Computers and Monsoon Season

August 20, 2010

Every year we receive lots of calls about computers failing or having hardware problems during monsoon season. Most of this problems are caused by electric spikes. Here are some tips about how to prevent damage to your computer equipment:

  1. Have some protection. We recommend our customers to use an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). Even thought the cost might seem somewhat steep (a good UPS costs around $100, like this or this for example), but you can easily find one that offers basic protection for  under $50. Considering all the damage that an electric spike can cause it’s worth it.
  2. Backup your data, just in case. It is always a good idea to have your information backed up, because you never know when something might happen. You don’t want to lose your work, or personal information.
  3. We recommend that you turn your computer off and unplug your computer during a storm. It also helps to unplug your router and unplug it from your telephone for added security.

If you have any questions about backing up your information, or computer questions in general, please feel free to give us a call and we will be more than happy to help you out.

The Desert Computers Team

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Changing the main language in Windows Vista and 7

August 11, 2010

Recently I bought a new laptop for my parents. They live in Peru and for them having Windows in English is very complicated.

I started searching online on how to change the main language in Windows Vista, but apparently you have to have the Business Premium or Ultimate versions to be able to do it. Unless you use Vistalizator. This free software will allow you to use Microsoft’s own language packs in any version of Vista or 7.

The installation was very simple and after downloading the Spanish language pack the software took care of the rest.

Recently I also used this software to allow a customer to use Arabic in her computer. It worked flawlessly. Highly recommended.

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Where are you in this map?

August 8, 2010

This map created by the guys at Flowtown shows, in a funny way, the different Social Networks and how big are they in relation with each other.

Social Networking Map

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Password Security I – Creating Passwords

August 7, 2010

You will be surprised, or maybe even terrified, when you consider how much information can be accessed if somebody knows your password.

Consider this: if you use one email account frequently, is very likely that you’ve used that email to open accounts on other online services (like  facebook, myspace or youtube). The person that access your email, then can reset your other passwords and basically stole your identity

The best way to protect your information is by using a strong password.

Here are some recommendations to create a strong password.

  1. Your password should be at least 8 characters long.
  2. Do not use your user name, real name, or company name.
  3. Don’t use information that can be known by strangers.
    Using your pet’s name or birthday as a password is a very bad idea. Places like Facebook can give almost anybody tons of information they can try to use to hack your passwords.
  4. Always try to use a combination of letters and numbers.
    An easy way to do this is by replacing certain letters for numbers, usually you can change an “l” for a “1″, an “o” for a “0″, an “a” for a “4″,  an “e” for a “3″,  an “s” for a “5″ and a “b” for an “8″. For example say that you would like to use this method with this word: “smith”,  you will have “5m1th”. Visually is easy to remember and also harder to hack.
  5. Try not to use the same password for all your accounts. If possible use completely different password for all your accounts.
    An easy way to do it is to have a “base” password and then you can just add a word that describes where are you using it at the end of it. Using the same example that we used before, say we have an email account in hotmail and also an Online Banking account in Bank of America, we can use “5m1th” as our base password, and then add “hotmail” or “bofa” to personalize it. So at the end we will have our hotmail passwod as: “5m1thhotmail” and our Bank of America password as “5m1thbofa”. You can even try replacing letters by numbers to the second word, then you will have “5m1thh0tm41l” and “5m1th80f4″ making it much more strong.

If you want to know how secure is the password you’re currently using, I recommend this sites:

Microsoft Online Safety

and also this one

The Password Meter

I like this one better because it tells you the strengths and weaknesses of your password.

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Basic Virus protection tips

August 6, 2010

Here are some basic tips to prevent a virus infection.
  1. Do not open any files attached to an email from an unknown, suspicious, or untrustworthy source.
  2. Do not open any files attached to an email unless you know what it is, even if it appears to come from a friend or someone you know. Some viruses can replicate themselves and spread through email.
  3. Do not open any files attached to an email if the subject line is questionable or unexpected.
  4. Delete chain emails and junk email. Do not forward or reply to any of them.
  5. Do not download any files from an unknown, suspicious, or untrustworthy source.

We will be posting more about how to prevent an infection and what to do if  your computer has a virus.

If you think you’re infected with a virus and/or spyware, let us know. We can help.

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Welcome

August 6, 2010

Welcome to Desert Computers! Here you will find news, tips  and information about Windows, Linux, Mac, Videogames and the Internet.

Please follow us in tweeter @desertcomputers

Enjoy.

Renato

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Adding Feedburner…

August 6, 2010

You can also subscribe to our blog feed by email or RSS via Feedburner.

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Integrating our blog with twitter and facebook

August 6, 2010

We’re just finishing the integration between our blog, twitter and facebook, so it will be easier for you to know what is happening at Desert Computers and Design

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And we’re back…

August 6, 2010

After a long hiatus we are back.

We have moved, and now we are serving the East Valley, from the City of Maricopa.

We will try to post daily. Please check our blog often, and don’t forget to follow us on twitter @desertcomputers

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