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Windows XP and Office 2003 Support Ends April 8th, 2014

Latest Computer Newsletter from Onsite Consulting
BAD NEWS:  If you have Windows XP or need a new computer, READ THIS SECTION!
Through our national radio broadcasts and through these newsletters, we’ve been warning of the end of XP on April 8 (just a few days away!)  At that time, XP users will no longer get security updates and XP Viruses are expected to spike 66%!
90% of ATMs in the US are running Windows XP.  I’m not sure what is going to happen there, but I wouldn’t use ATMs for a while (if you even can).
Short Story:  You need to get a new computer.  There isn’t anything “wrong” with Windows 8, but Windows 7 is easier.  The only place in Colorado that still has Windows 7 is Microcenter, but they are running out of the one I recommend (Click here to get details).  I bought 17 the other day for clients!
Microcenter gets a truck of 40 every few days, and sells them all out before the next truck.  I have arranged to have 3 computers on hold at Microcenter.  Just ask any of a computer salesman in the desktop section for the “Dell i5 Windows 7 computers on hold for Scott Henke’s customers”, and he can see if they still have any left.
Long Story:  I’ve had a series of 1-hour courses (usually $80), for free at Microcenter on how to buy a new computer.  However, because these were getting so large that they’ve asked that we hold off until after the XP rush ends.  So, we are providing the same podcast ONLINE!  All my shows on www.velocityradio.fm will soon be available via podcasts.  This is the 45 minute show explaining the “13 Choices you need to make when getting a new computer.”  You can download this handout from the class here so you can follow along.
TAKING CHANCES WITH XP?
Many of you are choosing to take your chances with Windows XP.  We recommend all 3 of these things:
Get the best antivirus program you can:  We recommend ESET, Kaspersky, or BitDefender.  We believe ESET is the best and fastest for $30/year.
Get Malwarebytes Professional (see below) for $30/lifetime version.
Do all your Windows Updates before April 8.  Watch this video from another tech company here.
…and don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Good News!
Spyware and Viruses are the #1 concern of our customers.

Since November, we’ve recommended Malwarebytes Professional and had a dramatic reduction in customers coming in for spyware removal.

This is a supplementary program which prevents and removes “SPYWARE” which antiviruses don’t even scan for.   It’s been reported that if Target had this installed on their computers, their security breach may never have happened.

Our psychic abilities knew that their LIFETIME version was being discontinued and replaced by an annual subscription for $25/year.  This just took affect last Monday.

We helped over 2500 customers get this since November, and bought 1000 more copies before they stopped selling them.  You can easily install this yourself in minutes.  Email me personally and we will send you an installation code for $30 for the LIFETIME version.  (So, if you live 20 years, then you save $470!)

The free version will help remove spyware AFTER it infects the computer.  The paid version will minimize the threat BEFORE installing in the first place, then automatically scan for spyware to double-check any that may have gotten through.

If you already have Malwarebytes FREE or the PROFESSIONAL (Now called “Premiere”) version it will automatically upgrade to the newer version which scans even more thoroughly.  We will send out details on the new version in the next newsletter.
Free and Low-Cost Learning
Education is key to not throwing your computer out the window.
We have free online courses at LearnItAnytime.  Email me for our username and password.
We will be putting our most popular podcasts from some of our recent radio shows here.
We have these upcoming classes.  You must RSVP to attend:

Saturday, April 5, 8:30 am:  How to Choose a New Computer, at our NEW Office (next door to the old one)
April 10, 1-3pm, Using Google for More Than Searching at The Academy of Lifelong Learners
April 14, 1-3pm, “I Bought an iPad–Now what?” at Heather Gardens
April 17, 1-3pm, Staying Safe with Buying Online at the Academy of LL
May 14, 9am to 11am, Computer Basics and Troubleshooting at Heather Gardens
June 11, 9am to 11am, Using Google for Far More than Searching at Heather Gardens
We appreciate your trust in serving you over the past 33 years!  Let us know how we can help!
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Latest Computer Updates from Scott Henke of Onsite Consulting

Latest Computer Update from Scott Henke of Onsite Consulting:

 

“I reached out a few times to ALL our customers, and we have you listed as a business customer.  So, we thought we would email again with this warning.

 

The problem for businesses

After 12 years of Windows XP, Microsoft is no longer going to be doing monthly updates to the operating system.  This means:

 

The solution: Get a new computer

Unless you have a free Windows 7 upgrade and little data, it is typically not cost effective to upgrade your Windows XP or Windows Vista computer.  The computer must be completely backed up, erased, reloaded, the data transferred back, then the computer set up again.  However, you will still have a slow, computer with a hard drive past it’s 5-7 year expected lifespan.

 

We do NOT sell computers!  We recommend going to Microcenter.  We suggest these Windows 7 PCs because they are fast and have an easier learning curve than Windows 8.

 

http://www.microcenter.com/product/427790/Inspiron_3000_Desktop_Computer for normal use for $499

or

http://www.microcenter.com/product/427789/Inspiron_3000_Desktop_Computer for computers which need to connect to a server for $629

 

 

Timeline and Budget

It takes about 1 week to get your business evaluated, computers purchased, data moved, and computers set back up again.  The average total cost is about $900 to $1200 per computer.

 

We are estimating about 20% of our clients are still on XP.  We have close to 6000 clients.  Do you see why we are encouraging you to act now!

 

If you have a business more than 5 computers and would like us to come out for 1-hour for a free consultation, please email me back or call the office to set an appointment for KEITH to come out next week.  He will determine how many you need, which operating system, which software you may need to purchase, and get you on the right track.   If you have less than 5 computers, then we have to charge our normal $120/hour rate for this evaluation.

 

This Saturday at 9am, we have another free class at Microcenter before the store opens.  This is normally an $80 class.  I’ve attached the handout of the 12 main decision points to be made when purchasing a new PC.  YOU MUST preregister, since we are entering the store 1-hour before it opens to the public.

 

We are expecting a lot of issues after XP retires, so we want to give you all the info you need to have a head start on avoiding frustrations later.

 

 

With EVERY Windows Computer, we are suggesting upgrading to Malwarebytes Professional which is only $25 for a lifetime subscription.  This is an extra layer of spyware protection not covered by ANY antivirus program. It’s been written that this simple program could have prevented the Target credit card breach a few months ago!

 

They are no longer offering the lifetime after March 24.  We can send you instructions and codes on how to upgrade in less than 1 minute.  Just email me with how many computers you need to protect, and we will activate codes and send you simple instructions.”

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Group Insurance Analysts – February 2014 Newsletter

In this issue we will discuss more on health reform (The ACA), and other insurance issues.

Haystack Help Radio and The Source, 560 KLZ

Tune in every other Thursday from 4-5 pm on 560 KLZ on the AM dial as GIA will join Scott Whatley, the host of Haystack Help radio, for insurance related issues and updates. GIA has been a regular guest on the show for the past 18 months and now will be on for an hour every other Thursday. The next show is 3/6/14, then again on 3/20/14 and 4/3/14, and every other Thursday thereafter. This is also a great way to call in with insurance related questions.

Health Reform (The Affordable Care Act) Updates

Applications for new health insurance policies will be accepted up to March 31, 2014 at which time the initial open enrollment period will end. The lock in period will be from April 1 until December 31, 2014 in which new enrollments will not be accepted unless there is a qualifying event, such as the involuntary loss of coverage.

On November 15, 2014 the 2015 open enrollment will begin for policies with a 1/1/2015 effective date. That enrollment period will be open until 1/15/2015. Due to the new enrollment period guidelines, it is important to understand that people cannot go out and buy a policy just when they need it. All policies must be purchased during an open enrollment period, or if there is a qualifying event.

What About Your Insurance?

The following is what you can expect based on your individual situation:

  1. Grandfathered health policies will not be cancelled due to the requirements of the ACA. However, a consumer with a grandfathered plan may drop that plan in favor of a new, ACA compliant plan up until 3/31/2014, or they will need to wait until the next open enrollment period.
  2. Non grandfathered policies are set to cancel at their 2014 renewal date. Many of these policies early renewed late last year and will be good until the end of 2014. If an existing policy cancels during the lock in period, it is considered a qualifying event to purchase a new policy.
  3. It is possible that an existing non grandfathered policy could be modified to become ACA compliant if that policy is close enough in structure to allow the change by amendment. Most existing policies are too lean to be allowed to be modified by amendment to meet the ACA requirements and won’t be given that option.

A grandfathered plan is one that became effective prior to 3/23/2010.

Help With Premiums

2014 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia

Persons in family/household Federal Poverty guideline Medicaid Expansion 138% of FPL Medicaid Expansion 250% of FPL Medicaid Expansion 400% of FPL
100% 138% 250% 400%
1 $11,670 $16,105 $29,175 $46,680
2 $15,730 $21,707 $39,325 $62,920
3 $19,790 $27,310 $49,475 $79,160
4 $23,850 $32,913 $59,625 $95,400
5 $27,910 $38,516 $69,775 $111,640
6 $31,970 $44,119 $79,925 $127,880
7 $36,030 $49,721 $90,075 $144,120
8 $40,090 $55,324 $100,225 $160,360

 

Uninsured rate drops to 16.1%

The percentage of Americans without health insurance fell to 16.1% in January, 1.2 percentage points lower than in December, according to a Gallup-Healthways poll. The uninsured rate for unemployed people dropped 6.7 percentage points, the rate for nonwhites fell 2.6 percentage points and the rate for women was down 1.9 points. There was no substantial change in the 18 to 34-year-old demographic.

Individual Mandate

2014 begins the first individual mandate requirement for health insurance where those without a qualified health plan for more than three months in 2014 will pay a tax penalty. In 2014, the penalty is 1% of income or $95 whichever is greater. The penalty rises in 2015 to 2% of income and in 2015 it is 2.5% of income. People covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and employer group health or retirement plan, or under a qualified individual health plan are exempt from the penalty.

 

How an umbrella policy works

An umbrella policy provides an additional layer of liability protection that can be used with any policy, including boat, motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile. It kicks in when the underlying or primary policy doesn’t provide sufficient liability protection.

A $1 million umbrella policy, in most cases, is less than $200 for an annual policy.

Who could benefit from an umbrella policy?

People who:

  1. Drive a car or let someone else use their car
  2. Host dinner parties or other gatherings
  3. Participate in carpools or other group activities
  4. Own a home, rental properties or multiple residences
  5. Have young drivers in their household

 

What Instances Would You Use an Umbrella Policy?

Nearly 85% of claims payments on umbrella claims are related to auto accidents, and over the past 12 months, 30% of those claims involved a pedestrian, motorcycle or bicycle. Below are a few examples of recent claims, all of which required a payout of more than $1 million. That’s much higher than any auto policy limits, so consider what might be right for your customer as most insurers offers limits up to $5 million.

  1. Customer hit gas instead of brake by mistake and ran through the front of a restaurant, seriously injuring several people.
  2. Customer didn’t see a motorcycle and pulled out, causing the motorcyclist to hit the side of the customer’s car.
  3. Customer’s car went off the road. The driver overcorrected, causing the vehicle to roll multiple times.
  4. Customer’s son was allegedly driving under the influence and hit a bicyclist.
  5. Customer accidentally set a fire in his apartment which spread to other units.

Home Insurance

How a Roof Might be Covered under a Home Insurance Policy

There are several methods to insure your roof under a homeowners insurance policy which requires that you pay attention to that detail otherwise you could be in for a surprise at the time of claim.

  1. Replacement cost coverage will replace the roof in full minus your deductible. Depreciation will not be applied. This would be the best, and most expensive coverage.
  2. Actual Cash Value (ACV) -  this will cover the value of the roof minus any depreciation for age. For example, if a roof rated for 20 years is damaged in year 15, the insurer will depreciate the roof by 75% and cover the balance. The premium for this policy will cost less but will also cover less, especially for an older roof.
  3. Roof schedule – this is similar to ACV but clearly defines in the policy how much will be covered on the roof based on its age. Although this may be an OK option for a house with a newer roof, it may not be as good for a house with an older roof.
  4. Separate wind/hail deductibles – In addition to you deductible for all perils, the insurance contract may contain a separate roof deductible for wind or hail claims. This separate deductible might be a set dollar amount such as $2500, or it might be stated as a percent, i.e. 1%, 2%, etc… If a percent, the 1% is based on the insured value of the home, so a $500,000 home @ 1% wind hail deductible would translate into a separate $5000 deductible for the roof.

When buying or comparing home insurance policies, it is very important to understand how the roof will be covered.

Updates on Auto and Home Insurance

 

GIA Risk Management, LLC is considered to be one of the fastest growing, locally owned, independent P & C insurance agencies in Colorado. We do this by contracting with many different insurance companies so that we can offer our clients the choices and options they seek. Because we are not employed by one insurance company, we can truly represent the needs of our customers.

 

Insurance companies use many different criteria to determine rates, which is why rates can vary dramatically from one insurer to another. Some insurers have very low rates for those with exceptional credit, while other insurers might be better for teenage drivers. This is why it is so important to review and shop insurance coverage’s.

 

As you are probably aware already, the recent weather related events in Colorado and the rest of the United States is causing significant increases in property insurance for the first time in several years. Some large insurers are now refusing to write property insurance on a stand alone basis, but only as part of a package with an auto insurance policy. Other insurers are offering larger discounts for bundled policies, or putting restrictions on roof damage from wind and hail.

 

As weather related claims hit, most homeowners need to be aware that standard homeowner’s policies do not cover damage from flooding. Earthquakes are another standard exclusion. Flood insurance is a separate policy that can be purchased in addition to your homeowners insurance even if you are not in a flood plain. If you don’t have flood insurance and a severe rains storm floods your basement, that damage will not be covered. If you are interested in a quote for flood insurance, please let us know.

 

As independent brokers, we shop the market to help our customers find the right coverage at the best price. This is a value proposition that is difficult for a captive agent to match. We now quote the following insurance companies for our clients though a computer program that compares the rates and coverage:

  • Safeco ( A Liberty Mutual Company )        
  • Progressive                  
  • Travelers                  
  • Hartford and Hartford AARP          
  • Allied ( A Nationwide Insurance Company)  
  • MetLife                        
  • GMAC                            
  • Electric Insurance ( A General Electric Company)
  • Pacific Specialty
  • ASI
  • And more, depending on the risk.
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Important Windows XP Announcement from Onsite Consulting

On April 7 (1 MONTH FROM NOW!) Windows XP will stop getting updates from Microsoft.
This doesn’t mean your XP computer will stop working, but it will no longer get weekly security updates from Microsoft.  This means that many financial websites (like your bank, stock company, credit card company) may not allow you to use your computer to access your sensitive information.  Also, some non-financial websites may not work (www.abc.com will not work on Internet Explorer on Windows XP already).
The deadline has been postponed for years and this operating system is over 13 years old.  Even though 25% of the PLANET EARTH is still using XP, we don’t believe they are going to extend this deadline.
I personally teach a “Handholding Personal Shopper Session” one-on-one at Microcenter for $80.  We have two free classes at 9am at Microcenter before the store opens this Saturday March 1 and in 2 weeks 9am March 15.  You MUST RSVP for this, as I need to escort you through the employee entrance.  Class size is limited to 20 people.
For those of you with XP Computers, you can read this document I wrote explaining why you should get one by April 7, 2014.  New Windows 7 or 8 computers range from $350 to $600.  Data transfer plus setup onsite is usually about $250 to $350 depending on what you need done.
If you are a business owner with more than 5 computers, we are offering a free onsite evaluation of your computer needs with Keith, who can help you navigate the OTHER issues switching will face such as needing new software and setup estimates.  This 1-hour onsite evaluation can get you going in the right direction with purchasing and budgeting.  Email Keith and I here for more details or to coordinate a visit.
Scott
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Wednesday January 29th, 2014 Podcast

HaystackRadio 01-29-14
Today is variety day!

We are joined by Lakewood Plumbing to talk about furnace maintenance, Academy Roofing to talk about snow and roof maintenance in severe weather,  Dot Mechtenberg to talk about Baby Boomer Retirement and Handyman Connection to talk about remodeling projects around the house.

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