Tag Archives: Home PC Repair

Email – the evil necessisity

Email, we get a lot of complaints about it and we all use it. Most of us have 2 or more email accounts. Some people use email more than others. Some people don’t care if it disappears and others lives are on hold or over if it disappears.

So, let’s start here. There are two different types of email; POP and IMAP. POP email generally is used for one device only and generally set up to download all email from the server to that device. Note, I said GENERALLY. Meaning that this particular email type CAN be set up to leave a certain amount on the server and multiple devices access that email. POP is generally used for individuals and not businesses. IMAP always leaves a copy of the email on the server until you delete and is specifically designed for multiple devices automatically. This type of setting is usually for businesses. However, in our new connected world with multiple devices and being slave to email, I recommend most people use the IMAP settings. There is no sense in going into what the acronym’s of POP and IMAP exactly are it will not make a difference for this blog.

With POP email if you are using it on one PC and that PC crashes you might loose all your email. Like I said previously, it can be set up to hold some of that email at the server. IMAP always holds a copy at the server. The good part about it staying on the server is that it is usually backed up by the people running the server every night. However, if you are using some free email service like Gmail, Ymail, Hotmail, etc. you might find that you get little or no support for lost email. That includes the fact that if someone hacks your account, the only thing you can usually do is close that email account and use a new one. I won’t go into it right now but that is the reason to not use Google to host your web site or email for a business at all.

Now that you know there are two ways it is sent to you we can now talk about clients. What is a client? Microsoft Outlook is an client. There are many clients out there. The key to it is this. Microsoft Outlook was specifically designed to work with Microsoft email server’s known as Exchange Servers. Other email clients are usually considered to be multi-platform. Meaning simply that they are designed to work with both Microsoft Exchange Servers and other server’s which can include Linux. What client is right for you? If you are a business using a Microsoft Exchange Server whether it is a local/on-site server or a cloud based Microsoft Exchange Server, Outlook is the way to go. If you are using an ISP or Web Hosting companies email; like Windstream, Charter, AT&T or ones like GoDaddy, Wix, etc., you should use a different client. We recommend Thunderbird by Mozilla, the same people that bring you Firefox. You can download Thunderbird Here.

Why? As we already talked about Microsoft Outlook is specifically designed for Microsoft Exchange Server email. That does not mean that Outlook will not work with other systems. However, it does mean there could be issues. I will give you a real world scenario, that you can call you email people and verify it if you want. GoDaddy supplies email but if you are not using their Microsoft Office 365 Exchange program their exact statement about Microsoft Outlook working is this “We provide email and it works through the web-based interface just fine. We provide the common settings to use on email clients as a courtesy but we will not guarantee they will work nor will we support any email client.” I bet you didn’t know that did you? This goes for Windstream, Comcast, AT&T and other Web Hosting Companies.

Now finally for those home users, if you are on Windstream specifically it is even worse if you are trying to access accounts that are not on their specific servers. We have seen so many issues with people trying to access their Web Hosting company email through a client and using Windstream as an ISP. One thing that will help you is to keep your Inbox clean. Make folders and move the email that is not pertinent out of the Inbox, delete email that is not needed, make sure you empty the trash in the client and good luck. As people that are stuck in Dawsonville, Dahlonega and a few other surrounding areas are stuck with the WORST ISP ON THE PLANET = WINDSTREAM

Piss On Windstream

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Should a Business Use?

It’s very simple. A business should either use Microsoft Outlook with a Microsoft Exchange Server. This is usually most easily done by contacting your Web Hosting company like GoDaddy to set that up. I am saying that simply because ISP’s and Web Hosting companies all have the same exact statement “we provide email to use as a web based interface and will not support the client/programs.” You may also chose to use Office.com or Outlook.com as a viable Microsoft Exchange hosting plan for your needs.

As always we are here to help and answer any questions you have at AML Computer Services 

Rick Eubanks

 

Cryptowall – UNLOCKED

Cryptowall, a ransomware, a type of virus but not one that any anti-virus program, UNTIL NOW, has been able to stop. Cryptowall aka Decrypt Virus will infect ALL your documents, pictures and Outlook files. When it does, they are GONE. A lot of popular anti-virus programs have claimed to be able to stop it and/or clean it but that is wrong, until now. Cryptowall has been conquered by an anti-virus program we found and tested several years ago. Cryptowall meet Stopzilla, you are now defeated.

Because we have been working on and dealing with the Cryptowall virus since about mid-November we had the pleasure of being interviewed by WSB TV Channel 2 Tom Regan about the virus, possible removal and effects on the users. We particularly focused on if paying the ransom would unlock the files, it won’t and what it meant for the users. What it means is total data loss.

WSB Cryptowall Virus Interview

WSB Cryptowall Virus Interview

Cryptowall Virus Files

Cryptowall Virus Files

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At that time of that interview there was no published way to protect you from the Cryptowall virus and the ONLY method to save your files was to use several backup devices by rotating them over several days. For example, use several USB devices, use a different one every day for 3 or so days and check every day for the Cryptowall virus files. See picture on right, the three bottom files are the supposed instructions on how to remove the virus, it’s part of the scam and all it really does is shows you that you are infected. This usually houses itself in your Documents or Picture folder. The first sign you may have a problem is that your computer comes up and asks “what program do you want to use to open this file” when you are opening a Word, Excel file or Picture. However, if you check daily for the files above and have done a backup, you might be ok.

AS OF FEBRUARY 1, 2015 STOPZILLA CAN STOP THE CRYPTOWALL VIRUS, with their new 7.0 version.

The update of the virus definitions for previously purchased versions will be out a in a few weeks. If you don’t want to wait for the definitions you can pay for the upgrade. Even if you have purchased the Lifetime version the Lifetime version will not update the definitions for a few weeks, you have to pay for the upgrade. We will be doing it at a heavily reduced price and no install fee from us. If you wish to purchase and install it yourself, visit their site at http://www.stopzilla.com/products/stopzilla- antivirus

Stopzilla Anti-Virus 7.0

Stopzilla Anti-Virus 7.0

 

 

 

 

Rick Eubanks

https://amlcomputerservices.com

Anti-Virus – Stopzilla

A couple of years ago we started testing anti-virus programs. We came across Stopzilla anti-virus. We had never heard of it just like most people. What impressed us first and foremost was Stopzilla was the ONLY anti-virus we found that would completely remove the Redirect Virus. We also noticed that Stopzilla would remove tracking cookies. What is the significance of tracking cookies? Simply, they are put on your computer by every website you visit to cater ads to you. Ads are the way viruses, trojans, malware, hi-jack programs and other things get into your computer. At the time we tested many anti-virus programs we ran across Consumer Reports ranking of “popular” anti-virus programs. The list is below with some of our testing marks. You can see where we ranked them in our own testing. Stopzilla was not a “popular” or well known program so it didn’t get tested.

Consumer Reports Anti-Virus

Consumer Reports Virus Ranking 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we tested Stopzilla against the others we found it to be much more intuitive than any of them. The next thing we wanted to do was be able to offer a free anti-virus program and our first choice on that was AVG Free. We simply found it better than any other of the free anti-virus programs. We also made our decision based on how well the anti-virus programs that we chose worked with the user and didn’t slow the computer down.

Below is a current customer computer that is being scanned by Stopzilla. Nothing else we have tried worked to fix all the add-on stuff on here. We even tried Malwarebytes Pro because it was already loaded on the PC. At the time of this posting the current running Stopzilla had found over 12000 different infections or things that should not be on the computer.

Stopzilla Anti-Virus

Stopzilla Anti-Virus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a link to their anti-virus if you want to purchase it http://stopzilla.com/products/stopzilla-antivirus/.  However, as a reseller we can beat the price and then we support it for you. In addition, we offer something from them that they do not offer online. Stopzilla allows their resellers to sell the AVM Lifetime version. It is $100 but it’s a lifetime version, no annual renewal, and it is transferrable and we can install it for you free. The disclaimer on that is this, you must keep up with the license key that will be emailed to you. If you get us to do a clean-up on your computer, sometimes called a Tune-Up, and we install the AVM Lifetime version we do it for $60 and install it. Please be aware that both programs require us to charge tax. Also, if you do go to their site please notice they offer a separate malware program and optimizer. We have used and tested both and are very impressed.

https://amlcomputerservices.com

Rick Eubanks

Our Service

Because I want people to know what kind of service we provide and how we treat our customers so I am giving some examples below. I also wanted to give some examples of what we do for our customers if they have a problem with equipment or something we worked on for them. This is so you know that we stand behind what we do and we treat all our customers with utmost respect. It’s even more proven by whom out there businesswise recommends us. We have two other IT Companies that send their people to us. One of them doesn’t work on Apple Computers, so Computer Medics of Lanier sends us that business and Appalachian Technologies out of Cleveland that exclusively works on City networks sends anyone that asks them about computer or cell phone repair to us. In addition, AT&T, Verizon and Walmart send people here for cell phone repairs. These type of things do not happen if you aren’t providing great service. There are a ton of examples but I didn’t want bore you. So these few real examples of things we have done are listed below:

  • Customer bought a laptop from us. Brought it in a week later with the hard drive completely failed. Laptop is under warranty by the manufacturer. Instead of making them wait for repair, we gave them a more expensive brand new laptop and set it up for them all at no charge.
  • Customer had phone repaired by us, a week later they broke the screen again, we replaced the screen at a huge discount.
  • Customer bought a used laptop. Used laptops have a 30 – 90 day warranty. Not sure which warranty period it was on this one but it was out of warranty by a week. The motherboard had gone bad. We traded them out at no charge for another used laptop.
  • One of our customers came in with a laptop that the CD/DVD drive would not see any disc. The problem is that some software like, Magic Jack and Driver Updater will overwrite the CD/DVD in the registry. It’s not a hard fix for us. We corrected the problem for him at no charge.
  • A customer came in with a Windstream issue, we knew it but they thought it was their computer. We showed them it wasn’t the computer, there was no charge and we even installed Stopzilla Anti-Virus for free because we wanted to make sure that Microsoft Security Essentials, which is junk, had not missed any major Trojans, malware, etc. We did that all that work at no charge.
  • A customer had a laptop with a bad DC Jack. It needed replacing and required soldering work. There was major damage to the port area, including a crack in the motherboard. We replaced the DC Jack and informed the customer of what we saw. The computer did work. It quit working and she brought it back about a month later. We opened it up and re-soldered the DC Jack as best as possible. It worked again. We did this at no charge. The DC Jack area is so badly damaged that it will probably happen again. I told her she needs to start saving for a new computer as that will not hold forever.

Rick Eubanks

https://amlcomputerservices.com

 

Who is AML Computer Services?

Who is AML Computer Services? AML Computer Services is named after our daughter, Ana-Marie Liane, was started with zero customers out of our house. In the summer of 2010 I personally handed out 3000 business cards to get business. Today AML Computer Services employs 3 people. Daniel Sides who is married with one child and one due in March who has just moved into his first house and Lucas Ramirez who is trying to buy a new car and of course Rick Eubanks.

So as you know we can’t be where we are without our wonderful customers. In May we will hit our 5 year anniversary and will be close to 3 years at our current location. I wanted to let you all know we had a 33% increase in business in 2014 over 2013. So that means 2014 we had another amazing year thanks to you allowing us to help you with your computer and cell phone repairs. We can not express enough how much we appreciate you continuing to tell everyone about our stellar service.

Needless to say we aren’t perfect but we do way more right than wrong. With almost 1400 likes on our page and 4.5 or so stars that’s a win to us. Sure you have an occasional person that may post a negative. We aren’t perfect but we surely try to make sure we are and we do strive for 100% satisfaction guarantee. I doubt you can find too many businesses like AML Computer Services that will do as much for free or go overboard to help as we do but it doesn’t mean we will be abused. When you aren’t willing to let someone that is wrong trample on you that’s when you don’t get perfect scores.

People often ask us what things AML Computer Services support, of course this being a family business makes it a personal decision also. We support the Dawson County Humane Society, Dawson County Humane Society Thrift Store, R.E.A.D. of Dawsonville, WeeBooks of Dawsonville, a variety of sports with the Dawson County High School and the school itself. We have done low cost work for No One Alone, Dawson County Family Connection, Ric-Rack, Abba House Thrift Store. We also try to help any kids that come by selling candy or other advertising for the Dawson and Lumpkin areas. We advertise in both local papers Dawson News & Advertiser and the The Dahlonega Nugget and we also advertise in a local phone book Lakeview Publishing. I know the last isn’t supporting for a charity but I included it to show our support of other local businesses and the community.

We chose to drop most of our printing services, specifically the ones in-house and concentrate more on our web design. As we can offer a lower cost and higher quality than you can usually get.

So again thank you and we look forward to a great 2015 at AML Computer Services.

Rick Eubanks

https://amlcomputerservices.com

Windows 8 Product Key issue

Windows 8 product key issue that you probably do not know about. Microsoft claims the product key is embedded in the BIOS of the computer but that is not always true.

If you bought a computer with Windows 8 or 8.1 the product key is not located on the outside of the computer. It is ONLY embedded in the system itself. This means if you do not make your recovery disks it can’t be reloaded. The only other way to retrieve your product key is to use Belarc Advisor which is downloadable from http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html 

PLEASE TAKE NOTE IF YOUR COMPUTER CRASHES WITH WINDOWS 8/8.1 AND YOU DO NOT DO THE STEPS ABOVE YOU WILL HAVE TO PURCHASE WINDOWS 8/8.1 LICENSE KEY.

 

Windows 8 Product Key Issue

Windows 8 Product Key Issue

 

AML Computer Services

258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180

Dawsonville, Ga. 30534

https://amlcomputerservices.com

support@amlcomputer.com

(678) 341-0821

Apple Certification Service, Factory Trained

The separator of our Apple Service from the others. We are factory trained and have been for years, as you can see. This is NOT the only Certificate from Apple but I believe you get the point. Why trust someone who claims to know Apple products when we are trained. Come see us.

Apple Certification

Apple Certification

 

AML Computer Services

https://amlcomputerservices.com

258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180

Dawsonville, Ga. 30534

Support@amlcomputer.com

Customer Service – Is the Customer ALWAYS right?

Customer service is our #1 goal. We strive to make sure our customers are happy. We have even lost money to make sure that our customers are happy. We are here to make the best suggestion to you for your technology needs, not to just put money in our pockets. When a big box location does tries with their customer service they  go into it knowing they aren’t really losing anything. When their markup is 200 – 500% of what they pay them to give the item for them to give it away or mark it down to an absurd low price is not a problem. We aren’t perfect but when there is a problem we treat our customers with respect and expect the same in return.

Although we have a no return policy, we do have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and that’s even better. Why? Because it means our first level is to make sure you get what you expect out of the experience of our service.

We are very aware that small business owners that succeed do so because they strive to provide above average service, be competitive with pricing, etc. We know that the best form of advertising is still word of mouth.

I am not sure why some people think that prices are negotiable or try to not pay their bill. Do you go to Walmart and try to negotiate a price?

Click the Customer Service link below for an article about this.

Customer Service

Looking for IT Support? Customer Service should be the #1 thing you care about

If you are a company looking for IT Support or someone to do a contract work for you, why wouldn’t you ask for current references? This is your business, your life, your livelihood. Hiring someone because “they need the work” or “they are a good person” to work on your computer system is not a very good business decision. Realize also that some IT Support companies target businesses and will overload themselves and will not be able to support you like you need. They will concentrate on the larger customers. We cater to home users, home based businesses and small business and only take on a very few businesses that need constant IT Support. We have partnerships with other quality businesses in the area and can point you to the right fit for your business if we can’t take on your support. Why? because we appreciate our customers, potential customers and value your business needs like it is our own. That’s why you can come see us first and trust us.

Any of you other IT companies out there that are trying to do a good job, this is a fair warning to you. Be careful of the snakes in the grass that talk a good game but don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground about IT. Once those people get their foot in the door or get the ear of a customer you are doomed. There are a lot of us out there doing a great job and even support each other. The people you have to watch for are those that don’t actually have a business and just claim to know something about IT. This is also a fair warning to our valued customers. Good IT people ban together and help each other. Just because you know someone on a social level is not a good reason to just hire them to do a job.

 

Custom Built Computer

Custom built computer, is it for everyone? Quite a few people that know a little about a computer think they can easily put together their own custom built computer. There is a lot more to it than just throwing together some parts, starting it up and watching it run.

If you buy a custom built computer from someone you better make sure they know what they are doing. What about warranty? Where did they get their software? Where did they get their training? Are they sure they have properly checked the amount of wattage needed for the power supply? What happens when you have a problem with a custom built computer?

All of these questions about a custom built computer are valid and important. AML Computer Services has many years of experience in building and repairing computers. Because of this we know what works but we still tested it before it gets to you.

Custom Built Computer

Custom Built Computer techs

 

These guys are experts in finding the right parts to fit into your system to make sure it runs as fast as possible and efficient. All of our components have been tested for a long time before we chose what component manufacturer to utilize. Once the computer has been built we then have a 24 hour burn in time utilizing the latest software technology to “stress test” the system. This helps us insure that there are less failures once you made your purchase. However, if there is a failure you can be sure that you are covered under our warranty of at least 1 (one) year. That warranty is done by us so you don’t have to wait weeks to get your computer up and running.

Anytime you buy a computer from a retail chain store you only get the manufacturers warranty unless you purchase some “extra” plan. Even then several places only send your computer off to get it fixed and you might have to wait 2 – 3 weeks or longer. Even those that do repair at their location can take 1 – 2 weeks. Do you really want to wait that long or had you rather know that we can fix it in 24 – 48 hours?

 

Where do you get a custom built computer you can trust to work?

AML Computer Services of course. Come by and check out our custom built computers. If you have specifics you need, we have got you covered.

AML Computer Services
258 Beartooth Parkway, Suite 180
Dawsonville, Ga. 30534
(678) 341-0821
https://amlcomputerservices.com
support@amlcomputer.com

Windows XP, no more

Windows XP having been around for 12 years, Microsoft is ending support. “after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC.” the article on Microsoft’s website about Windows XP further states that no security updates will be available. If you would like to you can read the whole article here http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help

Bye Bye Windows XP

Bye Bye Windows XP

It is because of this decision that Microsoft made about Windows XP that we made a decision last year.  As of January 1, 2014 that we will no longer buy or sell used computers that have Windows XP. This does NOT mean we will not continue to service them as best that we can. 

Microsoft is a monopoly no matter what they want to say or what the government wants to say. When Microsoft makes a decision, like they have with Windows XP, it affects the consumer. The affect on the consumer in this case is that it’s forcing you to update your computer. At the current time the operating system that Microsoft wants to push on you is Windows 8. There are still some stragglers of last years model PC’s that are available with Windows 7. I have also seen that some computer manufacturers are offering Windows 7 loaded on purchases of some new laptops and desktops. Once these available licenses, known as product keys, are depleted you will only be able to get Windows 8.

Alternative to Windows XP from AML Computer Services

At the current time we can offer Windows 7 on a lot of laptops and we are custom building desktop computers with Windows 7. Windows 7 is a great alternative to Windows XP. It has the basic look and feel of Windows XP but Windows 7 is much more robust and has a 64 bit operating system where Windows XP mostly shipped with 32 bit. What is the difference you ask? What is the difference between a 4 lane highway and and 8 lane highway? Get the point? More traffic can move faster with 64 bit than 32 bit.

So come out and see us at AML Computer Services. We can help you navigate the information super highway faster and right into the future.

AML Computer Services 258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180 Dawsonville, Ga. 30534 (678) 341-0821 support@amlcomputer.com https://amlcomputerservices.com

Anti-Virus programs… the truth

We did our own testing of Anti-Virus programs. We tested both paid and free. We found negligible differences for the home user. The bottom line was that no anti-virus program blocked everything. This ranking list of “Them” was from Consumer Reports. Theirs is ranked by numbers and we ranked ours by another method as you can see. Please bear in mind our testing was NOT meant for business but only a home user.

We decided to test this because we used to sell anti-virus programs because that part of the industry is not friendly toward the small business. Since the profit margin was minimal to non-existent unless you could sell a large volume we wanted to know was it worth it to even sell it at all. We currently use the anti-virus program AVG FREE and have for 2 years and we surf as much, check email, work on computers with viruses, etc. and guess what? We have been virus free the WHOLE time. That’s right, not ONE virus on our system. Our findings are a little different from “Them” but I don’t have any idea how they tested theirs. In our case, we had computers with viruses on them and had those anti-virus program installed on the computer. Our results are based on what the program found and if it eliminated the virus and/or stopped it completely from getting through the “door”.  Below are our real world results.

Anti-Virus Programs Ranking Test

Why shop local?

“Whether you’re on the road or just cruising around town, your favorite McDonald’s menu items are never far away.” So boasts the McDonald’s Restaurant Locator, and a glance at a distribution map of franchises in the United States proves the point. Population centers burn brightly with the Golden Arches; even the sparsely populated Western states are adequately supplied by the nation’s 14,000-plus fleet of McDonald’s.

That reach is astounding, but not exceptional. Four out of five Americans live within 20 miles of our 11,000 Starbucks; 30 percent of American grocery shopping occurs at our 4,500 Wal-Marts. The most familiar element of the American landscape — excepting green highway signs and certain brands of automobiles — might be Subway, which has over 25,000 U.S. locations.

You could be forgiven for thinking, as Simon and Garfunkel sang, “Each town looks the same to me.” From Juneau to Jacksonville, we Americans share, as much as anything, a common commercial experience, a fractal pattern of retail at once comforting and mind-numbing. It stretches the powers of the imagination to think that eating and shopping options in the American city were once as distinct as fingerprints. The shift from mom-and-pops to chains has been one of the defining shifts in American cultural life, and counter-protests have been largely futile, with opponents pegged as sentimentalists standing in the way of progress and low prices.

That is changing. Dozens of American municipalities, mostly small towns with tourism in mind, have passed laws restricting the entry of chain stores. The biggest city to do so is San Francisco: in incremental steps punctuated by a ballot initiative in 2006, the California city famous for liberal activism has enacted the most influential anti-chain legislation in the United States.

You might not realize, walking the streets of Nob Hill, that you are experiencing an urban economy governed by the tightest big-city regulations on “formula retail” in the country. That’s because the San Francisco’s anti-chain net, while unique among large cities, is fairly permeable: three out of four chains that apply for permission to operate in one of the city’s protected zones are approved. Sure, San Francisco is quirky and diverse, true to its reputation, and bursting with independent bookstores, cafes, restaurants and boutiques. But the city isn’t an oasis: as in any other large U.S. city, there are dozens of Starbucks and Subway shops here too.

Supporters say the 75 percent approval rate does not do justice to the system’s efficacy. Seeking authorization forces chains to make concessions to neighborhood interests, and the deterrent effect — Qdoba might not even attempt to open across from a favorite local burrito joint — is impossible to quantify. Two recent high-profile cases – the rejection ofStarbucks and Chipotle earlier this year – have fueled the sense that neighborhoods wield real power. In the case of Starbucks, 453 signatures were submitted in support; 4,200 signatures in opposition.

The impact of the law has grown over time. When first adopted in 2004 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the ordinance offered neighborhoods options ranging from “notifications” — letters mailed to nearby residents upon a chain’s arrival — to an outright ban. In 2006, voters chose to implement a more widespread solution: “conditional use authorizations,” in all of the city’s 17 NCDs. Every Gap, CVS, and AMC that wants to move into one of the city’s small-scale commercial streets must be approved by the Planning Commission. In total, hundreds of blocks require formula retail to obtain authorization, while dozens more operate under a categorical ban.

On the verge of the ordinance’s tenth anniversary, with nearly a dozen pending modifications proposed by city supervisors, the San Francisco Planning Commission has undertaken an economic study to evaluate the effects of its formula retail controls. In discussing the goals and shortcomings of the law, the city has gotten right to the heart of America’s love-hate relationship with the chain.

What separates San Francisco’s political achievement from griping in Greenwich Village or Venice Beach is the employment of economic data to prop up the power of the plebiscite. That data comes largely from one firm, Civic Economics, which is responsible for more than half of the studies listed in the appendix of the San Francisco Planning Commission memo [PDF] that addresses formula retail controls.

Dan Houston, one of the founders of Civic Economics, stumbled into this niche in 2002 as he watched two independent Austin businesses, Waterloo Records and Book People, threatened by a city-subsidized Borders set to move in across the street. Houston’s young firm agreed to analyze the effects of then-powerful Borders sapping the market share of two local businesses.

The results were striking: for every $100 spent at a chain, approximately $13 remained in the local economy, largely through wages. For every $100 spent at the local outfit, $45 would recirculate locally, thanks to wages, corporate profits, locally oriented procurement, and potential future investment in the community, ranging from sponsorship of a Little League team to opening a second branch. The cost of a book or CD might be marginally higher, but the return for the city was nearly three times better at Waterloo Records and Book People. Borders didn’t move in.

Since then, Civic Economics has performed parallel analyses for other cities, including San Francisco, and obtained similar results. “The numbers were undeniable,” Houston said. “Nobody ever offers subsidies to the local bookstores — it’s crazy to think you’re giving subsidies to these non-local restaurants.”

The numbers may be sound, but the implication — one type of commerce is better than another — strikes detractors as unfairly proscriptive. I spoke with Bob Linscheid, the president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and Dee Dee Workman, the SFCC’s Director of Public Policy. Both said the thought San Francisco’s “authorization” process was fair and effective, but they are wary of the potential expansion of the ordinance.

The scope of San Francisco’s control over chains like Radio Shack and Walgreens, for example, has grown each year. “When we start adding in all these uses, it just feels like a war on national retailers,” Workman warned. “National retailers can come in and do a lot of good in a neighborhood.”

“Not much focus is on the consumer, and giving the consumer the right to choose between companies that are located in proximity to each other,” Linscheid added. “We need to remember that this is America, and that a certain amount of competition is good for the consumer.”

Supporters of formula retail restrictions caution against invoking the “free market” argument. Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance who has written extensively about formula retail controls, pointed out that there are numerous hidden biases in favor of chains beyond the government subsidy. Suburban road design creates the perfect environment for big box stores; landlords prefer national chains for reasons — credit, accountability, longer leases — that have little to do with consumer preference.

It’s a debate that other cities may soon be having, as chain stores continue their march from fading suburban malls into resurgent city centers. In New York, the city’s trademark bodegas are dropping like flies and 7-Eleven is on the move. The City Council recently changed Upper West Side zoning to limit storefront size — a tacit attempt to decrease the street frontage of banks and chain drugstores. Washington, D.C., has kept Wal-Mart at bay with a bill, passed in July, that requires very large retailers to pay wages 50 percent over the District’s minimum wage. San Diego enacted ordinances in 2007 and 2010 requiring community impact reviews for large retailers — only to repeal them with Wal-Mart at the gates.

In San Francisco, meanwhile, the city will be examining its definition of formula retail. Should chains that got their start in the Bay Area, like Philz Coffee, be exempt? What about fixtures of neighborhood health like grocery stores and pharmacies? Why is 11 the magic number to define what constitutes “formula retail?”

Both cities and national retailers will be closely following what happens in San Francisco. It might just set a precedent.

Credit goes to this article as I am only reposting http://www.salon.com/2013/08/31/san_francisco_to_chain_stores_get_out/

 

Windstream Communications is the worst ISP

A lot of you are a slave to Windstream Communications in the Dawson County area. I am truly sorry for you and I. This is the WORST ISP on the planet. They have constant outages and speeds that you would be better off on dial up. Their equipment is garbage. ‪#‎Windstreamsux‬ is an understatement of these people. I have been paying for 6mb of speed and usually get about 1mb. They simply DO NOT CARE! But North Georgia Network runs fiber to businesses so if you are like me and have a business contact them to see what they can do because Windstream can’t and won’t delivery. If you have a choice use ANYONE else.

Windstream Communications claim they are working on the “latency” issues but really they have mishandled their money, customers and they just plain do not care. They continue to push out the date of a “solution”. Someone at Windstream Communications that makes a huge salary needs to get off their butt and actually do some work and make something happen.

As a person in the computer field for 30 years and having worked directly for a telecommunications company that provided internet and phone just like Windstream Communications, I can say they are full of crap. It does not take this long to order and install equipment that will work for the customer. As a small business owner I am losing money because of Windstream Communications. As a business owner or home user if you can use anyone else, do it.

Windstreamsuxpissonwindstream

Piss on Windstream Communications they suck

Computers for Sale

Today on WSB there was an advertisement by Neal Boortz about a local computer company. They were advertising computers for sale with an i3 Processor, 4 gigabytes of ram and a 500 gigabyte hard drive for $599 which included “managed services” for a year. Is this a good value? NO. We have computers for sale with an i5 processor 6 – 8 gigabytes of ram and a 1 Terrabyte  hard drive for that price. Ours also includes a one year warranty by us. Which means you don’t have to send it back to the manufacturer for service. Does it include managed services? To some degree yes. By that we mean simply if we need to remote in to your computer, we can at any point with your permission. Do we monitor it 24/7? No.

We have always had new computers for sale. We also have a few completely refurbished used computers for sale from time-to-time. We even have Apple Macbooks and Macbook Pro that are at a very affordable price. These Apple products are “off lease” meaning they are 3 years old and were being leased by a school. They have a limited 1 year warranty.

We originally had put them up on our site but we have enough turn over of models that it’s just not feasible to keep that current. So, if you are in need of a desktop, laptop or Apple computer come see us.

 

Customer Service or Customer NO Service?

If you are a business owner or decision maker at a company this is a MUST read and pass it on. Every time I write on the AML Computer Services blog I do so to try to be informative to customers and potential customers. This also goes to help people avoid being ripped off by companies that do not care about anything but their pockets. Often this will include issues that have to do with customer service.

As many of you know about a year ago AML Computer Services purchased Wilco Printing to offer our customers more choices when they utilized us. Wilco Printing purchased a new Canon copier from (Standard Office Systems) SOS about 1.5 years before that. SOS sold Wilco the copier with the understanding that the copier would perform a certain way and with all the paper that Wilco used. They even went as far as to allow a trial period and had many people come out to show them how to use the copier and the multiple types of paper. Sounds like good customer service doesn’t it? or was it just to make a sale? I won’t go into the details of the types of paper as it would bore you.

Recently we had a problem with the copier and it started to jam. The short story of is is this. SOS declared the paper was out of specs. Yet the copier clearly showed the correct paper weight. SOS declared that they go by the manufacturer specs on paper weight of grams. This is not how the copier reads on the display nor how it was sold. Again, to not bore you with the details of he-said, she-said, we were using the paper correctly based on the sale and what the normal user interface said.

Have zero understanding of customer service, SOS decided the best course of action was to no longer service the copier. Even though the people making the decision never darkened the door and the techs that came out clearly were not communicating accurate information.

So if you are a business owner or a decision maker ever in need of a copier, avoid SOS like the plague. Customer service is no where to be found within that organization but thankfully they aren’t the only ones that service Canon copiers. Hey and why should they care, they got their money out of the lease and the fact that in 2.5 years there probably weren’t 10 service calls total. So, they surely got their money on service when they didn’t have to service it but when it came to customer service, it was non-existent! Their motto is “SOS can help” apparently they need to change that to SOS WON’T HELP!

Please repost, share on FB or retweet on Twitter. Thank you from AML Computer Services https://amlcomputerservices.com AML Computer Services 258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180 Dawsonville, Ga. 30534

Satisfaction and Price guarantee, you betcha! We have one.

Our price guarantee is simple. It is a price guarantee that we can fix the computer for the price we guarantee or less. This means your expectations meet our results. We don’t charge for a diagnostic fee on anything that only takes us a few moments. We didn’t start this computer repair company to see how much money we could make on people. We started it to help people find a cost effective, honest solution to their repair needs.

When you buy a computer from us if you have a warranty repair issue we make sure we help you interact with the manufacturer at no cost to you. If you buy a factory refurbished computer from us we will warranty it for a year. When you buy a used computer from us we warranty that for 90 days. How our parts replacement works is we will replace any part AT cost and not charge labor during that warranty period.

If we don’t believe we can fix something with your 100% satisfaction, we won’t even try. We do utilize other computer and cell phone related companies in the area to get your item serviced correctly. We know them, we have talked to them and trust them to take care of the customers of this area.

So we don’t just have a price guarantee we have a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. We don’t try to be the lowest price in town, we strive to be the best in town.

We greatly appreciate the customers of Dawsonville and surrounding areas and are constantly striving to serve them better.

http://www.amlcomputerservcies.com

http://www.facebook.com/amlcomputerservices

http://www.twitter.com/amlcomputer 

Managed Services, what is it, is it necessary, is it useful?

The other day I heard a company advertise on the radio “free managed services for one year with purchase of a new computer” and then it said “it will keep your computer running fast and virus free”. Sounds like something good doesn’t it? So, exactly what is it and is it for you or your business? There are several things you need to ask yourself and know about managed services to be able to make that decision.

Realize that managed services is actually tracking your computer usage. So make sure the company you choose is trustworthy.

Some ISP’s sell a form of managed services and even charge you $10 a month for an anti-virus program. Anti-virus programs generally run $60 or less, so why pay that ISP $120? Several very good anti-virus programs are available for free.

  • Does the company have the staff to handle the amount of managed services they sell?
  • What are they actually doing for the price I am paying per month?
  • Are they farming out the call center support to another country?

So with those questions in mind, is managed services good? SURE! just pick the right company like Netflow Solutions. Mike Holland has owned this company for years and does it right. High level of security and very trustworthy. Now, he’s not really for the individual but more for a business.

For individuals and small businesses you need to discuss options with your local IT person from  your area to see what they offer and if you need it. AML Computer Services does offer a type of managed services and can guide you to what you need.

Please repost, share on FB or retweet on Twitter. Thank you from AML Computer Services https://amlcomputerservices.com AML Computer Services 258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180 Dawsonville, Ga. 30534

Defrag or not and when

Defrag a hard drive, when is it time? Is it necessary to defrag at all?

The computer hard drive is where all files are stored. When you defrag a hard drive it is literally moving the files around to optimize their accessibility of your programs. Realize that files are actually being moved around. I highly recommend you have a good backup and any important program disks ready in case you need to reinstall anything. Am I trying to scare you? NO. I am trying to make sure you realize that what you are doing can have a volatile effect on files and programs. This is especially true if your hard drive has already shown signs of problems. Those signs can be blue screen, programs not responding, the computer trying to run a check disk on start up, the computer not wanting to start up and instead doing a repair, etc.

When data, such as a file, is stored on a hard drive the operating system attempts to store that file in one section of locations that are connecting without a break. This called contiguous space. When you have a new hard drive, storing data in contiguous spaces is not a problem. As you use the hard drive the files will be deleted from it and small pockets of space will be created on your hard drive. These small pockets of space on your hard drive is called fragmentation.

When a hard drive is fragmented, and the operating system wants to store a file on the hard drive, it attempts to store it in a section of contiguous space that will be large enough to accommodate the file. If the hard drive is heavily fragmented, there is the possibility that there will not be enough contiguous space available to store the file, and therefore the file will be broken up and stored in multiple locations on the hard drive. This causes the file to become fragmented. This is especially bad when installing new software on your computer because the program will now be installed over multiple locations on your hard drive. Now when you run this particular application its performance will be degraded because it has to be loaded from multiple locations on the hard drive.

To solve this problem, software developers developed a type of program called a Disk Defragmenter. A defragmenter is an application that reorganizes the data on your hard drive’s partitions in such a manner that the files are stored in as much contiguous space as possible. The defragmenter will search your hard drive partition and move data from one location to another location, so that the files stored there are one contiguous piece, instead of being spread throughout multiple locations on the hard drive’s partition. This allows the programs and data to run more efficiently and quickly as the operating system does not have to read from multiple locations.

So, now that you understand the mechanics of a fragmented hard drive and what defragmentation does, you can better identify when to run the defragmentation program. I still want to emphasize that you are moving files around on that drive so make sure you have a good backup and any original disks for programs.

Please repost, share on FB or retweet on Twitter. Thank you from AML Computer Services https://amlcomputerservices.com AML Computer Services 258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180 Dawsonville, Ga. 30534

 

All-in-one PC? Good buy or not?

Computer repair on an all-in-one PC, does it cost me more? Are they a good value for the money? What are the brands that are the best?

These questions are what you should be asking when you think about buying one of these. Remember the sales person where you go may want you to buy what pads his/her pocket best or may not even know what they are talking about at all. Just because a store claims their sales people don’t get commissions does not mean they don’t get bonuses on brands sold. No matter what brand you choose or how good it is supposed to be, it’s an all-in-one unit that means everything is integrated and any repair on it will be more expensive or not even possible at all for a reasonable cost. Let me give you an example, your video card on board goes out, there isn’t another slot to add a card so you have to replace the whole motherboard. Now instead of a $79 add-on card you are going to spend $350 on the board alone, not including install. So, once that year warranty runs out you are on your own to figure out what is cost effective.

I have seen several of these, no matter the manufacturer, have multiple issues. Video problems and wireless connectivity issues are the top two but closely followed by motherboard issues, probably because of heat. If you think it’s worth it to spend almost $900 on what you can get for $700 if you get a normal desktop PC with a monitor, then go right ahead but you won’t find me doing that, ever.

If all you want one for is the touch screen, you’ll get tired of that but just in case you think you won’t, there are manufacturers that make touch screen monitors for desktop PC’s. The touch screen monitors cost a little more, not much and are very easy to install. As a plus it also works with any version of Windows.

That being said the all-in-one PC is still somewhat new and has a lot of issues from what I have seen. Who does it right? APPLE, you want an all-in-one computer that works, get an iMac with or without touch screen. At least you won’t have to put up with Windows 8.

Please repost, share on FB or retweet on Twitter. Thank you from AML Computer Services https://amlcomputerservices.com AML Computer Services 258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180 Dawsonville, Ga. 30534

Cell phone repair, computer repair – partnerships with local businesses

We partner with some companies but not others, here’s why… AML Computer Services has established itself in the Dawsonville, Ga and surrounding area as the best, most honest, fairest price computer repair and cell phone repair facility around. Now others have decided to get in on a piece of what has been established. Before you make a choice where to have your computer repair or cell phone repair done make sure you evaluate who they are and why they are there. If they have copied our website, copied someone’s business model, copied advertising, etc. maybe there’s a reason. It might not be the best reason. It might be because they have unscrupulous business and personal dealings. Some people can’t simply go out and make a business for themselves they have to steal, lie and cheat.

We don’t charge twice what we get parts for, we don’t scare you into spending what you don’t need to spend, we don’t claim to have technicians that don’t exist or can’t do the job. What you do get is a quality job, someone that is trustworthy and the best price we can give you and still stay in business. That is why the only computer repair and cell phone repair we partner with in the area is Computer Medics of Lanier. So if you are in the Cumming, Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Big Canoe, Jasper, Gainesville, Marble Hill, Blue Ridge, Cleveland and surrounding areas, the two of us are here to help you get the best quality, best cost, best service that is available.

We don’t have to offer 10% off the other guy in town because we are already lower on our pricing than them. We get our parts directly from local OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) suppliers and they carry a warranty. If you are a business needing IT Support why would you pay someone a monthly fee to be “on call”. We don’t charge our customers for phone or remote support and our price is the same whether you bring something to us or we come to you. We also offer free pickup and delivery if that is what you want or need.

Please repost, share on FB or retweet on Twitter. Thank you from AML Computer Services https://amlcomputerservices.com AML Computer Services 258 Beartooth Parkway Suite 180 Dawsonville, Ga. 30534