Archive for the 'Technology News' Category

 

How to clean dust from your computer – and how not to clean dust from your computer or laptop

dust build up can dramatically affect performance and lifespan

 

Let’s face it, dust is very destructive for electronic components and circuit boards. It has bacteria, human skin cells, even meteorite particles according to one wikipedia article. On circuit board dust also carries or creates static electricity. If you have doubt about the destructive power of dust in relation to computers and laptops consider that for over 20 years I have been attending to computers onsite which freeze, or especially randomly restart. On many occasions all these computers needed was a de-dust to resolve the issues. Over time static discharge can seriously reduce the lifespan of a computer, let alone affect performance and stability.

Noisy fans and PSU’s should never be ignored on laptops either and is a sure sign of dust accumulation. The big 3 no-no’s and most commonly used methods for cleaning dust are the house or car vac which is especially damaging, a garage air compressor which carries moisture and creates static by the sheer force of air, and so called canned air, which is refrigerant based and incorrectly called canned air.

With every computer service, maintenance, or security checkup (you should have your computer serviced once a year at least) we will de-dust your laptop or PC with ESD-safe equipment. Some limitations may apply, including access restrictions.

ESD safe dust cleaning

 

Please inquire to see if your laptop can be accessed for ESD-safe dust clean when having your next service.

For industrial dust build up, a de-dust should be a serious maintenance issue to avoid buying a new machine often because of dust.

 

 

 
 
 

internet for three storey homes or outbuildings

av1200

Larger homes or buildings can have a problem getting the wifi or ethernet to reach, upstairs, downstairs, around corners, into a purpose built office in the garage. There has been a couple of solutions around now for a very long time, but all of them have a high potential for problems. One of them is the range extender devices which seem to cause people the most grief, ok when running well but dropouts and lost connections are common. Another solution that has been around since the year 2000 is power over ethernet (POE).  A common problem with these devices was they were not very well made and white noise over the power lines caused frequent dropouts or lost connections.

A new model POE from TP Link, the AV1200, claims to have resolved the noise issues and deliver blistering speed – dependant on your existing connection speeds. For the technically minded or sparkys here are some interesting specs.

  • Perfect for Bandwidth Demanding Activities
  • Line-Neutral/Line-Ground 2 x 2 MIMO with Beamforming
  • Gigabit Port for Ultra-fast Datasheet Transfer
  • Plug and Play,No Configuration Required

For our Perth northern beaches customers we offer an onsite service to set these up for you, or order a set and DIY.

 
 
 

itunes assembly error after Windows 10 upgrade

itunes-error

 

Microsoft is certainly pushing out Windows 10 with zeal and good thing too because now new development can standardise for the new OS. But the problems we are seeing walk in the door are not the problems of Microsoft, but users who do not understand that systems should be prepared for a major OS upgrade.

One of these problems is the itunes installer will not work on some older laptops or desktop computers. Fear not, as always we have the answers and offer this as a service via online remote access, bring it in for same day/overnight service, or we can visit you in Western Australia.

Call us for all your online computer help issues.

 
 
 

End of life for Windows 7 and your options

 

For those with laptops who did not get a disk with their system the Windows 7 ISO downloads direct from Microsoft servers are no longer available to the public and free mainstream support for Windows 7 is also no longer available – as of January 13 this year.

End of mainstream support for Windows 7 means you cannot call Microsoft for free help if your system is broken. Because mainstream support has ended means extended support phase had begun, so you will still receive critical system patches and security updates and all security related updates via the usual update service will continue for the time being.

We provide a local service in Perth Western Australia, and a remote service to login and fix your computer anywhere in Australia for standard support fees. Contact us for remote support pricing or to book a support session online. We provide Microsoft Certified technical support and you can pay by credit card or paypal. We can remove malware, carry out a security scan, fix slow computers without the need for an onsite technician.

 

 
 
 

The cordless office dream in 2015 – Intel Skylake

skylake590Intel chipset releases and upgrades are referred to as Intel Tick-Tock. To keep pace or ahead of competitors Intel seeks to release upgrades or new technology approximately every year. Last year the Tick was the 4th generation Haswell (code name) nanotechnology (14nm). Last year we built all our custom built towers using the Haswell chipsets and CPU’s. Early 2015 we are going to see the new Broadwell chipsets which is a Tick, the Tock will come with the new generation Skylake which will have design and substantial performance improvements. Other IT writers have technical blogs which discuss the architecture and technology of Skylake, but this blog writer focuses on what the technology means to you.

So, on to the dream of the cordless office.

cables-mess590

Some aspects of cordless technology have been around for quite a while, wifi networking, wireless printers, wireless mouse. The advance in cordless technology comes from the work of Rezence™, the wireless transfer technology based on the principles of magnetic resonance (Intel is a key industry partner).

The future standard for wireless charging and power is called “Rezence”.  We are going to see laptops placed on a charge pad where they will be charged with no other user effort. Computers will have wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, wireless monitor, wireless printer. Current technology works in the 2.4GHz or (less common) 5GHz range, Rezence™ and WiGig™ work in different frequencies.

For those who use desktop computers or extended displays for laptops the HDMI or digital cable will be replaced  by WiGig (WiGig won the Popular Science Best of What’s New Award in 2014) and we can expect wireless display connectivity by late 2015 to early 2016 according to some industry sources. Various wifi charging pads are in the shops now and have been for some time but there has not been enough interest to deploy this technology on a mass scale because it is first generation. Rezence™ is next generation technology.

 

 
 
 

The best of free media servers

plex590

Media servers are software programs that allow you to stream your movies, home videos, photos and music to devices on your network from your choice of storage such as a NAS box or an old PC. If you have a modern DLNA certified TV you can select media server from the menu and start watching movies over the WiFi channel or Ethernet.

One of the best free media servers around hands-down is the Plex Media Server. You can view movies for example not as lists, but as images complete with extensive metadata collected from an online database including synopsis, cast and crew, even trailers. If you are streaming to a DLNA TV brands such as LG and Samsung have the Plex plugin, others like high end Panasonic TV’s have a link to media servers where you will see a list with thumbnails too small to be useful.

Upload your camera photos and home videos from cameras and smart phones and watch via live streaming on your TV. There is also a Plex app for ipad and iphone but this is not free.

One of the really clever features under the bonnet of the Plex server is its ability to transcode video on the fly. You will not be bombarded with incomprehensible messages about codecs or file not supported. If a file is unable to play because of codec incompatibility Plex will transcode in the background.

plex-app590

The hardware you will need.

Hardware specific to network attached storage and media storage is a subject big enough for its own post. You can in theory use a laptop as a media store or an old computer with decent specs, but you will need lots of storage space for a collection of movies, music, photos. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can fill up a hard drive.

SSD drives are still in the expensive range so if we are talking about electrical/mechanical hard drives choose your drive carefully. The new HGST technology or NAS /Storage specific drives are best. You can buy 3TB up to 6TB capacity drives.

Hard drives containing movies need maintenance so don’t wait until you are on the verge of losing your precious data, use our local or remote support service to carry out annual checks on the integrity of your data file systems.

 

 

 
 
 

The amazing Pono Media Player is Free.

pono-wide3

For all you music lovers out there with classy laptop or PC speakers from the likes of Bose, or the Bowers & Wilkins computer speakers you are going to love the free media player from Pono Music. Neil Young is the CEO and driving force behind this special digital to analogue or DAC system, born out of frustration with crappy, souless digital music. There is a hardware player as well going for about $399 which is claimed by its promos to be the closest thing to a live performance. The project was funded through Kickstarter.

You can download the free media play for Windows here.

 
 
 

R.I.P Windows XP

XP-RIP

 

Windows XP retires on April 8 2014. We seen this scenario before with Windows 98, and again with Windows 2000 so we know what to expect – bugs, virus exploits, spyware, malicious-ware, rogue programs seeking to extort money, address book hijacks, data loss.

If you use a program that is no longer updated and will only run on XP then you can run this in Windows 7 with various options and tools, such as a virtual machine. If you have customer data or have privacy concerns the advice is generally to update as soon as possible.

How will banks see your unsupported system?

We already know that banks insist that antivirus be installed on your system and this can be crucial if your card is hijacked or bank passwords stolen by keyloggers or spyware. Banks often will not allow you to access online banking in an insecure system. Be forewarned that banks will quickly view XP as an insecure and unprotected operating system.

How do you update? If you do not want to go with Windows 8 or have an older machine you can find a copy of Windows 7 and manage the upgrade yourself. To make sure you take the least problematic path we are offering local clients a Windows 7 upgrade and data /email migration that can save you days of downtime. Our service usually takes just a couple of hours and you can get back to work or play.

You can also bring your XP PC to us in Duncraig for less than the cost of onsite tech support.

 
 
 

Windows XP end of life

xp-end-of-life-blog

In April 2014 Windows XP will retire. It’s been a good and popular OS and for many it will be a case of drag me through the coals to a new Windows operating system. But this is something that has to be done and our long experience with moving customers from Win XP to Windows 7 is that it is painless and beneficial.

If you prefer progressing to Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 for your small business you would be advised not to leave it until the last minute to ensure there are still plenty of stocks around for Win7. As usual we do not recommend buying an upgrade disk, but a full system disk.

For Perth, Western Australia customers bring your laptop or PC for our special installation and migration package from XP to Win7 for around the cost of a retail edition of Windows 7. We will transfer all user data to the new installation and the cost includes your copy of Windows 7 on a disk.

Some conditions apply. Call us on 0400 241 756 to book your PC or laptop in. Cost includes an analysis for compatibility issues.

 
 
 

The future of screen technology may be closer than you think

Remember in the film Avatar the computer screens were transparent. This is an example of capacitive screen technology first described in 1965 by E A Johnson. Other films followed that showed transparent, capacitive, touch technology.

Over at TAT.se research (Research in Motion) in Sweden their researchers have produced a video with predictions for this type of technology as early as 2014. Fascinating stuff. Sorry about the ads.