Lost in iOS 7

With Apple’s latest release of their famed mobile operating system, many users feel lost with the many changes made in the design of things. Some things appear to have moved, and some have completely vanished. We will help you navigate around this update, and make the change a breeze.

One of the biggest changes that users are having issues with are the new gestures integrated into the system.

Probably the most useful is the “Control Center.” This is accessible in any app and even the lock screen by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. The Control Center lets you turn on/off your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, and Do not disturb settings at any time. It also lets you adjust brightness, adjust media settings (Play/Pause/Skip/Etc.), as well as connecting to “Airdrop/Airplay.” Arguably, the best feature of Control Center is its quick access to a new flashlight app, clock, calculator, and camera apps.

Notification Center is still accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen. There is a nifty new arrangement giving three tabs of today, all, and missed. Speaking of things missed you may miss the Weather being included in the Notifications Center. Do not worry though they have an updated and prettier looking weather app.

The most troubling change for most is that Spotlight (The search screen) the screen to the left of the home screen is missing. There is no need for panic simply swipe down from the center of the home screen to access the search function.

There are far too many more features, and changes in iOS 7 to mention in this article. That said if you have an issue, or question feel free to contact us. We would be glad to help.

Is Your Data Safe? Local Backups Are Not Enough

If your computer were destroyed today, would you be able to access your important files? If you backed files up to external storage, would you still be able to access them in the case of a fire, flood, or theft? External backup may not be the only solution for your irreplaceable data.

It is widely accepted that backup is an important factor to protecting the files on your computers. However, many are not aware that there is another crucial element. This element is cloud storage. Cloud storage is an off site backup, which protects in the instance that there would be an issue with accessing your files.

Why is an external backup not enough? People often have the device that they backup to either with them, or at their residence where if something catastrophic happened to that data chances are it would affect both the original data and the backup as well.

Geek Brigade Managed Backup is the solution for you. Our backup software takes up very little space on your system, and it will automatically backup your files to the cloud. It is a simple, affordable, and reliable solution for your backup needs. Make sure your data is safe, and get Geek Brigade Managed Backup today.


Why you need to retire your XP computer.

In August, Windows XP turned 12 years old. While Microsoft has clearly moved forward with Windows, XP still holds near and dear to many people’s hearts in the work place, and at home. This article will cover a few reasons why it may be time to lay XP to rest; even thouh it has lived a good life, and will be missed.

Microsoft has released many security updates to try to keep up with malicious attacks in XP, however, no matter how many they release, they still have to rely on the user to stop threats. They have fixed the vast majority of these issues in the three versions of Windows since XP.

One of the main security limitations is in Internet Explorer. The newest version that is supported by XP is version 8, which is light years behind newer versions available in Windows 8, 7, or even Vista for that matter; this makes Windows XP a major target for developers of malicious software. After April 8, 2014 Microsoft will no longer offer extended support for XP. There will be no more security updates.

XP has played a major role in how computers have evolved. When XP came out the minimum requirements would seem archaic compared to even the worst of smart phones available today. To put this into perspective, if Windows XP were a child, it would likely be halfway through middle school. There is a time and season for everything, and XP’s has gone with the 3 1/2 floppy disks, and VHS players.

If you would like help devising an upgrade plan for your home or small business, reach out to us today. 

We’ve seen some incredible news reports of security breaches in recent weeks:

Baby monitor hack shows danger of default passwords

Hacked Baby Monitor Caught Spying On 2-Year-Old Girl In Texas 

FTC settles with Trendnet after ‘hundreds’ of home security cameras were hacked

Holy Crap! Did you read this?

Two Texas parents say they woke up this past weekend to hear a stranger’s voice coming from the room of their 2-year-old girl.  

Security is a factor with nearly everything from our computers, to our cell phones. Your wireless router is at the forefront of wireless security at home, or office.

One of the first settings to change is the default password that by default will be set up on your router. If unchanged someone connected to your network can login to your router and have control over all of your settings.

The second setting change suggested is to set up wireless protection. Most routers will have an option of WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). This form of protection would require someone to provide a password when connecting. You can set this password as you like; much like your computer password, or for a website.

Why is this necessary?

  • Keep people from using your connection. This includes downloading illegal content, and slowing down your connection.
  • Stop people from accessing any camera’s/monitoring systems you may have set up. For example, a wireless camera set up as a baby monitor, or security cam watching you and your family.
  • Accessing files on your computer, or other device. This includes planting bugs in your computer that could monitor information you enter (example: passwords, credit card numbers)

These are some quick and simple settings to change that can go a long way to protecting you, your family, and your data. If you’d like assistance with internet security at your home or business, please contact us.

Comcast Business Class Email – Expired Security Certificate

Several customers who rely on Comcast Business Class email are reporting an outage. The problem appears to be an expired security certificate. Even though Comcast Business Class customers generally enjoy more responsive support than residential customers, this oversight makes clear to us that “Free” offering from Comcast has some hidden costs. (Downtime and Support Charges). We’ll be presenting Comcast Business Class email alternatives to our valued clients this week. It will make sense for some of them to settle for this level of service in exchange for low cost, but from the sounds of it, others will most certainly be jumping ship. Comcast, you’re on notice.

If you think “data backup” is synonymous with “disaster recovery” and aren’t sure what “business continuity” means, you’re not alone. Most of the business owners we talk to make the mistake of not
knowing the difference and end up paying the price when data is lost, a network goes down or a disaster prevents them from accessing their physical office and the server inside. First, data backup simply means a copy of your data is replicated to another device or location. Tape drives, offsite backup and even USB devices provide data backup. Data backup is obviously important.

However, the more important consideration is whether or not your backup solution provides easy disaster recovery, or the ability for you to recover all your files, software and functionality quickly, easily and without corruption. For example, if your server died, you wouldn’t be able to quickly get back to work if you only had file-level backup. In order for you to start working again, your server would need to be replaced, all software re-installed, data re-installed and then the whole system would need to be configured with your settings and preferences. This process could take hours or even days – and that’s if you have all your software licenses and a clean copy of your data.

Then there’s business continuity. This is the ability for your business to continue to operate even after a major disaster. For example, if you ran a law firm and your building burned to the
ground, you’d be out of business if all your files were on the server only. However, if you had your network in the cloud, your employees could continue to work from home or some other
location, giving your business continuity. Find out how to do it at: https://jpg2pdf.org/. Of course, you need all three at some level. At a minimum you need to make sure you have in place the right backup and disaster recovery plan for your tolerance for downtime, and a plan for how your business could continue to operate if you could no longer access your building, server or data. You should review your plan annually. If you want a simple and easy way to get all of this handled, give us a call! We specialize in planning, implementing and managing these projects so you don’t have to. Here’s some more info.

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Fail Certification Test

MSECheck your system tray at the bottom right corner of your computer.  If you see an icon like this one, you’re “protected” by Microsoft Security Essentials.  Problem is, Microsoft’s free antivirus offering has become increasingly ineffective.  Most recently, many antivirus ranking groups have de-certified the product.

Several years ago, many I.T. professionals installed Microsoft Security Essentials for 5 very good reasons:

1.) It’s free (for most users).

2.) It was effective

3.) It is easy on system resources

4.) It is “Quiet”.  It didn’t constantly bug you.

5.) It never expired.  This was a big one.  We were tired of seeing our friends, family and customers vulnerable to expired antivirus programs simply because they ignored the “nag” to renew.

Now, we’re seeing MSE on infected machines in our shop by the dozens.  If you’d like to buy antivirus from us, we’ll uninstall this junk for you while we’re installing our software.  Best of all, we can do it for you remotely.  Check it out here.


Special Backup Topic For Home Users – Where is your backup stored?

I’ve got countless stories of success and failure when it comes to our customers file backups.  Some people truly get it right.  Some people, with the best intentions, have their plans fall apart.  For your benefit, let me tell you some “hypothetical” stories about fictitious customers who lost all or some of their files.  Use this information to devise your own plan.

1.) Andre Rison backs up every night to an attached external hard drive.  This way, if his hard drive fails, he’s protected.  Problem is, Left Eye burned his house down and now both drives are ruined.

2.) Jaz-Z installed Carbonite on his laptop to push all his files to Carbonite’s data center in real time.  That was 6 weeks ago.  His data still hasn’t finished uploading because there’s no internet on  Jay-Z’s private plane and he’s got tons of (music) files to backup.

3.) Tom Crean setup Windows’ built in automatic backup when he bought his new computer two years ago.  Since then he’s been preoccupied with tweeting, recruiting, winning basketball games and developing NBA talent.  He never noticed the first backup failed because of some file path error and he doesn’t have a single file backed up.

Geek Brigade prefers Disk to Disk to Cloud solutions that are monitored (by us, or by you, doesn’t matter).  We then recommend you “practice” a restoration quarterly to make sure you are not only BACKED UP, but that you can RESTORE.  After all, we don’t just want file “backup” we want files “restored”, right?  You can certainly accomplish this yourself, but we’re glad to answer questions for you along the way.  Feel free to reach out.



Hello? Do you answer your phone?

Several years ago our basement flooded on a Sunday. Calling through the phone book, the first place that had a human answer the phone got the job. I left messages in voice mail boxes, but kept calling competing damage restoration companies until a human answered and provided me with some assurance that they could help. There were companies spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Pages ads, but not answering the phone. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Those companies CAN respond quickly. Many of them called me back within a few hours to offer their immediate assistance, but it was too late.

Here’s Geek Brigade’s strategy for grabbing every single prospect phone call and converting them to a customer before they call our competitors:

1.) Every time someone calls Geek Brigade, all phones in the office ring, as well as all cell phones owned by technicians in the company. Every time! 24/7! The caller ID specifically let’s us know it’s someone calling Geek Brigade. We try to answer it. The caller only hears “ring tones”. We could play a message for them, or an auto attendant that invites them to hear our dial by name directory, but we’ve found prospects like to hear the phone “ringing”.

2.) That’s our first line of defense up there. After that, we want to play a message letting the caller know we really are a 24/7 operation, but we need a little more time to get to them. This message says something to the effect of: “Thanks for calling Geek Brigade, this line is answered 24/7. If you’re calling about XXXX, press one. If you’re calling about XXXX press two. If you’re calling about XXXX, press 3. If this is an emergency, press 4 to have a technician dispatched to your location.”

Each key press is routed differently, based on time of day, urgency, etc. The caller hears ring tones. Remember, that’s what they want to hear. In almost all instances, all our phones ring again, but so does the phone number of our answering service. We program our system to show different caller IDs based on what they pressed. If it’s an emergency, for example, we know… The answering service is our last resort. If after all this time (30-40 seconds) we can’t get to the phone, the answering service takes over and answers “Thanks for calling Geek Brigade, how can I help you?”. They take the message, assure the caller we’re working on it, then sends the message to us via SMS Text and Email. They charge us less than a buck to do that. LESS THAN A BUCK!

After all the time, effort, energy and money we spend getting the phone to ring, this is well worth it. Do you have a similar strategy? I would love to hear about it and bounce ideas off you. If you need help designing a system like this for your business, I’m glad to help with that too.

Now offering same day Laptop Screen Replacement!

Big news announced today.  After 2 years of making customers wait 3 days for laptop screen repair (awful!), Geek Brigade has secured the necessary inventory in our Greenwood computer repair service center to offer same day laptop screen replacement to 90% of our customers!  Check out the link below.