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After Windows XP

Given that Microsoft is no longer providing security patches to Windows XP, many users have a choice on what to do with these old computers:

1) Upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor from Microsoft to see if your computer can run Windows 7. If it does, you can consider this option.

2) Get a new computer. Most companies upgrade computers every 4-5 years. If you’re running Windows XP, your computer is at least this old. Therefore, money spent on upgrading the computer might be better spent on a new computer that will have all new and improved components. Hard drives eventually die so it is possible that there may not be much life left in the computer.

3) Just keep running XP.  While some security analysts are afraid of unknown future attacks that could be coming to XP, other security experts say that this is vastly overblown. The majority of attacks lately have been against applications (Java, Flash, Acrobat) that run on the operating system, not the operating system itself. Take some precautions with this approach. Make sure Windows Firewall is enabled. Run anti-virus software. Because Microsoft isn’t patching Internet Explorer on XP, use a non-IE browser such as Firefox or Chrome. Think about what you use the computer for. If your job depends on the computer, continuing to use XP is more risky than if you are just using it as a kids play computer.

Retire Your Windows XP Computer

It’s almost time to retire your Windows XP computer. On April 8, Microsoft will stop patching Windows XP with security updates. This means that it could be insecure computer when connected to the Internet.

XP has lived a good life. But if you’re still running it on an old computer, consider upgrading. Now you have more choices than ever. You could get a PC (with Windows 7 or 8), a Mac, an iPad, or a Chromebook. Or, if you  want to save some money, you could install Linux on your existing Windows XP computer for a fast secure web browsing computer.

Add Movies to iPad with SD Card

Adding movies to an iPad with an SD card is as easy as 1 – 2 – 3, but with each step having several sub-steps and annoyances.

The SD Card Reader will pull in movies, so long as they are formatted as if they are taken from a camera. That is, they should be in the following directory:

\DCIM\PRIVATE\

And the files should be named DCM_0001, DCM_0002, etc. Keep the original file extension such as m4v or mp4.

When you plug in the SD Card to the iPad with the Lightning to SD Card Reader Adapter, you will only see movies listed with times. You won’t see the file names DCM_0001, etc.  Therefore, you need to make a list of all the movies and their associated lengths. Here’s an example of what I use to keep track of videos:

DCM_0012 27:42 Flight Of The Conchords D1 Ep1.mp4
DCM_0013 27:45 Flight Of The Conchords D1 Ep2.mp4

Note that I’m luckly these TV shows have slightly different lengths. That’s the only way I can tell which episode I’m importing.

If you have a lot of files, you might find it easier to “print” the file names to a text file. Here’s how to make a list of files into text on a Mac.

When viewing videos like this, there is not a zoom function that exists in the Video app player. Instead you view the cropped video through the Photos app.

So for now, the moral I take a away is that I should have just bought an iPad with more storage. But at least this solution does work.

Ransomware

We’ve seen a recent rise in “ransomware” that infects and encrypts computers, then demands money for you to get your data back.

I reported back in March 2011 having seen ransomware demanding $200. Today, it is asking for $300 within 10 hours.

The name of the virus is CryptoLocker. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team has a good write up on CryptoLocker.

To avoid this ransomware, we recommend using a Mac which can not be infected. Or just keep your PC antivirus up to date and avoid clicking on links on email or websites that you are unsure about.

Update to Paperless Office Post for OS X Mavericks

One of our most popular posts is Paperless Office in a Snap explaining how to set up automatic OCR of scanned documents.

With the release of Mac OS X Mavericks, the controls for Accessibility features have changed. Therefore Step 5 in the Paperless Office in a Snap post has changed. Instead of clicking Enable access for assistive devices under System Preferences - Universal Access, you now need to do the following:

Go to System Preferences – Security & Privacy – Privacy – Accessibility.

Click the checkbox to allow Folder Actions Dispatcher to control your computer as shown below.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: This option might not show up for you until you go through the other steps in the original script and it fails. Then come back here and the checkbox option below should be available.

Security Privacy Accessibility