Google+ January 2012 ~ High Tech House Calls

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reducing the Cost of Duplicating Car Keys

Have you gotten any duplicate car keys made lately? The days of going to Home Depot and spending $2.00 are over!

Many car keys have a security feature built into them that dramatically increases the cost of obtaining a duplicate. The feature is a computer chip that must be programmed for your engine to start.

It appeared that there was only one way of obtaining duplicate keys with computer chips embedded in them: the car dealership.
  1. Take the car to the dealership. 
  2. Leave the car. 
  3. Come back later in the day when the new key has been cut and programmed. 
  4. Pay $150 plus to get your car back along with the duplicate key.

Here is an alternative: Go to West Paces Smith Ace Hardware in Buckhead. Present the key you need duplicated. Ten minutes later, walk out with a new key after paying $75.00.

Note: Not all car makes and models can be duplicated at West Paces Smith Ace Hardware. You might want to call first. They also can program new key fobs to go along with that new car key.

Note to buyers of used cars: When buying a used car from a dealership or individual, pay attention to how many keys you are getting. If you need to buy duplicate keys, you need to take this into account on the price you make for the car. 

Carl Thorne High Tech House Calls

Expert Computer Consulting 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Recycling That Old Computer or Cell Phone?

Is there data on your electronic device that you don't want the world to see such as last year's tax return or the credit card information for your iTunes account?
There are two methods we offer for you to secure data from old devices:
  1. Removal of the hard drive from the computer. You can keep the computer for the "just in case" situation where there is data on the old hard drive that you may still need. High Tech House Calls can read the data off of the hard drive and copy the files you need to your new computer at any time. Your old computer will be recycled without the hard drive that contains your personal data. 
  2. Your hard drive can be re-formatted. This erases the contents of the hard drive.  For other devices such as cell phones and tablets, those devices can be reset to a factory default. The device will look the same as when you first bought it home with none of your data on it.

Once you device is secure, High Tech House Calls can recycle your equipment legally or help you sell it through eBay or other buyer/seller websites.

Carl Thorne 
High Tech House Calls 
Expert Computer Consulting 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review of the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet

The Nook Tablet is a great eReader that also has some functionality of a tablet.

If you are expecting a fully functional tablet like an Apple iPad or any Android Operating System Based Tablet like the Samsung Galaxy, think again.

  • There are over 300,000 applications available for Android devices on the Android Marketplace. Unfortunately, Barnes and Noble has blocked your access to these applications. Amazon has a library of approximately 20,000 applications. Access to this library is also blocked by Barnes and Noble. You are limited to the Barnes and Noble library of 1,200 applications.
  • Since the Android Operating System is owned by Google, a key component of any application is it's interaction with Gmail in order to synchronize data such as contacts, task lists or calendar information. The entire Gmail infrastructure is unavailable for the Nook Tablet. Any application that requires synchronization will need to have an alternative method of sharing data from the tablet to your PC and smart phone. 
  • If a book, magazine or newspaper is not offered in the Barnes and Noble format, it is unavailable to you.
If you have a smart phone, you may have the ability to install more than one eReader such as the Kindle eReader from Amazon. By having more than one eReader, there was a good chance that your smart phone could access the book, magazine or newspaper you were interested in. Until recently, there was a way of loading applications from the Amazon Marketplace and the application files themselves from the Internet onto your tablet using a process call side loading. Think of this process as a back door to add applications to your tablet without going through the Barnes and Noble process of installing applications. Unfortunately, a recent upgrade to the firmware of the Nook Tablet closed the back door.

In order to restore the back door, you must initialize your tablet to the factory installed defaults. This erases all your data and all your back door installed applications. You must also root your tablet to stop the automatic installation of the update to your firmware that disabled your back door. Rooting is basically a way of granting you administrative privileges so that you can modify the operating system. Once you have rooted your tablet, you can change a setting so that automatic firmware updates will  not be installed.

If you are looking for a great eReader with some functionality as a tablet, the Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet is worth looking at. If you want a full function tablet, an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy may be more to your liking.

Carl Thorne High Tech House Calls Expert Computer Consulting