FAQS - SERVICES - MAIN

Some things to Know

 

WHICH PAYMENT METHODS DO YOU ACCEPT?

We can take card payments in person with a mobile card reader, we will take cash if that is the only option. We can request payment using PayPal, and  PayPal can be used when invoiced to pay online with a card or PayPal funds. We will also accept direct bank payment, we supply payment details on all invoices. We also can setup a Direct Debit monthly payment for certain services, or for outstanding invoice amounts.

See how to Pay page

DO YOU DO WORK HERE AT MY HOME OR DO YOU HAVE A SHOP?

We generally work at your home, in person, sometimes by remote access, if working on a computer. If a task is going to take a long time and I think it would be better and cheaper for us to take equipment away to work on it further, we would discuss that option with you.
No, we don't have a shop or premises that clients would normally come to. we do have some office space on a business client's premises, but that is not for receiving client visits.

I'M NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT INVITING A STRANGER INTO MY HOME.

We understand, and we try and work with people by recommendation, if possible. But for clients who don't know us we have 2 things to help with concerns:

  • We have paid to have a DBS criminal background check on anyone you invite into your home - with associated certificate showing lack of convictions, what used to be a CRB check.

  • We can provide a reference from our accountants, and long-standing client (10 years), to vouch for our character and integrity

Also, this is a small area, I'm sure if we tried we might find someone in common that we would both know.

HOW QUICKLY WILL I HEAR BACK?

Make sure you leave a contact number if you call or message. We will try and get back to you within hours, hopefully no longer than 24H, but there are no guarantees, we will do our best. While waiting turn off your tech, if possible, unless that might cause further damage.

IS THIS GOING TO COST MORE?

No, our standard ad-hoc support rate is the same, see our Pricing Page. We will always try and work with you and discuss options for reducing costs, buying batches of hours, discounts for over 65's, referral discounts, etc, including payment over time, if needed.

ARE YOU ABLE TO COME OUT OF HOURS?

We work normal business type hours, plus some evenings and part of weekends to help domestic clients who work. We would have to discuss your needs and again see our Pricing Page where we try and cover this. We don't take advantage of people in need, we are here to help not add to the problem.

PAYMENT METHODS ACCEPTED?

For more detail and also discounts and referral bonuses see our Pricing Pages. We can take card payments (See our How to Pay - Payment types pages) using a mobile reader, VISA, MASTERCARD, or send you a PayPal payment request, as well as payment by direct bank transfer. Direct Debits for monthly payments can be setup, for regular work or training, as well as spreading costs.

We may ask for a refundable 1-hour deposit for new clients to dissuade time wasters. We would discuss that with you if it is required, this can be refunded if necessary, or applied to the invoice.

 

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SECURITY?

That is a broad term covering a wide array of security elements that can be used individually or as part of a complete package.
Example: Antivirus software, Malware protection, Firewall security, (Note often Antivirus applications come with firewall security also, but always check) - are individual elements
Example: Norton Security, AVG Total Security, BitDefender Total Security, etc - are complete security systems containing many, but not always all that you need to be fully protected. Also, some are better than others. 
But if you want to be protected always go for the paid version.

WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU RECOMMEND?

We will be happy to recommend security software to our clients, but as always it will depend upon your devices and your needs. We have experience of many types from all different suppliers, and our preferences have changed over time as software has changed and the threats have changed. We would be happy to enlighten you, just ask for a consult. But some free information, iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone don't generally need extra help as their systems and the app store that feeds it are so locked down and restricted. The app store as far as we know doesn't even have any antivirus apps to download. Mac's on the other hand, you can install antivirus software. That should tell you something. Don't trust Microsoft's in-house Defender software to be your only protection.

I ALREADY USE SECURITY SOFTWARE BUT WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE, IS THAT POSSIBLE?

Simple answer, yes. Security software although more involved and much more buried into your computer system to do its job, can be removed, and a new one installed. It is not always as easy as unistalling it. You sometimes need to download a special removal application.

I THINK I HAVE A VIRUS OR MALWARE ON MY SYSTEM, IS IT TOO LATE TO INSTALL SECURITY SOFTWARE?

It's never too late, but having it before might have stopped getting infected, but that horse might already have bolted.
We can help get you installed, get your system checked and hopefully cleaned.
I would suggest you keep your system off as this will stop any progress, and make sure the device is not connected to the internet. You don't want all your files uploaded!
Then let us or some other tech professional help you. Hopefully we can get things back to normal or advise what is achievable.

 

WHAT'S A FAMILY SECURITY PLAN?

Simple, it's a plan offered by a security software provider that covers not just 1 device but lots, PC's, MAC's, mobile phones, tablets, etc (if they can download the software). You also, if you get the right kind, have an online portal that you can monitor the installs and setup parental controls if it has them. It also works out much cheaper per device. It's a lot like buying in bulk.

HOW CAN I RESTRICT WHAT MY CHILD ACCESS AND DOES ON A TABLET?

That depends upon lots of different factors. What device, what operating system, what is it you are trying to restrict, do you want them to have any internet access, do you want to restrict what apps they can use, do you want to stop them spending thousands in side games. The list goes on and it will depend upon the age and what maturity level your child is  at and what you think is appropriate.
So, can you restrict yes, but it depends and does not have an easy answer, and in most cases does not have a one stop shop solution. If you need help doing this, I recommend getting help if you are not technically minded. Would you let your child walk around at night in a dangerous part of your town? No, so why would you let them on the internet without restrictions.

I WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH MY FAMILY?

There are many options for this, and depends upon if you want direct communication, group communication, and what kind of security you want.
Obviously, you can call, and text, and email. Calling and texting are secure, email not so much. How can I communicate using Wi-Fi and keep costs down on mobile plans and call charges?  There is Skype which has been around for a while, it allows internet calling, both voice and if you have a camera images/video, which for family you don't see often is great. You can also send text style messages. A very popular app for communication is What'sApp - this allows calls and texting and picture and video sending with ease, it can work on Wi-Fi and mobile data and is encrypted. It is also easy to setup family and friends' groups, as many as you like. So, you can message lots of people or just 1 or 2.

HOW CAN I SEE WHERE MY CHILD IS?

There are lots of ways, most involve them having a mobile phone, which has a app on it, you have that app also. You then setup an account and link your mobiles using the account. The app then uses, Wi-Fi or mobile data plus the GPS location system built in to show you where they are on a map. Great I hear you say, well there are limitations, usually the battery on the mobile. Having the Data, Wi-Fi, GPS etc all turned on, eats battery in most phones. So, you must be careful. If you use Apple devices, they have a system as part of the ecosystem, that can allow you to track devices, but you usually access a website to see that. Not as convenient as an app. You can also get mini mobile GPS child trackers from some mobile providers, that do a similar job and the battery although not great is better than a phone, no big screen! So, it depends upon what you need, just track or track and communicate. Other limitations are GPS or Data unavailable or blocked - so no location. Can cause worry also.

 

CABLE V WI-FI NETWORKING?

In our modern homes, with all the smart devices we have and laptops that we want to use in front of the TV, Wi-Fi is king. 99% of tablet and mobile can only use Wi-Fi. Box computers usually only come with cable network connections. Laptops can use both usually. So, it depends upon your devices, but a combination of the 2 is ideal.
The biggest issue most families have is strength of Wi-Fi signal. Walls, water, metal, etc in our homes blocks the signal. So, you either get a better router, or Wi-Fi booster or range extenders. Very modern systems use a network of small Wi-Fi senders to create a mesh covering your home to solve this issue.

INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER ROUTER OR BUY YOUR OWN?

If the ISP router works and does what you need, why change. If it's not doing what you need, try asking for a newer or better one, without having to pay lots more for it. If you have a big house, lots of floors, thick walls then buying a good quality high power router makes sense. You also get the benefit of it handling more devices, faster Wi-Fi, more security features, including Guest Wi-Fi and apps to control them - the threat to your kids to disconnect them from the Wi-Fi with the push of a button, is a very powerful tool. We speak from first-hand experience!

WHAT IS A VPN AND DO I NEED ONE?

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. Ok, what is that? In simple terms, it is a way to connect 2 networks together and communicate both ways but keep that data back and forth secure. Think of it like a tunnel though water - the tunnel lets things go both ways, without getting wet. The VPN creates an encrypted tunnel connection between 2 points and allows secure transfer of data. Ok, so, what is a VPN? I know, it sounds complicated, and the stuff in the background is, but things have been made simpler, you have a VPN app, you make a connection using Wi-Fi or mobile data, then turn on the VPN and it connects to a point on the internet, your data goes down it then out the end to the internet. Useful for free Wi-Fi sites.

SO, WHAT AGAIN IS A VPN AND DO I NEED ONE?

99% of the time, no you don't need one. But for those times where you are wanting to protect your data from possible snooping, like free Wi-Fi locations, on holiday, in hotels, even someone's home, a VPN is useful. Especially while accessing Banking info.
So, which one? Don't use free ones, they may snoop on your data just as much as that cafe with the Free Wi-Fi! Pay for one, research it, ask us, get security software that comes with one, or that has one you can pay to use. If you are trusting them to keep you safe, why not trust their VPN? If you are not sure, search online for reviews, or ask us. But most of the time, no you don't need one, but like insurance it's nice to have it if you need it.

 

FAQS - EMAIL ACCOUNTS

TO POP, TO IMAP, TO EXCHANGE, WHAT?

POP - Post office Protocol - where email started, and for many where it stayed. You download your emails onto a computer or device, they are just on that device, may be 1-2 weeks of emails on a mobile, any sent emails are only on that device. You lose it they are gone. If you have BTinternet email - POP.

IMAP - Internet Message Access Protocol - been around since 80's better in 90's - most modern email uses this - email is kept on a Server in the Cloud/internet, you get a copy to a PC, or mobile, you send an email a copy is saved on all devices and the cloud. Much better, Gmail uses this.

Exchange- IMAP on steroids - lots more functions, mostly for business use, but anyone with Office365, has this, even HOME licences

MY INTERNET PROVIDER EMAIL OR OTHER?

Whatever works, but if you change internet provider, you can't usually keep your email address, or it costs money to keep it live, or mostly you just can't keep it. Historically, yes you used what you were given. These days with Gmail, and so many others out there you really should use an email provider that is separate from the ISP, so you can change whenever you want without having to tell everyone what your new email is! If you really want to get all cool about it, get yourself a Domain name, say- www.thesmiths.com or www.taylor.co.uk, then setup your own email say, email@thesmiths.com or david@taylor.co.uk. Search for what you want then get creative. We did, help@TechHelp4U.uk, we bought the domain name www.TechHelp4U.uk, then we can create as many emails as we like, we have to pay, but it's not much, to be unique.

IS EMAIL SAFE? SECURE? I HAVE SSL?

Simple answer - no. 99.999999% of all email is not secure, SSL, TLS, or not. In the beginning, email was sent a lot like a postcard is sent by normal Royal Mail, for all to see. Then came SSL and TLS, which improved things a little, adding a bit of encryption, for parts of the journey across the internet. Can I encrypt emails to people, yes, but then you must sort out how they can decrypt it, they need the keys to unlock it, how to you send those to them? So came PGP, or pretty good privacy. Smart people came up with Public-Private encryption keys, which is great be you still need to manage those keys, and the person at the other end has to have the right software to decrypt the message! So don't send passwords, or tax information or anything you would not want to put on a Postcard! for all to see, by email. So, what do we do, we use other methods and systems for secure exchange, are they perfect, no, are they better than email, YES.

HOW DO I STOP EMAIL SPAM?

Quick answer - you can't, you can only reduce it, mitigate it, put systems and processes in place to try and block it, but some will inevitably get past all that. The only way to truly stop it is to not have an email. Email systems like Gmail from Google and Office365 from Microsoft to a great job of SPAM filtering and protecting you from malicious emails of other sorts, but SPAMmers are clever, and they are always thinking of new ways to get around the blocks.
One good method of reducing it or being able to turn it off, is the use of email aliases. That's where you have an email you use with friends fred@gmail.com, but have another email name linked to it onlineaccount1@gmail.com. You use that one to register for things online, at websites. You can have lots of them one for each account. Then if you get lots of SPAM on one of them, you can just delete it. Only use your main one with friends. But again, it only reduces it.

 

FAQS - ONLINE ACCOUNTS

I HAVE SO MANY ACCOUNTS, IT'S OK TO USE THE SAME PASSWORD, RIGHT?

NO. What if one of the online accounts is hacked, and your credentials are then used to login to all the other sites you are registeredd with. Please don't use the same password, and if you can use a strong long password, that is different for each site. See Passwords & Password Managers Page

I LOVE SHOPPING ONLINE, HOW CAN I PROTECT MY CARDS WHEN PAYING?

Easy, setup a PayPal account, register your cards that you want to use. Then go shopping. Most sites offer the PayPal option for paying. You select it at the checkout, then you go and login to your PayPal account. You can then use the default card or choose a payment card for that Transaction. PayPal doesn't give your card details to the online shop, it transfers the money from your card to the shop. Again, like your passwords, why give an online shop your card details when their security might not be good, and if hacked your card details then used to go shopping!

YEH, BUT PAYPAL NOW KNOW MY CARDS, IS THAT SAFE?

About as safe as anything on the internet. But they have a big business to protect and they spend a lot of money on the best security, most likely better than most banks! Since most banks have very out-dated software systems. They are the big boys in the online payments area with more to lose than you.

ARE BANKING APPS SAFE?

If they weren't, they would not be put out there by the banks, as their reputation is on the line, just like your money.
Can you do things to help keep you safe, yes, if you don't use an Apple device, then have security software on it that scans apps you download and other phone media.
Stick to well-known main stream apps from the app store, to reduce the chances of downloading a virus or malware.
When connecting, use Wi-Fi you trust, or if out and about, use your mobile data, or if you must, use a VPN to get you safely onto the internet before you start accessing your bank account.

 

FAQS - PROTECTING ONLINE ACCOUNTS

OK, WHAT IS 2-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION?

It is a way to try and reduce the chance, or to make it hard for criminals to hack your online or desktop accounts.
It goes with your normal credentials, username and password, and adds another layer. It could be that a text code is sent to your mobile, or you have to tap yes on your mobile, or you have to get a code from a special app on your phone that changes every 30secs, or you have an authentication device like most banks use to provide a code, or you have a USB or Bluetooth or NFC device, like a Yubikey. That is the basic 2-factor. Smart people are trying to get to a point of doing away with passwords all together, but we are not there yet.

SO HOW DO I ADD 2-FACTOR?

Like with most things, that depends, does your online account even allow for its use? You then have to decide which method to use, if given a choice. Text, app, USB device, etc. That will depend on things like, will you always have text or mobile coverage? Will you always have your mobile phone, with charge? Are you worried about losing a USB device for authentication? Will it just work on a computer or will it work on my phone also? You might be access accounts using your mobile or tablet, you need to think about these things. Are you going to use a combination? Go to your account settings and see what they offer. You can always change the method or remove it, if you have issues.

I HAVE A PASSWORD, I'M OK, RIGHT?

No, even if you have a long, strong, password, with numbers and characters, upper and lower case, special symbols like "=" "/" "&" "@" etc computers are getting so fast and so powerful that even though We recommend using strong passwords, it's only as a first stage of the deterrent. It keeps the smaller less skilled hackers out, but the big organised hackers and governments will break your password, so 2-factor or other authentication methods must be used if available.

WHICH AUTHENTICATOR?

There are several around, and some are specific to ecosystems, like the one from Microsoft you have to use for Microsoft account authentication, but the one from Google, you can use for all kinds of account, including Google Accounts.
It often is down to personal experience and preference. Use a well-known one, in case you have downloaded a fake one created by a hacker that you then use to help them access all your accounts! Look out for similar named ones, a bit like those Guchi bags you can buy.......

 

FAQS - TV, MEDIA, STREAMING AND GAMING

WHAT IS A SMART TV?

It's a normal TV with a small computer inside that runs some kind of software operating system that has applications and the ability to connect to the internet to "stream" TV and Movies other than those provided by your TV box or built in FreeView and aerial ability gives you. It will usually be an operating system developed by the manufacture. They may be able to connect by cable but more usually by Wi-Fi to your internet router.

WHAT IS ANDROID OR APPLE TV?

These are small add-on boxes or plug in dongles to a normal or a Smart TV, that allow you to use them and their Apps to access the internet, stream TV and Movies, search the internet, access online accounts and stream content you have purchased or rented, and even in some cases play games. One type run using the Google Android operating system, or proprietary version of it or an inhouse OS, the other uses Apple software, a version of that found on Apple devices. They all have apps which you interact with. Some have separate remote controls, others like Google Chrome you control with your android device.

SMART TV OR DUMB TV+SMART MEDIA BOX?

This is another one that comes down to personal choice, what you already have, what you can afford, and what ecosystem you are a part of and where you might have bought all that content, TV series, movies, books etc. If you have a nice big TV already and don't want to spend lots of money to get a Smart TV, then get a Smart box or dongle. If you have all your bought content with an Amazon, a Google or an Apple account, then it would be a good idea to get a media streaming device that facilitates access to that ecosystem contact. They all do their own. You can get some Smart TV's with built in Apps to access Amazon Prime or Google Play, but no TV has access to Apple iTunes content. You can only get that from an Apple TV box. Apple do not make a Smart Apple TV, only a media box.

WHICH GAMES CONSOLE SHOULD I BUY?

That is like asking a parent of 6 children which do you love the most, you can't or shouldn't answer that question. It is all about history, experiences, age, content, extras, connections, ecosystem.
What games do you like playing, then match that up with the console that provides the best experience for you. If you are younger then you get a console that again meets your needs and has content and how you interact with it that makes it easier - the Wii was a game changer when it came out because of that interaction quantum leap, that all others than had to try and match. Are you a Microsoft computer home?, then an Xbox might be the one for you, as there is crossover of games to your PC. The Playstation has great music playing ability due to the Sony connection, and was the first to offer Blueray DVD disc playing. So, it is all about the games, the experience, and the extras and connection that they offer.
But let us not forget, for many PC or computer games rule and consoles are just for the masses.

 

FAQS - PASSWORDS AND MANAGERS

WHY CAN'T I USE MY KIDS NAME?

With the advent of social media and the world knowing everything about us, it's likely someone could guess that password. Also, it's probably short, and is an actual word. Hackers use special programs that try every word or name or number in existence. So even if they weren't directly attacking you, they can still break little Tom2012 passwords with ease. Minimum, 12 chars, letters, numbers, special characters, upper/lower case, longer would be better, and no words.

I USE TOM2012 FOR EVERYTHING, IT'S EASIER.

So, that's your email, your Facebook, your Twitter, your Paypal, your work accounts, your pictures stored on Dropbox or in Google, your location using your iPhone (So they know when you are not home), your Amazon account, your eBay account, your Netflix, and everything else you have setup, all for the accessing and the taking, and the buying, and the SPAMING of the whole world, your online reputation, your job(since all those pictures and posts and emails and texts are now out there for all to see), your boss is not happy, your friends and family are getting Malware and Pornographic emails, ads, texts and calls, because all your contacts are now on the internet for everyone to see. So you tell me, was it easier?

I USE DIFFERENT PASSWORDS AND WRITE THEM DOWN

That can work, lots of people do that. But I assume you have a large notebook, as we seem to be needing more and more passwords and credentials to get in places. Yes, there is the hope that one day we won't need them, but until then.
Do you have a backup copy? Is that kept up to date? Do you carry a copy of it with you? What if you lose it? Is it written in plain text, or some sort of code? How do you share a password with someone? Please tell me not email! So you type them in each time, the username and password, which I hope is 12-20 characters long...each time. So that keylogger malware on your system is capturing all those passwords and sending them off to the hackers. Nice. Please get a Password Manager - pay for it, get one of the top 5 rated ones. Get a family plan so everyone has one and you can share passwords, safely and securely.

SO, I PUT ALL MY PASSWORDS IN ONE PLACE, REALLY! ONLINE, ARE YOU MAD?

I know, it does sound like it. With all the news you hear about this website being hacked, or this security something is compromised, blah, blah. But it comes down to this: In the world we live in the Password manager, the strong password and the encryption that protects those credentials you need for your online life, are the best solution.
If you choose the right password manager, you can have control of the encrytion, so even if they get hacked the hackers don't get your data. 
The password manager allows you to have long complicated passwords without having to remember them or to type them in. They can even store and remember other things for you, like passport numbers and driving licence information. They can tell you if you have reused a password and can help you change it, some can do that automatically. They are better than the alternative.

 

FAQS - SMART DEVICE REFRESH

MY DEVICE IS REALLY GETTING SLOW

1st things to try is taking all those apps off that you never use or don't use so much now, and you could always put back on another time.

IT'S STILL SLOW, WHAT NOW?

Data: is your system getting full of data from all those downloads and all those apps, all those messages that you really don't need, or all those pictures that either you don't need or could be put elsewhere. Run the settings and look for data stored on your device, try and get to the areas that show what is stored, see if you can do some basic cleaning, cached data is a good one to clear.

NO, STILL SLOW, WHAT NOW?

Reduce the number of emails downloaded to your phone, you have then somewhere else, right, you use IMAP? right, so you can get them on your computer or on webmail, so get rid of 10 years of emails, just download, say the last 30 days, or even the last 2 weeks. That should clear a lot of space.

NOTE: If you use POP email (See pages on email for what POP and IMAP mean) you might want to check before deleting, as you device might be the only place those emails are stored!

YOU REMEMBER IT BEING MUCH FASTER?

Before buying a new device, which has its own issues, why not try a full system refresh, resetting it back to like new. But first, you need to make sure you have backed up all your data, your app data, your WhatsApp data, all your contacts are synced to the cloud, you know all of your up to date credentials and nice long passwords, good time to setup a password manager! before, and make sure you test them all! Then if your device allows, backup all your data and photos to an SD card, or another online storage area, don't reply just on Apple, Samsung, Google to get everything, then factory reset, add your primary account credentials, just like when you bought it, and get all those apps and accounts setup again. You should notice a great difference, if not, then go get a new device and use all that backed up data you now have to make setting it up so much easier, and you have just had some great practice doing it, easy, right?

 

FAQS - REPLACING OLD WITH NEW OR 2ND HAND

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO REPLACE?

It depends upon many factors: what device are we talking, which manufacture, and the specifications at the time you bought originally.
Take an Android mobile: 2-3years - as updates will stop after this time. An Apple mobile - new model: 4-5years as updates will keep coming - BUT the batteries are not known for lasting, so you might still want to upgrade in 3-4 years.
A PC or a Mac is a different animal, and people usually keep these devices for a long time, but only if the specifications were right when you bought. Buy cheap and slow, it's only going to get worse.

WHAT DO I NEED TO THINK ABOUT?

When changing from one system to a new one, even if you are staying with the same type or manufacturer or ecosystem, you need to think about these things: Is my data backed up and in a format that is right for use on new system. Have I got all my account credentials, passwords, activation codes, software or app install programs? If you use POP email, you need to back up your .PST files, and other useful files from your system data area. Never get rid of your old system until you are fully up and running with the new, that way if you forgot something, you can get it. (Note that is why I prefer to replace hard drives in computers with new, rather than reinstalling, you always have a backup, also it probably needs a new one.

DATA BACKUP AND DATA SYNCING

This has been said this lots of times elsewhere on this website, but here it is again - you must backup your data. You also must sync your data to another location. What is the difference? one is protecting you all the time if a device fails or you lose it. The other is a snap shot of your data at a specific time, which protects you from viruses and malware. You must and should be doing both which makes moving to another device that much easier and quicker.
If you don't like online backup or syncing locations then invest in a Network attached storage device and create your own personal cloud location. Which is great, but the others are much easier.

ECO-SYSTEM CONVERSION

Very do able, as far as process and what you are able to achieve, but something never to be taken lightly. You have to really want it, as if you have been in one eco-system for a long time, you will have potential a large amount of money invested in content within that eco-system, movies, films, games, and apps.
Then there is the learning curve, and no matter which eco-system you are a part of, e.g. Apple, Android, Microsoft, etc there will be things that they do really well, better than the rest, and you will miss those things. So, you need a really good reason to change over.
If you don't buy content, then contacts, texts, emails, most app data can be exchanged between eco-systems without too much issue or trouble, and applications on a computer can help with mobile transitions. It is also easier to go android to apple as there  are iTunes apps for play store content like movies, but not a matching movie player for Apple movies on your Android.

 

FAQS - PERIPHERAL DEVICE SETUP

WI-FI OR CABLE PRINTER?

You would be hard pushed to find any reasonably priced printer out there today that doesn't have Wi-Fi capability. It will also connect using a USB cable, but some, for a bit more money will connect using a network cable.
Why use a cable if you have Wi-Fi? Speed, reliability of connection, ease of setup, and some function just work better or need a cable to function properly in some printers.
Wi-Fi is king though if you want to connect not just computers but mobile and tablet smart devices also. They can't connect directly, they need Wi-Fi.
But you need to connect the printer up to your router before you can start, unless you can use NFC direct print to the printer. Not many have this.

MONITORS - SCHOOL BOY ERROR

If you are going to buy a monitor new or second-hand (We have had a good experience of buying second-hand), you must make sure you check the type and number of connections it can take.
If you have a box computer, you may have lots of connection options, or just 1.
Laptops historically, unless you buy expensive or business class laptops, can often only come with one type.
So make sure you get a monitor to suite what you have, or you will be having to get onto Amazon for a conversion cable - more money. VGA, HDMI, Display port, DVI, and now USB-C, which is the magical connector that can do everything.

 

FAQS - SYSTEM CLEANING

PC AND MAC CLEAN UP

See SMART device refresh for device process. So yes, Mac's get clogged up with rubbish over time and need cleaning up and refreshing just like PC's and Smart devices. Smart devices are just small and simpler versions of their big brother computers, so the steps are similar.

Cleaning/deleting/removing/backing up: the system and website cashes, all those downloaded files from emails and websites, system and application updates, old applications/apps that you don't use, old disk images, do you update a mobile using a computer-delete the software downloaded for that. Old backups, do you need them all. The bigger steps, system refreshing, or full operating system reinstall or install on a new hard drive. Yes, even Mac's need a reinstall now and then, just like Windows. 1-2 years to keep things fresh.

ONE REASON FOR A COMPUTER SLOWING

Your hard drive is getting full and the computer is running out of space. To work your computer during the normal operation of how it does things is writing and reading data, to and from the hard drive. It allots a set amount of space to do that, when it runs out your computer goes slow.3 solutions.
1 Delete stuff you don't need off the drive to make space, either manually or with the help of a computer cleaner program.
2 add another hard drive, internally or externally, that you can move data to and store all those cat photos, and videos of little Tommy, so your main drive can be used mostly for the operating system.
3 Get a new, bigger hard drive and either migrate your current system to it or take the chance to do a fresh install - keeping your old drive as backup for the data on it, have it as an internal or external spare/backup drive.

 

FAQS - SYSTEM HW & SW UPDATES

CAN EVERYTHING BE UPGRADED?

Simple answer -No. It will depend upon your particular system and also what you have planned. We can discus that. As an example, assume that most Box computers can be upgraded, and laptops only a limited amount - usually memory, most times hard drive but not always, rarely can the CPU or graphics in a laptop be changed.

I'M STILL USING WINDOWS XP, UPGRADE?

That is entirely up to you. If it's working fine and all the software you are using is ok, and you are prepared to take the security risk of using an old operating system that does not get security updates, it is your choice. But you might consider Windows 10, it's not that expensive, and there are deals out there. Is it perfect, no, but then nothing is.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE YOU TO UPGRADE MY SYSTEM?

That will depend upon many things. What is being done, where it is being done, how much of the work we do and how much you are prepared to take on.
A memory upgrade can take 30min, but a new SSD hard drive while only taking 30min to install on the system, will take much longer to either copy the data over, or install a new fresh operating system.
Also, if this work is all done on site it will cost more as there is lots of waiting around for software to install, and data to copy, especially off old slow hard drives. So, it depends, we can discuss all of that.

OLD STYLE HARD DRIVE OR SSD?

What is an "old style" hard drive anyway? It means it is electro-mechanical in use and operation - it has physical spinning discs a bit like a record/cd, not just 1, several, with arms that move across reading and writing data to the surface. Advantages - large capacity and cheaper, Disadvantages - heavy, noisy, hot, susceptible to physical damage- dropping, hitting, shock.
SSD's what are they? Solid-State Drive. Whats that? Well in your computer or device you have RAM memory, which is volatile, as in take the power away and the data goes. SSD's use non-volatile memory chips, so the data stays when the power goes. Solid-state as it has no moving mechanical parts, only electical signals.. Advantages - small compact size, light, cool running, handles drops and shocks well, less power use, VERY FAST!. Disadvantages- Cost per storage size- but getting better, Data loss recovery is case of failure (must backup), Life expectancy compared to conventional drives (must backup)

 

FAQS - DATA BACKUP, SYNC, ARCHIVE

THEY ARE ALL THE SAME THING, RIGHT?

No. Sync or Syncing data means you have identical sets of data stored in 2 or more locations/devices/data storage this can be a manual or mostly an automatic process - your contacts on your phone if setup correctly will be synced to your online account with say Apple or Samsung or Google. This can be done by Wi-Fi or mobile data.
A backup of data is a copy of your current data, taken and stored on another device or another location or cloud storage area. This can be done manually, or done automatically, on a schedule - hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. It can also have available the history over time.
Archiving is to take data, normally not currently used, and storing it somewhere else, another drive, an online archive, in a draw on a hard drive. It can also be used to take a yearly snapshop of your data.

WHICH TYPE TO I NEED?

Most people use Syncing of data in their everyday lives, email, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive (File Stream) and are ok. They may also use a bit of backup of data - Moving WhatsApp to a new device or just making sure you don't lose all your chats - you should be backing up that data. If you have Apple Time Machine - you are backing up data.
If you have an external hard drive, and on it you put lots of old folders with data from years ago, old CV's, etc, then you put that in a draw. That's archiving. Or you might copy data up to a cloud storage area but don't have that on your computer/device - that's archiving if you don't access it much, or backup if you keep it up to date regularly, or data sharing if others can access and they make updates or changes.
Short answer - you should be using all other them, but it depends upon what data, and how important it is. Only Backups and Archiving will protect you from Ransomware, but synced data might not.

 

FAQS - ENCRYPTING YOUR DATA

WHAT IS DATA ENCRYPTION?

Encryption has been around for thousands of years, complex mechanical encryption since the beginning of the 20th century, and with the advent of computers things got interesting, then with the advent of home and personal computers and electronic communication it got really interesting.
So what is it, you have some data  - say your name - Tom Blogs - take that and move every character up or down in the alphabet - Unn Amnhr - you get something that looks nothing like Tom Blogs. That is encryption - you take what you have, apply an encryption code - a set of rules on how you are going to change it, then you have encrypted data. You then have to reverse the operation to decrypt the data, or have the decryption codes.
There lays the issue of all encryption - who knows the codes - how do you get the codes to the person you want to decrypt the data securely - is it complex enough that smart people with computers can't just crack the codes given time.

DO I NEED TO ENCRYPT MY DATA?

A lot of your data is already being encrypted all the time or in certain circumstances. If you access a website that starts with HTTPS://www.xxxxx the data between you and it is encrypted, so people can't see what you type, like when you pay online. If you have a modern iPhone they are often encrypted by default, rather than a user choice, like in say a Samsung or other type of device.

Apple and many Windows computers can have their hard drives encrypted, why? so that if a computer is stolen, they can't just hook up the hard drive to another computer and read your data, they need the decryption codes. Great, what are they? That is one issue, you need to know what they are and store them in a safe and secure place and format. So, data recovery can be hampered by encryption so you have to plan and prepare if you encrypt. But the easiest way to fix that issue is to back-up your data to another location.

But is that encrypted? and so it goes, on and on, data, location, encryption, keys, who knows them, are they save, what happens if things go phut.

 

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