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January 7, 2016

December Newsletter

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Class Bundles

Give the gift of knowledge to someone special this holiday season with our class bundles! Pick any bundle of our popular Apple classes(regularly priced at $14.99 to $19.99 each) and enjoy deep discounts in 2016.

Those who purchased a Mac or an iPad from CSC will continue to get the appropriate bundle for FREE.

​Check out the complete selection of our offerings here.

St. Nicholas Project – A CSC Tradition

Once again, we are honored to serve as a collection point for new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Eblen Charities Saint Nicholas Project. This project provides Christmas gifts, clothing, food and other items to children and families in our community to help ensure that their Christmases are a bit brighter, and to provide hope for the coming year. One of our favorite Christmas traditions here at Charlotte Street is to staff an evening at the Saint Nicholas Project Toy Store, and we’re looking forward to continuing that tradition again this year!

 

December 4, 2015

Boost Your Mac’s Performance With These Five Tips

Pinwheels and beachballs are fun on a warm summer day, but it’s frustrating when you see “The Pinwheel of Death” or “The Spinning Beachball of Death” on your Mac. If your Mac seems slow, here are some tips for helping speed it up. As always, before engaging in any maintenance or upgrades to your Mac, be sure that you’ve backed up your data, which on a Mac, is easier than it sounds. Simply plug in an external hard drive, open Time Machine, and let your Mac do the rest.

Without further ado, here are 5 tips to help speed up your mac.

1. Replace your traditional hard drive with a Solid State Drive (SSD).

Upgrading to an SSD is the single best thing you can do to speed up your Mac. With response times 250 times faster than a hard drive, an SSD can boot your computer in seconds, launch apps faster, and improve overall performance. BONUS: since SSDs have no moving parts, they are also quieter and more reliable than hard drives.

2. Increase your RAM

While you’re having your hard drive replaced, why not take the opportunity to increase your performance even further by adding more RAM to your Mac? Adding RAM increases your performance by allowing you to have more apps open at once without bogging down your computer. You’ll especially see a performance benefit if you are into gaming or photo and video editing. BONUS: We can install RAM instantly, and there’s no labor fee!

3. Declutter your hard drive

Everybody has that room in their house, or that drawer in their kitchen that is full of stuff that you’ve accumulated over the years, but don’t really need or use. We’d be willing to bet that the same thing applies to your computer. Over time, you’ve installed apps and downloaded files that you don’t use anymore. To free up disk space and improve performance, navigate to the Applications folder or the Downloads folder, and drag unused apps and files to the Trash. You can also use the search function in Finder to search for enormous files that may be taking up precious disk space in other locations on your drive.

If you’re having trouble with apps crashing or freezing, you probably need to repair your disk permissions. Each app you have installed is just a package of files that include permissions for how OS X is supposed to interact with those files. Over time, these permissions can change, resulting in unstable apps. Repairing disk permissions basically resets those permissions, and can be done using a built-in tool called Disk Utility.

4. Reduce Login Items

If your Mac seems to take forever to boot, the problem could be that you’ve got too many apps set to open automatically at login. To see what apps you have set to open when you boot your Mac, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups, then click on Login Items. Highlight the apps that you don’t want to open at startup, then click the minus-sign located under the list of apps. Your apps will still be installed on your Mac, they just won’t open at startup anymore.

5. Keep your software up-to-date

New versions of OS X contain performance enhancements and bug fixes that can help keep your Mac running smoothly. Apple also releases security fixes from time to time to keep your Mac safe from hackers. When your Mac sends notifications that updates are available, don’t ignore them! This is one of the easiest ways to keep your Mac in tip-top shape.

If all of this seems overwhelming, don’t panic. Our Certified Mac Technicians are here to help you speed up your Mac.

October 1, 2015

October Newsletter

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Beware of Phone Support Scams

scam-alert1Over the past year we have seen an increasing number our customers falling victim to telephone tech support scam artists. The scammers often call claiming to be a representative from Microsoft and offer to help resolve computer problems they detected remotely. Sometimes this happens in a reverse fashion where an infected computer will ask its owner to call via a pop-up message. If allowed to remote in, the con artists usually will open up the event viewer and point to the completely normal list of errors and warnings as the proof of the problem they called about. They will offer to resolve the issue and provide a support contract for a flat rate, usually $300. If their intended victim pays, they will pretend to fix problems and install software to allow remote access later. If declined, the veil of friendliness falls away and they often become irate, threatening, or sometimes will even lock the user out of their own computer by setting a startup password.

If you receive one of these calls or pop-up asking you to call an 800 number, it’s very important not to follow through with the call or allow remote access. Hang up immediately. No legitimate company will ever call you out of the blue to help you with your computer problems. Anyone who claims to have remotely detected problems with your computer could only know that if they have installed spyware on your system and should not be trusted. If you receive a pop-up asking you to call, it is likely your machine has already been infected by malware. If you have received a popup asking you to call or allowed remote access to your machine, it is best to bring your machine in for service and have us remove any remote access software and malware left behind.

In some cases legitimate companies outsource or provide referrals to remote support provided by poorly vetted 3rd-party companies. While such companies are not outright fraudulent, their behavior and actions are very similar. Their remote access software can cause undesirable side effects and allow remote monitoring. Representatives often try to strongarm callers into buying support contracts and unnecessary software under the guise that it is required to resolve the customer’s stated problem. A related scam is the first three results when searching for tech companies’ support phone numbers are often imposters posing as the company you are searching for. The safest way to look up a legitimate tech support number for a company is to use gethuman.com, which offers reviews from previous callers to verify the contact number is legitimate and instructions on how to navigate the maze of their automated phone system.

If you have been called by someone claiming to be from a tech support company and want to help stop them, you can report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP or ftc.gov/complaint. More general information can be found on the FTC website. If you have already fallen victim and paid one of these scam companies, we recommend contacting your financial institution and requesting a chargeback to recover your money. This also lets the credit card companies know that these institutions are fraudulent.

Buy Tickets to Young Frankenstein to Support a Local Family’s Education in the Arts

We would like to tell you about Henry Casson. Henry and our CEO Jennifer Mayer have a unique relationship in that Henry regularly reaches out to Jen for advice on how to achieve his goals as an aspiring actor.
If you would like to purchase tickets to help Henry and his family lessen the tuition burden, please email tickets@charlottestreetcomputers.com with your request. The suggested donation for each ticket is $14.99. (This offer has expired)

Henry first hit the stage at age 4, and has since been featured in nearly a dozen theatre productions (most recently as Pugsley in The Addams Family). This summer, the enthusiastic young actor went, as he calls it, ‘above and beyond’ to gain entry into a month-long intensive at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The audition process was intense, requiring Henry and hundreds of other applicants to submit resumes, head shots, and videos. Henry was thrilled to be chosen for one of the few dozen spots in the program. Classes ran from 7:30am until 9 at night, and several times a week, Henry, the youngest participant in the singing intensive, was selected to sing at a master class in front of a top professor. In the 14 hour days and dorm room nights, lasting friendships were formed with his fellow attendees of UNCSA.

In an effort to help offset the cost of his tuition, Henry has requested a distribution of tickets to the CSC Private Performance of Young Frankenstein at The Asheville Community Theatre on October 15th. He’s approached this task in the same manner as though preparing for an acting role and has diligently lobbied friends, neighbors and area businesses to purchase tickets.

This is particularly important to our CEO Jen because frequently, people will come to her asking for help without a desire to assist in the effort, and here is a 14 year old that’s willing to try to come up with ways to help his parents. Because of that, Jen really wants to positively reinforce Henry’s behavior.

If you would like to take your family and friends to see Young Frankenstein, please contact us.

April 24, 2014

Through the Glass (an interview with a Google Glass user)

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Recently we got the opportunity to interview Ben Fitzpatrick, a Google Glass user.We got the lowdown on Google’s wearable tech firsthand.

Here is Ben’s response through the looking (Google) glass.
I got the Google Glass from Google in Mountain View, CA. Back when they were first starting, you couldn’t get them shipped to you like you can if you get an invitation now. Then, you had to go pick them up, either in NYC, LA, or Mountain View. I took my girlfriend Katie with me to California, and we had a quick weekend trip around San Francisco before picking up Glass. Glass costs $1500, which is certainly a big chunk of change. I don’t think Glass itself is worth $1500, but getting them in an early-beta program and having the ability to test and give feedback on them makes it worth it for me. I don’t believe they have a warranty – that said, Google has already done a swap for Explorers replacing V1 of the hardware with V2. I didn’t notice much physical difference between the two units, but the firmware on them gets updated regularly and they’ve added some neat features so far.Currently the thing I use them the most for, and one of their cooler features, is location-based event information. For example, I live over near the Orange Peel, and usually when we walk by there the Glass will buzz. If I touch the side, it shows me an event nearby that’s happening soon. Sometimes it’s a music show or poetry slam. I’m pretty sure Google Now’s semi-creepy knowledge of things I would like and dislike feeds into what Glass shows me, but I’ve found out about some neat events that way. Probably the thing I use it for the second-most is to check the time, which it makes handy to do without touching it or pulling out a phone. It’s even less obvious than looking at a watch.The downside right now is that it’s like being an exhibit in a zoo – everyone notices, and everyone wants to talk about them. That’s one of the reasons I wear them out and about fairly frequently – if people get used to seeing them, it won’t be so weird. When we picked up the Glass from Google, everyone there was wearing one, and it’s amazing how that turns the tables and makes that ‘normal’, and if you’re not wearing one you feel out of place. I don’t think that’s going to happen around town anytime soon, but it gave me a neat view of what things could be like.

I don’t feel like Google is watching everything I do. Google’s pretty clear about what information does and doesn’t go back to them, and what it runs its automated software over and what it doesn’t. My private things are still mine, and if running software over the rest gets me good concert recommendations, that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. I feel like people need to be aware how much of their information is public and analyzed by any of the big Internet companies, not just Google.

I haven’t experienced any ‘hate’ and certainly not any ‘hate crimes’ from wearing them. I’ve had some strange experiences, like the man who just walked up, took a picture without asking me, and walked away (I always ask before taking people’s pictures, especially when wearing something like Glass!), and at one local venue a bartender came up to me and said “Just so you know, you’re not allowed to record anything in here”. People with cell phones don’t get that warning, why single Glass out? I kind of wanted to make a recording just to be contrary, but there wasn’t anything worth recording going on. There are definitely moments that make it all worth it too, though. I let people try this on, and one father let his little 9 year old girl try them. After she tried them, she said “I like the future!”

Ben Fitzpatrick
Photo taken by Kristin Fellows
For more information visit http://www.google.com/glass/start/
March 5, 2014

Charlotte Street Computers and Star 104.3 App of the Week

 

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We have been providing Star 104.3 with their App of the Week this year. All of the old sound bytes can be found on our SoundCloud Page.  Some of the Apps we have covered so far are Shazaam, an easy way to spot music. StarWalk gives you a map to the sky, ScannerPro which gives you an easy way to document and save files, as well as TeamViewer, which gives you access to your desktop from a mobile device. We hope you all find this information useful and will continue to tune into Star 104.3 and our SoundCloud to find new and fun Apps for your mobile devices. Bringing you the best Tech tips and advise on a weekly basis. PowerOn People!

February 18, 2014

TechTime on WLOS (Conference Calling using UberConference)

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Our very own, Tom Quinlan, has become a local favorite with his Tech Time sessions on WLOS. This week he talks about UberConference, an easy, free, versatile way to make conferencing a simple reality. With the application you can send out invitations, log in by video through Google HangOut, call in by phone or by computer, see who is talking, and even record the entire call. This highly effective form of conferencing could be as common as email  in the business place and is an effective and easy form of conducting meetings. No more extensive and expensive phone systems or the unease of trying to figure out who is saying what. UberConference  has taken conferencing to the next level and it is free! You can find them here. Happy Conferencing!

January 27, 2014

Learn Adobe Lightroom

asheville-adobe-lightroom-book-and-classAdobe Photoshop Lightroom has become the workflow solution for all digital photographers. Geared with an array of easy to use tools that will appeal to the professional photographer or the hobbyist. Adobe Lightroom is your library and image enhancer – all with the built in features to easily create image presentations, online galleries, and high-quality printing.

At Charlotte Street Computers our Adobe classes are designed to introduce the student to the fundamentals of each Adobe interface.  Each class will include in depth real-world projects selected from the Adobe – Classroom in a Book series.  The series are the official textbook written by Adobe.  Featuring the newest tool innovations and workflow improvements.

Our Adobe Lightroom – Introduction Part 1 class begins with an introduction to the Adobe Lightroom workspace. Exploring how to expand, collapse, hide, and recover work panels and spaces. Discover how easy the Import has become. With tips on how to best organize, catalog and preserve your images. Learn how to easily locate images by creating keywords, flags, Smart Collections, Ratings, or a combination of all.

Organizing your digital images is only one aspect of Adobe Lightroom. Unlike other image organizing apps (Bridge included), you had to take your images to another application to make changes. Now with Adobe Lightroom, you change your screen mode from Library to Edit and you can crop, turn, white balance, adjust tonal controls, retouch sharpen, and add visual effects.

Most of the tasks that were once handled by Adobe Photoshop, are now ideal projects for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

 


October 6, 2013

IPhone Siri

Tom Quinlan appeared on ABC News 13 this weekend. Tom shared information on the new upgrades for Apple Siri.

Click the image to watch the Apple update video.

APPLE STORE

 

September 22, 2013

Apple MacBook Bundle Deal

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Free Speck shell and AppleJuice cleaning kit (small) with the purchase of a new MacBook Pro
Purchase AppleCare with your new Mac and get a free $50 CSC gift card.
Both offers expire 10.21.
September 5, 2013

Special MacBook Pro Bundle

Apple Store Asheville NC Mac Bundle Now through September 10th, mention this blog when you purchase a Macbook Pro with the AppleCare Protection Plan and get a free AppleJuice cleaning kit plus any Hammerhead Neoprene laptop sleeve. Amazing!