Hardware Stocking for Technicians

Published 16th February 2014 By Micah Lahren
hardware stocking for computer technicians

It seems your client’s power supply failed on their desktop computer. They need it back up and running now. Not tomorrow, not ‘next Monday’, and certainly not ‘three to five business days’ later. Do you have a spare power supply unit in your shop? Can you run down the street and grab one from a hardware store, or are you the only hardware store in town?

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Solve Common Chromebook Issues with this ChromeOS Troubleshooting Flow Chart

Published 12th February 2014 By Bryce Whitty
chromebook-flowchart

If you have ever had a Chromebook land on your workbench, you will see that they are fairly different to PC and Mac laptops. While they look similar, their operating system is a very stripped down Linux build focused around Google Cloud services. The majority of it is based around the Google Chrome browser and they work more like a thin client than a regular laptop. This makes doing troubleshooting work on them a little different.

Someone named Ray Nolan has recently created a basic troubleshooting flow chart for Chromebooks that some readers may find handy. Keep in mind, this contains some very basic troubleshooting steps that any computer technician should know, but does show you some ChromeOS specific steps and some good links to find more advanced information.

You can check out the Chromebook Troubleshooting Flow Chart Here (1400×3551, 830kb)

[Alternate Link]

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MalwareBytes to Switch to Subscription Licensing Model – Time to Buy Up Lifetime Licenses

Published 9th February 2014 By Bryce Whitty
malwarebytes

MalwareBytes has recently announced on their forum that they will be switching to a subscription model for the next version of their popular Anti-malware software. It will cost $24.95 USD per year and will begin with the upcoming launch of version 2 of MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.

MalwareBytes have said they will honour existing lifetime licenses meaning if a user has a lifetime license for version 1, they will continue to have a lifetime license for version 2.

Now would be a great time to buy up multiple V1 lifetime licenses to get the V2 lifetime licenses. Luckily, AntiMalware Pro version 1 Lifetime licenses are currently on sale for $14.95 (50% OFF) at Newegg.com (Maximum of 5) for the remainder of February 2014. You can find the link and coupon code on our Deals Forum here.

 

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Recurring Income for Techs

Published 7th February 2014 By Micah Lahren
Recurring Income

Many times Tech services fall into the category of ‘break/fix’ solutions. When something goes wrong, we’re called to fix it. While this is standard operating procedure for many services, like home repair and vehicle repair, it doesn’t have to be the procedure for your business. How can you break out of the simple ‘break/fix’ work and build up recurring income for your business, and why is this a good idea in the first place?

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Unprofitable vs. Profitable Services for Techs

Published 4th February 2014 By Micah Lahren
Profitable Services for Techs

The Tech industry is a vast field, with a wide spectrum of devices. Mobile devices, proprietary machines and operating systems, server management, networking… if you have the experience and tools to cover every contingency, that’s great. But is it profitable to cover every angle of the Tech industry? How can you determine whether or not it would be profitable to step into a new field? What are profitable services for Techs in your community?

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Simulate OS’s and Applications for Remote Phone Support

Published 29th January 2014 By Bryce Whitty
Simulate Operating Systems and Apps for Remote Support

If you have ever done phone support, you know how hard it can sometimes be to visualize the steps your client needs to take in order to solve their problem. What would really help is if you had that operating system or application in front of you.

This is where Chasms.com and NetworkOverload.com comes in.
These two sites are basic emulators that allow you to go to the common areas of the operating system and various applications. Both sites contain most of the major computer operating systems as well as common antivirus and email applications.

Chasms.com has more operating systems and applications than NetworkOverload.com. It includes Ubuntu, Tablets, Router Webmins, Phones and Gaming consoles which NetworkOverload doesn’t cover. While Chasms has a terrible website design, the meat is still there.

NetworkOverload.com seems to go a little deeper into the operating systems and applications allowing you to access more menus than Chasms, but there are less overall operating systems and applications.

While doing phone support this way is not as robust as having a full blown virtual machine, its a great in-between, especially for operating systems and software that you don’t actually own.

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Posted in Websites

LogMeIn Discontinues Free Accounts

Published 22nd January 2014 By Bryce Whitty
LogMeIn Free

We typically don’t cover news here at Technibble but I feel that this one will affect a lot of Computer Technicians.
The remote support software “LogMeIn” has just announced that they will be discontinuing their free offering. Users will have just seven days from their next login to decide whether to move on to another solution or become a paying customer.

This change also affects LogMeIn Ignition users (A paid app for iOS and Android) as users will no longer be able to use the app on the free versions. LogMeIn has offered discounts for the paid version as a “peace offering” for LogMeIn Ignition users. Other LogMeIn offerings such as Cubby and Join.me are unaffected.

LogMeIn posted a FAQ on why they have changed their plans but the main point was “In order to address the evolving needs of our customers, we will be unifying our portfolio of free and premium remote access products into a paid-only offering.”

If you are just babysitting friends and family computers, Teamviewer is a good free alternative for non-commercial situations. If you were using LogMeIn Free on client computers, then Instant Housecall (cloud) and ScreenConnect (self-hosted) are great paid alternatives that are heavily used by Technibble forum members.

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Compare Prices on NewEgg.com with Hover Hound

Published 21st January 2014 By Bryce Whitty
Hover Hound Plugin

Many Computer Technicians in the US will spend a bit of time scanning Newegg.com looking for the best hardware prices to stock their computer businesses. While Newegg is known to have some of the lowest prices for computer hardware, Amazon and TigerDirect often have even better prices.
The browser extension Hover Hound makes it easy to search Newegg.com, and then compare the price of any product with Amazon and TigerDirect. The plugin works by adding an extra button on Newegg that when hovered, shows you the prices of same product on both Amazon and TigerDirect. It can also show you a price history graph of the product and if you are a Amazon Prime member, you can filter Hover Hound results to only items at Amazon that have Prime Shipping.

The plugin is available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and is a must have for any computer technician who purchases stock from Newegg.com

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Large List of Free Forensic Software

Published 16th January 2014 By Bryce Whitty
Free Forensic Software

While I personally have never gotten into forensics due to liability reasons, it has always been something that has interested me. Recently, one of our forum members (mm201) posted an amazing resource with a large collection of free forensics tools for Windows, Mac and Linux as well as iOS, Android & Blackberry devices. If you are already doing forensics work or simply have an interest in it, be sure to check out this site:
http://forensiccontrol.com/resources/free-software/

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How to Quit Your Job and Start a Computer Business – Book Review

Published 7th January 2014 By Bryce Whitty
How To Quit Your Job and Start a Computer Business Book Cover

Matthew Rodela from “Your Friendly Neighbourhood Computer Guy” has recently come out with an ebook called “How to Quit Your Job and Start a Computer Business“.
As you can tell from the title, it’s about making the jump from working for someone else to starting your own computer business.

“Taking the jump” from full-time employment to self-employment is not something one should ever take lightly, it’s a huge undertaking and the aim of this book is to help guide you through it.
Late last year I managed to get a copy of the book off Matt and have been reading through it over the holiday break. I have to say it is quite impressive. Read on for the full review.

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Posted in Reviews