1ComputerCare

Summer 2013 Newsletter

My latest 6 monthly musings are presented below for your enjoyment.  Please forward this to a friend.

Contents

Java

Blog

Folding

Brosdband review

TeamViewer

Web pages

Windows rejeuvenation

Drive space anomaly

Online security


Referrals

Please remember that I offer 20% off your next labour charge as a thank you for each recommendation that results in a new client.


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

 


Free Support

Don’t forget that there is no charge for the first 30 minutes remote support each month – ideal for quick questions.

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Need a trade ?

Personal recommendation is usually the best advert and my clients include the following trades:

Accountant

Architect

Builder

Dance Coach

Dentist

Electrician

Energy Assessor

Financial Advisor

Florist

Ground Worker

Guest House Host

Interior Designer

Jeweller

Masseuse

Midwife

Nurseryman

Painter & Decorator

Personal Trainer

Piano Tuner

Planning Consultant

Plumber

Surveyor

Telecoms Engineer

Tiller

Translator

Travel Agent

Web Designer

 

 

Please let me know if I missed yours or you need a referral.


Suggestions please

What would you find interesting in this space ? Please make a suggestion to Eugene@1Computercare.co.uk


Printer Ink

I am able to get printer ink at very good prices.  If you tell me the make of printer I’l let you know the current price.


 

Backups

Have you tried restoring your data without using the installed software ?  You may have to if the whole computer dies.  See this infographic.

 

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Welcome to this 10th anniversary edition of the newsletter.  This year marks 10 years since I started 1ComputerCare and 30 since I began working with computers (writing programs in the COBOL, Fortran and Macro10 languages).  A big thank you to all for your kind support.  Here’s a few facts that may be of interest.

·         I left university in 1983 with the only Computer Science degree available from that fine institution.  Today my successors have a choice of 28 undergraduate degrees in Computer Science. Such is the rate of increase in things to know about the subject.

·         Also in 1983 Apple introduced the first PC with a graphical user interface. ‘Lisa’ ran on a Motorola 68000 microprocessor and came equipped with 1 megabyte of RAM, a 12-inch black-and-white monitor, dual 5¼ inch floppy disk drives and a 5 MB hard drive.  Arpanet – the forerunner of today’s Internet was formed.  Also that year Microsoft announced Windows; version 1 was released two years later.

·         According to the Office for National Statistics half of new businesses close before their 5th birthday so I am pleased and fortunate to have past that milestone.  Looking back at the records I see that the last time I paid for advertising was in January 2008 and the last time my fee rate changed was January 2009 – perhaps the two are connected.

·         In the year to April 2013 my income distribution was 90% repeat business from existing clients, 5% word of mouth referrals and 5% other (Google searches, Which? Magazine, directories).

In the last 10 years I have noticed a few trends.  I used to be removing viruses from computers every week, now I may go for a two or three months before I get such a job.  This is probably due to the wider use and increased efficiency of protective software. Also, the virus manufacturers generally are no longer teenaged script kiddies but criminal gangs out to make serious money from identity theft, ransom demands and counterfeit sales.  For this reason the free anti-virus products are much less effective than Internet security suites that cover multiple attack avenues but cost about £20 a year to maintain; although that is still much cheaper than paying for virus removal – something I normally only have to do on computers with free or no anti-virus protection.

Hardware faults used to be caused by hard disk drives 75% of the time but now with the much faster and reliable solid state disks this is not so much the case.  As a proportion of causes of hardware faults, motherboard and power supply failures are increasing.  To avoid being trapped into a single supplier’s pricing custom built PCs are gaining traction as it is so much easier to exchange a component and avoid the cost of a new computer.

I am asked what to do about the orange box that recently has appeared very frequently in the system tray (a.k.a. notification area) normally at the bottom right of the taskbar.  cid:image002.png@01CE4A63.A86A0060

Java is a computer language that allows you to do things in your Internet browser that would otherwise not be possible.  Things like read e-mail, play online games, chat and view images in 3D just to name a few. Most people will visit a web site that uses Java and for them, getting the latest update is a very sensible step.  This is because the updates address security and other problems identified in earlier versions.  Recently there have been a spate of security breaches and hence, more frequent updates than previously.

When you do update you will be given the opportunity of unchecking the box that causes the Ask toolbar to be downloaded and installed. Unless you want this extra toolbar unchecking the box is required.  Other than that, just click the ‘Next’ or ‘install’ buttons till it’s done.  More info and a video on the Java website.  For added security uninstall old versions first.

Thanks to a heavier than usual workload and problems updating the server software, the following blog items published since the last newsletter are fewer than normal but just as exciting as ever.

Ø  Backup validation & verification

Ø  Precautions for loss or theft of tablets and mobile devices.

Ø  Uninstalling hidden device drivers

Ø  Disaster Recovery Plans

Ø  Disk & Windows repairs

Ø  Password Security & Managers          ß  ß  ß  Most important this time

Ø  Anti-Virus and Internet Security recommendations for the year

Progress with our Folding@home team has been nothing short of fantastic.  We now rank 797th out of over 218,000 teams.  If you are not already donating unused computer time to disease research in this way please let me remedy that.  The is no performance hit for you, no security risk and no diminished life of your computer.  Please find out more by watching this 2½ minute video or reading these frequently asked questions.

Recipients of this newsletter who wisely invited me to assist with broadband and/or phone line provision will have recently received the results of my free annual review.  In most cases I was able to suggest better/cheaper packages than I had the year before as the market is so fast changing.  If you didn’t receive a broadband review email from me or would like me to investigate better options for you, please drop me a line.

My TeamViewer remote connection service is proving increasingly popular as it enables much faster and cheaper resolution to many problems and is handy for asking for a demonstration of how to accomplish something.  In future I will be increasing the amount of free time I offer in this way to 30 minutes per month in up to two calls or e-mails but more accurately recording and charging for time beyond that.

When I last fixed my fee in January 2009 petrol sold for 86.9p a litre.  Please be understanding if I now do not waive the 40p per mile charge quite as frequently as heretofore. 

Web pages of interest.      cid:image008.png@01CE5F03.BEE93C20

http://www.printwhatyoulike.com/  Print parts of (multiple) web pages (to PDF) without distractions.

http://www.meraki.com/products/wireless/wifi-stumbler/  Choose an uncluttered wireless channel.

https://ifttt.com/wtf/  Too hard to encapsulate in a line. If This Then That scripts Internet actions.

http://www.petrolprices.com/ Find the cheapest petrol within 10 miles of your location.

http://www.doodle.com/  Helps schedule events/meetings/games with multiple attendees.

https://www.wetransfer.com/ Want to send an attachment > 25 MB Janet ?  This allows files of 2GB free.

http://www.wix.com/  Create websites free & easy.  Like Wordpress only simpler.

Windows XP has been around for over 10 years now and has been superseded by Vista, 7 and now version 8.  Many people rightly hang on to XP based computers as all the time it does the job there is no need to replace it.  If you have never reinstalled Windows then you may be surprised at the performance improvement your old PC can show you – all computers, like people, slow with age and this rejuvenation can postpone the day you have to spend hundreds of pounds and learn to grapple with Windows 8.

Windows Vista owners were unlucky to have bought at the time that Vista was current as it is generally regarded as the worst version of Windows since the ill-fated Millennium edition.  This is more prone to problems than other version and so reinstalling Windows is often a good way to get the system back to the way it was when new. 

Q. I just bought a 1TB disk drive but Windows reports only 935 GB – have I been ripped off ?
A. No.  There are two factors that cause the reduced size.  Traditionalists consider a Terabyte as 240 as computers generally use binary arithmetic in calculations but disk manufacturers prefer a definition of 1012 (sometimes abbreviated TiB) claiming that decimal is easier to understand and more standards based – that accounts for a 2.3% difference.  Also, before a new disk can be used it must be formatted that is, made to have a directory structure so that files’ locations can be easily catalogued and quickly retrieved and this takes some space.

Online security is as big an issue as ever. 

*      Please remember that e-mails purporting to come from your friend may be sent by a bad person so avoid clicking any links in an e-mail – go to a browser and type the address instead if it looks genuine.

*      When you receive an unsolicited phone call from “Microsoft” or “Technical Support” or “Internet Control” the only appropriate action is to hang up before speaking. 

*      We all know that it is inviting disaster to click the attached file in an e-mail message, but what if it is a harmless .JPG or .PDF ?  By inserting a hidden Unicode character in the filename e.g. photo[U+202E]gpj.exe, letters are switched to read right to left – in the example: photoexe.jpg is displayed and when clicked the .EXEcutable is run will all the privileges of your account.

*      Finally, do not reuse passwords as when one site is breeched (as happens very frequently now), they all are effectively compromised.

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Best wishes

Eugene.

 

Your feedback would be appreciated.

 

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


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.

Please let me know how this page could be improved.