NEPA Geeks Blog

How to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks!

How to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks


Have you often thought about blogging but didn’t know where to start, or how to begin? It’s remarkably easy, and a lot of fun. If you know how to send email or post status updates to Facebook, you’ve already got the basics. Now, you just need to take a few more steps, and we can help!

We’ve prepared a series of posts on how to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks, from choosing a host to setting up your blog to making your first post. Ready to get started? Read on!

What is blogging?

In simplest terms, a blog (short for “web log”) is like an online diary. However, the concept can go far beyond that, extending to the point where a blog can be like a daily newspaper or magazine. A blog can have a single author, just writing about their day to day lives, or a blog can have a team of writers and editors, covering a wide variety of subjects and topics. It can focus on a single subject, a community or an organization. The post you are reading right now, for example, is published in a blog that is maintained by myself and the owner of NEPA Geeks, Jason Percival. We write about various technology issues as well as what’s going on here at NEPA Geeks. If we have news about new services and products being offered, you can be sure to learn about it here! It’s a great way to keep in touch with customers.

The NEPA Geeks blog is running on a software platform called WordPress. However, WordPress can be used to do much more than simply run a blog. Each of the pages that make up this website were also created and published using WordPress. That’s the versatility of this powerful platform! That’s also why we recommend WordPress so heavily, if you should decide to set up your own blog.

Don’t worry if a lot of what you’ve read so far sounds really complicated. In the next few posts, we’re going to show you how to use NEPA Geeks’ hosting service and WordPress to set up a simple blog and an “About Me” page. We’ll even show you how to get your own domain name!

When you’re ready to continue, follow this link for Part 2 on how to get started blogging with NEPA Geeks.

NEPA Geeks – Reliable Web Hosting For Your Site or Blog

Picture rack mount servers, data centerDid you know that NEPA Geeks offers reliable web hosting for your site or blog? It’s true! We’re not just your local computer repair shop, we’re also your local hosting solution!

What is web hosting?

A web host is a high-speed Internet-connected computer with a vast amount of storage space. It can either hold personal files that you wish to back up or it can hold your website or blog and display it to visitors who come to your website.

Whether you’re running a home business, a corporate site or just want to set up a personal WordPress blog, NEPA Geeks offers a variety of hosting packages that are suited to fill your needs.

We offer one-click setup for dozens of platforms, allowing anyone to easily and quickly build a website. All of our packages run on Linux-based servers, so you can count on them for rock-solid performance and dependability.

For customers with more advanced needs, we also offer Virtual Private Servers, giving you the benefit of having full access to the configuration and management of your server. These packages are recommended for customers who have outgrown shared hosting plans and need a much more robust hosting solution.

Many of our customers who are interested in selling products through their website may be happy to know that we also offer SSL certificates. A Secure Socket Layer connection ensures that information between your website and your customer is secured from hackers who would tap in to record the information being passed along. SSLs can also be useful for securing logins to your website, ensuring that users’ data is secure during the login process.

NEPA Geeks offers static IP address allocation, which you will need for an SSL certificate. Certain other web apps and software platforms will also require a static IP address allocation.

Along with our hosting packages, we also have server data backup services offering from 10GBs of storage up to 1TB of RAID5 storage, with unmetered inbound bandwidth. (Outbound bandwidth is limited to 500GB/month.)

As you can see, when it comes to hosting services, NEPA Geeks has you covered. Give us a call at 570.474.5100 or email us at staff@nepageeks.com and we’ll be happy to discuss hosting solutions for you!

Hurricane Sandy Update: Back in business!

Hurricane Sandy has mostly passed our area, yet she’s still dumping large amounts of rain and snow on many areas along her path. We were very lucky that the worst we had to deal with was a power outage for a few hours, considering the devastation many people saw. Our thoughts are certainly with those who have lost their homes or loved ones.

As I came in to work today, I was surprised to see a detour around a section of Route 309 between Hazleton and Mountain Top — which has since been opened so that normal traffic flow may resume. In the meantime, Jason and I are here in the office and ready to return to business as usual. Jason replanted the NEPA Geeks’ computer repair sign in front the office and we are open for business!

On the blogging front, we’re working on a series about how to build a blog using NEPA Geeks as your hosting solution. If you’ve always wanted to start blogging, keep your eyes on this space to learn more about what NEPA Geeks can do for you!

As always, if you have any questions or need help with your computers, remember, we’re always just a phone call away!

How to protect your electronic equipment from Hurricane Sandy

Learn how protect your electronic equipment from Hurricane Sandy

Image of Hurricane Sandy

From the National Hurricane Center in Miami

Hurricane Sandy is rapidly approaching, and this thing is set to make a historical impact on our area. Governor Tom Corbett has already announced that we are in a state of emergency, and many parts of New York and New Jersey are shutting down. The immediate future is looking pretty scary, but for the moment, the weather is calm. This is the time to get things done and learn how to protect your electronic equipment, before it’s too late.

By all means, your family’s safety should be first and foremost on your mind. It would be a shame if your computer got fried and wouldn’t turn on anymore, but that’s nothing compared to the immeasurable loss of losing a loved one. Therefore, water, food, medicine and an evacuation plan are things you need to be working on immediately. However, if you’ve taken care of all that, here are some last minute things you need to do to ensure the safety of your computers and electronic equipment.

Backup Your Data

First of all, make sure you have your data backed up to an external hard drive or online data storage solution. This is something you should be doing regardless of an impending storm. Family photos, documents, school or work projects, emails and other important information that you don’t want to lose should be taken care of immediately. But don’t just assume that the data is safe simply because it’s on an external disc, make sure the disc is kept somewhere safe, away from flood waters, extreme temperatures and sources of physical harm.

Check Batteries for Power, Fuel-Up the Generator

If you have vital equipment that needs to be powered at all times, now is a good time to make sure the battery backup system/generator is working and can maintain power for an extended period of time. If the power grid goes down, there’s a possibility that it could be out for a few days. Charge up cell phones, flashlights, portable radios and anything else you might need that has a battery. Make sure the generator has fuel. Also, NEVER run a gas or diesel powered generator inside the house. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide gas can quickly build up and kill you. Likewise, a malfunctioning furnace or blocked-up chimney (for those of you building a fire in the fireplace to keep warm in the event of power loss) can quickly contribute to dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Learn and look for the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and keep the house well ventilated.

Flood Protection

On the other side of the spectrum, a power surge or lightning strike can damage or destroy equipment. You should keep whatever you don’t need unplugged and safely put away — preferably in a high area of the house, just in case of flooding.

Speaking of floods, if you live in an area prone to flooding, do a quick sweep of the basement/lower levels of the house to make sure that anything important is moved high up, out of the reach of flood waters. Sealing them in plastic would add extra insurance from water damage.

Document Everything

Sometimes, despite all precautions, accidents still happen. For that reason (and, more importantly, for the reasons we can’t think of) everyone should have some kind of insurance. It might be too late to get a policy, but if you already have one, now is the best time to take pictures and document everything of value in your home. Electronics, vehicles, external views of your house… if you own it, make a record of it. It’ll help out immensely if the worst happens and you need to make a claim.

We’re taking this storm seriously, and the weather authorities have repeated again and again that tomorrow will be too late. Of course, make sure you have enough food and water to get by, and take care of your family and pets first. However, once all that’s finished, take care of your valuable electronic equipment. For things that can wait until the last minute, that moment is fast approaching. Be safe!

Virus removal on a professional level

Professional Virus Removal, Right Here in Mountain Top, PA

When you drive a car, you buckle your seatbelt, right? When you ride a bike, you wear a helmet. And you wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, would you? So why doesn’t your computer have any antivirus software installed? You know that viruses and spyware are dangerous, but do you know how to keep your computer safe from malware?

NEPA Geeks have the tools keep you safe

It’s about protection — not just to keep you safe, but to give you peace of mind. Leaving your computer open to malware is like inviting burglars to come in and steal your valuables. However, when your computer gets hacked, the hackers don’t just walk out with a TV and some jewelry, they get the pictures of your family, emails, passwords and financial information. They grab whatever they can from your computer, and you probably don’t even know they are there. NEPA Geeks can help you avoid this scary scenario.

Professional Virus Removal

We’re locally owned and operated in Mountain Top, PA, just a few minutes from Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Dallas and Hazleton. Bring your computer to us, and let us take a look at it. We offer a powerful anti-malware application that can keep your computer safe and secure. If it’s been infected already, we’ll clean out the spyware, viruses and other malware that is plaguing your computer and get it back up to running like it was new. We’ll even show you how to prevent getting infected again.

Call us today!

So, if you want peace of mind AND a computer that runs like new, stop in and see us, or give us a call.
Our address is 108 N. Mountain Blvd Suite B Mountain Top, PA 18707. Our phone number is 570.474.5100.

Apple unveils iPad Mini and publicly executes the optical drive – Should you care?

Apple’s October 23rd event didn’t just unveil the iPad Mini, it buried the optical drive.

RIP optical drive

R.I.P. Optical Drive

As I sat down to watch the live stream of Apple’s October 23rd event, I was eager to see the new MacBook models, as well as various other upgrades to the iMac and Mac Mini lines. But the big enchilada, the one thing we were all anticipating, was the iPad Mini, a new iPad that is 2/3rds the size of the iPad 2 while remaining about as powerful under the hood.

Starting at $329, the iPad Mini may be a bit more expensive than most had hoped, but given the increased convenience of a smaller device — with a 7.9 inch display as opposed to the iPad’s 9.7 inches — the iPad Mini is sure to be found in places even the full-sized model can’t go. As excited as we were for this new iPad, however, I felt a twinge of guilt at what I’d seen during Apple’s presentations of their new Macs. I couldn’t help but notice that Apple was publicly killing the optical drive.

The new 13 inch MacBook Pro with Retina display doesn’t have one, the Mac Mini lost one a while ago, and the MacBook Air never had one. On top of that, the new iMac is now 5mm thin — a feat achieved by, you guessed it, removing the optical drive. “What does Apple have against the optical drive?” I wondered. Try as I might, however, I really couldn’t recall the last time I personally used mine. So why should I care?

We should care because the optical drive is useful for booting from when something goes wrong with the computer’s hard disc. You can also use it to watch movies and burn CDs or DVDs. And it’s still useful for copying a music CD to your computer for importing into iTunes, something we often overlook as being a big deal.

As important a role as the mp3 format, iPod and iTunes played in the digital music revolution, the one thing that almost no one recalls is the role the compact disc played. If the music industry hadn’t introduced this convenient, high-quality format, we might not be where we are today.

In the days before Napster and iTunes, the only way to get music on your computer was to rip it yourself. Think about what would happen if we were still relying on the analog format of records or tapes; not only would digitally recording music to your computer suffer from the lower quality of analog, but you’d have to do it in real-time. In other words, if it takes 44 minutes and 28 seconds to listen to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here,” it would take you at least that long to record it to your computer’s hard drive. Now multiply that by the number of albums you probably own — that’s a lot of time! With CDs and optical drives, we were able to reduce the time it takes to import an album down to seconds rather than minutes. But, of course, this is all ancient history. These days, we just download or stream everything.

With the ubiquity of USB thumb drives, cloud storage and digital distribution, we almost don’t need the optical drive for anything, anymore. While the optical drive does still have some life left in it, if getting rid of it means thinner devices with fewer moving parts (and less that can go wrong with them), then perhaps this really is time to say goodbye. So long, optical drive. Shine on, you crazy diamond!

NEPA Geeks has a New Computer Repair Flag

See our new computer repair sign at NEPA Geeks

Here at the NEPA Geeks headquarters we’ve been working hard to make our computer repair business more visible to the public. One of the big things Jason has been excited about is installing a “Computer Repair” flag that people can easily see from the street. Well, we finally got one!

Here are some unboxing photos, including a photo of the flag in all its glory.

So, the next time you’re driving through Mountain Top, PA, be sure to look for our flag at the side of the road. And if you need your PC, Mac or iPhone fixed, stop in and talk to us! We’ll be more than happy to help you out.

What the DNSChanger malware is — and why you should care (FAQ)

Originally posted by CNET:

This graphic shows how the DNSChanger malware worked.This graphic shows how the DNSChanger malware worked.

(Credit: FBI)

The DNSChanger malware has been around for years, but its deleterious effects are coming to a head this Monday. Here’s what you have to know about it, and how to fix it.

What is DNSChanger?
DNSChanger is a Trojan horse malware with many variants. It changes an infected computer’s DNS settings to point to rogue, bad guy-controlled servers. These then show you ads that look real, but aren’t. Basically, it redirects your legitimate Web surfing to malicious Web sites that then attempt to steal personal information and generate illegitimate ad revenue.

How much money did DNSChanger make?
From the time it was discovered around 2007 until six Estonian scammers were caught in November 2011, DNSChanger scored them upwards of $14 million, reportedly.

What does DNSChanger do?
DNSChanger changes your Domain Name System settings without your permission. This is bad because DNS is basically the Internet’s phone book crossed with a map. DNS links a URL, such as CNET.com, to an IP address. (An IPv4 address would be something like 192.1.56.10, while an IPv6 address would look like 1050:0:0:0:5:600:300c:326b.) DNSChanger changes that and redirects search results and URLs to malicious sites that are designed to either serve you ads to malicious sites, or intend to illegitimately collect your login information.

If the bad guys have been caught already, why does DNSChanger still affect people?
Simply put, the malware was exceedingly effective and infected hundreds of thousands of computers. Prior to the bad guys being arrested, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and German Federal Office for Information Security created a redirect of the redirect, so that many people infected by DNSChanger would still go to the legitimate Web sites that they intended to visit.

After the arrests, the two governments agreed to keep the rogue DNS servers running until March. Then they learned that there were still around 450,000 active DNSChanger infections, and so the servers got a reprieve until Monday, July 9.

If your computer’s been infected and you haven’t fixed it by July 8, your Monday morning will be even worse than normal.

So the Facebook alerts and Google warnings about DNSChanger were legit?
Yep. And around 330,000 people were still infected with DNSChanger as of the end of May, with about 77,000 of those in the U.S.

Google's warning that appeared at the top of search results.Google’s warning that appeared at the top of search results.

(Credit: CNET)

How can I tell if I’m infected?
If you’re in the United States, go to dns-ok.us or its parent site, the DNSChanger Working Group for computers based outside of the U.S. Click on the URL appropriate to your country, and you’ll see an image with a green background if you’re clean. A red background means you’re infected.

Help! My computer’s infected with DNSChanger. How can I fix it?
The DCWG has a list of free tools to download and instructions on how to clean a computer infected with DNSChanger.

How can I avoid malware like DNSChanger in the future?
Security suites aren’t perfect, but they will protect you from the vast majority of threats out there including DNSChanger. Whether you’re on Windows or Mac, Android or iOS, you really ought to have some kind of security program installed. And always double-check the URL before entering personal information into any kind of online text field or form, no matter what operating system or device you’re using.

Live from New York, its GDGT

By: Patrick Gensel

The Altman building in NYC was filled to the brim with geeks and tech toys this past Tuesday evening. The popular social knowledge base for all things tech, GDGT, held its second event in New York City.

The lighting in the venue was dim, the athmosphere felt “Cutting Edge” which was fitting considering the nearly 30 vendors all showing off the latest and greatest in consumer electronics. case maker Incipio was the first vendor visible upon entering the Altman building. They showed off new toys like their NGP iphone case which was made of a unique next generation polymer which resisted breaking and wear like traditional plastic or silicone cases would. They also had an external backup battery called the off grid which allowed you to charge your iPad, iPhone, iPod and more when you can’t plug into an outlet.

The Roku Rep with Angry Birds Plush ToysThe next vendor in line was Roku. Their booth screamed “come play with us” thanks to the Angry Birds plush toys strewn about. If this seems a bit odd to you, thats alright, it caught me off guard too. Roku has recently inked a partnership deal with Rovio, the company behind the wildly popular game which has had folks glued to their mobile devices for hours on end. In addition to bringing the Angry Birds experience to the TV screen, the Roku marketplace will also enable folks to buy Angry Birds plush dolls. Another notable step for Roku is their move into big box retail. Look for their set top boxes this fall in places like Best Buy and others.

Marvell Semiconductor  was present showing off their recent acquisition. Kinoma is a mobile applications platform that can be likened to that of Adobe Air; the big difference being that, unlike Air, Kinoma is completely open source. This allows for a more community driven experience. Marvell demonstrated Kinoma using a suite of apps on a mobile phone and simulated mobile phone on the LCD.

Out of all of the amazing innovations on the show floor, nothing was quite as peculiar as the Thing-O-Matic by MakerBot Industries. Think Creepy Crawlers oven meets desktop printer and you won’t be too far off from the Thing-O-Matic. The concept is simple: design an object on your computer and let the Thing-O-Matic do the rest. This open source 3D printer will churn out plastic sculptures of just about anything under 5”x 5” x 5”.

Speaking of bots, IRobot was present with the latest iterations of their Roomba and Scuba housekeeping robots. Why clean your floors when a robot will do it for you?

The GDGT New York event was a great show. In terms of scale, it was no CES, but the small size made it possible to visit most, if not all of the vendors. All the reps for the brands were really passionate about the products they represented and GDGT founders Peter Rojas and Ryan Block mingled with everyone as if they were part of the show going crowd themselves. Keep up the good work guys and lets see this thing back in New York soon for round 3.