laptops-vs.-tablets

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Category: Home Computing, IT Support, Latest, Mobile Computing.

There has been a huge rise in the popularity of tablet computers over the last couple of years. This has been mainly due to their easy to use interface, portability, and the wide ranging ways they can be used. Recently Google has released their first tablet and Microsoft has announced that they will be bringing out their own tablet in October 2012, hoping to capitalise on the booming market. Some people are now looking at using these devices as an alternative to a laptop; below we consider the pros and cons of both.

Inputting Data

The obvious difference between a laptop and a tablet is that laptops have a physical keyboard. Tablets rely solely on a touch interface on the screen for input. This is fine when it involves mainly pointing, dragging or tapping to navigate around a program but when it comes to typing longer documents most people find it easier and more comfortable to use real keys.  It’s possible to add an external Bluetooth keyboard to many tablets to make this more like a laptop but it adds to the cost as well as having more to carry around.  This starts to detract from what’s great about tablets.

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Category: Home Computing, Online Marketing.

Facebook is changing. If some people were upset by the small changes on the profile that happened last week, these new changes are going to be on a different level. This is the end of Facebook as you know it.

At last week’s Facebook developers conference, f8, the company introduced the radically redesigned profile page now called the Facebook Timeline. Instead of a single column stream of status updates and photo uploads, the new Timeline provides a deeper look into your past.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described Timeline as “a great way to discover all the things people have done their whole life.” Facebook is about to completely change the way its profile pages look as part of the website’s biggest redesign so far.

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Category: Business, Home Computing, IT Security.

It may be wrong and it’s certainly illegal but according to a recent survey we have conducted, one in two Wi-Fi users in the UK still access someone else’s wireless Internet network without permission.

Wi-Fi ‘piggybacking’ has been around since the dawn of wireless computing, with people obtaining free Web access by using networks which have been left unsecure because the owner has not set a password. Over half (58 per cent) of the 300 respondents we surveyed around the UK admitted to the practice. What’s more, almost one in three people believe there’s nothing wrong with it – despite the fact that dishonestly using an electronics communications service with the intent to avoid paying is an
offence under the Communications Act 2003.

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Web Browser Selection

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Category: Business, Home Computing, IT News, Software.

What is Browser Choice?

Due to a recent agreement put in place with the European authorities and Microsoft all users of Microsoft Windows are being offered a free choice of which browser they wish to have installed as the default. Whilst you have this Browser choice today, it does make it a simple operation for even the novice user to change.

What does it apply to?

This applies to all versions of Windows from Windows XP SP2 onwards (which is probably 98% of the currently installed windows base).

So how does all this happen?

The Browser Choice Update, as it is affectionately being called, will automatically be installed on your computer with “Windows Update” and should automatically prompt you with the Launch Screen at the next restart. As is usual with wide-scale updates, the actual update is staggered over a number of weeks so don’t panic if it doesn’t appear immediately. After downloading the update and restarting your computer, you’ll automatically be shown the Browser Choice screen (see below), and you can then select and install the browser(s) you want to use.

The Browser Choice update doesn’t add or remove any programs from your computer. If you’re using Windows 7 and Internet Explorer is your default browser, the update will unpin the Internet Explorer icon from your taskbar although Internet Explorer will still be available from your Start menu, and you can choose to pin it back on your taskbar.

The actual installation is really a matter of following instructions.

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Category: Business, Home Computing, IT Support, Mobile Computing.

Printing by Wires
Typically most Home Users / Small Businesses are reliant on having a single printer that connects to the computer via a USB cable (or parallel cable for those with older models). Now this is fine for your workstation that generally doesn’t move from the desk.

The Wireless World
With the advent of wireless routers (given by the suppliers as standard nowadays) and laptops, many users have suddenly become mobile – why shouldn’t you use the computer in the lounge, kitchen or bedroom?

The Challenge
This is all very well for internet access as you can wander about the house and still gain full uninterrupted access to your email, customers sites and movies. Where the problem arise is when printing as most people don’t own a wireless printer.

Solution
Whilst it is always possible to purchase a wireless printer, for most people this is not a viable option (why get rid of perfectly good device). Now there is a little box that allows you to create a virtual wireless printer (well two printers if you need them) meaning that you can print from anywhere in the office / home. For those that want to install this yourself then have a look at the Belkin 802.11g Wireless USB Print Server at around £50 – £60. For those that would like some assistance why not give us a call on 0845 2233116.

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Category: Home Computing, IT Security, IT Support.

Criminals are now getting data from your computer via the phone! Is this some new secret device that the criminals have invented? No, they’ve just found a new way to scam people without technology.

The PC Support Group has received a number of calls recently from irate people who had money fraudulently taken from their accounts. Why did they ring us? Well one such scam company used our support number on their web site so victims unsurprisingly decided to call it. It was quite a shock but I’m pleased to report that we helped as much as possible and have now had the number removed. We have also reported the incidents to the police and trading standards but for now the scam continues and is a real concern.

It would appear that all the individuals had received unsolicited “cold” calls from someone claiming to be their Internet Service Provider (ISP). The caller seemed to have just enough information to make the recipient believe the call was genuine. They then offered “essential” IT support services and somehow gained access to their financial information. Within days they found money had been withdrawn from their bank accounts without their agreement.

Which? magazine also reported in December 2009 that consumers across the country had been called by scammers pretending to be from the computer software giant Microsoft or an internet service provider.

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Category: Home Computing.

Twitter is great for giving and receiving useful, interesting or entertaining snippets of information (usually with links to more info. if you want it) between friends, colleagues or even strangers with an interest in what you do.

However, it does have a couple of downsides that you need to be aware of as a tweeter (giver) or a follower (receiver).

One story today clearly highlighted both of these.

This morning TechCrunch reported that a Twitter account apparently for a UK MP, had said that the next general election would be “in weeks” and then the account was closed down. The account looked very much like the official one for Nick Brown MP and had tweeted in reply to Austin Mitchell.

Shortly after the account was deleted but by then a number of eagle eyed people had already seen it.

So what does this tell us about using Twitter?

Well if this was not fake then it shows how easily private information can be accidentally disseminated around the world with one click in the wrong place. My advice is don’t even think about sending personal information via Twitter, even if you think you’ve used the correct protocol to send to only the person you intended. One character mistyped and the whole world could know.

And what if it was a fake? Well this shows how important it is to choose who you follow carefully and don’t take anything you read on Twitter as gospel. Remember that anyone can set up a Twitter account with any name and use any image.

So will there be a general election in weeks? Who knows?!

But enjoy Twittering anyway, but beware!

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Category: Home Computing.

The Internet has brought many great benefits, not least is that children have a huge wealth of information to tap into. Schools have recognised this fact and actively encourage them to use the internet to assist with homework.

Unfortunately the Internet also contains a lot of unsavoury information and it is with this in mind that you need to consider how to ensure your children can surf safely. As a start it is beneficial to provide some basic rules for them to follow:

  • Encourage your kids to share their Internet experiences with you. Enjoy the Internet along with your children
  • Teach your kids to trust their instincts. If they feel nervous about anything online, they should tell you about it
  • If your kids visit chat rooms, use instant messaging, online video games, or other activities on the Internet that require a login name to identify themselves, help them choose that name and make sure it doesn’t reveal any personal information about them
  • Insist that your kids never give out your address, phone number, or other personal information, including where they go to school or where they like to play
  • Tell your kids that they should never meet online friends in person. Explain that online friends may not be who they say they are
  • Teach your kids that not everything they read or see online is true. Encourage them to ask you if they’re not sure
  • Control your children’s online activity with advanced Internet software. Parental controls can help you filter out harmful content, monitor the sites your child visits, and find out what they do there.

Whilst this will hopefully encourage them to follow “good practise”, I also add to this with some software to monitor and protect them whilst online.There are numerous products on the market but one of the easiest and most effective products is something from the Microsoft stable. It is already installed with Vista and is a free download for Windows XP – Windows Live Family Safety. It is simple but effective and just does what it says on the tin. If your child wishes to access a site not on the “allowed” list then they can send you an email or you can provide access immediately by authorising the request. Having now used it for a couple of months I would recommend it to anyone with kids.