Subscribe to our blog!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Angie's List Super Service Awards!
The On Button was awarded Angie's List Super Service Awards for 2013 & 2014! Thank you to our wonderful clients, it has been a pleasure helping you!
Technology problems solved...

Computer virus: "...very quick response to my call regarding a virus on my computer... professional and very knowledgable... we will be recommending TheONbutton to my friends." Lynn, Hillsborough NC

Apple Mac computer training: "Neil's prompt service and vast knowledge of computers has been a godsend. At this point I can't imagine life without him!" Margaret, Chapel Hill NC

Computer issue troubleshooting: "Excellent response to issues dealing with the home computer. All problems were solved and his explanations were easily understood." Jane, Durham NC

Laptop memory upgrade: "Punctual and very effective service! Highly recommend." Mike, Chapel Hill, NC

Computer performance tune-up: "I had the good fortune of finding TheONbutton. Neil was prompt, friendly, knowledgeable, fast, efficient, and affordable. I give him my highest recommendation!" Sean, Durham NC

Read more reviews of TheONbutton...

Our Facebook & Twitter pages
More testimonials

Wireless Internet connection problem: "Neil got our wireless router and modem going again that Time Warner and TP Link help desks had struggled with. We will definitely use the TheONbutton again should problems arise." Jeff, Durham NC

Computer virus: "...very quick response to my call regarding a virus on my computer...professional and very knowledgable...we will be recommending TheONbutton to my friends." Lynn, Hillsborough NC

Read more reviews of TheONbutton...

What's Going ON?

We love tech and here's where you find out just how much! Our blog covers tips, tech, gadgets and other computer service related stuff in Durham and beyond! Let us know what you think by sending us a comment, we love reading them and we promise to do our best to respond!


Is Windows 8 hardware too expensive?

I'm becoming concerned that the new Windows 8 hardware may be too expensive to make a significant impact.

Acer Iconia W510 detachable tablet / laptop

I like the concept of this Acer Iconia W510 netbook-class Intel Atom powered laptop, but $749 is the same price as the Core i5 MacBook Air 11" refurb currently listed on Apple's website. Granted the Acer has a detachable tablet screen, but for $749 consumers might want more horsepower if this is a long-term purchase.

Lenovo Yoga 13 convertible laptop / tablet

Conceptually, my favorite new Windows 8 laptop / tablet combo so far is the Intel Core i5 powered Lenovo Yoga 13. I spent time with it last weekend and it's generally great with a screen that folds all the way back to form a thick tablet, but at 3.5lbs it weighs about a pound too much. At $1,099, it's also very expensive compared to other 13" Windows laptops. It's understandable that a 13" laptop will have some heft, but when in tablet mode it's not feasible to hold the Yoga 13 for any more than a few minutes. I like the direction this is going in though and look forward to seeing lighter and slimmer large screen tablet / laptop combos!

Neil Berman, Helper-in-Chief, TheONbutton


Everything you need to know about the new iPhone 5

Apple announced the new iPhone 5 today with changes and improvements across the board compared to the iPhone 4S. Here are the highlights:

Weight loss challenge

The iPhone 5 is significantly lighter than the 4S, shedding one ounce while offering more battery life. The iPhone 5 is also longer and has a brushed aluminum back rather than the glass of the 4S. Expect the iPhone 5 to look shinier than the 4S due to the new manufacturing techniques used in its glass and metal construction.

I can see clearly now

The screen on the iPhone 5 has grown to 4 inches compared to 3.5 inches on the 4S. It's still a retina screen, which means unmatched text and image precision.


The main brain of the iPhone 5 is twice as fast as that of the 4S, so it will react faster and the camera should also be snappier.

Speaking of snapping...

The rear eight megapixel camera has been slightly improved and a panorama mode has been added. The front facing camera now offers high definition video capture for more detailed FaceTime calls.

Dock connector

As expected, the iPhone 5 has a new dock connector called Lightning. It can be conneted to older 30 pin iPhone and iPad accessories using an adapter which will be available in October, but time will tell whether every pre-existing accessories will work reliably with the adapter. Expect dedicated iPhone 5 accessories, like speaker docks, from major manufacturers to hit the shelves in time for the Holiday Season. Accessories from smaller manufacturers may take longer to develop and manufacture.

Listen up!

Earbud are out, earpods are in. Apple has completely redesigned its famous white headphones to make them more comfortable to wear.

Cell networks

Verizon, AT&T and Sprint will all get the iPhone 5, which will now offer high speed 4G LTE data compatibility on all where available. Verizon has the largest LTE network in the US, while AT&T and Sprint continue to play catch-up.

I'm reaching for my wallet...what's the damage?

As expected, Apple kept the same pricing structure as previously and moved old models down by one pricing level. This means the iPhone 5 ranges from $199 to $399 depending on storage capacity. The 4S will drop to $99 and the 4 will be free. The 3GS is history. All prices are based on a new two-year contract.

How do I get one?

Pre-orders in the US for the iPhone 5 start on Friday September 14 and the first batch should be delivered on September 21, which is when the iPhone 5 will be available in stores. If your existing Verizon, AT&T or Sprint contract has expired then you should be able to pre-order an iPhone 5 on Apple's website on September 14 and initiate a new two year contract.

Neil Berman, Helper-in-Chief, TheONbutton



Giving away your identity

At the recycling center this week, I noticed that Chapel Hill added a second trailer to accommodate all the old tech that we're replacing. Our appetite for new technology is clearly growing and I'm glad that people are recycling their electronics responsibly...or are they?

How many of those hard drives had been wiped? How many phones still had email settings configured? How many DVD players were still set up to access their previous owner's Netflix account?

When we give up a gadget it often gets reused, and if we leave information on that gadget we should assume that it's in someone else's control. A recent example of this occured when Motorola resold customer returned tablets without first wiping them. Motorola offered those customers two years of identity protectioin, but by that time the damage had already been done.

From laptops to Internet connected Blu-ray players, gadgets should always be wiped or restored to factory default software before being sold, donated or recycled. This applies equally to electronics that we return to the store after a week of use or a laptop owned for five years. Either one can contain equally sensitive data.

Neil Berman, Helper-in-Chief, TheONbutton


4G smartphones and the iPhone on pre-paid carriers

Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile both announced in May that they would begin using parent company Sprint's 4G WiMAX network soon. Both of the pre-paid carriers have now launched one 4G phone each, and they are both now available to order from Boost or Virgin Mobile's respective websites. Both phones are made by HTC and run the latest version of Android.

In separate news, Cricket announced this past week that it would offer the iPhone on its pre-paid service with unlimited data, texts and voice minutes for $55 per month. Customers will need to purchase the iPhone at a higher price than equivalent contract services, but there's no early termination fee or contract term beyond a month-to-month payment. The 8GB iPhone 4 will be available on Cricket for $399 and the 16GB iPhone 4S will cost $499 starting on June 22nd.

Neil Berman, Helper-in-Chief, TheONbutton


What's Going ON? Summer Tech Tips (Episode #6)

Summer's coming y'all! The weather is warming up nicely here, so here are my Summer technology tips to help you get the most out of your vacation, or staycation...

Don't let your smartphone lose its mojo

"Honey I forgot to print the flight confirmation!!" Don't worry, it's probably in an email on your smartphone, along with your hotel confirmation, rental car details, camera app, music collection, newspaper app, weather app, sudoku game...and phone app (yes phones still make phone calls!). Your smartphone needs juice to keep your Summer running smoothly! Invest in a portable charger because Great Lakes, national parks and beaches are notoriously lacking in wall outlets. Here's a solar model which can charge all manner of fancy gadgets. Other models charge up a portable battery from a wall outlet or an in-car charger. Approximately $20-50 from various retailers.

AirPlay: The new CD changer for Summer parties

Oh how we miss CD multiplayers! You could spend a whole afternoon programming it with a playlist of music from five CDs before a party! Fortunately Apple gave us Airplay which will play a playlist from iTunes on your computer to every room in your home. One of the specialities at TheONbutton is setting up AirPlay enabled homes; it's the simplest, most reliable and cost-effective way to get wireless music throughout your home. Plus you'll wow your friends when you pull out your iPhone or iPad to control your entire music collection. All you need is iTunes, a $99 Apple AirPlay music receiver in each room connected to speakers. An iPhone, iPod touch or iPad acts as the remote control. Get in touch for more info.

If you can't go on vacation, work outdoors and the great outdoors don't always mix so well. Dust, sunlight and soda spills are all bad news for our favorite laptop! Fear not, fresh air fans can still enjoy working outdoors with a rugged laptop that is designed to have a daylight readable screen, be more resilient to the elements and withstand the occasional minor drop to the floor. In fact that also sounds perfect for families with small children! Check out Dell's Latitude ATG range, which is a hardened nature-ready version of Dell's popular Latitude E6420 laptop. You can even boast to friends that it meets military specs for dust, temperature and other environmental tolerances.

Backup your data, especially before traveling

In my recent talk at the Chapel Hill Leads Group about safeguarding data, "Sleep Well At Night", I held up a small Lenovo ThinkPad pin-pad protected backup drive. A great feature of this external hard drive is that its contents are always encrypted and easily accessible without the need for special software. It also has a built-in USB cable and travel pouch for convenience. A good choice if you like to carry a copy of important files when away from home or work. If it gets lost or stolen, then the only way it can be used is if someone reinitializes the drive, which will cause the contents to be completely wiped. Neat. Lenovo ThinkPad 750GB Secure USB hard drive, $199.99 from Lenovo.

Neil Berman, Helper-in-Chief, TheONbutton