When did you last have a health check?

When did you last have a health check?

How’s the January health kick going?

Lots of us take our health seriously – once a year, anyway – and it’s good to spend time thinking about whether you’ve been looking after yourself (and better still, doing something about it).

Your doctor would probably like to see you once a year for a health check, just to pick up any small problems and stop them getting worse.

It’s exactly the same principle with your technology.

So why not book in for an IT check-up, to make sure everything’s in great shape for the journey ahead?

You do this for yourself, you do it for your car, and it’s a good plan to think the same way about your workplace tech. Because it might have to work pretty hard in the year to come.

Getting everything checked out now will pay dividends later.

We’ll help to pick up any minor-but-urgent fixes that could help prevent a disastrous breakdown in a few months’ time. Sometimes a simple software update will speed things up dramatically – which means less time watching the egg timer!  

If there are bigger, but non-urgent jobs that you can safely leave for another day, we’ll tell you that too.

And if you’re all good to go, you can carry on with confidence.

It may even be a great time to think about new technology and prioritise your IT projects. Do you know what you need to prepare for if you want your system to develop as your business grows? That could be something as simple as switching to cloud storage, or it could be a larger project, such as digital transformation.

Our experts carry out top-to-toe IT health checks for all kinds of businesses, and we’ll give you honest, jargon-free advice on the best solutions for a trouble-free tech set-up.

To book your check-up, get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Are your younger employees experiencing ‘tech shame’?

Are your younger employees experiencing ‘tech shame’?

It seems that Gen Z and even some Millennial employees are less tech savvy than many employers might expect. It’s an assumption that’s leading to a sense of ‘tech shame’.

Younger workers may have grown up using Snapchat, TikTok and Minecraft, but they’re not always equipped with the skills they need to adapt to the workplace.

A recent study has found that one in five employees aged 18 to 29 feel judged when they encounter technical issues at work. That’s compared to just one in 25 employees aged 40 or over.

The solution may lie in providing better training, not just for younger colleagues and first-jobbers, but for the whole team. Some Gen Z workers may have started their careers during the pandemic. That means they will never have experienced anything other than a digital working environment. Especially if they work remotely or in a hybrid role.

As well as fixing any skill gaps there may be, whole-team training can provide a much-needed confidence boost for young employees.

Another consideration is the provision of tools and devices your team has access to – especially if they’re working remotely.

Younger workers with less available income to spend on home office equipment may be less likely to speak up if they’re struggling.

Simply checking in with employees – particularly if they’re not in the office – can make a big difference to their engagement, productivity, and confidence. If there are any issues, big or small, find a way to put them right, and you’ll notice a positive shift in the whole business.

If you’d like any advice about tech shame or help with training, boosting efficiency or sourcing equipment, we’re here when you need us. Just get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

A little trust can go a long way

A little trust can go a long way

Countless employers still don’t trust their people to do their best work unless they’re physically in the office. But while managers may be struggling to adjust to our new hybrid world, this perception is a long way from the truth.

Research from around the world reveals that greater flexibility from remote and hybrid working often results in a major boost to productivity. Yet still some firms are bringing back an office-only policy.

Employers may be grappling with the fallout of the last few years and hoping that a return to the office will result in a post-pandemic productivity boost.

But seeing as hybrid workers show improved morale, greater creativity and better collaboration (compared with pre-pandemic levels), this could be a big step in the wrong direction.

Big Brother will never be popular

Some businesses have increased their employee monitoring to try and track performance. But this is often perceived as a Big Brother tactic that ends up having the opposite effect – a drop in productivity, a lack of trust, demoralised teams, and a greater feeling of ‘us and them’.

All businesses need to understand how they are performing and decide which metrics give the best insight into productivity. But this has to be done in a way that doesn’t leave employees feeling like cogs in a machine.

So what’s the answer?

There is some clear advice for building a productive and successful hybrid environment:

  • Encourage people to work in the way that’s best for them
  • Find the right ways to measure performance – without people feeling like they’re constantly being watched
  • Automate repetitive tasks to free up your team’s creativity
  • And provide everyone with the tools and tech they need to do their job properly. That could include choosing the right devices, using communication tools that aid collaboration, and making the right connectivity choices.

We can help with all of this.

So if you’re having trouble adjusting to a hybrid world, get in touch – we’re here to help.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Windows is the prime target for cyber criminals

Windows is the prime target for cyber criminals

With its huge dominance in the workplace, Microsoft’s Windows has become the prime target for cyber criminals. They’re looking to access your information, disrupt your business, or hold your data to ransom.

Tens of millions of attempted malware attacks were discovered throughout this year, and a massive 95% of those threats were targeted at Windows.

The vast majority of attacks are unsuccessful, but those that do succeed can create havoc for the affected businesses. So you need to be sure that you’re taking all possible precautions to protect your business and your data.

  • Hardware and software companies release regular updates to address threats to Windows users, as well as security patches designed specifically to deal with new risks. These should all be installed as soon as they become available.
  • Your people should be regularly trained in how to spot cyber security threats and what to do if they suspect one.
  • And because it’s not possible to protect every business from 100% of all threats, it’s also important that you have a strong resilience plan in place.

This should detail exactly how your business should react if it falls victim to a cyber attack and who should be notified to take action. Everyone in the company should have access to this document and know to report any potential attack as quickly as possible – that’s the best way to lessen its impact.

If you have an IT service provider, they’ll be able to make the best recommendations to keep your business safe and secure, train your people, and even provide monitoring to spot any potential danger before it becomes a problem.

This is something we do every day. So if we can help your business become more resilient, just get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Top 10 best resources to learn to program

Top-10-best-resources-to-learn-to-programNowadays, learning to code can be one of your most valuable skills. Sure, learning coding is not easy and it requires a lot of time but, if you are determined you could eventually uncover the mysteries of programming languages.
We gathered below the best online resources where you can learn the basics of coding.

 

Codeacademy

Probably the best online resource for coding, Code Academy has a great variety of classes to offer: from javascript to HTML/CSS and from PHP to Python. Its user friendly platform makes coding look like child play. Codeacademy feature a split screen on which you can see the code you have the write followed by theoretical explanations and indications.

 

Code Avengers

Focuses on gamification and entertainment, Code Avengers is a learn-to-code platform designed to teach beginners the basics of coding. Each lesson is designed to be interactive and to make the theoretical part as accessible as possible. Most of the courses are free.

 

Code School

Another popular online resource for coding is Code School. Guided by the “Learn by doing” motto, Code School offers a great variety of courses structured on different levels of difficulty – from beginners to advance.
A one month subscription costs 29 dollars, but you can access most of the introductory parts for free.

 

Treehouse

Treehouse provides courses on a range of web development, app development and web design topics. Its rich library, which features 1000+ videos, seeks to help beginners to learn the basics of coding and prospective coders become better.
You can sign up for $25 for a Basic subscription, which will allow you access to most courses, or for the Pro subscription, which cost $49 and allows you access to exclusive workshops and interviews.

 

Lynda.com

Probably the leading online resource for learning to code, Lynda is a reliable source of training in a wide range of web development topics. Although you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to be given full access, the platform offers a free presentation of every course. This way, you can decide whether the course is relevant for you or not.

 

Udacity

“Our online courses are rigorous and may even make you sweat.” states Udacity on their “What we offer” page. The truth is that, Udacity’s courses are targeted to those who already have the basics of coding.
Unlike other learning websites, on Udacity every user has a personal trainer with which they can chat about the problems encountered while writing a code. Furthermore, at the end of each course, graduates get a certificate which demonstrates their knowledge and skills on a given topic.

 

 

 

Important keyboard shortcuts for PC and Mac

Important keyboard shortcuts for PC and MacUsing keyboard shortcuts will help you get around much faster and can cut down the time needed to complete a task.

Here are the most important keyboard shortcuts worth knowing both for PC and Mac users.

Text editing

Cut, Copy, Paste
PC: Ctrl + X = cut; Ctrl + C = copy; Ctrl + V = paste
Mac: Command + X = cut; Command + C = copy, Command + V = paste.

To select an entire document, you’ll just have to press Ctrl + A for Windows users and Command + A for Mac users. To undo a command, you need to press Ctrl + Z for PC and Command + Z for Mac, whereas to redo it, the keyboard shortcut for PC is Ctrl + Y, but for Mac is Command + Shift + Z.

 

To find text within a document

PC: Ctrl + F
Mac: Command + F

 

To select a paragraph

PC: Shift + Ctrl + Up/Down arrow
Mac: Shift + Command + Up/Down arrow

To select one line at a time, the shortcut is the same for both Windows and Mac user: Shift + Up/Down arrow.

 

Web browsing – add a bookmark

You can create a shortcut of your favorite webpages by bookmarking them:
PC: Ctrl + D
Mac: Apple key + D

 

Show desktop

If you have too many windows open and you want to quickly access your desktop:
PC: Windows key + D
Mac: F11

 

Close browser

A faster and clever way you close your browser without having to use your mouse:
PC: Alt + F4
Mac: Apple key + Q

 

Reopen previous tab

If you accidentally closed a tab:
PC: Ctrl + Shift + T
Mac: Apple key + Z

 

Go to previous location in browser

If you want to go to the webpage you were looking at before your current one:
PC: Alt + ←
Mac: Apple key + [

 

Starting and closing applications

Move through a list of open applications
Mac: Command + Tab
PC: Alt + Tab
To move through the list in reverse, just press Command + Shift + Tab for Mac and Alt + Shift + Tab for PC.

 

To open a new tab

PC: Ctrl + T
Mac: Command + T

 

To close a new tab

PC: Ctrl + W
Mac: Command + W
To minimize/ maximize the focused windows
PC: Alt + Space + N/ Alt + Space + X
Mac: Command + M/ Command + L

 

To show all open windows

PC: Windows key + Tab
Mac: F9

 

To delete forever

PC: Shift + Delete

 

How to use System Restore in Windows 10

System Restore in Windows 8Picture this: you installed new software or, without realising, you’ve changed an important setting and your computer stopped working properly. You can either shake your fist angrily or push the reset button again and again hoping the problem will eventually be solved – or you can learn to use the System Restore tool.

Simply put, System Restore will let you revert to a point in time before things went wrong, called a restore point, and undo last changes to the system. It’s like a time machine, but only for computers.

This guide will teach you how to configure and use System Restore in Windows 8. Before you start, run a complete backup of your files and folders.

 

Restoring to a previous point

Hold down the Windows key and Q to open the search box or point the mouse to the top right corner of the screen and click on Search. In the search box type Recovery, click on the Advanced System Settings bar and choose the recovery icon from below and a new window will appear.

Select Open System Restore. By default, the tool will show you the most recent restore point. Let’s say the problem appeared after you’ve installed the printer and you’ll need to revert to a time before things went wrong. To restore to that point, all you have to do is click on Next and then Finish and the computer will restart your system and roll back. The tool also allows you to choose from different restore points.

 

Creating a restore point

As before, hold down the Windows key and Q to open the search box, type Recovery, click on the Settings bar and choose the Recovery icon from below. Select the Advanced System Settings then click on the System Protection tab.
This time, instead of choosing the System Restore option, select Create to manually set up a new restore point. Write down a description to help you identify the restore point, then click on Create. The date and the time will be added automatically.

 

The System Restore feature can be really helpful especially since, sometimes, programs can accidentally change settings that they shouldn’t have. System Restore will allow you to go back to a restore point and invert these settings.

 

Remote control your home computer from anywhere

remote control your home computerHave you ever been in the situation where you’re having an important meeting when you realise you left a super important document on your computer at home? Luckily, there are ways your can access your computer from anywhere.

Here is how you can remote controlling your PC from anywhere.

 

Built-in remote desktop access

Windows, through its Remote Access option allows users connect to remote PC and gives them a high level of control, but here’s the catch: it can only works on Windows Professional or higher.

Here is how you can access your Windows computer from another Windows PC:

Click Start and search for the Allow remote access option. Select the Allow Remote Control Access to This Computer option and a window should pop up. Make sure to check one of the two radio buttons from the bottom of the Window, depending on how you want to access the computer – from another Windows 7 or from other versions of Windows. If you are using Windows 8.1, go to Control Panel and open System Properties. You will be given these options:
– Don’t allow remote connections to this computer and
– Allow remote connection to this computer
To enable Remote Desktop Connection, select the first option and you are set to go.
Now, go to your remote computer, click Start, search for Remote Desktop, click on Remote Desktop Connection and type in the name of the computer you want the access. It should be the name given to the computer when Windows was installed, like Mikescomputer. Click Connect and you should be able to connect to your computer.

 

Remote control your computer with VNC

Here’s another great way you can log into your home computer from any device, including your smartphone: VNC or virtual network computing. VNC allows you to see your desktop and remote control your computer just like you’re sitting in front of it.
To get started you’ll first need to set up a VNC server and a VNC client. Most high version of Windows and Mac OS X already have a VNC server build in and for other versions there are VNC software, like TightVNC or OSXvnc you can install. As for the VNC client, as I said, most Windows and OS X have built-in clients and if they don’t, you can just install Chicken of the VNC.
To access your computer from anywhere, next you’ll have to forward the VNC server’s port on your router. Log into your router’s admin page and set up a new port forwarding service for port 5900. Make sure you have a static local IP address otherwise you won’t be able to connect to your home computer. Set up a dynamic DNS hostname in order to prevent your local Internet service from changing your IP address.
To connect, start de TightVNC viewer, type in the external IP, enter your VNC password and you’ll have access to your home computer.

 

Remote control your computer with TeamViewer

Maybe the easiest way to remote control your home computer is by using TeamViewer. All you’ll have to do is download it, create an account and install some extra software. Here’s what you should do:
Start by downloading and installing TeamViewer on both your home computer and your remote computer. Once installed, go to Connection and create an account by clicking on Set Up Unattended Access. Log into your account and leave TeamViewer open when you leave home. Run TeamViewer form your remote computer to log into your home computer. It’s that simple.

Tips to improve your computer’s speed

tips to improve your computers speedIs your once super-fast, super-performance computer less effective and much slower than it used to be? Before thinking of replacing it with a newer model, try busting your computer’s speed with these tips.

Remember – before starting the cleaning process don’t forget to back up your data!

 

Clean your computer

When was the last time you cleaned your computer? Probably never, right? But did you know that more bacteria live on a square inch of a typical office desk than on the same area of a toilet seat? That’s because we clean our bathrooms more often than we clean our computers.
Just like your house, your car, your clothes or any other thing for what matters, your computer needs to be cleaned, inside and out, to prevent dust bunnies building up and overheating.

 

The outside

Start with the easy stuff and clean your keyboard and your mouse.
If you have the habit of eating in front of your computer, most probably your keyboard has accumulated lots of crumbs under the keys, so a proper clean once a week is more than necessary to keep germs away. Hold your computer upside down and shake it to dislodge debris. Next, take a can of compressed air, point it towards your keyboard and blow off the dust between the keys. Then, wipe the keyboard and the mouse with an antibacterial tissue. Make sure your computer is turned off so you won’t accidentally erase important documents.

 

The inside

Before cleaning the inside of your computer, unplug the power cable and remove all USBs and audio or video cables. Take your computer’s case to a well-ventilated room or, if possible, outside – you won’t want to breathe in all the dust accumulated in God knows how many years.
Open up the case and with the help of compressed air, blow the dust off the component inside your computer. Make sure to get between every crack and clean every part carefully.  Before closing up, make sure everything is connected inside. .

 

Add more RAM

Adding more RAM to your computer is one of the simples and cheapest way you can increase its performance. Adding, for example, 8GH of RAM will cost you almost nothing and it will make a noticeable difference to the overall performance of your PC. If you worry about the installation process, your computer’s manual should have a guide on performing a RAM upgrade.

 

Clear your hard drive

Another way you can make your computer faster is by simply removing unwanted files. Windows needs disk space to perform at it’s best and if your hard drive is full Window can start to experience delays. And good disk house keeping to keep you files organised is always good practice.

 

Close any unnecessary software running in the background

Getting rid of unused programs, add-ons, toolbars and other computer-stalling software will make a change in your computer’s performance. The problem with unnecessary software is that you install most of them along with other applications. After installing a new program, like Yahoo Messenger for example, make sure to remove the browser toolbar, update manager and other dispensable applications which came along with the software.

 

Tweak your monitor for the best viewing experience

Tweak your monitor for the best viewing experienceIt goes without saying that you don’t have to be a graphic designer, a web developer or a professional photographer to care about the quality of your image. A proper monitor calibration will allow you to see images the way they were meant to be seen and improve the look of videos, photos and games.

Although getting the colors right can seem a bit confusing, the standard calibration process is fairly easy. Here’s how you can calibrate your display for the best viewing experience.

 

Things to check before calibration

 

Before you get started, make sure your monitor has be turned on for at least 30 minutes so it can get to its normal operating temperature. Then, if you use your display to another resolution, set it back to its native one.
Ambient light reflecting from the monitor’s face can lighten and wash out colors. For this reason, make sure you calibrate your monitor in a room with moderate light – not too bright, not too dim – and with no direct light hitting the screen.

 

Calibrate using built-in tools

 

The quickest and easiest way to calibrate your monitor is by using the built-in calibration tools. If you never calibrated your display before and worry you’ll get lost in the process, both Windows and OS X have built-in utilities which will help you and guide you step by step. Don’t get discouraged by the terminology, you don’t really need to make sense out of the jargon in order to calibrate your monitor.

 

Windows settings

 

Go to Control Panel, select Appearance and Personalization, click on Display and then select the Calibrate display color option.
A new window will open, featuring the Display Color Calibration tool. All you have to do know is to follow the instructions and choose your monitor’s gamma, brightness and contrast and color balance settings. For each setting you will be shown a sample image of what the ideal level should look like. Just try to match your setting with the sample.
Once you’re done, don’t forget to select the current calibration to make sure Windows will remember your new settings. If you are not satisfied with the result, return to the previous calibration and adjust some more.

 

Mac OS X

 

Go to Go to System Preferences, select the Display tab, click on the Color tab and then on the Calibrate button. The Display Calibrator Assistant will now open. Make sure to check the Expert Mode box, otherwise you will be able to access just the target gamma and white point settings.
Now, just follow the instructions to set you monitor’s brightness, contrast, target gamma, native gamma and target white point.
Once you have finished, click on Continue and save the calibration profile.

 

 

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