Stan's Chrome-Plated Tech Tips

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

 

What does this thing do? or Tech Tip of The Day - The Windows Key

Welcome to the first tech tip of the day! Being in the computer service and repair business, people are always asking for advice, so I decided to add a regular column to offer just that.

One thing our customers, especially the busy West Hollywood and Los Angeles area residents we regularly serve, ask us is how they can be a little more efficient? Well one sure fire way is to use the various shortcuts their operating system offers.

So today we're going to go over some of the enhanced features the Windows key gives you PC people. Fret not, Mac people, we'll have a column on the many added features of the Apple key soon. Now many of you probably never even use the Windows key at all and don't have much of an idea of what it does, but once you start, you'll wonder where it's been all this time.

So without further adieu, here are some time saving shortcuts using the Windows key:

Windows Key: Opens the Start Menu
Windows Key + E: Opens Windows Explorer
Windows Key + D: Minimizes all windows, Windows+D again restores all windows
Windows Key + F: Opens the Find Dialog Box
Windows Key + M: Minimizes all windows
Windows Key + Shift + M: Restores the same windows
Windows Key + R: Opens the Run Dialog Box
Windows Key + Pause/Break: Opens the System Properties
Windows Key + U: Opens the Utility Manager
Windows Key + F: Opens the Windows Search
Windows Key + L: Locks the Desktop

And here are some special Windows 7-only shortcut keys:
Windows Key + Left Arrow: Shrinks window to half screen on the left
Windows Key + Right Arrow: Shrinks window to half screen on the right
Windows Key + Up Arrow: Restores window to full size
Windows Key + Down Arrow: minimizes window
Windows Key + P: Quickly change between monitors

There you have it, the almighty Windows Key. They really kicked it up a notch for Windows 7, so if you haven't upgraded already or aren't sure how, it's one thing we definitely specialize in. Windows 7 is a big step up over Windows Vista, but I'll get into that soon too.

I get that it's not the reinventing of the wheel or anything, but these shortcuts are definite time savers. I know I use them all the time. When the name of the game is efficiency, every little bit helps.

I hope you found this tip useful, and if you've got any other topics you'd like covered, shoot me a note and I'll include it in a future installment. So there's our first tip of the day. I can't believe it's almost over, it kind of makes me sad ;).

'Til next time.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

 

How much is that doggie in the window?

When I opened Stan’s Tech Garage, my first goal was to be able to offer outstanding computer service and repair to the local communities of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Greater Los Angeles, and beyond. But I had an ulterior motive: I really wanted to be able to bring my dog Reese, to work.

Why was this so important? Reese doesn’t know much about servicing Macs or PCs, virus removal, or data recovery, but she’s working on it! What she does bring with her is an instant morale boost in these early dog-days of the business. She also happens to be the best welcoming committee we could ask for. And all it costs us are treats and attention. Even in these trying times, that's a bargain at twice the price. Oh, and she loves other dogs, so if you’re coming by our shop, feel free to bring yours.

So here are the vitals on Reese, since people are always asking:

Sex: Female

Breed: ½ Weimaraner (for sure) / ½ German Shorthaired Pointer (we think)

Age: 4 ½

Hair: Brown

Eyes: Amber

Sign: Aquarius

Weight: A very fit 60 lbs

Favorite Treat: Whole Foods Tacos

Favorite Toy: Orbee-Tuff Ball on a Rope, Laser Pointer

Favorite Place: Hiking at Runyon Canyon or in bed with Mommy and Daddy

Favorite Movie: Marmaduke

Favorite Actor: George (he played Marmaduke)

Best Friend: Peanut (Mini Schnauzer)

Likes: Water, Food, Playtime, Other Dogs, Walks, Hikes, Belly Rubs, People (in that order)

Dislikes: Baths, Being Scolded, Extreme Heat, Anyone holding a bag that could potentially swing close to her, Not getting to say Hi to other dogs

That’s our Reesie in a nutshell. She insists on greeting everyone who comes in, so don’t be shy. She may let out a bark now and then, but that’s just her way of saying “Welcome!” Bring a treat and you may just find yourself with a new best friend.

So next time you’re shopping for some computer services (or you’re just at the Whole Foods in West Hollywood), Reesie wants you to come on over. Can you really say no to that face?

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

 

New and Improved

Welcome to the new and improved website for Stan’s Tech Garage! I hope you enjoy our new look and find answers to all your questions about the goings on here at our West Hollywood headquarters.

If you’ve got questions about what it is we do, feel free to check out our Services page (www.stansgarage.com/services). We’ve given in-depth descriptions of our most common service offerings for computers, home theater, gadgets, and a section devoted specifically to our business customers.

We’ve also added links to our facebook and twitter pages so please follow us. We’ll be posting regular updates and special offers specifically for our customers. You’ll also be the first to know about site and blog updates.

And while we’re on the subject of things "new and improved," one of our most common customer questions is: should I repair my existing computer or simply get a new one?

I mean, who doesn’t love a new computer? I know there’s nothing I love more than some fresh new tech. It’s like when T-Pain sings about “feeling all good inside, feel like I just put brand new 24’s on a brand new ride,” well that’s how I feel when I’ve got shiny a new computer (or any piece of tech) in my hands. But when is it really time to buy that new computer?

Obviously, it depends a lot on what your expectations are as a user. But there are a number of signs to watch out for. Like if your computer runs noticeably slower and those restarts become more regular. You might notice the occasional "out of memory" message and your hard drive tops 90% full. Or you’re unable to run today’s latest software, even though your computer meets the minimum requirements. On their own, many of these issues can be resolved with a couple of simple upgrades, but combined, your system may not be worth saving.

Another big question to ask: is your computer still supported? For you Windows XP die-hards, your time is coming. Microsoft will soon stop supporting XP and if you want a system with regular updates and fixes, you’ll have to move on. For Mac lovers, Apple supports their systems for around 5 years. If your Mac is getting up there in age, you can take your chances, but if it’s in need of parts, you’re running the risk of them no longer be available should you need them.

On the other hand, getting that shiny new computer isn’t pain free either. You’ve still got to get your data, programs, and settings migrated over to the new machine and get it working with the internet, printer, and any other peripherals you may have.

Any way you slice it, whether you think it’s either time for “new” or “improved,” when it comes to technology, we can help. Ask us for a free evaluation anytime and don't hesitate to call us with your questions. We're here 7 days a week!

7867 1/2 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA (map)

888-789-STAN

(7826)

info@stansgarage.com

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