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Rob's Blog

Reds Tickets 5/1/13

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Blue Set:
May 6 7:10pm vs Braves 

Red Set:
May 8 12:35pm vs Braves

Yellow Set:
May 11 4:10pm vs Braves

Time Warner vs. Cincinnati Bell

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I have heard many people discuss *Cincinnati Bell Fioptics compared to *Time Warner/Insight cable for high speed internet. Here is my PERSONAL OPINION:

Personal/Home Service:
The Cincinnati Bell Fioptics service is supposed to be "as fast" and cheaper. Our neighborhood complained (and complained) about Insight cost so they had Cincinnati Bell run all new Fioptics service into our neighborhood. Now, a year later I have heard nothing but complaints, service outages, slow speeds, etc. I have heard from many customers/friends that *NetFlix, *XBOX Live etc. do not perform near as well on Cincinnati Bell Zoomtown compared to Insight/Time Warner.
 
Business service:
I recently was involved in a Time Warner vs Cincinnati Bell contract talks. The result was Cincinnati Bell could not even match the price or the speed of Time Warner Business - make business decisions very clear. 
 
So, here is summary of my opinion. Time Warner/Insight has built a better infrastructure, better service, better speed and better reliability. Does it cost more...100% true. So, your decision is do you want the fastest and most reliable or the cheapest. If you want the best, are you willing to pay more for your home service? Otherwise, Cincinnati Bell is an option but remember you get what you pay for....

Personally, I was one of the first 500 customers in NKY to get Insight/TW cable and I have never used anything else. By the way, if you are considering other options this is how we rank Internet option by speed and reliability (1=Best).
  1. Time Warner/Insight
  2. Cincinnati Bell Fioptics
  3. Cincinnati Bell Zoomtown
  4. Cell Phone Connection (*Verizion 4G or better)
  5. Cell Phone Connection (Free Services)
  6. Satellite Connections
  7. Independent Tower/Cell/Internet Providers
**All product and service names mentioned here are the trademarks of their respective companies. Documentation in this article or any other printed/web based documents is designed for informational purposes only.

Reds Tickets 4/21/13

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Sunday

4-21-13 @ 1:10

 

Reds Tickets 4/19/13

Reds Tickets 4/19/13

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Friday - Fireworks night

4-19-13 @ 7:10

 

Reds Tickets 4/19/13

Reds Tickets 4/17

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Monday 4/17/13 vs. Phillies

7:10pm

Reds Tickets 4/15

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Monday 4/15/13 vs. Phillies

Gmail recovery advice and WARNING

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We have recommended Gmail to hundreds of our customers as a great mobile based email systems for their business with great success and no cost to their organization. While Gmail has a extensive list of great features (free email, mobile apps and document storage), the free version does have one major flaw now being exposed by several of our customers. The flaw is the personal recovery information that protects each account can be changed by user (without management approval or knowledge).
 
When Cross Computers creates all new accounts, we set an email address for recovery. The email address (either supplied by company management or set to our address) allows select personnel to protect and recover emails if an employee leaves the company for any reason PLUS system will email selected user if personal information has been changed. The issue is that several companies have had employees change recovery email to their own information and then leave the company. The company then has no way of recovering access to email, contacts, documents, etc. - the account is lost permanently. 
 
We will always be glad to continue to help maintain recovery options for any of our customers. We just want to make sure that everyone understands CLEARLY AND COMPLETELY if recovery information is not maintained by Cross Computers or warnings are ignored, we can not be responsible for lost emails, contacts or critical data stored in Google accounts.
 
Thanks
 
Rob

Free Winter Advice

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Just a reminder, all electronic devices are not supposed to be exposed to extreme temperatures. All electronics (cameras, phones, monitors, tablets, laptops, IPod and other devices with a LCD screen) should not be left outside or in cars for extended periods of time. If any device is exposed to freezing temperatures, the best practice is to take device inside at normal room temperature for 6 - 12 hours. After device is at room temperature, power on device and see if it is still functional. If not, feel free to call us to see if device can be repaired.

Thanks

Rob

Computer Protection System

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New covers to protect your computers

How nice would it be to never have to clean a dirty LCD screen again? Are you taking computers apart to clean them? Is dirt and dust damaging your computer? Is your printer having paper feed problems due to dirt and dust?

We now have a full line of covers to protect most computer equipment from dust and dirt in all environments. Whether you have a computer in an auto/truck salvage yard, automotive garage, machine repair, fabrication shop or just in your basement at home, our covers will help protect your investment.
 
All covers are custom made to exact specification of your computer, monitor or keyboard. 
 
 
Keyboard covers are $15.99 each + tax
Tower covers are $21.99 + tax
Monitor covers are $22.99 + tax
 
cross printer cover ordernow cross keyboard cover ordernow cross monitor cover ordernow

Java Problems

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Errors with Oracle Java software

We have posted detailed procedure for keeping Java up to date on my blog (http://crosscomputers.com/robs-blog.html) and this should always be the first step. If user continues to have problems, we recommend the following procedure:

  1. Go to Add/Remove Programs or Programs and remove all instances/versions that reference Java.
  2. Reboot computer.
  3. Go to Java.com
  4. Click on "Free Java Download"
  5. Complete install - we recommend not installing Ask toolbar (or any other non-essential software).
  6. When completed, click on "Do I have Java" link and then "Verify Software".
  7. If verify is complete, check to see if errors are removed. If not, feel free to contact us for further assistance.

Upgrade AVG antivirus 2013

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Download the removal tool to remove 2012 AVG  http://www.avg.com/us-en/utilities

**We recommend attempting to use the 2012 Windows 64-Bit if you have Windows 7 and the 2012 Windows 32-Bit if you have Windows XP or older

Restart the computer.
Next, download the new AVG 2013 http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage
Click "Get Free Protection Now"
Scroll to bottom and click "Download" -- **Do NOT click "Free Trial"
Click on "Download Now"
Download and save file to desktop.
Double click on the file that was downloaded.
Click "Run"
Click "Next" for English
Click "Accept"
Select "Basic Protection" **VERY IMPORTANT
Click "Next" for Express Install.
Uncheck both boxes and click "Next"
Reboot if necessary.

DNS Changer Virus July 2012 Part 2

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Info from AVG labs about DNS virus.

http://www.avgthreatlabs.com/webthreats/info/dnschanger/

Statistics summary

DNSChanger is a threat that is spreading. It is currently ranked 236 in the world for online threats. DNSChanger has been detected by AVG on victims' machines in 3 countries during the last month. There are currently 2 websites in 1 country that host DNSChanger.

How can I remove DNSChanger?

If you received a pop-up warning for DNSChangerwhile you were surfing a website, chances are that the threat was blocked and there's nothing to remove. AVG blocks threats before they are able to download anything to your computer. If you suspect that a malicious file has been downloaded to your computer, AVG can detect and help remove during the regular scan process.

DNS Changer Virus July 2012 Part 1

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I posted link about DNS Changer virus earlier in April of this year (see article below). I think every major antivirus including AVG (software we recommend) has detection measures for this virus. I will post AVG detection lab info next post.

Operation Ghost Click virus update posted from FBI on the 17th...this one is time based and probably worth checking your computer. I read articles on WCPO and FBI website. The link I am providing is for FBI's security website. It was down earlier -- probably too many people trying to access site (or hackers ha ha!)

The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, http://www.dcwg.org/ , that will inform them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won't be able to connect to the Internet.

Read more: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/science_tech/hundreds-of-thousands-may-lose-internet-in-july#ixzz1stpiXu00

Reds Tickets 7/5/12

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Set 1 - FOX Sports Game of the Week
Reds vs. Cardinals Saturday July 14, 2012
4:05pm

Set 2
Reds vs. Diamondbacks Monday July 16, 2012
7:10pm

Set 3
Reds vs. Diamondbacks Tuesday July 17, 2012
7:10pm

Power settings on Windows 7 (sleep mode, hibernation, screen saver)

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Open Power Options by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, and then clicking Power Options.

Under the plan that you want to change, click Change plan settings.

On the Change settings for the plan page, choose the display and sleep settings that you want to use when your computer is running on battery (if applicable) and when it's plugged in.

Change all applicable settings to Never.

Click Save Changes.

Close open windows and then click Apply on screen saver tab.

New software for virus and SPAM protection

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We are always trying new and more advanced software for virus and SPAM detection. We are going to start beta testing new software in the next several weeks. With the new system, subjects of messages will be altered instead of spam/virus emails being automatically routed to a spam folder. Some of the subject modifications you may see will include:

  • probably spam.
  • definitely spam.
  • message contained a virus.
  • an attachment triggered a file scan but nothing else was wrong with the message.
  • an attachment triggered a content scan, but otherwise nothing was wrong with the message.
  • an attachment triggered a size check, but nothing else was wrong with the message.
  • message contained potential dangerous html tags that were removed.
  • message may contain a phishing attack.
Please let us know if you have any problems or questions.

Thanks

Rob

Recommendations for Computer Manufacturer

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Cross Computers has spent the last 13 years analyzing the computer industry and the constant shifting of the market. We watch everything from cost, availability, failure rates, number of warranty claims, features, etc. while considering which manufacturer has the best overall product. We spent over 9 years custom building every PC we sold before we even considered forming a partnership with a manufacturer. While we have a clear #1 selection, we have access to any brand or manufacturer (except Apple) on the marketplace today. We still consider Apple not to be a good selection for SMB customers due to cost vs. value and support concerns  (even though they have some very good development ideas) except for some very specific applications. So, instead of specifically listed the reasons not to purchase from certain manufacturers, we will just state clearly that there are at least 10 manufacturers on the market today that we would not resell or purchase no matter what the price (well maybe free - we would consider). The main two that seem to rank #1 and #2 in sales are Dell and HP. The big concern we have now is HP commitment to the PC market. They announced about a month they were going to discontinue involvement in the personal computer market. While they have withdrawn that statement (http://h30458.www3.hp.com/media2.php/PDF/HPtoKeepPCDivision102711.pdf), we have serious concerns about the long term support if you want to purchase a business level PC and have support for 3 - 5 years.

Cross Computers, Inc. has been a Dell premier partner for several years and we have access to everything in their product line at typically better pricing than standard website deals. We will be glad to help you choose a system for your business, home, college student or any need you have whether you buy it through our company or not. Dell has over 20 product lines (desktop/laptop/tablets) and understanding all the specifications on every computer can be very frustrating or confusing. We have provided product advice to our customers, friends and family for years and we would be glad to help anyone who is looking for a new computer system for the holidays.

Feel free to call or email us for any questions you have.

Thanks

Rob

Quickbooks Email Scam

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Quickbooks Email Scam continues - November 1, 2011
To all:There is a fake email "security notice" being sent by spam engines on the Internet. Do not open or download the "Intuit Security Tool" - it is most likely a virus or hijack program. If you would like to read the full article, pleasehttp://security.intuit.com/alert.php?a=28
There is a fake email "security notice" being sent by spam engines on the Internet. Do not open or download the "Intuit Security Tool" - it is most likely a virus or hijack program. Below is a copy of the fake QuickBooks Security Update.
You will not be able to access your Intuit QuickBooks account without Intuit Security Tool (IST) after 10th of April, 2011.
You can download Intuit Security Tool here.
After a successful download please run the setup for an automatic installation, then login to Intuit Quickbooks online to check that it is working properly.
This is the end of the fraudulent email.
If you would like to read the full article, please  go to http://security.intuit.com/alert.php?a=28
Thanks
Rob
Quickbooks Email Scam continues - November 1, 2011

There is a fake email "security notice" being sent on the Internet. Do not open or download the "Intuit Security Tool" - it is most likely a virus or a hijack program. Below is a copy of email being sent:

===========================================================================================
You will not be able to access your Intuit QuickBooks account without Intuit Security Tool (IST) after 10th of April, 2011.
You can download Intuit Security Tool here.

After a successful download please run the setup for an automatic installation, then login to Intuit Quickbooks online to check that it is working properly.

This is the end of the fraudulent email.
===========================================================================================

If you would like to read the full article, please go to http://security.intuit.com/alert.php?a=28

Thanks

Rob

Reds Ticket winner 9/6/11

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Congratulations to Ralph B. of St. Vincent de Paul and Justin K. of Industrial Mechanical Solutions on winning Reds tickets.

Automatic Software Updates

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Automatic Software and Program Updates**

**DISCLAIMER: The software we are discussing is standard software installed on about 95% of computers in the business market. We do not or could not possibly have a complete knowledge of every software package installed on every customer's computer to absolutely verify there would not be a software conflict of any type if one (or multiple) package is updated. Also, if you are concerned about your business systems please discuss any questions or concerns with us or contact your system administrator before proceeding.

Cross Computers, Inc often sees computers with out of date software during our daily work with our customers. When we ask about software updates, most people reply they do not know what to allow or disallow and are they are concerned. We ask about why they are concerned and they mention concerns about malware, viruses and just understanding what software is running and attempting to update on a daily basis. Well, we are going to try to help and make this simple and easy to understand for everyone. Software updates are crucial to system performance and protection from virus/malware or security intrusion attempts.

So, here are some standard software packages and why they should be updated.

  1. Windows updates: Absolutely crucial to keep Windows OS completely up to date and patched. The small gold shield will appear in system tray and should be addressed immediately and all critical updates installed. Critical updates fix known issues including security problems. Critical: Avoiding these notices will greatly increase your chances of virus attack, security intrusion or system failure.
  2. Adobe Acrobat Reader: Great software program for opening, printing and viewing PDFs. I install the new version whenever it is available.
  3. Java Update Feature: Java allows you to play online games, chat with people around the world, calculate your mortgage interest, and view images in 3D, just to name a few. It's also integral to the intranet applications and other e-business solutions that are the foundation of corporate computing. The Java Update is a feature that keeps your computer up-to-date automatically with the latest Java releases.
  4. Anti-virus package: All antivirus packages require updates from the Internet to protect your system. You should always allow your antivirus package to update and scan whenever requested. Critical: Avoiding these notices will greatly increase your chances of virus attack, security intrusion or system failure.
  5. Misc. other packages: Our recommendation is if you have installed software and are actively using the software package, allowing software updates will usually improve software and system performance.

We are not going to dispute that on very rare occasions (usually <1%), a software update can cause a program to fail or other Windows problems. The rewards typically far exceed the risk especially when related to Windows or antivirus software. We have fixed hundreds of computers with software/virus/malware problems in the last 13 years but can only document one case of system failure related to updating software as recommended by Microsoft.

Hope this helps and feel free to email any special program names or questions you have....Thanks Rob

**DISCLAIMER: The software we are discussing is standard software installed on about 95% of computers in the business market. We do not or could not possibly have a complete knowledge of every software package installed on every customer's computer to absolutely verify there would not be a software conflict of any type if one (or multiple) package is updated. Also, if you are concerned about your business systems please discuss any questions or concerns with us or contact your system administrator before proceeding.

Best Free Antivirus Software September 2011

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Best Free Antivirus Software September 2011

The #1 question we get almost every week is "What antivirus software does Cross Computers, Inc. recommend?"

So we decided to write a follow up to our last blog dated August 2010. We have seen about every product listed in PC magazine reviews except Outpost and ran scans using them all. We are still consistently seeing the free versions outperform the pay versions on basic protection. The main division of free vs. pay seems to be if you are business customers with servers instead of single desktop application. The free version does not have central control or work with Microsoft Server software. So, during the last 3 months we used our two top choices (Microsoft and AVG) to attempt virus removal on several infected systems after we diagnosed virus and prepared computer for scanning. If you followed blog from last year, Microsoft had a higher detection rate and removed 100% of virus more times than AVG. Well, guess who has made a comeback to retake the top position - AVG Free 2011/2012. We have seen exactly the same performance features (scan speed, detection rate, etc.) that allowed Microsoft to win last year now integrated in the new AVG. The next step was to check the experts opinion also and I would say the fact that PC Magazine gave the editor's choice to AVG (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2391931,00.asp) confirms our conclusion. The exact quote is very clear on their position and quoted directly from their website:

"This free product scored better than the commercial competition in PCMag's hands-on antivirus tests, and it also gets high marks from the independent labs. It now integrates with other AVG products and includes useful bonus features. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 is PCMag's new Editors' Choice for free antivirus."

So, now everyone wants to know what to do if I have Microsoft already installed. Here is our statement and it will remain true in the industry now and forever (no matter who wins the best of the year award for the current year). Software is dynamic, viruses are dynamic and unpredictable so no antivirus software will ever be 100%. The decision to recommend the time and effort to remove old software (#1 selection last year) just to install new software (#1 selection this year) unless you have major documented risk points concerning your company infrastructure (HIPAA compliance, previous attacks, other company or personal risk factors that are extremely high, PCI compliance concerns, etc) is a very tough call and probably should be analyzed on a case by case basis. We still have many customers using the Microsoft products with expected results and protection levels, even though PC Magazine has dropped it completely as legitimate anti-virus solution (not even listed on current reviews page). PC Magazine explained the reason for rapid decline basically was Microsoft did not maintain pace with development of the software package compared to other products on the market, therefore it is no longer even in same target market.

Cross Computers, Inc. standard practice is to perform extensive research, test the products as much as possible and try to help our customers make the best choice they can if they are installing software today for the first time. We are currently installing AVG Free on all our new Dell business systems if that makes any difference in your company's direction.

Hope this helps...feel free to email us directly if you have any comments or need help.

Rob

This free product scored better than the commercial competition in PCMag's hands-on antivirus tests, and it also gets high marks from the independent labs. It now integrates with other AVG products and includes useful bonus features. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 is PCMag's new Editors' Choice for free antivirusThis free product scored better than the commercial competition in PCMag's hands-on antivirus tests, and it also gets high marks from the independent labs. It now integrates with other AVG products and includes useful bonus features. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2012 is PCMag's new Editors' Choice for free antivirus.

 

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