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Computer repair tips and tricks

Firefox: why it’s my web browser of choice

January 19th, 2016

Martin

I’ve been using Mozilla Firefox since version 0.9 way back in the prehistoric era of 2004. Back then Internet Explorer 5 was by far the dominant web browser, and I admit I was just keen to buck the trend. But it quickly became clear that supporting alternative browsers was (and is) healthy for the growing Web. It’s still my opinion that the Web would not be the thing it is today if not for Firefox and the developments and standards it allowed.

I’ve dabbled with the Google Chrome, and as a web developer I need to keep copies of other web browsers around. But why have I come back to Firefox again and again, and why do I stay? Read more

PC Habits: Your New Year’s Computing Resolutions

January 12th, 2016

Martin

The start of the year is a good time to take stock of your PC, in the same way you might be doing in other parts of your life. Good habits can make or break your computing experiences.

But while you can’t take your PC to the gym to get it toned, there are plenty of good habits you can start doing now. Getting started is the hardest part, so here are some reminders of my top blog posts which will get you going. Read more

Don’t get trapped in the Clouds

January 6th, 2016

Martin

The New Year is the time when I like to look at new beginnings, and renewal, with all things technology. I’ll be writing about a few topics which you should think about over the coming weeks, and this week it’s focussed on a problem which arises with new computers.

You may have been lucky enough to get a new PC or laptop for Christmas, freeing you up from that dusty old box which you were ready to exile to the landfill. With all that shiny new gear, you’ll be speeding ahead with everything from gaming to everyday office work!

But you might also be running straight into a trap. Read more

Free lunch: why that free thing is not free

December 8th, 2015

Martin

How many times do you see the word ‘Free’ plastered all over the internet?

Whether it’s free phone apps, free ebooks or free training courses, we’re bombarded with this word every day. It’s a marketer’s best friend, and a consumer’s greatest temptation.

But they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Does that apply here? Read more

Keep your PC simple, stupid!

December 1st, 2015

Martin

Minimalism is quite a fad at the moment. Whether it’s decluttering your bookshelf or chucking out the chintz, from the piles of stuff in your house to the very patterns our things are decorated with, plain and simple is “in”.

Why is this? And is it something we can apply to our computers in a useful way?

There are a million reasons why minimalism might be the fashionable thing right now. I’m not going to go through every single one, but I’d like to suggest that it’s the feeling of freedom, of knowing that everything in your house it useful or beautiful, and that you know where everything is.

There’s also something about deciding what you need, and also being more certain of what exactly it is that’s lost when something goes wrong. Read more

Web browsers vs search engines vs your home page

November 24th, 2015

Martin

Does it really matter if you don’t know the difference between the Google search engine, the Google home page and the ‘Google web browser’? No, not most of the time.

But I’ve had customers in situations where a knowledge of these differences would have prevented problems occurring, or at least stopped them early in their tracks.

I’m not surprised about the confusion, especially now that companies like Google make one of everything! With that in mind, here’s a quick run-down of what the main phrases mean, and what you can do to spot problems early on. Read more

Don’t let False Economy spoil your Christmas laptop purchase

November 17th, 2015

Martin

I’ve done laptop buying guides before. The last guide showed you what to look for in a new computer, depending on what you needed it for.

Well, in many ways that advice still stands, though the ‘Core’ processors from Intel are now into their 5th generation. The amount of RAM you need hasn’t really changed either, especially as Windows 10 is meant to be friendly to machines with low amounts of RAM (working memory). Read more

The blazing speed of an SSD without the huge cost

November 10th, 2015

Martin

You’ll know all about the amazing speed boost of a Solid State Disk if you’ve read this blog for a while. The technology in this box of wonders means that, compared to the hard drives they replace, they’re an unbelievable turbo charge for your PC, Mac or laptop.

But you might also know that, in pennies per gigabyte, a Solid State Disk (SSD) is hugely more expensive. Compare the common Seagate 500GB hard drive for £33 to the Samsung 500GB SSD for £116 (at time of writing). That’s nearly four times the price!

Prices are coming down all the time, but at the same time your photo and video collections are getting bigger and your cameras are capturing ever larger images. A 500GB SSD is just not big enough any more!

There are two solutions to this conundrum. Read more

Update your PC’s software to keep it secure

November 3rd, 2015

Martin

When is your computer completely safe? When it’s switched off. That’s an old geek truism to get started… 😉

But there are other factors reducing your security:

  • when viruses arrive;
  • when antivirus software is not installed or not up to date;
  • when your firewall software is not working;
  • when Windows Updates have not been applied;
  • when you don’t browse carefully;
  • when your programs are not kept up to date.

It’s that last one I’m going to discuss today (yes, that’s why it’s in bold there – I don’t just throw this together, you know!). Read more

Escape Outlook Express and Windows 8 Mail

October 28th, 2015

Martin

If you’ve upgraded, or moved PCs, from Windows XP to Windows 8 or even Windows 10, then you may have lost one of your crucial pieces of software: Outlook Express. Read more