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Internet privacy – how do you feel?

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently that have been discussing electronic privacy and security.

What’s struck me is that many of these podcasts are hosted in the US, and it seems that the people involved are more concerned about their own government being knowledgable about their likes, interests, movements and browsing history than they are about companies who profit from that information (Google, Facebook, Amazon, supermarkets etc. etc.).

I’m a little confused by that to be honest. Being idealistic, the government are working on our behalf, for our protection, so any data that they have access to is probably fine with me. I don’t think I give our intelligence agencies or police any reason to need to intercept my traffic, and if I do, I hope it would be only as part of a wider investigation into someone else, in which case, again, I have no problem. With that in mind, don’t send anything electronically that could embarrass you!

From a technical point of view, I think the proposals on electronic privacy that our Prime Minister has being making recently (encrypted data on the internet must be readable by government agencies if required) will be hard to enforce, and I’m reserving judgement on whether I agree until I hear more specific details on how he thinks this can be achieved.

In terms of corporate access to data about me, this is where I do begin to get more concerned (in complete contrast, it seems, to the US podcasters). I’m willing to give up my browsing history to Google, but I don’t want them scanning my emails so they can present more ads to me. Hence why I don’t like Gmail. Unfortunately, this does seem to be […]

Recovering data from that old hard drive

Today I wanted to mention briefly our data recovery service. Several times recently I’ve comes across clients who have had failed machines with important information on them. Obviously I slapped their wrists for not backing the information up before taking a look to see what we could do, and typically they fall into one of three different scenarios.

For each problem, there’s a different kind of fix, but I just wanted to give you an indication of what can and can’t be done should you ever find yourself in that uncomfortable position.
Failed computer, hard drive is fine
One of the most common problems on any computer is a failed power supply. When this happens people can incorrectly assume that their data is lost forever, but we can quite often get to their information so long as the hard drive isn’t also damaged. We can usually take the drive out of the machine and recover the users information to their new machine, or put it into an external case if required.
Corrupt hard drive
Hard drives begin to fail eventually (average lifetimes for different drive manufacturers can be seen here), and unfortunately too few people know how to check their drives for errors (start Disk Utility and select your hard drive on the left hand side – you need to choose the drive and not one of the partitions on it – and then towards the bottom of the screen there’ll be a S.M.A.R.T. Status indication. If it doesn’t say Verified, get the drive checked). Most drives have self analysis (S.M.A.R.T.) built in so they know when they are beginning to have problems, but if you don’t manage that yourself, your computer can become aware of it too late. So […]

By |October 29th, 2014|Services|0 Comments

How I fixed my Continuity and Handoff problems

Like many people found after upgrading to Yosemite (don’t you listen?!), I initially found that Handoff and Continuity was, well, broken. I went through periods where it worked intermittently, then it steadfastly refused to do anything once I upgraded to OS 8.1 for some reason, even though I expected that would be the answer.

Anyway, a day or two after iOS 8.1 was released I’ve now managed to get Handoff and Continuity working perfectly, and wanted to explain what I did to get ot going.

One of my main issues was that because I used to work for an Apple reseller I had a legacy Apple id that was somehow limited in its ability to do anything other than buy apps (I needed a second account for Find my Friends etc.). For that reason I’ve always had to use two different id’s – one for iCloud login and another for iTunes and the App Store. Unfortunately, when Family Sharing came along that setup didn’t work, so I had to request that Apple made some changes to my Apple id configuration (which let me tell you was not an easy thing to get across to them….). Once this was done I was able to use a single login across all my Apple accounts, but this still didn’t seem to work for me. Instant Hotspot just didn’t work,  Handoff was intermittent and it was impossible to place/receive calls on my Mac and to be frank I was getting pretty frustrated with Yosemite at one stage.

To cut a long story short, after a lot of experimentation, this is the process I went through to get all my devices (iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro) working in harmony:

Get all of your […]

Windows XP and What You Should Do Now

For those people still running Windows XP, you might be aware that Microsoft are ending support for computers running this Operating System with effect from April 8th 2014. You will more than likely get reminders from your computer beginning March 8th telling you that support is ending.
What does this mean?
Firstly it doesn’t mean that your computer will stop working. It does however mean that Microsoft will stop providing technical assistance for XP, and this includes the regular updates that are released to prevent you becoming a victim of any security risks such as viruses. With this in mind, there is a high probability that, as there are so many Windows XP machines still being used (29% of all the computers in the world!), those machines will increasingly be targeted by people looking to attack the users of those computers, for whatever reason (some of which may be damaging to you).
How do I know if I’m running Windows XP?
Microsoft have created the Web site http://amirunningxp.com/ – click on this and it’ll tell you very clearly if you are running Windows XP.
What should you do?
The chances are that if you are running Windows XP, your machine is relatively old, and incapable of running a newer Operating System without, at best, decreasing performance. So, the likelihood is that you are going to need to replace your existing computer. Before you do this though, I’d strongly recommend you to speak to your IT Support company, or ourselves if you don’t already have one, to double check the capability of your existing computer.
What should you upgrade to?
Microsoft would probably tell you to upgrade to Windows 8, but at this stage we strongly recommend Windows 7 as it is a […]