NEPA Geeks Blog

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are fighting over your pictures

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are having a tiff about who gets to see your pictures.

instagram facebook and twitter

When social networking sites fight, users lose.

There’s a reason your Instagram photos aren’t showing up properly on Twitter today. The New York Times goes into the details of the story, but the basic idea is that, ever since Facebook bought Instagram, the relationship between Instagram and Twitter has been falling apart. Those relationship problems came to a head today, December 5, when Instagram decided to stop supporting embedded photos within Twitter, causing them to show up cropped and off-center. Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s chief-executive, confirmed his company’s move and added that Twitter will be completely cut off from embedding photos in the future.

As Instagram moves to make their photo-sharing more social by integrating with Facebook, Twitter has also been making moves to add the ability for Twitter users to add photo filters in much the same way Instagram does, negating the need for Instagram. In the meantime, the ability to “sync users” — the ability to place an @ in front of a Twitter user’s name and direct the photo at them —  is going away, as Twitter will no longer support the function on Instagram.

It’s not clear who all of this bickering is supposed to benefit, but one clear loser is us: the users.

When social networking sites decide to stop getting along, it makes it difficult for everyday users to share photos with friends and family. Not all of your friends are on Twitter, just as not everyone you follow on Twitter use Facebook, so to cut off a large group of users not only keeps them from interacting with the things you do, but it can hurt your brand if you rely on those networks to bring traffic to your site. So, what can you do?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about Twitter and Instagram not getting along, but if you hosted your content on your own website, you’d be able to share it with everyone — regardless of what network they choose. And, by using a content management system such as WordPress, there are plugins available that will allow you to share images easily with both networks, just like before. Why rely on the terrible choices and business tactics of others when you can do everything you want on your own site? That’s true freedom!

Top 5 Reasons You Need A Blog! – A guest post by Darling Stewie

Our good friend and fellow blogger, Darling Stewie, wrote up a terrific guest blog post to give everyone her top 5 reasons you need a blog. If this post doesn’t convince you to purchase a hosting account and set up your blog, right away, nothing will! Get ready to have your ironic, artisanal, hand-knitted socks knocked off.

 Top 5 Reasons You Need a Blog!

Hey NEPA Geeks blog readers! This is Darling Stewie of DarlingStewie.com stepping in for a fun guest post to bring you some deets on why you should really consider having a blog. I’ve had DarlingStewie.com for 2 years, and helped run several other area blogs including NepaBlogCon.com/Blog and PepperJam.com/Blog – and I love it! But… why do I love it you ask? Is it because Barney Stinson has a blog? Is it because I’m a pasty white computer geek? Is it because I drank the kool-aid and wore the nikes? Well, yes, yes, and…. yes. But there’s more, so much more!

Barney Stinson has a blog. Just one of the Top 5 Reasons You Need A Blog

1. Blogging is like totally cool.

Remember the days of getting your school lunch poured down your pants? …Yeah, me neither. But
seriously, if you have a blog, you become like this super cool space warrior whom everyone is all
like “WHO IS THAT” and you can be like “Oh it’s just me, I have a blog.” People respect you. They see a
force to be reckoned with – someone who can articulate their brainwaves in a sort of productive way.
Because, let’s face it, it takes guts, creativity, direction, and some sort of digital prowess to make a blog.
Srsly. It makes you a cool dude. Or chick.

Blogging is like a cult. Just one of the Top 5 Reasons You Need A Blog

2. Blogging is like a cult… once you join – you never go back.

My blog friends and my real world friends are like 2 different animals. The blog community is tight and full of fun loving internet people. They all know each other and they all get each other. If you’re obsessed with Interwebs things, then a blog is a perfect way to join this strange little community of fun people. I’ve met some of the most kickass people I know because of blogging. And let me tell you… the cult is fun. Free kittens! No just kidding. But I’m not.

3. Blogging gives you the chance to be seen and heard like… all the time.

Um – hello – the Internet has this big neon green blinking “Open” sign on the door, and it’s on 24/7. That means all the time, for you peeps who don’t know why 24/7 means. So anyone can access your blog anytime, anywhere, and pretty much from any device, except a remote control covered in tinfoil. (Tried it.) It’s an auto-updating newspaper in full color without the annoying black ink on the fingers… it’s a TV where you don’t have to Tivo the show you want because you’ll be at your Yodeling Yoga classes during its airing. Forget about telling your friends “Hey watch me on TV Friday between 3:15 and 7:25 on this channel you probably never heard of.” No thank you. Just give them your cute little URL and they can check that out whenever they want!! And keep coming back for more… because… it’s always there!

4. Blogging covers all the creative canvases you want it to.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who likes to drivel on about their dreams… in particular a great dream they had last night where they turned into a rainbow trout and ate San Diego, California. Hey man, it’s cool! But if you like to write stories, are a super nerdy wordy wordsmith, or just love grammar, blogging is for you. Let’s say you’re a really awesome photographer who takes stellar artsy black and white pictures of lawn furniture. I’ve been there! Blogging is for you too, Mr. or Mrs. Shutterbug. Let’s say you take it one step further and like to take videos of yourself doing jazzercise with your bulldog to Paula Abdul music videos. I mean, sure, we’ve all been there. Upload those videos to your blog! It’s pretty much any way you want to communicate digitally, you can do it, with blogging. Text, photo video, and much more. How cool is that?

Are you right-brained? That's just another of the Top 5 Reasons You Need A Blog

5. Blogging is a stress reliever of epic proportions.

Some of us are right brained, and some of us are left brained. Right brained people are creative and left brained people are analytical. And for us right brainers, not having a creative outlet can be stressful! But for me, I cope with anxiety and its source is: not creating! It sounds weird, but I’m serious… if I am not drawing weird comics or creating some new meme or blogging or writing silly tweets, I go stir crazy! Some people need creativity to release stress. Blogging is a refreshing creative outlet. Sure, it takes some practice. It combines a lot of different kinds of art, like writing for the web, a little bit of artistic talent, some graphic design, some social media prowess, and a general flair for digital fun. But if you have trouble once you dive in, you can be assured the blogtastic cult of the Interwebs community will be there for you. Blogging is a total creative release, so get in touch with your inner e-muse and get blogging!

Small Business Saturday

small business saturday banner NEPA GeeksNEPA Geeks are proud to announce that we will be taking part in Small Business Saturday, this Saturday, November 24.

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a program sponsored by American Express to support small businesses that create jobs, stimulate the economy and help enrich their communities. American Express founded Small Business Saturday back in 2010 as a way to help small businesses increase their exposure. Last year, over 100 million people shopped at independently-owned businesses, and the hope is that we can all help to increase that number significantly! American Express offers tools that will help us, as a small, independent business, reach out and offer extra benefits and services to our customers.

As part of the NEPA Small Business Saturday group on Facebook, we’re honored to be a part of what they are doing to promote small business in NEPA!

What does that mean for you?

This Saturday, November 24, the NEPA Geeks office will be open and ready to serve you with any computer issues you might be having. Even if you don’t have a problem with your current computer, we can help you upgrade to a new computer, order parts for your existing system or even set you up with a new website or blog!

We’re offering free consultations15% off computer repair services and 10% off web hosting! And, to top it off, NEPA Geeks offers its Complete Computer Overhaul package for only $99.99 — a huge savings over our usual price of $129.99.

Call or stop in on Saturday, November 24th.

We’ll be here to help you learn more about what NEPA Geeks can do for you! Our number is 570.474.5100 and our address is 108 N. Mountain Blvd. Suite B, Mountain Top, PA 18707. We can also be reached at staff@nepageeks.com

For more information on Small Business Saturday, visit ShopSmall.com.

How to defrag your hard drive

How to Defrag Your Hard Drive

disk defrag windows xp

When was the last time you defragged your hard drive? If you’re like most computer users, it’s probably been a long time. If you answered, “Never,” or, “I don’t even know what that is!” we’re going to show you, now.

What is defragging?

In simplest terms, it’s taking all the bits and pieces of information stored on your hard disk and reorganizing them. Think of your computer’s hard disk as a big closet where everything gets tossed. Shoes, clothes, old cell phones, other gadgets and odds and ends… After a while, people just tend to close the door and forget that room exists, but sooner or later, you’re going to need something in there. As you go digging, you’ll come across an unpaired shoe, or a tangled up extension cord or two, an AC adapter to some appliance you don’t remember owning… It’s going to take a while to find everything you need. Time to clean it out!

Now imagine your computer’s hard disk looks the same way. Files get jumbled up, parts and pieces get moved around, stuff that used to be important gets pushed to the back to make room for new stuff that’s important… As the computer searches for pictures, emails and other programs you don’t use very often, it seems to take a long time. Defragging is your computer’s way of cleaning out the closet!

So, now that you know how important it is, and if you’d like your computer to run a little bit faster, read on to learn how.

How to defrag your hard drive in Windows XP

Before starting, make sure all open files and applications are closed. This is a resource intensive operation that will be moving large amounts of data around on your hard drive, so make sure nothing will interrupt it.

Open My Computer and right-click on the C: drive. Select  Properties, then click on the tab marked Tools. Select Defragment Now.

The colored bar in the disk defragger window will tell you how fragmented your hard drive is and how far is must go before the process is done. Once it finishes, close the window and resume normal computer operation. Congratulations! You’ve defragmented your hard disk in Windows XP.

How to defrag your hard drive in Windows 7

The easiest way to run disk defrag is to click on the Start button and type “disk defragmenter” in the search box.

Select a disk and click on the Defragment Disk button. Note that you can abort the defragmentation at any time by clicking the Stop Operation button. When the operation is complete, click Finish.

And that’s it! Now you know how to defrag your hard drive. Just remember to run disk defrag every so often (or schedule it for a specific time, as you can do with Windows 7) to keep your computer running smoothly. If you found this tip helpful, let us know!

Password Security: All but Dead in the Digital Age

Feeling safe and secure about your passwords?

You might want to take a seat, because that is about to change.

password security

How secure is your password? It might not matter anymore.

If you read only one article on password security this year, make it this one. In it, Mat Honan lays waste to the idea that passwords are anything but an inconvenience to hackers. After taking over his Apple, Twitter and Gmail accounts, hackers destroyed his digital life in the span of an hour. Documents, data — even pictures of his 18-month-old daughter were wiped out. Think it can’t happen to you? Think again.

Do you reuse the same password on multiple sites? Do you use “dictionary” words less than 16 characters in length? Do you have your email account linked to multiple accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook? When you need to reset a password, is that the same email address the notification goes to? I have news for you: you are vulnerable.

Learn some of Mat’s suggestions and tips to keep your data more secure, such as setting up double-authentication on your accounts when offered, setting up an email address exclusively for password resets that isn’t linked to anything else and the best way to answer those “personal” questions, such as, “What was your first car?” and “Where were you born?” Proficient hackers can usually answer these questions with a few strategic Google searches!

The article may be a bit lengthy, but it provides an eye-opening education into what it takes to keep your data secure, these days. Note that we aren’t suggesting you retreat from the web, just that you exercise a little more caution in what kind of information you publish and how securely you lock it down. Be safe!

Malware extorts money from victims by posing as the FBI

Don’t fall for phony FBI malware!

FBI malware locks your computer, demands ransom to unlock it.

This article on Ars Technica points out that so-called “ransom ware” is becoming an increasing cause for concern as it is responsible for bilking $5 million a year from victims.

The malware in question disables the victim’s computer, displays a serious-looking warning and then demands payment to unlock the machine, insisting that if the victim doesn’t pay up, they will be arrested by the FBI. As scary as it may seem, it’s not real. Don’t fall for this scam!

As the unsuspecting victim may not be aware, this message DOES NOT come from the FBI. You are not obligated in any way to pay this “fine,” as it is simply an act of extortion. Again, this message is not from any law-enforcement agency — it is a scam, an illegal operation only looking to extort money from helpless victims. It is the result of malware that has infected your computer and will need to be cleaned out immediately. DO NOT enter your information, and DO NOT pay the “fine!”

If you see this message on your screen, or suspect that you may have been infected, we urge you to contact NEPA Geeks immediately so that we can evaluate your system and determine a course of action. Even if you feel that the amount is small and you simply want your computer to work again, don’t give them what they want! There is no guarantee that the bad guys won’t simply disable your computer again, demanding more money. The best course of action is to have us remove the malware for you. In the long run, it will cost far less to clean the system while dramatically reducing the risk that your personal information could end up in the hands of criminals.

Be safe, be smart! We also offer software that can prevent such infections from happening in the first place. Contact us so we can help!

How to get started blogging – Part 4 – Your first blog post

How to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks – Part 4 – Your first post!

Welcome to Part 4 of our series on blogging. So far, we’ve talked about what blogging is, how to buy a hosting account on NEPA Geeks to host your blog and how to set up your first blog using our easy hosting solution. Now, we’ll show you how to make your first blog post and a simple “About Me” page.

If you haven’t done so already, log into your WordPress blog. (In case you’ve forgotten, to log in, simply add /wp-admin/ to the end of your domain name. For example, yoursite.com/wp-admin/ Enter your username and password in the boxes on this page and you’re in!)

Click on the Posts link in the left-hand menu or hover your mouse pointer over the word Posts and click on “Add New.”

You’ll notice a box with the text “Enter title here” in grey text. This where you’ll put the title/headline of your first blog post. You can enter whatever you’d like, but a short “Hello, World!” or “Welcome to my blog” message will do for now.

Below the title box is a much larger box where you’ll enter the body of your blog post. At the top of the body box is a small icon you can use to upload images and other media (such as music or video files). We’ll focus on that later, but for now, the icons slightly below that are the text formatting buttons where you can make your text bold, italic, add strikethrough text, bullet lists and more. Feel free to play around with them just to get yourself acquainted with how they work, but they won’t do much until you have some text entered into the body box.

By now, you’re probably familiar with applications such as Word or OpenOffice and have a pretty good idea of how to enter and format text. Or maybe you’ve used GMail, Facebook or other social networking sites and have seen similar setups to the one you’re seeing here. If so, WordPress works much the same. Once you’ve got some text and a title you’re happy with, go ahead and hit the “Preview” button. This will let you see what the post will look like on your blog when it’s published. Don’t worry about how it looks if you’re not happy with it, yet. No one can see this post, it’s just a preview that is only available to you.

Ready to publish your first blog post? Go ahead and hit the blue “Publish” button to the right of the body box. Alternatively, you can save a draft to work on later or tell WordPress to publish the post at a later date, automatically. It’s up to you. Many people like publishing their posts as soon as possible while others like to write a few blog posts at once then set WordPress to automatically publish them throughout the week, freeing them up to work on other things.

Remember: you can always edit posts even after they’ve been published. You can also set them back to draft mode or remove them entirely by deleting them. Once deleted, though, they’re gone forever, so be careful!

Now, let’s create a Page.

Pages are useful for giving people quick access to important information about something. For example, an “About” page that talks about you, your blog, products or services you might offer, links to other blogs, or anything you want people to see. You can always reference or link back to a past blog post, but pages can have a tab or link at the top of your blog for a more prominent display, where they’re sure to be noticed by visitors to your blog.

To create a page, from the Dashboard of your blog, click on Pages (or hover the mouse pointer above the Pages link and click “Add New” in the menu that pops out.

Look familiar? No, you’re not experiencing deja vu… The way you build a new page in WordPress is exactly the same way you write a new blog post — even down to who can see it, when it gets published and how it looks. You can even edit and delete pages. It’s exactly the same! This is what makes WordPress so special; you can build an entire website right from the same interface, and it’s as easy as composing an email or creating a new document in Word.

From here on out, the sky is the limit. You have control over how the blog looks, what it’s used for and what you say on it. Welcome to the world of blogging. Have fun!

How to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks – Part 3 – building your blog

How to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks – Part 3 – Building your blog

In Part 2 of our series on how to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks, we showed you how to go through the process of purchasing an NEPA Geeks hosting plan. Now, we’ll show you how to build your blog.

If you haven’t done so already, log into your account at http://nepageeks.com/hosting/clientarea.php

Once inside, our one-click setup tool makes it a snap to get a WordPress blog installed on your hosting account. Simply click on the link to Products/Services in the right-hand side of the screen, or from the drop-down menu, click “Services” and then “My Services.”

On the next page, scroll down and click on the “View Details” button. It looks like this:

The View Details button

Next log into cPanel by clicking the “Login to cPanel,” which looks like this:

Login to cPanel

Once in cPanel, scroll down and look for the “Fantastico De Luxe” icon (it looks like a blue smiley face, as pictured below):

Fantastico De Luxe icon

Fantastico will allow you to install more than a dozen services and platforms, but for now, click on WordPress under the Blogs section of the menu to the left.

Next, click “New Installation.” If this is going to be your main site, leave the install directory blank. Fill out the rest of the forms as you see fit and then click “Install WordPress.” Assuming everything goes correctly, click “Finish Installation.” Make sure to write down your username and password for your new blog.

Once WordPress has been installed, it’s time to log in to your WordPress blog. To log in, simply add /wp-admin/ to the end of your domain name. For example, yoursite.com/wp-admin/

Enter your username and password in the boxes on this page and you’re in! Now you’re ready to make your first blog post, which we’ll cover in Part 4 of our series on how to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks.

How to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks – Part 2 – Purchasing Hosting

How to get started blogging – Part 2 – Purchasing a hosting package

If you’ve read Part 1 of our series on how to get started blogging and are ready to take the next step, read on.

By now, you are eager to get started setting up your own very own blog. One of the great benefits about having a hosting account with NEPA Geeks is that you get full control over your blog. When it comes to the design and look of your blog, you aren’t limited to a handful of templates that can’t be changed. You can add plug-ins that increase your blog’s reach and functionality, and it’s a lot less expensive to have your own domain name with us.

If you haven’t chosen a hosting service, NEPA Geeks offers several options designed to suit the needs of a variety of customers. To get started with us as your host, the first thing you’ll want to do is follow this link to purchase a hosting package.

Feel free to explore each of the available options, but more than likely, entry-level bloggers who are just getting started will probably prefer NEPA Geeks Micro hosting package, with just enough features for you to post plenty of text, pictures and more.

Once you’ve chosen a hosting package you have a few options to consider when it comes to your domain name. If you have a name you want, our form will allow you to see if it’s available for purchase. However, if you have a domain name with another registrar and wish to transfer it to us, or if you just want purchase a hosting package and keep your existing domain where it is, you can do that, too. For now, we’re going to assume that you want to purchase a new domain name.

After choosing an available domain name, you’ll have several options on how long you’d like to register it for. Note that if you register your domain with us and purchase an annual, biennial (2 years) or triennial (3 years) hosting package, your domain registration will be free. From there, simply proceed to the checkout and finish the purchasing process.

Soon, you’ll receive an email with your login information to get into your hosting account. Once you’re able to log in, you’ll be ready for Part 3 of our thrilling guide to setting up a WordPress blog with NEPA Geeks!