Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How to buy a new computer ...and not regret it!

Let me start this post off with an old saying... Buy Once... Buy Well...

When it comes to buying a new computer there're a few things to consider regarding spec and performance but I always advise the best starting point is to decide on a budget you can afford but don't spend too little as to end up with a computer that needs replacing again in just a few years, it's important to future-proof your self from the advancing march of technology/commerce.




Wait! ...before you spend all that money, do you need to? If your computer ins't too old but has just slowed down a little it may be given a new lease of life from some extra Memory (RAM) or a faster Hard Drive such as an SSD (Solid State) upgrade, maybe even just a bit of software TLC.

Ok... taking it that you are going to buy that new computer here are a few pointers to get you off to a flying start...

  1. SSD - If budget persists go for an SSD (Solid State) Hard Drive, this will give you a 10x speed increase over regular Hard Drives. An SSD is the single most important speed increasing upgrade. If cash is an issue you could consider an SSHD (Hybrid Drive), this combines the near speed of an SSD with the space/value of a regular Hard Drive.
  2. MEMORY (RAM) - Go for as much as you can afford - Simples! ;) This will make the general running of your new computer much smoother and less prone to hanging and or speed related error messages.
  3. CPU (Processor) - Intel all the way for this geek! - I would suggest the i5 is a good all-rounder with the i3 being suitable for lower budgets. The i7 is just overkill unless you work for Pixar Movies. :)
  4. DEALS - Be careful! - ALWAYS look at the spec of the computer first, don't be taken in by the fact you're getting a free printer or carry case ...and while we're talking about printers investigate the cost of replacement ink or toners before you buy, as a rule the cheaper the printer, the more expensive the ink.
  5. SOFTWARE BUNDLES - Firstly Antivirus, for Apple Macs I advise Symantec's "Norton Antivirus" and for PC's I advise going for the built in "Windows Defender". On a PC you'll often find trial software installed and on an Apple Mac their Office equivalent, iWork (Pages, Numbers & Keynote) is free.

This question has been asked since the dawn of modern computing... 



...Sorry folks this one's for next weeks blog! If you need help buying a new computer or just upgrading an older computer call The Computer Wiz on 01553 660941 or email help@cpwiz.co.uk

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Time to ditch pen & paper?

It is believed that since around the year 3000BC mankind has been using writing implements to note down thoughts ideas, and much much much later shopping lists. In the latter half of the 20th century came possibly one of the most remarkable creations of man, the computer. So why have we not yet heard the death rattle of pen and paper? It might be because there's a certainty that can only be felt from ink marking paper, or maybe it's the simple fact that there's no perceived complicated technology getting in the way. The latter explanation seems more plausible to me and this is where I think technology has finally become complex enough to become simple. I know this sounds like a paradox, but think about it complexity creates the illusion of simplicity and that's all you need to get people to adapt to a new technology and use it as if it's the way they've always done it. After all pen and paper didn't seem that simple when you couldn't read and write!



So... Why should we ditch pen and paper? Simple... it's easier, no really, it is! How many of us walk around with a pen and paper in our pockets? But... I bet your phone is nearby. When you take notes on smartphones, tablets or computers your notes are searchable and retrievable in multiple locations furthermore your notes can be enriched with pictures, hyperlinks or even clickable telephone or email links.



We trust our devices to keep our treasured photos and music collections safe so let's take the last step to a digital utopia.

Want to find out more about ditching pen and paper? Call The Computer Wiz on 01553 660941 or email help@cpwiz.co.uk.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Top 10 Mac Myths 

Ok... So you're considering buying your first Apple Mac... But you've heard a few things such as they're expensive, they don't run Microsoft Office, or you won't be able to run your programs.

Well... Let me dispel some of these myths for you...


  1. They don't run Microsoft Office - Wrong, they do, as well as running Microsoft Office* Macs also have Free Apple alternatives to Word, Excel and Powerpoint - Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Macs will even run Open Office.
  2. You won't be able to run your programs - Wrong, we've come a long way since the first Macs when, yes, there was a great divide between the two platforms. Today, as with Microsoft Office, most software providers build for both Windows as well as Mac.**
  3. You can't run windows programs on a Mac - Well... Kind of wrong... Macs have a handy little application built in call "Bootcamp". Bootcamp allows you to install a full version of Microsoft Windows 10 on your Mac using a bootable partition, so for the duration of that boot your Mac is effectively a fully functional Windows PC.***
  4. You can't easily upgrade a Mac - While it's true some Macs such as the latest iMac are a little tricky to upgrade compared to a PC tower, you can choose the exact spec of your Mac which is customisable during your order process on the Apple website.
  5. Macs are just the same as PCs under the hood - While PC components are indeed common in all computers Macs stand out because of the union of hardware and software design. By its nature Microsoft Windows must have bloated software to cover all the possible hardware configurations PC manufactures may build in.
  6. Macs don't get viruses or Malware - Ok... Brace your self... I've got some bad news on this one! Macs can get Viruses and Malware. BUT... You stick a better chance of avoiding an all out catastrophe than your Windows counterparts due to the Macs Unix based foundations.
  7. Macs are expensive -  Time for a maths lesson... The entry level cost of a 13 inch MacBook Air at the time of writing this post is £949.00 with easy transfer of your own files, FREE Microsoft Office equivalent Pages, Numbers and Keynote, built in Mail, Contacts and Calendars (fully compatible with Microsoft Exchange), Free iCloud account. Let's talk about the spec... 1.8GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor (not the cheap rubbish), 8GB RAM as standard, not to mention 128GB SSD storage! The Dell Insprion 15 7000 starts at £799 + Microsoft Office Home & Business £229.99 = £1028.99 and for all this money you get a heavy, plastic laptop full of unnecessary software installed by the manufacturer. Buy once... Buy well!
  8. Macs are hard to learn to use - Absolutely not, Macs are really easy to get used to, with a super intuitive operating system (macOS) the Mac has evolved into an ultra user friendly computer. 
  9. There's no Right Click on a Mac -  And now for the history lesson... Back in the early days when Steve Jobs was the captain of the Apple ship his drive for simplicity meant the mouse should be made with just one button, "Click", simple right? But as time went on the need for a right click became more prevalent, eventually "Right Click" was introduced but whilst maintaining the look of a "Single Click" mouse. With the invent of the "Mighty Mouse" Apple went Click Crazy with many more configurations such as side buttons. The latest Magic Mouse even has touch gestures like on an iPhone so for instance you can swipe between web pages, to look at the mouse you'd be forgiven for assuming it's still just a single click mouse.
  10. My Printer Won't work with a Mac - In most cases you won't even need to run a setup disk, the download and install of drivers is fully automatic.




MacBook Air vs Dell Inspiron 15 7000




Apple Magic Mouse


For help or advice on switching to Apple Mac call The Computer Wiz on 01553 660941 or email help@cpwiz.co.uk


*"Access" and "Publisher" are not available as Mac applications. **Mac versions of applications are required. ***You will need a full licensed copy of Microsoft Windows 10 64bit.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Antivirus for your Mac 

Yes you heard me right... Antivirus for your Mac!

I know some of you reading this will recoil in shock... some of you will react with total disbelief that your beloved Mac would be capable of being susceptible of getting computer virus... Although Macs have very good inbuilt safeguards such as "Gate Keeper" and "Firewall" the fact is Mac viruses and Malware are now a valid threat and should be treated seriously.

It used to be the case (for myself included) that Mac users would adopt a "It can't happen to me... I'm on a Mac" philosophy but I'm afraid we can no longer burry our heads in the sand as attacks on Macs, included the recent "WannaCry" virus which attacked the NHS, are becoming much more prevalent.

When it comes to choosing protection for your Mac, as with PC's, it's a case of a balancing act between efficiency vs impact on system performance. Top of the pops for me is definitely Norton Security Deluxe by Symantec, it can be installed on Mac's, Windows PC's with an added anti-theft application for your Smartphone or Tablet. Norton Security is excellent value for money and is backed up by Symantec's 100% Virus Protection Promise.

If you're a business customer Norton Small Business is the product for you, it can be installed on all your Macs and PCs from the same online account enabling simple deployment and management for administrators.


If you would like The Computer Wiz to install Norton Security on your Mac(s) or business network call 01553 660941 or email help@cpwiz.co.uk to book your onsite visit.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Where do websites live?

If you're looking to have a website built, or just intrigued as to how websites work then this post is for you. All the technical terms in this post are linked to Wikipedia pages for your browsing pleasure.

To have a website you're going to need three things:

  1. Domain Name(s)
  2. Hosting Package
  3. An Awesome Web Designer :)

...Ok ...Let's break this down!

  1. A Domain Name - mynewwebsite.co.uk for example can be purchased for anything usually from 2 years up to 10 years from your preferred hosting company (we ♡ 123-reg.co.uk). A domain name is put simply a signpost allowing a visitor to easily get to your website. Domain names come with a range of extensions such as .co.uk, .com, .org and so on... we recommend going for .co.uk as your primary domain and then adding maybe a .com domain pointing to your .co.uk that way Google and the other search engines know your website is UK based. Obviously this tip is for my UK based customers but the same would apply elsewhere in the world respectively.
  2. A Hosting Package - A hosting package features webspace, the place your website files live. Your Domain Name points to the webspace and displays the .HTML files your web designer has uploaded. Hosting packages also take care of services like email, FTP and add-ins such as SSL, PHP and MYSQL. The webspace is accessed via an FTP account (File Transfer Protocol), this allows files to be uploaded to your website by your web designer. Web hosting is usually available in either Windows or Linux flavours, we prefer Linux as it's not expensive and it does the job for most basic websites.
  3. An Awesome Web Designer - Ok... Hopefully you'll forgive me for blowing my own trumpet... The Computer Wiz makes pretty good websites if I say so myself! Visit http://www.cpwiz.co.uk/website-design.html to find out more.

 

 domain names


You get what you pay for!

Finally there are a lot of websites springing up all over the place selling "in-browser web builder" style templates, they're cheap (or even free) and they look it! A professional web designer will work with you to deliver a business website that works for you and your customers. Remember you get what you pay for! :)


Need help? Call The Computer Wiz on 01553 660941

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Coming to iOS 11: Dropbox Support in the new Files App

This month at WWDC, we’re excited to announce the next step in our collaboration with Apple with the integration of Dropbox into the Files app for iOS 11.
iOS users have been requesting better file management on iPhone and iPad for a long time. The new Files app, coming later this year, does just that, letting you more easily manage and access files in your Dropbox throughout iOS 11. Much like macOS Finder, Files will give you an easy way to browse, open, edit, move, rename, upload, create folders and download files stored in Dropbox with your iOS device.
More than that, though, it will extend file capabilities system-wide. You’ll be able to access files in your Dropbox account from third-party apps just as if they were stored on your iPhone or iPad. This integration will even work with Dropbox-specific features for teams, like commenting and viewer info, letting you collaborate on files from any app that supports file browsing.
Dropbox and Apple share a commitment to simplicity, attention to detail, and focus on the user. This integration will help us create a more seamless, elegant Dropbox experience. We’re excited to have the latest, deeply-integrated Dropbox functionality in iOS 11 join our other powerful integrations with tools from AdobeFacebook, and Microsoft. Be sure to check back here for more info on Files support when iOS 11 launches later this year.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Hey Siri!

All of us Trekkies (or Trekkers) watching Jean Luc Picard speaking the computer of the USS Enterprise NCC1701D yearned for the day this would become reality ...well ...that day is finally here ...well sort of ...Hey Siri!


So what are the main differences between Siri and the computer on the USS Enterprise? Firstly this one's real! Yet again it seams Sci-Fi has become reality, but, before you get carried away remember the Enterprise computer was AI (Artificial Reality) whereas Siri gets by using smoke and mirrors. The fact is that, as powerful as it is, the iPhone in your pocket needs a little help when it comes to the heavy lifting. When you utter those now infamous words "Hey Siri" your voice is recorded, compressed, and sent on to Apples' data centre where the audio is converted to text, the data processed and then sent back to the iPhone (iPad or Mac), this is all done so seamlessly that it feels like the iPhone is doing all the work ...now you know why Siri doesn't work when your not connected to the internet.


Where is Siri heading? I'm convinced, taking Moore's Law in to consideration, that true AI will eventually become reality but it might take a while.

Be sure to check out my post about how warp drive became reality when I publish it in 2057