SuperGeeks 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

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Welcome to our Annual Holiday Gift Guide! This is our largest gift guide ever! Each of our Geeks has picked 3 unique gifts, so you should definitely be able to find the perfect gift for the “hard to buy for” person in your life. Some of these items are relevant to our industry, and some have absolutely nothing to do with it!

If you see something you are interested in, just click on the button below the gift and you will be taken to the Amazon page for that product to learn more, read reviews, and purchase it! If you are still having trouble finding a unique gift, give us a call or come by and we will be happy to give you more gift ideas!


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The “Redragon” GS550 speakers are not your average speakers. Not only can the speakers stand upright next to your monitor, they can merge together to lay underneath like a sound bar. Also, these speakers are not powered by the traditional power cable but by USB with a 3.5 mm audio jack which means these are compatible with PC, TV, and Laptops! These speakers are a great for any high school or college students out there.

- Alex


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Whether it’s someone you know or yourself, we have all had moments where having a dark keyboard with small letters makes it hard to use. This keyboard has been designed to make using your computer that much easier. With these white keys and black letters, squinting at your keyboard looking for the correct letter is a thing of the past. A member of my family had been complaining about how difficult it was to type on his old keyboard so I picked this one up for him. Ever since then he has had no issues. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a gift idea for that person that could use a little extra help.


- Nick


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This handy backpack will hold all of your technology needs! It can fit any sized laptop comfortable and snuggly. Now what are you going to do if you’re nowhere near a charging outlet and your phone starts to die? Well you can’t really do anything about it. Now if you had this backpack you can! It has its own charging port and battery inside the backpack, just plug it into the port and boom! Your phone is charging. Another neat thing about this backpack is the anti-theft. It has a lock on the top so you can lock your backpack and keep your laptop safe.

- Kaden


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I have owned a pair of these Headphones for a few years and I absolutely love them. They are “Open Back Studio Headphones.” They are large, and have a huge cord attached. That combined with the sound bleeding out from the open backs makes them not a great fit for travel or places other people might want to hear what you are playing. They do, however, produce a very natural and clear sound. Open Back headphones sound much more like you are listening to music live, or watching a movie in a movie theater. Since the sound can escape and isn’t echoing around inside the headphones, it also provides a very realistic “surround sound” effect that is perfect for music, movies or gaming. The cushioned foam ear pads are also very comfortable for long listening sessions.

- Jon


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Do you work/go to school next to people that you do not fully trust? Want a little more privacy when using your laptop? With the Laptop Privacy Screen Filter, you can be assured that the only person seeing your laptop screen is you! This also doubles as a screen protector to prevent scratches and cracking in certain situations.

- Ricky


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Ever had crumbs on your desk or kitchen table? Don’t want to get the entire vacuum out from the closet? Well I've got the perfect device for you! The iDili Mini is a tiny portable vacuum for your desk and kitchen table so that you can get crumbs and dust away in a flash. Just had a party and there’s confetti everywhere on the table? Just use the iDili Mini! Just spilt your coffee crumbs all over the countertop? Use the iDili Mini! Its compact size makes it very easy to store and get to.

- Kaden


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If you are looking for a gift for the kid in your family that likes to build things, then this is the thing for you. This small toy catapult is the perfect thing for that someone that not only enjoys building models but also likes to learn as well. This isn't just a model but it also is a fully functional catapult that people of all ages will be able to enjoy!

- Nick


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Don’t you just hate it when you’re working in the shop or around the house and can’t find the right socket size?! Well with this 15 piece RAK universal Socket Set that is a thing of the past. With a self adjusting socket you can unscrew most bolts, nuts, hooks and other shaped fasteners you don’t have the right tool for. This is a fantastic multi-tool to have around the house.

- Alex


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4K has really become the standard in quality nowadays when it comes to video recording due to the jump in technology on camera phones. Not everybody likes using their phone as a camera, however, and having a separate device to capture images and videos has a lot of advantages. This Dragon Touch 4K is waterproof, has a remote control wristwatch for easy recording, and is able to capture in slow motion!

- Ricky


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Is this necessary? Of course not. Do I think it looks cool? You bet. It can also supposedly (not a doctor) help reduce eye strain. But mostly it looks cool. This is an RGB (Red, Green, Blue) light kit that mounts on the back of your monitor, or under your desk, or both! The “RGB” allows you to fully customize the color(s), pattern and brightness. Want a flashing rainbow? You can do that. Want it just stay on blue? Not a problem. This is a great way to add a little splash of color and personalization to your desk.

- Jon


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Video games have been the top dog for a long time now, but the good news is that boardgames have seen a resurgence in recent years. So many people have start getting together to play games around the kitchen table again and frankly that makes me very happy. I absolutely love all these new board games that have been coming out in recent years but nothing beats an original. I remember sitting around the table and playing Clue with my family when I was growing up. Those game nights are some of my favorite childhood memories and I was excited when I saw that they had re-released this game. This is the same old game, with the same old rules, and the same old fun.

- Nick


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The Nintendo Switch is hands down one the best consoles ever made in my opinion. The original Switch was $300 and it sold like gangbusters . The new Switch Lite ditches the dock which allowed you to play on your TV and the joy con controllers that you could slide in and out which makes it a completely portable and durable device. Although you can only play in handheld mode with this one, but ditching these features cut $100 off the price tag, so you can have the switch at a more affordable price point. This is the perfect console for younger audience due to it's game selection, durability, and size. Also, you can play Fortnite on it!

- Ricky


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Have you ever wanted a boiled egg but didn’t want to go through the time of taking the shell off? Well here is the Negg! This nifty device boils a single egg and then peels the egg itself! I can’t believe that I never seen this before!

- Kaden


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Smoother coffee, richer taste, every time, that’s what you can get with this cold brew iced coffee maker. With its air tight seal you don’t have to waste a drop and it will lock in the flavor for up to 2 weeks! Professional home brewing has never been easier.

- Alex


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Sous Vide (pronounced “Sue Veed”) cooking has made me look like an absolute pro. I used to overcook steaks that were supposed to be rare and vice versa. You add this wand to a pot of water and then with an app, pick your meat and desired doneness. The meat is vacuumed sealed and put into the water. Once the timer goes off, you have meat that is all exactly rare, medium or whatever you wanted it to be. You then quickly sear the meat in a cast iron skillet and you have perfect, juicy, and exactly to order steak, chicken, pork, and it even works with corn on the cob and a whole lot more!

- Jon


You can also, of course, give the gift of SuperGeeks!

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If you have a gamer on your list, this is the perfect time of year for a brand new, one of a kind, custom built gaming PC. We can help build a budget gaming rig for Fortnite and Minecraft or a “spared no expense” monster for streaming the hottest new AAA games. We also build more professional looking office workstations, so if you need to upgrade those old Windows 7 machines before January, give us a call!

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You can also purchase someone on your list a year of our 24/7 Maintenance Plan so we can provide them with unlimited remote support, unlimited in shop labor, tune ups and much more. We install and manage their Antivirus, all of their updates, and are always just a phone call away if they need any help.

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If you want to know more about anything in this guide, or have any computer issues you need help with don’t hesitate to swing by the shop or give us a call!

806 722 0770

Jon's Custom Gaming PC Rebuild - Part 2

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This PC was built in 2014 and besides swapping some drives in and out, nothing else has changed since then. Let's take a look at what all was in this build and why it's time for an upgrade. I am taking everything out of the case, cleaning it up and getting it ready for the new components.

Case: Corsair C70 ATX Mid Tower
I love this case. It is one of the only things I am keeping. It looks like a giant ammo can and even has two handles on the top. Shopping for new cases left me pretty underwhelmed. Most cases are a variant of "black or white box with some glass on the side". They are pretty, but none of them stood out to me. So I decided to keep this very unique case.

Processor: Intel i5-4690k
This has been a great processor for gaming, work and running as a media center. But the new AMD Ryzen processors were calling my name, especially after building several work and gaming PCs for customers using Ryzen. One of the “problems” (or opportunities to buy more new stuff!) with upgrading a processor is you will most likely have to get a new motherboard. Processors have “Socket Types” that are not interchangeable. This is an older socket type, so upgrading the processor means a new motherboard also.

Motherboard: ASUS Sabretooth Z87
A great board and I loved how it looked in the case, but I can't keep it as stated above.

Memory: 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz
16GB of RAM is actually still plenty for most builds. Want a high end gaming machine? 16GB will be fine in most cases. I am actually still going to have 16GB in my new build, but the *speed* of the RAM will be faster, this RAM was 1600MHz, which is on the very very low side now. Another issue with the newer board and processor is that DDR3 RAM is an older version. New RAM is DDR4 and will only work in modern boards.

Graphics Card: EVGA GTX 770
A great card for the time. Not so much now. I could run many games still, but it would struggle with newer ones and I would have to kick the in-game graphical settings down. The GPU is the most important thing in a computer when it comes to gaming. I could have just purchased a new GPU and plugged it in and been OK for the time being. But many newer games have also increased their system requirements to include better processors, and if I want this new build to last me another 6 years I need to future proof it.

Other Stuff:
Corsair HX750 Power Supply:
Probably would have been fine IF I had kept my box with all my leftover parts from the original build. Keep your spare parts people! I didn’t have enough power cables to power a newer GPU, and will also need a molex connector for (spoilers).

Corsair Hydro H100i Liquid CPU Cooler
This kept my processor cool and quiet and was probably overkill, but liquid cooling is… hey I just wanted it okay?

NZXT Hue 5.25 RGB Controller and LED Strip
This is what the control knobs on the front of the case were for. It ran a single RGB (Red Green Blue) LED strip inside the case that I could control the color, speed, brightness and pattern with the knobs. It wasn’t a ton of light, but gave off a nice ambient glow.

Drives
At one point I had a 256GB Solid State Drive as my boot drive, and a whopping five mechanical hard drives as storage to use the machine as a media server. I abandoned the media server a long time ago, so didn’t need all those drives. This freed up a ton of room, cables, and weight. I will be removing the hard drive bays as I won’t be needing them in the new build.

 
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Keep a look out for next week’s post where I will talk about all the shiny new components going into the build!

If you need help with your gaming PC, or want us to build (or rebuild) one for you, give us a shout!

806 722 0770

Jon's Custom Gaming PC Rebuild - Part 1

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This is my personal gaming PC I built in October of 2014. I've put this thing through a lot of punishment and it has served me well. In the 5 years I've been using it for gaming, work, hauling it back and forth, and using it as a media server I haven't had a single issue with it.

But the hardware inside has finally gotten too outdated for me, especially with all the great new games coming out! Borderlands 3, Gears 5, Control, CyberPunk and so many more. Too many more.

It's time for some upgrades! And some dusting and cable management... Stay tuned for weekly updates on the re-build!

If you are looking at building or upgrading a gaming PC, give us a shout. We love this stuff!

806 722 0770

Tech Support Scams

Tech Support Scams

Pop Quiz!

You are on your computer, using it like you normally do. Doing some shopping, banking, checking your email and looking up recipes. Suddenly, you get a pop up window. It says there are viruses and other issues with your machine. It has a Microsoft Logo in the bottom right corner. It says in order to correct these issues, you will need to call Microsoft ASAP. They provide you with a 1-800 number.

What do you do?

(Insert Jeopardy Music)

The correct answer is ignore it, close it, shut down your computer, call someone you know and trust (We recommend… us!). Whatever you do, do NOT call the number in that pop-up.

But if you said you would have called that number, you aren’t alone. In 2018, the FTC received 143,000 reports of Tech Support Scams. That is only the reports they actually received, so the actual number of these scams in the wild is much higher.

We get calls from our customers multiple times a week about these pop ups. I'd like to dig into these a little deeper to hopefully prevent some of you from being scammed out of your hard earned money. Please forward this to friends and family to help them prevent the same.

But first, long story short. If you get any kind of pop-up or phone call from someone claiming there are issues with your computer and they claim to be from Microsoft, it is a scam. 100% of the time. Microsoft doesn’t offer this kind of service. None of the big tech companies do. Hang up immediately. Close the pop-up. Call someone you trust.

 
“Hi I’m Steven from Microsoft Technical Support.”  That is a lie. I’m Jon, and I have nothing to do with Microsoft. It took me 30 seconds to download this logo and put it in this email.   A logo in a pop-up does NOT mean it is legitimate.

“Hi I’m Steven from Microsoft Technical Support.”

That is a lie. I’m Jon, and I have nothing to do with Microsoft. It took me 30 seconds to download this logo and put it in this email.

A logo in a pop-up does NOT mean it is legitimate.

 

Technical Support Scams come in three forms. Pop-Ups, Emails and Phone Calls. Let’s take a look at how these three flavors of scams work to get you on the phone. Once you are talking to someone they operate basically the same.


Pop-Up Scams will be like the example I provided at the beginning. You will be on the internet and a pop-up will take over your screen. It will claim that there are issues on your machine. It might say you have viruses, or a hacker in your machine, or your personal information is at risk. It might even claim that there is illegal material on your computer. The pop-up will claim to be from Microsoft, Dell, HP or even the FBI. It will have a phone number for you to call.

Some of these pop-ups can “lock down” your computer in such a way that it seems like you can’t close it or do anything else on your machine which force a lot of people into calling that number to get it off their screen. If this happens to you, just give us a shout and we can close it for you relatively quickly.

This is a common template for a Tech Support Scam Pop-Up. In some cases they even come with audio that will yell at you to make it that much more stressful!

This is a common template for a Tech Support Scam Pop-Up. In some cases they even come with audio that will yell at you to make it that much more stressful!

These pop-ups can come from an advertisement that is clicked on in facebook, google or any other site that sells ad space. They can also come from completely legitimate websites that have been compromised and the pop-up has been left as a nasty surprise for visitors to the page.

The best way to avoid these is by being careful what you click on and being very skeptical of links marked with “Ad” or “Sponsored”. The content behind these links just goes to the highest bidder. An Ad-Blocker can also help prevent these ads from showing up. If you’d like us to install one for you, just give us a shout.

This, on the other hand, is a legitimate notification from the Antivirus Software Avast. It blocked an actual threat on a machine. Notice that they aren’t asking for a phone call about it! Legitimate errors and notifications will never include a phone number!

This, on the other hand, is a legitimate notification from the Antivirus Software Avast. It blocked an actual threat on a machine. Notice that they aren’t asking for a phone call about it! Legitimate errors and notifications will never include a phone number!


Email Scams will operate in a similar fashion, but instead of a random Pop-Up, it will just be an email in your inbox. Spam filters have gotten pretty good about catching these, but some will still slip through. It will claim some of the same information as the Pop-Up, or may be disguised as a shipping notification, an invoice, or other vague attachment. If you don’t know the sender and aren’t expecting anything, don’t open it!


Phone Scams skip the bait and just call you directly. You will answer and someone on the other end will claim to be from Microsoft and tell you that you have the same issues as above with your computer.


Now that all three of these scammers have us on the phone, let’s look at their process so you might recognize it if they slip past your initial defenses.

Almost all of these scammers operate outside of the U.S. (and it’s jurisdiction in many cases) so a heavy accent is to be expected. They will tell you they work for Microsoft and they have seen some issues with your machine. A good tip here is to ask them questions that lead them in the wrong direction. Be skeptical of everything they say.

I once had a scammer call my cell phone. At the time I only owned one laptop. He said they had received a report of a virus on my machine. I asked him “I have 15 computers (which was a lie), which one is the virus on?” He said “Unfortunately all of them have been infected”. Uh huh.

Again, the issue they claim to see is a fabrication and might vary call to call. Don’t believe any of it, no matter how scary they make it sound.

Once they have the victim convinced there IS a problem, they will ask for remote access into the computer. Once inside they will generally show them a list of serious problems or viruses or run a command to show IP addresses that they will claim are hackers connected to the computer.

This is the Microsoft “Event Viewer”. Tech Support Scammers love it. They will either guide you here or do it themselves once they have remote access. They will tell you that all of the “Errors” are Viruses, Hackers, etc. These are in actuality, completely normal and expected Errors that occur on every Windows machine and have nothing to do with Viruses or Hackers. This screenshot is from my computer as I was creating this post.

This is the Microsoft “Event Viewer”. Tech Support Scammers love it. They will either guide you here or do it themselves once they have remote access. They will tell you that all of the “Errors” are Viruses, Hackers, etc. These are in actuality, completely normal and expected Errors that occur on every Windows machine and have nothing to do with Viruses or Hackers. This screenshot is from my computer as I was creating this post.

The victim will now be worried because clearly they have problems, the Microsoft technician just proved it! Now the “technician” will them that they are the only ones properly trained to correct these issues and ask for payment. This can range from $300 to Thousands. A customer told us last week that scammers asked them for $3,000.

Once they process the payment, they might just disconnect the call. Some of them act like they are fixing issues. They aren’t.

If you refuse to pay them, they tend to get hostile, and you have already given them remote control of your machine. Generally a bad combination. They might hide or delete files or put a different password on your machine to lock you out. Last week a customer allowed a scammer remote access, refused to pay them, and they rotated their monitor orientation so it was upside down on their end and harder for them to see what the scammers were doing.

Here’s the good news. These scammers generally aren’t super savvy beyond the script they have been provided. They want to;
1. Make Contact and Scare You
2. Get Remote Access
3. Show you false issues
4. Collect Payment.

They generally aren’t after personal information, bank information, and aren’t “hackers” that know how to do that even if they wanted to. Their end goal is a credit card transaction. And they unfortunately get enough of them every day to make a lot of money. If they can’t get you, it’s more profitable to just move on to the next mark. I have never seen a situation where they have left behind a virus, stolen bank information or done anything that wasn’t reversible.

If you think a scammer has been in your computer, give us a call. The remote control software they used could possibly still be installed which would give them access to your machine at any time.

If you get a call, pop-up or email you aren’t sure about, call us and we can quickly tell you whether it is a scam or legitimate.

Please share this with your friends, family and co-workers. Since these scammers are usually operating outside of legal and civil jurisdiction, the best way to shut them down is through education.

Final note, we will never outsource any of our work. Our staff is all located in our Lubbock office. The same faces you see when you come into the shop are the ones you will talk to on the phone so you can be sure the SuperGeeks you are talking to are the real deal.

Give us a call or come by if you have any questions or concerns!

806 722 0770

Jon Benton,
Owner

Why Is My Computer So Slow?

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Stop me if this sounds familiar. You buy a new computer, it's blazing fast and you have no issues with it. Fast forward a few years. It now takes forever to turn on. When it finally boots to the Operating System, you have to wait 5 more minutes for before you can actually use it. Programs take way too long to open. Web browsing is painfully slow. Searching for a file is a good time to take a lunch break.

Why does this happen and how can you fix it?

There are a lot of factors here, so let’s break down some of the possibilities one by one.

Failing Hard Drives

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This is a problem we see multiple times a week. A traditional hard drive has spinning platters and an arm that moves back and forth to access the data. Hard Drives can fail for a variety of reasons. Physical Shock, Dust, Static, Power Surges, and since they are constantly in motion, just physical wear and tear over time. We have even seen hard drives already failing only a few months after the computer was purchased.

Hard Drives fail in multiple ways. They can be working fine on Monday and be completely dead on Tuesday. They can gradually fail, which will result in a slower computer because everything the machine does relies on the hard drive accessing data on the drive. If your computer has started getting slower and slower, it’s a good idea to bring your machine by so we can backup your data and run diagnostics on the drive. Once it completely fails, recovering your data becomes a gamble we don’t want you to take.

We suggest upgrading to a Solid State Drive. This is a type of storage drive that has no moving parts. This makes it MUCH faster, but also much more reliable since it is much less likely to fail. While we can replace the hard drive with another traditional hard drive, we don’t generally recommend it.

Accumulated Junk

This is another very common reason for a slow computer. In fact, any computer that is used routinely will eventually fall victim to this. Every time you download a file, install or uninstall a program, or just use your computer, your machine is creating temporary files, shortcuts, log files, registry entries and more. These “junk” files add up over time, and will cause your computer to get slower and slower. The more a computer is used, the faster this happens. The more junk you have, the longer it will take the computer to find a file or open a program. Imagine trying to find a book in a clean and organized bookshelf versus looking through a mountain of them.

We can run a tune up to clear out most of this Junk. Your computer has less to sift through and will run faster.

The best option here, however, is to completely reinstall your Operating System. We back up all of your data, completely format the drive, reinstall the Operating System and then transfer your data back. This will get the computer as close as possible to how it ran when you first took it out of the box. I do this once every 6 months on my personal machines to keep them running as fast as possible. The only downside is that this takes a bit longer than a Tune Up, but in my opinion, is worth the wait.

Programs

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Most of our customers don’t take the computer out of the box and use it “as is” for the life of the machine. A few do, and their computers will run at about the same speed the entire time. The reason for this is they aren’t installing dozens of programs, updating them, uninstalling them, etc.

The more programs you have installed, the more junk files are created. Most programs have something that runs on the machine as soon as you start it. This causes that frustrating wait when you first turn the computer on. Some programs take up more system resources than others. Many Antivirus programs, for instance, can cause an incredible amount of slowness.

You have your internet browser open with 5 or 6 tabs open. You then open Word to work on a document, but you need to reference something in Excel. You need to print something from Quickbooks. Meanwhile you are playing audio and Carbonite is backing everything up and your Antivirus is scanning all of this. Oh and Windows would like to install an update. This isn’t an uncommon or abusive way to use a computer. But every computer will handle all of this differently depending on what hardware is inside of it.

Uninstalling your programs isn’t usually a realistic solution here, so what’s the answer?

A Tune Up or an Operating System Reinstall will sometimes help here depending on the number of programs and how they are being used. Getting it back to “like new” is often a solution. In some cases though, a customer might be trying to run a few too many programs for the hardware inside their machine to handle. Even fresh out of the box the computer would struggle with that load. In these situations we would recommend upgrading to a Solid State Drive and/or upgrading the memory in the computer to increase the baseline speed of the machine. Upgrading the memory of a machine is a surprisingly cheap and fast upgrade, so it’s a good place to start.

In the most extreme cases, we would recommend a new computer if we think your current one just isn’t up to the tasks you are asking of it. We have built many custom desktops for customers wanting to run a specific, resource hog, programs or multi-task without any slowdown.

Viruses and Malware

Viruses and Malware are sometimes very obvious. You will get ad pop ups, scare tactic messages about a problem on the machine and other very flashy symptoms. Most of the time, however, they are designed to NOT be noticed. They want to run silently in the background. These types could be stealing your information, tracking your keystrokes, or even using your computers hardware to power crypto-mining at another location. These types of malware will have a much more noticeable effect on the speed of your machine as they run constantly in the background.

While slowing down your computer is the most immediate and annoying consequence, your data being at risk is a much more serious long term problem, so if you suspect you might have a virus, getting it taken care of needs to be a priority.

The solution here is a Virus Removal, or in severe cases, Reinstalling the Operating System to wipe out any trace of the infections.

Internet Speed and Usage

Many of our customers day to day usage of their computer has mostly moved online. Many things that used to be programs have moved to web based interfaces. A lot of calls we get about a “slow computer” are in fact, just a slow experience when using an internet browser.

There is an easy way to determine whether your computer’s slowness is the actual computer, or just web based. If your online work is slow, try opening a program like Word, Quickbooks or Adobe that doesn’t rely on your internet. Browse through your files and open some pictures and documents. If all of these opened quickly, it’s likely just your internet that is slow. A tune up, hardware upgrade or operating system reinstall might make your machine faster, but you could see the same slowness when you try to log back into your bank’s website.

Some of this can be solved by clearing out your web browser’s history. It, like your operating system, accumulates junk files that can slow it down. We will also check for extensions that might be slowing down the browser. From there we will run a speed test to determine if you are actually getting the speeds you are paying for from your internet provider.

Occasionally we will encounter a scenario where we highly recommend upgrading your internet speeds. An example, a customer of ours ran an office with a dozen people who were all using Dropbox (which is constantly using internet bandwidth). They were only paying for 5Mbps through their Internet Provider. This was not nearly enough to power everything they needed. Paying for a better speed from their Internet Provider solved their issues.

This issue could also be caused by a poor Wi-Fi signal to your computer, which is a topic I could write another entire article on.

Give us a call if you have a less than ideal internet experience and we can come to you and test all the different facets of your internet connection to determine where the slowdown is occurring.

The Rest

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There are many, many other reasons your computer might be running slow. The Operating System you have installed may be too new for the older hardware on the machine. Dust build up can overheat things and make them work harder causing things to slow down. Sometimes we solve “slowness” by replacing a bad wireless mouse and keyboard or a video cable adapter.

If your machine isn’t running fast enough for you, give us a call or come by. Whatever the cause is, we can help you find a solution.

806 722 0770

Windows 7 End of Life

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Windows 7 “End of Support” or “End of Life” Date is January 14th, 2020.

What exactly does this mean? What should you do?

We have answers to these questions and more. I will go in depth into this process and all of the options available to you. But first, long story short;

If you are using a PC with Windows 7, we highly recommend you upgrade to Windows 10 or replace the computer. Give us a call at 806 722 0770 or swing it by the shop and we can help you determine which option is the best investment of your time and money.

We expect to be covered up in this type of work later in the year, so the sooner we can get you away from Windows 7, the better.

If all of your machines are Windows 8.1, Windows 10 or Macs, you don’t need to worry about this. But please help us spread the word and share this with your friends, family and co-workers that still use Windows 7.


“What Exactly is End of Support?”

You may recall this same process happening with Windows XP several years ago.

Every Windows Operating System has an “End of Life” Date assigned to it. When this date arrives, Microsoft stops releasing updates and ends all support for it. This means;

  • No more security updates. This creates an environment that is increasingly dangerous to use as time passes. While an Operating System is still supported, Microsoft has a large team of people that look for security holes, and then release an update to patch that hole. This ends for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. So any security holes that other people discover, will stay wide open. This opens up people still using it to major security risks.

  • No more bug fixes. Occasionally a program, piece of hardware or driver will cause an issue with Windows that will result in failed updates, blue screens, etc. Fixes for these are releases in Windows Updates. Once End of Life hits, these end. Windows 7 will become more and more unstable over time.

  • No more support. Not that anyone will miss this process, but calling Microsoft to help with anything Windows 7 related will result in being told “Sorry, we no longer offer support for that Operating System.”


“Okay, but what does that actually mean for me?”

First, don’t panic, the actual End of Life date is around the corner, but we have time. We wanted to make sure all of our customers have plenty of time to make a plan for moving away from Windows 7.

It’s also worth noting that while Microsoft will end support for Windows 7, that doesn’t mean we will be doing the same. If for whatever reason, you still have Windows 7 next year, we are still here to help you. Do be aware that as time goes on, some things may not be “fixable” and will be an inevitable result of the Operating System not being supported. More on that below.

End of Life creates a snowball effect. On January 14, 2020, you will still be able to turn your computer on, check your email, use Word, play your games, etc. It probably won’t be dangerous (yet) and you will be able to do most everything else you could on January 13th. The only immediate change is that Internet Explorer in Windows 7 has the same End of Life date, so it may not work and you will need to use a different Web Browser (Chrome, Firefox).

Things will get worse from there.

As I mentioned above, it will be increasingly dangerous as time goes on and security exploits are found by the bad guys. Your personal data will be more and more at risk the longer you use it.

Eventually, software developers will also stop supporting Windows 7. This means the same things will occur for the programs you use. No security updates, no bug fixes. Dangerous and Unstable. Some programs will out right stop working. Taking a look at the End of Life process for XP gives us a good idea of what to expect with 7. In XP, some Antivirus programs won’t work, you can’t install some programs, the ones you can are more likely to be glitchy and unsafe.

Take a look at what happens when you try to install Google Chrome on a Windows XP machine;

GoogleChrome50StableInstallError.png

“I Have Windows 7! What Are My Options?”

The good news is that you have plenty of options. The bad news is that it’s a lot of options. The best place to start is calling us or coming by and we can recommend a plan going forward for your specific situation.

  • Option 1 - Do Nothing

    • To be clear, we do not recommend this. We strongly don’t recommend this. However, it is an option and I wanted to get it out of the way. We still have customers that use XP, and a few that even have machines running Windows 98. Most of these are very specific cases where some important proprietary software won’t run on newer Operating Systems and the machines aren’t connected to the internet.

    • Pros: You don’t have to embrace change or learn a new operating system

    • Cons: Everything else

    • Cost: $0

  • Option 2 - Upgrade

    • Most Windows 7 machines will run Windows 10 just fine. There are some that have trouble with Windows 10 without also upgrading memory or other components. We can tell you if your machine is worth upgrading or not. Upgrading involves backing up your data, formatting the hard drive, installing Windows 10 and then transferring your data back to the machine.

    • Pros: Cheaper than replacing the machine. You keep the machine you are used to.

    • Cons: This process can take several days.

    • Cost: $149 - $199 depending on if you have data you need transferred.

  • Option 3 - Buy a New Computer

    • Almost every laptop or desktop you can buy in 2019 will have Windows 10 pre-installed. You bring us the old and new machines and we will transfer all of your files to the new one.

    • Pros: You get a new computer.

    • Cons: More expensive than upgrading. Will still have to transfer data from old to new machines in most cases.

    • Cost: New Computer Price + $99 for Data Migration

  • Option 4 - SuperGeeks Custom Desktop with Windows 10

    • We can build you a custom PC to meet your specific needs. All of our custom builds come with Windows 10. We can build anything from a small black PC for your office all the way to a unique red and black themed machine with lights for your home.

    • Pros: Custom built to your needs. You won’t pay for internal components that you won’t need or utilize.

    • Cons: More expensive than upgrading. Will have to transfer data from old machine to new one. We can’t custom build laptops, so this is for desktops only.

    • Cost: Around $800-$1500 depending on your needs.

  • Option 5 - Switch to a Mac

    • Macs are good machines, but be aware that they also have Operating Systems that are unsupported eventually, so you won’t entirely avoid this process with them. (Although upgrading to a new Mac OS is much easier). My general advice for people wondering if they should switch to a Mac is this; Do you feel like learning an entirely different type of Operating System? If you are up for that adventure, go ahead. If not, stick with Windows.

    • Pros: Macs last a long time if properly treated. Upgrading to a new Mac OS is generally easy.

    • Cons: Macs aren’t cheap. You will have to re-purchase all of the programs you use. Some may not work. Transferring Data is a bit more difficult.

    • Cost: New Mac Cost + $99 Data Migration.

  • Option 6 - Pay Microsoft to Extend Support

    • This is not something I think any of our customers will do, but just in case I want you to know it is an option. You can pay Microsoft to extend Windows 7 Support on your machine(s). They haven’t been up front with the pricing, so I expect it isn’t cheap. This option is more designed more for large companies that have a fleet of Windows 7 machines, or have software that won’t run on Windows 10 yet.

  • Optional Option - SuperGeeks 24/7 Maintenance Plan

    • Our 24/7 Plan includes a lot of perks. But for this particular situation there are two specific items that I wanted to bring up.

      • All In-Shop Repair Labor is covered under the plan. This includes the labor cost of upgrading to Windows 10 and/or the cost of transferring data from an old machine to a new one.

      • You get Unlimited Remote Support from our local staff included in the plan. If you are using Windows 7, and move to Windows 10, we are a phone call away and can remote into your computer to help you with the learning curve whenever problems or questions pop-up.

      • For more information on our 24/7 Maintenance Plan, click here.

      • If you are already on our 24/7 Maintenance Plan, good news! Upgrading to Windows 10 won’t cost you anything extra! Just give us a call to get started.

We are here to answer any questions you may have about Windows 7, Windows 10 or any other technology issues you need assistance with. Give us a call or come by to get started!

806 722 0770

SuperGeeks 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to our Annual Holiday Gift Guide! This is our largest gift guide ever! Each of our Geeks has picked 3 unique gifts, so you should definitely be able to find the perfect gift for the “hard to buy for” person in your life. If you see something you are interested in, just click on the image and you will be taken to the Amazon page for that product. At the bottom of the guide you will also find a link to all of our gift guide recommendations from all of our previous years! If you are still having trouble, give us a call or come by and we will be happy to give you more gift ideas.


Wireless Mouse Pad Charger

Wireless Mouse Pad Charger

We have all had one of those nights where we forget to plug in our phone, and wake up to a phone that will be dead before lunch. With wireless charging becoming more readily available, why not invest in this amazing Mouse pad/Wireless phone charger combo! You can easily charge your phone while keeping it close at hand.

- Alex


LETSCOM Fitness Tracker

LETSCOM Fitness Tracker

Are you trying to be more active and want to monitor your steps and vitals, but you don’t want to spend $100 on a fitbit? The Letscom Fitness Tracker is the perfect, cheap alternative to a traditional fitbit smart watch/band. It allows you to track your steps for the day, as well as create daily goals. It also has a heart rate monitor and it’s waterproof!

- Ricky


Divoom Timebox Pixel Art Speaker

Divoom Timebox Pixel Art Speaker

A fun Pixel art creation and alarm clock that will make waking up fun and unique. It has 30 preset and professional sleep-aid and smart alarms with audio and visual support. It also has a Built in FM tuner, temperature sensor and social media notifications.

- Jordan


Milwaukee Heated Jacket

Milwaukee Heated Jacket

Are you prepared for another cold winter? Neither are we! But now we have an option to make winter a little easier with the Milwaukee Heated ToughShell Jacket. The jacket is insulated with heating elements that are battery powered and gives you the ability to regulate temperature with a remote control. Great gift for the friends and loved ones that are constantly working outside.

- Roger


Panda Planner

Panda Planner

I’ve tried dozens of “to do” and productivity apps. The biggest problem is once the app is closed, it’s out of sight, out of mind. I needed a physical planner. The Panda Planner has skyrocketed my productivity. It includes daily, weekly and monthly planners. The big difference here is daily entries for “Things I’m looking forward to/grateful for/need to do better”. It’s more than just a To Do List, in that it helps me stay focused on the “Why”.

- Jon


YETI Mug

YETI Mug

Have you ever set down your freshly poured hot coffee, or a cup of sweet ice tea and you start working on something just to come back to a cup of cold coffee or warm tea? Well that's a thing of the past with this YETI Mug with double-wall vacuum insulation keeping the hot things hot and the cold things cold.

- Alex


Memory Foam Mouse Pad and Wrist Rest

Memory Foam Mouse Pad and Wrist Rest

One of the leading causes of carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrists is constant computer use. A lot of the time however, we have to use our computers daily, whether it be for work, hobby, etc. Fortunately, one of the things that can help with this is a mousepad that has a wrist support. The NEX Mousepad not only has wrist support, but also comes with a pad for the keyboard!

- Ricky


Bluetooth Earbuds

Bluetooth Earbuds

These earbuds are truly wireless and you can use one or 2 buds at a time depending on what you’re doing. These earbuds are also completely waterproof so if you want to take a shower and listen to music you have that capability. The charging case it comes with also has the ability to charge your phone as well so if you have your headphones with you, you don't have to worry about your phone running out of juice.

- Jordan


LEGO Star Wars Star Destroyer

LEGO Star Wars Star Destroyer

Tired of constantly seeing your children on the television, computer or mobile devices? At this point in time we rely heavily on technology, but why not take a break? With the Star Wars Lego First Order Destroyer set you can have a fun project to complete with your children. Lego sets can be a little challenging but in the end you will have bonded with your children on completing a fun model!

- Roger


Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

If you have smart phones, tablets, kindles, wireless earbuds or anything that needs a charge, you need power. This Portable Charger is a lifesaver for me during long travels. It can charge most phones over 6 times on one charge! It has multiple ports so you can charge several devices at one time. Say Goodbye to having to send that “Phone is about to die..” text message.

- Jon


Blue Light Shield Computer Glasses

Blue Light Shield Computer Glasses

Staring at a computer screen or a phone screen can cause eye fatigue and headaches. But with these Computer Glasses you can filter out the harmful high energy blue light that is emitted by electronic screens. Allowing you to focus on the task at hand while protecting your eyes.

- Alex


Mediabridge EZ Cable

Mediabridge EZ Cable

Desktop computers have a lot of cables. Mouse, keyboard, speakers, and other peripherals can create a lot of confusing clutter. Thankfully, the Mediabridge EZ Cable Bundler allows for a simple cable management solution. Turn that mess of 5-10 cables into one big, easy to manage cord bundle!

- Ricky


1080p WiFi Camera

1080p WiFi Camera

If you are looking for a lower price full HD indoor smart home camera look no further the Waze smart camera. It features motion and sound tracking and provides clear images up to 30 feet even during nighttime. It also works with Alexa so you can ask Alexa to show your front door, kid's room or anywhere else you have your Waze Cam.

- Jordan


Guzzle Buddy

Guzzle Buddy

We all know a wine connoisseur that may or may not be part of our family. A great gag gift idea for that special person is a wine glass that turns your bottle of wine into your wine glass! With this you can aerate, pour and drink IN ONE EASY STEP! Just attach the glass to the wine bottle and you are ready to go!

- Roger


Century Spice Road Board Game

Century Spice Road Board Game

One of my favorite ways to “unplug” is with a good card or board game. Century Spice Road is one of my favorites. It’s a very relaxing, calm game where you trade “spices” for points with up to 5 of your family or friends. This is perfect for the holiday season, and a great way to get your family members to put their phones down and actually interact with each other. And I’m always up for playing a board game, so let me know if you want to try it out!

- Jon


Curious what our gift guide contained in previous years? Click the image to the right to see all 56 items that we have recommended in all of our Holiday Gift Guides!


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You can also, of course, give the gift of SuperGeeks! You can purchase someone a year of our 24/7 Maintenance Plan so we can provide them with unlimited remote support, in shop labor, tune ups and much more. If someone you know is getting a new device, buy them a SuperGeeks Gift Certificate so we can help set it up or sit down with them for 1 on 1 Training. If someone you know is always complaining about their WiFi coverage, buy them a gift certificate for us to come out and install Google WiFi!

Give us a call or come by if you have any questions or want to pick up a Gift Certificate!

806 722 0770

Google WiFi

Many of our on-site service calls deal with poor WiFi Coverage. When we arrive, we generally find one router, usually, a low-quality one provided by the internet service provider. The WiFi signal from this device doesn't reach a back bedroom, office or into a basement. This creates frustrating dead spots. 

A WiFi range extender can be added, but depending on the model this may involve you having to switch networks depending on where you are in your home or office. Not ideal.

Google WiFi can help solve this problem. CNET called Google WiFi “The best Wi-Fi system on the market.” Let’s take a look at why.

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Google WiFi replaces your existing router, and additional Google WiFi points are placed throughout your home or office to provide a single mesh network that can help eliminate dead spots. When you move through your home or office, your device is automatically switched to the Google WiFi point with the strongest signal.

The number of Google WiFi points you will need will depend on the size of your home or office. While One Wifi Point will cover a small 500-1500 square foot space, it is recommended to have at least two for maximum coverage. Have a larger space? This system supports up to SIX Google WiFi points!

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Google WiFi also has an extremely useful app. You can prioritize a device to get the fastest speed, so you can stream Netflix without worrying about other devices on your network slowing it down. You can also easily share your WiFi password with guests, limit internet access to specific devices for homework or bedtime, and much more!

If you are ready to experience Google WiFi first hand, give us a call or come by to get started! We will help determine how many WiFi Points you need, set them up in your home or office for peak efficiency and show you how to use all the features on the app.

806 722 0770

What is a Solid State Drive?

Part of our diagnostic process includes testing the hard drive in your machine. We see failing hard drives several times per week. Our recommendation is normally to replace the failing hard drive with a solid state drive. 

Likewise, if you are in the market for a new computer, we recommend you specifically look for a machine with a solid state drive. 

What is a solid state drive? Why are we recommending it?

To get a better idea of what a solid state drive is, we need to take a look at a traditional hard drive first.

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A traditional hard drive, above, consists of small metal “platters” that contain the data and a mechanical arm that moves back and forth to read that data. These platters hold all of the data that your computer uses. The operating system, programs, documents, pictures are all stored here. When a hard drive dies, all of this is at risk of being permanently lost. When the computer is in use, the platters spin at speeds of 5400 to 7200 rotations per minute. Fast. The arm then moves back and forth to access the data you need. If this sounds familiar, this is the same basic premise as a record player. This has several problems and limitations.

  • Moving Parts: Anything mechanical that moves is going to fail at some point.

  • Speed: The drive can only ever access data as fast as the mechanics can move. When you are waiting for the computer to boot up, the speed of the hard drive accessing information plays a role in that.

  • Movement: Just like a record player, if you move or bump the computer while it is on, it could “skip” and kill the drive.

These are all contributing factors in why we see so many failing hard drives in the shop. Some of these drives are in the process of failing, where we can still recover data. Some of them require us to ship them to a data recovery clean room. And some of them are a lost cause.

Now let’s take a look at a Solid State Drive.

blog-ssd-inside.jpg

A Solid State Drive has no moving parts. While this is similar technology to a USB Flash Drive, this technology is much better and offers a lot of benefits over a traditional Hard Drive.

Since there are no moving parts, they are much, much faster. The drive doesn’t have to wait on a platter to spin and a mechanical arm to find the data. Opening files, programs and saving changes takes much less time.

If you have a hard drive in your machine, it can take a LONG time to boot up. And when it finally loads into your Operating System, you still have to wait for everything to finish loading before you can actually use it.

With a Solid State Drive, your computer can boot AND be completely ready to use in under 30 seconds.

The biggest benefit of having no moving parts, is lifespan. The drive won’t be affected by drops and bumps, and won’t mechanically wear down over time. We have only seen 1 failing Solid State Drive. Ever. And it was like that out of the box.

Personally, I will never own another computer with a traditional hard drive in it. I highly recommend you do the same. When you are in the market for a new computer, make sure this is something you look for.

We can also upgrade your current computer to a solid state drive. Whether it is a Mac or a PC, replacing a Hard Drive with a Solid State Drive can add years to the lifespan of a machine and make it much faster! Give us a call or come by to get started or if you have any questions.

How to Recognize Ads on The Internet

“My computer is yelling at me and telling me I have a virus.”

“I got a pop up from Microsoft that said I had an issue with my computer and they remoted in and asked for $300 to fix it.”

“I’m getting an alert that there is illegal material on my computer and the FBI has been contacted and I now owe a fine.”

"My employee just let a Microsoft technician into our computer with all of our client records."

We get calls like this multiple times a day. First things first, none of these are legitimate. They are all scams. If you ever get a pop up, error message, phone call or email saying that you need to call a number for computer support, it is people trying to scam you out of hundreds of dollars. They will say they are from Microsoft, Dell, Apple and every other name people recognize. They will tell you they are the only ones that can fix it. Every single one of these is a scam. Please tell your friends, family, co-workers and employees or forward this to them. We see too many people in our community taken advantage of with these tactics when some education could put a stop to it. 

Now to the topic at hand. Ads. A lot of these scam attempts come from ads being clicked while using the internet. I want to go over how to recognize an ad on a few different websites that commonly cause this issue. 

Advertisements aren’t inherently evil. Ads on the internet are extremely similar to ads in a newspaper or magazine. Someone buys ad space, and their message is displayed. This is how many, many local and larger businesses grow and sustain themselves. As well as how websites make money to continue operating.

Some ads, however, can be malicious. Anyone can buy an ad on Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc. And that ad can lead you literally anywhere on the internet. Just because it’s a picture of a celebrity with a gossipy title, doesn’t mean that’s what you will be clicking through to.

Sometimes these scams come from searching for something like “Microsoft Support” and clicking on ad that might LOOK like official support, but will lead you to calling a scammer. Other times you can click on a completely unrelated ad for “Discount Jeans!” and you will get a pop up yelling at you about a virus on your computer. Just because it isn't computer related doesn't make it safer. 

Here’s the good news. Ads are always listed as such, you just have to look closely. Let’s take a look at what ads look like on several different sites.

This is Yahoo Sports. As you scroll down you will see articles.

Yahoo.PNG

Let's take a closer look at that Casino article in the middle...

Yahoo (2).PNG

The "Sponsored" tag above the "article" lets us know that this is an advertisement. This is content that someone has paid to display on this page. It could be a completely legitimate online game, or link you to a scam. Game ads are a huge market for these scams. It's a risky click. 

Let's go to Facebook now. 

As you scroll through your feed, you will see content from friends, family and businesses you have liked or followed. You will also see quite a few ads. Again, this is how Facebook and nearly any free website makes money. 

FB1.PNG

On Facebook, like Yahoo, we will be looking for the term "Sponsored" to spot ads. It will sometimes also say "Suggested Content". This is paid content that is appearing in your feed. Ads are also quite common on the right sidebar on Facebook. Remember, plenty of ads are just businesses trying to sell a product or reach new customers. If you know the company, it's more likely that it's safe (although by no means a guarantee as we will see later). If there is any doubt about its legitimacy, it's not worth clicking on.  This ad is for "Brooklinen" a company I know is legitimate. If I happened to be in the market for sheets, I would feel reasonably comfortable clicking this.

Facebook is where a LOT of our calls about scam pop ups come from. Proceed very cautiously.

Let's take a look at a Google search now. 

Google1.PNG

Hard to make out, I know. But I wanted the entire web page shown here to start. I searched for "Microsoft Tech Support". I have 5 results on the screen. A whole lot more if I scroll down. Let's take a look at that top search result. 

Google1.PNG

The main thing to look for on Google search results is the Green line of text. If the result is an advertisement, it will say "Ad" at the start of this line. The second thing to look at, again in green text, is the website address. This is incredibly important. We were searching for Microsoft Tech Support. Nowhere in this address does it say anything about Microsoft. If it were a legitimate results, the address would include microsoft.com in it. (the order of the name and the .com are also important, more on that below)

I won't post all of them, but all FOUR of the top results are not the official Microsoft Support page. All of them are ads that took me to very suspicious looking websites. 

Pop quiz time, which one of the following will take us to a real Microsoft support page? Top or Bottom?

microsoft.PNG

If your answer was the top, you are now on the phone with a scammer who is requesting access to your computer.

If you said bottom, you are probably on a very long hold with Microsoft Official Support. 

The top result says "Ad" next to it. And the URL, while it has "microsoft" in it, is still not right. Look for whatever comes before the .com in a web address, as this is the owner of this website. In this case, One Support is the company you are calling, not Microsoft. Another example, support.apple.com is the real Apple support page. TechWizards4u.com/applesupport would something I wouldn't click on. 

The bottom result has no "Ad" marker. The URL includes microsoft.com

The outlined box in a Google result can sometimes be your best bet, but always still check the web address. 

We are here to answer any questions you may have. If you get a pop-up, email or phone call you aren't sure about, call us and we can quickly tell you if it's real or a scam. If you want us to help you install an adblocker call or come by. 

If you are interested in our 24/7 Maintenance Plan that can help filter out malicious links, and gives you access to unlimited remote support from our local staff, let us know. 

 

Jon, Benton
Owner
jon@supergeekslubbock.com
806 722 0770