ios updateThere have been numerous issues associated with the new iOS 9.3 update, as referenced here by GottaBeMobile and TechRadar. For some users, even iPhone 6, the phone requires them to log in with their apple ID but results in an error that says verification failed because it cannot connect to the iCloud server. Furthermore, in iCloud settings all options are greyed out except “sign out” but that results in a similar error. Some users are reporting that the only way around the problem is a restore. Before you decide that your device is “bricked” and you erase and restore, try checking to see if location services is turned off. It can end up in an off state even if it was turned on when you began the update thus resulting in this confusing and frustrating error.

I hope this easy solution worked for you, but this problem is one where there are numerous solutions depending upon your exact situation. Here are a few other websites that offer some help for the same issue:

iOS 9.3 Activation Error During Update, How-To Fix



Outstanding Home Office All-In-One Printer

Epson WF-4630

Epson WF-4630

Wading through all of the printers on the market can make finding a great printer difficult. Even more so, perhaps, when you need one for the home office. Home office printers typically need to produce better quality and higher output than a printer for a typical home user.  In my opinion, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 is an outstanding All-In-One option for the home office.  It retails for approximately $199. The specifications from the Epson website are listed below, but I especially like the print quality and the relatively low printing cost.  Additionally, the WiFi Direct printing for tablets and smartphones actually works, which is not always the case with printers who claim this feature. The rear tray can easily handle photo paper and high-quality envelope paper without jamming. Scanning preset options make scanning to the computer more efficient. Lastly, I love the “intuitive” nature of the printer. If the paper size or type for your print job is different than what is loaded or expected by the printer you will be prompted on the screen with a question on how to handle it rather than having to start the print job over.

  • Get Performance Beyond Laser — the WorkForce Pro WF-4630, powered by PrecisionCore
  • Print-shop quality — print documents and graphics in high resolution with precise dot placement
  • Save on ink — 50 percent lower printing cost vs. color laser1
  • Wireless and Wi-Fi Direct® 4 — print from iPad®, iPhone®, tablets and smartphones2
  • Fast printing — professional-quality prints at speeds of 20 ISO ppm (black) and 20 ISO ppm (color)† 5
  • Versatile paper handling — 330-sheet capacity, with an 80-sheet rear tray; plus auto 2-sided print, copy, scan and fax
  • Easy navigation and control — intuitive 3.5″ color touchscreen
  • Remarkable durability — 30,000-page monthly duty cycle for high-volume printing3
  • Extremely durable prints — smudge, fade and water resistant prints
  • Laser-sharp black and color text — crisp fonts and precise lines on plain paper

To get an idea of the ink cost for this printer, follow the Amazon link below:

Epson T786120 DURABrite Standard Capacity Cartridge



4 best cheap cameras 2015 from TechRadar

Several parents I was with for prom pictures were disappointed with what they were getting with their iPhones because of lighting and other issues. Here is a 2015 list of the best inexpensive digital cameras when you don’t want to spend a lot because you don’t need one that often. The results will be better than an iPhone or other smart-phone camera. 

4 best cheap cameras 2015: from TechRadar 


Ransomware Isn’t Going Away Any Time Soon

The importance of keeping your data safely backed up cannot be stressed enough. We address this issue directly in this post “Frustration And Heartbreak”. But, even the most diligent user who meticulously keeps their data backed up on an external usb device would probably still lose it in a ransomware attack because of the way the malware attacks all connected drives. Cryptolocker and Cryptowall are some of the worst in the ransomware family of malware.  Victims of ransomware are presented with a message on the screen that their data has been encrypted. The message goes on to give them a certain amount of time to pay a certain price for the decryption key to free their data from encryption. The dollar amounts and success rates vary significantly. What happens next is as varied as the different ransomware infections. Some people are scammed out of their money and others actually do get a good decryption key. For the majority of ransomware infections, there is very little your tech expert is going to be able to do to save the current installation of your computer. Usually, a reimaging or reinstallation of the operating system is required. However, there are some “fakes” out there that are actually pretty easy to remove – one was mentioned in a previous post. So, always call your tech expert for a diagnosis first. In order to protect yourself from ransomware make sure you have a best-in-class antivirus product and that its remains updated with the latest virus definitions.  And remember, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from all online threats is to have a healthy skepticism about anything you are presented within an email or on a web page.

Update: there is now a Ransomware Decryptor available from Kaspersky that will work on some types of ransomware.  They also provide step-by-step removal instructions.

Another step you can take to protect your data is to use an online backup service like Carbonite, for which we are a reseller. Even if your backup runs continuously and Carbonite has backed up some of the encrypted files, Carbonite online backup service maintains the previous backup data for a generous amount of time (it varies for home or business versions). So, in most cases of ransomware attacks, you will still be able to get your data back if you have Carbonite. If you purchase it through The Computer Monkey, you receive free installation and backup restoration assistance. As always be careful where you click and arm yourself against ransomware and its destruction of data. Malware experts predict that the rates of “infection” will only increase as more and more criminals jump on the ransomware bandwagon.


Powerline Adapters example from manufacturer

Powerline Adapters example from manufacturer

Wireless technology has improved dramatically in the last few years. Laptops have pretty much always come with wireless adapters, but now many desktops come with a wireless capability as well. Initial wireless technology wouldn’t provide the performance needed for a desktop computer but that isn’t the case anymore. For gaming, streaming and other bandwidth intensive tasks, however, a wired connection is more desireable. With smart TV’s and internet ready Blu-ray/DVD players, a wired connection will provide significantly better performance, especially for streaming in high-definition. There is one problem people often experience. They do not have a wired ethernet port available in the room where they now desire a wired connection because unless their home has been specifically wired for it, the only ethernet ports available are in the room where the router is. For this problem, a powerline network adapter might be the solution.

Powerline adapters allow your network signal to travel through the electrical lines in your home. See the video below from TP-Link a manufacturer of powerline adapters.

Most powerline adapter kits come with 2 adapters and 2 ethernet cables. Add-on components are available from most manufacturers if you would like to add more connections. The one unknown when considering powerline adapters is whether the connection will work in your home. Your home’s unique circuitry layout and circuit breakers can affect the ability for the adapters to make a connection. For this reason, always make sure you are able to return the product for a full refund if it doesn’t work. Most of the time it does, so don’t let that discourage you. Additionally, the age of the home can be a factor because you must have 3-pronged outlets.

Powerline adapter technology has grown and improved significantly in the last few years. To get the best performance make sure you choose a powerline adapter that has gigabit ethernet ports. Here are some highly-rated options from different manufacturers. These options are for the kits referenced above. The kits come with easy-to-follow instructions to make setup quick and easy even for novice users.

ZyXEL PLA5215 Amazon     Newegg

TRENDnet TPL-408E2K:  Amazon     Newegg

TP-LINK TL-PA6010:  Amazon     Neweg


Office 2013 Quick Start Guides

If you are familiar with Microsoft office products but need a little help adjusting to the 2013 versions, Microsoft has produced these free Quick Start Guides to help you make the transition (or see if you might want to).  There is a separate guide for the following products: Word, Excel, Publisher, Outlook, Access, PowerPoint, Visio, One Note, and Project.  Each is a multi-page .pdf file that you can download and save for future reference.

Office 2013 Quick Start Guides


Stay Safe, Keep Browser Add-ins Up-To-Date

In the article, Java Is The Biggest Vulnerability for US Computers at, Maria Korolov shares how the threat isn’t necessarily due to the browser add-in application itself, but that users are not keeping add-ins like Java up-to-date.  Browser add-ins like Java, Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Reader are necessary for many of the functions users want when using the internet.  These applications can make users vulnerable to cyber threats in a couple of ways.  First, if the application itself has a security flaw that criminals can use to gain access to their computer.  The second threat isn’t directly from the application itself but from fake update prompts that lead the user to malware infection.

In order to protect yourself you need to keep these and other similar applications up-to-date.  But, you should be cautious when clicking on a pop-up that claims to be an update.  The best way to avoid a fake update is by going directly to the application’s website.  Searching for the product using Google (or another search engine) can still lead you in the wrong direction if you do not read the link web address carefully.  I just did a search for “Java update” and at the top of the search were two ads: one was linked to where I could download Java but by doing so I would have been susceptible to allowing other programs to be installed as well, one of which was Conduit, a known malware I have had to remove for users many times.  There is a disclaimer on the page: “The download manager might recommend you to install the InternetHelper Toolbar (powered by Conduit/Bing). You can decline to install it.”  But why download it on that site and run the risk failing to decline malware.  The second choice was which offered an old version of Java and an “additional software” disclaimer that was at the bottom of the page in fine print.  Find out more about  PUP’s (Potentially Unwanted Programs) in a blog post from Emsisoft called Top 10 Ways PUPs Sneak Onto Your Computer. And How To Avoid Them.

To help you avoid these kinds of scams the links below will take you to legitimate websites for these add-in products.  To save time for future updates, add them to your bookmarks/favorites list (How to: in Chrome  or Internet Explorer) or add a shortcut to your desktop.  Doing so will make updating a lot easier which will help you stay safer and up-to-date because you will be more likely to do it more often.  Remember the companies that offer these add-ins for free will often package other software or toolbars with their products in exchange for advertising revenue.  While these items are not considered malware, many users do not want them so read carefully and uncheck the box if you do not want the tool bar or other product they are offering.

Java Update link
Adobe Reader Update link
Adobe Flash Player Update link




A great resource for Apple ID information from @erikeckel at @TechRepublic.  Your Apple ID controls much more than your iTunes account.

Get the answers concerning common questions about Apple IDs – TechRepublic.


Tips for Safe Holiday Online Shopping

Be safe from scams, fraud and malware by following these tips from @BusinessWire and Dell SecureWorks @dellsecureworks  for safe internet browsing or shopping on Cyber Monday or any day of the year.

Tips for Safe Holiday Online Shopping from Dell SecureWorks | Business Wire.


Kim Komando gives a breakdown of the various scams out there:

If you have money, valuables or even just good credit, you can bet that lots of crooks would love nothing more than to steal it right out of your hands. Thieves and scammers have been around since the beginning of time, but these days, their tools are more sophisticated than ever. The scammers literally have hundreds of ways to trick you online and offline, but there are three scams that scammers love the most.

via 3 scams that can fool anybody | One Page |