PCMD, Inc. Computer Repair – Which wireless provider is best at keeping Portland weird…errr wireless

Posted on 21. May, 2012 by in Blog

Verizon LTE

It’s no secret that every day our lives are revolving more and more around our mobile devices. Phone calls, e-mails, Facebook stalking & streaming those classic Bowie hits – what would we do without it? We would probably be a much more polite, productive, better communicating society. Who wants that though? This blog is about directing you to a wireless carrier that’ll keep your “lets dance” Pandora station streaming hiccup free here in the Stumptown sippin’, hipster capital of America.

Let’s break it down. Here in the US there are four major carriers to choose from: T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, & Verizon. All four carriers can be split into two major groups based on the technology they use for transmitting & receiving their 1’s & 0’s – Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and code division multiple accesses (CDMA). T-Mobile and & AT&T are both GSM, while Sprint & Verizon are CDMA. GSM has been around the longest and is the world standard for mobile communications with almost every country utilizing it. CDMA is newer, and unlike the rest of the world, is the dominant cellular technology here in the US.

In the past the major reason you would seek out a GSM based carrier could very easily be summed up: world travel. Because the entire world uses GSM, you could take your AT&T or T-Mobile phone anywhere in the world and roam on other providers networks. Things have slightly changed recently though as many feature phones now include both CDMA & GSM radios.

While a GSM phone will allow you to freely roam the earth, it can also break the bank. If you plan on traveling & are interested in saving money on international roaming look into buying a pre-paid SIM card for the particular country you’re planning to visit. A SIM (subscriber identity module) is a swappable card used in GSM devices that store your account information and is used to identify & authenticate you with the wireless network. This gives you the freedom to take your phone number and service to any mobile device simply exchanging the SIM card.

Prepaid SIM cards come with a new local telephone number that will allow you get on Yelp for the best schnitzel Germany has to offer without stressing about super high roaming/data fees. The downside with prepaid SIMS is friends & family will no longer be able to reach you with your local US number. That’s ok though because with or without a prepaid SIM international long distance rates fall into ridiculous territory with prices as high as $3.00 a minute. If you want to reach out back home look for a café that offers free WIFI and send an e-mail or use a VOIP solution like Skype.

For those of us that don’t do much traveling and actually use our phones as phones the biggest reason to go CDMA over GSM: fewer dropped calls. It’s not just because Sprint & Verizon cast a larger net, but how CDMA actually handles your phone calls. When you’re placing a call on a Verizon phone it’s connected with multiple towers at the same time, utilizing the one with the best reception, so if one tower drops off you don’t lose the call. GSM only handles one tower at a time with no overlap which results in a higher percentage of dropped calls. People refer to it as a “soft hand-off” vs. a “hard hand-off.” Other benefits of CDMA include: increased call clarity (background noise filtration), less radiation – 28 times less found in this study, and far better security.

So CDMA seems to have its advantages in many different areas, but what carrier is covering the Beaver State the best? The winner without contest is big red. That’s Verizon to the layperson. AT&T’s & T-Mobile’s coverage in Oregon’s more rural areas leaves a lot to be desired. GSM coverage on Highway 26 on the way to the coast is painful to look at – endlessly cycling in and out of service like Rosie O’donnell trying to choose just one flavor at Baskin Robins. The highly populated urban areas aren’t much better. With an AT&T iPhone 3GS I once dropped the same phone call three times in the span of ten minutes traveling up I-5 from the Tualatin area. My client on the other end inquired, “Are you having some issues with your phone?” I looked down. My phone said I had five bars. And that was the end of my brief affair with AT&T.

If you’re someone that never makes phone calls and would rather text the person sitting next to you than have an actual conversation, T-Mobile is a smart way to go. It’ll have pretty much the same coverage as AT&T, but with cheaper package options.

What about Sprint? It’s true that Verizon & Sprint have roaming agreements and in many of cases have the same coverage. It’s also true that Sprints packages have truly unlimited data as well as cheaper plans when compared to AT&T and Verizon. The problem for me with Sprint lies in its 4G service.

As you may know 4G service is all the rage now, blowing the doors of its older, slower 3G sibling. Sprint was the first to the market with a true 4G solution using WiMAX. As soon as it was out I was one of the first people to jump on board. It was very exciting to see download speeds in excess of 15 Mbps with upload speeds averaging 1 Mbps. For perspective the average Comcast customer usually averages 25-30 Mbps down & 4-5 Mbps up. Previous to that the average download speed you would get from Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T over 3G was between 800 Kbps and 1.5 Mbps, so it was certainly a huge improvement.

There were some 4G coverage dead spots in rural areas which I expected, but I was a little stunned with some of the metropolitan areas of Beaverton & Hillsboro that didn’t have coverage. It wasn’t the end of the world though because at least I could get these new silly speeds in some parts of Oregon. Besides, what other 4G option did I have?

That is until Verizon unleashed ludicrous speed with its new fancy 4G LTE service. Like a man sobering up, I realized Sprint’s network wasn’t as attractive as previously thought. With my 3G/4G LTE hotspot from Verizon everywhere that I didn’t have 4G service with Sprint I was getting full bars with Verizon. Not only that, but the upload & download speeds absolutely crushed (as high as 30Mbps down & 20Mbps up in some parts) Sprint’s offerings. I was even getting Verizon’s fastest way out in the middle of nowhere in Oregon City. To this day I think there might be only one place I’ve been, besides the coast, where my hotspot has had to hobble along at the slower 3G speeds. So it’s really not that Sprint’s 4G service is so bad, but that Verizon’s is so much better.

So in Oregon Verizon has the fastest/largest 4G network, best 3G coverage, and overall better call quality than it’s GSM competition. What’s left to know? Well, what most people aren’t aware of is that the experience they have with a wireless carrier has a lot to do with the equipment they use. While Verizon does an excellent job of testing each device that it approves for its network, there are some devices that eclipse others.

If you’re the average consumer in the market looking for a smartphone on Verizon network, you can’t go wrong with Apple’s iPhone 4S. It gets great reception and it’s still the most intuitive smartphone on the market by a mile. Battery pulls not required,the iPhone is also immune to the typical software bugs that plague so many Android & Blackberry phones. The latest 4S version of the iPhone also includes both CDMA & GSM wireless radios in case you’ve got the travel bug. As long as you’re in good standing for the last three months with Verizon (paid your bills on time) they will unlock the phone so you can travel abroad using a prepaid SIM card.

If you’re more of the anal retentive business type and only care about two things – making phone calls and writing e-mails, Research In Motion’s (RIM) Blackberry Bold 9930 might be a better fit. RIM may be struggling in the consumer arena with the onslaught of competition from Apple & Android based smartphones, but they’re still king when it comes to e-mail, call clarity, speakerphones, and those tactically delectable keyboards. While some might argue an iPhone can tackle a lot of these tasks well, I can assure you that a Blackberry still does it best.

Finally, if your office is wherever you’re having coffee that day, and you’re just looking for a means to your data ends to replace that molasses slow coffee house WIFI, I would recommend a Verizon mobile hotspot. Stay away from 3G/4G USB modems. They rely on software drivers and in my experience can be more trouble than their worth, especially with older versions of Windows. Beyond being less of a pain, mobile hotspots will also allow you to connect up to 5 different devices simultaneously. The best one Verizon carries at the moment is the Verizon Jetpack 4620L. On average you’ll be assured 3-5 hours per charge, and unlike previous hotspots, you can charge it through your USB port on your Laptop as you’re using it! Verizon also supposedly has a larger capacity battery in the works that will double its run time.

So there you have it. Whether you’re a on the go business pro that relies on your wireless service for work in Oregon, and around the country, or just a bicyclin’ beatnik “checking in” to your favorite food cart, Verizon will do it best here in Oregon without skipping a beat – Bowie or not.

Watch out for the Intuit Security Tool Scam!

Posted on 06. Apr, 2011 by in Blog

Intuit Security Tool
*click to enlarge*

Today we got an e-mail that was supposedly from Intuit regarding a new “Intuit Security Tool.” This is one of the MANY types of phishing scams out there. Remember, Intuit will never e-mail you to ask you for information or require you to download something. Just delete and move on.

PCMD, Inc. Portland Computer Repair – It’s a dangerous world out there – learn how to protect your computer

Posted on 11. Dec, 2010 by in Blog

The internet is a very scary place. It’s full of all sorts of weirdoes. If you don’t believe me go watch an episode of Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator.” Now add the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people creating malicious software for the purpose of picking your pocket, and you start to see the picture. I can’t keep hairy fifty five year old men from trying to hit on you in the singles chat room, but I can give you tips on how to keep your network protected and your computers virus free.

The first thing area we’re going to look at is securing your broadband connection with what’s known as a “hardware firewall.” If you have a dialup connection I feel sorry for you, and you can probably stop reading right here. If you’re on a broadband connection (DSL/cable/FiOS) and you’re using a standard modem without a router (FiOS customers are covered because they install a router/modem combo by default) you’re exposing your computer to all sorts of possible attacks from the outside world. Hardware firewalls don’t have to be fancy. Any kind of consumer router (Linksys, D-Link, etc.) will do just fine. Besides the benefit of protecting your broadband connection, these routers will allow you to share your internet connection between multiple computers – wired & wireless.

The next step in ensuring your safety is making sure your computer is up to date with all Windows/third party software updates. By default Windows should be automatically downloading & installing updates for your computer at 3:00 AM each day. Sometimes for different reasons this doesn’t occur like it should and your computer can be left un-patched. To remedy the situation you can visit www.windowsupdate.com and manually look for any necessary updates that your computer might need. You can also check your update preferences by going to Control panel and looking for Automatic updates (Windows XP) and Windows Update (Windows Vista & Windows 7). Besides windows updates, your computer should also have the latest updates for third party software like Adobe Flash & Java. Java is the third party application that has a little orange coffee cup that’s always popping up in your notification area asking you to install the latest update. The other offender – Flash-is also being updated often. Any prompts you receive to update Adobe Air, or Adobe Flash should be handled ASAP. Aside from providing security hole fixes, these updates provide compatibility/performance enhancements.

Now that we’ve covered the basics fundamentals we’ll dive into the main portion which is security/Antivirus software, or more commonly referred to as “Internet Security Suites” because they include a firewall component. There are LOTS of options on the market. Most of you are familiar with the offerings from McAfee, Norton, and maybe AVG. That’s because some of these were pre-installed on a lot of computers you may have purchased from Dell or HP.

For the longest time Norton was probably the most popular software with consumers, but it was also the worst. It was pretty easily agreed by everyone in the IT community that Norton software was overly bloated (slowed down the computer) and overall a poor performer. For a long time the first thing I did on any computer equipped with Norton was to remove it. It’s funny considering a lot of the time you couldn’t even uninstall it if you wanted to. You would have to use a special “Norton removal tool.” McAfee wasn’t any better. It was lighter on system resources, but it wasn’t any good at keeping your computer safe either.

A lot has changed though over the last few years. Maybe it’s because there have been more and more Free AVs hitting the market causing those resting on their laurels to step up their game. If you’ve got money to burn we’ll give you our recommendation on what we think is the best paid for protection, but If your wallet is light, fret not, because we’ll also go over what we think is the best free software as well.

At the top of the free category is Comodo Internet Security. It uses something called HIPS (host intrusion protection system) to protect the computer by keeping programs from making any changes to system files. The firewall component also tests higher than the competition. The problem with Comodo’s HIPS is that it’s really designed for the more advanced user. It depends on the user to allow or deny certain programs access to system files. The problem with that is that the average user doesn’t know his hand from his foot, let alone which applications can be trusted. At the same time, If you really know what you’re doing, and don’t mind taking the time to give safe applications permissions to access the web/system files then this really is a good option.

The second free AV we recommend comes from Microsoft. Microsoft Security Essentials does a fine job detecting a wide variety of malware threats that are on the market today. Its only downside is that it doesn’t include a firewall component & depends on Windows Firewall. Alternatively you could always install Comodo’s free firewall to compliment MSE for a good combo.

Our third piece of free software we recommend isn’t actually an AV at all. The free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is an on demand scanning program that does an excellent job of removing all sorts of misc malware including some root kit infections. For a $24.99 you can upgrade to the full edition which includes a real-time protection module. Overall it’s an excellent addition to any defense, even one that includes a paid for AV.

As far as paid for software goes our favorite is Norton Internet Security 2011 which will protect 3 computers for just $69 a year. Five years ago I would have never thought I would hear myself say such a thing, but Symantec has stepped up its game. Gone are the days that Norton wreaked havoc on your computers performance – it now has one of the SMALLEST memory footprints in the business.
It also has a lot of unique features to help protect your computer. One of my favorite features added in 2010, Download Insight, analyzes every file you download and compares it against a database to see if the file can be deemed safe. If Norton decides that it’s unsafe – maybe the file is too new, or it’s only on a number of other computers in the Norton Network – it will automatically quarantine the file so you can’t execute it. If Norton accidentally quarantines a file that you know is safe (never happened to me) then there are ways to retrieve it. This feature is helpful to help protect against new malware AVs might not have a signature for.

The biggest aspect of any AV program though is its ability to detect & remove malware, and in that aspect Norton has been very impressive in our own testing, but it’s also very popular with all the online review sites. Looking at this chart from AV-comparatives.org’s malware removal test of September of 2009 (It’s from 2009, but they’re using Norton 2010) you can see that both Norton (listed as Symantec) and Microsoft Security Essentials, mentioned earlier, did very well against the competition. In fact, in AV comparative’s 2009 Summary report Norton took first place against 15 other AVs. Its positives were listed as: very high detection rates, low system impact, and ease of use. That’s the reason we like & recommend Norton – not only does it do an excellent job, but ANYBODY can use it. It sounds cheesy, but it’s very “set it and forget it.”

Last but not least, it doesn’t matter how good your protection is if you plan to go willy nilly all over the net. A lot of adult & online gambling websites are traps. Just remember – if anything looks too good to be true, it probably is. Another known trap comes in the form of pop ups. If you ever receive a popup while browsing the web that says “You’re computer is infected. Download X to make the problem go away,” close the window and move on. Sometimes you might have trouble closing the window. If you do press Ctrl+Alt+Del, go to the processes tab, and end just end the browser process (firefox.exe – firefox, iexplore.exe – internet explorer, etc.).

Next, if you or your children use Peer2Peer software (Kazaa, Limeware) understand that you’re doing so at your own risk. I’m not here to judge – we’ve all done it at one time or another, but illegal music/software is one of the best ways to get infected. It’s also smart to not open any e-mail attachments unless you know it’s safe. That means if you get a chain e-mail from a friend with “the most hilarious video ever.mov” attached – the smart move is to fight the urge to open it. Your friend could have infected his own machine with the same file and not even know it.

Hopefully this post helps you keep your computer virus free, but if something goes wrong we’re always available to help. We’re usually available that same day to come out to your home or small business & we guarantee our work.

PCMD, Inc. Portland Computer Repair – Intuit finally throws a Hail Mary with Quickbooks 2011 but it’s come too late

Posted on 29. Sep, 2010 by in Blog

If you’re an accountant or small business owner like myself there is a good chance that you spend much of your time working with a little program called Quickbooks. I’m sure there have been moments where you day dreamed about punching Intuit employees square in the face. It’s ok – we’ve all been there. My biggest frustration for the last three years has been working with Quickbooks on 64 bit operating systems. I’m specifically talking about the issue revolving around the Amyuni PDF printer driver that Quickbooks utilizes for creating reports and e-mailing forms like sales receipts, invoices, purchase orders, etc.

“Printer not activated, error code -30”

“Could not print to the printer”

These are just some of the errors that you might encounter while working with Quickbooks 2008, 2009, or 2010 on a 64 bit operating system. Whats worse is that Intuit has been selling lies for the last three years saying, “Upgrading to the latest version will fix the issue.” Trust me – it doesn’t. You can only imagine how infuriating it is to purchase software in hopes of solving a problem to only see it pop back up. I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve spent on the phone with Intuit support or online in the Quickbooks forums searching for solutions from other frustrated users. Usually a fix would work for 2 -3 days, and then it would be broken all over again. Charlie Russel, a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor even dedicated a section of his popular Quickbooks blog to the issue with different fixes, which I tried to no avail.

After hours and hours of screwing around I finally gave up and said “the hell with it” and setup a Windows XP 32 bit virtual machine to run Quickbooks. For the last year I’ve literally been running a computer within a computer just to do my accounting. It certainly increased the time it took to do business but at least I was able to do business.

Fast forward to two days ago where Intuit released Quickbooks 2011. I have to say that the people in Moutain View California have finally pulled their heads out of their asses. They finally took the time and money to invest in an in house PDF solution that fixes the issue. The awful days of the Amyuni PDF printer driver are gone. Why did it take so long? And why should users using 2009 or 2010 (the only two years Intuit say should work on 64 bit systems) have to upgrade for Quickbooks 2011 to have a product that functions like it should have initially? Especially when Quickbooks so blatantly admits their screw up on their own KB:

From: http://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/support/pages/knowledgebasearticle/1007856

Note: Intuit replaced the.pdf converter/driver function with more reliable .pdf technology in QuickBooks Pro 2011 (for Windows), Premier 2011, and Enterprise 11. Read the Practical QuickBooks blog entry “PDF Printing – Finally Fixed” for an outsider’s perspective. If you upgrade to one of these 2011 products (solution 1), you should no longer experience this .pdf issue.

So here we have Intuit directing people to Charlie Russel’s blog titled “PDF Printing – Finally Fixed,” (Charlie was obviously happy about this as well) and then telling people to “upgrade to one of these 2011 products” to solve the issue. Are you kidding me?!?! Microsoft would never get away with this. I’m happy to get away from using a cumbersome VM to handle my accounting, but Intuit has surely tarnished their reputation with their handling of the situation. They could earn back my respect by offering a free update to 2009/2010 users that fixes the issue, but we all know they wont do that. They’re far too greedy for that.

PCMD, Inc. Portland Computer Repair – *Breaking coverage for new iPhone*

Posted on 07. Jun, 2010 by in Blog

While this has nothing to do with computer repair, everyone enjoys a good way to waste time at work. May I present you with Engadget’s live coverage from WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference) – tune in at 10AM to watch live as Steve Job’s will unveil the new iPhone and it’s upcoming release date! Also, while we may not hear about a CDMA (Verizon/Sprint) version of the phone today don’t get your panties in a bunch. There is a good chance that’s right down the road as it looks like AT&T is trying to rope people into new contracts. Could it be beacause AT&T’s death grip on the iPhone has come to an end?

PCMD, Inc. Portland Computer Repair – Backing up your data *update*

Posted on 26. May, 2010 by in Blog

In our last blog we talked about backing up your important data. I stressed the importance of having both offsite AND onsite backup if you consider your data to be very valuable . Well it appears that Mozy want’s to help Mozy Pro (sorry home, it looks like your left out – at least for now) users out with their onsite backup as well! I received the following e-mail from Mozy today:

MozyPro 2.0 for Windows is Here!

Now you have one more reason to offer MozyPro to your valued business customers: MozyPro 2.0 for Windows. It’s loaded with great new features and a simplified look and feel you’ll both appreciate.

With MozyPro 2.0, your customers can expect faster upload speeds and decreased bandwidth usage, new convenience and access features, and Mozy 2xProtect™ – a new feature which allows MozyPro users to back up to a local external drive in addition to Mozy’s online data centers at no additional cost. Now your customers can be double protected!

Learn more about 2xProtect for Business or visit our blog to see all the new benefits of MozyPro 2.0.

Be safe,
The Mozy Reseller Team

I haven’t tried 2.0 yet for onsite backup, but if it works as smoothly as previous versions for offsite backup – sign me up.

Don’t let your computer get caught with its pants down – Backup your data!

Posted on 11. May, 2010 by in Blog

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. The five stages of grief. Strangely these steps are all too familiar to those who have dealt with the loss of a different kind – one of the digital sort. I’ve personally witnessed individuals cry after telling them that their data isn’t retrievable without spending upwards of $2,000 (that’s the low end by the way). Your business’ accounting information, your son’s school papers, even your Wedding photos – your hard drive doesn’t discriminate. It could all be gone in a split second. It’s not a matter of “if” your hard drive will crash, but a matter of “when.”

It’s important to stress that there is no guarantee on the lifespan of a hard drive. 1 day, 3 weeks, 6 months, 7 years. Nobody really knows when that spinning disk will bite the dust. So how can you keep your eyes dry? Luckily, there are many options.

The first decision you’re faced with is onsite vs. offsite backup. Their names are self explanatory – onsite backup means you’re storing your backup “onsite” and offsite backup is where you store your backup “offsite” or on the internet or “cloud”. While backing up and restoring your data offsite might take more time (you’re limited by the speed of your internet connection), it’s worth it as your data is more secure (theft/fire/flood/etc. aren’t an issue.) The other inevitable downside to offsite backup is the cost that you’ll incur – it’s a monthly subscription service vs. the upfront cost of paying for hardware/software for onsite backup. However, in the rare case that you have very little data that you need to backup you might be able to get a free pass – more on that in a minute.

If you’re going to be using onsite backup you need to first get yourself an external hard drive, or a spare hard drive in your computer that’s not being used. A flash drive might work as a backup medium, but I usually don’t recommend it because the average flash drive storage capacity isn’t adequate for most people’s backup needs.

Next, you’ll need some software to facilitate the backup job. If you’re a home user looking for something simple then I recommend Genie-Soft’s Timeline Home. It’s a continuous (always backing up vs running at a scheduled time) program that copycats Apple’s Time Machine backup. I find it to be incredibly easy to setup and restoring files is a snap. That brings me to my next point – if you’re an Apple user I recommend Apple’s Time Machine hands down. I wouldn’t use any other software. Apple’s Time Machine is really as “set it and forget it” as it gets. Bundling Time Machine with an offsite backup solution is even better.

If you’re a home or business user that requires more control/options and you want to run your backups on a schedule then I recommend Genie-Soft’s Backup Manager Pro. It has been absolutely bullet proof in my experience. Another good option that’s slightly less expensive is SmartSync Pro.

If monthly fees don’t scare you, and having your data secure is your primary goal then offsite backup is really the way to go. There are two big dogs in this category – Carbonite & Mozy. Carbonite is $54.95 a year (business or pleasure). Mozy comes in three different flavors. The first is for home users, which is $4.99 a month per machine for unlimited backup. The second is MozyPro for business users, which charges $ .50 per GB plus a licensing fee per machine. Don’t let that discourage you because most business machines on average aren’t backing up more than 10 GB of data, and you can’t put a price on a reliable solution for your business. Both companies offer a very similar service, but in my experience Mozy’s interface/options are superior. On top of that, Mozy’s third flavor is completely free if you’re a home user backing up 2 GB or less! While 2 GB of data isn’t going to cover years of photos, it’s usually enough to cover the really critical data.

While doing one is better than none, I recommend doing both (onsite & offsite) if your data is highly valuable and having little downtime is of concern – time is money after all. Well there you have it. Go out there and backup your data. After all – it really is cheaper than the counseling you’ll be paying for if you don’t and your hard drive decides to die.

PCMD, Inc Portland Computer Repair’s first YouTube video on Outlook Autocomplete Data!

Posted on 24. Mar, 2010 by in Blog

PCMD Inc Portland Computer Repair talks about laptop recommendations

Posted on 22. Mar, 2010 by in Blog

Hi guys,

Laptops are becoming more and more popular nowadays. They’re replacing their bulkier desktop counterparts because they provide *almost* the same performance (especially with the introduction of solid state hard drives) with the added benefit of portability.

There is a huge problem though. Most laptops have the structural rigidity of a sandcastle and the build quality of a Ford Pinto. What does that mean for you then? More than likely your electronic right hand man will wither and die long before expected. It’s the truth. The Dell Inspiron you’re using to read this blog will soon start to lose its lustrous paint on the palm rests and before you know it you’ll have to jimmy-rig a twizzler under the power jack just to get the laptop to charge. It’s an unavoidable fate.

So what are you to do? It’s very easy – buy a quality laptop. There are two main laptop brands that we’ve been recommending for the last three years. The first is Lenovo, or you might know them as IBM. Lenovo’s T & X series notebooks are a great solution for someone that must go the PC route. Here are a few reasons why we love Lenovo’s T & X series notebooks:

  • Spill resistant keyboards
  • Cushions for the hard drives
  • Titanium hinges
  • Stronger power connectors
  • Best in class keyboards
  • Higher quality plastics
  • Great drivers
  • Excellent customer support

The list really goes on and on. What’s really cool is that these great machines have really come down in price. A T400 series notebook now starts at $799.00 which is extremely reasonable.

If you’re tired of the PC experience and want something a little fruity…er different may I present you with door number 2 – Apple. Apple has really done an excellent job in the last few years with their notebook offerings. One of the greatest things about Apple products is that you’re getting your hardware AND software from one company, unlike PCs where you have to worry about getting your Windows updates from Microsoft, and your driver updates from NVIDIA. Besides that you have these other benefits:

  • Excellent support (phone and in store)
  • Viruses (for the most part) aren’t a concern
  • Great battery life
  • Very few hardware issues
  • Slick designs – they’re sexy as hell…you can’t deny it

Apple’s MacBooks are also priced quite reasonable. They start at $999 for the basic MacBook and $1199 for the MacBook Pros.

Which one is right for you? It really depends on what you’re going to use it for. If you’re a business user that spends an entire day on Outlook, or if you just think Apples are for sissies, then the Lenovo will float your boat just fine. On the other hand if you’re a general user that’s looking to organize photos, listen to music, browse the web, and Facebook your friends (pretty much 90% of what most people use their computers for) then Apple is probably the way to go.

If you’re thinking, “Is that really it? There aren’t any other options out there?” Well as far as what we recommend…. yes, and you can see from this link we’re not off our rockers. There are some laptops out there that we consider “best of the worst” like Dell’s Lattitude lineup, but if you’re going to be spending that kind of a dough you might as well get a real quality product.

Thanks for reading guys,
James

Portland has a new option for Portland computer repair

Posted on 07. Mar, 2010 by in Blog

Hi Everyone,

This is my first official post on the new blog.  I should introduce myself.  My name is James Huegli and I’m the owner of PCMD, Inc.   I’m not the best writer but I’m looking forward to sharing who I am through  these blogs.

For my first blog I thought I would tell you a little bit about who I am and what my background is.  I’ve had an interesting technology journey as of now.  When I was young (9-13) I used to spend my days on AOL in chat rooms where I  learned to type at an incredible pace.  From there I got interested in the internet and computers and what they had to offer. All through middle school and high school I took any technology related course I could.

In my senior year of high school I got involved in Cisco’s CCNA program.  At the same time I started an internship at Intel (JF3 if you know Intel).  At Intel I was part of the network card department testing network cards and building network card testers for Malaysia.  I worked at Intel for a year and a half and took the opportunity to soak up all the wisdom and knowledge that was all around me.

After Intel I went to work for Logical Systems, Inc. – a local audio/video consulting business.  There I was put in charge of designing and building audio/video broadcast computers/servers for local city governments (West Linn, Corvallis, Wilsonville).  I also designed and taught a custom workflow to local city employees who were then put in charge of these systems.  I worked there for several years before I decided that I wanted build something of my own.

I established PCMD, Inc. back in January of 2007 and now I get to combine my two loves – people & computers into a business that has been growing year after year.  That pretty much covers it for now.

Thanks for reading,

James Huegli

Owner