It’s Spring! Time to clean! DON’T forget about your Computer!!

Flowers are blooming and birds are chirping all across East Tennessee, which means it's time to start your yearly spring cleaning extravaganza. While you're emptying your closets, decluttering, and getting rid of the bloat in your life, why not do the same for your computer? Here are some steps we take at Ctrl Alt Repair to give your trusted computer a little spring cleaning of its own.

Clean Up Your Hardware

We'll start with the outside of your machine. Turn it off, unplug everything, and find an open area where you can easily reach everything. Whether you have a laptop or a desktop, your main priority is probably going to be the keyboard and mouse or trackpad. Luckily, you can clean them pretty easily with just a few household objects. If they're looking a little greasy, you...

Just buy a new PC? Make sure to get rid of all the bloatware!

For years, Windows users have been dealing with Bloatware — pre-installed, mostly-useless software that burdens and bogs down almost every new Windows PC. It is not unusual for a new PC to have dozens of programs pre-installed, ranging from virus scanners to Skype to cheap video games, all stealing valuable storage space, RAM, and CPU cycles. Meanwhile, of course, on the other side of the blindingly white picket fence, Macs come with a bunch of first-party (and mostly first-rate) Apple applications — and that’s it. For Windows advocates, this has always been a particularly tough bone of contention: Even though Windows 8, in its base state, is faster and more stable than OS X, it’s hard to extol the virtues of a crud-laden, $300 PC from Dell or Acer.

How did the Windows OEM ecosystem ever end...

Android Malware Can Spy on You Even If You Turn Your Phone Off.

It looks like a breakthrough for the bad guys that create spyware for mobile devices: a newly discovered Android malware program can actually track you after you’ve shut down your phone.

Well, after you think you’ve shut down your phone, anyway.

Recently spotted by AVG anti-virus software company, the malware (which affects Android phones, and which does not yet have a catchy nickname) tricks phone owners into thinking that they’ve shut down their devices. Pressing the power button on an infected phone calls up a fake Power Off button onto the screen. When tapped, only the phone’s screen, sound alerts, and notification lights are actually powered off.

While in this state, the spyware can reportedly make calls, take pictures, and send and receive messages.

Not. Cool.

The malware is hidden inside...

The Bubbles of Social Media

It is no secret that web companies tailor their services, news and search results to our personal taste. The consequences are that we are trapped in “filter bubbles” and don’t get exposed to information that could broaden our world view. For example, Facebook checks which friends’ links you are clicking more and is editing your profile and news feed accordingly. It decides for you who are most likely to interest you based on your past interactions with friends. Facebook is not the only one doing this algorithmic editing of the web. Yahoo News, Washington Post, EBay and Amazon are just a few of the websites who do personalization on some level.


In the TED talk above, Eli Pariser explains how different people get different results when searching the...

Wireless Carriers Now Have To Unlock Your Phone!

Tired of your wireless carrier's service or plans? The Cellular Telephone Industries Association’s (CTIA) new standards on unlocking phones go into effect for all mobile service providers in the US today. This allows you to unlock your phone and switch carriers once out of contract. President Obama signed a law that deemed it legal for mobile users to unlock their phones last August. From today, carriers who have voluntarily committed to follow the CTIA’s standards will unlock their customers’ devices on request. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon will comply with the CTIA’s code, and allow customers to unlock their phones at no extra charge. Bluegrass and Cellcom are also signed up to the code, but...