Tips & Tricks

Power Savings

Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

In today's green world, many people ask whether they should turn their computer off at night or leave it on. The answer is not exactly yes or no. Of course, no one likes to wait the time it takes to boot up their computer first thing in the morning. We have become so connected with technology that it has become easy to overlook the power consumption associated with leaving the computer running around the clock.

So what  should you do? Leaving the computer on 24/7 without using any hibernation or sleep settings will certainly be an energy waster. It's important to note that even when you turn your computer off a very small amount of power is still being used. By enabling the hibernation settings on your PC, you will consume the same amount of power in hibernation mode as you do turning off the computer. With that being said, you can save as much as $90 a year by using the hibernation power setting compared to leaving it on. As a bonus, you don't have to wait all that time for it boot up.

How about power consumption for your monitor? When a monitor is turned off it does not use any power, so turning the monitor off when not in use is worthwhile. Also, flat panel monitors consume less energy than the older CRT monitors.

To start being more green and to start saving some green, simply go into Power Options in the Control Panel on your computer.





Buying a new PC

Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

When it comes to buying a computer there are many choices. You will want to make sure you select the right computer to meet your needs today and tomorrow. The most important question is what you will be using the computer for. This will have a big impact on which type of computer will be right for you. There are several ways to classify your computer usage. These include:

  • General use

  • Gaming

  • Home office

  • Business

  • Home entertainment

  • Power user

Once we have an idea of what type of user you are we need to determine if you are looking for a laptop or desktop. There are a variety of classifications for laptops and desktops. Here are a few of the more common classifications:


  • Netbooks

  • Ultra-portable

  • Basic

  • Desktop replacements


  • Small form factor

  • All-in-ones

  • Mid-tower

  • Full size tower

  • Entertainment

We then get more into the other options of the computer. This includes:

  • Processor

  • Memory

  • Video card

  • Hard drive storage

  • Optical drives

  • Monitor

Buying a new computer can be overwhelming. A Computer House Calls technology specialist can spend one-on-one time to go through a series of questions to ask about your specific needs. We can then order the right computer that meets your requirements.


Phishing scams

Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

Phishing is a scam, and a fraudulent activity, in which a scammer sends you an email in attempt to capture personal information that can be used against you.

The emails look like official emails coming from various companies like PayPal, eBay, or various financial institutions. Other may include Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook, and so on.

These can be very dangerous and can help scammers commit identity theft.

The emails often scare you into needing to take action. As an example, someone recently forwarded to me an email that appeared to be from PayPal. The email stated that there was some recent unauthorized credit card activity on their account and they have limited their online account access to further protect them from unauthorized activities. They then wanted this person to complete a form in order to restore access to their account. They were asking for this person's name, address, social security number, PayPal user name and password, credit card numbers, checking account numbers, driver's license number, and more. Had this person submitted all this information, they would have become a victim of identity theft.

The most importantly thing to consider is the content. Are they asking you for personal information? If so, do not give it. There isn't any reputable organization that will ask you for this type of personal information via email.



Listen to this week's Tips & Tricks segment as broadcasted on JQ99.

VOIP, or Voice over IP, is a way that you can make telephone calls over the internet versus traditional land lines. VOIP has gained a lot of users because quality has made big improvements. While it's not the same as a traditional landline, it's better quality than a cell phone. It's important to note that you do need to have some type of high speed internet to use VOIP.

Some of the reasons for choosing VOIP...

Cost - Of course, cost is naturally an attractive factor for looking at VOIP. When you see ads for VOIP with very affordable unlimited local and long distance plans, it really does catch your attention. Local VOIP provider, BBTelsys, has an unlimited local and long distance plan for only $21.95 a month. They have another plan that is $9.95 a month giving you 300 local and long distance minutes. This is great for a low volume caller, or that house that becomes that "cell phone" only home. A lot of homes are moving in the direction of no land lines and only using cell phones, but often still want to have a home phone.

Feature Set
- The VOIP providers add in all the features available with their plans. One of the more notable is "Voicemail to Email". The days of getting home at 6PM and finding that your doctor left you a message at 10AM this morning and now their office is closed are over. This allows you to have that voicemail be sent right to your email for immediate access anywhere.

- You don't have to tie to a specific location with a VOIP line as you are right now with a traditional land line. A couple examples...

Maybe Mom is going to come over and spend the weekend at your house to watch the kids while you get away. She could bring her VOIP adapter, plug it into your network, and she can answer all her calls at your house.

Another great thing is if you moved here from another city. You can get a VOIP phone number that is local to the city you moved from so your family and friends can call without incurring any long distance charges.

Lastly, you can setup a softphone. A softphone is a software program that you can install on your computer and then hookup a headset and microphone to make calls to people right from your computer. This isn't a PC to PC call, it's from your PC to any phone number. It gives you great flexibility to make and receive calls anywhere.

Want to test out a BBTelsys VOIP line? Stop into our Home & Business Support Center in Jenison (620 Baldwin Street). Feel free to make a call on the VOIP line to check out the quality. If you would like to sign up for the service, we can help you with that too.