Monday, October 31, 2011

Leaving Blogger

So this blog is currently on blogger. When we started a blog we looked at all the platforms and decided on this one.
So Google own it now, and have decided the latest update just won't work with Internet Explorer.  I really need to use Chrome!

Google DO NOT TELL ME WHAT TO USE.

Perhaps I should refer this to the competition Office, and to Europe.
All of the competition changes we have seen due to unfair processes this has to be the worst.  You see with a lot of others you could use other software.  With this no can do!

Shocking, and looking to move our blog.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Windows Phone 7.5 Update

Earlier this week @msukpartner asked on twitter for inital thoughts on the Windows Phone 7.5 update.

So here are my thoughts, far to long to put in tweet.

Firstly, I want to update my phone, I don't want to update not only my Zune Software, but the a new driver to my phone. Just to update my phone. With the new feature of updating podcasts over the air, perhaps Microsoft need to enable the phone updates over the air. Even if the phone has to plugged in and connected over WIFI. This has to be the way forward.

So after about 24 hours of installing other updates, I finally got to sit through a long and anxious wait of installing the Mango Update.

Initial impressions - Well what is new, honestly completely underwhelmed, and couldn't see anything that had got me so longing for the update.

20 hours with the update, I kind of like the grouping of emails, it does help whilst on the move. But I'm not sure this is going to be completely beneficial in the long term.

Podcasts, I have just recently rediscovered podcasts. I spend too much time on the move to keep up with everything. I suddenly found that I could subscribe over the air to the podcasts. Loved this, until it wiped my library of unlistened to podcasts. Which is totally rubbish, and completely unacceptable.

Well that is about as much as I have found so far, I know there are a lot more changes and enhancements, so I will write another blog on this in a week or two.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wow What a week!

So it's been a busy week, mostly because I have had 2 days off, to celebrate my wedding anniversary.

However a few points from the week

BT are running the fibre for our exchange to have FTTC. I really can't wait, I haven't been this excited since I was about 5, we will shortly have Fibre run to the end of street, and as soon as I can I will have super fast Broadband instead of crawling along at 5MB, I will sprinting along at up to 40Mb.

Back to work items,

Please remember your UPS is there to supply power whilst the mains electric is down, however it won't last all night. Know where the circuit breaker is so you can reset it.

Simple first
We had a mac in yesterday who could view flash stuff in safari. He had tried everything, this kind of stumped us, but if we had kept it simple, and made sure that Safair had add in's enabled then it would have worked. It was so simple it wasn't even listed on the Internet anywhere.

Try the simple first.




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BT Actually COMPLETE some work

So to follow up on yesterdays post, BT have completed the fault.
A problem on the cable from street cabinet to the exchange was causing the phone to ring, but the problem with noise on the line, was still there. The engineer traced this back to a fuse at the exchange.

Now taking this fault right back to when it started some 3 and 1/2 years ago, it started when our exchange and lines were changed over from 20CN (Old Network) to 21CN (New Network).

I have suggested to BT that they check for an issue at the exchange and I have been told endlessly that there wouldn't have been an issue here.

WELL IN YOUR FACE BT, CORRECT DIAGNOSITCS.

Still I am hppy the issue has been resolved, now will BT offer me compensation for loss of earnings last week???

Monday, July 18, 2011

BT Fault system is faulty

So the BT Cable issue has risen its ugly head again, below is a timeline along with my feelings. I CAN GUARENTEE you won't get my anger or angst from these writings but towards the end of June our phone started ringing, maybe only once or twice, but this would happen every 10 - 20 minutes. I then submitted a fault online on the 5th July, and the turned up on the 8th July. He diagnosed an issue with the cable from the property to the junction box. And would request a replacement of the cable between the 2. The forecast date for this work to be completed was 14th July at 5PM.
Sure enough on the 13th July at lunchtime, some contractors came along to dig up the pavement outside the house, to lay some ducting to allow the cable to be run, so far so good. All on schedule for the job to be completed on time.
The 14th came and nothing happened, I contacted BT at 7PM, it will defiantly be done by close of play tomorrow. The 15th came, and then at lunchtime @BTCare on twitter picked up on my tweets. Sending me a tweet with a link to a form to fill in.
I duly filled in the form. And nothing happened, no work carried out, no sign of an engineer. Nothing.
Then lunchtime on Saturday 16th July I had another message via twitter, can I please fill in the form. (ARRRGGGHHH!) I have done this. This was followed up by a call on Saturday evening at around 7PM telling me it would be done by midnight. My response was well they best be quick, after all drilling holes through external walls in a residential area is not best undertaken late at night!
Nothing happened, so I left it on the Sunday, on Monday morning this morning, I phoned BT, you see by pure chance Vodafone/HTC can't supply handsets that work either, leaving BT unable to contact me.
Yet again this would be fixed today, yes but I WANT TO ESCALATE THIS, I HAVE NO FAITH IN BT completing the work at all ever.
After getting off the phone I emailed the CEO BT Groups office, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH.
This fault has been ongoing for over 3 years, now things moved really quickly. with a tweet from @BTCARE telling me the cable was being run at 12.55, and then a voice mail message at 3.53 saying it was being run, but it could be anywhere between the exchange and my property so I might not see anyone. SO WHY DID THEY DIG THE HOLE IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE!
Just after 4PM the engineer turned up to do the job, he was given at 3.30 hours after I was LIED to telling me the engineer was laying the cable. After running the cable and going the extra mile, I still had a faulty line. After further diagnostics, it was discovered my fault is between the street side cabinet (Located at the end of the road) and the exchange.
Now this is almost certainly the fault that has existed for years, and to add to this I was lied to constantly, the sort of lies we associate with politicians, met police officers, and the news of the world.
Added to this, the hole been dug cost somewhere in the region of £500, engineer’s time??.
My time lost earning stuck at home for 2 days £800. AND STILL NO REPAIR.
Just how much money does BT WASTE every day, and image how much our bills could come down if they fixed the fault the first time.
I hope and pray that my issue will be fixed tomorrow, but my quest for compensation for lost earnings will probably go on for another couple of years.
Will things improve when we fibre to the cabinet? I doubt it, I truly believe until the cables are removed from the control of the BT group things won't improve we won't get the world class Broadband we are constantly promised.
Watch out for @BTcare on twitter, they try to help, as do the people on the phones, but this only moved forward after I contacted the Chief Execs Office. This is plainly wrong, as is lying to customers.
Tomorrow I may just run a piece of string to the exchange, with paper cups on each end; this is the only way I will get a quality phone line
!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is the World of Retail finished

Is the world of retail really finished!

With a rash of high street chains shutting down, the shape of our high streets are changing.
The blame is being put on the increased use of the Internet by certain parts of the press.
However those on the web were always going to see this, happen and here is my beliefs why!


  1. When I started working for an Internet Service Provider back in 1999, it was obvious that online shopping was really an add on, and wouldn't attract customers in it's own right. (This was really proved right with the .com bubble bursting!)

  2. The supply of broadband is now seen as a commodity, although we complain endlessly about it, it makes it easier to do the shopping on line. (I know there is a small percentage of people who either can't afford it or don't want it, but they are NOW in the minority)

  3. We all want a bargain, and with goods generally costing less, on the web, why wouldn't you,

So what has this all to do with Limbtec?


Well we have sold hardware and software for the last 9 years, but as part of a solution. We have thought and tried various software solutions in the past, but never managed to find a shop platform that worked. But we have now found a great platform, view our shop at http://shop.limbtec.co.uk


There are some good high quality items here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Security Presentation

Earlier this week, I gave a presentation with a view to educate business owners about computer security.
This was based around our security survey which was completed at the start of May.

It amazes me how security unaware people are, it is worse among employees. Although we never asked the question (and perhaps we should) "do you care if your employer has a security issue?" Because there is definatly a small issue around this, I may try and squeeze this in on future surveys.

We seem to have come to the end of yet another rise in virus activity, if our theory around the cycle is correct we should see a rise towards the end of June!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Security

We have carried out some research into the understanding of IT security in managers and directors of businesses in Plymouth. There are some interesting results. We are working through the results and will publish them shortly.

We willbe caryingout further surveys as we work towards understanding exactly where Plymouth Businesses are with their use of technology in moving businesses forward.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is your backup working!!

Recently I read an article with some amazing figures in it, with regards to backups, that simply do not contain what they thought they did.

We go on endlessly to just about anyone that will listen to, that you must NOT STORE YOUR BACKUP at the same location as the data, and you must regularly check the back up to make sure you can restore from it should the need arise.

It was with great relief yesterday that when a customer called to say a document had disappeared during the day, that we just logged on, and using our Hosted Backup just reinstated the missing document, the whole process took only a few minutes.

It is worth clicking on the link above, have a little laugh at the video on the page, then put in to place a plan to make sure that can't happen to you

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Desktop Monitoring

I am happy at last (those who know me would say about time!)
Not only Can we monitor desktops, carry our scheduled remote tasks etc.

Now we have Daily and Weekly reports, meaning the customer will receive a report of issues.

This is very important, for custoemrs to be able to check how their computer systems are stacking up, and all this for just £2 per computer per month.

For our smaller customers they can now receive the same level of service as those with servers.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Business use of email addresses

Just recently I have started doing a lot of networking again, as I write this I'm sat with a stack of business cards in front of me! What is really striking is that most of them use a free email address, instead of their domain name. OK so a small amount don't have a website or their own domain name, which when we are living in times of ever dwindling use of paper directories is just a big NO, NO. But even more than this, people are just as likely to email you as to phone you these days for an initial contact, and by using your domain name in your email address they are likely to have a look at your website. Which is another sin of business, if you don't have a website these days, your business may never be found. Your webhost should allow you to have emails, and I'm not sure why businesses don't use this! If you know perhaps drop us an email to let us know.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Safe Email

I am always learning lessons, every day, it's one of the things I love about working in IT. We've recently been working with a client whose network, came under attack after someone clicked on a link in an email. Now the work to clean the network, and the lost productivity will have cost thousands of pounds. It seems silly, but if the emails went through something like our hosted anti-spam/anti-virus solution prior to reaching the customers server then this just wouldn't have happened. from as little as £5 per month, the email would never have been delivered, and the cost of the outage would never had to be accounted for. There are many solutions out there, it is well worth sitting down and talking about how you can work smarter with your technology to save you time and money.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How large is your email

Email is akin to sending a letter through the Royal Mail (with out the cost). But you can only squeeze so much into a letter, before it becomes a parcel.

The same is true with emails, however in this case we just attach documents, and don't really appreciate how big they are, after all how big is 1MB of Data?

So an email with a 15GB attachement is really like trying to send a 15KG letter, it is never going to get through the Royal Mail, it is going to have to go via Parcel Force, or an alternative courier.
Things aren't quiet as simple as that with email, but you will have two limiting factors, firstly your system maybe set up in such a way that you can only attach a document of a certain size, at least you know this part of it. The other part of the equation is that clients email systems maybe set up to only receive emails up to a certain size. Generally you will probably be ok up to around 5MB over this it isn't going to be certain to be delivered.

You have a couple of options out on the web, you could use dropbox, or yousendit. So you can upload the files, and let your customer/supplier access the documents.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

5 Simple Way to Combat Spam

SPAM! When we talk to any of our customers that we provide Computer Support in Plymouth, to, nine times out of ten they will insist that their greatest headache is the amount of spam that floods their email boxes on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, if your email address is already on the mailing lists of any major spam offenders out there, getting yourself removed can be near impossible and in the short term, your only real source of relief will be to install a quality spam filter, preferably at the ISP level so that the offending messages are filtered before hitting your email server or inbox.

To prevent spreading your email address around even further, or if you've been lucky enough not to have your address already placed in the sights of the evil spammers, here's five simple ways to keep your spam intake at a minimum.

  1. Never make any purchases from an unsolicited email. Even if whatever they're selling seems to be an attractive and legitimate purchase, you have to consider how they got your email address in the first place. If they spammed you to begin with, by you making a purchase with them, you're not only confirming that you address is valid, but that you're also a prime target for future spam offers. In which case you can be sure that your email address will be sold throughout the spammer community as if it were gold!
  2. Never reply, click the unsubscribe link or click any link in a spam email. By replying or clicking the link in the message, you're only confirming your email address for the spammer that they've got a valid, working email address for you. This is valuable information for a spammer. Don't give it to them.
  3. Disable your preview pane. The utilities in use by spammers track who their messages were sent to, who opened the message and who clicked the links... all information used to help them strengthen the reliability of their list. If your preview pane displays their email message, this will report back to their reporting utility that you opened the email.
  4. Use the BCC option when emailing multiple recipients. If a spammer were to intercept your email, all of the addresses on your list would be viewable. Protect your friends and colleagues by keeping their addresses hidden from view.
  5. Use a secondary (or third) email address when making web purchases, posting to newsgroup lists or participating in forums. Spammers will collect email addresses from anywhere they can be collected. Keep your primary address for contact only with trusted, personal contacts and use a separate public address, such as a Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo address for your other web activities.

No one, is safe from the evils of them spamming world. Use some of the basic strategies to keep your email inbox as clean as possible.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't trust just anyone

OK, had a disturbing email last night!

Why do companies in other service sectors believe they can support computer systems!

It has actually come, just as I have been putting the finishing touches to a report about things that Computer Support Companies don't tell their customers. However there are some interesting sections with regards to what the report refer to as do-it-yourselfers, and what damage they could do.

I do sometimes thing why should I continue to spend money to keep certifications up to date (Again another section of the report)

To keep it simple and stop me building up to a RANT, let your accountant do your accounts, let your book keeper, Kipp your books, let your remote Admin Company do your admin.

Do yourself a big favour, and let a trusted certified IT/Telecomms Company do your IT and Telecomms.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March - what a month to date

Been a busy strange few weeks, firstly we were hit with a massive spike in Fake Anti-Virus infections, and just as we were getting over that, the Windows 7 issue stuck it's ugly little head up.

So the fake AV has sunk again, but will increase at some point in the future, be wary of this, and don't pay to activate the product it just doesn't work.

More of a concern is the Windows 7 issue, there are several fixes available, but to date I haven't been able to install it on my system! On top of that I had to re-install my Operating System, as it was so screwed up by this, and on top of this I have been continually repairing the installation of my Applications.

Microsoft have a record of this, when i entered the IT industry Windows NT 4 had just had a re-release of SP5 (SP 5a) (it might have been SP6. It is 12 years ago now.
Then we had windows 2000, without any major issues with Service Packs. Then we had it with Windows XP, and a Service Pack 1A! Windows Vista no problems, will we end up with a Windows 7 SP 1A!

I have decided as my computer is due for replacement to leave it alone, until I replace it in the next few weeks.

And now time to concentrate on some of the new projects we are currently working on.

Until Next Time......

Friday, March 11, 2011

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 issue

There seems to be an issue with the first service pack for Windows 7, I was reading an article about it yesterday morning when the phone rang. A customer had updated there 3 windows 7 computers, and it had failed on 2 of the 3.

In this particular case both machines had installed the Service Pack without problems, but the changes had caused problems with the start up. The start up repairs was unable to repair the issue.

To make matters worse the System Restore had been turned off on these machines, and so to get them up and running as quickly as possible the only real solution was to re-install windows!

Now if your system updates are handled by your server using WSUS, then apparently this Service Pack will be added on Tuesday, if you carry out stand alone install it is available already.

I would make sure you have a backup of any data on your computer, and I would carry out a manual System Restore point prior to installing. After sending out an alert about this yesterday to everyone on our mailing list, I had 1 back from an IT Repair shop who also had one like this on Wednesday. Just go careful when installing the Service Pack.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

What happens after the virus

So you had a virus!
Then you had it cleaned, but things aren't as they seem?

It happens from time to time, firstly the only time we can guarantee the computer is virus free is when it leaves us before you connect it to the Internet or insert a disc! after this we can't guarantee as these are roots of infection.

But sometimes we get even weirder replies, "you brought my computer back but it doesn't connect to the Internet" was a recent one. Now i know it was connecting as one of the things we do after cleaning is connect it up and update the Anti-virus software. After a chat about a few other things it turned out that the customer had recently changed their Internet Service Provider, and was actually trying to connect through (what was now) a dead connection!

Either way we are always happy to help our customers reestablish their set up after an infection, or just give help during their normal day to day use of IT

Monday, February 21, 2011

What a difference a router can make.

Today, we installed a new Threat Management device for a customer.
As part of this we installed a new Router, the old one had started to drop the connection.

WOW - a massive speed boost. Knowing how far the customer was from the exchange I always wondered why they weren't getting a speed of around 18Mb. In fact they were getting between 9 - 10 Mb!

So the Threat Management Device was configured,and ready to be installed on their network, as was the router. Plugged everything in, and it seemed to take an age (it was probably only about 30 seconds) for the ADSL to get into Sync. But when it did, it connected up. Next up was to test it was all working and those processes allowed through, were getting through, then a quick speed check. and bang just under 20Mb download and a shade under 1Mb upload.

Later on we then needed to remote in to the servers, and what an amazing difference this makes, it was like working directly on the server.

So if you check on the BT website what speed you should be able to get, and you actual speed is different, then it may well be worth checking your router, and possibly changing it. doubling your speed just by changing your router!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Various happenings from this month

We've been doing a lot of Network Cabling Jobs, in the last few months, and with more coming up, I do wonder why? A few years ago we were all tempted away from the cable, and to fly free from our desks, we must all remember those ads from Intel ( I think they were at least). From great venue across the world!
Of course this has in the main been replaced with smart phones, and tablet computers. The non i-pad tablets are really developing at a pace now, there are some great designs and the usability is really great. I have also been pondering over the Nokia & Microsoft tie up. Both companies will want to gain traction over the rest of the phone market, although I'm still not sure how much a dent they will make, I am certain that they will be throwing money at this to capture the market. We should see some good deals on some very good phones!

Upgrades
Thinking of upgrading your computer to a nice new Windows 7 device, please check out what peripherals you will need to replace. I have been dealing with someone who replaced their laptop with a nice new Sony Viao, unfortunately thee ended up with a 64bit version of windows on it. And his scanner which is used, doesn't have either a driver nor any software which runs properly on the new computer. It is always worth running the Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor at least then you can work out the true cost of the new computer.

SLA's
I've been putting the finishing touches to our new SLA's, and along with this I have been building a menu for all our services. It's all due for release in just over a week.

Well that is about all that's been happening int he last few weeks.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Hard drives & Data

already into February, I wonder just where the days disappear to!

Thought it might be worth warning about Hard drives, and data backups.

! think that is happening a lot is people a keeping there computers going for as long as possible, personally I think there are 2 reasons for this, firstly they are more powerful than most people need them to be, secondly we are currently in austere times.

Most hard drives have a service life of around 5 years. The problem is that it is not a guarantee the drive will run to 5 years.

Which bring us back to the great subject of Data backup. I am a great fan of backing up on line. it is easy to do, and easy to test. Also your data is stored somewhere else, so if something bad does happen to the building you are in, your data will still be safe.

I just mentioned 'test' now a lot of users, and businesses DO NOT TEST the back up file, or individual items in that back.

We recently recovered a laptop, (4-5 years old) who's hard drive started failing, the owner was writ ting a book, it was nearly finished, he had not backed it up for a few weeks, and yes you can guess what has happened, the 1 item no longer available was the folder and any useful data from it.

so my top tip is regardless of how old your computer is, back up your data, the older the computer is the more likely it is that your Hard Drive may just pack up. Regularly check your back ups are useful, and that you canuse the data in the back up.