Monthly Archives: June 2017

Online Computer Repair and Remote Virus Removal

I have been doing remote computer repair for people across the United States and around the world for nearly a decade, giving PC help to people with malware removal, virus removal, pop ups, or a slow computer. Online computer repair or online virus removal is definitely a time saver and a money saver. Remote virus removal can certainly save a person hundreds of dollars over the cost of taking the PC to a local computer repair shop.

Although using a remote online computer technician is definitely the way to go for PC help, nevertheless there are some pitfalls. I constantly hear horror stories from customers that had previously used an online computer repair service for their computer problems with less than desirable results. Consequently I have put together this list of computer scams to watch out for when contracting with someone to provide remote computer help.

1. USA Based – Really? Most people don’t want to talk to someone in India with an accent so heavy that you can’t understand them. That’s why many websites will say, “USA Based.” But are they really? I have found that many websites advertise they are in the U.S. but the person on the phone, who claims they are in the U.S. still sounds like someone from India. It is not wise to deal with someone who has just lied to you. Hint: Read the text of a website carefully. You will probably find one or two grammatical errors on sites that they are not really U.S. based, and of course, you will know instantly when they answer the phone. Just say, “Sorry, wrong number.”

2. Super Low Price: There are companies out there claiming they can remove viruses, plus fix any and all problems, and do a PC tune-up, all for the low price of $39.99. As someone who has been doing computer service full time for 24 years, I can tell you that it takes several hours for a PC tech to do all that and do it right. How can they do this for such a cut-rate price? There are three ways: 1. Hire a bunch of young geeks that are still learning and let them practice on your computer. 2. Be based in India or the Philippines or some foreign country where labor is cheap. 3. Do the very minimum to just get by without concern for conscientious quality work. Some places do all three. The old adage – “You get what you pay for.” Applicable to online computer repair. If you want good quality remote computer repair you need to pay for it. Try to save a buck and you can end up with a destroyed computer and/or many hours of frustration as you call back over and over to try to get the online computer help you were promised. Good Advice: If you want a good PC tech, don’t pick the cheapest bidder.

3. Certified – Really? Does the website tell you who is going to be fixing your PC? Are the name, credentials and experience of the computer technician posted on the website? I have called some of these supposedly Microsoft certified websites and when I asked exactly which credential was held with Microsoft and the computer service company could not give me an answer.

4. Free Antivirus Software: The online computer service company offers a free antivirus software after the repair. Be aware that they are only giving you something you can get for free yourself. Again, you get what you pay for. Free antivirus software might be better than nothing, but not by much. I remove malware every day from computers that are protected by free antivirus products and they are very infected. Only the antivirus products that you purchase are adequate. When a remote computer repair company gives free inferior products to customers it gives them a false sense of security that will lead to their PC eventually getting hit by a virus. A PC technician that is really looking out for your best interests will offer to sell you a quality product that works.

5. Free Scan Scam: Here’s how it works. You call a remote computer repair service because your printer doesn’t work. The online computer service says they will connect to your machine and tell you what is wrong for free, no obligation. Then you can decide what to do next. Free diagnosis! Sounds good, right? Lots of people fall for this. So the PC technician connects to your machine and runs a program (that they have created) that pretends to do a scan of your computer. In just 3 minutes this software reports hundreds of registry errors, dozens of problems in the event log, dozens of viruses, trojans and spyware. They tell you that you have got to get this fixed right away before all your files disappear and your computer won’t work at all. After the scare tactics, they give you an outrageous price of $300.00. After paying that and they supposedly fix all these errors, chances are your printer still will not work. But the real fact is – there is not a piece of software in the world that can tell you what’s wrong with a computer in a few minutes. I have over two decades of experience and I can tell you that it takes a couple hours of careful work to properly evaluate a computer. I have helped many customers who told me they had just experienced this scam. Fortunately they called me and in many cases their computer was not in nearly as bad a shape as they had been led to believe.

6. One Year Service Contract Scam: Pay $300 per year and call for remote PC repair as often as you want. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’ve talked to lots of people that have been burned by this. There is only one way an online computer repair company can offer that and stay in business, and that is to not fulfill their promise. The service contract is long and in fine print and is not read by most customers. I have read them. The fine print says that if you bother them too much they can just cut you loose, provide no further computer help, and not give you any refund. Their interest is going to be in getting new customers to pay the $300, not in providing computer help for you over and over. You also have to wonder if such a computer service company will even still be in business six months down the road.

7. Cold Call Scam: “Microsoft called me and said my PC is infected.” I have heard this countless times from people that call me for advice. I tell them right off the bat: “I’ll be happy to do a virus check and perform malware removal on your PC for $59.99, but know this first, what you were told is not true and it was not Microsoft that called you. Microsoft doesn’t call anyone and they would have no way of knowing if your PC is infected.” This scam is very common. If you get this call do not be alarmed and don’t be suckered into paying them to “fix” it.

8. The Big Company Scam: Many of my customers have told me that they went to a company website for their computer problems and got a number and then called and talked with HP, or Dell, or the list goes on: Microsoft, IBM, Norton, Toshiba, etc. and this company told them they had multitudes of problems, they needed malware removal and other repairs to take care of pop ups, a slow computer, or other issues and they could fix all this for a certain price. What these people didn’t realize is that they were not actually speaking with the actual company they thought they were. Many online computer service companies unscrupulously advertise that they are Dell, or Microsoft or whoever. They put up websites and Google ads designed to trick you into thinking they are support for HP or whoever. Once they have you thinking they are the company that made your computer, or your software or your printer, then they have a better chance at selling you their next scam. Anytime you go to a website look at the URL and see where you are. If it says for example, or something like that and not,, then you are possibly on a scam website.

Should I fix my computer or buy a new one again?

Unless you are a recent entrant to the world of computers, this is probably a question you’ve asked yourself before. After all, if your computer doesn’t work properly, you may have a strong instinct to throw it out and go get another one but keep wondering if it is worth fixing. This article is intended to help you decide which of these paths you should take to get a PC up and running so you can go about your work or play.

You may be thinking that since this is a computer repair technician writing this article, I’m going to tell you that in almost every case, you should fix your computer rather than get a new one. Not so. Just as there are a host of reasons to fix your computer, there are plenty of reasons to buy a new one instead.

Although the costs of consumer computers are nowhere near the costs of new cars, those of you who have had to decide whether to fix an older automobile or buy a new one may find it helpful to think about that process because it is similar. I would advise you to make two columns and write the reason to buy or fix in the appropriate column.

If you think it through this way, you will find yourself coming to a reasoned and reasonable conclusion. Also remember that if another person has your same PC model and the same problem, what he or she decides does not make their decision good for you. Keep in mind that there is not a right or wrong answer, only the best answer for you. While this article and others can help your decision process, the best answer for you is something only you can decide. Be wary of people who are certain that they know what you need.

Let’s look at some reasons to repair your current computer:

• Budget – Although the extra expense can be worth it, buying a new PC is USUALLY more expensive than fixing your current computer. If you are on a tight budget or are just a frugal person, fixing most problems may be best for you.

• Data – This second reason is related to the budget item. Whichever route you decide to take, you can (usually) keep your pictures, documents, music, emails, business files, and important personal information. It is easier, though, if you are keeping your computer because if you get a new PC, you will have to pay someone to transfer that information to a new PC. Many of you can do this without problem but not everyone can. Also, if your PC won’t boot to Windows and the data has to be extracted from the computer, most of you will need someone to get the data off the hard disk, which means you will be paying both for a new computer plus a service fee to a computer technician.

• Applications – If you get a new computer, you will also have to reinstall all of your applications. Some can be downloaded, like iTunes or Adobe Acrobat Reader. Any that you paid for, such as Microsoft Office, however, will likely be on CD/DVD. They must be installed from this media, along with the product key that came with them. My experience has been that both organized and unorganized people have a tendency to lose application CDs, particularly if they have had their computer for several years. Before buying a new computer, gather all your application installation CDs and make sure you have a disc for all the applications you use. You may be able to avoid this process and have all your applications as they were if you get your computer fixed. However, it should be noted that if the proposed fix to your current PC is to reinstall Windows, this issue is moot because all of your applications will have to be installed on a new Windows installation, just as on a new PC.

• Upgrades – If your computer is just a little slow or can’t do a certain thing, you can usually upgrade the RAM or video card, or the aforementioned USB 3.0 card much more cheaply than you can buy a new PC.

• Windows 8 – Have you used or seen Windows 8 or 8.1? If you get a new computer, it will have Windows 8.1 on it. This is important because for all its pros and cons (and I don’t wish to engage those questions here) many, many people find it hard to use and a significant departure from the interface of Windows 7 and earlier versions. Like anything else, you would probably get used to it, no matter how much you dislike it, but if it isn’t intuitive to you, why buy a machine that comes with it? Windows 7 can be put on new computers after purchase by computer technicians if you buy a copy online. But again, you would be paying more-this time for a new computer, plus a legitimate copy of Windows 7, plus the cost of a service technician to install Windows 7 on the computer.

• “Right Fit” – Buying something new is usually seen as “sexier” than keeping or repairing something used. So, if none of the reasons above grab you, think of this. If you were happy with your computer before it needed to be fixed-happy with its speed, memory, accessories, capabilities and performance, it is likely that that computer is the “Right Fit” for you. Why get another computer when you can probably spend less and get to keep something that fits you?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the reasons to replace your broken computer rather than fix it:

• Age – Although there is no specific age at which retirement and replacement kicks in, most people know it when they see it. If your computer was slow even when in tip top shape, that’s probably a clue you need to go to the computer store.

• Antiquated Accessories – If your PC has a factory-installed floppy disk drive or has a CD but no DVD drive, it is probably time to think about a new PC. Many people want fast peripherals through a USB 3.0 port. If you have a desktop, you can easily get a card installed, so I wouldn’t consider this alone a reason to trash the old PC, but if you’re keeping score, I would mark it in the buy column.

• Major Hardware Damage-If you spilled a Coke or such in the computer, ruining its motherboard, I would not invest in a repair.

• The Laugh Factor – Although I have never laughed at my customers, I have, on occasion, laughed at a machine that is brought in. Why? Because it is so old, so full of dust and cigarette smoke, so slow, that it is almost a joke that someone is actually paying me to fix this computer. If this is your computer, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about but if you don’t already know, deep down, that you need a new computer then take that message from this article. If you decide not to fix it or you just keep your computers for a long time, make sure they inside is cleaned our regularly, whether you do it yourself or bring it in for a cleaning. That dust and smoke residue doesn’t just look bad, it can overheat your computer and cause its death

Computing Crunch Power And The Simulation Hypothesis

It has been postulated that our reality might in fact be a virtual reality. That is, some unknown agency, “The Others”, have created a computer simulation and we ‘exist’ as part of that overall simulation. One objection to that scenario is that in order to exactly simulate our Cosmos (including ourselves) we would require a computer the size of our Cosmos with the sort of crunch power that could duplicate our Cosmos on a one-to-one basis, which is absurd. The flaw is that realistic simulations can be made without resorting to a one-on-one correlation.


Here’s another thought on the Simulation Hypothesis which postulates that we ‘exist’ as a configuration of bits and bytes, not as quarks and electrons. We are virtual reality – simulated beings. Here is the “why” of things.

Really real worlds (which we presume ours to be) are simulating virtual reality worlds – lots and lots and lots of them – so the ratio of virtual reality worlds to really real worlds is lots, and lots and lots to one. That’s the main reason why we shouldn’t presume that ours is a really real world! If one postulates “The Other”, where “The Other” might be technologically advanced extraterrestrials creating their version of video games, or even the human species, the real human species from what we’d call the far future doing ancestor simulations, the odds are our really real world is actually a really real virtual reality world inhabited by simulated earthlings (like us).

Now an interesting aside is that we tend to assume that “The Other” are biological entities (human or extraterrestrial) who like to play “what if” games using computer hardware and software. Of course “The Other” could actually be highly advanced A.I. (artificial intelligence) with consciousness playing “what if” scenarios.


Anyway, each individual simulated world requires just so many units of crunch power. We humans have thousands of video games each ONE requiring a certain amount of computing crunch power. There may be in total is an awful lot of computing crunch power going on when it comes to these video games collectively, but what counts is the number of video games divided by the number of computers playing them. Not all video games are being played on just one computer at the same time. If you have a ten-fold increase in video games, and a ten-fold increase in the number of computers they are played on, there’s no need for ever increasing crunch power unless the nature of the game itself demands it. Video games today probably demand more crunch power than video games from twenty years ago, but we’ve to date met that requirement.

Now if a really real world created thousands of video games, and the characters in each and every one of those video games created thousands of video games and the characters in those video games created thousands of their video games, okay, then ever increasing crunch power within that original really real world is in demand. That’s not to say that that ever increasing need for crunch can’t be met however. But that’s NOT the general scenario that’s being advocated. For the immediate here and now, let’s just stick with one really real world creating thousands of uniquely individual simulated virtual reality worlds (i.e. – video games). Ockham’s Razor suggests that one not overly complicate things unnecessarily.

That said, a variation on Murphy’s Law might be: The ways and means to use computing crunch power expands to meet the crunch power available and is readily on tap.

Sceptics seem to be assuming here that if you can simulate something, then ultimately you will pour more and more and more and more crunch power (as it becomes available) into that which you are simulating. I fail to see how that follows of necessity. If you want to create and sell a video game, if you put X crunch power into it you will get Y returns in sales, etc. If you put 10X crunch power into it, you might only get 2Y returns in sales. There is a counterbalance – the law of diminishing returns.

Video gamers may always want more, but when the crunch power of the computer and the software it can carry and process exceeds the crunch power of the human gamer (chess programs / software anyone), then there’s no point in wanting even more. A human gamer might be able to photon-torpedo a Klingon Battlecruiser going at One-Quarter Impulse Power, but a massive fleet of them at Warp Ten might be a different starship scenario entirely. Gamers play to win, not to be universally frustrated and always out performed by their game.

It makes no economic sense at all to buy and get a monthly bill for 1000 computer crunch units and only need and use 10.

But the bottom line is that computer crunch power is available for simulation exercises as we have done. Anything else is just a matter of degree. If us; them; them of course being “The Other” or The Simulators.


Are there limits to crunch power? Well before I get to agreeing to that, which I ultimately do, are opponents assuming that crunch power won’t take quantum leaps, perhaps even undreamed of quantum leaps in the generations to come? I assume for starters that we in the early 21st Century don’t have enough computing power to simulate the Cosmos at a one-to-one scale. Would quantum computers alter this analysis? I’m no expert in quantum computers – I’ve just heard the hype. Still, are available crunch power sceptics’ game to predict what might or might not be possible in a 100 years; in a 1000 years? Still, the ability to increase computing crunch power could go on for a while yet. Isn’t the next innovation going from a 2-D chip to a 3-D chip?

Still, Moore’s Law (computing crunch power doubles every 18 to 24 months) can’t go on indefinitely and I wasn’t aware that I.T. people have postulated that Moore’s Law could go on “forever”. That’s a bit of a stretch.

Okay, even if we accept that fact that we’re all greedy and want more, more, more and even more crunch power – and ditto by implication our simulators – then there will ultimately be limits. There might be engineering limits like dealing with heat production. There may be resolution limits. There may be technological limits as in maybe quantum computing isn’t really feasible or even possible. There will be economic limits as in you may want to upgrade your PC but your budget doesn’t allow for it; you ask for a new research grant to buy a new supercomputer and get turned down, and so on.

Perhaps our highly advanced simulators have hit the ultimate computer crunch power wall and that’s all she wrote; she could write no more. There’s probably a ‘speed of light’ barrier equivalent limiting computer crunch power. Then too, our simulators have competing priorities and have to divide the economic / research pie.

I’ve never read or heard about any argument that the Simulation Hypothesis assumes ever and ever and ever increasing crunch power. It assumes that the computer / software programmer has sufficient crunch power to achieve their objective, no more, no less.

In other words, the computer / software simulator is going to be as economical with the bits and bytes as is as possible to achieve that’s still compatible with the degree of realism desired. That makes sense.

Evolution of Technology and Computer History

While computers are now an important part of the lives of human beings, there was a time where computers did not exist. Knowing the history of computers and how much progression has been made can help you understand just how complicated and innovative the creation of computers really is.

Unlike most devices, the computer is one of the few inventions that does not have one specific inventor. Throughout the development of the computer, many people have added their creations to the list required to make a computer work. Some of the inventions have been different types of computers, and some of them were parts required to allow computers to be developed further.

The Beginning

Perhaps the most significant date in the history of computers is the year 1936. It was in this year that the first “computer” was developed. It was created by Konrad Zuse and dubbed the Z1 Computer. This computer stands as the first as it was the first system to be fully programmable. There were devices prior to this, but none had the computing power that sets it apart from other electronics.

It wasn’t until 1942 that any business saw profit and opportunity in computers. This first company was called ABC computers, owned and operated by John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry. Two years later, the Harvard Mark I computer was developed, furthering the science of computing.

Over the course of the next few years, inventors all over the world began to search more into the study of computers, and how to improve upon them. Those next ten years say the introduction of the transistor, which would become a vital part of the inner workings of the computer, the ENIAC 1 computer, as well as many other types of systems. The ENIAC 1 is perhaps one of the most interesting, as it required 20,000 vacuum tubes to operate. It was a massive machine, and started the revolution to build smaller and faster computers.

The age of computers was forever altered by the introduction of International Business Machines, or IBM, into the computing industry in 1953. This company, over the course of computer history, has been a major player in the development of new systems and servers for public and private use. This introduction brought about the first real signs of competition within computing history, which helped to spur faster and better development of computers. Their first contribution was the IBM 701 EDPM Computer.

A Programming Language Evolves

A year later, the first successful high level programming language was created. This was a programming language not written in ‘assembly’ or binary, which are considered very low level languages. FORTRAN was written so that more people could begin to program computers easily.

The year 1955, the Bank of America, coupled with Stanford Research Institute and General Electric, saw the creation of the first computers for use in banks. The MICR, or Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, coupled with the actual computer, the ERMA, was a breakthrough for the banking industry. It wasn’t until 1959 that the pair of systems were put into use in actual banks.

During 1958, one of the most important breakthroughs in computer history occurred, the creation of the integrated circuit. This device, also known as the chip, is one of the base requirements for modern computer systems. On every motherboard and card within a computer system, are many chips that contain information on what the boards and cards do. Without these chips, the systems as we know them today cannot function.

Gaming, Mice, & the Internet

For many computer users now, games are a vital part of the computing experience. 1962 saw the creation of the first computer game, which was created by Steve Russel and MIT, which was dubbed Spacewar.

The mouse, one of the most basic components of modern computers, was created in 1964 by Douglass Engelbart. It obtained its name from the “tail” leading out of the device.

One of the most important aspects of computers today was invented in 1969. ARPA net was the original Internet, which provided the foundation for the Internet that we know today. This development would result in the evolution of knowledge and business across the entire planet.

It wasn’t until 1970 that Intel entered the scene with the first dynamic RAM chip, which resulted in an explosion of computer science innovation.

On the heels of the RAM chip was the first microprocessor, which was also designed by Intel. These two components, in addition to the chip developed in 1958, would number among the core components of modern computers.

A year later, the floppy disk was created, gaining its name from the flexibility of the storage unit. This was the first step in allowing most people to transfer bits of data between unconnected computers.

The first networking card was created in 1973, allowing data transfer between connected computers. This is similar to the Internet, but allows for the computers to connect without use of the Internet.

Household PC’s Emerge

The next three years were very important for computers. This is when companies began to develop systems for the average consumer. The Scelbi, Mark-8 Altair, IBM 5100, Apple I and II, TRS-80, and the Commodore Pet computers were the forerunners in this area. While expensive, these machines started the trend for computers within common households.

One of the most major breathroughs in computer software occurred in 1978 with the release of the VisiCalc Spreadsheet program. All development costs were paid for within a two week period of time, which makes this one of the most successful programs in computer history.

1979 was perhaps one of the most important years for the home computer user. This is the year that WordStar, the first word processing program, was released to the public for sale. This drastically altered the usefulness of computers for the everyday user.

The IBM Home computer quickly helped revolutionize the consumer market in 1981, as it was affordable for home owners and standard consumers. 1981 also saw the the mega-giant Microsoft enter the scene with the MS-DOS operating system. This operating system utterly changed computing forever, as it was easy enough for everyone to learn.

The Competition Begins : Apple vs. Microsoft

Computers saw yet another vital change during the year of 1983. The Apple Lisa computer was the first with a graphical user interface, or a GUI. Most modern programs contain a GUI, which allows them to be easy to use and pleasing for the eyes. This marked the beginning of the out dating of most text based only programs.

Beyond this point in computer history, many changes and alterations have occurred, from the Apple-Microsoft wars, to the developing of microcomputers and a variety of computer breakthroughs that have become an accepted part of our daily lives. Without the initial first steps of computer history, none of this would have been possible.