1ComputerCare

Winter 2015 Newsletter

It’s been six months since my last newsletter so time to send this one.  This is the shortest newsletter since I started producing them 10 years ago, a direct result of the health problems that caused me to reduce my working hours to one a day from 27th October.  I have been gradually increasing my working hours as I recover and hope to be back to full time and caught up with the backlog by the end of the year. 

Contents

Windows 10

Security

Blogs

Broadband

Folding


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

Builder

Dance Coach

Dentist

Electrician

Energy Assessor

Financial Planner

Ground Worker

Guest House Host

Interior Designer

Jeweller

Masseuse

Midwife

Nurseryman

Painter & Decorator

Personal Trainer

Piano Tuner

Planning Consultant

Plumber

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

Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes ! - BILLY CONNOLLY

 

Why do computer scientists confuse Halloween and Christmas ?

Because 31 Oct = 25 Dec.

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Curiously…

American bullfrogs’ eyes have special retinas. The top half sees in daylight, the bottom sees into the water using infrared.

 

Mauritania's highest mountain is made of the magnetic mineral magnetite, so compasses don't work on it.

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Windows version 10 is now here and I am frequently asked if and when to upgrade.  The update itself will be free until July 2016 and probably about £90 thereafter.  It is the best version of Windows yet and certainly something to move to.  However, the longer you leave it the more the teething problems will be found and resolved by others.

If you are confident with computers there is no reason why you shouldn’t do the upgrade yourself right now but first please read my blog post at
http://www.1computercare.co.uk/blog/index.php/2015/08/31/upgrading-to-windows-10?blog=5 

The most important suggestion is to take a full image of your disk before you start – several times the upgrade has gone wrong for me and having a fall-back position has been invaluable.   If you are not comfortable taking and restoring from an image then I would be happy to take care of the upgrade for you.  I am offering this at a fixed fee of £54 which, in terms of the length of time it takes, is a real bargain.

Note that the wall time taken by the upgrade procedure will vary depending on the speed of your computer and internet connection, but is generally between two and four hours.  Do not interrupt any Windows update or upgrade – they take a long time and if interrupted will probably result in a non-functioning computer.

Security was always going to be the thrust of this newsletter and recent events (e.g. TalkTalk’s third breach in a year) have highlit the urgent and essential nature of this.  It is now reasonable to assume that almost everyone that uses the internet for email and/or web browsing has had some of their credentials stolen from at least one of the places such details are recorded.  If the criminals are doing ‘their job’ well, you will not be aware of this until sufficient pieces of information gleaned from social media and data breaches are aggregated, sold on, and used to your disadvantage.

This is not something that only happens to stupid/wealthy/other/older people.  I know of a middle aged solicitor who was stung for several thousand pounds and eventually resulted in loss of a promising career.

Notwithstanding that, the internet can be a safe, informative and enjoyable place as long as some protective steps are taken.  It is imperative to protect yourself from the bad people who can think of more ways to profit from your information than your imagination can conceive.  Here are the key ways to protect yourself in no particular order.

1.      Never reuse passwords – all should be unique and a minimum of 10 characters including numbers and letters.  Most people cannot remember all their passwords so a password manager program is almost essential.  Yes, paper will do but a program is so much more useful.  Apart from remembering the correct password for each website it will generating strong ones for you too.  Also, you can synchronise it with other devices to keep them secure.   Some e.g. KeePass, are free but check out 1Password, RoboForm, and LastPass too – it is worth investing time to get this right.

2.      Do not respond to unsolicited phone calls, emails, or door-to-door callers.  Hanging up the phone before speaking is not rude but sensible.  Even if you are expecting a call, get positive proof of the caller’s bone fides before answering any questions.  Caller ID can be faked so if in doubt hang up the phone, wait 10 minutes then call the phone number advertised on the genuine company’s stationary.

3.      Do not post anything on Facebook, Twitter, or other public places that can identify you or be used to lure you into a false sense of security.  No birth dates, pet’s names, or things that can be used as the answer to those secret questions used for password recovery.  Ensure privacy settings are set appropriately.

4.      Use two factor authentication where practicable.  By requiring two separate means of identification you are inconvenienced only the first time of use but make life so much harder for the bad guys.

5.      Be wary of emails – the name in the From: field may know nothing about it.  Do not click links – type the address in to a browser.  The contents of the status bar can be faked and can lead you to websites that are indiscernible from the genuine item; these then can harvest your data.  Images in emails can contain infections to so display them after consideration.

6.      Ensure you run a paid for, up-to-date, well reviewed internet security program. 

7.      Keep Windows and all other programs updated with the latest security patches.  This is easiest done with Ninite – a program that automatically alerts you to updates and installs them without the usual ancillary rubbish.

8.      Backups are important, one of the things they protect you from is ransomware.  If you haven’t tested recovery recently how do you know it is working ?

If in doubt please ask me.

Blog posts for the last six months may be reached by clicking the links below.  I think you’ll enjoy them.

 

·        Driver update utilities

·        Femtocells boost mobile coverage

·        Wireless signal strength variability

·        FreedomPop - free mobile phone use

·        Insecure email clients

·        Upgrading to Windows 10

·        Windows 10 Came - first impressions after general release

·        Printer failures and blocked nozzles

·        Windows 10 commeth

Broadband reviews.  As the market changes so rapidly it is sensible to review whether you are on the most appropriate phone and broadband plan each time your contract ends – often at 18 month intervals.  Even if I suggested something to you in the past it may not be best now.  Please call me and ask for a free review when your contract has one or two months left to run. 

The best provider for you is certainly one that is not much more expensive than others, but also one that has a good reputation for technical support – not just how quickly they answer the phone but how active they are is getting to the bottom of the issue.  Bundling all sorts of TV and utilities together may seem like a simple way to operate, but you pay for that simplicity one way or another. 

Our Folding@home team is now positioned 377th out of over 220,000.  We have made a significant contribution to medical research into Parkinson’s, Cancer and Huntington’s disease and should be proud of what we have done with otherwise unused computer resources.

http://fah-web2.stanford.edu/awards/tcert.php?u=217881&pts=116618907

 

Learn about the science behind this.  Proteins help fight disease by first assembling themselves or "folding." When proteins misfold, there can be serious health consequences.  If we better understand protein misfolding we can design drugs and therapies to combat these illnesses. Click here to learn more.

2015-08-10-(questionable-security)I thought this apt given the security related theme of this newsletter.  The fact is that many ordinaty websites you visit contain advertisements.  The advertisement space is often sold as a single block to an agency to fill and sell on with multiple ads as they see fit. 

 

Some agencies check the contents they sell on more closely than others – they may know of a malware injection or be oblivious to it.  This is how even on the most respectable sites you may, if you are running a good enough internet security package, see that phishing attempts have been blocked.

 

Please forward this to those you appreciate most.

 

Best wishes

Eugene.

 

P.S.   I really do appreciate your clicking here to record brickbats and bouquets.

 

Web:         http://www.1ComputerCare.co.uk/
E-mail:      Eugene@1ComputerCare.co.uk (preferred)
Phone:      0845 108 0254   (10am - 6pm  Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

                                                    ( 9am - 5pm  Tuesday, Thursday)  
                                       
Appointments held for 24 hours.  Cancellations < 24hrs: £20.  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 only estimates and all work is subject to acceptance of the Terms of Business. 

You are responsible for your own backups and security. I am happy to advise.