Archive for August, 2011

Hurricane’s a-comin’ – Act now to prevent EXPEN$IVE damage to home computers and other high-tech stuff!

Friday, August 26th, 2011

In the category: Wait, what??

Is there possibly any angle on hurricane Irene that hasn’t already been thoroughly dragged out and beaten to death by the media? Why yes, yes there is…

Okay, pop quiz:  What is the most likely outcome of hurricane Irene that will have the biggest impact on the most people?  Flooding? Well, that could happen, but what about damage to lawn furniture? No wait, downed tree limbs! THAT will  happen to a lot of people right? (you’re getting warmer!)  Yes, downed tree limbs, and entire trees too, and invariably what do these hurtling hunks of hickory (and other species) drag down in their flight to Terra Firma? You got it!     POWER LINES!  (da da DAAAAAA!)

Dead computer joins statistics for hurricane Irene damage.

I can't believe I didn't take Geek Housecalls' advice and unplug this thing before the hurricane...

 

So let’s talk about your computers and other high-tech gadgets (like expensive flat screen TVs) for a minute… nothing like a sudden power outage to corrupt the file system on your hard drive rendering it unreadable, but that problem, usually easily recoverable by companies like Geek Housecalls, pales in comparison to the possible physical damage to your computers and other high-tech electronics from the surge that occurs when the power to entire neighborhoods is abruptly restored.  Sure, you might have a surge protector, even an expensive one that boasts some kind of product replacement insurance, but trust me -  In the unpredictable world of restoring power to the grid, your best protection against expensive damage is to have your most susceptible electronics off the grid (read: unplugged) until after power is reliably restored to your neighborhood. And by “reliably,” I mean don’t rush to plug everything back in at the first inkling of power. Give it a half hour or longer to make sure it’s going to stay on.

Okay so let’s review:

  1. Before the storm hits, say, saturday night before turning in for the night, unplug your expensive electronics.
  2. Don’t forget ‘expensive electronics’ is not limited to tvs and computers. Play it safe by also unplugging stereo systems, video game systems, and network routers.  Basically, anything that contains a microprocessor is more susceptible to surge damage than old-fashioned electric stuff like toasters and can openers (of course even though it probably is controlled by a microprocessor, I’m not going to advise you to unplug your refrigerator…)
  3. Don’t go crazy, you don’t need to disassemble your entire network and home entertainment wiring, just unplug the power cords.
  4. After the power comes back on, wait a while to make sure it’s going to stay on before plugging back in.
  5. And finally, don’t miss the opportunity while your kids aren’t under the spell of technology, to sit around the dining room table and have a good old-fashioned game of scrabble…

Oh yeah, and if the controls and digital display on your fridge go crazy after the power comes back on, don’t worry, usually rebooting the fridge will solve that problem. Just unplug it for a minute or two then plug it back in.  It will reboot, self test, and likely return to normal :)

_______________ o ________________

WAS THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL? PLEASE SCROLL DOWN AND LEAVE A COMMENT!

_______________ o ________________

geek housecallsThis article was written by Andy Trask, Head Geek at Geek Housecalls, the New England area’s original traveling computer geeks, on the web at www.geekhousecalls.com. Geek Housecalls specializes in “anything computer” and, since 2001, has become the trusted in-home computer and technology support provider for over 15,000 families and small business computer users in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire. For help with your computers, gadgets, or network at home or at the office, click here to contact Geek Housecalls via the web, or call toll free:

1-877-4PC-GEEK             (1-877-472-4335)

 

Guess who just turned ten?! Geek Housecalls celebrates ten years with massive ice-cream giveaway! Are you ready to party?

Friday, August 12th, 2011
yum!!!!!

Friendly's colossal "Giant Crowd Pleaser" featuring 12 scoops of ice cream and 6 toppings is the perfect centerpiece for a Geek Housecalls ice cream party!

The geeks have grown up right in front of your eyes and now 2011 marks ten years of friendly in-home computer service by Geek Housecalls.  And what better way to celebrate a 10-year-old’s birthday than by giving away Friendly’s ice cream parties to our customers?  With made-for-many offerings like their 3-scoop Hunka Chunka PB Fudge Lava Cake Sundae,  5-scoop Caramel Fudge Brownie Sundae, and (get this!) TWELVE-scoop and 6-topping Giant Crowd Pleaser, it’s the perfect way to get a crowd of friends together to help us celebrate 10 years!

In July of 2001:Geek Housecalls was started by Andy Trask and Dave Ehlke in a tiny shoebox-sized office on Mass Ave in Lexington.

2001 geek housecalls website | computer service | computer repair | pc service | pc repair

The original Geek Housecalls website from 2001, complete with hastily scribbled Geek Housecalls logo.

At that time the idea of making housecalls to help people with their computers was rather unconventional, but not nearly as unconventional as proudly calling ourselves Geeks!  We started with a grass-roots marketing approach, posting flyers in local laundromats, donut shops, and pizza parlors that garnered us just over 100 customers in 2001.

want to take a hammer to your computer?

Early ads featured our well-known hammer dude smashing his computer in frustration.

In late 2002 and 2003: things were really starting to roll thanks to an article in Boston Business Journal that was enamored with the idea that calling yourself a geek maybe wasn’t a bad thing! As the article read, “these computer geeks are more like computer gods.”  During that time we also announced our 2,000th customer and in late 2003 were featured by Mass High Tech in an article titled:  Who you gonna call? Geek Housecalls!

In 2004: Positive press coverage of Geek Housecalls continued with two stories in the Boston Globe, one about Geek Housecalls’ role in the emerging in-home computer service industry, and the other, about retail giant Best Buy’s civil lawsuit attempting to force Geek Housecalls to change their name as they felt it infringed on their Geek Squad trademarks. The lawsuit was eventually settled with no change to the Geek Housecalls name, but with a requirement that Geek Housecalls must state on their web site: “Not to be confused with Geek Squad or Best Buy” (yes, you can see it on every page of our website just below the copyright notice.)

Geek Housecalls TV ad circa 2005

In 2005, Geek Housecalls expanded into the Rhode Island market offering our high-reputation in-home service to Rhode Island locals through our acquisition of Providence service provider Down City Systems, and in the same year, was chosen by Delta Dental of Rhode Island as the preferrred vendor to help local dentists get “up to speed” with the technology needed to move forward into the age of web-based billing and claims processing. Also in 2005, Geek Housecalls introduced onsite service for small businesses under the name Geek Officecalls.  As it turned out, we had been gaining a steady clientele of small business customers thanks to positive word-of-mouth referrals from many of our residential customers, and we felt the time was right to create a division that catered to the unique needs of small businesses.

Geek Housecalls customer 10,000

Geek Housecalls customer # 10,000, Erica Flynn is seen in this photo with her geek, Charlie Hoover, and Geek Housecalls founders Dave Ehlke (L) and Andy Trask (R)

In 2006: Geek Housecalls celebrated 10,000 customers with a free year of service to customer 10,000 and $250,000 worth of coupons isssued to existing customers.

In 2008, Geek Housecalls opened a carry-in computer service center located adjacent to our corporate headquarters and call center in Burlington, MA.  The carry-in service center has become a favorite for busy locals and passing commuters who don’t have time to stay home for a housecall and find it convenient to drop off their computers or laptops on the way to work and pick up on the way home at night.

In 2009 / 2010: the Geek Officecalls division of Geek Housecalls was overhauled with a name change to Geek Office Solutions,  and a dramatically improved menu of services that includes a team of IT professionals, a comprehensive Remote Help Desk and network Operations Center that simulates everything needed to support a large organization, and the introduction of our signature “Virtual IT Department” service to maintain your small business  IT infrastructure on an “all inclusive” fixed monthly fee basis.

Geek Housecalls carry-in computer service center

Geek Housecalls carry-in computer service center features flat-rate service prices and plenty of parking.

In 2011 and beyond:  In the ten years since that shoebox office in Lexington, Geek Housecalls has grown to serve over 15,000 customers in three states.  Likewise our service offerings have grown from simple in-home pc repair to cover all of our customers’ diverse needs such as Windows and Mac installation, troubleshooting and service, as well as wired and wireless networking, and personalized tutoring.  In recent years our offerings have been expanded further to cover gadget devices like the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and other smart phones, iPad, Tablet PCs, netbooks, gaming systems like Wii, PS3, and xBox, and home audio/visual systems hookups including Flat Screen TVs, Surround Sound, Blu-Ray DVD Players, and online services like Tivo and NetFlix . Our geeks have become skilled not only at making it all work smoothly together, but more importantly, have become skilled at helping customers learn how to get the most from their technologies whether Computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone, home entertainment system, or cloud application.

Geek Housecalls continues to offer the best of the best to residential and small business customers in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southern New Hampshire.  With Geeks on staff who have been with us for five years or more and some dating all the way back to the autumn of 2001, we are able to offer a level of steadfast maturity to customers who feel, frankly, a bit nervous about being serviced by the inexperienced kids offered by many competitors.  And so to the 15,000+ who have used Geek Housecalls, we say “Thank you!” and good luck with the contest, we hope you get some Ice Cream!  And to those of you who have not yet tried Geek Housecalls, now’s the time to find out just how good – and how friendly – computer service can be!

 

The Contest:

Between August 13th and October 1st, 2011, Geek Housecalls is choosing lucky winners to receive an Ice Cream Party for ten in the form of a $100 Friendly’s gift certificate (Gather your friends, that’s a lot of Ice Cream!).

How to Enter:

Customers who use Geek Housecalls during August and September of 2011 are automatically entered into the weekly gift certificate drawings.

No purchase is required to enter the drawings.  Residents of  Geek Housecalls’ service area may enter by sending their

  • name
  • mailing address
  • birthdate
  • email address
  • phone number

on a postcard addressed to:

Geek Housecalls 10-Year Anniversary
7 Cypress Dr
Burlington, MA 01803

Contestants must be 18 years or older by August 13, 2011 to be eligible to win prizes. Only one entry is allowed per person/household.

The Fine Print

Geek Housecalls is giving away Friendly’s gift certificates valued at $100 each. Geek Housecalls will draw winners at random from all eligible entrants.

Eligible entrants are those customers who use Geek Housecalls during the period from August 1, 2011 through the day preceding the drawing, or who send a mail-in entry that is received at the address stated above by the close of business on the day preceding the drawing.

The contest is closed to new entries after September 30, 2011. Mail-in entries received after 09/30/2011 are not eligible for prize drawings.

Winners will be notified via email and must respond by 12/31/2011 to claim their prize.

All decisions and results are final. No prize substitutions are permitted. Winners are responsible for any taxes. Odds of winning vary depending on the number of entries received and customers serviced during the contest period..

 

Two Massachusetts Towns Make The Forbes Top 10 Geekiest Cities. You’ll never guess where…

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Forbes Magazine recently compiled a list of the top 20 Geekiest cities in America and guess what? Not one, but two Massachusetts towns made the top ten!  Kudos to you if you guessed Lowell and Framingham (which came in 3rd behind Boulder CO, and Silicon Valley epicenter, San Jose, CA)!

Kinda makes one yearn for the good ol’ days when Digital Equipment Corp, Wang Laboratories, and Pr1me Computer reigned supreme and Route 128 was known far and wide as “America’s Technology Highway.”