Windows 7 Support Is Stopping – Time For A New PC?

A refurbished PC could be just what you need with Windows 7 support stopping.

Microsoft announced that January 14th2020 is D-day.

Being one of the tech giants more popular operating systems, a recent report from Netmarketshare suggests that Windows 7 is still being used on 39% of all PCs.

If the thought of running a PC for which there is to be no support should things go wrong, terrifies you, perhaps it’s time to think about time investing in a new PC.

Finding the right refurbished PC

A stroll around PC World or any other large electronics retail outlet will show you there are a vast number of machines to choose from. They each seem to offer the world to the un-techie user, so how can you be sure you get the right PC for you?

You could opt for the prettiest, cheapest, or the one with the flashiest marketing hype, or you could do the sensible thing and get yourself a refurbished one for a fraction of the price of a new one.

Of course, the cost isn’t the only benefit.

  • Buying a second-hand machine means you can probably afford a higher spec in terms of memory, screen quality, and processor speed
  • The reason for it being refurbished could be something as simple as replacing a touchpad or something equally superficial
  • Fully refurbished computers generally come with a decent warranty period
  • You’ll be helping the environment by buying second-hand rather than brand new

If you need to upgrade due to the Windows 7 support issue, think about purchasing a refurbished model before splashing out something brand new.

MPM can offer a competitive range of refurbished PCs and Laptops with a good warranty period. 

You just let us know:

  • Your budget,
  • What you use your computer for, for example; only internet and email, or photo’s, or family tree stuff, or to access our works server etc.
  • What connections your monitor has if you require a PC, so you don’t have to replace that as well

Then we will get to work to find the best fit for you.  Call on 1449 770704 for a competitive quote.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

 

How to Avoid Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

Back, neck and shoulder pain is fast becoming accepted as part of everyday life.

With so many of us office-based and sat in front of computers, in meetings, in aeroplanes or cars most of the day, it’s no wonder we’re dogged by aches and pains.

Years ago, before the onset of technology, we were far more active. However, today’s sedentary lifestyles and working environments are the root cause of our growing ailments.

Technology is to blame for our back, neck, and shoulder pain

Technology has been a fabulous time-saver in the workplace. It has enabled us to do things we never before dreamed of. In light of our growing awareness of climate change, it’s allowed businesses to reduce travel times. Instead of flying halfway around the world for a meeting, video conferencing is cutting costs and emissions.

However, on the downside, technology encourages us to sit for hours. However, our bodies aren’t designed to do that.  But the problem isn’t purely down to the computer. It comes down to our posture.

Improving your posture will reduce aches and pains

The plus side of this is that something can be done about it – and it doesn’t take massive changes to make a difference.

Never sit longer than 40 minutes without getting up and walking around to stretch your legs.

Think about your posture while you’re seated. The correct desk posture is feet on the floor, your bottom and shoulder blades pushed into the back of the chair.  Ideally, use a chair with armrests, so your arms are bent at 90 degrees and are flat on the desk.  Your eyes should be level with the top of the screen.

If you use a laptop, you’re always looking down, forcing your neck muscles to support the weight of your head.  Get a stand with a mobile keyboard and mouse and always rest your laptop on a table, not on your lap.

Small changes like these can make a big difference to your general health and wellbeing. Give them a go and say goodbye to neck, shoulder, and back pain.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

The End Of EBooks Bought From Microsoft

Microsoft ebooks are coming to an end. If you bought ebooks through Microsoft’s online store, you’re losing (or have already lost) your library.

The service was first launched back in 2017 and relied on the use of a web browser rather than a dedicated app. Sadly, it failed to build a significant audience. Therefore, in April, Microsoft warned customers about this after giving up any ambitions of making its Surface computers a popular choice on which to read novels and textbooks.

Microsoft ebooks couldn’t dethrone Amazon’s Kindle

You may not know this, but Microsoft predates Amazon in this industry by a whopping seven years.

The MSReader format was launched in 2000. It was part of an alliance with the retailer Barnes and Noble. But along with rival efforts by Palm and the French firm Mobipocket, there was little interest.

Undeterred, it tried to get back into the market again in 2012 as part of a second tie-up with B&N. However, that also struggled, and the partnership came to an end in 2014.

You may not be aware Microsoft made a third run at the industry. However, experts say the cut-off serves as a reminder that you do not own a copy of most digital purchases outright. Instead, you have purchased a licence that can expire.

“The fact is that you don’t own e-books when you buy them with DRM [digital rights management] from Amazon or anywhere else,” commented Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.

“Technical controls through DRM are said to reduce unauthorised copying, but what they are really for is putting Amazon or Microsoft in charge of the e-book ecosystem.” An organisation called Defective by Design, however, maintains a list of ways to buy or otherwise legally download content that is not bound by such restrictions.

What does this mean for Microsoft customers?

What does it mean for all those titles you bought through Microsoft? Well, any purchases or titles offered for free will no longer be available.  However, out-of-pocket users are offered refunds, including a $25 (£20) credit if they made highlights or notes, which will also be lost.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: BBC

Phishing Link Clicks – What Is The Potential Cost?

Phishing link click and their associated costs are big news. If you remember, last week we brought you a story from BullGuard about European banks and their need for better phishing protection.

To put the potential costs involved into perspective, here’s another story that highlights what a phishing attack can equate to in hard earned cash. It’s quite an eye-opener.

Ransomware has slipped off the mainstream media radar of late but it’s still out there causing havoc.

BullGuard reported the latest victims, which are two townships in Florida, US:

  • The town of Riviera Beach, 80 miles from Miami, paid US $600,000 worth of Bitcoins to a cybercrook who had locked its IT systems with ransomware
  • Lake City, a small town in Northern Florida, paid $460,000-worth of Bitcoin to hackers to regain control of its email systems and servers

In both cases the ransomware infections appear to be the result of users mistakenly clicking on malicious links in their emails, which then released the ransomware into the wider IT systems.

  • Riviera Beach lost access to its email, IT systems were knocked offline and 911 emergency services were disrupted
  • Lake City local government departments had to resort to pen and paper and residents were told to monitor the Lake City Police Department’s Facebook page for any critical updates

These attacks are the latest in an on going trend in which cyber criminals target the US public sector with crippling ransomware attacks.

  • So far in 2019 there have been 22 known attacks on US public-sector organisations including Baltimore and New York’s state capital, Albany
  • Two of the most destructive ransomware attacks were in Atlanta and Newark with more than $6 million extorted in ransoms. The US Department of Justice said these two attacks alone caused more than $30 million in damage

The cyber villains launching these attacks come from disparate backgrounds ranging from Iranian hackers to suspects in Romania and Hungary.

The one thing they have in common is the recognition that the US public sector is vulnerable to ransomware attacks and often willing to pay to have their systems unlocked.

What does this mean for you?

As a home user (or small business), you’re hardly presenting the same ‘half a million dollar’ opportunity that US public sector organisation are. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t become a target, especially when ransomware crooks decide to launch a mass phishing mail campaign.

To keep yourself safe, always use layered security software designed to identify new types of malware, including ransomware. And, always back up your data whether it’s to cloud-based storage or a stand-alone device.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

 

Source: BullGuard

European Banks Need Better Phishing Protection

Phishing scams are big business, which is why we were shocked to read an article on BullGuard’s website.

It would appear as though European banks – those monoliths that we believe to be impenetrable to cyber-attacks and scams – are not doing enough to protect is from phishing scams.

We’ll let BullGuard fill you in:

Phishing scams his European banks

Up to a quarter of major European banks are not providing best practise phishing protection to their customers according to a survey from Sectigo, a cybersecurity analyst firm.

The firm looked at banking websites and rated them based on the presence of SSL certificate verifications provided by a Certificate Authority (CA), which confirm that a website is authentic and legitimate.

  • Each bank’s website was rated according to the type of certificate used to secure the home and login pages for the bank’s online banking service.
  • Full marks were awarded for the presence of Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates and the maximum level of identity verification on the home and login pages.
  • Websites without an EV certificate on the home and/or login pages received a lesser rating.

An Extended Validation Certificate (EV) is a certificate used for HTTPS websites and software that proves the organisation that provides the sites/software are who they claim to be.

In Europe, 25% of banks did not receive the highest rating, but thankfully, there wasn’t one single bank that warranted a ‘not secure’ status.

What does this mean in practice? 

Cybercriminals often create counterfeit websites to trick people into unknowingly providing valuable information such as account logins, credit card numbers and personally identifiable information that can be used for identity theft.

  • A website using an EV SSL Certificate displays security indicators directly in the browser address bar, such as a padlock, HTTPS, and the verified company name and country.
  • A website that doesn’t display these signs suggests it’s a counterfeit website or as the Sectigo survey shows, a bank that isn’t paying full attention to its online presence.

User advice

Given the widespread use of phishing campaigns and counterfeit web pages it’s recommended that you check the following points when logging onto a site in which you might make a payment or enter sensitive data:

  • Look for the full company name at the left of the address bar to ensure the site is legitimate.
  • Don’t enter credit card numbers, personal information, logins, or other sensitive data on any web page that is not secured with a certificate that is, displaying a padlock in the browser bar.
  • Avoid clicking on links in emails that you weren’t expecting and which attempt to get you to enter personal information. These are typically phishing emails.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

 

BT Is Switching Off PSTN and ISDN lines

BT is switching off the PSTN and ISDN networks for good, opening the door for VoIP.

The process starts with a cease in supply in 2020, and moving to full migration by 2025.

As you would expect, the BT ISDN switch off will affect many businesses in the near future, especially those unaware of BT phasing out ISDN and looking to invest in or upgrade their current business telephone system.

Therefore, if you are considering upgrading your telephone system, what’s the alternative?

VoIP replaces ISDN

VoIP works like an ordinary telephone system but uses your broadband connection to carry the calls instead of the copper telephone network.

As a result, you can make local, long distance, and international calls for less.

The system uses HD quality and has more features than most traditional phone service offerings. Since VoIP uses broadband, it also allows gives you the option to add additional inbound/outbound call capacity without the cost of an additional line rental.

There are numerous VoIP providers out there, but here at MPM we work with a local provider, Chicane. Not only do they offer the above, but also you can make calls to other users on your Chicane VoIP network (even in different offices) for free.

We can provide you with geographic numbers for your system (DDI’s) from whatever area you like regardless of your location (e.g. you could have a London number, a Chelmsford number, a Manchester number etc.)

Is it time you moved away from ISDN? If so, and you want to talk more about VoIP, gives us a call to have a chat about requirements. We will be happy to help you plan for your businesses future.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

 

How To Use Google Voice

Google Voice is a free dictation service that types what you speak. It’s a fantastic tool for anyone who hates typing or is very slow at it.

Before you get started, you’re going to need a couple of things:

  • The latest version of Google Chrome
  • A functioning microphone connected to your computer

To start Google Voice, all you need to do is go to Google Drive and create a new Google Docs word processing document. Once created, go to the top menu and select Tools > Voice typing.

A small pop-up window will appear to the left of your document with a dark microphone icon inside it. Click the microphone. When it turns red, you can start speaking your text.

While you’re speaking, don’t worry if you need to pause. Google will wait for you. Once you’ve finished, click the microphone again to turn off the service.

Formatting and editing in Google Voice

The easiest way to format, such as including bold or italics, is to start by dictating a sentence like, “I prefer manual typing.”

Don’t forget to dictate your punctuation, so the above sentence sounds like: “I prefer manual typing period.”

Next say, “select ‘I prefer manual typing.’”

Followed by, “apply italics” or “apply heading two,” or whatever your preferred formatting is.

To add a list, all you have to say is, “create bullet list” or “create numbered list.” Then dictate your list, saying “new line” between each item. At the end of your list say “new line” twice to end the list formatting.

Google Voice also includes an “undo” command in voice typing for those times when you mess up.

You do have to be patient. There’s a lag between the issuing and execution of a command, which makes it far from ideal when creating large amounts of content. But if you want to create notes, short documents, or draft emails, it makes a lot of sense.

One last thing to keep in mind is that Google Voice dictation is like having a highly literal secretary, and it won’t distinguish between flippant remarks that aren’t to be included in your content. That’s why if you’re going to use it, be careful what you say and always proofread the end result.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

 

RIP iTunes – Apple Introduces Three New Apps

Apple is killing off iTunes after 18 years of faithful service.

Over the years, the app has grown beyond its music roots to include a multitude of other necessities we (apparently) can’t live without.

Today, it’s a creaking pensioner that’s trying to do too much. Therefore, iTunes, as we know it, is being put out to pasture. Fear not, that doesn’t mean your music library is suddenly going to become redundant. Apple wouldn’t do that to you.

Three new upstarts are usurping the old iTunes app.

Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and Apple TV

These are the new kids on the block.

Apple Music will be lightning-fast and easier to use, simplified and improved. This app will be primarily focused on Apple Music with its 50 million songs, and so on. Users will have access to all their music here, whether the tracks were downloaded, purchased or ripped from CD.

If you prefer to have your own music, you can still use the iTunes Music Store as there’ll be a sidebar within the Music app to take you music shopping.

In the same way, you will be able to buy films and TV shows from the Apple TV app.

The iTunes app won’t be disappearing altogether, but it will just be a place where you can buy music.

The end of the iTunes era

iTunes changed the way we chose, listened to, and bought music. It was a game changer for the music industry and forced the removal of digital rights management that dictated how many devices to which we could save our tracks.

Even though it was innovative at the time, our world has changed. Technology has changed, and the way we consume products and services has changed. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that even the mighty iTunes has to succumb to change sooner for later.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: Forbes

 

 

Huawei Smartphone – Good Investment Or Dead As a Dodo?

Buying Huawei smartphones was seen as a good move.

Being cheaper than its rivals, it offered ‘you’d-be-made-to-pass-up’ value for money.

But then Google announced it was being forced to comply with the US government’s ban on the supply of technologies to Huawei. As a result, it has stopped providing software and support to the tech giant.

In other words, Huawei smartphones will lose access to Android software updates. Any phones sold outside of China won’t have popular Google apps such as the Play Store or Gmail.

Does that mean Huawei smartphones are now expensive doorstops?

The good news is that if you already have a Huawei handset, it will continue to work as usual. The US ban only relates to new smartphones.

What does it mean for the China tech giant?

Well, it’s going to make their push into the European market very difficult. The combination of powerful cameras, good battery life, and low price make them very attractive to the smartphone customer.

Huawei can continue to use the underlying Android operating system because it’s open source, although they’ll have to produce their updates.

The main problem is selling a smartphone without Google services and apps. Google has some 150 apps and services running on Android, so it’s going to make potential buyers think twice.

Despite the attractive price point, users have to ask themselves, can they cope without Google’s services and apps?

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: BullGuard

Disable Your Laptop Touchpad

Do you want to disable your laptop touchpad?

Without a doubt, the touchpad is a Godsend.

It negates the need for a mouse, making working on the go a breeze. However, there can be a downside. Have this happened to you?

You’re working happily on your laptop only to brush the touchpad sending your cursor flying across your screen. Admittedly, it’s a small annoyance, but one that can get on your nerves after a while.

We’re here to banish life’s little annoyances, so here’s how you can temporarily disable your laptop’s touchpad.

Disable laptop touchpad

All laptops are different, so the method of disabling the touchpad will differ.

Some will have a physical switch that disables the touchpad. Others will offer a keyboard shortcut (such as pressing Fn and F7 simultaneously). So it’s best to check out your laptop’s handbook for the right method.

Disabling a touchpad in software

PCWorld also offers this advice if your manufacturer provides a way of customising and disabling your touchpad through software:

  1. Look for a touchpad icon in the notification area (lower-right corner). Double-click or right-click it to browse the touchpad options; disable the touchpad from here if possible
  2. If you don’t find a touchpad icon in the notification area, type control panel in the Windows search bar. Go to Hardware and Sound, and under Devices and Printers, click Mouse. The Mouse Properties window will open; you might find a tab in that window where you can disable the touchpad
  3. Look for a touchpad software entry in the Start menu if you can’t find it in the notification area or under Mouse Properties

If you don’t see a way to physically disable the touchpad or to disable it through software, you still have another option.

  • Click Start
  • Type device manager into the Search box. In the Device Manager, expand Mice and other pointing devices
  • Right-click the touchpad’s entry. In the menu that pops up, click Disable
  • Confirm your choice in the pop-up window

If you find touchpad software installed on your laptop, you might be able to adjust the settings and eliminate the touchpad’s annoying behaviour without disabling it. For example, some touchpad software allows you to change the sensitivity of the touchpad, ignore palm presses, and automatically disable the touchpad when the system detects an external mouse.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: PCWorld