Jan 122014
 

ronnie_thumbThis is a rather straightforward question all of us are asked. And most of us can give a quick and accurate answer, something like “our address is 3240 Maple Leaf Lane.” Obviously, this question and answer refers to our home or business address.House

Now, what if you were asked: “what is your home Internet address?” Some might reply: “do you mean my email address?” But what if the reply was: “no, the address of your home computer on the Internet.” I can confidently tell you that 99.9% of everyone you know would reply “I have no clue, I didn’t even know that my home computer had an address.”

Guess what, it does! It’s something like “074.125.239.091”. I’m going to keep the explanation simple, because there is a little bit more to it than that, and because anyone who has a router at home actually has two addresses (one to the outside world and one inside the house). The example given above is an “outside to the world” address belonging to Google. You have an address at home that is just like Google’s address above.  It’s just four different sets of three numbers. This address is known to tech pros as IPv4 address. That stands for “Internet Protocol Version 4.”

The good news is that you don’t need to know what your address is because your computer equipment handles that for you. However, sometimes we computer techs do need to know in order to troubleshoot a problem or install a new piece of equipment for you.

Earth ConnectedIPv4 allows for about 4 Billion unique addresses. This is the number of different combinations available using 4 sets of 3 numbers. When the folks who invented IPv4 decided on that number, they thought “4 Billion addresses, how will we ever need more than that?”

Ah, but that was before everyone had a cell phone that needed to get on the Internet and before everyone had multiple computers, let alone tablet computers. Every Internet connected device on the planet must have a unique address. So, (you know what’s coming next) all of the 4 Billion IPv4 addresses have been assigned! But! Never fear, a nerd is near!

The folks who manage these things came up with IPv6, which stands for “Internet Protocol Version 6.” (What happened to version 5?)  And, here is the good news: Once version 6 of our Internet Addresses Scheme has been fully implemented we will have 3.4×10 to the 38th power unique addresses at our disposal! That’s because IPv6 is made up of eight groups of four hexadecimal digits. Hexadecimal is the numbers 0 thru 9 and the letters A thru F. An example is “2001:0db8:85a3:0042:1000:8a2e:0370:7334.  Are you asking yourself: “What is 3.4×10 to the 38th power?”

ufp2There are 340 trillion, trillion, trillion (undecillion) addresses in IPv6. That’s 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IPv6 addresses. That is 48,909,254,989,728,775,223,940,766,262 addresses per person on the planet!

Conclusion: Go ahead and get another device that needs to get on the Internet. The guys and gals in charge have you covered. Frankly, I think they wanted to cover the future including the United Federation of Planets, in case we get there. (That’s a Star Trek reference. Live long and prosper!)

 

ronnie_mail1

 

 

January 12th, 2014

 

 

 Posted by at 8:41 PM
Jun 212013
 

ronnie_thumb

The short answer is: Ronnie Reboot is the spokesman for Earth Oasis Computers.

The longer answer is:

The computer lab teacher asked, “OK class, who can tell me the first thing you should do when your computer or internet connection is not working correctly?”

William answered, “Call Earth Oasis Computers?”

The teacher replied, “No, I’m sorry William, that’s not the correct answer, although I’m sure the nice folks at Earth Oasis are happy you’re thinking about them.”

Robert spoke up, “Pull your hair out?”

The teacher replied very sadly, “I’m afraid many people try that Robert, but it doesn’t work at all.”

Sarah confidently suggested, “Well, what if you reboot your computer or modem?”

“Very good Sarah, that’s the correct answer,” the teacher said with a big smile.

——————————–

Cat NapSo what does it mean to “reboot” a device? Wikipedia explains, “Rebooting is the process by which a running computer system is restarted, either intentionally or unintentionally.” You will often hear it called by other names such as “power cycling” or “restarting.”

There are two types of reboots, warm and cold. When you click <restart> in your computers’ shutdown menu, the computer doesn’t shut off, but just restarts, which is a warm reboot. A cold reboot is where you shut if off completely, wait a bit and then turn it back on.

This doesn’t apply to just computers though, it applies to almost all computerized devices.

1. When your cell phone is misbehaving, turn if off and then back on. If that doesn’t help and the battery is removable, turn it off, take the battery out for a minute, put the battery back in, then power it back on.

2. If your internet at home is not working and rebooting your computer doesn’t help, find your modem and router and unplug them from the electricity for a minute, then plug them back in. Wait a few minutes for them to restart and then see if that restores your internet. If you don’t know what a modem or router is, you need to learn. We can help.

3. If your computer is acting strange, reboot! We usually suggest a cold reboot, because just clicking <restart> sometimes doesn’t help (sometimes it does.) Let me again explain a cold reboot, “turn the thing off, all the way off, wait one minute, then hit the power button to turn it back on.”

4. With laptop computers, sometimes you need to take the battery out for a minute, just like a cell phone. That’s because laptops are not completely off unless the battery is dead or removed. I can’t tell you how many laptops we have “fixed” by just taking the battery out for a minute.

Albert EinsteinThis can also work with other electronic devices, like your washing machine for instance (I have done it and fixed the problem.) The reason why is because most modern washing machines and other kinds of devices we use every day are controlled by embedded computers (which just means they are built in.) And one of the things about all computers is that sometimes they get confused and need a nap. We know the human brain is a computer, an electrochemical one. When Albert Einstein got confused, he would take a power nap and “reboot.”

So back to Ronnie Reboot. Please notice his left index finger which is pointing at something. He is pointing at your computer telling you to reboot the thing once in a while. You don’t have to wait until it starts acting up. Rebooting your computer & cell phone are good and important things to do, especially if you leave them on all the time. It helps to keep them from becoming too confused – before – they start acting up. There is a technical reason for this. If you’re slightly curious, just Google “why reboot.” You will find many geeky people happy to explain it.

So Ronnie Reboot is here to remind you of the first step to take when your computerized devices start misbehaving. Do what Albert Einstein would with his own God given computer….. Reboot!

 

Ronnie Reboot

 

June 20th, 2013

 Posted by at 12:50 AM
Oct 082012
 

Ronnie RebootA longtime client called me today (I will call him “Jim”). He was upset because he had spent $300 with us in recent months on various things, but was now having a problem with his screen going blank.

Jim told me he didn’t understand why we hadn’t checked everything that could possibly go wrong with his computer and fixed it for his $300. I used my best people-skills to assure Jim I would get the bottom of the problem and was more interested in helping him than getting more money.

While I was at Jim’s home, Jim told me about his recent back surgery. One of his vertebrae was out of whack. The doctor told him his additional problems with his right leg were due to the nerves in his upper spinal area being all in a knot. The doctor assured him he could fix that also when he was in surgery.

After Jim’s surgery, the vertebra problem was resolved, but after a few months he was still having the nerve issues with his leg. According to Jim, the doctor then said, “Well, I did the best I could.” That seemed reasonable to Jim. Hmmmm, I thought.

We all know how complicated the human body is and medicine, whether Western, Eastern or experimental, is still limited in what it can do. We don’t know how to repair many spinal injuries yet. The human body is not a toaster.

Neither is your computer. Computers are complicated. If you don’t expect your doctor to be all knowing and all healing, apply that reasonable attitude to computer service people. Sometimes your computer problem is too deep, too complex, and the only thing to be done is backup all your data and reinstall the operating system. Even then, sometimes computers come from the factory with serious flaws and it is possible to spend hours trying to resolve an issue that we are never going to resolve.

Bottom line: Just like with your doctor, you want to find a computer tech you can trust. If your computer guy or gal is honest and knows what they are doing there are still going to be times when it takes some real detective work to resolve certain issues. The honest, completely competent computer tech will tell you when “I have no idea what is wrong or how to resolve it, but let me Google the problem and see what I can do.” That’s the computer tech you want to hire.

Ronnie Reboot

 

October 2012

 Posted by at 12:46 AM