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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...

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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!


What's Going ON? The Holiday Season Survival Guide (Episode #5)

Everyone's busy this time of year, so here's how to take the stress away from gift buying, Holiday travel and surviving the next few weeks.

3 gadget gift buying tips

  1. Although buying online is often cheaper than buying in-store, online purchases can be harder to return. So be sure you know what the recipient wants if you plan to buy online.
  2. Amazon will ship an item as a gift and they'll even gift wrap items for you. Select "This is a gift" during checkout for options. BestBuy stores will also give you a gift receipt if you request one. The gift's value will not be displayed but the recipient will be able to return or exchange the item.
  3. Typically, physical items can be exchanged more easily than software apps. So if you're unsure, buy an iPod for Dad instead of installing movie making software on his computer. Once software is installed and registered, it normally cannot be returned.

Trends to follow when you don't know what they want:

Current research says that kids want Apple products more than anything else. iPod, iPhone and iPad gifts are likely to be well received. My experience tells me the same is often true for adults.

The Xbox is outselling the Playstation 3 and Wii by a large margin in the games console market.

3D TV is still on the sidelines, I don't advise jumping in yet.

Smartphones are the phones everyone wants. They're available for a low monthly cost on prepaid carriers like Boost Mobile and Cricket. Those carriers are great for anyone who doesn't want to commit to a contract or is on a budget. If you want an iPhone, you'll still need to go with Verizon, Sprint or AT&T.

Education pays for itself. Buy them a computer lesson or installation from TheONbutton!

Great gifts under $25 

Computer speakers like these will liven up any home office.

A portable charger, such this one, will keep gadgets charged up during the day when they run out of juice.

Three months of Netflix streaming at $7.99 a month will give someone hours of TV and movie watching pleasure.

An iTunes gift card is always handy.

3 tips for surviving Holiday travel 

  1. Power: Your tech needs it. Remember to take your chargers with you and use charging points in airports and cars. Many interstate buses and trains now have power outlets built into their seats. Take this opportunity to feed your gadgets so you don't get caught short when your best travel plans get delayed by 6 hours.
  2. Always carry protection (for your gadgets). Use quality cases for laptops, iPads and phones. Keep spare camera memory cards in protective holders. Never put fragile electronics into checked baggage.
  3. Back up important data before traveling. Most mobile devices are designed to withstand a certain amount of schlepping, but accidents happen. Don't be the one who has to ask Santa for a data recovery service.

Help your computer survive the Holidays

Restart your computer every few days instead of putting it to sleep. It takes a little longer but pays back in reliability by giving the computer a fresh start on the day.

Close down applications that you're not using to allow the computer to free up resources for other purposes.

Be careful when viewing festive greetings emails. While most are genuine, some might be taking advantage of the season. While that Santa video your friend emailed you might sound like a blast, it could be carrying a virus. Be cautious when opening email attachments and scan your computer regularly.

Make a backup of important files in advance in case a visiting family member has an accident when using your computer. It could help you avoid unwanted tension!

Happy Holidays!


Why Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle Fire should be tablet-buds

I spent this past weekend in New York City, where iPhones and iPads rule the subways, streets and most Starbucks. I also had a surprising number of conversations about the Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire has attracted mainstream consumer interest in a way that no other iPad competitor has managed. Clients regularly ask me about it, and it's sure to be in many Christmas stockings later this month.
That might sound like bad news for the iPad. After all, the Kindle Fire is so cheaper much cheaper it surely has to steal sales away from the iPad.
I don't agree, in fact I believe the opposite is true. I believe the success of Amazon's Kindle Fire will validate the tablet market and draw more customers to Apple's iPad. It's natural, especially in the technology world, to view a successful disruptive entrant as destructive to competitors. In particular with regard to Apple products, the world The Kindle Fire could be good news for both Amazon and Appleseems to always be looking for the new gadget to will be the iPhone slayer or iPad killer. But in this case the Kindle Fire will help the iPad, just like the iPad has already helped the Kindle Fire.
Before the iPad was launched, there was no mainstream tablet market. Consumers did not understand what they would do with a tablet. The iPad has been successful because it married quality hardware, highly capable yet accessible apps and strong content partnerships at the right price point.
Competing tablet manufacturers have failed to combine these factors successfully, which is why their products have not sold in meaningful quantities when compared to the iPad.
I believe this harmed competitor sales as well as iPad sales. Why? Well some consumers hear about the iPad and dip their toe in the market by purchasing a cheaper or less developed product. They're concerned that the iPad is a flash-in-the-pan and that the tablet market will come and go. In many cases they have a poor experience and confirm their belief that the tablet market is all hype and no benefit. They regret their purchase and don't want to get burned again. So they move to the sidelines and probably tell their friends about their experience. This is bad news for future tablet sales across all products.
Enter the Kindle Fire. Finally we have a non-iPad tablet with strong content partnerships, and a hardware and software experience appropriate for the Fire's price point. Consumers will buy it in large numbers as a result, and they will probably have a good experience. When they're ready to get something more capable they will probably look towards either the iPad or perhaps a future premium version of the Fire.
Either way both Apple and Amazon both win. The iPad introduced tablets to mainstream consumers and the Kindle Fire confirms to them that this market sector is valid and here to stay.

7 great Black Friday deals

If you're too busy to scour the coupons for gift deals, I've done the hard work for you at TheONbutton HQ! Here are some great Black Friday deals coming up this week:  

  1. The gift everyone wants: $45 off any Apple iPad 2 at BestBuy
  2. For the living room on a budget: Westinghouse 46" HDTV for $298 at Target
  3. Their first smartphone: Half-price Samsung Transform Ultra prepaid Android smartphone on Boost Mobile for $114.99 at BestBuy
  4. For a college dorm room: Dynex 24" HDTV for $79.99 at BestBuy
  5. Kids will love: Apple iPod touch 8GB for $194.99 with a $50 gift card at BestBuy
  6. For the family: Xbox 360, Kinect and a $50 gift card for $199 at Walmart
  7. Spread the love around: 4-pack of $25 iTunes gift cards for $79.88 at Sam's Club

Wishing you a great Thanksgiving!


How to set up multiple Airport Express wireless routers for multi-zone AirPlay speakers

I've noticed posts on many Apple forums asking how to set up multiple speakers for AirPlay using multiple Airport Express wireless routers. This can be accomplished quickly if you have a Mac and an existing wireless network. Some important steps need to be followed to get this service working correctly, and here's a guide to explain what to do. We hope this tutorial helps you, send us a comment to tell us about your experience!

How to set up the Airport Express for Airplay (single or multiple speakers)

1. Connect an audio cable between your speakers and the Airport Express.
2. Plug the new Airport Express into an electrical outlet and wait a minute or so for the light to start flashing orange.
3. Type 'Airport Utility' into Spotlight on your Mac and then open Airport Utility.
4. The new Airport Express should show up on the left, click on it and click Continue to start configuring it.
5. If you are asked whether you want to switch wireless networks at this point, choose 'Switch'. This connects your Mac to the new Airport Express so you can start configuring it.
6. In the next screen, give your new Airport Express a name. This name will show up in iTunes and in the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch Remote app as the new AirPlay speaker destination, so be descriptive. 'Living Room Speakers' might be a better name than 'My New Airport Express'.
7. Choose a password, this protects the settings of this Airport Express.
8. In the next screen, select the option to join the new Airport Express to your current wireless network.
9. In the next screen, select whether you want to connect to this Airport Express wirelessly or over a wired ethernet connection.
10. In the next screen, select the name of your existing wireless router form the drop-down menu and enter your router's network password. I recommend not checking the 'Extend the range of this network' checkbox unless you have purchased the Airport Express to provide this service. Checking this box is one of the causes of network slowdowns that some owners complain of in various forum posts.
11. In the next screen select 'Update' and then 'Continue' when the connection warning message appears.
12. The new Airport Express should now reboot. When the operation is complete a 'Setup Complete' message should appear and the light on the Airport Express will turn green.
That's it! The new Airport Express should now be showing as an AirPlay destination in iTunes and in the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch Remote app. To add additional Airport Express units, simply follow exactly the same process to configure each additional Airport Express.

Troubleshooting: What do the Airport Express status lights mean?

Here are the different meanings of the Airport Express status light:
  • Solid orange: Starting up
  • Flashing orange: Looking for a network or awaiting configuration
  • Solid green: Connected to a wireless network and ready to play your favorite tunes
Happy listening!

What's Going ON? Episode #4

Since the last episode of What's Going ON? technology has seemingly increased its already giddy speed of development! We've seen a new tablet from Amazon, a mini-explosion in affordable prepaid smartphones and some tempting upcoming Black Friday deals.

Hands-on with Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet

Let's get one thing straight, the Kindle Fire is not an iPad competitor. It is a tablet, but that's where the similarities end. Designed to help owners access as many Amazon services as possible, the Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet based upon the smartphone version of Android. Plenty of apps will be available for the Kindle Fire and it can stream movies from Amazon Prime and Netflix.

In the hand, the Kindle Fire definitely feels like it was built to a price point. This is a distinctly no-frills device with an all plastic case, no cameras or GPS, and a slower-than-average processor. However the slick software allows unparalleled access to Amazon's services from one portal, which is why Amazon is willing to sell the Kindle Fire for just $199. There's also a web browser on board.

One point to note for readers is that the screen on the Kindle Fire reflects a lot of light and would not be ideal for a sunny day at the beach. Stick with the Kindle or Kindle Touch if you like to read outdoors. Overall the Kindle Fire is less flexible than an iPad, but the price point is attractive.

Affordable prepaid smartphones

This holiday season the prepaid cellphone market is going to see an explosion of affordable smartphones. These make great gifts and are perfect for those who want a smartphone on a limited budget with no contract commitment. Now there's really no excuse to be hiding in the corner with that old phone, while your friends show off their fancy new smartphones. Just for you, I've reviewed a selection to help remove the confusion, click here to read more...

Smartphone growth highest amongst 55-64 year-olds

Having dominated the young-uns, smartphone usage is now growing rapidly within older age groups too. This past quarter showed a sharp uptick in smartphone adoption in those over 45 years of age, with those aged 25-44 now more likely to own a smartphone than an older style cellphone. Click here for a pretty chart and some further info.

Black Friday fast approaching

Doorbusters, mass hysteria and such. Here are some recently leaked deals from Walmart & Target's Black Friday leaflets:


  • Emerson 40" HDTV: $248
  • Compaq low end Windows laptop: $198
  • LG Blu-ray disc player: $49


  • LG Optimus V Virgin Mobile smartphone: $49
  • XBox 360 4GD games console: $139
  • Dance Central 2 for XBox 360: $27

 Happy shopping!

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