1ComputerCare

Summer 2016 Newsletter

Dear friend,

I do hope you don’t think that too presumptuous a greeting, if you do then you may be a category c) recipient of my six monthly newsletter as defined further down. 

Contents

Windows 10

Broadband

Ninite

Broadband

Spam

Ransomware

Blogs & Tweets

Folding

Eugene


Referrals

Please remember that I offer 20% or £20 off your next labour charge as a thank you for each referral 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 15 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

Blind fitter

Builder

Dance Coach

Dentist

Electrician

Energy Assessor

Financial Planner

Funeral Celebrant

Ground Worker

Guest House Host

Interior Designer

Jeweller

Masseuse

Midwife

Nurseryman

Painter & Decorator

Personal Trainer

Piano Tuner

Planning Consultant

Plumber

Psychologist

Surveyor

Telecoms Engineer

Tiler

Translator

  Trainer

  Travel Agent

  Web Designer

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

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Suggestions please

What would you find interesting in this space ? What did you like best?  Please make a suggestion to Editor@1ComputerCare.co.uk


Back Issues

You can read past issues of this newsletter (10 years’ worth) at
1computercare.co.uk/newsletters.html

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HoHoHo

What do hungry computers eat ?  Chips.

 

A tachyon walks into a bar. The bartender says “we don’t serve your kind here”. The tachyon replies “you did tomorrow”.

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Curiously…

Japan is the largest exporter of frogs' legs in the world.

 

Honeybees cannot see the colour red.

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First I would like to thank all those who wished me well on hearing of my slipped disk six months ago.  It has been the longest period of ill health I have suffered and I am now starting to get back to racquet sports with renewed vigour in an attempt to stave off a repeat attack. 

Also I want to highlight my new phone number:  0845 260 1723

Windows 10 is now part of most people’s lives but there are some who have been holding back.  I want to dispel a couple of myths for their benefit.

1.      It is not harder to use that earlier versions if installed correctly.  There is only one thing that is a little different and no one I know of has struggled with it.  There are a load of new features but they are all hidden until you look them out.  When I upgrade for people (fixed fee of £54) I leave an icon on the desktop that leads to a tutorial on the new features in case it is of interest.

2.      The licence to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 is free until the 29th July and will be around £85 thereafter probably.  Support for earlier versions of Windows will end but Windows 10, being the last version, will have ongoing support indefinitely.

Windows 10 is a better product than its predecessors but the improvements are largely under the hood.  Things like enhanced security and increased compatibility with other devices.

It is easy to unwittingly allow Microsoft to upgrade this at a time of its choosing so be careful what you click (hint: clicking the red cross at the top right of the nag screen indicates acceptance).  To avoid that risk [have me] run Never10 or for finer control GWX.  The main things to note about the upgrade are

·        It takes time, perhaps 2 – 6 hours depending on computer and broadband speed

·        It may knobble your virus protection so check whether it needs to be reinstalled after the upgrade

·        Ditto for printers – if these don’t work just download and install new drivers from the manufacturer’s site.

·        As always with changes, an image backup before you start is wise.

Broadband internet cost calculations are about to change.  This is partly as Government encourages providers to abolish the line rental component of their charges now that many people just do not use land lines any more.  The likely result of this is that the costs will be merged by some making comparisons harder than they are currently.  TalkTalk has already announced its plans in this area. 

Secondly Ofcom are introducing a universal service obligation to force providers to offer better than 10 mbps speeds to all.  The only problem with this is that the costs will have to be met somewhere and it seems likely that urban customers may have to effectively subsidise rural ones.

Apart from the familiar ADSL there are alternative vehicles: fibre, wireless, cable, satellite, 4G etc. and all should be considered beyond mere price comparisons.

Whether your broadband was previously arranged with my help or not, I encourage readers to have me provide a suggestion of the best plan for you each time a contract ends (usually annually).  There is no charge for this and savings per year are often over £150.

Many have spent £6 on an annual license for Ninite, a very useful program to alert you to insecure programs running on your computer.  Remember it is only of use if you have it update the obsolete programs it finds.  I say this as so often I connect to a computer and see a cid:image004.png@01D1AD6A.1BC41930 in the system tray rather than a cid:image008.png@01D1AD6A.1BC41930 which appears after you double click the N and have it update the programs it finds.  Remember to ‘quit’ Skype before updating it.

Missing emails are an infrequent fact of life.  Most people know that the spam/junk folder is the place to look for something that should be in the inbox.  Up to now I have been checking my spam folder frequently but as I write this I have 124,000 messages that have arrived in my work email account in the last 30 days. 

The automated filtering is so good now that I will only be looking in spam if I am looking for something specific.  Note that it is this good because I have been ‘training’ it; so when a message is incorrectly marked I right click and correct the issue – I do not simply move messages between inbox and spam, or delete it because that way the system doesn’t learn.

If you haven’t received a reply from me within 24 hours it is time to pester because it probably means I haven’t seen it.

Ransomware is the virus type du jour and I have several clients who have fallen foul of the attack that typically will lock or encrypt all photos and documents until a payment is made to release the cryptographic key.  This is equally true of Windows and Apple Macintosh computers, both of which need virus protection now.

Avoiding the necessity to pay is just another of the reasons why everyone should be backing up their files (a trivial and automated operation in Windows 10 and OSX).  For stronger than average protection one of your backup media must be offline or employ versioning.  Simply keeping the most recent copy of a backup is a flawed policy as the smarter attackers will postpone making their presence known.

My favourite security suite, BitDefender, does come with a ransomware protection module but it is not enabled by default.

cid:image002.png@01D1A71C.1CEA6020

Avoiding an attack is down partly to luck but mainly down to not clicking on any link or attachment that arrives in your email – even those purporting to come from your most trusted confidante as it is so easy to spoof a From: address.  Not using an administratively privileged account for regular use will also offer some protection. 

Another way to secure yourself is to run Ninite (available from me for just £6 a year).  This will not only maintain background frameworks at a version where all known attack vectors have been blocked, but will update programs in a way that does not introduce ‘bonus’ software – the prime cause of computers running slower than they used to.

Check out my recent blog posts for some crazy excitement

·        Adblockers - are they worth having ?

·        Cloud backup - Google Drives Microsoft's OneDrive down the road.

·        10 Windows 10 tips

·        Backing up emails and browser accounts

·        Backups - a salutary tale

·        Buying a monitor screen

·        Abrupt shutdowns

·        Should Apple Mac owners install security protection ?

And for occasional snippets follow me on Twitter @HugeEugeG those who did in February learnt of 2GB free online cloud storage.  I don’t tweet much, and not always about technology, but when I do it’s golden.  Learn Twitter use for beginners in one easy webpage at PCAdvisor.

Our Folding@home team have now attained 369th ranking out of over 224,000 teams.  Whether you are donating unused computer time to the search for remedies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Cancer the patients of tomorrow thank you.

http://fah-web2.stanford.edu/awards/tcert.php?u=217881&pts=144550496

To find out more about this worthy project please visit
http://folding.stanford.edu/ 
To join us in our noble endeavour just call me to get the client setup on your computers.

You may have seen the funnies that start ‘you know you are old when’:

·        you can divide your age by 10 without needing any fingers to remember the remainder but need a toe on the other foot to remember the 10s

·        your back goes out more than you do

·        you turn the lights off for economic reasons more often than romantic

·        ‘happy hour’ means time for a nap

·        Birthday greetings on LinkedIn exceed those on Facebook

·        the candles cost more than the cake

·        Christmas sunbathing is preferred to skiing

·        you have to research what you learnt last month

For me there is more than a degree of truth with all those.  So I have decided to slow things down with 1ComputerCare.  Rather than sell the business, hike prices, or reduce service level I intend to gradually ease the workload by reducing the client base.  Initially by asking clients in any of the following groups to look up an alternate provider now, before the next emergency strikes.

a)      Those who live north of Tunbridge Wells or more than 10 miles (south) of it

b)     Those whose computer problems may require urgent attention – typically those whose livelihood requires a computer yet they have no disaster recovery plan

c)      Those who consider our relationship purely functional

d)     Anyone I have ever asked for payment before job completion

If you feel included in the list then thank you for your custom over the last 13 years, if you are not sure please ask now to avoid embarrassment later.

 

What will I do with my new leisure time ?  I have a lifetime’s reading to catch up on, rambling the countryside, racquet sports, travelling more, gardening maybe, but most of all I am looking forward to getting into moocs (Massive Open Online Courses).  In particular I have recently started a local charity to support a community cinema in our village hall.  I would like to get back into computer programming, last done in earnest 30 years ago, to maintain an information system to support that enabling members to select and vote on the films they would like screened.  Perhaps you’d like to join us ?

 

 

Best wishes

Eugene.

 

I appreciate your clicking here to record compliments and criticisms.

 

Web:         http://www.1ComputerCare.co.uk/
E-mail:      Eugene@1ComputerCare.co.uk
New phone number:   0845 260 1723  (9.30am – 5.30pm Monday – Friday)

 

Appointments held for 24 hours.  Cancellations < 24hrs: £20. 

Minimum 1 hour but no fix, no fee.  Late morning = planned arrival 11:30am  – 1:30pm
Early afternoon = planned arrival 1:30 - 3:30; late afternoon = planned arrival 3:30 - 5:30.
Prices and timescales are estimates and all work is subject to acceptance of current
Terms
I advise taking and testing backups routinely and before any change.