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Category Archives: Computers

Want to Copy a DVD?

In the U.S., the movie and video industries continue to search for what they feel to be acceptable ways to let consumers copy and watch DVD content on their computers. But the end result of their efforts are often clumsy and painfully unusable -- and always laden with warnings, restrictions and Digital Rights Management software that is intended to protect the rights of the copyright holders. The latest product to "hit the shelves" is RealDVD from RealNetworks, the software company responsible for the RealPlayer streaming audio and video player that all but ruled streaming media presentation around the turn of the century.  (Incedentally RealPlayer is one of PC Fixer's top ten worst software programs.) RealDVD, a $30 product, lets users copy a DVD to their hard drive while keeping the menus, options, special features -- and the encryption --... --

Microsoft Hires Windows “Gurus” to Troll the Aisles at Best Buy

As part of Windows Vista's $300 million marketing rehabilitation, Microsoft will initially hire a wave of 'Windows Gurus to walk around Best Buy and Circuit City stores to answer customer questions and defend Vista's reputation against skeptics. Gurus will earn twenty dollars an hour or more and benefits. One way Windows Gurus will differ from Apple Geniuses is that they are not intended to be sources of free technical support for existing Vista users. 'The Guru role is to help sell Windows-based PCs. It is not to be an alternative tech support channel for Microsoft as this has no financial return beyond improved customer satisfaction,' Baker said. One reason: Windows Gurus could end up 'lightning rods for customers' frustrations with Vista.'"... --

Cisco Catalyst 3550 Series Reprogramming

Today I had the pleasure of working for Creative Environments in Hollywood.  This property management company runs a 48 unit buildiing on Cosmo street in Los Angeles (Hollywood) and supplies a T1 connection to the tennants.  The internet is shared with 2 Cisco 3550 switches hooked up to a Linksys dual wan vpn router.  I had the great pleasure of working with Phil Seretti who is a multi-talented extremely adept problem-solver.  His website is www.postsoundcorp.com.... --

Sage Software, Timeslips and AccPac

I dont know if any of you other techs out there have had a lot of dealings with Sage.  The fine software company who is responsible for TimeSlips and AccPac.  I was lucky enough to deal with both of of these programs yesterday.  One client, and I have seen this before, was unlucky enough to be sold by a slick Accpac consultant who set everything up for thousands of dollars.  This was years ago.  A new version was released and they paid several more thousand dollars to upgrade.  That was also a few years ago.  Not this unlucky company has been told they need to upgrade because the software version they are using is no longer supported.  The cost for this upgrade?  Over $9,000! This is where having a good computer consultant from the beginning would... --

Unremovable Infections in Los Angeles computers

So many of these are infecting Los Angeles computers lately.  It isnt that they are unremovable, it is just that the troubleshooting process reaches a point where it no longer makes sense to fight infection.  This is because one can reinstall the entire operating system in less time than it takes to completely eradicate the infection.  That is unless the client has so many programs and so much data to back up that it would actually take less time to remove the virus.  A balance needs to be stricken between the troubleshooting time to removal the malware and the estimated time it would take to reinstall Windows.  That is why creating images is so important. Today I ran into an error I had never seen before on a Vista machine.  Runtime error 21 at 04A949D2.... --

Top 11 Ways to Tune Up a Computer

PC Fixer in Los Angeles has been perfecting the PC tuneup process for over 13 years.  Want to make your computer faster?  Here are the top ten ways to do so:
  1. Adjust your startup items with the msconfig command.  Knowing what to turn off takes experience.
  2. Adjust your startup services with the msconfig command.  Knowing what you can turn off takes much experience and is different for every computer.
  3. Turn of desktop wallpaper, clean out your temporary file folder and adjust the Windows GUI.
  4. Run Spyware Doctor 4.0, update it and remove spyware.
  5. Uninstall Norton Antivirus or other bloated security software packages and replace them with efficient software such as Eset NOD32.
  6. Clean, optimize and compact the Windows registry with a program such as Registry Mechanic.
  7. Run bootvis.  This unofficial Microsoft program will speed boot and shutdown times.
  8. Defragment the computer.
  9. Install more memory... --

Top Ten Programs for A Computer Consultant

Being a computer consultant in Los Angeles can be a challenge.  Having the correct software is crucial to our work.  Here at PC Fixer we are often asked what the best programs are.  And so, after 13 years of software collecting and testing, here are PC Fixer's top ten most useful computer programs;
  1. Spyware Doctor 4.0 - For some reason the newer versions of this program are not as good because they have become so bloated and are more like Norton Antivirus now.
  2. ZoneAlarm Security Suite - The best software firewall is still my by ZoneLabs.  But beware:  do not use this progam on a slow or old computer as it will definitely take it's toll on performance.
  3. Eset NOD32 Antivirus - This lightweight antivirus program protects with the best of them and doesnt slow down the computer.
  4. SuperAntispyware... --

Vista Antivirus is a fake antivirus malware infection

PC Fixer sees quite a bit of malware infections in the Los Angeles Computer Repair business.  Recently Vista Antivirus has been infecting machines and causing them to purchase this fake software which then renders the computer completely unusable.  Although the infection is easily removable with a free program like superantispyware, once somebody has fallen victim to this malware scan their money is gone.  This leaves the user feeling angry and confused.   I cant help but wonder how prevelant this is.  Any other computer professionals in the Los Angeles, Malibu, Marina Del Rey, Play Del Rey, Venice, Culver City or Santa Monica area experiencing this as frequently as we are?... --

TSW and the dongle needs food

Eastern Car Care in East Los Angeles had a problem:  Their gas station management software just stopped opening.  Mysteriously they received a message that a file named NmMulti.inf was missing the same day.  It didnt take long to figure out that their parallel port was to blame and sure enough the dreaded (sometimes) yellow exclamation point showed up under device manager.  After searching and downloading the correct drivers (three attempts later), the parallel port was working but the TSW program still would not open.  It was then that I realized that the parallel port had a dongle hooked up to it that was preventing the program from opening.  Luckily a simple reboot after installing the new parellel port drives did the trick and PC Fixer managed to be a hero in the Los Angeles Computer... --

Straight outta West Los Angeles…from the trenches of the Malware Battleground!

I didnt have to fight one virus or spyware today! This is highly unusual. I think it is because I only worked on 6 computers today at 3 different clients. The first client has no qualms about admitting to downloading porn. In fact, PC Fixer showed him how to download it "safely". We set him up with ZoneAlarm Firewall with spam and spyware protection and Eset NOD32 Antivirus over a year ago. He regularly scans with Spyware Doctor 4.0 and he has not had a serious infection ever since. And this person had thousands of infections when PC Fixer first started working with him. Our second appointment was to help a client share calendars without an Exchange Server. We set him up with a special program that allows him to do this for his... --

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