All posts by provcom

Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Privacy

Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Privacy

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Finding the balance between Facebook privacy and Facebook fun can be challenging. It’s a double-edged sword that allows us to connect with friends no matter where they live, but it also publicly shares information that just a few years ago, we’d never dream of putting online. You can search for people based on where they went to school, town they live in, clubs they belong to, who they’re related to…but when is it too much?

Your birthday is the first piece of info collected when you sign up, and it’s great getting birthday wishes from friends and family when it appears in their newsfeed. But while Facebook is sending you balloons and funny memes, your birthday is now public knowledge. It seems harmless, but when you call your bank or other institution, what’s the first question they ask to verify your identity? Your birthday! Some password recovery systems even ask questions like ‘which high school did you go to?’ assuming this is knowledge that only you would know. Except… you’ve just publicly shared it on Facebook. Whoops!

We’ve all heard stories of people who’ve lost their jobs after less-than-wholesome pictures or statements have gone public. If you have a reputation to keep, you definitely don’t want pictures from last weekend’s private party showing up, especially if you really let your hair down. While you can’t control what others do with photos they take of you, you can control whether or not you’re tagged in them.

Fortunately, there are settings in Facebook that allow you to control who sees what information and what happens when you’re tagged. Despite what you may have heard or seen floating around in a Facebook share hoax, you do have complete control over your Facebook privacy, and it’s easy to adjust.

How to Check and Adjust Your Facebook Privacy Settings

See what your account looks like to an outsider

From your Facebook homepage, click your name on the blue bar at the top of the page. Click the three dots next to ‘View Activity Log’ and then select ‘View as…’

Run a quick privacy checkup

Click the question mark in the top right corner and choose ‘privacy checkup’.

Think about what you really need to share – do people need to know the YEAR of your birth or just your birthday? Your friends will still get the notification, and you’ll still get the balloons.

Edit advanced privacy

While the checkup covers the most obvious info, you can go much deeper. Click the V-shaped dropdown to the right of the question mark. Go to settings and choose privacy.

Adjust timeline and tagging

In the privacy settings, you can explicitly control who can tag you, who can see or share the tagged content, and what shows up on your newsfeed.

Tightening your Facebook privacy only takes a few minutes, but it can save you a whole lot of trouble in the future. If you need help with this, just give us a call at 382-7768.

How to Make Your Photos Last A Lifetime (and Beyond)

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Digital cameras are great, and thanks to smartphones, we have one with us almost all the time. We’re taking more photos than ever before, and building a lifetime of digital data. But despite the enormous value of these photos and videos, most people don’t have a backup. It’s time to shine a light on this essential task and make it a regular habit before those precious memories are gone forever.

If you asked someone what possession they’d save from a house fire, most would say photos, and they’d make a point of grabbing a frame or album on the way out. But with digital photos, you don’t need a fire to lose everything, they could simply disappear in the blink of an eye with hardware failure or theft. There’s no warning, no smoke alarm, and without a plan already in place, no chance to recover the data. It’s time to get set up with a true backup system.

Is one copy enough?

You might think saving your information to an external hard drive or flash drive is enough. You’re right, it’s better than nothing, but since the data is stored in only one place, this isn’t a backup – it’s just storage. That drive could fail at any moment, perhaps from age, malfunction or plain old theft.

Often enough, that drive even becomes lost over the years, put somewhere ‘safe’ and promptly forgotten! And with the way technology is moving, accessing that data in 5 years might even bring up compatibility issues – some newer computers don’t even have CD/DVD drives, yet hundreds of thousands of homes would still have photos stored on a disc.

Two copies?

You might have your extra storage drive as backup and keep a copy on your computer. This is a better solution, and how most people store their data, but it still isn’t enough. While you’re protected against device failure, that house fire is going to take both copies up in flames. Thieves would probably grab the external drive while they’re bundling up your computer too, so again, you’d be left with zero copies. It’s close, but it’s not a true backup system.

The rule of three

We subscribe to the backup rule of three. Just reading this may sound like overkill, but tech is fragile and device failure is a constant risk. We recommend keeping one copy on the computer/device, another on an external drive, and a third copy as last resort tucked safely away in the cloud. The cloud backup can be fully automated so you don’t even need to worry about remembering to do it. If the day comes that you need your data back, it’s ready and waiting in perfect condition. Cloud technology also means your data is far away from any potential fire or flood, it’s secure and with the right provider, guaranteed against loss.

There’s a saying in the IT industry: “There are two kinds of people: those who backup, and those who have never lost all their data”. No matter what the cause of your data loss, it always has a deep impact, particularly when it comes to precious data. While re-creating some homework or the family budget might just be inconvenient, there’s no way to recreate photos once they’re gone. It’s a loss that hurts for a long time, but it’s also so very avoidable.

If you value your data, give us a call at 1 (757) 382-7768 to implement a well-rounded backup system.

Why Your Windows Updates Are More Important Than Ever

Why Your Windows Updates Are More Important Than Ever

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Stories about hackers and virus attacks seem to be making the news almost every day, and many of these news stories include tips on how you can avoid becoming a victim. One common theme among these tips is making sure your Windows operating system up to date.

Every day hackers are trying to figure out new ways to break into Microsoft Windows and once they do find a weakness, they try and find a way to spread it. This could be through a malicious email attachment or even something that spreads without your involvement.

Updates Explained

Whenever Microsoft discovers a potential flaw, they push out a small piece of software to all Windows computers running a supported version. If set correctly, your computer will check if there’s any updates or patches and install them automatically. In new versions, this usually happens when you’re shutting down or starting up, and doesn’t impact your experience at all. Unfortunately, some users will manually disable or delay their updates, creating a risky situation.

The update may include security patches, drivers or a simple tweak to address bugs or issues with Windows. Sometimes, they even include new features or applications to improve the stability of your operating system. They’re a good thing!

Not All Versions Get Updates

Some older operating systems are no longer supported, which means unless there are extenuating circumstances, Microsoft won’t issue any new updates. Not a single one – generally, if cyber criminals discover a flaw after support ends, they’re free to exploit it. For example, Windows XP support ended in 2014, and Windows Vista just ended in April this year. The moment an operating system is retired it becomes a playground for cyber-criminals.

It’s not just Microsoft walking away from these old versions either. Third party software like the Google Chrome browser will still work, but they’ve also stopped supporting old versions with crucial updates and patches. It might seem like everything is working fine because your anti-virus isn’t pinging in alarm, but it just becomes a case of risk, upon risk, upon risk.

What to do with older Windows

As much as you’re comfortable with your older version of Windows, each time you boot up you’re exposing your system, important files and entire network. It only takes one weak entry point in the chain to allow malware into all connected devices. That could mean your photo storage, media center or even smart appliances. It’s not worth it – if you’re running Windows XP or Vista (or older), you need to update to a more modern operating system ASAP. Give us a call to upgrade your computer.

We can check your system and apply your Windows updates, ensuring you are always up to date and protected. Give us a call at 1 (757) 382-7768

Refurbished 6 Core / 16GB Gaming Computer – $599

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Mid Tower Black Gaming Case with blue LED fans.
Corsair 700 Watt Power Supply
Asus Sabertooth 990FX Motherboard
AMD FX-6300 6 Core Processor
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Tower Cooler
16GB Apacer DDR3 Memory
EVGA GTX 970 4GB Graphics Card
120GB OCZ Solid State Drive (Operating System)
3TB Seagate Hard Drive (Data)

3 Month Warranty. 1 Available. May not be combined with any other offer.

LibreOffice – An alternative to Microsoft Office

Whether you don’t like Microsoft Office’s online integration, or just don’t have the money to purchase Microsoft Office for every computer you own, it may well be worth taking a look at LibreOffice. Providence Computers pre-installs LibreOffice on all its new and refurbished computers, and it costs nothing to have it installed on your computer while it is at our shop for repair.

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LibreOffice is a powerful office suite – its clean interface and feature-rich tools help you unleash your creativity and enhance your productivity. LibreOffice includes several applications that make it the most powerful Free and Open Source office suite on the market: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), and Impress (presentations). *1

LibreOffice will open and save most common Microsoft Office file formats including Word (.doc, .docx), Excel (.xls, .xlsx), and PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx).

Your documents will look professional and clean, regardless of their purpose: a letter, a master thesis, a brochure, financial reports, marketing presentations, technical drawings and diagrams. LibreOffice makes your work look great while you focus on the content. *1

LibreOffice is Free and Open Source Software, available for everyone to use, share and modify, and produced by a worldwide community of hundreds of developers. *1

Writer *2
Calc *2
Impress *2

For more information about LibreOffice please visit http://www.libreoffice.org/discover/libreoffice/

To download LibreOffice please visit http://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/

To see a feature comparison between Microsoft Office 2016 and LibreOffice please visit https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Feature_Comparison:_LibreOffice_-_Microsoft_Office

*1 From http://tinyurl.com/p4cdh6f
*2 From http://tinyurl.com/lt7d2da

Dell XPS Core i7 Complete Gaming System

Dell Gaming System

Dell XPS Gaming System
Dell 1000 Watt PSU
Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.67GHz
12GB DDR3 RAM
GeForce GTX 970 4GB Graphics Card
2X 1TB WD Black HDD in RAID 0 (2TB Storage)
Windows 10 Professional

System includes Samsung 24″ 1080P LCD Monitor, Red Dragon Gaming Mouse and Keyboard, and Logitech Speakers.

$599

1 Available. 3 Month Warranty. No discounts or coupons on this item.

Speed up your computer by as much as 10X with an SSD upgrade at Providence Computers

If you’re looking for a performance boost in day to day operations on your computer, and improved battery life on your laptop, consider an SSD upgrade at providence computers.

See the difference it makes in this video from Asus that compares a laptop with and without an SSD

SSDs have a number of advantages. Among them are:

Speed: This is where SSDs shine. An SSD-equipped PC will boot in less than a minute, and often in just seconds. A hard drive requires time to speed up to operating specs, and will continue to be slower than an SSD during normal use. A PC or Mac with an SSD boots faster, launches and runs apps faster, and transfers files faster. Whether you’re using your computer for fun, school, or business, the extra speed may be the difference between finishing on time and failing.

No Fragmentation: Because of their rotary recording surfaces, hard drives work best with larger files that are laid down in contiguous blocks. That way, the drive head can start and end its read in one continuous motion. When hard drives start to fill up, large files can become scattered around the disk platter, causing the drive to suffer from what’s called fragmentation. While read/write algorithms have improved to the point that the effect is minimized, hard drives can still become fragmented. SSDs can’t, however, because the lack of a physical read head means data can be stored anywhere. Thus, SSDs are inherently faster.

Durability: An SSD has no moving parts, so it is more likely to keep your data safe in the event you drop your laptop bag or your system is shaken about by an earthquake while it’s operating. Most hard drives park their read/write heads when the system is off, but they are flying over the drive platter at a distance of a few nanometers when they are in operation. Besides, even parking brakes have limits. If you’re rough on your equipment, an SSD is recommended.

Battery Life: It takes much less power to send an electrical signal to a flash memory cell, than to spin a motor, thus extra battery life is an additional benefit for laptop users.

Bring in your computer today and experience the power of an SSD.

120GB SSD Upgrade $150 + tax (Includes parts and labor)
250GB SSD Upgrade $200 + tax (Includes parts and labor)
500GB SSD Upgrade $290 + tax (Includes parts and labor)
1TB SSD Upgrade $470 + tax (Includes parts and labor)

Some information from PCMAG here