1ComputerCare

December 2011 Newsletter

Please accept my warm wishes for the coming festive period and enjoy reading the following thoughts.

Contents

Broadband speed

Refurbished laptops

Blog posts

Scam one

Scam two

Backups

Virus protection

Survey results


Holiday

I will be away from 17th December through to 27th December. Otherwise, at your service 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday. Saturdays are reserved for administrative tasks so even though the phone will be answered by a machine, I may hear your urgent message and pick up.


Distribution

If you would like an email address added or removed from the distribution list used to send this newsletter out twice a year, please email Editor@1ComputerCare.co.uk

 


Would you like your text here ?


Referrals

My clients include the following trades:

Accountant

Architect

Builder

Dance Coach

Dentist

Electrician

Financial Advisor

Ground Worker

Interior Designer

Jeweller

Masseuse

Midwife

Nurseryman

Painter & Decorator

Personal Trainer

Piano Tuner

Planning Consultant

Plumber

Surveyor

Telecoms Engineer

Tiller

Translator

Travel Agent

Web Designer


 

Top

 

Many, maybe most, recipients of this newsletter have recently gained the ability to increase their broadband speed from 'up to 8MB' to 'up to 20MB' at no extra cost.  All you have to do is be sure that your modem/router is ADSL2+ compatible (most recent ones are).  Similarly, recent work on laying fibre optic cable has meant that many of us can now receive significantly faster broadband: 'up to 40MB'.  If your broadband and phone providers have not been compared with current best market suppliers in the last 18 months, please let me help with this - no charge.

Refurbished laptops are now available for a modest contribution to Furniture Now! – the charity I used to donate old tower computers to.  The advertised prices are open to negotiation if you mention this source.  If this is the time to update your old computer, please consider donating the old one to this good cause.  For almost all new laptops and tower computers, I recommend custom built models in preference to any off-the-shelf model.  I now have another refurbished tower PC available free to a worthy recipient, if you know of one please let me know.

Please don't miss my blog posts, most recently:

  Migrating to Solid State Disks (SSDs)

  Speeding up web browsing by faster DNS lookups

  IP address conflicts

  Address theft and mass mailing

  Anti-virus & Internet Security suggestions 2011

  Colour calibration for monitors and printers

  Notebook video display problems

  Free and out-dated virus protection

 

There has been a sharp rise in computer related scams lately, and these are so convincing that I know of several clients who have fallen prey to these thieves and rascals.  There are two variants I want you to be aware of.  The first scam is a telephone call from someone who often already knows your name (from the electoral role perhaps).  They purport to represent Microsoft, 'Internet Technical Control' or sometimes your anti-virus manufacturer.  They then either ask if your computer is performing more slowly than it used (as everyone's is) or tell you that a fault on your PC had been detected.  They can take you through your Event Log files and show you errors that many people incorrectly believe are worth bothering about.  The next step is for the victim to visit a website as instructed.  Now the infection is made and remote connection is possible to allow the planting of unwanted problems which they then charge you to remove.  Or worse, a silent program is installed that allows your PC to be used for their nefarious acts without your knowledge.  If you receive any such phone call please hang up.  You are welcome to call me for reassurance if you wish (no need to have your credit card handy).

The second scam comes by way of an e-mail message addressed to you personally from someone you know and trust.  It may suggest you visit a website or perhaps send them money.  It could contain an attachment with an undesirable payload.  The point is that the message appears plausible but has not come from your friend – quite the contrary.  What has happened is that your friend's e-mail address or perhaps their entire address book have been stolen and sold on to a bad person without your friend's knowledge.  How could this happen ?  If any one of the people in your friend's address book has someone in their address book whose computer has been silently infected as described above, then the entire e-mail list could be copied; and all spammers know that we are more likely to trust a message from a known and trusted correspondent.  To protect yourself from this make sure your defences are in place, call your friend on the phone to verify authenticity or open any message that is not plain text formatted in a sandboxed environment.

Let's get the boring (but essential) topic out of the way: Backups.  There are two types of computer user, those who have already lost data and those who haven't yet.  Of the former, many belatedly ask me to set up and implement a backup strategy – and where computer use is critical, a disaster recovery plan also.  Please note that even a perfectly constructed plan has to be tested periodically as failures can occur due to circumstances beyond our control.  The only way to do this is to recover a sample of test files; perhaps monthly when you do the computer housekeeping tasks.  Unless you have a maintenance contract, my responsibility ends after the first backup job completes.

My annual review of reviews of virus protection software indicates BitDefender Internet Security as being best favoured this year.  You can buy this from their own website for 39.99 or from me for 20.

A recent local survey established that about 50% of respondents use BT as their Internet Service Provider (ISP) and 65% use their ISP as an e-mail provider.  To prepare the ground for enabling switching to a better ISP, this would be a good time to make sure that your e-mail is hosted independently. This avoids being tied into a bad provider by dint of not wanting to change a much loved e-mail address.  In the same survey about 35% of respondents lose their Internet connection more frequently than once a week.  And 40% pay more than 20 a month.  If any of the above rings true for you, please give me a call.

 

Happy Christmas

Eugene.

 

If you find my assistance helpful and would like to make positive comments on any of the review websites such as Google, LinkedIn and/or Yahoo that would be appreciated with a 15% discount off your next invoiced labour charge.


Web:         http://www.1ComputerCare.co.uk/
E-mail:      Eugene@1ComputerCare.co.uk (preferred)
Office:       0845 108 0254  (9am - 6pm,  Monday - Friday)
Car:           0776 221 8646


Offers of appointment times will be held for 24 hours.  Late morning = planned arrival 11:30am  – 1:30pm
Early afternoon = planned arrival 1:30 - 3:30; late afternoon = planned arrival 3:30 - 5:30.
Any prices included are estimates and all work is subject to acceptance of the Terms of Business. 
I recommend you take full verified backup copies of files frequently, and of anything about to be changed.

 

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