Laptop Maintenance for Best Performance and Long Service



Laptop Maintenance for Best Performance and Long Service

The day you take it home, your new laptop looks great and runs blazingly fast. But for a lot of people, as the months wear on, your computer starts to look pretty dingy and the processor speed is noticeably slower. Maybe you start to notice that you’re getting the “pinwheel of death” more and more lately? Lots of people replace their laptops with newer models very frequently – so maybe they don’t care about maintaining a laptop so that it can last for years. But if you hope to get years of use out of your laptop, it pays to take care of a few key things. Furthermore, even if you are going to get a newer laptop frequently, maintaining it well will keep it looking good and running fast during the time you use it.


Mind the Grunge!

If you’re like most people, your life is a blur you’re moving so fast. So you’re probably eating at your computer, drinking your pumpkin spice latte, the works. Some studies have found the typical laptop keyboard to be five times dirtier than a toilet seat. All those sweet, sticky foods smeared across your keyboard can feed entire colonies of bacteria. So not only is keeping a clean keyboard important for computer maintenance, it’s important to keep you healthy! If you do notice your keyboard starting to look a little dingy, it can be a good idea to clean it – very gently – with a disinfecting wipe. Getting all the little areas around the keys clean without being too rough can be a little bit of a challenge – be gentle! Use a glass cleaning wipe on the screen and don’t forget to clean the outside as well. If you clean your laptop regularly you can avoid a build-up of dirt and grime that can be much harder to clean later.


Watch the Bump & Grind

Lots of modern laptops have super-sexy low profile and lightweight brushed aluminum shells. They look great and conduct heat well so they help your CPU stay cool. But they’re also a lot softer than other materials. Aluminum can scratch easily and can dent. Take a good look at just about anybody’s laptop that has a few months of service on it and you’ll probably notice bumped corners. It helps to use a hard case for your laptop. A little common sense is valuable too. People use their laptop for everything these days – playing music, looking at pictures. If you leave your laptop precariously perched in the edge of the sink or bathtub so you can play your iTunes while you take a shower, you really can’t complain when it falls onto the hard tile floor!


 Laptop Performance

Another very frequent complaint about laptops is that their performance seems to slow down with use. A lot of this has to do with trying to use your laptop for more than it really is intended for. If you are a music fan with an epic collection. And you have photos of every family holiday all the way back to Woodstock. And you could start your own movie theater with all the movies you have in your collection. Then maybe it isn’t the best idea to try to do all of this on a laptop. Storing most of your files on an external hard drive or a desktop computer could help. Regularly delete unneeded files and software. The software “bloat” on today’s computers is unbelievable – and it slows performance. Keep your operating system updated regularly when prompted. And if you really want to improve performance, you might think about upgrading your RAM.


By following a few simple rules, you can keep a much cleaner, faster laptop. If in spite of your best efforts, you have problems with your laptop, you can always come see us and we’ll get you back in order! Please feel free to contact us today!

Do I Really Need a Tablet Computer?




Do I Really Need a Tablet Computer?

Several tech companies attempted to establish the tablet computer in the marketplace before Apple came out with its dominant iPad. But before the iPad, people mostly viewed tablet computers as curious extravagances. Cool and sleek-looking, for sure. But especially if you already have a laptop, do you really need a tablet? What’s all the fuss about anyway?


For the Road Warriors

Portability and light weight have got to be the biggest advantages of the tablet computer over the laptop. If you have to carry a computer around all day, you definitely will start to notice the difference between one pound and five pounds. The slim lines of the tablet will also allow you to slip it into your briefcase, while a laptop probably would require its own bag. There are plenty of professionals who rely on a computer to do their jobs – like external sales people calling on customers – and for these people, a tablet can definitely be a huge advantage.


Better Functionality Than a Smartphone

Some people who are trying to get their work done on the go try to rely exclusively on their smartphone. It is tempting to do – especially these days with the bigger screens on the smartphones. But if you’ve ever tried that, you know it doesn’t really work for more than just the most basic tasks. Even composing a relatively long email can be exhausting on a smartphone. But a tablet is another thing entirely. The big display and better processing power on the tablet make it much more useful for real work than a smartphone. Admittedly, the on-screen keyboard is a challenge for typing lengthy projects. But now you can get a highly portable external keyboard and come very close to matching the performance of a laptop.


Longer Battery Life

If you’ve ever been writing a project on a deadline in an airport with no power connection while you watch your battery meter go into the red zone, then you already know how important battery life can be when you are on the road. While laptop batteries do seem to be improving by leaps and bounds, the vast majority of tablet computers can still outperform a laptop in terms of battery life by a wide margin. That extra battery life is like an insurance policy that you won’t crash before you get your job done.


The Bluetooth Connection

Many of the limitations of a tablet can be made up by the ready availability of all sorts of useful accessories that can be connected to your tablet by Bluetooth. The external keyboard is the obvious example. Super portable and lightweight – with an external keyboard, your tablet is almost as functional as a laptop. The Bluetooth headset is another great example. While you wouldn’t want to have to hold a tablet up to your head, with a Bluetooth headset, you can very comfortably use your tablet as a phone.


If you have a highly mobile lifestyle, a tablet really can be a useful addition to your tech collection. If you’re curious about the possibilities please   contact us today!

e-Waste: A Growing Environmental Challenge



 e-Waste: A Growing Environmental Challenge

It’s the holiday season and you probably have some kind of tech on your list for Santa this year. Whether it’s a new smartphone, a game console or a new laptop – that thing is packed inside with some pretty gnarly stuff. Mercury, arsenic, cadmium, lead and beryllium – these and many other toxic materials are inside your electronics and can be released into the soil or even the groundwater if they are landfilled. ‘But there’s such a tiny amount of all that in my laptop,’ you might say. Fair enough – but consider this, while in 2011, 41.5 million tons of e-waste was generated, the projected volume of e-waste for 2016 is 93.5 million tons. Of that huge total, it is estimated that 70 – 80% will be landfilled. With gross numbers that huge, even if the amount of lead or arsenic in a single computer is very small, it adds up dangerously.


Victims of Progress

A big part of the e-waste problem is caused by our own success as a society. The computing industry has followed Moore’s Law for decades – approximately every two years the computing power of available devices doubles. Meanwhile, the cost of devices plummets both because of improved manufacturing technology and because of the fierce cost competition as components and entire devices become commoditized. In this kind of environment, there is a strong motivation among consumers to upgrade devices very frequently. And as most of these devices are more or less “personal” in nature, there is not a particularly large secondary market for used devices. Hence, every year a significant proportion of existing devices is discarded.


Lean, Mean…. And not Very Green

While computing power doubles and price halves, the size of most devices is shrinking very quickly as well. Consumers demand an ultra-thin smartphone or laptop. Weight also must be cut to the bone. All of this miniaturization makes devices extremely difficult to dismantle. Unfortunately, the great majority of all this work must be done by hand. This makes the cost of reclaiming all the materials very high.


Unfavorable Economics

The final challenge in the puzzle is unfavorable economics. While the cost of reclaiming the materials is very high, the market value of the materials is very low. As mentioned above, the quantity of materials in any single device is not very high. But to make matters worse, global commodity prices are plummeting as economic growth slows in China and other emerging markets. The overall economics of the e-waste recovery industry are highly unfavorable in the short-run and this challenge makes it less likely that entrepreneurs will invest the necessary capital to improve the technology and cost efficiency of material recovery in the medium to long-run.


e-waste is a tough problem all the way around. One thing we know is true is that re-using a device whenever possible is much better than trying to recycle the components after the device has been discarded. We are proud of the work we do to keep your devices working productively for you. The longer you keep them and get good use out of them, the less e-waste goes into the landfill. We’re trying to do our little part to help on a big problem! If you have a device that’s giving you trouble, give us a try before you throw it away.  Call us today!

Shade Tree Tech: Makers in the 21st Century



Shade Tree Tech: Makers in the 21st Century


In the 1970s, it seemed like everybody’s parent was busy with some kind of project in the driveway or the den. Maybe dad was bleeding the car’s brakes to get the air out of the hydraulic line. Or maybe he was setting its timing with a timing gun. Some parents made color TVs or hi-fi audio sets with do-it-yourself kits from Heathkit. As automobiles became higher-tech and better made and as electronics got cheaper and cheaper, the days of shade tree mechanics and electronic tinkers passed. It has been years since masses of average people worked on and made things at home. But in the past couple of years, it looks like the beginnings of a new 21st century shade tree maker culture is taking hold all over the world. There are a lot of factors that account for this: ultra-cheap electronics manufacturing, open-source software, and easy online project collaboration among others. Whatever the reason, there are exciting things going on in home computers and just about anybody can play this game!


Cheap Hardware

There is an exciting combination of factors that make it extremely cheap for you to get just the hardware you need for a fun project to your house in time for the weekend. The integrated global supply chain, brutal competitive pressures that drive the price of components to rock-bottom levels, and online shopping that allows you to find and buy the exact right part from an inventory of 10,000 parts – these factors all play a role. There are a number of idealistic entrepreneurs who share the goal of getting children and other average people interested in electronics building and software coding. The UK-based makers of Raspberry Pi ( manufacture and sell the cheapest possible CPUs, enabling you to make mini-computers for a virtually endless range of projects. Adafruit ( is a NYC-based online electronics emporium founded by an MIT-trained engineer. You can find practically anything electronic that you can imagine at Adafruit. Finally, Arduino (, based in Italy, produces open-source hardware and software for a huge range of electronics projects.


Open source software

The broad market demand for all that hardware is driven in large part by the fact that the software needed to make the hardware useful is so widely and conveniently available. And best of all, it’s free! Driving most of these projects is the Linux operating system, originally developed by Linus Torvalds of Finland. While most of the operating systems before Linux were proprietary – like the Mac OS and MSDOS – Torvalds creating Linux from the beginning to be free of charge, open to change and development by anyone, and easily accessible online. Linux is at the root of the Android OS and is constantly being improved by a mass global community of programmers. You can use it too!


Easy Project Collaboration

Some people want to make their own printer server, others might want to make a wireless router, still others are interested in home automation and want to design their own system to automatically adjust the thermostat, control the lights and run the home security system. Whatever you are interested in, chances are somebody (a lot of somebodies in fact!) has done it before. You do not have to re-invent the wheel. GitHub ( allows easy project collaboration across teams. No matter what your project or skill level, it is extremely helpful to be able to compare notes with others who have worked on the same thing. A GitHub repository can include software, hardware suggestions and links, notes on assembly – just about any kind of tip or pointer you might need.


If you’re curious about micro-computer hobby work and what can be accomplished at home, come see us and let’s talk!

Artificial Intelligence: A Blessing or a Curse?

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software.


Artificial Intelligence: A Blessing or a Curse?


Imagine if engineers could build a super-hot robot that can guess what you’re thinking and then meet all your needs before you even ask? A domestic service robot that can bring you an ice-cold beer after a long day at work might be just a little ways down the road, but computer-based Artifical Intelligence (AI) software that anticipates your needs is already here. AI is simply software that learns from your patterns of use. There are concepts for AI that can be pretty complex. But some very simple forms of AI have already been around for a while. You might not think of it as AI, but the spell-check on your iPhone is the beginning of the development path toward very sophisticated AI.  Virtual personal assistant software like Siri from Mac, Cortana from Microsoft and GoogleNow are the next step down that road. Where might the AI road take us as a society? Some pretty powerful, intelligent people have been wondering very publicly whether eventually AI-empowered computers will become our merciless overlords instead of docile servants. It seems that two visions of the future of AI are coming into focus: one, an idyllic scene of friendly computers that help us; and the other, a dystopic nightmare of autonomous killers.


“Autonomous Weapons” – Killer Robots on the Loose?

An autonomous weapon is a specific application of AI software joined with military hardware that can “select and engage targets without human intervention.” Recently, some of the most prominent thinkers in the fields of science, engineering and information technology issued a letter warning the world about the coming danger of autonomous weapons. Signatories to the letter included Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak among many other tech luminaries. The letter warns that autonomous weapons will be feasible “within years, not decades.” The global risk is of a widespread arms race and general proliferation of autonomous weapons. The letter warns that autonomous weapons, unlike nuclear weapons, will be relatively cheap to produce and do not require “costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials.” These autonomous weapons could get up to some very bad behavior: “Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group.” The letter concludes by advocating a global ban on autonomous weapons, preserving AI research and development for peaceful uses.


Siri, Cortana and GoogleNow: An Exciting Future

The future of AI need not be so gloomy, though. Major tech companies are cooking up some very exciting projects that will eventually make a huge beneficial impact for ordinary people. These days, it is already possible to use a virtual personal assistant to make dinner reservations, plot a trip on the highway, write an email – all with your voice alone. The AI software that powers these applications is growing more sophisticated and more intuitive all the time, making it ever easier to do what you want to do with your computer. The truly exciting thing to think about is the interaction of the AI software that powers the virtual assistant and the computer’s hardware. Verbal commands and auditory response are making the interface with a computer more mobile and more flexible. Screens and keyboards are becoming obsolete. Combine this with the increasing miniaturization of hardware and “wearable devices” start to look truly game-changing! There are exciting things you can be doing with a virtual personal assistant right now. If you’re curious about the possibilities, contact us.



Computer Privacy In The Surveillance Age

Computer Privacy is at the forefronts of everyone’s mind in the electronic age we live in.


 Computer Privacy in the Surveillance Age

Information security is all over the news these days. We normal computer-using mortals are probably not being surveilled by the government or organized criminals any more than we ever have been, but there is a much greater awareness of the vulnerabilities after recent disclosures by people like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Most computer users now realize how very vulnerable they really are to surveillance. The fact is, if you are engaged in crimes or espionage – or if you are a high net-worth individual – then the kind of people who will be coming after you are the well-funded types with plenty of expertise. In those cases, it is probably just a matter of time and effort required to crack whatever security measures you employ. But if you are just a “regular Joe or Jane,” hoping to surf the Internet and look at funny cat GIFs in relative privacy, then there are a couple of basic things you can do to protect yourself.


Be Careful What you Disclose

At its most basic, privacy simply requires a little foresight and discipline on your part. Sharing information about your life on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has become so widespread that people barely think before they post some pretty intimate information. Remember – once you post something online, you never really know where it could end up. The other thing to keep in mind is that with ever-dropping data storage costs, anything you post online is likely now to stay online practically forever. Do not post your home address, information about your finances and accounts, or naughty pictures of you and your friends up to no good. Think twice about posting controversial opinions, political or otherwise. Avoid heated arguments online. If you use basic common sense and avoid posting when angry, intoxicated or otherwise not thinking clearly, then you will eliminate 90% of your online privacy exposure right off the bat.


Be Careful About the Files you Open

The Internet today is teeming with Trojan horses that carry malware and viruses. Many times an email from your best friend is not what it seems! A Trojan horse is a file that conceals a harmful bit of software that can allows others to spy on you. If your friend or family member carelessly clicks on an executable email attachment, they can unwittingly download a virus or some malware that propagates itself by sending emails (for example, to you) that also include the Trojan horse. The malevolent software you might be downloading when you click on an executable file could be a keystroke logger that records everything you type on your keyboard and sends it to online scammers. In this way, they can get your passwords and account numbers. Be cautious and do not click on email attachments unless you know they are what they purport to be. The emails with these sorts of malevolent attachments are usually badly written and very brief. Read carefully and slow down!


Want to learn more about computer security or even have a security audit of your computer to make sure everything is safe?  Contact us!



7 Computer Tips and Tricks for Mobile Device Security

7 Computer Tips and Tricks for Mobile Device Security


computer tips and tricks

Always remember to log out completely, even if you only plan to be away from your devices for just a few minutes.


With more people using mobile devices at work, at home and on the go, cybercriminals are exploiting vulnerabilities to hack personal and company data. By instructing your family members to follow a few important computer tips and tricks to secure mobile devices, you can all protect personal information and apps. With the possibility of malware, and lost or stolen laptops, tablets and smart phones, implementing mobile security measures safeguards your devices while you’re in Wake Forest or in any other part of the world.


1. Log Out


When not using your mobile devices, always remember to log out completely, even if you only plan to be away from your device for just a few minutes. Getting a drink of water or briefly chatting with someone is all the time a criminal needs to steal your device or access your data if you’re still logged in.


2. Lock the Device


Locking the device keeps your personal data safe if someone steals your device or your misplace it. By using a strong password you can protect any sensitive data. The best passwords are hack-proof. This means choosing a long password that you can remember, but others can’t guess. The password should have upper case and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Using and birthdays of family members or pets are never good choices for passwords.

3. Use Auto-Destruct


If there is sensitive or confidential data on a device, one option more and more companies are using is an auto-destruct feature that wipes the entire device clean if there is a certain number of failed password attempts. While some may consider this extreme for personal devices, it’s one way to ensure that financial and banking information doesn’t fall into the hands of identity thieves or hackers should you lose your device or it’s stolen. Another option is to install software on a device that allows you to remotely wipe all the data from a missing device.

4. Activate Updates Immediately


Patches are common with laptops and smartphones. When an update is made available, you should change settings on devices to automatically install the updates. The second best option is to manually allow the updates to install immediately on a device instead of waiting until later. The sooner the mobile device has the newest security measures in place, the more protected the device is.


5. Install Security Software


Malware infects all types of devices and causes a host of problems from viruses that infect your device to spyware that invades your privacy. It’s essential to have security software on all devices that includes anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and a firewall to protect against all types of malicious programs.


6. Buy Apps Only From Trusted Stores


Many apps contain malicious code, so the only way to prevent adding malware to mobile devices is for you to carefully select the apps you install. It’s best to only purchase or download apps that get reviews from consumers. You should only purchase these apps from trusted app stores.


7. Limit Public WI-Fi Usage


Public Wi-Fi may be convenient when you’re out and about, but security measures aren’t very good. When using public Wi-Fi networks it’s best to just surf the Internet, play games, or engage in other activities that don’t require you to use a password or give account numbers such as making a purchase or doing online banking.


You can keep your mobile devices safer by implementing the above techniques. If your mobile device isn’t working properly despite taking precautions, or if you’re having problems with a laptop or desktop computer, you need to contact a computer repair expert. Contact us today if you need computer repair in Wake Forest, Durham or Raleigh.




Amazon’s Echo – The Ultimate New Technology Gadget

Amazon’s Echo – The Ultimate New Technology Gadget

The cloud-based wi-fi Echo is one of many new consumer electronics based on the “Internet of Things.”



Amazon’s Echo has landed. Looking  like a cross between the Monolith in the film 2001 and a plain audio speaker, the Echo is Amazon’s big bet for new consumer electronics based on the Internet of Things (IoT), and the ultimate in new technology gadgets.

Available from Amazon online, for $179,  it’s one of the few Amazon products sold through prominent coast-to-coast retail outlets. And the Echo also has a multi-media advertising campaign just in time for holiday shopping.

Amazon has many bets in the evolving consumer electronics marketplace, including a $49 tablet, the $99 Fire TV and the $200 Kindle. Success eluded Amazon with the now-defunct Fire Phone. How much the Echo can help Amazon has yet to be seen.

The Internet of Things

Forbes defines IoT as “the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cell phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.”

The cloud-based, wi-fi Echo is one of many new consumer electronics based on IoT. For businesses, IoT enables jet engine production and logistics, among many other processes.

What Does the Echo Do?

Forbes technology columnist Michael Wolf wrote that “Amazon has created something new and different, something we really haven’t seen before.”

This means that Echo sits alone in the IoT consumer marketspace.

The Echo is always “on” – always listening, using its Alexa intelligent interface.  Alexa is Amazon’s Siri. The Echo is equipped with seven microphones and is enabled with far-field voice recognition.

Placed on a table or bookshelf, commands are given to the device by saying “Alexa” before a request.

From organizing your smart home, helping with homework, finding the latest movie time, giving directions, offering the best shrimp scampi recipe, playing music, or setting alarms, the Echo is a new knowledge device and it teases at making Google searches obsolete. But not quite yet.

Echo also ties into Amazon services through your Prime membership, including grocery shopping, Pandora, and general shopping and re-ordering. The Echo should boost Amazon’s bottom-line significantly over time as it coordinates with their other services. And it also makes life easier.

Echo Customer Reviews

Amazon lives by the sword and so dies by it as well, publishing Customer Reviews of the Echo, just as it does for any other product. Although we can expect more reviews than the pre-holiday 28,000, 65% gave the Echo five stars, which means 35% were less than perfectly happy.

The jury is still out on the Echo, but the Reviews give us much to think about and anticipate:

  • Homebound and elderly users make use of the Echo for contact, communication, and services in a hands-free environment, not needing any computer knowledge
  • Most plaudits are for the music and radio functions
  • Complaints seem to be about voice recognition and the weak Bing search results
  • Smart home functions appear to be well controlled

No Connection

What happens with the Internet connection goes down? Or wi-fi doesn’t work? Now, with the Echo, it’s going to be much more painful than simply losing access to email or Facebook or your local newspaper. When the Internet goes down, your entire house may come to a stand-still for days, if not longer.

Amazon’s Development Path

As they did with the acquisition of Washington Post newspaper,  there are many new hires for the Echo.  Also, Amazon has unbundled Alexa and established a $100 million Alexa fund to make use of this technology for other purposes. Mass market may be just around the corner.

Want to get started with the Echo? Contact us for more information.

How Cloud Computing Evens The Playing Field

The cloud gives small businesses a new mobility and flexibility, especially with the growing use of portable devices.



How Cloud Computing Evens The Playing Field

What is the Cloud?

Cloud computing is essentially receiving automation services (business computing software, data backup, server configuration, etc.) over the Internet. Small or medium-sized businesses who opt for cloud-based computer services can compete on more of an even keel with the “big boys” because of what the cloud has and does not have: (1) it gives access to a higher level of expertise, and (2) it avoids much of the costs associated with local equipment and software maintenance.

What are the advantages of the Cloud?

Advantages for small businesses

The cloud has come into vogue with the SBA (Small Business Authority). The SBA is “firmly convinced that cloud computing is not just a phrase or marketing device but is the future for small to medium-sized businesses IT systems. As much as it saves money and creates efficiency for large business, the benefits for small businesses are and will be much greater.”

Server reliability

Cloud computing makes local servers more dependable and less vulnerable to disaster. Your local physical server is exposed and lots of bad things can happen – natural disaster, data loss through error or malicious hacking, etc. Going to the cloud can improve your survivability and chances for quick recovery.


Enhanced mobility

Cloud connectivity is gaining popularity on mobile devices. The growing use of tablets and smartphones and portable devices like handheld printers gives the small business a new mobility and flexibility. Small business can accept payments through wonderful gizmos like credit card swipers where the goods are delivered.

IT cost savings: a significant “playing field leveler”…

A few years ago the Microsoft Corporation did a survey on customer attitudes and acceptance of cloud computing.  In a classic example of “Try it. You’ll like it!” survey responders who used cloud services reported the following benefits:

  • a savings of 26 percent in their IT budgets.
  • a reduction in security management time of 18 hours per week.
  • a decrease in security financial expenditures by five to six times over a three-year period.

Security, agility and competitiveness

Finally, cloud users responding to the Microsoft survey reported that “Improved security, agility and competitiveness and better scalability” were significant selling points for getting outside cloud services. Scalability means that the services can grow with the company without the increased costs of software, equipment and IT staff. As company business and income grows, the money previously dedicated to IT can be spent on things that are the primary generators of income.

Specialized SaaS products and leaner servers

So small business can enter the competitive fray of competition with more robust and cost-effective cloud computing services. The small business can take advantage of specialized online business software, SaaS, or software as a service, and backup services without having to undergo the learning curve and coping with upgrades and server maintenance issues. The IT staff can also concentrate on keeping the local equipment and servers leaner and much more efficient.

Extended hardware life

The Cloud extends the life of your equipment–computers, servers, routers–through the first cousin of SaaS: IaaS, or infrastructure as a service. Gone are the back-room hodgepodge of blinking lights, spaghetti-wired and energy hogging servers requiring constant TLC and upgrading. In the leapfrog contest between software and hardware, the software frequently outpaces local efforts to keep pace. With IaaS on the Cloud, that burden is shifted to the service provider.

In the meantime, you need reliable equipment service and repair

Windows 10 is here and has its own SaaS office platform offers a nice array of business support applications. To take advantage of all that, your equipment needs to be up, working and online 24/7. Downtime is not an option, and when it occurs it is costly. Want to learn more about our Raleigh computer repair service and options? Contact us.

Holiday Buying Guide: Smart Phones and Gadgets

Holiday Buying Guide: Smart Phones and Gadgets

One of the hottest technology gadgets, the Samsung Gear VR powered by Occulus, creates a virtual reality at your fingertips.



While Black Friday is officially in the books, the holiday buying season has just started. One of the hottest big-ticket items for the 2015 holiday season are smart phones and smart phone accessories. If you happen to have a technology fiend in your life, you can score big points by pinning down the perfect tech gift, but these gadgets are a personal thing, and are rather expensive. We’ve gathered a few tips that will help you sniff out the perfect gadget gift for the one you love.

Know their Operating System Preferences

Cell phones, particularly smart phones, are a highly personal item. Everyone has their own preference, and fence-jumping isn’t a particular common thing. That is to say, users who like the iPhone will have a hard time jumping ship for an Android device and vice versa. If your loved one is already a cell phone aficionado, then you’ll want to pick up a new device that utilizes the same operating system they are already using.

Each operating system has strengths and weaknesses of its own, but both Android and iOS offer solid builds with few bugs. Both operating systems have solid app stores, brand-specific features, and solid workability. The difference between the two comes down to preference, honestly. Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system is picking up steam as a potential front-runner, but the OS is a little weird for most users. If your loved one has their eyes set on a Window’s device go with that option, but if they’ve never mentioned their love of the quirky interface, it is best to steer clear.

Keep Their Lifestyle in Mind

iPhone or Android, it doesn’t really matter if you haven’t consider the lifestyle of the user. Each phone, regardless of its operating system, has features that appeal to some markets, but are unattractive to others. For example, LG offers a curved phone that some people adore, but others find highly uncomfortable when slid into the pocket of jeans or trousers. The iPhone 6S is a great device, but its lack of waterproofing means it can die a painful death when placed into the hands of a very active user.

Active users will likely have the best experience with one of the Android phone’s from Samsung’s active line. These devices repel water, dirt and debris in a myriad of different ways. A case adds further protection for the phone. The active line offers workhorse phones for those who want a smart phone but need something a bit sturdier.

On the other hand, business types will likely fall in love with the productivity apps that are available for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S+. The large size of the 6S+ is best suited for those who plan on using their phone a great deal for productivity purposes. The additional safeguards and apps available through the iOS makes the iPhone the best option for the business-minded user.

What about Accessories?

If you have a tech-lover in your life, odds are great that they already have a handset they love. If this is the case, you are better off adding a cool accessory to their arsenal than trying to replace a beloved handset. Cases, smart watches and charging devices are all solid gift options.

The Apple Watch is one of the hottest gifts of this holiday season, and with good reason. The watch allows users to connect their phone to a simple wrist-watch for additional convenience. It is a solid option for those who are constantly on the go, but also want to stay connected. Android-based phones also have watch options. The Samsung line of smart watches are popular with android-phone users.

Cases and charging ports are another great option for tech fiends who already have the handset of their dreams. Consider adding a wireless charging mat to your loved one’s stocking this year. You can add an Otterbox case to the stocking of an overly active smart phone user to help them further protect their investment.


Do you have any questions or concerns about tech-related topics? Feel free to contact us.