Something Cool (and Wicked?) This Way Comes

Collage of renders from thispersondoesnotexist.comTake a good look at the collage of people here. Now click on the image and take a really closer look and tell me the one thing all these fine folks have in common with one another.

Give up? Okay, I’ll tell you then: none of them are real. These peoples’ photos have been computer generated using artificial intelligence and technology developed by graphics card producer, Nvidia. Don’t believe me? Head over to the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com and give it a shot yourself. Once the image is loaded and you’ve had a chance to check it out, refresh your browser and another “person” will be generated from scratch.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “Okay, well, what’s the big deal? I’ve seen lots of computer generated ‘people’ before…” Think Audrey Hepburn in the recent chocolate commercial or Carrie Fisher or Peter Cushing in the Star Wars film. But these incarnations are very different in that there are a lot of incredibly talented people (artists, animators, programmers, etc) behind the scenes who spend tons of time and money to create this digital likeness. What’s different about the photos of the people generated on ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com here is that a computer is creating these images from scratch, on the fly each time someone refreshes the browser window. No artists, etc needed here just some powerful computing and cutting-edge clever programming utilizing AI and GAN or Generative Adversarial Network, which uses two neural networks.

Well, that’s certainly cool, right? I mean many folks might already be thinking how much more realistic this means videogames will be within just a couple of generations (videogame platform generations like Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch, not human generations). Sure, and that’ll be really cool, too!

Others might be thinking about the wider, more dramatic changes that technology like this might usher in. Think Hollywood. Specifically, think Hollywood actors. While the idea of virtual or digital actors isn’t new, this incredibly realistic technology is. The idea of virtual entertainers isn’t anything new either. Just take a look at a recent (2018) concert in Los Angeles in which a virtual Japanese “idol”, Hatsune Miku, performs for a live audience. She’s basically a hologram and her voice is synthetic. Yet, look and listen to the crowd – they know the songs, the lyrics, and they respond to Miku. Now imagine how much potential money Hollywood (or anyplace else that churns out entertainment) could make from utilizing this technology in the future. Actors who never age or die unless the role calls for it – and they’re certainly able to be resurrected at any time. It will provide an endless supply of new talent from which to choose.

Now, let’s go a step further…what else could something like this be used for? Like any technology, it could be used for good or bad and I think it’s prudent to assume this type of technology will be used for many “bad” things just as much or more than it will be used for good or innocent applications. How about something like fake news? It’s already becoming very difficult to determine fact from manufactured fiction sometimes and technology like this will make it even more difficult and challenging. Think about the implications for a minute. What if you, the viewer, are truly 100% unable to determine if something you see is real or not? Now think about the wider implications? What if people in general all over the world are truly unable to determine truth from fiction in the future…

Cool technology? Yeah, it is! Does it scare you? Even a bit? If it doesn’t, perhaps it should.

Custom Built Computers

Custom computer build back photo

Did you know we custom-build computers too?! While we’re very proud to say we’re an official Dell reseller and these are great, high-quality computers, we also recognize that some folks prefer something other than what a “stock” system might have to offer.

We can either build a system to your specifications or we can custom-design one specially for you based on your needs and wants and then build it! Not sure exactly what you’re looking for but you know you want something fast and awesome? Give us a shout!

Have an awesome case in mind along with a great new motherboard and graphics card that’s going to ensure you’re able to play the latest MMO or FPS at top resolutions and screen rates? Check!

Are you a video freelancer and needing to be able to edit efficiently in 4K while still dazzle your clients with an awesome-looking machine when they visit your office? Check!

Have a custom computer already but maybe it’s time to update it to give it a little more “pep”? We’ve got you covered!

Whatever your custom computer needs, contact us today to see how we can get you moving in the fast lane with the cool kids!

Custom computer build side photo

Custom computer build front photo

World’s Largest Contract Chipmaker Recovering After Ransomware Attack

World’s Largest Contract Chipmaker Recovering After Ransomware Attack

Apple iPhone TSMC chipmakerTaiwan tech firm and Apple chipmaker, TSMC, said it was recovering from a ransomware attack over the weekend. Apparently one machine was online when it shouldn’t have been and this lead to the infection of more than 10,000 of their manufacturing machines in multiple factories. The ransomware was a variant of WannaCry which is a type of ransomware cryptoworm used by bad guys to encrypt computer data and hold it for ransom. TSMC says they are now back in full production again.

Always make sure you have a good antivirus program installed and up to date! Just as important, make sure you have a good, solid back up of any data that’s important to you!

Source: Reuters

Microsoft Edge Allows for Web Logins without Remembering Passwords

Microsoft Edge logoMicrosoft Edge Allows for Web Logins without Remembering Passwords

 

By leveraging Windows Hello hardware, users can now log into websites using things like IR cameras, fingerprint readers, external security keys, and PINs without having to remember your passwords. Microsoft believes that having these additional means of logging in will not only allows users to log into website more easily, they also think this will assist users with security concerns, and that makes sense from the standpoint of things like key loggers (if a user doesn’t type his password into a field then a key logger can’t grab the password). While this may be true, please keep in mind that the bad buys are always on the lookout to crack the latest security ideas. Additionally you should be sure to follow existing best practices when it comes to passwords. This means be sure you have a safe backup of all your passwords, don’t use the same credentials for multiple sites, etc.

To try this you’ll either Windows Insider Preview 17723 or you can wait for Windows 10 version 1809 to be released.

Source: Windows Blog

New Hours — We’re Now Open Saturday’s

Open sign for new hoursHaving computer or other technology problems but really busy with work or kids so it’s hard to contact us through the week? For your convenience and to better serve you, we’re happy to announce that starting today we’re open Saturday’s from 9am – 2pm. So give us a call or stop by today and let us serve your technology needs!

CatManDu Now Offers Local Technology Concierge Service In Amarillo

We’re proud to annouce that we’re now offering our Technology Concierge service. This exciting service let’s you connect directly with a local technology expert — your very own Technology Concierge who can assist you with any technology-related question or problem you may have!

Need a new router but don’t even know what a router is?! Contact your Technology Concierge — they can help with that!

Looking for a new Internet Service Provider because you’re tired of Netflix “buffering” while you’re trying to binge watch your favorite series? Don’t keep suffering! Contact us today to how a Technology Concierge can assist you.

Is your computer running slowly but you don’t want to take it to that “big box” store? Sign up today and let your Technology Concierge help you!

These are just a very few examples of how our Technology Concierges can help you with your technology-related questions or problems. Please check out our Technology Concierge website at cat-man-du.com, give us a call at 806-350-8324, or stop by us and see us in person at our physical location (that’s right: we’re “real” people and we’re local — we’re your friends and neighbors!) at:

8501 SW 34 Ave.
Amarillo, TX

We look forward to serving you!

 

Fighting Viruses Get’s Tougher – Popular Cleanup App Targeted

Over 2 million users recently installed a version of CCleaner that had been hacked and included a trojan virus, according to the software developer.

This isn’t the first time that software that is designed to help and protect computers has contained malicious code It is, however, the first time that a popular tool (used many computer repair companies and technicians) has been successfully targeted. And while the software company has given the all clear, it was recently discovered that the newer (not compromised) version is also affected.

It get’s worse, in addition to the Trojan injected into the code, the infection contains a second payload that hasn’t been executed as of yet.

This form of infecting a victim with viruses and malware is being called a “supply chain” attack because it relies on the fact that the person downloading and installing the software trusts the source and the software company.

The truth is, if the end users or the computer techs that they are trusting to remove viruses don’t stay on the cutting edge of technology (and news of this nature), they will end up eventually doing more harm than good due to future attacks like this one.

As cat.man.du enters it’s 15th year helping home PC users and home businesses battle the constant threat from hackers and viruses, we are committed to constantly monitoring the tools and apps that we use to fight malware, spyware and viruses and never become complacent.

World Password Day

May the 4th has been coined World Password Day to create awareness among workers and home users everywhere to establish safe, secure and updated passwords. If you are using a common password, the same password for all your devices, or a password that is more than 2 years old then let us encourage you to participate in #passwordday and up your cyber security game.

Tips for creating a strong password-
Your passwords should be lengthy, because that is what makes them stronger. At least 8 characters long and difficult for someone to guess. Don’t use personal information like your children names or your birthday because that information is public knowledge and can probably be found out via social media or some other form of internet records. Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. This may seem daunting but there is nothing more daunting then having all your personal data stolen.

Make sure you use different passwords for each account-
If you recycle and reuse a password for each of your different accounts online such as your banking, email, Facebook, & other bills then you are making it too easy for a hacker to have access to everything. It would be like if you only had one key that accessed your car, your house, & your safety deposit box. If you lost that key and someone found it then nothing in your life would be safe. Hackers know people like to keep the same password for each account and they will use this against you. If the task of creating a new password for each account seems too hard then keep reading.

Get a password manager-
A password manager stores all of your passwords, remembers them & can generate new strong passwords for you all very securely. This way you can have the longest, strongest passwords (each different) for your accounts and you only need one password to access those. These apps have secured your passwords by only allowing you access on one registered device, by using fingerprint technology or by facial recognition. Click here for a great list of possible password managers to download- http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2407168,00.asp

If you have any other questions about creating or updating your password call us at 806-350-TECH. Happy World Password Day!

Yikes, Are you still running Windows Vista?!

Windows Vista has officially gotten the boot from Microsoft as of April 11, 2017, and experts are suggesting you upgrade as soon as possible. The former CEO of Microsoft described Windows Vista as his biggest regret and now the company is finally cutting all support to Vista effective immediately.

If you are still running Windows Vista don’t worry it isn’t going to just abruptly stop working, but without the support of Microsoft or any of it’s updates or security patches we suggest you update to Windows 10 and we can help you do that. If you don’t upgrade then you are potentially putting your computer at risk of hacks, malware and other security risks and viruses.

Microsoft explained:
“As of April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers are no longer receiving new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft. Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years, but the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.”

As they put it nicely, Windows Vista isn’t the best software to be running especially now that Microsoft doesn’t offer support for it. Also, as more software and hardware companies begin to optimize and upgrade for the future of Windows, you can expect to encounter more apps and devices that do not work with Windows Vista.

We suggest upgrading your current computer to Windows 10, or if your current computer is not capable of running Windows 10 then it’s probably time to shop for a new computer. Either way, we can help you with this process and if you are not sure if you are running Vista then give us a call or drop by the office.

NEW EXTENDED HOURS
Monday – 8am – 5pm
Tuesday – Friday – 8am – 7pm
Saturday – 9am – 2pm

For any questions, please call our store at 806-350-TECH.

10% OFF computer repair special!

Front of Mail Out

Back of Mail Out

We’re getting ready to mail out a promotional flyer but we don’t want to leave our digital friends out of the fun! With this in mind, we’re making the included coupon available online as well! To take advantage of this offer, simply print out the coupon and bring it into the store to be applied to your residential computer repair. Don’t need any residential computer service right now? That’s okay, just send it on to a friend in need! Offer expires May 31st, 2017, one coupon per person.
And, as if that isn’t enough; we’re also offering the first 200 customers who take advantage of this promotional discount on our residential computer repair service a $10 Lunch Gift Card to Public House located at 3333 S Coulter St. in Amarillo.

Now Offering:
• Computer repair for your laptop or desktop computer
• Unlimited backups for residential computers at $89 per computer per year
• Anti-virus for residential computers at $60 per computer per year
• Managed IT services for small or large businesses in the Texas Panhandle
• And much more!

*** New Extended Hours Starting May 1st ***
Monday – 8am – 5pm
Tuesday – Friday – 8am – 7pm
Saturday – 9am – 2pm

For any questions, please call our store at 806-350-TECH.