A Helping Hand: How the Neighborhood Nerds Can Help With Small Business Technology Needs

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It’s true, everyone needs a Nerd in their life! This includes small business owners. The Neighborhood Nerds were never intended to replace real IT companies who serve business clients for enterprise-level support. However, these smart young college kids are power users of technology! They are great at troubleshooting and problem-solving. Over the years, we have been able to help with small business technology needs. From coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to troubleshooting various pieces of technology. Our Nerds have always been able to help our members out in any way they could.  (more…)

Creating a Gizmo Guide: How to Take Pictures While Scuba Diving

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Sometimes, the Neighborhood Nerds get really interesting requests. We have a lot of Neighborhood Nerds members with a variety of hobbies. When our members need help with something related to their hobbies, we always try to help out in whatever way we can. One day, a member came in and asked how to take pictures while scuba diving. He had very nice equipment, but he couldn’t remember how to use it. That’s where the Nerds came in to help!  (more…)

How Can I Find My Lost Pet? Call the Neighborhood Nerds!

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Howdy Neighbors, it’s Gizmo here, and I want to tell you about how helpful the Neighborhood Nerds are. When people think of the Neighborhood Nerds, they think of tech support. And, while it’s true we provide outstanding technical support to a large membership, what people don’t know is we do so much more than that. Over the last seven years, our team has helped members locate their lost pets on at least six different occasions. That’s right! When our members were in a time of need, the Nerds were able to help them. That’s what it’s all about! Helping others when they need us the most. (more…)

Back to School Blues!

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Howdy Neighbors! Welcome back to the blog!

We have so much to catch up on, and we would love to hear from you about how your Summer was!

As you may have seen, our Sequoyah Hills Member Center is being remodeled. That doesn’t mean your Nerds aren’t working! We Are! Call or email us with whatever you may need and we will get it done. We are doing everything we can to be the best Nerds we can be for our Members. We are still here for you and we aren’t going anywhere!

Now, let’s talk about some fun Back to School tools that you can use to help your kids or grandkids stay on track this semester!

If your child is struggling with certain subjects and seems to be falling behind, it may be time to consider hiring a tutor. You may have heard of Care.com, and how you can find a babysitter using their app and website. Well, did you know that they also offer a tutoring service? You can log on and list your child’s needs, and Care.com will find a tutor that is a perfect fit! Living in a town like Knoxville means that you can find well educated and well rounded tutors to help your kids succeed in their academic life. You also set your own rates and tutoring time, so it is more cost efficient AND convenient than a tutoring service like Sylvan. (Sylvan is another effective service however, and matches your child up with a professional for more rigorous tutoring!) If your child seems to be falling behind, be sure to catch it early and get some help! It will definitely pay off in the long run.
Let’s not forget about a huge sale that happens every year! For all of our Mac users, this is an exciting one! Apple has a Back to School sale every year, which gets you up to $200 off of select items AND you can get a free pair of wireless Beats headphones with any purchase!! WOAH. This deal is only available at the Apple Store, though. Buying your Apple products at Best Buy is usually cheaper, BUT you won’t get those free headphones!
Last but not least, I would recommend buying a nice planner for your Back to School kiddos. Keeping all of the classes, homework, tests, etc. in order during the hectic school year is HARD. Staying organized is one of the best habits that can be picked up earlier rather than later! Maybe, if you have some older kids, invest in a book about decluttering or keeping your school life in order. Learning how to stay organized will help students better succeed for the rest of their school life and future careers!
Thanks for stopping by to read, Neighbors! We hope you had an awesome Summer and that you were able to BEAT the HEAT! We can’t wait to hear from you, even if it means something’s got you down. We love to help and pick you back up!
See you soon, Neighbors!

Sequoyah Hills Member Center

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Where are the Nerds?!?!?!?

We’ve received a few calls asking, “Where’s Neighborhood Nerds?” “Did you guys close?” “Can I still get help?”

We haven’t gone anywhere. We’re still here caring for Members every day. We’ve just TEMPORARILY closed our Sequoyah Hills Member Center for remodeling. It’s been open now for 6 years and needs new paint, flooring, bathrooms, furniture, etc. Also, we’re taking this time to make some adjustments to the way we use our Member Centers.

We call them Member Centers because they are for Members…not Nerds. We want the Members to be comfortable in the Member Center and feel like it’s their space. So, we’ve moved the Repair Nerds out and placed them in our NEW Repair Center! And, we’ve set up another meeting space as a conference room for One-to-Ones and small One-to-Many sessions. We’ve also moved the phones and back office staff out of the Member Center. We’re also adding new key card/keyless locks so Members can access the space 24/7 for secure pickup/dropoff. Or, Members can just use the space for meetings and small group sessions. For example, we have pilots, authors, chefs, fly fishers, golfers, motorcycle riders, etc. in the Membership. They could get together to discuss their hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc.

We’ve also been asked about the recent name change. We really didn’t think that much about it. We started as Neighborhood Nerds but have always had Gizmo (our Platypus mascot) and have always spoken internally about how Gizmo Cares for all of our Members. As we’ve grown, we’ve been specializing Nerds for service. We have all kinds of Nerds. We have Helpdesk Nerds, Repair Center Nerds, AV Nerds, IT Nerds, Handyman Nerds, Business Nerds, and more. We just thought it made sense to group them all under Gizmo Cares, Inc. So, Neighborhood Nerds is still here to help you with all of your Consumer Technology Usage Requests. If you need a computer repaired or a cracked screen replaced, that’s where the Repair Center Nerds get involved. If you need phone support or remote support, that’s where the Help Desk Nerds jump in. Need help with Audio and Video solutions in your Home or Business, that’s our AV Nerds.

So, please relax and know that your Nerds are still here to care for you. Give us a call at 865-622-2422 or email [email protected]

 

It’s Gettin’ HOT in Here

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Howdy Neighbors!

Summer is coming in full swing and it sure is HOT. Speaking of hot, is your computer feeling a little toasty? Your computer getting too hot can result in some serious damage! It can lead to slowdowns, shutdowns, or even the blue screen of DEATH. Let’s talk about some reasons why your computer may be hot and some ways to cool it down.

First, if you are experiencing a blue screen from your computer getting too hot, you should probably bring it in to get repaired! That’s a big deal that can cause irreparable damage to your computer. Bring it in to us, and we can fix it, or we can find the best person or parts to use to fix your computer!

Chances are, your computer has a program in place where it turns off if it gets to a certain temperature. So if your computer is shutting down when it’s hot, that’s probably why. Make sure you’re not resting your computer on a bed, blanket, or pillow. That just turns up the heat inside your computer and holds it all in! The best way to avoid that is to get a lap desk. Some of them even have cooling mechanisms built in!

Probably the most common reason for a hot computer is a dirty or clogged fan. You’d be surprised at how quickly dust can build up inside of your computer and blowing out the fan with some compressed air every now and then is a quick fix to cool down your computer. A way to test if your fan is clogged is to put your hand next to your computer where the air is blowing out, and if it is blowing out hot air, your fan is probably clogged. Time to blow it out!

Another good way to keep your computer from getting too hot is to keep it out of hot weather. Hot weather can damage the battery on your computer, or it can cause the hard drive to expand, which could cause permanent damage!

Finally, there are programs in place that can allow you to control the speed of the fan. Programs like SpeedFan for Windows or smcFanControl for Mac OS X can allow you to speed your fan up to cool down your computer even more. This isn’t necessary to keep your computer cool, but it’s a good option. Do some searching on Google if you need to figure out how to fine tune your fan.

Well, Neighbors, if you haven’t fixed the problem by using these methods, I would say it’s about time to bring your computer in to us so we can figure it out! If you’re having any issues at all like this, we can definitely figure it out and get your computer back to running in tip top shape! Computers require a lot of upkeep, but they’re also really confusing to deal with and could have multiple reasons for one problem! We know this, and that’s why we are here. That’s why you have got yourself a Nerd!

We are always here to save you time and provide you peace of mind!

See you later, Neighbors!

Don’t Let Your Computer Go VIRAL

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Hey, Neighbors!

This week, we’re gonna tell you all about something that is super important for every computer owner out there to know about! COMPUTER VIRUSES. Those pesky little glitches in your computer that come from clicking on an infected link or downloading something with a virus attached. Viruses can range from simple to SEVERE, and can even be the end of your computer! We’re going to tell you a few ways to avoid these viruses and even some ways to fix the ones that aren’t as severe.

But first, your Neighbors at Neighborhood Nerds wanted to say that we hope you had a GREAT Cinco De Mayo, and we hope that you sipped your margaritas with your Neighbors in mind! We definitely had you in mind! We’re doing big things here and we’re talking about how to make our Neighborhood and city a happier and safer place to live! We have big ideas that we can’t wait to share with you soon!

Now, back to the FUN stuff! VIRUSES.

First, let’s talk about some types of viruses and what they do to your computer! These aren’t all of the types of viruses out there (there are MILLIONS), but this is a few of them!

  • Browser Hijackers: These viruses are so annoying. You type something into Google, or try to go to a webpage, and it immediately starts bouncing you through ads and websites telling you YOU’VE WON, etc. Don’t listen to them! Sadly, you didn’t win that trip the Bahamas! You have a virus! These viruses usually come from appealing free downloads, and can usually be fixed by running an antivirus scan, or just deleting the downloaded material that you think is causing the problem!
  • Macro Virus: These are the viruses that make you think, “Why would someone do that?!” These are the viruses that are attached to files that you download from programs like Microsoft Word or Excel. Receiving a file like this through email is the most common transfer of this virus.
  • FAT Virus: This virus is the scariest one. It attaches itself to files and destroys them! It even destroys the directories and File Finders, so that you can never find your files ever again! It takes your computer hostage and deletes everything it can get its hands on! Crazy!

Now that we’ve talked all about the bad stuff, let’s talk about the good stuff! How to prevent these crazy viruses! We’ve got a few suggestions on how to avoid getting attacked by these bad guys!

  • DON’T DOWNLOAD the things you don’t know the origin of! If you get an email from an obscure email address that tells you to download this or that, DON’T! Even if you get a suspicious email from someone you DO know, this could be a hacked email. We would suggest just never downloading anything from your email that you weren’t planning on getting! We also beg you not to download games, photos, or videos from the internet!
  • GET ANTIVIRUS protection either online for free or through another paid service. The paid antivirus software programs are clearly the best option and they truly do surpass the functionality of the free options. They can catch most malicious files or websites before the virus even has a chance to attack. However, there are free options that work very well with common types of viruses. They just require manual updates, and since viruses are changing and adapting so much every day, the free programs can be risky.

There are more ways to prevent viruses, but as long as you’re not constantly making downloads or working with online files, you should be safe using these two suggestions!

We hope this article helps you and your computer to be safe from viruses! Remember that if your computer is acting weird, search the symptoms! Google can probably tell you exactly what is going on, and give you some options on how to fix it!

See you soon, Neighbors! Don’t forget to check out all of our other social media accounts for even more updates!

 

Your computer is smarter than you think!

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Howdy Neighbors!

This week’s blog post is for our Mac users out there! Have you ever written a paper, letter, or email and lost the file due to your computer crashing or freezing? Have you ever been working on any file at all that got lost due to a glitch or an accidental click? Did you have to restart the entire file from scratch and spend double the amount of time that you had planned on it? That is so frustrating. I know it’s happened to me many times! Well, there’s an application on Mac that was made just for times like these! I’m going to tell you all about it!

Before I do, though, one way to make sure that your files are secure on any computer is to save them frequently as you work! If you’re working on a big file that is going to take a long time, it might even be safer to save it to an external hard drive! We all forget to do this from time to time, and that is why Mac has created this awesome tool to get your files back!

It’s called Time Machine. To use it, you need a USB, external hard drive, or any kind of external storage like that. Most people have USBs on hand, so that’s the most likely one you will use. But an external hard drive or Mac Time Capsule will work just as well! When you attach the USB (or other device) your Mac will ask you if you want to use it to back up with Time Machine, choose “Use as Backup Disk”. From now on, instead of waiting for automatic backups on your Mac, you can force an automatic backup onto your device. You can also decide what items you want backed up and which ones you don’t! So you’re not being forced to back up your entire hard drive onto your USB. You can narrow it down to just a few important files! After the first backup, Time Machine only backs up the items that have changed, so your backups will be shorter and shorter.

Now, to the part that everyone is most interested in, how to restore files from Time Machine! First of all, open the window that you want to restore from. For example, open the Documents folder to restore a document, open your inbox to restore an email, etc. If you have saved a file multiple times, you can even revert back to past saves before changes were made. Now, click Time Machine in your dock (where all of the apps are somewhere on the outer perimeter of the screen, you can see it in the bottom of the screen in the photo below!). You will see a timeline on the edge of the screen, choose the time you want to restore to and press space bar to preview it. Once you have decided where you want to go back to in the Time Machine, click restore. And VIOLA! Your file is back! Don’t delay, Neighbors! Set up your time machines ASAP so you never have to fear losing your files ever again!

A couple of things to remember to make sure that everything runs smoothly:

1. Remember to let your first backup run completely before shutting down your computer. This can take a long time! Just be patient!

2. Don’t remove a USB from your computer without first making sure it is safe to remove by going to your Finder and clicking the eject button next to the USB name. This will save your files from potentially corrupting from a forced eject!

3. Finally, don’t forget to save your files frequently, so that if anything happens, you will be losing the bare minimum. Time Machine is super helpful, but you have to work with it to make sure that it works correctly, and saving files frequently could save you the stress and trouble of having to navigate the Time Machine!

If you have lost a file or important email, come in to see us at the Member Center or call before panicking! We can do our very best to get your file back if possible! We are on your side, and we hate to see things like this happen to our Neighbors!

Don’t forget to keep up with all of our social media accounts for more updates, and we can’t wait to see you next week, Neighbors!

See ya!

Growing up is hard…

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Howdy Neighbors!

This week’s blog post is going to tell you all about how you can use technology to make your daily life easier! Using apps, alarms, and calendars can keep you from stressing out about things that you shouldn’t have to stress about! Growing up is hard, but we can help make it easier at Neighborhood Nerds! But first, let’s talk about some things going on with the Nerds!

Lately, we have been focusing very hard on finding new and better ways to help you! We want to make our Neighbors’ lives easier, and that means that we have no room for mistakes! We are perfecting our systems to help us help you, and we are so excited about how much easier we are going to make your lives. We want to see you live as leisurely a life as possible, and we want to be right there with you every step of the way! Don’t forget about us, Neighbors. We are always here for you and we love to make your life better!

Now, onto the the real fun stuff!

So, life is hard enough without having to worry about “when was this scheduled?”, “did I take my medication?”, “I can’t read the fine print on my phone!”, and so many other things. Lucky for you, technology is on your side for once! There’s a bunch of apps that you can use to make your life a whole lot easier, and they’re easy to use! I’ll list a few of the good ones to show you what I mean.

  1. Pillboxie

This is an app that keeps track of your medications for you! You list the medications on the app, and set alarms for when you should take it, then you check them off as the day goes on! Pretty helpful and super easy to use! The app even has pictures of the medication to keep it really simple! Here’s a picture for proof!

      2. Park’n’forget

This is a cool app for those pesky parking garages that are almost impossible to navigate. It lets you list what floor your car is parked on, the color associated with the floor, and even monitors how long you have been parked in a metered spot! You’ll never forget where you parked again!

    3. ClariaZoom

This app lets you zoom into things on your phone screen that are tough to see or read! You can zoom into anything at all, so you wont have to go grab those reading glasses just to read a text message! It also lets you adjust the contrast on your phone and can even make the buttons bigger! This simple app could make your life so much easier at just the touch of a button!

Well, Neighbors, that’s it from us this week! We hope you learned a lot and hopefully these apps will help you out and make your life easier! That’s what we’re here for, to make your life as easy-breezy as we possibly can. We can’t wait to see you soon, Neighbors! Even if it means your having tech troubles, we still love to hear from you! See you next week! And don’t forget to check the other social media accounts for even more updates on the Nerds!