Wednesday, 31 May 2017

No such thing as a free lunch...

Downloads... If you own a computer chances are you've downloaded software, but how much do you know about the website you're downloading from? We've all done it... Googled for software, downloaded it, installed it and trusted everything would be fine, BUT, this is not always the case! Trojans, malware or other nasties could be hiding in the installer, ask yourself "why is the software free?" ...granted, sometimes companies monetise their software through advertising and or in-app purchases, but it's always worth reading up on the software you're thinking of installing before you commit.



Top tips for safe downloading of software

  1. Research the software on other websites and read the feedback.
  2. Is it Freeware, Shareware, Paid? Know what you're downloading.
  3. Download from a safe, well trusted website wherever possible.
  4. Use the store provided by your OS provider, Apple or Windows store for example.
  5. Before running downloaded installers scan the file with your antivirus/anti-malware software.
  6. As a general rule only use software you're going to use, this will keep your computer running nice and fast.
  7. Read the small print - Don't forget there's no such thing as a free lunch!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

...to buy, or not to buy?

Let's face it we're an eternity away from buying music on physical media such as CD, LP or Cassette (younger readers of this post would be forgiven for not having heard of the last two). With the birth of the MP3 we got comfortable with the idea of downloading music as opposed to having to go down to the record store. The quantum leap came with the choice "to buy, or not to buy"...


Always brought and paid for your music (Amazon, iTunes etc)? There is another way, and if you're a big spender on your music you'll definitely save some dosh!

Streaming

Spotify is a free music streaming service subsidised with advertising, with a premium ad-free option for a monthly fee. You can pretty listen to what you want, when you want as long as you’re online and the song is included in their library. Spotify has Apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and many other platforms as well as access via the website. You cannot rip or download content.


Apple Music is an evolution to iTunes and iCloud, integrated into iTunes Apple Music allows live streaming to Apple devices such as iTunes, iPods, iPhones, iPads etc. Unlike Spotify Apple Music is not subsidised by advertising and is subscription based following a 3 month free trial. The great thing about Apple Music is that it seamlessly integrates with your iTunes music collection.


Buy your music


Once your music is brought and paid for you own it. Streaming your music is fine if your planning to keep up the subscription. There are plenty of places online to buy your music in many varying qualities but personally I prefer iTunes as it plugs neatly into the Apple Eco-System.



NEVER download music, films or software illegally! It's not fair to the artists and after all it's theft!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ransomware... A Survival Guide

Unless you've been hiding under a rock since last Friday (12th May 2017 for those skipping through the archives) you can't have missed all the media attention Ransomeware has been getting following a pretty severe hit to the NHS and several other large networks.



Before you all start panicking STOP! The main reason for this happening was severely out of date, in some cases, un-patched operating systems. Windows XP was mentioned many times in reports, this operating system no longer supported by Microsoft is over 17 years old! If you still owned a car (obviously apart from classics) that was 17 years old would you vouch for its reliability?




...ok I digress, let's get the official explanation of Ransomware from Wikipedia

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that carries out the cryptoviral extortion attack from cryptovirology that blocks access to data until a ransom is paid and displays a message requesting payment to unlock it. Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse. More advanced malware encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.[1] The ransomware may also encrypt the computer's Master File Table (MFT)[2][3] or the entire hard drive.[4] Thus, ransomware is a denial-of-access attack that prevents computer users from accessing files[5] since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that has a payload disguised as a legitimate file.

Now for the survival guide...

  1. ALWAYS BACKUP - This seems basic but you wouldn't believe how often I hear customers say they don't have a backup of their files when a catastrophic attack has occurred. See more about tips for backing up your computer.
  2. DON'T click links in emails - If it doesn't seem right it probably isn't. The bad guys can make an email look like its from someone you know so be vigilant!
  3. DO run the latest version of Windows when possible. For older PCs run the newest version of Windows that your PC can handle i.e. Windows 7. Sometimes an upgrade of memory or a new hard drive will enable an upgrade to Windows 10.
  4. DO install software updates as they are issued, this keeps you protected from vulnerabilities as they are discovered.
  5. Keep antivirus/anti-malware programs up to date and carry out periodic scans. See more about antivirus programs.
  6. NEVER PAY! - If you've already been caught out by ransomeware DON'T PAY! The chances of them actually being true to their word and releasing your files is slim-to-none, they are criminals after all. Switch off your computer and contact The Computer Wiz on 01553 660941.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Top 10 Best Search Engines In The World

1. Google

Google Search Engine is the best search engine in the world and it is also one of most popular product from Google. Almost 70 percent of Search Engine market has been acquired by Google. The tech giant has always trying to improve the search engine algorithm to provide best results to the end-user.
According to Alexa, google.com is the most visited site in the whole web.

2. Bing

Bing is Microsoft’s answer to Google and it was launched in 2009. Bing is also a good and best search engine. Bing is the default search engine in Microsoft’s web browser. The team behind Bing is always thrive to make it a better search engine but still does not able to give Google a slight competition. This Microsoft’s search engine provides different services including image, web and video search along with maps.

3. Yahoo

Both Yahoo & Bing are not giving competition to Google but giving competition to each other. According to latest report on netmarketshare, Yahoo have a market share of 7.68 percent. Yahoo is still a leader in among most popular free email providers but does not able to convince users in search engine area.

4.  Baidu

Baidu is Chinese web search engine founded in January 1, 2000. This web search is made to deliver results for website, audio files and images. Also Baidu has Alexa Rank of 4 . It also provides some other services including maps, news, cloud storage and much more.
It is also one of the most used search engine in China.

5. AOL

Aol.com is also among the top search engines in the world. It has market share of 0.59 percent. Verizon Communication has bought AOL for $4.4 billion. It was started back in 1983 as Control Video Corporation. It was named America Online in 1991 and in 2009 as AOL Inc.
In fact AOL is a global mass media company which is based in New York. The company also provides advertising services as AOL Advertising and AOL Platform.

6. Ask.com

Ask.com was previously known ask Ask Jeeves. Its search results are based on question answering web format. It was founded in 1995. In fact, it is a question &  answer community. Here you can get the answers for your question and it integrates a large amount of archive data to answer your question. With ask.com, you will not get as better results you get in Google, Bing and Yahoo.
If their resources don’t have the answer than it takes help from a particular third-party search engine.

7. Excite

Most of us don’t know about a search engine named “Excite”. Even I was unaware about it before got to know while researching about this topic. Excite is an online service portal. It provide internet services like email, search engine, news, instant messaging and weather updates. It was launched in 1995.

8. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a popular search engine known for protecting the privacy of the users. In order to generate search results, they have partnered with Yahoo, Bing and Yummly. It was founded back in 2008 by  Gabriel Weinberg. Its revenue come from Yahoo-Bing search alliance network and Affiliates.

9. WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha is computational search engine which does not give list of documents or web pages as search results. But its results are based on facts & data about that query. It’s also called a computational knowledge engine. It was launched in 2009 and based on Mathematica.

10. Yandex

Yandex is most used search engine in Russia. In fact it is an Russian internet company. It was launched in 1997. Yandex also has a great presence in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey. It also provides services like Yandex Maps, Yandex Music, online translator, Yandex Money and many other services.

11. Lycos

Lycos has a good reputation in search engine industry. Still It  is also a popular search engine founded back in 1995. Its key areas served are email, web hosting, social networking, and entertainment websites.

12. Chacha.com

According to Wikipedia, Chacha.com is a human-guided search engine. It was founded in 2006. You can ask anything in its search box and you will answered in real-time. It is similar to question and answer. It also provides mobile search and marketing services. You can also install its mobile apps on iPhone, iPad and Android.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Apple's Office Apps are now FREE!

Apple's alternative to Microsoft Office is now FREE for Mac users. Simply head over to the App store, search for the apps, download and create! Sure... the initial cost of a Mac can seem expensive to some but once you've bought into the ecosystem you'll soon start enjoying the benefits of being an Apple user.



For more information on Pages, Numbers and Keynote visit https://www.apple.com/uk/iwork/