"Simplifying Technology"

Category archives: IT News

How old is old for a gadget

How Old is “Old” for a Gadget

Is your computer running slow? Does your tablet hardly recognize your “touch” anymore? And, are you having a hard time sending and receiving any messages/calls from your mobile phone? If your gadgets are having these kinds of problems, then you might need to have an upgrade already for these are some of the signs that your gadgets are getting old.

In a world where the most inevitable thing is change, it is a must to know what is “trending” for us not to be left behind. Your computer is considered old if it is still in a CRT monitor running on a Windows XP operating system and has a Pentium type of a processor. Assuming that it is still working fine, will you not be jealous if your friend has an LCD Flat screen monitor running on a Windows 7 or 8 operating system and has an Intel Core i7 processor plus 24GB of RAM? I’m pretty sure all of us want that too.

Did you know that tablets have been used since the 1950s? Yes, but they weren’t being utilized the way we do now. It’s not until 2010 that Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet began the new generation of tablet computers. Now, if you are one of the first to buy those tablets, then you should be thinking of replacing it already. Why? It is because new waves of tablets with better specs are being released less than a year after the latest tablet has been launched. Let’s just take for example Samsung’s Galaxy tab. When it was first released, it only uses Android 2.2.1 Froyo as it basis for its operating system whilst having a 7-inch LCD display. Now with its latest version, you will be able to use Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS.

Let go to mobile phones. I know most of us already knew what the trend is when we talk about mobile phones. Basically, we can say that mobile phones are the most evolved kind of technology and also the most important. One can say that a phone is out of age when the only thing that your phone can do is just call and text and it still has the classic Snake and Solitaire games on it and when it still uses infrared to transfer data from one to another. Compare it to the phones today. Big differences right? Most advanced mobile phones uses Android or IOS for the operating system and with that, you can almost do everything you need and want, from downloading your favorite games, to video chatting, to watching your favorite TV shows, paying your bills and the list continues.

Some says that it is not good to invest in technology for it changes very rapidly. But the thing is we can’t help but to go with the flow and accept it. The very reason why these happen is because consumers want this also and manufacturers are very eager to meet with our demand.

It is not necessarily the years, months or days that make a thing old. Some things are already considered old even if we just bought it days ago. It’s the usefulness and reliability that we count on.

Should I Get a Mac

Should I Get A Mac for my Business?

Just starting your business and asking yourself on whether you should get a Mac or not? This article aims to help you and many other confused business owners in deciding what would be best.

Macintosh or Mac as we all know is a brand manufactured by Apple Inc. – one of the leading technology companies in the world. Unlike the many other technology brands like; Asus, HP, Samsung, Sony, Acer, Dell and Lenovo that include the latest version of Microsoft Windows. A Mac includes Apples operating system software.

Whether it is a laptop, desktop computer; it is in utmost important that you know the Pros and Cons before going out and purchasing that shiny new desktop or laptop computer.

Also it is important to remember that the below pros and cons are just for Apple’s desktop and laptop computers and doesn’t apply to their range of iPhone and iPads as these have completely different set of pros and cons:

PROS:

  • Less Viruses/Malware – Mac viruses do exist, but are very rare. Due to Macs being a small percentage of computers they are rarely the target of viruses.
  • Easy to use – Some may find Mac hard to use especially if they were attached to using Windows PC before, but once they master the intuitive Mac interface, some find it easier to use for basic tasks.
  • Reliability and Quality – Like many other Apple products, Mac machines are built with higher quality materials which give its users less worries when it comes to hardware problems.
  • Other-OS Abled – Aside from having its official operating system (Mac OS), Mac also allows other OS to run to its machine, most notably Microsoft Windows. So you can still run all the normal software that you would expect but at an additional cost on top of the initial Mac purchase.
  • High-class Designs – With its sleek and elegant design, one can surely easily recognize a Macintosh brand. From its polished edge by edge structure down to its brilliant graphics, Mac really does have an eye for head-turning designs.
  • Unique Software –Mac computers have exclusive software that are only available for its users. These apps are great especially when it comes to photo, music and movie editing.
  • Support Availability – Mac’s service support is highly plausible. Having customer support hotline and a Genius Bar help desk at almost (if not all) Apple Store, you’ll be most likely to receive troubleshooting solutions on the spot and resolve any issues quickly. It is important to remember that the Genius bar doesn’t provide onsite support and your closest Apple Store may be some distance away.

 CONS:

  • Overpriced – Let’s face it, almost all Apple prods are quite overpriced. With the same specs as a Windows PC, you’ll get almost twice the price for one Mac.
  • Most Software will not work – Leaving aside the fact that Macs can also run Windows, the majority of programs still don’t work on a Mac. So it isn’t uncommon to be told that you can’t do that on a Mac and then still have to use a windows PC for that task. Also in some circumstances where a Mac version of a program is available it is normally at a premium cost compared with the windows based version.
  • Difficult to Troubleshoot – Trying to troubleshoot a problem by yourself? Think again! Unlike Windows, when a Mac gets into an issue (may it be a software or hardware); it’s real hard for an ordinary user to fix it. So before worse comes to worst, it would be best to direct the problem to a certified technician of Apple which can be hard to locate.
  • Limited Compatibility/Customization – Since Mac OS is only available for Macintosh Products, you might find when purchasing accessories you have a limited selection. Also, you’ll have less freedom in customizing an Apple Mac.
  • Updates / Upgrades – Mac upgrades are relatively expensive. If you want every part of your machine to be updated, you’ll be better off to just buy a new one.

Having read all the Pros and Cons, it’s all up to you now on whether you should get a Mac or a Microsoft Windows based computer but we suggest if you are unsure to contact your local IT Specialist to determine what would suit your business needs best.

Secure Passwords

Passwords and Why so Many Different Types

 

 

Are you sure that your password is secure?

Passwords are what we use to prove our identity and access our data. These are the string of computer characters that we should keep confidential so our data is secure.

Now that almost everything is stored on computers and the internet, cybercriminals are now more than ever determined to find a way to access your computer or data stored on the internet. With a string of larger companies being hacked in the last few years like Ebay, Target, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Sony and Google just to name a few. With technology moving faster and faster we need to be mindful that these cybercriminals can target any company no matter how large or small and they are always looking for weakness they can attack.

To stay ahead of these cybercriminals a few simple steps can be taken to reduce your risk. The below important password tips will help make your passwords more secure:

Creating a Password DO’s:

  • Change your password regularly (At least every six months)
  • Create a password that is a mixed of upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters
  • Memorize your password
  • Keep your password confidential

 Creating a Password DONT’s

  • Don’t use one password for all your accounts
  • Don’t use a simple word as a password
  • Don’t use a password that can easily be related to you (Such as the name of your pet, husband/wife, children and relatives as well as the dates that are significant to you (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.))
  • Don’t use a simple pattern (such as “qwerty” or “987456321”)
  • Don’t use one-type-of-character password (eg. “MARY”, “mary”, “1234”, or “!@#$” )
  • Don’t write your password down in an easy to find places
end of support

End of XP Support – What does it mean?

Are you still running a Windows XP computer? If so you should be aware that on the 8th of April 2014, Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP after supporting it for over 12 years.

Launched in October 2001, Windows XP has gone through a lot of transformation already and had been the most used Operating System after Windows 7.

So for support for Windows XP ending what does that mean?

  • Now when you have an issues with Windows XP and you try to contact Microsoft for help they will no longer be able to help with anything related to Windows XP.
  • Microsoft has been very keen on improving and shielding XP system against malwares and security risks through continuous and numerous updates. An unsupported XP would mean that it will no longer be receiving any updates; may it be a software update or a security update. That’s a serious matter. Not receiving updates would signify that your computer is on a red alert level as it will be vulnerable to malicious software and malware that could possibly steal essential data stored in your PC.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials which is Microsoft free Anti-Virus software will also no longer be downloadable for computers running Windows XP.
  • Other issue that might arise in the termination of XP support is its incompatibility to devices and apps as more developers adapt to newer version of Windows. Also, newly-detected OS-bugs will no longer be amended by Microsoft.

Now what should you do?

Upgrading to the latest version of Windows is the first thing that you should consider for your computer to stay protected and continuously receive vital updates. This is applicable to almost all computers though it would be best to check your system requirements. If you are unsure about this we would recommend contacting your local IT Specialist to confirm what would be best.

If your computer doesn’t meet the system requirements for the new version of windows you plan to use then you need to look at updating your computer or purchasing an entire new computer. Various methods are available to transfer all your files and settings so you don’t have to worry about being without all your normal files. Windows XP has been a great operating system but with the various technology advancements it is time to bid it farewell.

website up to date

Why is it important to constantly keep your website up to date?

In this day and age being online is essential to running a successful business. Whether you are using your website as a general reference point for present or future customers or are using it to generate leads or even to be able to sell your products online. Change is something constant in the world of internet and that’s why having an obsolete web page is a big no-no. Even worst is having no website at all.

Having a website for your business allows you to directly control how the website looks and also what features are available unlike when just using social networking to promote your business.

It is extremely important to constantly keep your website up to date. This is for a number of reasons:

  • Improve Search Ranking ResultsUpdating your website constantly, should be done so people can find you easily on the web. Search engines do updates regularly and they make it a priority to list pages that are new and relevant.
  • Improve Customer ExperienceVisitors to your company’s website will expect that your website is fast to load so ensuring you regularly maintain your website will help this. Also your website needs to continually be updated with the latest web standards so that it is available on all devices and not just older computers and internet browsers.
  • Good Company ImpressionAn updated website gives an impression that your company is growing and is gaining a good reputation online. This will make people excited to visit your web page each time they surf the net.
  • Check Outbound LinksJust how would you feel if you clicked on a link and nothing appears or it directs you to a worthless page? Certainly, it wouldn’t be a good feeling, right? That’s just one thing we don’t want your visitors to experience on your website so make it a habit to constantly check your websites pages and links for errors.
  • Web Security PurposesNow that trading can be done through the web, fraudulent activities are becoming rampant online also. Hackers are everywhere; ready to get vital information about you, your company and your customers information. This scenario is possible but it can be avoided by tightening and improving the security of your website files along with updating your login details frequently.
  • It Keeps Current Customers and Attracts New OnesA regular update on your website makes your customers come back more regularly. Resulting in happy and content customers with a possibility that they will recommend your business to others.

Updates should be an improvements and be of interest to your customers and other web users. Just keep in mind also, that people are looking for good and accurate information that’s why they are searching on the internet so make it a priority to give them what they are looking for.

Computer Servicing

Why does my computer needs regular servicing?

The saying “Prevention is better than Cure” is also applicable for computers. The life span of a computer depends on how well you take care of it. With the technology moving in such a fast-paced motion, having regular maintenance to a trusted technician can give lots of benefits to your PC. Below are some of the reasons and advantages as to why there is a need of regular servicing to a computer.

Just because you have Anti-Virus software installed doesn’t mean that your computer will be free from adware or spyware software. It has to be updated if new updates are available, this can keep your computer fully protected. Installing updates is not only appropriate for security software but also relevant to other important software that is installed in your PC as well.

Computer maintenance also helps improve the performance of your system as over time after a period of use your computer will begin to slow down and not perform at an optimal level. Servicing it will increase the performance and speed of your computer which helps increase your productivity.

One benefit also of frequent servicing is that you will have backups or restore points for your files. So in the event that your computer has a major failure the restore points or backups can be used to reduce the loose of information and also the amount of downtime without your computer.

When we use computers in a longer period, its system produces heat. This heat, if not properly released can cause problems to the performance of your computer that may also lead to its untimely death. One reason also why heat can’t be properly released is because of the dirt and dust that has been blocking its cooling system. This is the reason why we need to clean our computers once in a while and has to be placed in a cool area with proper air ventilation.

To ensure computer longevity, it needs regular servicing and although it might appear like an unnecessary cost at the time over the long run it will increase the life of your computer and also reduce the ongoing repair bills.

Calls claiming to be from Microsoft

Calls claiming to be from Microsoft

Fraudulent activities are everywhere and the internet is no exception. The most you can do is beware of the various ongoing scams. These precautions don’t only cover with what you are doing with your personal computers but also with people pretending to help you through phone call.

An example of this phone scam is a call claiming to be from Microsoft. These scammers use well-known companies such as Microsoft and other similar company’s names to trick people into the scam. The scammers randomly cold call people and tell them one of the below:

  • They have detected that there are something wrong on your PC (even if there’s not).
  • They will tell you that your computer has malwares and viruses that are high risk.
  • A certain software license has expired and should be renewed immediately.

You might be surprised that they know you by name but that’s just because they use public phone directories. They will then ask your personal information and will let you walk through your computer to see the “problems” they have detected. Scammers will offer you help to get rid of these bogus computer problems. In some cases, they will need you to install software that will let them access your PC so that they can help you.

Don’t be fooled! This pretend help from so-called Microsoft tech support are not helpful at all; in fact, most likely will be the reason why you will end up with viruses on your PC.  Be mindful; protect your computer and vital data by bearing in mind the following information:

  •   Do not provide personal information especially through phone call.
  •   Microsoft does not make unsolicited calls for software fixes.
  •   Never provide your credit card information to someone claiming to be a tech support.
  •   If there is a fee associated with the bogus help, hang up immediately.
  •   Do not let them access your computer by installing software in which they ask you to do so.
  •   Change your password regularly.
  •   Keep your anti-virus software updated.

Microsoft phone scam has started years ago but is continually ongoing and comes in many different forms.

Computer Purchasing Tips

Computer Purchasing Tips

Having difficulty in buying a computer? Below are some of the tips that might help you figure out the computer that will suit you well.

Know your Budget                                              

–  What you have in your pocket can give you a better idea on the computer that you are going to purchase. If you have bigger budget, then it’s good to go for brand new ones for you can be sure that it’s covered with warranty plus the fact that it goes with better quality. For those who have lower budget, don’t worry. There are still brand new PC’s that are not that expensive, you could also go for refurbished computers or used ones if you really do have a tight budget. Refurbished computers are those that have been returned to the supplier because of some little defects that are then repaired and are released not as new but good products.

Know your Usage Requirement

–  Are you a heavy user such as a gamer? If yes, then you will be needing computers with high CPU speed (that’s at least 3GHz), bigger RAM (at least 16GB) and a dedicated graphic card with at least 1GB of memory. But if you’re only using your computer for surfing the internet, watching videos, etc., then a good computer for you will be at least 4-8GB of RAM and with 3GHz CPU speed.

Purchase from a Reputable Supplier                     

–  This is to ensure that your machine is well covered with the right warranty and that you will not be having difficulties asking for technical support when your purchased PC will be having problems. Also, purchasing from a retailer that is reputable is a great advantage especially if you have limited knowledge about computers. A reputable supplier can even help you choose the computer that will suit you well and not just what they have in stock.

Read and Understand the Warranty and Support for the Product.

–  Take time to read and understand the warranty that will be covering your machine. Be it a reminder that there are computers that are not covered with any warranty at all that’s why it’s a must that we know about it. Also, warranties have certain limitations that we need to know. An example of this is normally warranty is not extended to software issues.

Make sure the Computer comes with a Licensed Software as an Operating System.

–  Not all computers come with an operating system.  Operating System or OS can be considered the heart and soul of a computer, without it, your computer will be useless. There are licenses that are for free such as Ubuntu (Linux) just make sure that you are downloading it from a safe source. There are also computer packages that already have a licensed operating system together with it; most buyers take advantage with these packages.

Bring a friend that is Knowledgeable enough when it comes to Computer

–  These might be considered as your last resort when you really don’t have knowledge about computers. This person will really be of great help not only because of what they know but also at times when you’re having difficulty on choosing over two or more computers. They serve as your “second opinion.”  If you don’t have a close friend that can help with this then it is suggested that you contact one of our local IT Specialist as they will be able to help.

cables cds and manuals

Why is it important to keep all those spare CDs, Manuals and Cables?

Have you noticed those things inside your box when you purchased gadgets? Those spare CDs, manuals and cables? Those are not just things that make your box heavier but also have importance that’s why they are there. They are the things that you don’t need now but you might need in the future.

Let us go with the CDs. Some CDs contains software installation that you’ll need when you reformat your computer. With this, you will not be needing internet connection to re-download software that sometimes takes hours to do. There are also blank CDs that you could use as a back-up on your files or software in case your computer will be corrupted or worst affected with virus.

What is the use of the gadget if we don’t know how to use it? That is the very reason why manuals are included inside the box. The manual contains the Do’s and Don’ts of your gadget. You could also find in there the different specifications that are on your device. What your gadget can do and its limitations. Whenever you’ll be having problem with your device, you could also refer to the manual for the solution. See, how useful is it? It is not just a piece of paper with graphics and a lot of words; it is worth more than that.

And lastly, the cables. What is their importance? Simple, these are the things that can connect your gadget to another, may it be another device or even appliances. The cords or cables inside your box can help you make use of your gadget even more! They can be also made as a charger.

Those things mentioned above are not just made for nothing. We may not be interested at it in the beginning but will be learning its importance later on.

Slow Internet

Why is my internet slow at certain times?

This is the most irritating question we have when we are in the middle of doing something using the internet and then suddenly, the page takes time to load up, the video stops and continues in inferior quality or worst, the page says “The connection has time out.” All of us wonder what had happened and in the end we choose to give up on what we’re doing because of the slow connection.

But why is that happening? Well, there can be various reasons for this.

It might be because of the internet plan or the service provider you currently have. Or if you’re plan is only on a Kbps connection, then you should expect much slower internet speeds than plans that are running on Mbps, same happens when you are using dial-up or certain wireless connections compared to fixed broadband. The time and the number of people connecting may also have an impact to the speed of the internet. Usually, if you are using the internet during peak periods say between the finish of school through to early evening the internet connection can be slower than if you are using it at 2am in the morning.

It might also be that you are opening too many tabs already (and also downloading something), that even if you’re connection is on Mbps, you’re network is still running slow. Other reasons can be that the website you are opening contains heavy files, or is hosted in another part of the world, there are many users visiting the website or it is revamping or having maintenance performed.

There are times also that the computer itself is the problem so you should seek support directly to persons who has computer knowledge preferably an experienced IT Specialist for this kind of problem.

These are just few of the many instances that could be the reason why your internet is running slow at certain times.