive requires special programming, but for The Guru, it’s easy and for you, it’s transparent, totally reliable, and permanent — a no-brainer, once done.

And the third hard drive is large enough to back up the first two drives — reliably and automatically, without the user (that’s you) having to lift a finger or “remember” to back up, ever!  It’s done automatically, robotically, seamlessly — in the night while you sleep, if you wish.

With a Computer Guru backup solution, not only does your “stuff” get backed up, but — unlike “off-the-shelf” external hard drive solutions from big box stores, or the increasingly-popular but snail-slow and woefully-inadequate “cloud backups” — The Computer Guru backup creates a “system image” of your entire software system, not just your files but the entire “as-installed” system — operating system, applications, content, updates…everything.

So in the event of trouble, restoring the system can take just a few minutes…not several days…and you won’t lose a thing…or need to go scrounging around for installation disks and product codes and passwords…and you’ll save a lot of money!

So if you buy a new computer from “somewhere else” (heaven forbid) and (like most people) you have just one, or even two hard drives, you’re not playing with a full deck.  After all, would you want to fly to Europe on an airplane with just one engine?  No, not unless you’re Amelia Earhart (right).

So come to The Computer Guru in Santa Fe for all your computing needs, and remember that (when it comes to hard drive storage and efficient, trouble-free system configurations) three is the magic number!

A Dell Tower, Recently-Upgraded for Full-Functionality By The Computer Guru of Santa Fe!

A Dell Tower, Recently-Upgraded for Full-Functionality By The Computer Guru of Santa Fe!

New Bodies, Old Brains at The Computer Guru!!!

September 28, 2014

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No, I’m not talking about myself, nor my clients — I’m talking about one of the specialties de maison at The Computer Guru in Santa Fe — taking an existing functional (older) Windows computer system, and “transplanting” that Windows environment — “the brain” — into a brand new “body” — a more powerful, more contemporary, and more capable hardware system.

Keep the best (your existing programs and data), and lose the rest (your slow and tired old hardware), in other words.

This is ordinarily an impossible task, and you’ll never find Best Buy’s “Geek Squad” advertising it.  If you try to copy an old Windows environment onto a new computer system, it will crash as badly as The Hindenberg.  But over the years I’ve developed several techniques that allow me to make this “impossible” procedure work beautifully.

My client, a professional real-estate estimator, was using a custom-built Computer Guru PC I had built for him about 10 years ago, and it was still humming along with its Intel Core 2 Duo processor, but it was time to upgrade to a powerful Core i7 chip, some newer, faster hard drives, better video, a full-time integrated backup system, etc.

My client did not want to have to recreate his carefully-architected and fine-tuned assemblage of real-estate and financial programs, which were serving his needs beautifully.  So I proposed the brain transplant into a powerful new system, and he gave the okay.  A few short days later, he took home his fantastic new liquid-cooled high-performance personal computer, which should meet all his professional computing needs for the NEXT ten years!

In other words, there is no reason for anyone to slog along with an old system just because they want to avoid the pain of transitioning to a new computer.  The Computer Guru in Santa Fe can make this process, and every other aspect of your computing experience, pleasant, positive, and painless for you!

Elegant Bose Looks at Computer Guru Prices!!!

September 9, 2014

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A client wanted a new system for his office, compact yet powerful, and attractive, since he often brought his clients to his workplace and planned to make a positive high-tech impression. I proposed this contemporary-looking, “Bose-like” computer system. With a speedy Intel processor and solid state drive, the Windows 7 operating system, and an integrated, fully-automatic backup system, my client is ready to roll.  Another winning system from The Computer Guru!  Come get yours today.

Rocky Best Buy Beginnings, Happy Computer Guru Endings!

August 17, 2014

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In a weak moment, a client of mine bought a Sony All-In-1 system from Best Buy (they offered him credit, which I could not), and got what he thought was a terrific deal — until a few months later, when the hard drive died.  He brought it in to Best Buy’s infamous “Geek Squad,” hoping for a quick fix, but was told that the system had to be shipped back to Sony in order to be repaired.  No amount of squawking could change this, and when the unit was finally completed, nearly 7 calendar weeks had passed — my friend being without a computer, of course, all of this time. 

7 weeks!!!

The ludicrousness of this situation became apparent when the system came into my shop again, a year or so later, for a second failed hard drive.  This time, The Computer Guru (that’s me) performed the repair.  Time to replace the hard drive:  20 minutes.  Time to restore the operating system and applications software: 2 hours.  Total Repair Time: 2 hours 20 minutes.

7 weeks or 140 minutes?  Well now, you decide!  Come to The Computer Guru for all your repairs, upgrades, and system purchases.  I have a fantastic selection of new and refurbished machines you won’t see anywhere else.  With The Guru, you can’t go wrong, and you won’t have to wait a lifetime!!!

NEWS FLASH: THE COMPUTER GURU: NOW ON TWITTER!

August 3, 2014

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