Friday, September 28, 2012

Windows XP is no longer the most common desktop icon….

Windows 7 is. Microsoft Windows XP holds onto second place and Windows Vista comes up in third. Following the top three are Mac OS X 10.7 and Mac OS X 10.6 at just over 5% of the market. Microsoft holds onto a whopping 92% of the operating system market.
Windows 8 is slated to be released in October 2012. This OS is versatile on both computer systems and tablets.

Those using XP, Vista, and 7 will be able to upgrade to 8 for $39.99 from an online download….and then we’ll see how long it takes for 8 to be the most popular icon. 

There's as different as January Zoolander and February Zoolander. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Bill that could actually DEFEND your online privacy

Recently introduced in the US House of Representatives is a bill that requires law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant from a judge before getting into emails or collecting any data, including tracking information, from a cell phone. This would be a direct amendment to the Electronics Communications Privacy Act of 1986. The fore mentioned Act is considered outdated in today's smart phone environment where cell phones are a key component in social media and cloud computing.

The Department of Justice is the bills biggest competitor which believes that acquiring a warrant  makes investigations "more difficult to carry out". It will be a couple of months before the decision is final.

Friday, September 21, 2012

COPPA and the FTC

Why is 13 the magic cut off age? It’s because of COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This restricts the collection of personal information from kids that are online. Any site that is aimed at kids younger than 13, Radio Disney is a good example, requires parental permission. Other sites simply ban younger users.

It’s not a flawless system. It’s not hard to click the “yes I’m over 13” button. Or change the year of your birthday, but for what the act is in place for, limiting kids information being gathered, it has worked.

Here’s where it gets complicated. The Federal Trade Commission is proposing changes that will effect access to information for EVERYONE. Third party plug ins on websites can result in IP address of a computer used by a child to be received. More specifically, if a plug in collects an IP from a children’s site there will be trouble. That’s extremely hard to control. Twitter can’t tell if someone else pastes a line of code into their site that links to Twitter.

So how would developers for these sites prohibit plugins being used on a kid’s site? That’s nearly impossible.

Here’s another obstacle the FTC is putting on the field. Changing the terminology of sites that are deemed “directed to children”. Right now it is exactly how it sounds, encompassing sites that are obviously aimed at children. The FTC, however, wants to include sites that may, unintentionally, ATTRACT younger audiences. The Audience of any given site can’t have a disproportionately percentage of children. Who decides this? Is 20% disproportionate? 10%? It simply isn’t clear.

And here’s the catch 22. The ONLY way to know the demographic of your viewers is to collect data….but wait, isn’t that what this is trying to PREVENT?? Interesting. It also violates adults First Amendment right held up by the Supreme Court to access information anonymously.

According to’s Emma Llanso:

          “COPPA is the only protect-the-children-from-the-Internet law passed in the late ‘90s that hasn’t been challenged in court. The Communications Decency Act (1996), the Child Pornography Prevention Act (1996), and the Child Online Protection Act (1998) each went to the Supreme Court and were all struck down due to First Amendment concerns about restricting access to information online...

COPPA hasn’t faced the same kind of challenge only because it has, so far, been narrowly focused and hasn’t interfered with adults’ or older minors’ access to constitutionally protected information. The FTC is proposing to radically alter that balance.”

My questions is at what point does responsibility of the online safety of our children fall from parents and guardians to lawmakers? There were few filtering devices in action when I was young. Only one that I can remember and her name was Mom and let me tell you it worked well. So how do you feel? This is the last weekend to submit your comments on the issue directly to the FTC:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

iPhone 5's new connector....Possible Deal Breaker?

You know how if you want to connect your iProduct you plug it into your computer, charge station, and even your audio equipment via the USB port right? Not anymore my friend. Apple CHANGED the connection type. To what type you ask? Apple type. Yeah it’s about as promising as it sounds and here’s why:
EVERYTHING USES USB…well almost everything, but you’d be hard pressed to find a computer system built in the past 12 years that doesn’t have USB ports. It’s a pain enough already that the OTHER ends of Apple connection cables have to be Apple specific, but not BOTH ends? This is getting ridiculous! What does that mean for you? It means you have purchase adapters to connect the Apple cord to your computer’s USB port. Sound redundant? That’s because it is. It’s like they always say, If it ain’t broke…


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Virus Protection is NOT be careful out there

Virus protection applications are based on “known” threats. This means that it has a list of “bugs” that it knows how to detect and exterminate...but there are always new bugs being created. When you have a virus you will begin to detect “symptoms”, just like if you were sick. The doctor can diagnose you based on the symptoms you are showing. But if a new virus shows up, the doctor, or Anti-Virus application, has to learn it and figure out how to deconstruct it. Anti-Virus is definitely helpful, but it is not 100%.

You need to be diligent in what you do and where you go on-line. Don’t click on links that are unfamiliar, don’t download unfamiliar content, and be wary of emails from unknown addresses.

Also know how your Anti-Virus functions. Some of the programs you have to manually scan the files in your system while some of them will run in the back ground. Some programs will only monitor your hard drive, and some will watch ALL traffic.

It all comes down to common sense. Be careful out there...if you think it’s sketchy, it probably is.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hard disk or SSD (Solid State Drive)....Is now the time?

There are three main factors in comparing a Hard Disk Hard drive or a Solid State Hard Drive. These are: Capacity, Performance, and generally the deciding factor for most people, Cost.

So what exactly is a Solid State Drive? The simple answer is a drive with No Moving Parts. Hard Disk drives have one or more rigid rapidly rotating discs. Like a car or even your blender, as I'm sure you know, sometimes lots of moving parts can equal trouble. This is also a concern for temperature control, battery life and endurance.

Speed. Sold State will boot up in about 15 seconds blowing a the hard disk out of the water with it's time of over a minute....or MORE. This can add up my friends! The average person will start up their computer 5 times a day, adding up to 3-5minutes a day, and that leads to over an entire day a year.

Here's a big advantage: Durability! These suckers can be dropped from a multi story building, run over by a car, you name it. That is awesome.

Data Recovery is also a big selling point here and by data recovery I mean AFTER the drive has crashed. Generally when a Hard Disk crashes your information; pictures, notes, documents, are gone. When the SSD reaches the end of it's life it doesn't "crash" and all the data is accessible. In fact there are yet to be estimates about how long that data will be available but bets are in that it will be a VERY long time.

Environmental Factors are just not that big of deal for these drives. They can function in both high and low temperatures. Also altitudes of up 10,000 feet and humidity go unnoticed. Not to mention that drive can withstand 1500G force making them a must have in fighter jets.

Performance. There is a lot of technical talk I could fill this paragraph with but I'm just going to stick with the basics. I already mentioned start up time. It also accesses data a whopping 90x's faster than the hard disk. That's something you will actually notice on a daily basis.

Hard Disk Drive

Solid State Drive
While cost may still not be a strong point it is, like the history of all electronics, dropping rapidly. It went form  around $3.00 a gigabyte to less than $1.00. They are getting cheaper and cheaper and in my opinion well worth the price.

Want one? Just give us a call at 208-367-1000 or visit our website TVIT

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What TVIT can do for YOU

We are an IT company, that much you know. But what exactly does that mean?

Here at the front desk I get a lot of calls that start with "can you fix a...." "do you work on....", etc.

Generally the answers to these questions is "Yes." Here is a run down of a typical day for a Treasure Valley IT technician: Let's take a look at Nik's schedule today:

8am - 9am, on-site: Commercial Customer in Garden City, Router repair.

9am - 11:30, Bench (this means Nike is working on the system in our office): same Commercial customer as 8am appointment. "All computers are going super slow, possible virus."

11:30-12:30: Lunch (we let our technicians eat sometimes)

12:30-1:00,  Remote (this is when Nik can get into a system remotely from his desk here at the office): Commercial customer, server updates. Server updates are done for some of our contracted customers behind the scenes when needed.

1:00-2:30,on-site, Residential Customer in Meridian: Help set up a wireless printer and fixing missing icons on their desktop.

2:30-5:00, on-site, Commercial customer in Nampa: Program load-balancing router; going from the load balancer to a 20 port switch.

So as you can see not only do the techs do a wide range of work but also all across the Valley. We've gone to Caldwell and beyond.

Interested in buying a new computer? Start here: Computers
Need Security Management for your business? Go here: Security Management
Or do you just want to talk or chat to a person, like me? Treasure Valley IT Home Page (We have live on-line support that gets you straight to yours truly)

So long story short; we'll do what we can to help. We'll remove viruses, set up your printer, make a link to favorite web page, and even network your office building. Just give us a call and we'll take it from there!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Microsoft to end support and updates for Windows XP

Are you Using Windows XP? It’s great right? I use it at home personally. One thing that Microsoft does for it’s customers is updates. Most machines are set up to update automatically. You can also go to the Start button, Click All Programs, then Click Windows Updates. From that panel you can select and install what updates you want.

But those updates will be ending April 8th 2014. It’s a couple years off but that will give you the time it needs to make some decisions. Maybe by 2014 you’ll want a whole new system. And guess what? Treasure Valley IT can help you pick out the system that works best for YOU! We’ll even take care of setup, and all your data transfer so everything will be there and ready to go exactly the way you want it. You can also upgrade to Windows 7. This may or may not be a good option.  Not all machines are compatible with this Operating system.

If you are unsure of whether or not your system can run Windows 7, here is a place on line that will help you:

But as always, we are also more than happy to access what you have and let you your options. And like I said, there is still some time, but these things do happen....RIP Windows XP, you were a pretty solid and laid back kinda guy.