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Pros and Cons of a VPN

For the uninitiated, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a great way to ensure that your internet connection is secure, private, and encrypted. There’s a lot to them, and I’m not going to delve too deep into them, but this is definitely something that everyone should look into.

The basic idea is that you pay a VPN provider for their service. In return, you send all of your internet traffic to them through a tunnel that nobody can get through but you. This tunnel is virtual, it is private, and it acts just like a network. This is where the name comes from. Nobody but the provider can see the traffic. For a better idea, here are three pros and three cons of using a VPN to protect yourself online. Continue reading Pros and Cons of a VPN

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Why you should repair your phone

Have you ever dropped your smartphone, or it just simply won’t hold a charge?  Well if you go to your local cellular retailer, unless you have insurance, you may be in for some serious sticker shock.  A new flagship phone may cost at least $700, up from the old days when carriers gave you a discounted or even free phone in exchange to being on contract for two years.  Now, unless you can afford to outright buy a phone, you finance it at 0% interest for two years.

Apple care charges about $130 for a screen replacement, if you have apple care.  This is in addition to the purchase of the apple care plan beforehand.  Most phones cost no more than $150 to repair the screen, and about $100 for a simple battery swap, assuming that the battery is non removable.  If you can remove the battery yourself by removing the cover, it is significantly cheaper of course.

We do not service phones here at Bendy Computers, or repair hardware of any kind, but are more than happy to refer you to someone who can.  In Maryland, Beyond Electronics at White Marsh Mall is a full fledged store offering repairs and used phones that we recommend.  I have personally used them, and can attest to their quality workmanship.

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Why should you trust us?

You need a new computer, so you search online. You’re inundated with too many choices all offering you the best computer for your money. You don’t know who’s going to serve your needs the best. That’s when you go to a boutique builder.

That’s us! A boutique builder is, quite simply, a very small version of Dell or HP or Lenovo. We offer you a variety of PCs to choose from so that you can find the best solution. What sets us apart from the big system integrators is our size. We’re a smaller company than the big guns, or even your local tech outlet. We can offer you individualized consultations and support, where Dell or a supplier like Best Buy isn’t going to offer you the same level of personal service. We also have our products clearly listed and categorized so that you can find exactly what you need.

As a boutique builder, we have the freedom to change up our products at your request. If you went to Dell and asked them to slightly modify a product for you, they wouldn’t be able to do that as they have outsourced all of the assembly process. Here at Bendy Computers, we hand assemble your computer locally, and we can take those requests and apply them to your computer, as well as adjust the price accordingly. You won’t be charged extra if you want to request a lower-price part substitution.

So back to the original question: why should you trust us? Simply put, a boutique builder is a more customer-friendly solution to your tech needs. If there’s something you need, we can get it for you. If there’s ever a problem, we offer tech support. And if there’s a question bugging you, purchase a support option on our site.  Then, we will get back to you within 12 hours.

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What is OpenOffice, and why should I use it?

Open Office is an open source suite of productivity software. It is made  by the same people who make the very popular Apache web-server software.  It includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, graphic design program, and database program.   Not only is it 100% free, it is light on system resources, can save in Microsoft and PDF formats, in addition to it’s own format.  Why pay for an office subscription forever when you can get the same thing for free?  https://www.openoffice.org/  If you need help setting it up, we can do that remotely for $15 for you.

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Calling all tech enthusiasts!

Greetings!

Ben here, and I’ll be managing the PC builds we offer here on the site. I take care of creating and optimizing the parts lists that we base our builds on, and I will be personally assembling your system by hand so that you can rest assured you have the highest quality system in your hands as soon as possible. I’m more than happy to work with you one-on-one to create the custom system of your dreams.

If you’ve got questions or concerns, you can email support@bendycomputers.com, and I’ll get you the information you need. Be sure to register on the site and bring a friend! We’re the customer-oriented tech solutions company that’s got your back.

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What an IP Rating is and why you should care

Many people have heard that the latest flagship phones from Sony, Samsung, and Apple have water resistance.  Maybe you have read the box and noticed something called an, “IP Rating”.  IP, stands for ingress protection.  Basically, how well does the product stand up to entry of both solid particles like dust, and liquids like water.

The first number is for solid protection and goes from 0, for no protection, to 6, for total protection.  The second number is for liquid protection, 0 for none, to 9k for protection against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs.

Almost all phones marketed as, “waterproof,” have a solid protection rating of 6.  This means that if you work in construction or another dusty environment, your phone will handle it just fine.  Most phones have a water protection rating of at least 7, which allows for submersion of 1 meter for a short time, so long as all covers are sealed and nothing is plugged into the device for about two hours.

Keep in mind, your liquid protection does not apply to salt water usually, and trusting a $25 case to protect a $800 phone is a bad idea.  But, if a rain storm should happen to strike while you’re making a call, or you spill your coffee; your phone will be ok as long as the ports are sealed.  To ensure your ports are always sealed, you may want to use wireless headphones, since they don’t need to connect to an uncovered port.

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What is ransomware, and what can I do?

Ransomware is a type of malware that holds the information on your computer hostage in exchange for a ransom.  Usually, there is a deadline to pay the ransom, and a means of contacting the people holding your data.  Your data will still be on your hdd or ssd, but the ransomers encrypt it, and they and only they have the key to decrypt it.  The FBI says that you should not pay the ransom, as there is no guarantee that the ransom holders will give you the decryption keys.  The best defenses against a ransomware attack are as follows.

 

  • Make sure all security updates and patches are installed.
  • Have both network and non network backups, such as flash drives or dvds.
  • Download files only from sources you trust, or use www.virustotal.com to scan links and files before opening them.
  • Change the name of default user accounts on your system, as well as the passwords.
  • Make sure to use a non admin account on your computer.  This way, malware may not always get admin access to your system.
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SSD, HDD??? What’s the difference?

Many people are familiar with the term, “Hard Disk Drive”, but have no idea what it means and why they should care.  Same with, “Solid State Drive”.  Let the experts at Bendy Computers break it down for you.

A HDD:

  • Stores files permanently on moving magnetic disks, called platters.
  • Usually is cheaper and has more space than a SSD.
  • Is slower to load than an SSD.
  • Is very vulnerable to drops.

A SSD:

  • Stores files permanently on flash memory.
  • Has no moving parts, and thus is more durable.
  • Is more expensive than a HDD of the same size.
  • Loads significantly faster than a HDD.

 

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Have a questionable link?

Has this ever happened to you?  You get an email, file, or link you want to open; but aren’t sure if it’s safe?  Fret no more.  Just go to http://www.virustotal.com and enter the link, or upload the file in question.  It will scan it with multiple anti malware engines to give you a heads up if you’re headed for dangerous waters.  Should you get infected anyway, we have you covered at a good price.  One of us even has a degree.