Author Archives: kc7txm

About kc7txm

Matt Karls has a PhD in IT and is an Electrical Engineer. He works in management within the software development, IT and SEO fields and is the owner of Karls Technology. He has four kids and lives in the Phoenix metro area (when he is not travelling around to our different offices).

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines changes $8 internet prices

Southwest Airlines has recently announced a change in its in-flight internet pricing model, shifting from an $8 daily internet fee to an $8 per flight segment internet access fee. This decision has sparked conversation and interest from consumers, as they consider how this change may impact their travel experience and budget. We will explore the reasons behind this shift and analyze its potential effects on Southwest and its passengers.

The primary reason behind this change is to align with Southwest’s business model of keeping costs low while offering reliable services. Southwest has not made much public statements about this change but we were able to review and confirm this internal Southwest Airlines company communication:

To support the current and upcoming WiFi enhancements, Southwest is implementing a new internet pricing model. Effective Tuesday, February 21, internet will remain $8 but will be purchased per-leg (being introduced as “Takeoff to Landing”). We will no longer offer an $8 DayPass for internet.

The new per-leg model, entitled $8 Internet

  • Supports the introduction of Viasat and allows us to use two vendors without integrating the two payment systems.
  • Provides an experience with which Customers are familiar, as most other airlines follow a per-leg internet pricing model.
  • Impacts a small subset of Customers due to our robust network of nonstop flights and a small percentage of internet Customers choosing to use paid internet across connecting flights.

The old pricing model of $8 daily internet fee did not generate enough revenue for the airline to justify the expense of providing this service on all flights. This pricing model also meant that passengers who were traveling on connecting flights did not have to pay the daily fee multiple times, reducing their overall travel expenses. By changing the pricing model to $8 per flight segment, Southwest can now offer in-flight internet access to all passengers while ensuring that the cost of providing the service is covered. This pricing model also ensures that passengers who are connecting on multiple flights are not penalized for using the service.

Another benefit of this new pricing model is that it aligns with Southwest’s “transparency” philosophy. By breaking down the internet fee to a per-flight segment basis, passengers can easily understand the cost associated with using the service. This move by Southwest is consistent with their overall strategy of providing straightforward and transparent pricing, which has been a key factor in the airline’s success.

While this change may seem like a small adjustment, it could potentially have a significant impact on Southwest’s bottom line. With in-flight internet access becoming increasingly important to travelers, offering this service can be a competitive advantage for airlines. By making in-flight internet more affordable, Southwest is making their service more appealing to passengers who are looking for a cost-effective way to stay connected while in the air. This move may also attract more business travelers, who often need to stay connected during their flights.

However, there are potential downsides to this change as well. One of the main concerns is that by charging per flight segment, passengers who are taking longer flights or multiple flights may end up paying more than they would have with the daily fee. For example, a passenger taking a flight with two segments would end up paying $16 for internet access, while they would have paid $8 under the old pricing model. This increase in cost may deter some passengers from using the service, particularly if they are traveling on a tight budget.

Another potential downside is that this change may create confusion among passengers who are not familiar with the new pricing model. The daily fee was a simple and straightforward pricing model that was easy for passengers to understand. The new pricing model of $8 per flight segment may require more explanation and could lead to confusion, particularly among infrequent travelers.

Southwest Airline’s decision to change its in-flight internet pricing model from a daily fee to a per flight segment fee is a strategic move that aligns with the airline’s business model and overall philosophy of transparency. While this change may create confusion and may increase costs for some passengers, it has the potential to attract more passengers who are looking for a cost-effective way to stay connected while traveling. Overall, this change reflects Southwest’s commitment to providing affordable and reliable services to their passengers while maintaining their competitive advantage in the airline industry.

If have internet or any connectivity issues, give us a call at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer repair company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you by our staff at the Dallas Computer Repair Service. If you need computer repair in Dallas, TX please call or text the local office at (469) 2999005.

Upgrade to Windows 11 now or wait longer?

Windows 11 is the latest operating system from Microsoft, set to be released in 2022. This updated version of Windows is highly anticipated by the millions of users around the world who have been eagerly waiting for it. In this article, we will take a closer look at Windows 11 and what it has to offer.

First and foremost, Windows 11 is designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly than its predecessors. This is achieved through a new, modern design that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The start menu has been completely overhauled, making it easier to access your most frequently used apps and settings. In addition, Windows 11 will have new customization options, allowing you to personalize the look and feel of your device to suit your style.

One of the key features of Windows 11 is its improved performance. Microsoft has optimized the operating system to run faster and more efficiently on a wide range of devices, including both traditional desktops and laptops, as well as newer devices like 2-in-1s and tablets. The company has also made improvements to the battery life of devices running Windows 11, making it easier to stay productive on the go.

Another major addition to Windows 11 is the integration of virtual and augmented reality technologies. The operating system will support both AR and VR, allowing users to experience new levels of immersion and interactivity. Microsoft has also made it easier to access and use these technologies, with new tools and apps that are specifically designed for VR and AR experiences.

Windows 11 will also bring a number of new security features to keep your device and personal information safe. Microsoft has made improvements to the operating system’s existing security measures, as well as adding new ones. For example, Windows 11 will have built-in antivirus software, a new firewall, and improved encryption to protect your data.

Another major change in Windows 11 is the new Microsoft Store, which will be more than just an app store. The new Microsoft Store will be a central hub for all of your digital content, including apps, games, movies, and more. You will be able to purchase, download, and manage all of your digital content from a single location, making it easier to find what you need and keep your content organized.

In addition to the new features mentioned above, Windows 11 will also have a number of other improvements, including better support for touchscreens, improved multi-tasking capabilities, and new accessibility features to make the operating system more accessible to users with disabilities.

One of the most exciting aspects of Windows 11 is its compatibility with a wide range of devices. Microsoft has designed the operating system to run on both new and older devices, making it accessible to a large number of users. In addition, Windows 11 will be available on a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, 2-in-1s, tablets, and even smartphones.

Finally, it is important to note that Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for many users. Microsoft has announced that the operating system will be free for users who currently have Windows 10 installed on their devices. This means that millions of users around the world will be able to upgrade to Windows 11 without having to pay anything.

In conclusion, Windows 11 is shaping up to be a major update to the Windows operating system. With its new features, improved performance, and increased accessibility, Windows 11 promises to offer users a better and more efficient experience. Whether you are a traditional desktop user, or you are looking for a more mobile solution, Windows 11 has something to offer for everyone.

If have an issue with any version of Windows, give us a call at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer repair company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you by our staff at the Tampa Computer Repair Service. If you need computer repair in Tampa, FL please call or text the local office at (813) 400-2865.

Statement on SolarWinds Breach

On Monday, Dec 14, SolarWinds reported that its Orion platform had been breached by an insertion of malicious code. This code was then distributed through the system to approximately 18,000 potential users. The code targeted large scale corporate and governmental network infrastructure(s). This exploit impacted emails through the Treasury and Commerce departments, as well as the Department of Homeland Security prompting an immediate disconnect from all services based on the Orion platform by US government agencies.

Fortunately, the SolarWinds software that we provide to our clients is not a part of the corporate scale Orion system and our systems and the software we use was not subject to any data loss or breach.This attack targeted large scale, multi-server networks at the corporate and government level and is in no way connected to the SolarWinds services we provide to our clients. Despite not being the targets of this hack, our SolarWinds team is working proactively to monitor the situation and maintain the integrity of our own services to ensure that our client’s information is safe and remains private.

At this time, the server the attack originated from has been identified and federal cybersecurity experts are working to identify the individuals responsible as quickly as possible. We value the trust and faith our clients place in us and hope that this announcement will calm any uncertainty resulting from this situation. Any of our clients that would like to ask questions about this incident are more than welcome to call into our head office at 1-800-620-5285 and speak with the Helpdesk for clarification on the circumstances of this breach. We understand that our clients trust us with their information and we are working tirelessly to monitor the situation and provide proactive support and response — should other platforms under the SolarWinds banner become compromised. Any further updates will be provided as quickly as possible.

Thank you,
The Karls Technology Team

Hard Disk Operational Overview

As an illustration, I’ll describe here in words how the various components in the disk interoperate when they receive a request for data. Hopefully this will provide some context for the descriptions of the components that follow in later sections.

A hard disk uses round, flat disks called platters, coated on both sides with a special media material designed to store information in the form of magnetic patterns. The platters are mounted by cutting a hole in the center and stacking them onto a spindle. The platters rotate at high speed, driven by a special spindle motor connected to the spindle. Special electromagnetic read/write devices called heads are mounted onto sliders and used to either record information onto the disk or read information from it. The sliders are mounted onto arms, all of which are mechanically connected into a single assembly and positioned over the surface of the disk by a device called an actuator. A logic board controls the activity of the other components and communicates with the rest of the PC.

Each surface of each platter on the disk can hold tens of billions of individual bits of data. These are organized into larger “chunks” for convenience, and to allow for easier and faster access to information. Each platter has two heads, one on the top of the platter and one on the bottom, so a hard disk with three platters (normally) has six surfaces and six total heads. Each platter has its information recorded in concentric circles called tracks. Each track is further broken down into smaller pieces called sectors, each of which holds 512 bytes of information.

The entire hard disk must be manufactured to a high degree of precision due to the extreme miniaturization of the components, and the importance of the hard disk’s role in the PC. The main part of the disk is isolated from outside air to ensure that no contaminants get onto the platters, which could cause damage to the read/write heads.

Exploded view of a hard drive
Exploded line drawing of a modern hard disk, showing the major components.
Though the specifics vary greatly between different designs, the basic
components you see above are typical of almost all PC hard disks.
Original image © Seagate Technology Image used with permission.

Here’s an example case showing in brief what happens in the disk each time a piece of information needs to be read from it. This is a highly simplified example because it ignores factors such as disk caching, error correction, and many of the other special techniques that systems use today to increase performance and reliability. For example, sectors are not read individually on most PCs; they are grouped together into continuous chunks called clusters. A typical job, such as loading a file into a spreadsheet program, can involve thousands or even millions of individual disk accesses, and loading a 20 MB file 512 bytes at a time would be rather inefficient:

  1. The first step in accessing the disk is to figure out where on the disk to look for the needed information. Between them, the application, operating system, system BIOS and possibly any special driver software for the disk, do the job of determining what part of the disk to read.
  2. The location on the disk undergoes one or more translation steps until a final request can be made to the drive with an address expressed in terms of its geometry. The geometry of the drive is normally expressed in terms of the cylinder, head and sector that the system wants the drive to read. (A cylinder is equivalent to a track for addressing purposes). A request is sent to the drive over the disk drive interface giving it this address and asking for the sector to be read.
  3. The hard disk’s control program first checks to see if the information requested is already in the hard disk’s own internal buffer (or cache). It if is then the controller supplies the information immediately, without needing to look on the surface of the disk itself.
  4. In most cases the disk drive is already spinning. If it isn’t (because power management has instructed the disk to “spin down” to save energy) then the drive’s controller board will activate the spindle motor to “spin up” the drive to operating speed.
  5. The controller board interprets the address it received for the read, and performs any necessary additional translation steps that take into account the particular characteristics of the drive. The hard disk’s logic program then looks at the final number of the cylinder requested. The cylinder number tells the disk which track to look at on the surface of the disk. The board instructs the actuator to move the read/write heads to the appropriate track.
  6. When the heads are in the correct position, the controller activates the head specified in the correct read location. The head begins reading the track looking for the sector that was asked for. It waits for the disk to rotate the correct sector number under itself, and then reads the contents of the sector.
  7. The controller board coordinates the flow of information from the hard disk into a temporary storage area (buffer). It then sends the information over the hard disk interface, usually to the system memory, satisfying the system’s request for data.

The PC Guide
Site Version: 2.2.0 – Version Date: April 17, 2001
© Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

This is an archive of Charles M. Kozierok’s PCGuide ( which disappeared from the internet in 2018. We wanted to preserve Charles M. Kozierok’s knowledge about computers and are permanently hosting a selection of important pages from PCGuide.

Hard Disk Platters and Media

Every hard disk contains one or more flat disks that are used to actually hold the data in the drive. These disks are called platters (sometimes also “disks” or “discs”). They are composed of two main substances: a substrate material that forms the bulk of the platter and gives it structure and rigidity, and a magnetic media coating which actually holds the magnetic impulses that represent the data. Hard disks get their name from the rigidity of the platters used, as compared to floppy disks and other media which use flexible “platters” (actually, they aren’t usually even called platters when the material is flexible.)

The platters are “where the action is”–this is where the data itself is recorded. For this reason the quality of the platters and particularly, their media coating, is critical. The surfaces of each platter are precision machined and treated to remove any imperfections, and the hard disk itself is assembled in a clean room to reduce the chances of any dirt or contamination getting onto the platters.

The PC Guide
Site Version: 2.2.0 – Version Date: April 17, 2001
© Copyright 1997-2004 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.

This is an archive of Charles M. Kozierok’s PCGuide ( which disappeared from the internet in 2018. We wanted to preserve Charles M. Kozierok’s knowledge about computers and are permanently hosting a selection of important pages from PCGuide.

City paid Hackers $600,000

Riviera Beach, FL recently paid ransomware hackers $600,000 to unlock their computers. The ransomware hackers had locked all the government computers and encrypted all their data. The Riviera Beach City Council gave into the ransomware hackers’ demands. They currently appear to be in the process of getting their data back right now.

The city of Riviera Beach apparently had no backups of their data. The infection appears to have started on a single computer from clicking on an email. The ransomware spread to their entire network network before it encrypted all their data.

We have seen this same sort of attack at many businesses and home user’s computers. Inside a small network running off a single router at your home or business an infected computer can spread infections across all your systems. Windows and Apple computers inherently trust other computers within your own local network. They only have minimal security protections against other systems on your own network.

All of Riviera Beach’s problems could have been solved with having a backup of their data.

What to do to protect Yourself?

Ransomware and hackers can strike at any time and the most cost effective protection is to have a backup of your entire system and data. We recommend all our clients have both an on-site and off-site backup. A $50 external USB hard drive is all you need for an on-site backup. Off-site backup services like Carbonite start at $72 a year and backup all your data instantly upon creation.

The are several reasons why you want both an on-site and off-site backup of your data. On-site backups are often targeted by ransomware attacks before they encrypt your local data so that you have no method to restore your data without paying them. On-site backups are also more susceptible to fire, theft and just general wear and tear (all hard drives eventually ware out). Off-site backups are very slow to restore from, sometimes taking up to a week to download all files if you need to do a total restore.

By having both an on-site and off-site backup you minimize your risks. On-site backups are great for a quick restore of a deleted file or going back quickly to a previous revision of a file. Off-site backups allow for a greater length of time to restore files. Backup services like Carbonite store multiple revisions of your data so you will have 5-7 snap shots over time to restore from. Off-site backups are great for a home, business or an entire city that has been hit with ransomware where you lose all access to your computers and data.

How to restore after ransomware?

After you have been hit by a ransomware attack often your best move is to reformat the computer. Additionally, all computers on your network should be turned off or isolated from one another. You will need to keep them off until you can verify that all systems are clean.

Windows 10 and MacOS allow quick methods to format the entire hard drive and start from scratch. Once you have a base Operating System up you should install anti-virus software immediately. If you have a on-site backup (hard drive, flash drive, NAS, etc) that is not encrypted or infected with the ransomware you can restore off it.

Off-site backups are the clear advantage for post ransomware cleanups. Even if encrypted data has been uploaded to their service you can restore a previous version of the file. You can often restore from as recent as the previous day’s version of a file. We often see clients after a ransomware attack and off-site backup services like Carbonite have entire teams dedicated to assisting you with restoring files after a ransomware attack.

For professional help with backups, proactive ransomware security or post ransomware cleanup, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Phoenix Computer Repair Service. If you need computer repair in Phoenix, AZ please call our local office at (602) 445-9862.

New Chromebooks run Linux

Google just announced at their Google I/O event something amazing. Starting immediately, all new Chromebooks will include Linux and ChromeOS.

Even though Chrome OS is based on Linux, it is not a native Linux desktop environment. Chrome OS started as a fork of Ubuntu Linux. Later on Google forked Gentoo Linux and that is their current kernel base.

I thought we had Linux previously?

Last year, Google released a way to run desktop Linux within Chrome OS. There have also been methods for years to run different Linux distros with Crouton in a chroot container. But this is different, Linux will now come pre-installed and ready to launch with any new Chromebook.

What does Linux bring to Chromebooks?

Allowing Chrome OS to natively run Linux applications means more things you can do on your Chromebook. You will be able to run Linux applications directly from Chrome OS. Linux applications will now become like any other Android or Chrome OS application.

Previously, your inexpensive Chromebook that was limited to Web applications, now it can be a full fledged power house laptop. Almost any application available for Windows or MacOS have an equivalent Linux application.

Which Linux distros will be supported?

Google has already said Debian Stretch is going to be the first Linux distro. You can already get a near production version of this out. Subscribe to the Beta or Dev channel release of Chrome OS for the PixelBook and you can play with this new feature.

Google says security will still stay at the forefront of Chrome OS. Chrome OS uses Linux’s kernel based VM. All Linux distros will run in VM sandboxes. This will block Linux applications from accessing or controlling your chromebook. This means you can now use your Chromebook for more serious use like software development or security testing.

The mainstream Chrome OS release channel should support Linux distros by end of July 2019. You can switch to the Beta or Dev release channel if you would like to experience this today. You can expect to be using Linux applications some time soon!

For help with your Chromebook or any other Linux computer issues, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities. This blog post was brought to you from our staff at the Phoenix Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Phoenix, AZ please call the local office at (602) 445-9862.

What is Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6, originally known as 802.11ax, is an expansion of 802.11ac, which is now called Wi-Fi 5. Are you confused yet? Okay, let’s start by defining how the Wi-Fi Alliance is redefining and more importantly renaming the last twenty years of Wi-Fi naming conventions.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is international organization that define the specifications for the various different wireless standards. They create rules and define how different pieces of wireless equipment can talk to one another so manufacturers can make wireless devices that all speak to one another.

Thus, over the years not everyone has conformed to all the standards and that’s why in years past you had to purchase only Netgear MIMO wireless equipment to work with Netgear routers (or insert any other brand that didn’t want to conform to published standards).

The Wi-Fi Alliance has decided that naming each standard based on their specification policy name within the IEEE’s standards policies was confusing to consumers. So they have decided to rename the new standard from 802.11ax to Wi-Fi 6 and retroactively rename all the previous standards at the same time.

New names for Wi-Fi standards

  • 802.11b launched in 1999 is now called Wi-Fi 1
  • 802.11a launched in 1999 is now called Wi-Fi 2
  • 802.11g launched in 2003 is now called Wi-Fi 3
  • 802.11n launched in 2009 is now called Wi-Fi 4
  • 802.11ac launched in 2013 is now called Wi-Fi 5
  • 802.11ax which was just finalized this year (2019) is the new Wi-Fi 6

How is 802.11b before 802.11a?

So this is a little confusing but essentially both the a and b specification of 802.11 were adopted at the same time. The 802.11a amendment allows for higher speeds and more channel selection but it cost significantly more than 802.11b did back in 1999. 802.11a was the first user of the nice and empty 5.7 GHz band. 802.11b was the first user of the HIGHLY congested 2.4 GHz band (which has held all wireless development back for years).

Both the a and b standards were available to manufactures in 1999 and the b standard was much less expensive to produce, that was the primary standard for years (and the first to market in 1999). 802.11b works at a maximum speed of 11 Mbit/s and had only 3 independent channels (there are 11 total, but all but 3 overlap one another….this is still true today if you are on a 2.4 GHz wireless network).

802.11a works at a maximum speed of 54 Mbit/s and has 12 independent channels (none of which overlap). 802.11a is obviously the superior standard, thus why the Wi-Fi Alliance rebranded it as Wi-Fi 2 even though it was not an evolution of Wi-Fi 1.

What does 802.11ax mean?

For any wireless nerds (like me) the IEEE 802 is the standards dealing with Local and Metropolitan networks. the .11 is the eleventh defined standard which deals with wireless communications. Every amendment to the standard is given a new letter. Initially the first wireless specification to be standardized was 802.11a, the second was 802.11b. After a dozen years of this the IEEE ran out of characters and switched to two character standards with 802.11ac (much like Excel when you pass column Z and the next one is AA). The current standards have defined specifications up through 802.11ay (which is a 60 GHz wave spectrum system).

Will old equipment work on Wi-Fi 6 wireless networks?

Wi-Fi 6 is just like all previous versions of 802.11x wireless networks in regards to backwards standard compatibility. You will be able to use your 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) or previous wireless devices on the new network at the reduced performance level they operate at. Wi-Fi 6 does a better job as isolating older equipment on your wireless network so you will not see as much degradation of your bandwidth using older wireless devices like you have seen in previous versions.

Do I need to get a Wi-Fi 6 router now?

There are only a few routers out that conform to 802.11ax. The Netgear AX8 is probably the best consumer model on the market that we have setup for a client. Expect other brands to start releasing 802.11ax / Wi-Fi 6 routers over the rest of 2019. If you need to replace your router you may as well upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 today since all new wireless equipment will be based on the standard soon.

If you would like to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 or have any issues with your wireless network and would like to have a professional computer service company consult with you and set it up for you, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.  This blog post is brought to you from our staff at the Aurora Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Aurora, CO please call the local office at (720) 441-6460.


Dells vulnerable to remote hijack

A security flaw in the DellSupportAssist that comes preinstalled on all Dell computers could allow a remote hijack of your computer. The attack exposes a vulnerability DellSupportAssist has with remote code execution.

How the remote hijack works

A Dell computer user would have to go to a web page where the attackers would place compromised Javascript. The Javascript can trick the DellSupportAssist into thinking Dell is trying to remote into the computer to fix a problem. The attacker has to be on your same network to then take control of your computer. Attacks on home computers are unlikely (unless other computers are already compromised). Attacks emanating from public wifi (coffee shops, large public venues), hotels and on corporate networks are much more likely.

Proof of concept attack already published

A proof of concept showing how to implement the attack was published on Github several days ago. The attack and vulnerability, called
CVE-2019-3719, is already live and can now be reproduced by anyone.

What Dell Computers are affected?

All recent and old Dell computers that have not disabled the built in DellSupportAssist are vulnerable to this attack. Dell is working on a security patch / update for DellSupportAssist but we would recommend that you disable the DellSupportAssist service for now.

If you have a Dell computer and would like to have a professional computer service company verify your system is secure, call us at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.  This blog post is brought to you from our staff at the Lakewood Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Lakewood, CO please call the local office at (720) 441-6460.

High CPU Nvidia Bug Fixed

Nvidia has just released Nvidia driver version 430.53 which is a hotfix to resolve a high CPU problem. We have seem several clients complain about desktop videos flickering. The flickering happens in a variety of configurations (moving a video from one monitor to another, when launching a game, on benchmarking) but in all cases we have seen a very high CPU utilization from NVDisplay.Container.exe.

The new Nvidia driver v430.53 will also add Windows 10 May 2019 Update support. NVidia engineers have confirmed in the Nvidia GeForce Forums that they were able to reproduce the issue after driver version 430.39 (although we have seen examples of it for several weeks now). They state this hotfix was made specifically to address the high CPU problem and ensure May 2019 Update compatibility.

If you are experiencing high CPU issues with your Nvidia video card and would like some assistance, please give us a call at 1-800-620-5285.  Karls Technology is a nationwide computer service company with offices in many major cities.  This blog post is brought to you from our staff at the Plano Computer Repair Service, if you need computer repair in Plano, TX please call the local office at (469) 299-9005.