Ask-A-Techie, Where you can have all of your questions answered.
I've been hearing about viruses that attack smartphones. Is this just scary digital campfire stories, or do I have something to actually worry about with all the things I do on my phone?
I have an old HP scanner/fax/printer. I recently heard that my printer can store your personal info inside somewhere and you should remove it before getting rid of it? I called HP and they said they don’t think that it could store anything. I want to believe them, but I also want to be sure. Help! – Jane
Being bored and an insomniac, I happened to come across a late-night commercial for a service called Carbonite. It claims to automatically back up all my data so if something happens (or as they say "Before disaster strikes") my data is all protected. I just can't really get my mind around what the service is. I have a few gigabytes of photos and documents stored on my PC and I am worried that it will die on me one day and I will be left without copies. Should I use this service? Will disaster strike me? Did I leave the oven on? Why is the number 42 important? The suspense is killing me!
— Freaked out non-geek
I just bought a new PC to replace my old machine, unfortunately, iTunes has none of my music on it. I've downloaded hundreds of dollars worth of music through the program, but I can't get it to open. What do I do?
Do you recognize any of the above? If so, you may be part of a dying breed. Video games of yore used to be loaded with various hidden functions, known as cheat codes, which allowed the player power and flexibility which is near-unheard of in modern games. Enter the right combinations of buttons at the right time, and you could find your character loaded with all the items the game has to offer, able to walk through walls or invincible. Enter the wrong one and you could find yourself vulnerable to all sorts of digitized nastiness, or in some cases, turned into a chicken. Game designers started programming in cheat codes to allow them to better check over the features of the game during development (like the first code listed, the famous Konami code). As time went on, developers and programmers added codes which didn’t change the game itself, but changed textures, and the visual effects of the game, or just codes which insulted the player. This provided methods for the unsung heroes of the games, the coders, to reach out and interact directly with the people playing their games through hidden features and codes. There were websites and even print magazines devoted to revealing the latest codes for the newest games. Over the past decade however, the cheat code has faded into history.
A message popped up on my screen that said "Delayed Write Failed" to my USB drive. What does that mean and what should I do?