Thursday, November 4, 2010

What our slogan means....

What makes Digital Crisis a great Houston computer repair company?
You’ve seen our slogan, “You called a geek. You tried a friend, now it’s time for a PRO!” Now it’s time to get to understand what we really mean with that slogan.

“You called a geek.”
Everybody knows who the Geek Squad is, or some other geek related big box computer repair company. Unfortunately most companies don’t take the time like we do to sit down and explain to our customers in simple terms what is going on with their computer, you know you’ve heard it from a computer geek…and you give him/her a blank stare and reply, “Sounds Greek to me.” Digital Crisis takes a different approaching on providing customer service. We train our technicians to speak in terminology that everyone understands. The great thing about Digital Crisis is we educate you as much as you want to be educated about computers or technology in general.


“You tried a friend.”
Computers are complex electronics. If someone told you that they knew everything about computers, they’d be lying, as new technology is being developed every day. Generally having friends repair a computer is a bad idea, unless they are in the computer repair industry. Having a friend “fix” your computer can potentially cost you much more money than having a computer service professional do the job in the first time. Most of the time, a professional will get your computer up in running much quicker than having a “friend” service your computer.

“Now it’s time for a PRO.”
A computer repair professional is someone who has experience and skills in servicing computers. Digital Crisis requires all of our technicians to go through rigorous hands-on training, and supervision in servicing computers. Just like doctors, medical doctor don't start practicing on patients without hands-on training and supervision. Get the professionals at Digital Crisis to provide your Houston computer repair needs, so the job is done right, and done right the first time.

Digital Crisis is a Houston computer repair company, providing many customers quality and professional computer services in Houston, TX. For more information call Digital Crisis at 281-500-1213.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tips to keep a happy computer

Digital Crisis provides basic steps for any and every computer user should take to help minimize computer repair costs. Always remember, Digital Crisis is here to help you, we’re here to talk to you about your computer issues.

1.) Back up your computer regularly!

This is extremely important, people fail to realize or accept how important their data is on their computer until it’s too late. If you don’t have a backup solution talk to Digital Crisis about your backup needs.

2.) Keep your computer free of dust, and in a well-ventilated cool area.

The worst enemies of any electronics are dust and heat. Keep a computer cool and free of dust, and you greatly increase the longevity of your computer.

3.) Defragment the hard drive.

Almost everyone has heard of defragmenting their hard drive, but rarely does anyone do it. Overtime your hard drive’s content gets disorganized from frequent file access, and must be reorganized. Think of it as you accessing files from a file cabinet, and not putting them back after a while it gets difficult to find the files that you already pulled out. Defragging your hard drive is like putting those documents back where they belong.

4.) Don’t feed your computer free candy.

Avoid “freebie” sites, websites that offer free programs tend to have spyware/malware, therefore slowing your computer and potentially exposing you to security vulnerabilities or even possibly identity theft.

5.) Keep your computer on a healthy cookie diet.

It’s natural for your computer to collect cookies and temporary internet files while browsing the internet. A cookie is a small file that stores basic visitor information on your computer. We recommend you clean out your temporary files and cookies on a weekly basis.

6.) Feed your computer clean and consistent power.

The leading cause for power supply failure is inconsistent power or power outages. Getting a good decent battery backup power supply keeps the sensitive electronics in your computer running at the proper power voltages, regardless of surges or power outages.

7.) When your computer isn’t running like it normally should, call for help.

A computer is much like a car, usually there are signs that your computer may be infected, or there is a hardware problem and could be much less expensive to repair during the early stages of potential failure. Digital Crisis offers free computer consultation for these kind of situations, take advantage of it!

Digital Crisis is a Houston computer repair company provided professional computer services for its customers in Houston, TX.

For more information or computer advice call 281-500-1213

Monday, October 4, 2010

DIGITAL CRISIS OFFERS REMOTE BACKUP SERVICES

OCTOBER 4, 2010 – Digital Crisis offers a new premium backup service in addition to their computer repair services. The service entails a program installed locally on the user’s computer and the program remotely backs up the data to multiple data centers throughout the U.S., providing redundancy and fail over protection. Digital Crisis is also offering a free backup service for QuickBooks, Peachtree users to back up their accounting files. “Backing up your data is extremely crucial in the business world especially your accounting files, you don’t want to know what it’s like to open up your QuickBooks program and it say “File not found.” and not have a backup to recover from,” says Zachary Kitchen, Vice President of Digital Crisis. Digital Crisis highly recommends everyone with a computer to back up their valuable data, as data recovery can be very expensive , “It’s not a matter if a hard drive fails, it’s just a matter of when,” says Billy Hathcock, CEO of Digital Crisis.

For more information, contact Digital Crisis at 281-500-1213 or toll-free 1-877-NO PC BUGS, you may also visit their website at http://www.digitalcrisis.com

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

iPad Review

The iPad: "A Magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price." After being released for over a month now, Apple has exceeded sales of over one million. The iPad has sold more units in the same amount of time as the iPhone and is continuing its domination over Netbook sales. Is this the end of books, laptops and portable DVD players as we know it, or is there still room for improvement? Digital Crisis takes a look at the features, shows you the true price of the iPad and explains whether or not the iPad is ready for prime time.

Hardware: 

As with the iPhone, the iPad has a sleek and elegant look to it, with an industrial touch. With an aluminum body shell, and thick black bezel, it instantly stands out when compared to a typical HP or Dell Tablet PC. The screen itself is a 9.7-inch (1024x768 resolution), LED back lit capacitive touchscreen. On the bottom is the ever present Home button, which you will be using quite frequently when you need to move in and out of apps. Beginning at $499, the iPad comes with 16GB. We will discuss pricing in more detail later on in this review.

The basic iPad comes with wireless a/b/g/n, blue tooth, an accelerometer, microphone, ambient light sensor and digital compass. In order to import your photos, you must either use iTunes or a separate $30 dongle that will allow you to connect SD cards into the iPad directly. Apple also offers another separate $30 dongle that will allow you to connect to a VGA display, but don't expect impressive results. In the current iteration of the iPad, there are no front mounted cameras, which has the drawback of not being able to use services like Skype.

At 1.5 pounds, the iPad is no light weight. For casual use this will not be an issue, but if you are wanting to immediately purchase iBooks, a word of caution: You will not be able to lay in bed holding this for long periods of time. This is a minor inconvenience though and we feel most users will not be bothered by the weight of the tablet.

At the top of the iPad are the power button, volume control, screen position lock and headphone jack. If you have ever used the iPhone, chances are you have experienced the phone changing from portrait to landscape at random times and can be irritating. The screen position lock is a great feature and we hope to eventually see it on the next version of the iPhone. While the screen position lock is extremely useful, we are quite disappointed with the position of the headphone jack. By placing it at the top right, the user will have the wire cross over the screen and get in the way of your fingers/gestures. Multiplying this problem is the fact that most headphones are designed for smaller devices and they do not have long enough wires to accommodate for the space. This ends up having the negative effect of being in uncomfortable positions while holding the iPad and causing neck strain. We hope in the next iteration, Apple will move the headphone jack to the bottom in the next version.

The screen is a beauty. Colors pop and whites can be blinding, while blacks are deep and seem like true blacks. This isn't the best screen we have seen on Apple devices, but it easily beats the screen quality of the Macbook 13" Unibody. The only downside to the screen is it is very susceptible to smudging and fingerprints. If you have oily hands or sweat through your hands, prepare to have a Microfiber cleaner as you will be using it daily, if not hourly. Also, do not plan on taking this product to the beach or any place that is well lit unless you would like to carry an electronic mirror.


The keyboard is the next challenge. While Apple is the leader in capacitive touchscreens, we feel that there is still much to be improved upon. According to Apple, you are able to write full e-mails to your friends and family. We tried this and found it extremely hard to finish more than a paragraph. While the screen is accurate for browsing websites and scrolling through pictures, it simply cannot be a physical keyboard. Another issue we found is users of both the iPhone and iPad will have difficulty in adapting to and from their devices. The minute you feel you are comfortable typing on the iPad, you will receive a phone call or text and pick up your iPhone, only to realize your muscle memory has adapted to the iPad. This can be an extremely frustrating experience and since statistics show that most people currently buying iPads are iPhone users as well, we feel this is a significant issue. You will eventually become accustomed to going back and forth, but it does take a bit of time. The second issue with the keyboard is it's size. For people with medium size to large hands this will not be an issue, but people with smaller hands will constantly be putting their fingers in odd positions and they will cramp up. If you have carpel tunnel or tendonitis then we recommend carrying a Blue tooth keyboard with you for the times you want to type up a long document or e-mail.

The final issue we would like to point out is something that was brought up a few weeks ago. Older PC's and Mac's will not be able to charge this device while using it. The iPad requires a 10 Watt USB outlook to allow it to charge and be used simultaneously. While the iPad will have a typical 10 hour charge, you may find yourself wanting (or needing) to use the iPad, but be at the mercy of your lower-powered USB. All of the Unibody Macbook and Macbook Pro's do not have this issue.

Pros:
-Nominal entry level price
-Beautiful design
-Excellent battery life (10 Hours)
-The best tablet screen currently out
-Fast!

Cons:
-Thick Black Bezel - Added weight, no real benefit.
-Separate Dongles for USB and SD Cards
-No front-mounted camera for Skype
-Headphone Jack placed on top, hard to use
-Wide keyboard will create awkward positions for fingers and hands
-Weight of 1.5 pounds can be difficult when wanting to use as a book in bed


Software:

If there is one thing that both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs can agree on is that software is as important as hardware, if not even more important. Luckily for the iPad, this is where it shines the most. Whether you are viewing the Internet, looking through pictures, streaming videos or using apps, the iPad is not only extremely fast, but very intuitive. Scrolling through websites is extremely simple: simply use to fingers to and scroll up and down through the website itself.

One thing we would like to address though is quite obviously the lack of flash and the implications this has on your overall experience as well as a developer's point of view. Most of you reading this probably don't realize just how many websites implement Adobe Flash and how often you use it on your daily Internet activities. Currently, over 90% of all websites use Adobe Flash. Right now, even Digital Crisis' own website will not render completely in the version of Safari that is bundled with the iPad.


On the left is how Digital Crisis' own website will currently look on the iPad and on the right is how it will look in the Mac version of Safari. The missing element is a Flash video that we have describing our services and service area. While this isn't crippling, it does make our website look incomplete when viewing it on the iPad. 90% of websites out there will experience issues like this. Luckily, HTML 5 is beginning to be discussed and will soon be implemented in all of the major browsers (Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, Opera, etc.). What this means is soon we will be able to convert our Flash videos into HTML compatible videos and the iPad will be able to view the same websites as their desktop/laptop counterparts. From a developer standpoint, this means we will have to use additional funds to convert our website and every other company will have to do this as well.

Steve Jobs claimed that this will be "The best browsing experience you've ever had." We unfortunately disagree with this statement and will make one of our own. The iPad will never have a 100% website compatibility ever. Some people won't have the technical abilities to convert their website and others will not have the technical knowledge to do this. This means you will be missing out on Videos, Games and many other interactive experiences that are currently on the Internet. Some you will eventually be able to use, but many in the current form will not be usable.

Internet aside, the iPad software is some of the best out there. There simply is no other device out there that will deliver an experience quite like this one. iBooks is a perfect example of this. Upon loading the application (it must be downloaded through the App Store), you are presented a library of thousands upon thousands of books to choose from. Simply purchase the iBook and it is yours for life. If you are an avid reader, this will be one of the best experiences you have ever had. You can increase or decrease the size of the lettering, change the font or even have the iPad read out loud to you. If you constantly travel, iBooks compounded with the iPad's amazing battery life will ensure that wherever you go, you will have access to as many books as you could possibly want and more.

Mail is also a great application. While we aren't too fond of the keyboard, the application in and of itself is quite great. Your e-mails are showcased to the left while the content of each email is showed on the right side of the screen. The content is rich and interactive, allowing you to quickly and easily save images to your iPad. The best update to the OS itself is they now allow support for multiple exchange accounts. This means if you have more than one e-mail address, you will be able to sync at all times without having to go through hooks for each one. Apple also plans on updating the application itself to allow more support for GMail, but there is no eta for the release itself. Overall it is a great application and for daily use, this should be fine for almost all users.


Pictures are another thing that needs to be experienced on the iPad. When you have a set of pictures (see right), simply take your thumb and index finger and open them up while placing them on the set of pictures. They will instantly shoot out across your hand and you can view them all very quickly. Once you have found a set of pictures (or all pictures) that you would like to look at, all you need to is swipe through them from left to right. The iPad renders pictures faster than you can scroll and even high resolution pictures rendered instantly. Pictures look absolutely amazing on the screen and you will be blown away at the sheer speed and quality. There is simply no other portable device that will showcase your pictures as well as the iPad does.

Video is remarkable on the iPad. Whether you are watching a HD movie or a short YouTube clip, the iPad never fails to impress. Even when displaying 720P HD video, the iPad never slowed down or stuttered. If you are planning on going on a road trip or get stuck at an airport, this is the great way to pass the time. Battery life will be slightly lower when compared to Internet and e-mail activity, but should be able to watch two to three full movies before you will need to charge the iPad. Overall it is an amazing experience and is one of the best ways to showcase the device and screen.

Currently, the iPad can only open and use one application at a time. Because of this, we cannot claim that it is a netbook or laptop replacement. It is quite difficult and cumbersome to have to exit out of your e-mail application just to read a link that someone sent to you directly in the e-mail itself. Apple is addressing this in a few months with iPad OS 4.0, but until then, you will wish that you could already do this. We feel that Apple rushed the release of the iPad and should have pushed it back by a few months to be able to truly showcase their product. Within a few months though this will be irrelevant and most users will forget this was even a problem.

As the iPad continues to grow so will the applications themselves. This is the beauty of software and what will eventually make the iPad an amazing platform. Imagine using the iPad as a remote control for your entire entertainment center or controlling your DVR from a hotel. Eventually there will be ways of tethering the iPad to your car to instantly listen to music or show your kids a movie while having the audio go through your speakers. When Apple adds a front mounted camera, you will be able to communicate to family and friends through Skype with it. Very quickly, our current idea of a phone could be transformed, all because of software and creativity. The iPad can and will be whatever we come up with.

Pros:
 -Extremely fast User Interface
-HTML 5 free open-sourced Internet
-Apps designed exclusively for the iPad are a treat to work with
-iBooks is the e-book reader
-Unparalleled potential

Cons:
-Internet will never be 100% complete
-Lack of Flash support
-Many streaming video websites do not work properly
-No multitasking; yet!


Price:

Of course there is one final element to discuss before truly deciding if you will want to purchase the iPad. Mr. Jobs and Apple would like for you to believe that the entry level iPad is going to only cost you $499, and while this is true, we all know the there are caveats to entry level products.

The first is space. 16GB is not a lot of space for something designed to contain books, music, videos and pictures. Most digital cameras take 2-3 MB pictures and a typical movie will be 300-700 MB in size. Add in your music, books and any applications you have and the picture becomes quite clear: 16GB is not enough.

Couple that with the fact that you will want your iPad to last more than a few months, you will need to buy specific Accessories that only fit and work with the iPad. Some typical examples and pricing of Accessories:

-$39 iPad carrying case
-$29 iPad connectivity dock
-$29 iPad USB / SD Card dongle
-$69 iPad Blue tooth Wireless keyboard
-$99 AppleCare protection plan (does not cover accidental damage)

Most people will want at the very least the carrying case and protection plan, so this now brings up the initial cost to $639 for the 16GB model.

The next issue then becomes the cost of applications. Applications designed for the iPhone will work with the iPad, however they do not look that great and the functionality is designed for a smaller screen in mind. Some applications have now been upgraded to work with the iPad but the entry level pricing has also seen an increase in price. Currently, the average price per app is $5 and the average book price is $10. If you were to purchase 5 books and 5 apps, you entry price would now be $719.

The final issue raised is when you want to travel with this product and use Internet-connected applications and services without being connected to some one's wireless network. The entry level iPad 3G is $629 dollars. Adding in the $219 cost we have just discussed, the price now becomes an $850 tablet. The 3G version also requires a $15/$30 Internet plan sold through AT&T which brings your cost up even more.

Apple claims that in one month 1 million iPad users have downloaded 1.5 million iBooks and 12 million applications. At this rate, we would anticipate users would purchase at minimum of 10 books and 15 applications per year. Using this base, your average first-year cost for the iPad the following:

-16GB Model - $815
-32GB Model - $915
-64GB Model - $1015


-16GB 3G Model - $815 + $180-$360 for Data
-32GB 3G Model - $915 + $180-$360 for Data
-64GB 3G Model - $1015 + $180-$360 for Data

One year estimate for 64GB 3G Model: $1400. A very expensive iPad and very feasible given most people's desire to continue to use the iPad and it's features.

Is the iPad for you?

This is the biggest issue at hand. For the casual users, we can easily recommend it, but should you spend this amount of money to experience it or simply go with a laptop? We choose the latter as it can do everything the iPad can and for cheaper. Even the entry level Macbook will cost you around the same price, comes with a larger screen, a physical keyboard, flash support, thousands of free applications and still give you the ability to carry it with you everywhere you go.

For the business users we cannot recommend it yet. Even with multiple exchange support, the issue then becomes the keyboard itself. You cannot type quickly and accurately enough to exchange words between your peers. Most users will still find  their Blackberry or iPhone to be faster and easier to manage.

For the must-have kind of people, well quite frankly, you probably already have one. Some of you may be regretting it and some of you will be saying it is the best piece of technology you have ever had the chance to use. For everyone else though, we recommend sitting back and watching what the future holds for Apple and it's latest product. There will be a new revision and it will more than likely address every if not most of the issue we have had. Until then, hold onto your money and save it for the iPad 2.

Final Rating:
3.5/5

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Invisible Enemy

The Invisible Enemy

I’m sure you’re through with spring cleaning as the summer is nearing around the corner, however there’s one more thing than should get some special attention. Your PC, when is the last time you opened your computer and cleaned out those dust bunnies? Been a while? It’s recommended that you clean out your computer every 6 months and more often if your computer is kept in dusty environments. But there’s one common thing that is almost always overlooked, that’s your thermal grease or thermal paste. If you don’t know what I am talking about, the chances are pretty high that your computer needs some attention in this area.

What is thermal grease/paste and why is it important to change it?
Thermal Grease is grease that contains heat conductive metals and materials that transfers heat from your processor to your heat sink and/or fan. The main difference between thermal grease and thermal paste is that thermal paste is generally cheaper and used for factory installed processors. The processor is the hottest part in your computer, and can reach up to 200F or higher! Over time the thermal grease will dry out and shrink, decreasing heat displacement causing your processor to overheat and degrade. As you know, heat expands metal, and can actually short out parts of the processor, causing instability and unexpected shutdowns. It is recommended that you change your thermal grease every 24-36 months, depending on the quality of the thermal paste. Generally factory installed paste/grease usually lasts 18-24 months, but it can never hurt to replace it with a higher quality grease, such as Artic Silver 5. You can consult your local computer repair shop to perform the service for you; one here in Houston, called Digital Crisis, 281-500-1213, or you can do it yourself.