Mr Fix IT Now Open in St. Albans

Mr Fix IT now has two locations. There is the one you’ve come to know and love in Winfield, at 12474 Winfield Road, right across the street from the McDonald’s, and right next door to the Pizza Hut both of which are perfect places to crash while the busted screen on your phone gets replaced BTW.) Now there is a second Mr Fix IT located in St. Albans, at 316 B Street, near the Gateway Plaza, and the Kentucky Fried Chicken on US 60. We are right behind the Go Mart.

 

Call us St. Albans: 304-721-2441

nTelos Becomes Sprint; Mr Fix IT Partners with Boost

 

Boost_Mobile_logo.svg

Mr. Fix IT is proud to announce our new partnership Boost Mobile.

Yeah, we know, what you’re thinking, “Didn’t they just partner with nTelos?” The short answer is yes, but there is a good explanation for the switch.

Around the time we partnered with nTelos, nTelos was bought out by Sprint, which meant there would be changes to our original plan.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, we couldn’t work things out with the new Sprint regime. Their vision for Mr Fix IT’s future, and our vision of it, were just too far apart.

After taking a look at numerous other options, we found the right mobile service for our customers, and that option is Boost Mobile.

What does this mean for you?

Boost offers better pre-paid plans than our previous partner, and they also have a much more affordable line of phones. These were the features that really won us over vs some other carriers we looked into. We think it will win you over as well.

Our short time with nTelos was a good time, but all good things must come to an end.

Boost Mobile signage and phone displays will be coming soon.

We’ll keep you posted.

Mr Fix IT Gets New Location, Becomes Authorized nTelos Retailer

NTEL%20Authorized%20Retailer%202C%20vert

Finally after several months of hype and preparation, Mr Fix IT is finally open as an official nTelos Wireless Authorized Retailer.

What does that mean for you?

Well, it means we will always have the latest and greatest products from iPhone, Samsung, and other major phone manufacturers, along with competitively priced talk, text, and data plans, designed to fit the usage habits, and budgets, of just about everybody.

This also means current nTelos customers can pay their nTelos bills here at our store as well.

Don’t worry though, while we have ventured into the phone and phone accessory business, we haven’t forgotten our roots.

Located at the back of our new store, just across the street from McDonald’s, and right next door to Pizza Hut, in Winfield, is the Mr Fix IT work counter. We are still fixing broken smartphone screens, removing viruses from computers, and fixing other busted gadgetry as well.

 

Battery Vs. Weenie: More Dangerous Than You Might Expect

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-enercell-3v-lithium-cr2430-1024x768

These little coin, or button-style, lithium batteries look harmless don’t they? Well, that harmless appearance is just a slick, silvery disguise. These things can, and do, cause a lot of injuries every year to children and pets who happen to swallow them.

Mr. Fix IT is expanding into the battery business, and we’ve already stocked a healthy selection of these very batteries, so we decided to run a little experiment and see for ourselves just what affect these little batteries have on, well, for lack of a better word, flesh.

So here it is, the experiment:

We set up a small lab here in our office and shoved the battery into the weenie and left it there for five hours. We took snapshots of the weenie every 30-45 minutes to track the progress. Here’s what happened.

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-begins-1024x768

We started this experiment one afternoon around 1 p.m., by shoving the battery we selected from the shelf right into the heart of the weenie.

(Click the photos below to enlarge them for a better view.)

lithium-batter-vs-weenie-1257-pm-1024x768

The first 30 minutes didn’t reveal much. The hotdog weenie didn’t look much different than it did when we began. However, that is just the observation from the outside. Inside the hotdog things were already beginning to happen, as we’ll see a few images down.

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-125-pm-1024x768

About an hour later, you could already start to see some blackening around the edges of the gash made by the battery.

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-203-pm-1024x768

About two hours later the black marks around the corners spread a little bit more.

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-252-pm-1024x768

About three hours later…

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-345-pm-1024x768

About three and a half hours later, it was pretty obvious the battery was continuing to char the weenie from the inside out.

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-448-pm-1024x768

Finally, four and a half hours later we called it a day and sliced the weenie open to see what was going on inside. This is what we found…

lithium-battery-vs-weenie-result-1024x768

As you can see, the inside of this hot dog has been scorched where the battery made contact with its pork, chicken, and beef, body. This is the same thing that happens when swallowed by a child, as a youngster named Emmett Rauch can attest. It took four years and 65 surgeries to repair the damage done by one 3V lithium battery from a DVD remote control.

So the evidence is clear on this one. Please, by all means, be mindful of how you store these batteries and how you dispose of them. Carelessly leaving them where children and pets can lead to serious injury, or even death.

For more information regarding coin, or button-style, batteries, visit Emmett’s Fight, a foundation created by Emmett Rauch’s family to raise awareness of the potential dangers of these batteries.

You can find some more medical/technical information about what is really going on here in this piece about Button Batteries in the Emergency Department.

You Gotta See What Went on at Mr. Fix IT This Particular Afternoon

lapsebox

The other day we got our hands on a Brinno TLC 200 time lapse camera so we thought we’d play around with it. This is the result.

It was our first run with the camera, and it did exactly what we expected it to do. Tons of settings to change, and play with, so there are countless variations in the type of time lapse video you can create with it.

Even with it’s custom video options, the biggest selling point for the Brinno is its power management. The camera runs on 4 AA batteries, yeah, that’s right, 4 AA batteries, and with it’s power-saving options, and general efficiency, you can make that go for a long time. The manual makes some bold claims in this department, and judging from what others are saying about it, these claims might just be true.

You can set the camera to shoot every 30 seconds, sit it in the corner, and forget about it for the next 30 days, and it should still be shooting images when you check it again. Shooting just one image per day, four AA Batteries are supposed to make it last for 78 days. We’ll have to get back to you on the accuracy of these reports. We’re going to use it to record the progress of the remodel going on at our soon to be home, just a few doors down near Pizza Hut in this very same plaza.

Another nice feature on this camera is its ability to shoot in low-light situations. Compared to other cameras in its class, you can’t find one that shoots in low light situations for anywhere near the price for the Brinno. Left outside at night, the images it takes look more dusk-like than late-night.

There are plenty of must-have add-ons for the Brinno too. We have already added a wide-angle lens to it. The add-on lens attaches magnetically around the one installed by the manufacturer. It goes on, and comes off, much like the power cord of a MacBook Pro. No screwing. No forcing. It’s just magnetic baby. And we love that. You can also get motion sensors, shutter lines, panoramic stands that spin it slowly from side to side, and wall mounts.

Then there is the next add-on we plan on getting for ours, and that is the weather-resistant housing. There’s nothing better than shooting stop-motion videos of nature. When we were kids, one of the best parts of the nature shows were when they set up a time lapse camera outside and let it shoot ants building a hill, bees building a hive, vultures devouring carrion, and so on. There will definitely be some nature videos coming in the not-too-distant future. The beautiful thing  about a time lapse camera is the fact that it is one of the few tools out there that can make watching grass grow kind of exciting.

We love this thing and plan to use it quite a bit. The hard part, more than likely, is going to be convincing ourselves not to use it for everything. That is one of the big no-nos for those who own time lapse cameras. In fact, we’re going to declare it to be the first commandment in the 10 Time Lapse Photography Commandments.

  1. Thou Shalt Not Overdo It.

We’re going to try our best to abide by our own rules, and we suggest you do the same when you get yours. And we definitely encourage you to get one for yourself.

Here’s the video:

(It should be noted the edits done to this video, the opening, the ending, the music, and the like, were all made using iMovie.)


 

TLC 200 Specifications:

Output Format: Video Mode – AVI (1280×720, 640×480)

Field of View: 59-degrees

Focal Length: 36mm

Focal Distance: 75cm (minimum)

Time Interval: 1 sec to 24 hours

Memory Storage: SD Card

LCD Screen: 1.44″ TFT LCD

Power Supply: DC IN: 5V (Micro USB connection)

Size: 2.5dx1.8wx4.17h (in inches)

Weight  4.2 oz

Brinno.com

Your Child Can Design a Video Game Before Bedtime Tonight With This Online Tool

This week I saw a room full of kids, aged 8-14 or so, tackle computer programming for the first time, and love every minute of it. They loved it so much the instructor had a difficult time getting them to pay attention once they were turned loose to play around with programming.

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?

I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it first hand.

The hook that made every kid in the room enthusiastic about programming was a little game development program created at MIT, aka Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called Scratch. Scratch is an app that makes it easy to animate characters, change scenery, and create an endless number of scenarios by creating programs using LEGO-like blocks of code.

It’s much easier to see, than describe, so here’s a video showing how Scratch works, and what it can do.

Scratch Overview from ScratchEd on Vimeo.

 

As you can see, it’s dead simple to use, and you get great results, all while learning the basic principles of writing computer code. Above all, it stimulates users to put their logic skills to work.

Again, rather than go into too much depth here, I’ll let one of the creators, Mitch Resnick, explain how learning programming skills can benefit kids.

 

 

On the Scratch website you can see what people who really know how to use this program are capable of doing, and quite honestly, it’s quite amazing.

There are ongoing studies at MIT, and a few other universities, about how beneficial this is to kids, and what skills they actually learn by using it. So the real benefits of it won’t be known for some time. That might not really matter though. When it comes down to it, isn’t it enough that it is capable of capturing, and holding, the attention of kids, and inspiring them to create something?

We think so.

This is so easy, we put this silly animation together in 10 minutes, without a clue as to what we were really doing when we started.


Some other parents think so too. This quote was taken from the Scratch Website.

My son is learning more than I can imagine from your tool. He is not a natural logical thinker but loves LEGO. Your LEGO-like building block structure has moved him forward by light-years in his logical thinking skills…He can snap things together and begin to see the logic reinforced by immediate feedback. Of course we work on some things together–instant father and son time. This is just incredible. Just a big thanks to you and MIT.”

Here are some links if you’re interested:

 

Play with Scratch online

Download the Offline version of the software

Info for parents (This link includes instructions for getting started.)

Info for educators

Take the Intimidation Out of Upgrading to WIndows 10 with This Special Offer

Does upgrading your PC to the new version of Windows make you feel a little uneasy? Not sure if your favorite programs are compatible? Not sure how it will affect your PC’s performance? Let Mr. Fix IT manage the upgrade for you. Right now, we are offering a special where you can not only get your PC upgraded to Windows 10, but your PC will also go through our cleaning and tuneup process to put it into optimum operating condition.

The only way to claim this deal is online on West Virginia Radio Corp’s 50/50 Fridays page. Buy the $50 certificate, and after you receive it in the mail, and we are talking snail mail here, simply bring it in with your computer and tell us you want to use it for the Windows 10 Upgrade Special.

 


 

Not sure whether you are ready to upgrade to Windows 10? Here is Microsoft’s

If you want to upgrade to Windows 10 on your PC or tablet, here’s the minimum hardware you’ll need. Read further below to learn about the additional factors that impact upgradeability. For more information about the free upgrade offer1, please visit the Windows 10 Upgrade page for details.

  • Latest OS: Make sure you are running the latest version of either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
  • Processor:1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM:

    1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit

  • Hard disk space:16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card:DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display:800×600

Not sure whether your computer meets those requirements, we can help you figure that out as well.

You can find most of the above information in System Properties. To get to System Properties, click the Start Icon, which is usually found in the tray at the bottom of your screen, and then select “Computer” from the right-hand column above the “Shut Down” option. Then click on “System Properties” which is an option located at the top of the Computer window. Ah heck, that’s confusing. Here it is graphically:

(This is how you do it in Windows 7, if you’re using another operating system it might be slightly different. If you’re using a Mac just click on the Apple and select “About This Mac.” If you’re using Windows 8, you can get instructions for finding your system properties here. )

 

Click on the “Start Menu”

 

Start Menu - Edit

 


 

Click “Computer”

 

Select Computer

 


 

 

Then Click on “System Properties”

System Properties

 

This will open the window and it will show you which operating system you use along with your computer’s specs so you can compare them to the minimum requirements for installing Windows 10.


 

 

This is the Deal You’re Looking For (as of 8-10-15) You will find it on  West Virginia Radio Corp’s 50/50 Fridays page

50-50

Buying Electronics is Not the Best Time to be a Cheapskate

There aren’t too many pieces of advice you will receive in life that will be applicable to your existence until the very day you fall over dead. Among those bits of advice are things like avoiding spitting into the wind, when you’re cooking hamburgers you should only flip the patties one time, and keeping your software updated makes it more difficult for hackers to get into your computer.

Of course, there are hundreds more examples, but the rest of this piece is going to focus on just one other piece of advice that will likely be useful to you until your final days. That advice is as follows:

When buying electronics, any electronics, you should resist the urge to buy the cheaper model, or the offering from the cheap competitor, because ultimately, you’ll just end up wishing you had spent the extra $40-$60 for the better one.

Is this bit of advice true in every instance and every situation? No. Not necessarily, but then neither are any of the other examples I’ve given. There might be a time when you want spit in your face, so in that instance, spitting into the wind is appropriate. While spit it the face isn’t everybody’s thing, we will not judge you if you like it in your face. It’s your life, live it how you see fit.

The same is true with this electronics advice. You can buy the cheapo version of anything you want, and you might even like the cheapo version of whatever category of gadget you’re using, but our experience has pointed toward another protocol entirely.

pennies

Here’s a quick example:

Remember back in the day before smartphones and streaming music when iPods were all the rage for music fans? Sure you do. You probably even had an iPod or two.

When iPod took off, there were dozens of imitators that came out to capitalize on the craze. One of those companies was iRiver. iRiver made similar mp3 players to what Apple was selling. For example, when Apple introduced the Shuffle and the Nano, iRiver had it’s own small devices to compete with them.

When I finally caved in and bought an mp3 player, I went against my better judgment, and bought an iRiver because it was considerably cheaper than the Apple alternative. It wasn’t long, though, that I found out why the iPod was much more expensive than the iRiver.

I’ve been using iTunes to organize my digital music for a LONG time. Looking back at the history of iTunes it was around iTunes v4.1 when I came on board, because that’s when Apple first made the program available to Windows users.

So I already had a collection of music going on iTunes before I bought an iPod. When I bought the iRiver, I had no idea what I had in store for me.

First, iRiver doesn’t work with iTunes. It was also wouldn’t play songs bought through iTunes without doing a lot of work reformatting the files.

Then there was the fact it didn’t give very much information about the songs on the little screen that came on the mp3 player.

Sure, it worked fine, if you had the right format, and didn’t mind not being able to pick the song you wanted to hear, and using something other than iTunes to organize your music.

For me, though, this was way too much to ask. It was a hassle.

After about a month, I broke down and bought an iPod.

The iPod did everything I wanted it to do, and it made me extremely happy. I used it every day.

Ultimately, the iPod cost me nearly twice as much as it should have because I didn’t just go ahead and buy the device that I knew was the better product everybody keeps recommending you get,  as opposed to the one that was recommended to me by one person but much cheaper.

This is true with computers, tablets, and everything else too.

Buy the best device you can afford.

If all you can afford is the iRiver option, then by all means, go with it, and just deal with its inadequacies. If you can afford it, however, go ahead and buy the best, top-of-the-line product you can buy. You’ll usually be happier with it in the long run.

Chances are, that more expensive model will probably even last a little bit longer than the cheaper one will too. Think about it. Remember those cheap desktop computers like eMachines? Great for the budget minded, until you find out it isn’t upgradable, and it will need replaced in two years, whereas the machine that cost $300 more can be upgraded and will probably still be useable in four or five years.

If cost is really an issue, you would probably even be better off buying a used machine or device from one of those gotta-have-the-latest-and-greatest folks, and I’m sure we all know one of them. This way you’re still getting quality products, at a decent price, and you can be fairly sure it’s going to last a while. If it doesn’t last, you can, of course, always bring it here to Mr. Fix IT, and we can fix it. We also buy and sell used phones here. Just sayin’,

 

If you’re thinking about buying some electronics in the near future, feel free to drop us a line via email if you have any questions you need answered, or tweet us @MrFixItWV, and we’ll try to answer as quickly as possible.


What do You Think?

What are your thoughts on buying electronics?

Do you agree you should spend as much as you can afford when buying new machines and gadgets?

How to Use Alt Codes, Tech’s Original Set of Emojis

Sometimes all you need to spice up your punctuation is to add a dash of this or a dash of that, but you have to make sure it’s the right dash if you want things to come out right.

So today’s tip is all about picking the right dash for the right job.

If you aren’t aware, there are two distinct dashes on your keyboard, but unfortunately one of those dashes is hidden and requires a key combination before it will appear.

The En Dash (-) is the same thing as a minus sign or hyphen, so this one is actually several places on the keyboard if you have a number pad on yours.

The Em Dash (—) is essentially a really long hyphen, and despite it’s many great uses, you have to do some keyboard trickery to make it show up.

Some programs, like Microsoft Word, will convert two back-to-back En Dashes into the long Em Dash, but sometimes you don’t have that luxury. In those cases we have to get the Alt key involved.

By holding the Alt key and typing 0151 on the number pad of your keyboard it will make an Em Dash appear. The numbers must be typed using the numeric keypad, and not the numbers above the QWERTY row of keys, otherwise it will not work.

This isn’t the only symbol that can be made from using Alt Codes. There are tons of them, as is evident on this handy dandy little pdf of Alt Code examples.

AltCodes

Why would you ever use the Em Dash?

Well, if you’re a stickler for things like punctuation, it’s the Em Dash that most expect to see when separating two independent clauses in a sentence, or when you want to set something apart from the rest of the sentence.

  • Well, I passed the test—granted, I cheated—but I passed!
  • Abby gave me a terrible haircut—and she expected a tip!

On a personal level, I just like the Em Dash because of its length, and the fact that it really stands out when you use it because 90% of the time, we only see the hyphen used for every situation.

So there you go. Spice things up with the Em Dash, or just use the pdf of Alt Codes to play around with expressing yourself through symbols the way things were done before the advent of the emoji.

Take the Painful Boredom Out of Installing Your Favorite Apps on a New Computer

While the process of loading everything you need onto a new computer has gotten much easier over the years thanks to the cloud, but let’s be honest here, getting a new computer can still be a major pain in the behind.

The biggest pain is getting all of the right programs onto the new machine. It seemingly takes forever to go from one site to another downloading all of the right plug-ins, applications, and other information. Then if you don’t use a service like Dropbox to store all of your work files online, and you still have 80 GB of Word files and Photoshop images on your old hard drive, you’re going to spend a ton of time just moving those files from place to place.

There is one way to simplify some of this process, and the solution is so simple, it’s one of those things you’re going to add to the I-wish-I-thought-of-it-first folder.

Install-Shot

Ninite.com has nearly all of the essential applications you likely run, all conveniently located in one place, where all you have to do is check a box on the apps you want to download and install, and then hit the button. It might not be a true one-click installer, but it’s not much more complicated than that.

It’s essentially three steps…

programs-to-download

 

You don’t even have to worry about getting duped into adding a spyware toolbar to your web browser, or changing your browser homepage to some spam site, nope. When Ninite installs the applications on your computer it automatically declines acceptance of such add-ons, so it takes care of that part for you.

It really doesn’t get much easier than this to install a lot of things at once.

Check out Ninite for yourself at www.Ninite.com