Computer / Internet News

New computer recommendation links

Updated 11/9/20:

Since you’ll likely be spending the next 5-10 years or more with your next computer, please take a few minutes now to make an informed decision about what to look for in a new computer and accessories – and get the best deal. 

All computers recommendations below match our recommended Windows 10 computer specifications of Intel Core i3/AMD Ryzen 5 processor or better, 6 GB RAM or higher, and a 128 – 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) or larger. Please read New Computer Buying Guide for more detailed information.

If you come across a good deal elsewhere, remember to look for specifications that are a minimum of what’s listed above. We’ve had the best reliability with HP and Dell brands. Keep in mind that cheaper laptops and all-in-ones typically only have a vertical screen resolution of 768, whereas higher quality and clearer screens are 1080 or higher.

Desktop PCs:

Best Buy – Dell, HP – SSD PC Desktops

Costco – Dell, HP Desktops – make sure hard drive is SSD or HDD+SSD

HP Store – Desktop computer towers with SSD

Dell – Desktop computers & All-in-One PCs with SSD

Laptop/Notebook PCs – regular price differences are due to variances in screen size, processor (speed), screen resolution and 2-in-1 convertibility:

Costco – Dell, HP – SSD PC Laptops

Best Buy – Dell, HP SSD PC Laptops

How to create a secure memorable password system

Originally posted January 2010. Updated September 2020:

To help prevent unauthorized access to personal information, many websites require a password that consists of six or more characters, numbers and letters, and uppercase and lowercase letters. Creating a password that meets the requirements and being something you can remember doesn’t have to be a challenge.

I have created a password system that you can use or modify to create memorable passwords. The most important part of the system is that a different password is created for each website.

If you currently use the same password for different websites, if the password or website gets compromised, hackers could access your data on all other websites that you use. That would be bad.

The system divides a password into 3 memorable parts that create a secure 10-character password when put together:

[Read more…]

Watch the world from home

To help pass the time while sheltering or quarantining at home, check out these websites to view live video of webcams featuring scenery and nature.

  • EarthCam – A website and also available as an app on various devices
  • EarthCamTV – Random webcams around the globe displayed on a schedule
  • earthTV – Also available as a live streaming YouTube channel
  • livecams – Watch nature and animals
  • WindowSwap – See random views from Windows throughout the world
  • Reno area live webcams – A comprehensive list of location and traffic cameras
  • 511 Home – Local road and traffic cameras viewable on a map

How to send a message from your phone correctly

This may happen to you: A few times each month I get an email delivered to my junk/spam folder from an address such as If I happen to recognize the 10-digit phone number before the “@” symbol I can recognize who it’s from, and respond accordingly. But often times it goes unnoticed or unopened.

When sending messages from a smartphone you typically have 2 options – a “Messages” app and an “Email” app.

The Messages app is meant for sending short messages – usually 160 characters or less – to the recipient’s phone number. The message can be accompanied by one or more photos. If you incorrectly send a message to an email address, it goes through your wireless carrier’s SMS-to-email gateway which converts the message and appears to the recipient as an email coming from “your-mobile-number”@”your-carriers-gateway” – as described in the beginning paragraph of this article. Messages typically cannot be read on a computer – they are meant for mobile-to-mobile communications.

The Email app is meant for sending an email to the recipient’s email address. Emails can contain lots of text, photos, short videos or other attachments, and can be recognized by the recipient in their as originating from your display name and/or email address.

The next time you originate a message or email from your mobile device, make sure you are addressing the recipient in the correct app and correct format – using their 10-digit phone number or email address appropriately.

Can you spot a scam? Take the quiz.

How well can you spot a scam? Take the following quizzes to help protect yourself the next time you get an email, text message, website pop-up or phone call.

The 3 golden rules to thwart scammers

Can you spot when you’re being phished?

We can help with many computer issues without coming out to your home

A majority of our customers already take advantage of our remote support service

Remote Support allows us to see your computer screen and operate your keyboard and mouse via your internet connection. This can be helpful if you need a quick-fix to a problem, or other service that doesn’t require an in-home visit. Or perhaps you’d like service outside of our normal in-home daytime business hours. With Remote Support we offer a lower 1/2 hour minimum rate of $49, whereas there’s a one-hour $99 minimum charge to come out to your home. Payment can be made via credit card on our secure webpage at the completion of the service.

Remote Support is available for most services, including (but not limited to):

  • Troubleshoot web browser redirects and fake scare warning screens
  • Help with recovery of forgotten passwords and hacked accounts
  • Virus/malware/adware/pop-up scan/removal
  • PC slowdown issues
  • Software problems
  • Microsoft Office help
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Preventative/proactive maintenance
  • Email setup/customization
  • Training/tutoring

Remote support is not available if you don’t have a connection to the internet. Please contact us if you have questions.

To get started, while talking with your technician on the phone we will have you go to our web page at then download and run a small “Remote Support” program. The program will present you with an ID and temporary passcode to tell us, which will allow us temporarily access to your computer only for the duration of the call.

Give the gift of computer help or service

Are you looking for the perfect gift for someone who needs computer help or service? Consider giving the gift of computer help or service with the purchase of a Computer Techs eGift Card. eGift Cards can be used towards payment of remote support or on-site services. Click the link picture below for more details, or to purchase now.

How to clean and disinfect your screen, keyboard and mouse

Cleaning and disinfecting your screen – including the one on your smartphone or tablet – as well as your keyboard and mouse can be done with some common items that you most likely already have around the house.

For cleaning your computer and smartphone screen you can use a soft lint-free cloth and a mix of isopropyl alcohol and water or disinfecting wipe. Turn off your device before cleaning, be careful not to scratch the surfaces or allow liquids to seep into any holes, and allow time for the surfaces to thoroughly dry before turning it back on.

Cleaning your keyboard includes turning it over to knock loose any debris. Then a small amount of isopropyl alcohol and water mix or disinfecting wipe can be used clean the surfaces of your keyboard and mouse.

For more information see this external article.

Why you should keep your computer ON when not using it

If you use a desktop computer, we recommend leaving it ON when not using it. Here’s why:

  • Your computer does important maintenance tasks when “idle” – basically the time when you walk away from it for 5-10 minutes or more. To be idle the computer needs to be left ON – not in sleep mode, standby, logged off, nor powered off.
  • Maintenance tasks include scanning for and installing Windows Updates, virus/malware scans, disk defragmentation, and any other updates that may be regularly checked by other apps.
  • If you are in the habit of turning on your computer, doing your business, then immediately turning it off – your computer may never get the chance to do maintenance tasks, or may eventually try to do them while you’re trying to use the computer. This can cause your computer to be much slower while you’re trying to use it.

If you use a laptop computer, we don’t recommend leaving it ON all the time, but rather leave it idle for a few hours once a week so that it can perform maintenance tasks while you’re not actively using it.

The rare occasion that we recommend turning the computer off is if there are currently thunderstorms approaching your area, or high winds that may cause the power to brown-out or completely go out. In those occasions it would be good to unplug the power and wired internet cables from the computer to help prevent any electrical surges from damaging it.