Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Some of the best Tech related April Fools round up 2014

It's April the first once again and some of the big name brands have been taking part in the time honoured tradition of April Fools.

Here is a round up of some of the best Tech related April Fools this year.

Not a year goes by where Google doesn't go all out on April Fools day and this year is no exception. There was Gmail with their Gmail selfies posting pictures all day long behind a Gmail inbox on Google+ and so many others from all over the world. Here are some of the better ones from Google today.......

Google Maps

Become a Pokémon Master by browsing Google maps and capturing Pokémon (all 150 of them)

Emoji the Web

Google translate with emoji. This one was an actual option that appeared in Chrome today.

Auto Celebrity PhotoBomb your Photos

David Hasslehoff all over your pictures.  Google Blog.

Tesco Cudl

You've heard of Hudl right? Now meet Cudl designed with couples in mind.

Wareable Tech

HTC announces the HTC Gluuv http://www.htc.com/www/go/gluuv/

Not long after Samsung announce their competitor Samsung Fingers  http://global.samsungtomorrow.com/?p=35430

Were there any others that we missed worth a mention? What were your favourite April Fools from today?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Using ChromeCast with a BT Homehub

One of the great things about the Chromecast is how easy it is to use and also set up. You can use the app on your smartphone or tablet or even do it through your web browser on your Laptop or Desktop machine. The quick start guide that comes with your Chromecast will help you with this. Since the device hit the UK there have been some people having problems when they also have a BT homehub but there is a simple solution, you might just need to turn off the smart set up on your router. Here's how.

On your home laptop or desktop open up a web browser and enter http://bthomehub.home or click here. This should take you to your homehub admin panel. Then click on Advanced Settings.

You will be asked for an admin password, you can find this on the card usually found on the back of your home hub.

Once you've entered your password make sure you have Advanced Settings selected then click Home Network and Smart Setup. Ensure the No option is selected then click Apply.
Once you have gone through these steps try using your Chomecast once again and see if it has resolved the problem.

Happy Casting.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Trading Post Nairn

The Highland Facilitator Team are a local charity that help young people with Autism and other difficulties in the community build up their confidence and life skills while contributing to the local area. Their mission statement "To enable, engage and empower young people for positive change in their local community, environment and wildlife."

What used to be the model shop in the High Street here in Nairn will soon be the new hub for HFT where they will raise money for their cause, hold events and workshops and promote local business.

The Trading Post Nairn will be opening in the next few weeks if you wish to learn more or would like to help them out visit www.highlandft.org

We have been busy recreating and updating the HFT website. Created with what will soon be the adopted colours of HFT (green, blue and purple) the site has large chunky icons allowing ease of use for the target audience, this also makes it more touchscreen friendly. The site scales based on screen size so it is optimised for Desktop, Tablet and Smartphones. HighlandFT.org doesn't have much content at the moment but the Highland Facilitator Team members will be populating the site with more blog posts, pictures and videos over the coming weeks. If you are interested in having your next site built by us or are looking to get yourself or business online visit www.FullerComputing.co.uk.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

How to protect yourself from over 90% of Windows vulnerabilities in 4 easy steps.

By default and for convenience when you set up Windows for the first time you are given an administrator account. Continually using and running software on your computer as administrator runs the risk of exploits from malware and other vulnerabilities. As the administrator account has full system access and permissions anything run under that account could run havoc and cause a lot of damage. A recent study shows that over 90% of vulnerabilities could be mitigated just by switching your user account from administrator to standard user, here's how.

Click the start menu and go into the Control Panel.

Click on User Accounts 

Then click create new account 

When creating a new account make sure Standard is selected over Administrator. Here there is a link explaining why to choose a standard account if you would like further reading. 

That's it you've just secured your computer by creating and using a standard user account.

Source (http://learn.avecto.com/2013-microsoft-vulnerabilities-report).

Monday, 3 March 2014

Smarter Passwords - make your on-line security stronger while keeping it simple.

Passwords, they're everywhere. Many see them as a pain, it seems you need a password for everywhere  you go on the Internet. But they are important to keep your accounts and data safe from unwanted access. 

You may be tempted to choose a nice simple password that you can easily remember based on say a birthday, pet's name or a family member. You may also be tempted to use the same password for everything, it makes life easier right? This is the worst possible thing you could do, AVOID universal passwords at all cost. Just a few weeks back thousands of Tesco accounts were compromised not because Tescos' security was poor, not because hackers used some mad skills to extract the data but because over 2,000 users were using the same email and password combination on other sites. Attackers took advantage of low security elsewhere and managed to obtain a large list of email addresses and passwords, now armed with this list they can go to other services on the internet and try those email/password combinations to see what grants them access.

So how do you go about choosing a good password, make the password different across all your on-line services while at the same time still be able to remember them all??? 

One simple technique is to add the name or some letters from the actual site to your password for example for Facebook 
would become
FB<mypassword> or <mypassword>FB 
and then your Linked In password would be
LI<mypassword> or <mypassword>LI or even <mypassword>Linked
A small simple addition to your usual password can be enough to thwart attacks like that seen on the Tesco site and can also make your password obscure enough to not be easily guessed.

Another method is to take a sentence and use the letters from the beginning of those words, so something like Fuller Computings' account Password for Facebook would turn out as something like FCap4FB or Fuller Computing's password at Facebook could be FCp@FB.

Almost all modern browsers offer to save login details for websites, this option is great for not having to remember lots of passwords and just have your browser remember them for you. If you do decide to do this for the sake of security do keep some points in mind. First make sure it's your own personal device (does anyone else have access to this machine?) Second secure your device with a password (yes another password). Third don't allow anyone else to use your device / account.

Another option is to use a password manager like LastPass. The great thing about a service like this is that you will only need to remember one password and LastPass will create and remember all your login details right across the Internet.

Important things to remember, don't use passwords that can be easily guessed, do not use the same password for everything and keep your information safe.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Why copying files to your USB stick isn't an effective back up solution.

If asked "do you back up your files?" how many would answer "I copy them to an external dive now and then"?

This is all well and good until the worst happens and you realise your most recent important files are lost for good. The trouble with manually copying files across is you have to remember to do it and do so with new files and document updates, not many people get into the habit of doing this. It takes time out of your day and it's something you actively have to stay on top of, it's not an optimal back up solution. There are more and more threats to your files such as the malware CryptoLocker that will encrypt then hold your files to ransom, this malicious software will also do the same with any connected storage devices so bang goes your back ups.

The bests solution is to have your back ups done for you automatically, without you having to remember or even interact with it. There are many paid for solutions out there but the majority of people see these as an unnecessary cost and hence resort to the manual copying of files. There are many free solutions you can try that copy your files for you.

For Windows see this list of the best free back up software

Now these tools are great if you have a constantly connected external drive but that's not always the case and the problem with this is it won't protect your files in the event of flood or fire damage, for this you need offsite back up.

Again there are many paid for solutions when it comes to backing up to the cloud, many charge for the amount of storage you want, some offering free storage with the option of paying for more if you want it. DropBox offers 2GB of free storage, Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage (100GB if you buy a ChromeBook). These along with many other services will allow you to download software to your machine that will then automatically sync your files to your on-line storage. This however won't necessarily fully protect you from the likes of CryptoLocker if it then syncs the encrypted files but at least it's automatic and prevents from physical loss. This solution also allows you to access your important files anywhere and across all your devices, it also makes it easy to share files with other people if you so choose.

Probably the most valuable types of files are personal photos. With more and more of these being taken on smartphones there is an easy and convenient way of keeping these backed up by having them sent to the cloud as soon as they are taken. Apps such as DropBox and Google+ offer this functionality, by enabling this feature your photos will be backed up without you having to even think about it. Your pictures are then also accessible from anywhere and you can instantly share them with anyone on-line.

We can't stress enough how important Back Ups are. With so many free convenient solutions out there why not try some out to find the one that best fits your needs. Keep your most valuable files safe from data loss and don't kid yourself that you'll copy them onto a USB stick tomorrow.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Windows XP End of Life (EOL) 8th April 2014

Windows XP will be reaching it's EOL on the 8th of April 2014 so what does this mean? After this date anyone running this version of Windows will no longer receive updates and security patches, it means if you continue running Windows XP you leave yourself open to all kinds of vulnerabilities from malware and attacks. It is even more of a concern as newer versions of Windows get security fixes these will be left wide open in XP for any attacker to take advantage of. The official Windows support site details this with advice on upgrading found here

The advice from Microsoft here will cost you money whether you pay for a new version of Windows or have to buy a new computer and the chances are your computer in it's current state won't be powerful enough to run a new version of Windows. Your computer running XP may still be in good shape and running fine. There is another way, your computer may not be powerful enough to run the latest Windows OS but it can still run an up to date system in the form of Linux. Fuller Computing Services Ltd supports Ubuntu for desktop and Ubuntu for business. Ubuntu is a modern desktop OS that can run effortlessly on older hardware that can't support Windows 8, it is also a much cheaper option than buying a new version of Windows or even a whole new computer.

If you would like to try out Ubuntu and would like some help getting started you can contact us here.

If you do decide that you want to buy an new computer you may want to consider a ChromeBook. ChromeBooks are cheaper than Laptops running Windows, they are faster, secure and have a longer battery life than their Windows counterparts.

What ever path you choose the end is nigh for XP so make sure you're ready and keep your digital life secure.