New-look, new focus for New MacBook

apple-macbook-air-pro-introduction-7Earlier this month, when Apple CEO Tim Cook rolled out the latest development in its MacBook line-up –  the simply named the New MacBook – to create an all-new notebook line, it signaled a quantum shift in the company’s approach to the laptop computer.

Simply put, at just two pounds and 13.1 mm in thickness, Apple virtually has reinvented its notebook. The New MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac ever, and every component of this new edition is an innovation: from the fanless design, ultra-thin Retina display and full-size keyboard that’s 34 percent thinner, to its all-new Force Touch trackpad, versatile USB-C port and breakthrough terraced battery design.

Additionally, Apple is offering a build-to-order option that includes a 1.3Ghz processor available for both the 256GB model and the 512GB model. According to MacRumours,  the upgraded models will retail for $1,549 and $1,749, a $250 or $150 upgrade price depending on the storage available on the model you purchase.

New MacBook vs. MacBook Air

Originally, it was thought that the MacBook Air would get a Retina update, but Apple chose instead to make the New MacBook an all-new line of MacBook models all its own, while the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro line-ups remain staples for the computer giant.

Both the Air and Pro lines got significant upgrades this time around as well. The new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models now feature a fifth generation Intel Core processors up to 2.2GHz, and boast Intel Graphics 6000. The 13-inch model included new, faster flash storage too.

New design

Before the April 9 debut of the New MacBook, it had been rumored that the MacBook Air would come in iPhone-like Gold finish, as well as the usual silver aluminium and Space Grey. Well, that prediction was true! The all-new MacBook is available in Gold.

It’s the thinnest MacBook ever measures just 13.1mm thick, which makes it 24% thinner than the previous thinnest MacBook, the 11in MacBook Air. It also weighs just 907g. That doesn’t mean it’s the thinnest laptop in the world, though. Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro is 12.7mm thick, for example, and the Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550 weighs just 780g.

Still, Apple has made significant progress in the portability arena with this new entry, and the New MacBook is sure to become a favorite for Apple devotees.

Planning for New Computer Equipment

Throughout Los Angeles business computer services can help customers plan for their future computer use. Just like any other piece of machinery, a computer has a “shelf life” and an operational lifespan. It will help combat frustrations if users think about this and plan ahead.

When to Upgrade the Computer Equipment

It is usually recommended to upgrade to a new computer more or less every 3 to 5 years. When the cost of repairs exceeds more than half the value of a new computer, it is time to move up. There are several common failures a typical computer may see and some are easier than others to repair. Others warrant the scrapping of a current system, replacing it with a new or tested refurbished model.

Two common issues that could bring a user to this point: problems with the LCD screen and difficulties with the hard drive.

LCD Problems

On a laptop, the LCD screen is a very fragile and important piece of hardware. This can be damaged by dropping the computer, debris hitting the screen, or general wear and tear. Oftentimes, the backlight system will fail. This component is relatively easy to replace in the hands of a skilled technician, and depending on the model of computer this repair is often suggested in lieu of simply scrapping the system.

LCD repairs on Windows computers can range from $150 to $300 just to start with. MacBook LCD repairs are a different matter, because of the newer unibody glass construction. These Apple systems can still be serviced, but at a higher price point than other laptops due to the labor involved.

Difficulties with Hard Drives

As a moving part, the hard drive is prone to failure. These components can be damaged by shock from drops, electrical issues, and a lifespan limit. The industry standard for hard disk operation life is on average 3-5 years.

When a disk fails or begins to fail, a skilled technician can quickly assess the recovery needs and attempt to either copy the disk to a new one that can be installed in the machine, or recover the data manually and reinstall an operating system on the computer’s new disk, migrating the data. These repairs are common, but often difficult.

Consider Costs and Consult Experts

Users should be aware that depending on the nature of the computer failure, recovery of all data on the hard drive is not guaranteed. These repairs can range from $200 with parts and labor to well over several hundred dollars if recovery is necessary. Consult with your IT professional to determine the best course of action in moving forward.


What’s The Picture With Computer Repair?

Wherever we are in Los Angeles, most of us take for granted the workings of our computer monitors, trusting that the picture and text arrive in front of us the way it is supposed to be.  We hardly ever think about how the process works.  We don’t consider elements of video processing or screen resolution or any of the other factors that bring a wealth of imagery and information to us, at least not until we might need some sort of Los Angeles computer repairs.


Video Processing

The term “video processing” refers to the means by which signals of images are delivered to devices and translated into actual images. If a device provides for the viewing of video files or streams, then it contains components which process those images. The video components have a multitude of elements that support the presenting the picture to the user

  • Control of the aspect ratio
  • Adjustments for brightness and contrast, hue and saturation
  • Conversion of the frame rate
  • Enhancement of details and edges
  • Motion compensation

These and other elements can be controlled by chips or by a unit that plays middle-man between the image source and the display.

Screen Resolution

Once the image data transmission reaches the device, it is then translated to the display screen. Whether it is a computer monitor or a television screen, the same general application methods of image processing are used. The details that make the image clear on the screen are part of what is called display resolution.

Display resolution for screens, whether they are computer monitors or digital televisions or any other display device, is defined by the number of individual pixels along each dimension of the display. The height and width of the screen is usually given not in the inches, but rather in the pixel count along that edge. The resolution of the displays for cathode ray tubes and projection displays are measured by slightly different methods, and we need not concern ourselves with those here.

When measured in units of pixels, an example the measurements of a screen will look like “1024 x 768”. What that means is that the width of the screen is 1024 pixels while the height of it is 768. The image data is processed to display to best advantage, regardless of the pixel count. Such are the wonders of modern technology.

When your screens develop problems, consult with experts. Some monitor problems for computers can be repaired, so that you need not replace them. They will also be able to determine whether the problems can be resolved at all. They can certainly give you advice about the best selections available for your needs.


Google Glass

Changes and advances in technology are quickly zooming into territory that previously belonged only to science fiction. One of the most recent of these developments is the introduction of the Google Glass, wearable technology giving the wearer a display mounted on a frame resembling ordinary eyeglasses. The announcement of this device excited a lot of discussion of all sorts, even among L.A. computer repair experts.


What Is It?

The key element of Google Glass is the optical head-mounted display (OHMD).  The display is described as a Liquid Crystal on Silicon, field-sequential color, LED illuminated display. Anyone who pays slight attention to technology will find the terms “liquid crystal” and “LED” familiar. So to that extent, the technology involved simply pushing these things a step further.  Basically, the data images are beamed at the LCoS panel, which is then reflected a couple of times, right into the wearer’s eye.

The Glass responds to touch commands on the frame at the wearer’s right temple, or to voice commands. These features contribute to the sense of immediacy in the design of the device. It also includes a camera that can capture anything the wearer looks at.

Pros and Cons

The announcement of the device led to a great deal of discussion of the merits and debits that may be associated with it. Some contend that the camera feature is very intrusive to other people’s privacy. Others are concerned that the device’s system could be easily vulnerable to hacking, simply by taking photos of malicious code.

The advantage is that information of all sorts is immediately available to the wearer. Weather, business stocks, traffic conditions can all be brought right to the wearer’s field of vision. Any of the data sources that the user would hunt for on an internet computer would be right with the wearer at all times.

The fact that the display reflects into the wearer’s field of vision has been a safety concern. If texting and monitor screens can be a distraction of vehicle drivers, many contend that the Google Glass would be even more so. Some regions have already taken steps to prevent drivers from wearing the Glass while driving.


The Explorer edition of Google Glass was put on the market in April 2013 for a mere $1,500. This is outside the reach of most people. Also, there are still, as yet, only a few practical uses for the device, so most people are still sticking with the more familiar and less expensive means of connectivity, in smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers.

Wearable computing is certainly edging into reality, but as a feature of everyday life, it is still a bit more fiction than fact. In the meantime, it would be the wise computer user who keeps the computers and smartphones in good repair. To keep your devices in the best of functional states, have them checked out from time to time, by experts in computer repair,  like those of Los Angeles PC Fixer.

Free Office Apps of the Day

Busy computer users often seek out useful office apps to help them with their tasks. These days, the smartphones in our hands are actually extremely powerful mini computers. Although it may take some time getting accustomed to the touchscreen keyboard, once you master that then you really have the world at your fingertips. Even if you need smartphone or iPhone repairs Los Angeles specialists can make sure you don’t lose any of your apps.

Smartphone office apps
Many office apps are right in your hand.

Useful Applications

Most smartphones already come with a set of useful office based applications such as Notepad, Reminders, Calculator, and similar. However there are loads more available if you just seek them out, and many of them are free. Here’s a few of our current favorite Free Office Apps.

  • ·         Dropbox allows you  to view and sync all your data stored up in the cloud through the service of the same name which you’re accustomed to viewing on your computer. Dropbox allows at least 5Gb of free storage in the cloud, and you upgrade to larger amounts for a small fee.
  • ·         Google Drive allows for access to all the Google suite of office type programs. It used to be called Google Documents but recently went through a makeover. It’s free and extremely useful.
  • ·         Pages is an excellent word processor app. Its made by Apple and is their version of Microsoft Word, optimized for the iPhone and iPad. It allows you to save documents as a Pages file, or .doc, or .PDF. This one costs $1.99 but is well worth the 2 bucks.
  • ·         PlainText and DraftPad are simple, user-friendly word processing app’s with none of the unnecessary bells and whistles. It’s just a blank white page and text – sometimes that’s all you need. They’re free as well.
  • ·         LogMeIn is a free app that compliments the web-based service typically used on computers to remotely log into another computer utilzing the same program. For example, this allows you to log onto your computer at the office from your computer at home. Now you get that same access from your smartphone!

As you can see, you now can have business computing services on the go from the machine in your pocket.  Go nuts!


Motherboard e-waste in landfill

Recycle Your Electronic Waste (E-Waste)

Many people wonder how to recycle their old computer equipment when it becomes so much electronic waste (or e-waste). With the advent of numerous mobile devices and the rapid development of technology, a lot of waste is produced. Be it from defunct devices, or broken ones, the peoples’ constant need for new stuff creates a lot of spare parts and, namely, junk.

Obsolete computers
Old computers quickly become so much massive junk.

Environmental regulations make it illegal to dispose of electronic waste in the trash. Furthermore, one should refrain from this solely because it is so destructive to the environment. Silicon boards and other computer “chips” are manufactured with a lot of heavy metals, including valuable gold and platinum. In addition, there are numerous other materials that are rare, and also toxic. Besides PCB (power control boards) and other chips, batteries and used LCD monitors and panels make up a large portion of e-waste. Batteries, both lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride, contain toxic chemicals. LCD panels often contain mercury, as well as other products we don’t want in our environment.

This is why there is an electronic waste recycling fee when you exchange your TV or computer LCD panel, or get one repaired with a new panel. The cost incurred helps manage these waste products. Because of these risks to the environment and the law, one must seek out an Electron Waste Recycling Center, or other verified location where this e-waste will be processed properly and recycled.

The first step in e-waste recycling is collection of the junk components. A company will take these parts in, and have another party arrive with a truck to collect the materials. These e-waste recycling specialists transport the materials to their recycling centers, where the real fun begins. Computers and other PCB based components are chipped up and the heavy metals are then “floated” in smelting chambers to burn off debris and other impurities. Once collected, these metals are packaged and then resold to manufacturers, often overseas, to start life again in other products. The silicon boards are recycled as well.

Old computer parts
Sometimes old parts can be salvaged.

All other pieces are salvaged and resold, or dismantled accordingly. This is important, not only because it supports a thriving industry and creates jobs, but also protects the environment and helps make sure the industry does not run out of raw materials. Prices are kept lower and resources are not wasted into oblivion, or the bottom of the ocean/ landfill.

If you have any batteries or excess/ junk electronic components, please do not simply throw them away. Make sure to utilize your local e-waste drop off center or other recycling center, and properly reuse these materials. Oftentimes, they may even pay you for your materials! A win-win on all fronts.

Motherboard e-waste in landfill
Recycle e-waste so it doesn’t end up in landfills


A working computer in 1951

Computers and computer services

Since their initial concept, development, and implementation, computers and computer services have come a long way in only 70 years.  Aside from the technology advancing in simply its own accord, these developments have shaped the world into what it is today and has ushered in the “Information Age.”

A working computer in 1951
Early computers took up a lot of space

The computer went from research equipment in a massive warehouse to a device that can be held in one hand. Communications and infrastructure improved along with the hardware, putting the world in the position it is in today: one of instant data access, greater education, an endlessly developing encyclopedia on the internet, and new challenges in regards to privacy and the use of time in a workplace. According to Moore’s law, the power of computing machinery increases at an exponential rate. And at this (exponential) rate of development, the technology available in the near future will be astonishing.

Let’s start at the inception of the technology age and development of the computer. Initially, scientists and engineers produced what were in effect digital calculators. These machines used electricity to solve math problems. They also took up an entire warehouse of space! With rapid growth, including smaller and more efficient hardware, the computer would find its way into the more or less daily operation of certain tasks.

In 1971, Intel produced and marketed what would be known as the first “microprocessor.” This shrunk the floor plan of a computer machine even further. In addition, IBM developed the first floppy disk, easing the task of removing and transferring information. In 1975, Altair released the Model 8800 Computer Kit. This allowed consumers to get a hold of these devices and start experimenting. In 1977, the Commodore PET and Apple II Computers were released. The time of consumer computers had come.

The Commodore 64
The Commodore 64, with a cassette tape memory

1980 brought us the “hard drive”, from Seagate. This allowed for 5x more storage than a floppy disk and smaller form factor still. In 1981, the Osbourne 1 Mobile Computer was released. This was the beginning of the “laptop” computer. In 1982, the Commodore 64 was released. As a fully functioning unit out of the box and a reasonable price, the Commodore 64 became the greatest selling single computer model in history. More people than ever are becoming accustomed to digital technologies.

In 1983, Apple released the Lisa. This was the first computer with a graphical user interface, and a mouse. From here things have moved very quickly. The first mobile phones were being released, and computers now only needed to be lighter, faster and cheaper to keep a hold of the market. The foundation for how to work with personal computers had been laid.

This would soon merge with other digital devices to create the vast network of people and electronics we have today. Within a roughly 70 year window, no technology aside from medicine has had a deeper impact on people and society. This shift in operation is what will propel the new information age; and surely with jaw dropping results.

Stay tuned.


COMPUTER DINING: Liquid spills on your computer

Knut has the worst luck, and he just doesn’t understand it. He has a liquid spill to deal with on his notebook and now he is hating life. After all, you walk into almost any coffee shop anywhere and every single table is occupied by someone typing away on a laptop while they munch their scones and drink their coffee. You’d think it would happen to more people.

He spilled his coffee all over his laptop. It’s a disaster, of course.

And it is so easy to prevent. Just a few easy steps.

The easiest solution, of course, would be to never have anything consumable close to the computer ever. No water or coffee on the desk, no munching on sandwiches or cookies while reading websites or documents. But human nature being what it is, that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

Why does it matter, you ask? Well, let’s start with the keyboard. Crumbs can get in between the keys and affect the ability to depress them. If you can push the key down so it makes a connection with the circuitry, your typing will end up garbled and messed up. When it comes to laptops, the problems can increase, because the keyboard is usually place in very close proximity to the motherboard.

The problem is that when we are working at a desk or table, it is so convenient to have that coffee cup nearby. In fact, our bad habits with food and computers usually start with coffee and water.  A suggestion?  Buy a nice laptop table from a unique tech gadget store like Tech Studio

The important thing to understand is just how many problems dining at the computer can create. I’ve already mentioned the sticky keys on the keyboard (never mind the germs such crumb remnants can encourage). But underneath that is the circuitry that makes the keyboard communication possible. This circuitry can be damaged by fluids – liquids and electricity do not have a happy relationship. You can burn out the keyboard with a serious enough spill.

Beyond that, there is the possibility of short-circuiting the machine itself. This danger is greatest with laptops, of course, because everything is right there. People who use desktop computers tend to get more casual about it, because the machine might be under the desk, or off to one side, seemingly out of range of any food or beverage. But what about your discs and flash drives. You don’t want to go inserting damp objects into the recesses of your computer.

If you are going to eat and drink around your computer then, you need to take some practical steps.

Make sure all beverage containers are kept a good distance from the keyboard and computer. If they can be in bottles with secured tops, so that there’s no chance of them spilling anything when you are drinking, that would be better. But be certain to place them well away from your elbows, hands and anything else that might be moving about a lot. Don’t put your beverage in a direct line between your keyboard and the telephone, for instance.

Don’t eat holding the food immediately over the keyboard. Tempting though it might be, this can only create hidden problems for you later, as dust blends with crumbs, clogging up the keyboard. Instead, have a place set to one side where you set the food, and always turn toward that when you are eating. Push the keyboard out of the way, if necessary. And keep an eye out on accidental crumb-fall near the ports and disc trays of your computer.
Remember also, if your keyboard becomes haphazardly responsive, it may only require some cleaning rather than replacement. Mini-vacuums or cans of compressed air can be used to clean out debris accumulation. Even simply turning the keyboard upside down and tapping it lightly can dislodge particles that are obstructing use.

If your keyboard or laptop needs repairs because of such spills, contact PC Fixer. We can address your concerns. We can even recommend the best accessories for keeping your valuable computer clean of debris.

You don’t want to be like poor Knut, who has ruined more than one keyboard with his bad habits. Nobody wants to become known as a keyboard or laptop killer. Wanted posters might not be put up for the sloppy computer diner, but it isn’t a desirable reputation to build. Especially if you share a computer with someone else, either in the office or at home.

In the future, make sure all your beverage containers have stable bottoms, and never set them down on top of anything other than your desk or table surface. Place them well away from keyboards and laptops, by more than a foot if possible. Always have any food in a container or dish – don’t make little piles of candy or nuts on a piece of paper near at hand.

The smartest computer user would never eat or drink in proximity to the machine. That’s just the wisest choice of all. But if you really have a compulsion to eat while using the computer, think ahead of the dangers. And keep some napkins or paper towels at hand. (And let me know that you have this habit, because I don’t want to use your keyboard, thanks.)

Brit Who Hacked US Gov’t Fights His Extradition

December 15 2009, a picture was taken of Janis Sharp, Gary McKinnon’s mother, along with the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg outside the Home Office in Westminster. The two were there to protest against the extradition of McKinnon  to the US on charges of computer fraud. Eight years earlier, McKinnon had hacked into Pentagon and Nasa networks repeatedly using the name “Solo.”

McKinnon sufferes from Asperger’s Syndrome and was living with his girlfriend in 2001 in a flat in north London. He was suffering through a bout of depression being without a regular job, and he spent most of his time alone in a room on his computer. Upn his arrest in 2002, it came to light that he had hacked into 97 US government computers between 2001 and 2002. According to US officials, his actions caused networks to shut down, damaged computers and incurred costs of $800,000. McKinnon said he had been looking for evidence of UFOs. McKinnon shared how surprised he was during the hack at how easy it was to enter the US networks. There were no firewalls to break through,  and many government staff did not even have passwords for him to crack. He left notes as he went, pointing out security deficiencies. His mother admits that what McKinnon did was wrong, but denies that he caused damage.

Six months after his arrest, McKinnon was indicted by the US government on eight counts of computer fraud. He remained out of prison until June 2005, when he was finally subjected to bail conditions, which consisted of him reporting to a police station every day and being forbidden from using a computer. Ever since the US began extradition proceedings later that year, McKinnon and his supporters have been fighting them.

McKinnon’s case now rests with Theresa May. May is only considering the medical evidence in her decision – the only grounds on which his extradition can be overturned. Courtesy of