My current 6 monthly thoughts are presented below for your enjoyment. There are two suggested items below that would be cheaper with increased take-up, please let me know if you would like more details.
Please remember that I offer 20% off your next labour charge as a thank you for each recommendation that results in a new client.
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
Don’t forget that there is no charge for the first 30 minutes remote support each month – ideal for quick questions.
Need a trade ?
Personal recommendation is usually the best advert and my clients include the following trades:
Guest House Host
Painter & Decorator
Please let me know if I missed yours or you need a referral.
What would you find interesting in this space ? Please make a suggestion to Eugene@1Computercare.co.uk
I am able to get printer ink at very good prices. If you tell me the make of printer I’ll let you know the current price.
There’s no place like
Windows XP. This is the last newsletter before support for this version of Windows ends on 8th April; after that time connecting an XP computer to the Internet will be folly. I explain this in more detail in my blog where I give the reasons that lead to this becoming a honey pot for virus writers, blackmailers and identity thieves. The time to upgrade to a later version of Windows or replace the computer is from now until 8th April.
Windows Vista. If you bought at the time when Vista was current you were unlucky as it turned out to be particularly susceptible to internal corruptions. Reinstalling Windows is the way to recover the original performance you had but it is essential to take an image backup before reformatting the disk.
Windows 7. Unless you have particular reasons to do so, upgrading to Windows 8 is probably not worth the expense. Make sure security is maintained at the highest level though.
Windows 8. Updating to version 8.1 is probably a good move, but this is a complete multi-hour reinstallation and early adopters were caught out. Confirm the validity of your backups before having to rely on them.
New computer for Christmas ?
Let me help with the technical specifications but please ask before 10th December.
Back in the good old days computer viruses came from people running something that compromised Windows. Gradually Microsoft improved the security of the operating system to a point where it is now easier to infest the programs of less well experienced and financed publishers.
Java and Acrobat Reader are two recent examples of applications that most people have installed and which have recently been compromised – hence the increased frequency of updates becoming available for these. Programs such as Skype, FireFox and iTunes could be running with outdated performance enhancements and security vulnerabilities exposed. These are all potential open doors for hackers.
But who can keep up with which of the scores of programs and background framework libraries running on most computers that have had an update patch released recently ? Do you know what is good to update and what is a scam ? And manually going to numerous websites to check, download and updated them is a chore and a half.
Introducing Ninite, a program that does it all for you: silently rejecting the toolbars and extra junk and getting the job done in the background as soon as the update is released. It can do this for 95 common programs intelligently choosing the version and language appropriate for your computer.
I am hoping to get a group membership that will bring the cost of this down to a very reasonable £6 a year. If this interests you please let me know.
Ø ß ß ß Most important this time
Please take a minute to answer my one question survey at
Progress with our Folding@home team (now over 100 strong) continues to show an impressive level of altruistic activity with otherwise unused computing power. We now rank 574th (up from 1375th a year ago) out of over 219,000 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.
Readers will probably already have TeamViewer installed to allow for my remote connection to explain error messages or resolve issues more quickly and cheaply than could be accomplished with a visit.
A facility exists using the program you already have to send an automated report (to you, me or both) whenever a fault condition arises. The expectation being that such early reporting, which is currently going un-noticed or ignored, will lead to timelier and ultimately cheaper problem resolution as well as less data loss.
Examples of some of the conditions that can be monitored are:
Basic checks as asterisked above are available free right now. Others are available for a monthly fee which will vary depending on how many people take up this offer – probably about £2 a month or £20 a year though. Please email me for more details or to register your potential interest.
I am adding smart phones and tablet computers to the list of items I repair. For the next few months this will be free of charge (excluding parts) while I firm up my experience.
Web pages of interest.
v http://www.clipconverter.cc/ Downloads Youtube & other media and converts to your favourite audio or video format for time shifted viewing (good for sports).
v http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/ for daily changing desktop wallpaper photos that are often astoundingly good. Use ITTT to automatically deposit them in Dropbox.
v http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/ @NASA tweet announces broadcasting of live TV from the international space station.
v http://www.flightradar24.com/51.13,0.22/12 Shows you exactly which planes are overhead my house in real time – their origins, destinations, altitudes, speeds…
v http://wechoosethemoon.org/ Turn the volume up and set browser to full screen (F11) for an interactive animated re-enactment of Apollo 11’s lunar landing.
v http://www.stumbleupon.com Tell them your interests and they’ll recommend web pages of interest based around your selections.
v http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses 800 Free Online Courses from Top Universities (U4A ?)
Please send me your top picks.
Password security is more important than ever now that so many websites have had their databases stolen. If you reuse passwords then when one gets compromised all others are.
How easy do you think it is for a bad person to guess your password ? If they have access to a regular home computer then all they need to do is to obtain a free program that tries all possible characters – this is known as a brute force attack. If any personal details are on your Facebook page then those could be used to salt the search algorithm and shorten the time needed. Test how safe your password is on the free Kaspersky check site:
Q. Who should I go to for personal training in use of my computer ?
A. Vivienne Everett visits people in their own homes to generally help with using the internet and email, attaching photos to emails, Skype, eBay, internet shopping, booking flights, etc. She is a qualified teacher (Cert Ed) and was working as an IT tutor for West Kent College (now K College) until early retirement in 2006. She is very experienced in helping more mature students as well as the youth that typify 1ComputerCare clients. Phone 07899 793895.
What question would you like to see addressed here ?
10 scams common at Christmas
1. Phony e-greeting cards. An easy way to smuggle phishing links leading to hijacked malware delivery sites.
2. Phony stores. Ok so it appears in a Google search, a price comparison site or a review site – all those can be rigged. Check that there is a UK postal address advertised, try calling the support number.
3. Anyone can advertise, even crooks. Being on a known legitimate site is no proof of veracity – ad servers farm these things out.
4. Fake delivery related e-mails. I had one only last week from ‘DHL’. I did not click the link to claim my lost parcel.
5. Fake store e-mail. Whether the email purports to come from your bank, most trusted store, or best friend; remember email addresses can be spoofed. Be wary.
6. Charity scams. Giving is good, but only to genuine charities – check out the bone fides with the Charity Commission.
7. Gift card scams. Only buy direct from the vendor – anyone with a computer can fake most vouchers or coupons.
8. Unsolicited calls – whether by phone, e-mail or text. If they’re genuine you will be able to call them back. (Two of my clients were caught with this last week)
9. Social media plants. You may trust your friend but anyone with enough nouse can place a recommendation on another wall/feed.
10. Free gifts. Enough said ?
The take home message is to be especially cautious when the bad guys know that the good guys often let their guard down in holiday season. If it seems too good to be true it is just that. If in doubt just click the button or forward to me for confirmation.
Happy Christmas everyone !
Please forward this to your very best friend.
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( 9am - 5pm Tuesday, Thursday)
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.
It is essential that all your passwords are unique, minimum 10 characters and complex.