New AppleCare site provides 24/7 chat support

As reported by TUAW, Apple has completely revamped it’s AppleCare support page.

One of the key features of the site is a grid-like interface which lets users choose a product category, then select from several sub-categories, and from there to a list of potential problems. Some of the issues lead to Apple technical documents that will attempt to assist the user in fixing the problem right away, and being connected to an AppleCare agent by phone is always an option.

But what might be a really helpful new feature is a 24/7 chat feature that aims to connect AppleCare customers to a support agent at any time. Whether this will actually end up being helpful remains to be seen, but we’ll give kudos to Apple for attempting to provide around-the-clock service.

Of course, if your Mac is out of its warranty period, this service won’t help you at all. In that case, feel free to contact the professionals at Brooklyn Computer Solutions and find out why we’re your neighborhood IT department!

FBI Moneypack: An Arresting Development

We’ve seen quite a few customers who’ve been infected with a particularly pernicious bit of ransomeware known as the FBI virus, or FBI Moneypack. While there are a few variants of the virus, the general premise remains the same: your computer will be locked out with a warning saying that the FBI is aware of some bad behavior on your part, and you’re going to be arrested! That is, unless you give the FBI some money, generally about $300.00.

Because there are so many variants, there is no one solution that can safely remove all of them. Norton recommends starting in Safe Mode and running Norton Power Eraser, but we’ve seen instances where the virus won’t allow the user to get into Safe Mode. Microsoft’s Windows Defender Offline seems to work pretty well with all variants we’ve seen, but should still be followed up with a regimen of anti-malware products.

If you’ve become infected with FBI Moneypack and aren’t sure what to do, call or email one of our experts at Brooklyn Computer Solutions, and see why we’re your neighborhood IT department.

The Windows 8 Dilemma

So you’ve done it: you’ve purchased a new computer, and it came with Windows 8. What is this strange new world? What are all these… tiles? Where’s the dang Start menu?!?

Don’t feel bad, Windows 8 has encountered quite a bit of resentment with it’s overhauled user experience and touch screen sensibilities. And every new Windows 8 user we speak to seems similarly frustrated.

Whether you’re new to Windows, or just having trouble getting the hang of the Windows 8 experience, Brooklyn Computer Solutions can help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, and find out why we’re your neighborhood IT department!

OS X 10.8.3 is out

Just a quick note to point out that OS X Mountain Lion update 10.8.3 was released early this morning. Users of any version of OS X Mountian Lion can receive the update by selecting Software Update from the drop-down Apple menu. It’s worth noting that this update addresses the issue where typing 8 certain characters would crash just about any app the text was entered into. So if you want to play some pranks on your officemates, now’s the time to do it before they upgrade.

Brooklyn Computer Solutions likes to update computers!

Among other useful things, the OS X 10.8.3 update can help defend against office pranksters.

The update also provides Boot Camp support for Windows 8, so it’s not all fun-and-games. If you need help updating your Mac, call or come by Brooklyn Computer Solutions to speak with one of our experts, and see why we’re your neighborhood IT department!

VESA iMacs Are Here!

Do you love the new iMacs, but can’t stand to have anything more than a keyboard and mouse on your desk? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to install one over your stove* so you can check out some killer recipes online while you cook? Or maybe you want to hang one over your baby’s crib so the little tyke can learn UNIX programming from an early age? Whatever the case, you were probably beside yourself with grief when Apple announced that the new iMacs weren’t compatible with VESA mounting systems.

 

Well, put away those black veils and armbands, because Apple have just announced that they’ll be shipping iMacs with VESA mounts as a built-to-order option! That’s right folks, now all of your I’d-like-to-hang-one-of-these-new-iMacs-on-the-wall dreams have come true! And very few people are more excited about this development than the staff at Brooklyn Computer Solutions. Our minds are overcome with visions of free-floating, up-and-down-swinging, left-and-right swaying iMacs… Oh boy!

 

On the left is a sad, pre-VESA-iMac face, on the right is a very happy, post-VESA-iMac face. It's also a cat.

On the left is a sad, pre-VESA-iMac face, on the right is a very happy, post-VESA-iMac face. It’s also a cat.

If you’d like to discuss your options for wall mounting an iMac, even if it’s not one of the newer models, pay us a visit and let our experts help you kick the ball around a little. Brooklyn Computer Solutions specializes in computer upgrades, home network setups,  laptop and desktop repair, and helping you get the most out of your technological investments. Come see why we’re your neighborhood IT department!

 

*we’d like to advise all readers that this would be a bloody stupid thing to do.

A question of when:

It’s YOUR computer. Stored on its hard drive are PDFs of your most important financial documents, the World’s Best Music Collection, and reams of family photos. It’s all of this stuff that makes your computer YOUR computer!

But if you’re not backing up your important data, you may be just one hard drive crash away from losing it all. It’s shocking how often we see people who are either not backing up or are relying on inadequate manual methods of backup. Have a look inside the case of a dead hard drive we had in the shop here at Brooklyn Computer Solutions:

Well then, what’s the solution? Fortunately, in today’s data-centric world, storage options are faster and more affordable than ever. And since almost all modern computer operating systems have some built-in method for creating automatic backups, it’s easier than ever to protect your data from accidental loss. Windows Vista, 7 and 8 have backup options through their control panels, and Apple’s OS X offers Time Machine.

Online services such as Mozy and Carbonite offer the benefit of having an offsite copy of your data, but may be sluggish depending on your internet connection speed. Simple backups of small amounts of data can be performed for free using services like Dropbox or Google Drive, but may not offer the best levels of privacy protection.

If you have questions about backing up properly, come see one of our experts at Brooklyn Computer Solutions and let us help get you started on the path to proper backups!

The key to your digital life

What’s the most important piece of data in your digital life? Family photos? Your music collection? Or maybe your financial software? How about if we told you it’s the passwords you use to protect all of these things? Passwords are the keys to your digital life, and it’s important that they be properly created and maintained.

But too often we’ve seen clients who use computer and email passwords like “password,” or “12345,” or even nothing at all. In today’s increasingly-more-connected world, where we do banking, bill paying, socializing, and just about everything else online, having ineffective passwords can lead to disastrous consequences. It’s a bit like leaving the keys to your home hanging on a hook outside the front door.

An effective password should have at least 8 characters, contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (e.g.: !@#$). So maybe instead of using the word “password,” you might choose something like “Pa$Sw0rd.” In this case, the second option is much more secure than the first option. Anything you can think of to add variety can help make more secure passwords.

And your passwords should be changed often! The most complicated password in the world becomes completely ineffective if someone else gains access to them.

If you’d like some help protecting your data with strong passwords, stop by Brooklyn Computer Solutions to speak with one of our experts, who can help you protect your data and identity online. Come see why we’re your neighborhood IT department!