Windows XP End of Support

April 7th, 2014

As of April 8, 2014, Windows XP will no longer be supported with new updates.

One change that XP users will have already noticed is that those running Microsoft Security Essentials has already showing that your PC is potentially unprotected. A simple fix is to simply uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials and install a third-party anti-virus. Avira provides an excellent free anti-virus, that I ran across recently. It appears to have much better detection abilities than Microsoft Security Essentials and doesn’t seem to slow my machine down.

In their article, “Support is Ending for Windows XP“, Microsoft advises upgrading to Windows 8.1, if your current machine is capable, or buying a new PC. If you haven’t tried out Windows 8 or 8.1, you’re going to find a much different interface than you’re used to. Just try to imagine the iPhone, Android phone, iPad, or tablet PC layout on a desktop computer, and you have a pretty good idea of what it’s like. If you’re PC usage consists of playing games and socializing on Facebook, then you probably won’t have an issue. If you need to do serious work, then it definitely has its shortcomings. I’m not saying Windows 8/ 8.1 isn’t “capable.” I’m saying it isn’t intuitive or user-friendly, if you’re accustomed to the interface of Windows XP or Windows 7. (Yes, I purposely left out Windows Vista… it was, and still remains, a poor excuse for an operating system. I developed that opinion over the course of repairing well over 100 Vista PC’s.)

What to do? What if you don’t like Windows 8/ 8.1, your current machine isn’t capable of upgrading, or you just can’t afford to buy a new computer? Well, you can still use Windows XP. Just realize that you will need to be more vigilant about keeping your system protected. The first step is a good anti-virus, and Avira is a very good option. I’d highly recommend their browser protection module, that it will ask you to install, along with the free anti-virus. Another smart move would be to add Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit, as an added layer of security. These two programs use minimal resources and provide a good level of active protection for most browsing.

In addition, you may also want to install a few other scan tools, to enhance your ability to clean out malware, should you become infected. These free scanners do not provide active, real-time protection, but do an excellent job of removing threats that make it past your other security:

  1. Malwarebytes - Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free’s industry-leading scanner detects and removes malware like worms, Trojans, rootkits, rogues, spyware, and more. All you have to do is launch Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free and run a scan. It’s that simple.
  2. Super AntiSpyware - Detect and Remove Spyware, Adware and Remove Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats.
  3. Sophos Virus Removal Tool - Using cutting edge technology found in our enterprise-grade software, this powerful tool detects all types of malicious software on your computer—including viruses, spyware, rootkits and Conficker—and returns it to a working state.
  4. CCleaner - CCleaner is the number-one tool for cleaning your Windows PC. It protects your privacy online and makes your computer faster and more secure. Easy to use and a small, fast download.

Note: Malwarebytes and Super AntiSpyware offer paid versions with real-time protection. Using these tools does not guarantee that your PC will not become infected, or that you can remove all infections. If in doubt, consult your local computer repair service. With some infections, the only reasonable option is to reinstall your operating system.


New Updates to

August 1st, 2013

Our newest site,, is coming along nicely.

We have added a feature to have your payout rate hidden while using the Gold & Silver Calculator, after a request from several buyers. Seems that some people don’t realize that the buyer has to be able to make a profit, or there wouldn’t be any reason for buying.

In the meantime, Amy has been busy adding businesses to the Gold & Silver Buyers Business Directory. We now have nearly 10,000 entries in the database, from all across the United States. We still have quite a few entries to add, but buyers are always welcome to add their businesses, using the form on the site.

Another new feature gives browsers in the Gold & Silver Buyers Business Directory a count of how many businesses turned up during their search. Users can search by ZIP Code, City + State, City, and State.

Hope everyone enjoys the new features of the site, and, as always, if there’s a feature you’d like to see added, let us know.

Gold & Silver Buyers Directory

May 10th, 2013

We have just finished adding a Gold & Silver Buyers Directory to our newest site, Gold & Silver Calculators. The directory is searchable by ZIP code, and we will be adding additional search features. We are currently adding Gold & Silver buyers in major U.S. cities, and dealers are encouraged to add their businesses, through the form located on the site, regardless of location within the U.S.

Since our last post, we have added several upgrades to the site, including the integration of the rate setting feature in the calculator page, which allows buyers to calculate gold and silver payouts from a single page for all purities. Buyers can weigh potential purchases in Grams, Pennyweights, U.S. Ounces, or Troy Ounces, enter them all into a simple form, and get a perfect result every time. Our live pricing is updated every minute, keeping your business abreast of the latest market changes.

Free Online Gold & Silver Calculators for Dealers

April 27th, 2013

We have just finished creating a new site that allows gold & silver buyers to use our calculators for their businesses. Our free online calculators get live price updates every minute, while the market is open, allowing our calculators to give you the most accurate pricing available. Gold & Silver Calculators has 32 calculators within the site, with 16 calculators for gold values and 16 calculators for silver value. Simply choose the calculator that matches your payout rate from 60% to 85%, in 1% increments.

Our gold calculators allow you to enter weights for 9K, 10K, 12K, 14K, 16K, 18K, 21K, 22K, and 24K gold. You can enter a weight for a single purity of gold, or multiple weights for different purities. Weight is your choice of grams or pennyweights. Upon submission, you will be shown a total price and a price for each purity of gold.

Our silver calculators allow you to enter weights for silver purities of 40%, 80%, 90%, .925 Sterling, and .999. As with our gold calculators, you can enter a weight for a single purity of silver, or weights for multiple purities. Weight is your choice of grams, pennyweights, or U.S. ounces. Upon submission, you will be shown a total price, as well as the value of each purity.

In addition, we have added a quick weight conversion calculator, that allows you to convert between grams, pennyweights, Troy ounces, and U.S. ounces. We have also added a quick reference to common U.S. silver coins, with their weights in grams and pennyweights.

Why does my business need a website?

October 20th, 2010

The world wide web has become the world’s #1 source of information. While newspaper advertisements have been somewhat historically effective, the fact remains that it is a gamble whether or not your target audience will actually see them. It has become more of a gamble, as most newspapers offer free online versions of their printed articles funded by corporate advertisers, thus eliminating the need for a traditional subscription. In addition, a newspaper advertisement is typically “one and done”, meaning that once that issue has been distributed, your target audience has only that one chance to view your ad, then it’s gone. Does this really give you the most effect for your advertising dollar?

Similar to newspaper advertising is direct mailings. How many flyers do you need to send out just to bring in one customer? How many of those flyers end up in the trash or a recycling bin without ever being read? Probably more than you’d like to think about!

By contrast, in our technology-driven society, a very large portion of the public has internet access at home, at work, or both. More and more people use search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, to research products of interest and local businesses. Believe it or not, your business is probably already on the internet… the problem is that you have little or no control over the information that is already there!

Having a website for your business is the equivalent of having your business open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, along with an advertisement that’s never tossed in the recycling bin. You are in complete control of the public image your business portrays, and users can find pertinent information, such as store hours, locations, and phone numbers, as well as your current sales and promotions, at their convenience. With a website, your sales flyer or advertisement is never “yesterday’s news”!

Ready to talk about how a website can improve your business and connect you with your customers? Give us a call today at (814) 723-4105.

Get a Calculator for your Website

September 19th, 2009

A calculator can be a great asset for your website. For example, if your company lends money, your website could benefit from a loan payment calculator, so your customers could see what their payments would be, based on the amount borrowed, interest rate, and length of the term.

We can create a calculator to perform any calculation that you have a mathematical formula for. We recently built a Gold Value Calculator for a Pawn Shop. The Pawn Shop buys scrap gold from it’s customers. With our Gold Value Calculator, the customer can get an idea of what their gold is worth, on the Pawn Shop’s website, before they take it in. The Pawn Shop also uses the calculator to determine the value of their customers’ gold items, after verifying the authenticity and weight. Our Gold Value Calculator has proven to be such an effective tool, that one of the Pawn Shop’s competitors actually uses the calculator, on the Pawn Shop’s website, to determine Gold Value for his clients!

Our calculators are written in PHP. We prefer PHP over Javascript, because it is fast, effective, and hides the mathematical formula from potential copying. Viewing the source code of one of our calculators will only reveal the same information that can be seen on the screen. The mathematical formula is never displayed. 

Try our Gold Value Calculator Demo - be sure to right-click and view the source code of the calculator. Note that it doesn’t reveal the proprietary mathematical formula that performs the calculations.

osCommerce Errors

September 19th, 2009

With new requirements for server security, many older osCommerce stores are not able to run with the new settings. A common error seen in these older stores is:

1054 – Unknown column ‘p.products_id’ in ‘on clause’

select count(p.products_id) as total from products_description pd, products p left join manufacturers m on p.manufacturers_id = m.manufacturers_id, products_to_categories p2c left join specials s on p.products_id = s.products_id where p.products_status = ’1′ and p.products_id = p2c.products_id and pd.products_id = p2c.products_id and pd.language_id = ’1′ and p2c.categories_id = ’85′


What to do? Chances are, you probably paid for a nice template and spent lots of time adding your products and building a customer base over the years. The simplest solution is to have us upgrade your store to the latest version of osCommerce, keeping the look and feel, as well as your products and customers intact. We write custom code for your template, then move your products and other pertinent information over to the new store.

Ready to get started? Contact us by email, or give us a call at (814) 723-4105 to receive a custom quote on your store.

We also build new osCommerce sites from scratch, to your specifications!