The Hard Drive Bottleneck and how to make it better.

In todays computers everything has gotten so much faster, even hard drives are faster, but not as much as most other things.  SSD is a great solution if you have the money to spend on it and you are willing to deal with small sized prime drives.

I have been noticing recently that after a boot up my HDD is busy 100% of the time for up to an hour, this is a huge amount.  It is not really reading or writing data that much, just checking small things.   For my home computer the bottleneck is the Hard Drive BY FAR.  I only get a 5.9 HDD rating while all of my other stats are in the mid 7 range when I use the Windows Experience Index.

I know that the HDD is the bottleneck in my system and I do have 2 hard drives so first I moved the page file to the G drive.  Also made sure torrent folders were on the G drive.  This makes all of these commonly accessed files not detract from the drive that the OS is on.  Even with this booting up was super slow.  So I cleaned up the startup.  I usually do this once every few months but the problem was still there.   The best tool to clean up the start up is Autoruns, it gives you a list of the various programs and files that are loaded on startup, you uncheck them and they are gone instantly.  Very cool.  After getting rid of many things my system was still slow.  

Many companies like to pass the blame and make their program seem faster by loading their program when you turn on your computer, so when you want to use their program it is already loaded.  I don’t mind this IF I have enough RAM and IF they wait to load until your system is idle.  BUT almost no programs do that so they bog down your system and load tons of data that is not even currently needed.  What is worse is that they all do it at once, and your hard drive is bogged down at 100% for a long time.  I especially hate the programs that check for updates or ask to install updates at boot time.   When your computer takes 5 minutes to load people blame Microsoft, they don’t blame the real programs that are causing it.  A few year ago Microsoft tried to crack down on this activity but it did not take too long for companies to figure it out.    In my years of fixing computers some of the WORST programs that do this are: Any Adobe Product, Java Updater, Most HP software, Most Apple Products (Then Apple shows people how slow windows is).   Then there are other programs that you want to run some time near startup, you just need to watch them.  This includes: Printer Applications (For heavens sake if you get rid of the printer get rid of its software), Side Bar, Messenger Software.  These programs you would want to simply delay by a minute or two so that you are free to use your system sooner.  A good tool for this is LaunchLater.

So I loaded up another awesome free tool called Process Explorer, this tool lets you see what is going on with every program running on your computer.  I added columns for I/O Reads and I/O Writes, these are the ones that show you the number of actions that programs do on your hard drives.  After only having booted up the system 10 minutes before I was shocked that Steam had done 70,000 reads and over 270,000 writes.   This was about 60% of all the reads that my entire system did and about 80% of all of the writes.  It was not doing updates or anything, it just always did this I guess.  I told to not run on startup and then I fully exited the program, and instantly my system was fast again, rebooted and the speed was back.

I did notice that Google Chrome was also doing a lot of reads and writes but only after I loaded it.  The other program doing a lot of reads was Mesh, but this program is awesome and I will be writing a full blog on it in a few days.

If your computer is going slow then follow these steps.   This is the heart of the “Tune-up” that we do at Emerald Computers, we do these many times per week and charge $75 most of the time.  A Tune-up has a few other things in it also, I will save that for later.

Do you know any good Republicans who want to make a difference?

Step up and Run for Office!

Did you know that there are 16 Seats for the house and Senate that there is not even a Republican running for here in Arizona.  Out of 90 over 60 are already Republican and we could take a few more away if people ran.

The good news is that there is still time for some good people to step up and fill these spots.  All they need to do is fill out a simple form and they will be a write in candidate.  Once they hold the August primary election they will be the Republican Candidate because no one else is running.  Then they will be on the November ballot for the General Election.  All 16 of these seats are in areas that have more Democrats than Republicans, but this year the Democrat base is discouraged and the Republican base is energized and will vote to make sure Obama does not get back into the White House.  this will give a 10-15% boost to Republican Candidates.

If the area you live in is currently full it is too late to run, but PLEASE do step 1 2 and 5 below to become active in the party.

People Currently Running.

There are two openings for the house in each area and two for the senate. Go to the Sec of State Office website for full listing.  CLICK HERE   If you run, even if you don’t win you will have a chance to get your views out and to give Republican voters a real choice in the election.  It is so discouraging as a republican to go to the polls and not be able to vote on an important position.

Map of LD’s

You will need to know where you live to see if you, or someone you know lives in an area that has an open seat. These are the updated Maps.
CLICK HERE FOR MAPS (Look at LD Maps not CD ones)

 

Now lets get started…

  • Step 1 Register as Republican if not already, go to servicearizona.com to do it.
  • Step 2 Fill out this form to be a Precinct Committeeman. DOWNLOAD FORM HERE, Print, Notarize, then send to Maricopa County. This is ONLY the form for Maricop County.  This form is due on June 13th at 5PM.  You don’t NEED to be a PC but it is HIGHLY suggested.  After June 13th you can not be an elected PC anymore but you can be an appointed one.  To be appointed you must contact your LD Chairman.  An appointed PC does not get a vote at the meetings in January and can not be a State Committeeman, but is the same otherwise.
  • Step 3 Fill out this form for write in candidate. CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION  According to the Sec of State Website the deadline is July 19, 2012 to file, but I would suggest that you file ASAP.  You will also need to open a Campaign Committee to file your finance records, this is rather simple and is free, like everything else.
  • Step 4 Go to county recorder and file forms and create campaign, they will also give you a quick walk-through of what is needed to do everything correctly.
  • Step 5 Call the AZGOP office at 602-957-7770 and ask for the information about the leader of your district, they will give you their phone number if they have it.  Call this person and then ask about when and where they meet.  Also ask them for help in running.  They will let you speak during these meetings to get more help.
  • Step 6 Start Running for Office, decide on where you stand on all the issues, educate yourself, talk to people in your district, talk to other leaders, make a website (I can help you with that if you call me at 602-579-4919), make a press release to the media (The more local the more likely they will publish it)
  • Step 7 Raise Money.  You have two choices, either you can run “Traditional” which means that you can use your own money and family money in unlimited amounts and you can get donations up to $420 or so from Citizens to help you run.  You also can try for “Clean Elections” funds, if you choose this you need to get 200 different people to give you $5 each and fill out a form, once you do that you will receive about $13,000 or so State Government.  You can not use your own money or get donations over $5 per person.  In both cases you will need to track and document every penny that you spend.
  • Step 8 Win the Primary and keep running
  • Step 9 Win the General Election
  • Step 10 Take office and start making a difference, defending freedom and making our state better.

Good luck.  I already have one person who wants to run in LD19.  In case you were wondering in 2010 Don Shooter of Yuma followed this exact path to make is way to the state Senate, and now he is running for Re-Election.

If this page inspires you to run please call me at 602-579-4919 or add Jason Dragon on Facebook, I would like to know if this helps anyone.

Arizona Statute of Limitations on Credit Card Debt

Many people have been asking me recently about Credit Card debt and the statute of limitations on it.  This the the amount of time that a bank can used the legal system and sue a customer to collect a debt.  After this time they can only ask but not use the legal system.  It is a complex issue here in Arizona because for many years it has always been Three years but recently things have changed the Arizona State Legislature created a bill, HB2412 to make it 6 years.  It passed on April 11th 2011.  But this bill was so short and so poorly written that it caused a huge amount of lawsuits and problems for the People of Arizona.

This is why…  There is a Federal law that defines all credit cards as “Open Accounts”.

Open-ended Accounts: These are revolving lines of credit with varying balances. The best example is a credit card account. Please note: a credit card is ALWAYS an open account. This is established under the Truth-in-Lending Act:
TITLE 15 > CHAPTER 41 > SUBCHAPTER I > Part A > § 1602
§ 1602. Definitions and rules of construction(i) The term “open end credit plan” means a plan under which the creditor reasonably contemplates repeated transactions, which prescribes the terms of such transactions, and which provides for a finance charge which may be computed from time to time on the outstanding unpaid balance. A credit plan which is an open end credit plan within the meaning of the preceding sentence is an open end credit plan even if credit information is verified from time to time.

And there is STILL on the books this ARS which defines all Open accounts as having a 3 years Statute of Limitations.

ARS 12-543. Oral debt; stated or open account; relief on ground of fraud or mistake; three year limitation

There shall be commenced and prosecuted within three years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, the following actions:

1. For debt where the indebtedness is not evidenced by a contract in writing.

2. Upon stated or open accounts other than such mutual and current accounts as concern the trade of merchandise between merchant and merchant, their factors or agents, but no item of a stated or open account shall be barred so long as any item thereof has been incurred within three years immediately prior to the bringing of an action thereon.

3. For relief on the ground of fraud or mistake, which cause of action shall not be deemed to have accrued until the discovery by the aggrieved party of the facts constituting the fraud or mistake.

So if you take both of those together, it would seem that it is still 3 years.  But with the bill passed in April 2011 they only edited ARS 12-548 to read…

ARS 12-548. Contract in writing for debt; six year limitation; choice of law

A. An action for debt shall be commenced and prosecuted within six years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, if the indebtedness is evidenced by or founded on either of the following:

1. A contract in writing that is executed in this state.

2. A credit card as defined in section 13-2101, paragraph 3, subdivision (a).

B. If there is a conflict between another jurisdiction and this state relating to the statute of limitations for a debt action as described in subsection A of this section, this section applies.

So the ARS now has conflict within it.  There is also nothing in the bill to “Grandfather” credit card debt that was already out of SOL but now is back within it.  So these questions, as most do, found their way to court and the Judges have decided to lean in the favor of the banks for the most part.  So now people who have old debt are now being made to pay, which will result in more Arizona bankruptcies, and more money leaving our state.  It would have been really nice if the above bill made things crystal clear by REMOVING the part in 12-543 about open accounts, but they did not.

IMHO I think that the limit on Credit card debt should be 3 years because if the bank can’t get their act together in 3 full years people should be free from the worry of the unknown so they can move on a rebuild this economy.

So now people can’t move on, and people are getting aggressive collectors calling them.  And our legal system is filling up with cases that were previously long dead.   This is a great example of a simple rule change that has huge unintended consequences.

As I have been getting into the ARS more and more I have noticed so many conflicts within it where two different things are said in two different ways in two different areas but they both affect the same thing and make it confusing for citizens, and a mess in a legal system.  There is nothing that can be done to these messes with out an act of the Legislature.   It is probably too late in 2012 to do anything about this but there is always 2013.

 

Paypal security

As a business I have a credit card processing account, but if someone wants to process an order over the phone or internet I don’t use my account, I have them send it with PayPal.  I do this for many reasons.

First PayPal has built the most secure system for processing credit cards, if it is Fraud, usually the bad guy will give up once you mention PayPal so it saves a lot of time.  This has save me countless hours of dealing with scammers.

Next, I don’t want to be responsible for having the clients information, with PayPal they never need to tell me anything.

PayPal is the only safe way to take international credit cards.  With PayPal they will be much more fair about a charge back than a foreign bank will be with an American company.

Another reason that this is ok is because PayPal charges 2.9% and my normal company charges 2.8% so the cost is not much more, and well worth it.

There is a small downside to PayPal and that is that sometimes they will favor, unfairly to buyer if there is a dispute, but if you are a good company you should never have those anyway.

You likely have a PayPal account but if not you can CLICK HERE to make one and it will help support my blog also.

 

 

 

Scammers just don’t get it…

Well today I received another check in the mail from what I thought was a scammer.  They did the classic over pay scam.  Basically they emailed my company, asking if we could reload windows and office on 10 laptops.  They never said where they were from but that they would send us a check and send us the broken laptops to fix.  Simply because their email was, bi.courtney97@gmail.com, not at any company I already had a red flag, this “Courtney Badgett” was using a free email account that can be created with no ID verification.  Red Flag 2 was that there was just plain text in the email most companies have a footer, at least these scammers could speak fluent English which is not really too common among scammers.  (If you ever see the word “Kindly” just run, this is a word that all the English as a second language schools teach people but real speakers almost never use.)

It started simply enough

Hi,
Are you capable of repairing laptops in bulk? Let me know.
Thanks

Of course I said yes.  “She” then sent a list of what needed to be done and asked how much.  Then after a day I received this email.

Hi,
Thanks for the information. I’ll have the laptops brought out and ready to be shipped to you, and will have my secretary prepare your check as soon as possible.
Thanks.

Not bad, I thought to myself “I will believe it when I see it.”

Then today I received the check. (Click on it to see it in high res)  The paper was simple and plain and the signature was a stamp, did not really look too secure.  Also the check that I asked for was just $750, this check was for about 3 times that amount.

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I looked up the routing number, and it really was for Chase.  I also called the company listed on the check, VertiFX Technology, but I got the run around there.  Tracked the package to find the origin, here is what I got.

Phoenix, AZ, United States 12/21/2011 12:51 P.M. Delivered
12/21/2011 10:01 A.M. Destination Scan
12/21/2011 7:17 A.M. Out For Delivery
12/21/2011 6:44 A.M. Adverse weather conditions.
12/21/2011 6:40 A.M. Arrival Scan
12/21/2011 4:17 A.M. Late airplane.
Louisville, KY, United States 12/21/2011 4:52 A.M. Departure Scan
12/21/2011 1:59 A.M. Arrival Scan
DFW Airport, TX, United States 12/20/2011 10:38 P.M. Departure Scan
12/20/2011 9:21 P.M. Arrival Scan
Fort Worth, TX, United States 12/20/2011 8:30 P.M. Departure Scan
12/20/2011 7:57 P.M. Pickup Scan
United States 12/20/2011 6:55 A.M. Order Processed: Ready for UPS

 

So the check for a California company came from Texas.  Very interesting. So I was 95% sure now that the check was a fraud.  I happen to have a Chase branch about a quarter mile from our office so I decided to go there and visit them.  Just as I suspected the account was closed recently, they would not say why but they decided that they would keep the check.  So it was all over….or was it….just an hour ago I got this email.

Hello Jason,
I just tracked the check, and it shows that it has been delivered to you today. I already got in touch with the movers today, and I need to pay them upfront for them to ship the laptops to your place, pick-up some other equipments for the office, and pick-up the laptops when you’re done, and that’s the reason for the extra cash on the check. So I need you to cash the check, deduct your repair fees,and go to a Western Union location to send the balance to the movers. Once they have it, the laptops will be delivered to your place to begin the repairs.
Send the balance to the information below:

Name:    Barry  S. Glick
Address:  6801 Otto Rd
City :       Glendale
State:      NY 11385

Deduct the sending fee from the balance and send the remaining to the information above. Get back to me as soon as possible with the Money Tracking Control Number (MTCN), and payment details (sender’s/receiver’s information) , as you have it on the receipt (I’ll appreciate it if you can scan the receipt to me).
Let me know.
Thanks.

So I replied,

I took the check to the bank and they said that it was bad.   Please just send me my amount by western union also.  That would work good.  They kept the check.

That was it.  I doubt I will hear back, but I wanted to blog about it so that Google will find these names and accounts and be able to help out others in the future.  Also I am thinking of calling Barry Glick, I bet he does not even know that he is part of a scam, I bet he is told to just go get money and keep 10% for his trouble and forward the rest, it is the way that these people keep out of trouble.  Other times they would tell the Barry guy to just use the money to buy stuff for them online, that way they get free stuff.  Lots of scams out there, so keep your eyes out.  So far they have tried it on me about 20 times, and I have not fallen for it yet.  Kind of a fun game really.

 

A Month into our new business..here is what I am thinking.

Well our new computer store is now a month old.  It has been a crazy month, lots of hours worked, and lots to do to set everything up.  Everyday we are still setting up a major part of the business.  The website is mostly done, the marketing is done, just finished training two techs on how to do things the “Emerald” way.  We got networking done last week along with setting up the reception area and my wife’s office, and this week we put art on the walls.  All this while making enough money to keep all the bills paid.

Building a quality infrastructure is important, having all the tools in the right place and working correctly will result in massive amounts of efficiency later on in the process.  One major tool that has been lacking is my old Aztek SUV…yes it still gets us from one place to another, but there are many problems so I am thinking of upgrading.  The next piece to the puzzle is to hire and build up our sales force, at this time it is just me doing sales and that is not enough because I have so much else to do.

I am still hopeful, I just need to get the thing put together right so that we can go to the next level.

Do you know what a Balikbayan Box is?

Do you want to do something good for someone today?  Let me tell you about how you can help.  First let me tell you a story.

For many different reasons the Philippines, is very poor in general.  It is a country of over 80 million people, in an area smaller than the state of Arizona.  About 2-3% of the people are what you would call rich, and another 10% or so would be middle class, leaving over 85% that are poor.  It is not the type of poor that we see here in the US, this is real poverty.  Not knowing where your next meal will come from, not owning any new clothes.  Less than 10% of the population owns a car, only about 20% own a computer.  Millions live in large “squatter” towns which are little more that lumber and some tarps.  Families of 8 or more live in 200 square foot cement shells with a tin roof, and they feel luck to have that.

In most countries people go to school and get educated so that they can do better for their nation, but in the Philippines people go to school so that they can leave and lead a better life in other countries.  Over 4 million people, born in the Philippines, now live and work in the US (Read the source), of these over 80% have become US Citizens.  Across the globe over 20M have left.  But the Filipinos are very hard workers, you need to be just to survive there.  So in the US they are one of the richest groups of immigrants.  Because so many Filipinos earn large amounts of money, and they want to support their families back home they send record amounts of money back home.  The Philippines receives the 4th largest total amount of money, from friends and family abroad.  In 2010 it was 21.3 Billion Dollars, contributing 13.2% of their 161.2 Billion Dollar GDP.

In addition to money they send things.  There are companies all over the world that take boxes, load them on pallets, then load then on cargo containers and ship them to the Philippines where they deliver them directly to the receiver.  These are called Balikbayan boxes.  (The word is Tagalog for “Return Home”.)  These boxes are a blessing to these people who just can’t get ahead in life.  They usually are about 6 cubic feet and can be an unlimited weight, and door to door is about $75, but it takes about 6 weeks.  We like to include clothes, shoes, shampoo and soap, candy, school supplies and such.  Many of these things can be bought on sale here in the US for very cheap, our current box has over $900 worth of stuff, but because most was bought on major clearance sales or back to school sales, or using extreme couponing, we have only spent about $220.

If you would like to help some very deserving people in the Philippines have the basics to live then please consider helping me send more boxes.  We already have one box paid for and almost ready to go, but we would like to send a second box.  I am asking my social networking extended family to help us provide more by donating to us on paypal. Just click here and donate any amount you would like.   The main family we are helping this year lives in a 12×12 foot slat wood “house”, which used to be a chicken coop, with 2 adults and 7 kids, they have a small tin roof that has large holes, and they don’t have very much when it comes to clothes, furniture or anything else.  Because the walls are just slats of wood they have no privacy, and they put up a few sheets to try to gain some.  For each $200 we receive we will send one box.  I know that a lot of my friends could easily send $10 or $20 to help out.

If you donate to me to help send these boxes it is NOT tax deductible.  If you would like to directly send money to help out people in the Philippines and you would like it to be tax deductible please donate to Extreme Mercy International.  Matthew, the one who runs it is a friend, heck I even built their blog/website.  They do a radio show and have an outreach Refuge Youth Center where they hold church services.  You even can set up automatic monthly payments.

Don’t make the geeks mad!

The world is moving to the internet, and more and more people research things before they plan to spend money. The smart company manages their online presence with a good website, SEO, and they ask clients who are happy to leave positive feedback for them on one of the many sites that have been created to rate companies.

Most of these sites really use this as a way to find companies to sell advertising to but that is a whole different blog. I have been helping a few companies get online recently. Last month I helped a company with a fairly negative review history to create a new blog, website and then create profiles on many of these pages. I then created a page that he can send happy clients to so that they can review him. It makes the world better, he will feel more responsible to make people happy, and these happy clients will send more clients to him to make him more successful. Everyone is happy. He now gets a client or so per week from the web.

The odd thing is that many of these businesses have little or no knowledge of these online boards, that vast majority of business owners are oblivious, and sometimes it is really to their determent. I have seen time and time again companies that have a large number of negative reviews, often right on Google maps (The number one way people find you). A business may see 100 clients in a day but many of them won’t even receive 10 reviews in a year, and when 8 of them come from ANGRY and RANTING clients, that business will see very little traffic from people who research online.

Being a geek and knowing the power of this, I know that you NEVER want to make a geek mad at your business. One good geek can really hurt your online presence, a few and you are dead online. Geeks know this, and sometimes they even use to to hurt your business if you are their competition.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo9mCS9H9Lo
This computer repair guy really must have made someone mad, he has pages full of bad reviews about his company. Click HERE to see for yourself.

Also see MY PAGE.  I had one fake, negative review, so I asked my Facebook friends who were clients in the past to post an honest review for my company.  Look at the results.

 

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold – Wow that was cool.

I really like the way that Morgan Spurlock thinks. He has created a movie about advertising and product placement, and pays for the movie by going out and getting more product placements than any movie in history. He gets free drinks, free cars, free shoes, free flights, free hotel rooms and millions of dollars given to him to make this movie. It is really awesome as he debates if he really is a sell out, and decided that he is, then he embraces it. If you have not seen this movie, and you are at all interested in advertising or business I would suggest it.

Here is the trailer. httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4Ng2P3zxfM

One very interesting concept that I liked from the movie is the idea that Fame and Credibility are linked. “In the world we live in you can not be credible unless you are visible.” This is a very interesting concept. This is why people tout how many followers they have, or max out their friends on facebook.

How to communicate in this modern age.

There is one major thing that I see so many businesses doing wrong, and that is their failure to communicate correctly. So many companies send out a message but they never ensure that it is received. Then they flip out when you are not aware of their message that they did not properly communicate. When I was in college I learned that communication is defined as this…

Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the message of the sender.

The last part is the most important. First you need to make sure that the receiver has received the message and understood it. The problem is that people are flooded with messages. Over 100 billion emails are sent world wide each day. I get 100’s of texts per day, I get a pile of snail mail every day except sunday. Email is the worst though, I get over 1000 per day, but and those are sorted to over 50 different folders, and about 800 or so of them are detected as spam and sent to a spam folder. What makes me really unhappy is when someone emails me once or twice, and then a day or two later calls me and is totally mad me because of their lack of communication. When a message is urgent it is the responsibility of the SENDER and not the RECEIVER to make sure that message is delivered.

Businesses send out urgent notices, bills and much more over email, and they assume they are delivered. My web-host is really bad at this…when they see a problem with my account they email me and then disconnect my account like 10 minutes later, usually because some database locked up or something stupid like that, they don’t bother calling or texting or anything like that. They wait for me to have a customer call me and tell me that it is down, usually after I have lost 100’s of hits and client confidence. It really urks me. Because of facebook and texting many people are using email less for important things and they check it less often. So if you are waiting for an important message to be received please simply pick up the phone and tell them that you sent an important message and if they received it and never assume that they received it until you hear a reply. BTW if you are still in the stone age and use faxes this applies even more to you.