It’s just a copy… a good one, but still just a copy…

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in IT Top Tips

It’s just a copy… a good one, but still just a copy…

How to back Drop Box. I recently sent out an e-mail about how great Drop Box is for sharing files with others, off the back of that I’ve had a few people ask how you backup your files that are stored in Drop Box? (If you Missed it, Read a copy here)  Which on the one hand is a great question, cause it shows they are conscious of the need to backup their data (Something so many people overlook till it’s too late), but on the other hand they are missing the point of drop box a little bit… I’m also aware there are some people out there that think that Drop Box IS a backup solution. It’s Not. Anything that lets you edit or change it’s content when it’s in it’s supposed ‘backed up’ state, is not a proper backup solution. A proper backup solution takes a copy of your data at a moment in time, and doesn’t allow that to be changed, the only thing you should be able to do with that backup is restore it to either it’s original location or an alternative one. This is to be able to preserve the integrity of the data, to be able to prove at a specific moment in time this is what my data looked like (there are many reasons why that’s important, but I’d probably put myself to sleep, let alone you if I discussed them right now!) So in answer to the original question, how do you backup your files in drop box? Well, how do you backup the rest of your files? Drop Box should be a COPY of your files, not the only or original version, if a file is important enough to be backed up, then put it in your normal file structure and make it part of your normal backup procedures… You do have a ‘normal’ backup procedure don’t you?? Top Tip Drop box is a great way of Sharing files amongst your colleagues and associates when you’re not all under one roof. But it’s not a Backup Solution. Put a ‘Copy’ of the files you want to share in Drop box, not the original, make sure that’s in your usual file management system and backed up in the normal way. (Bonus Top Tip – If you’ve not got a decent backup system right now, make it top priority for today!) If you need any help please don’t hesitate to call – 01543 241 234 If there’s a topic you would like me to cover drop me an email or post it on the brokenStones Facebook...

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The worst way to share files…

Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in IT Top Tips

The worst way to share files…

How many times have you sent or received an email that says “Please see the attached file for details…” And there is no file attached?? I do it at least 2-3 times per month… (And that’s even now that Outlook points out half the time there is no attachment… click happy!) Using e-mail to send file attachments is great in some circumstances, but more often than not it can be a very BAD way to send files… Why? I’ll give you 3 reasons why… 1 E-mail is one of thee most inefficient ways to transmit files you see e-mail sends everything in plain text… and I mean everything.. even that nicely compressed zip file that your computer has spent ages squeezing every last bit of space out of, e-mail takes it and bloats it up again… I’m not going to go in to the techno-babble of why this is the case, just take it from me it is. 2 Imagine you are collaborating on a file with someone you send them what you’ve done, they send you back some amendments, you tweak it and send it back again… That’s just one file right? Wrong it’s at least 8 (Assuming you both only save it once to your computer)… it’s sat in your sent items twice, your inbox Once, your collaborators inbox twice, their sent items once and in both of your my documents… 3 If the file you send is more than just a few megabytes it may well be dropped by the recipients mail server without either of you ever knowing. Some mail servers are set-up to not pass files of more than 10meg (or less!), and with Reason 1 above your file may only show 5mb, but once it’s been ‘bloated’ it can easily double in size… Arrgg! So how am I going to send these really important files? There are loads of great ways to share files, it really depends on your circumstances and security requirements, but a great start is the free tool called ‘DropBox‘ If you’ve not already heard of it, Drop Box creates a folder on your computer that you can save files in to… you can then choose to share that folder with selected people… you can then copy your file in to that folder and whenever you edit it, the other person gets notified and can see those changes straight away… I use drop box for sharing files with my designer, with my mastermind group, with my VA and with my family (it’s a great way to share our family photos too). If you’ve not already tried Drop Box, Give it a go now and sign up here it’s Free! Top Tip Save you’re email for sending messages, not sharing files. If you’ve got a large file to share with someone, try DropBox or a similar file sharing tool. It’s dead easy to send them a link to a...

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Voice Message

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in IT Top Tips

Voice Message

Here’s a new one that has been doing the rounds lately, I’ve seen loads of these caught in our spam and virus filters. As popularity has grown and more people have been using WhatsApp then it’s been a good target for the scammers… It’s a really simple one, you’ll get an email that looks very much like this.. The short answer is, if you don’t use WhatsApp don’t even think of clicking the play button (Why would they send you messages when you don’t use it?) and if you do use WhatsApp, get your messages through the App itself, not your email! The almost as short answer is, check out the ‘From Address’ – it’s a Russian domain, kopetan.ru, then check out the link when you Hover (don’t click!) over the play button…  both look decidedly dodgy… Top Tip I’ve said this many times before, but … If you are the tiniest bit unsure about and email ALWAYS, ALWAYS, hover over any link’s before clicking them!! – I have seen it numerous times where a single click on the wrong website has destroyed someone’s computer… Remember, As Thomas Jefferson said “The Price of Freedom is eternal vigilance” If you need any help then give us a call on 01543...

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Are you out of the Office?

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in IT Top Tips

Are you out of the Office?

I’ve got a really strange sense of Deja-vu here, so my apologies if I’ve already mentioned this before? One of the common questions we get asked several times a month, is how do I set my Out of Office? The answer depends on what type of E-Mail system you are using… Firstly if you are using Microsoft Exchange or Office 365 is dead easy, in outlook simply Click ‘File’ at the top, then you’ll see ‘Automatic Replies’ Exchange & Office 365 – via Outlook   You will also notice now in outlook it tells you you’ve got Out of Office Set. Or if you’ve not got outlook (or you are using Mac Mail) you can use the webmail option Office 365 Webmail Login to Office 365, Then click ‘Outlook’ on the menu bar at the top, then When you see your inbox click the cog in the top right hand corner, then click ‘Set Automatic Replies’ Microsoft Exchange Webmail If you are used to using the Microsoft Exchange Webmail (AKA Outlook Web Access – or OWA) then just click the options button near the top right, then choose ‘Tell People you’re on Vacation’   What if I’m not using Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange? If you are using POP or IMAP or some other type of email system then how you set-up your out of office is dependant on how your e-mail provider has set their system up. It really does vary wildly (and sometimes not possible at all). A common method is via something called ‘cPanel’, login to your webmail (usually webmail.yourdomain.com if you’re on cPanel) and then choose the ‘Auto Responders’ option – this is genrally only available if your email host has allowed it… As you know by now, I am really fond of Office 365, and here’s another example if you are not already using it why it just makes things so easy… just saying! Top Tip Out of Office Replies are great for letting people know when you’re not going to be about to answer your email, but also be a bit concious about how often you put it on… I’ve seen some people use it to excess “I’m out for the next hour” type messages. I tend to use mine when I’m away for several days and won’t be checking email, and then sometimes when I’m back but have a lot to catch up on, so direct people to contact my support team for anything...

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Getting Internet Access on the Move

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in IT Top Tips

Getting Internet Access on the Move

I’ve had quite a few people now ask me about being able to get reliable internet access when they’re out and about, relying on other peoples WiFi connections is not always possible, and they’re not always that great Well the good news is there’s two great, really simple ways that I use to get online, and you can too. They will cover yourself in almost all situations. One is super, 1 button press easy, and the other is almost as easy (it takes 3 button taps!). I use both, and I’ve used them in all kinds of situations: whilst sat in hospital waiting rooms (especially useful earlier this year with all the endless appointments before my 2nd daughter arrived! literally hours of usage), motorway service stations, fixing someone’s computer in-between meetings, in the middle of the Welsh mountains, doing my on-line banking… and of course whilst sat with a customer – I had faster internet access in my pocket than they did in their office! The First super, don’t even have to think about it way is to get yourself a 4G WIFI Dongle, they are about £15/Month, and in my experience is they work fantastically well (I get better signal on my 4G dongle than I do on my mobile phone!). For me, needing always on, super fast internet access a complete no brainer… often it’s better than using your home or office internet! The Second, almost as easy way is to use the personal hotspot on your mobile phone, I’m going to show you how to do that on the iPhone, but I know it’s possible on several other phones (Just search for ‘Tethering’ and your phone model…) Tethering basically uses your own mobile phone as a portable WiFi device, it uses you phones Data Connection (so relies on your phone having a signal! – That’s why I carry two devices, on different networks!), and uses the data allowance you have as part of your phone contract… Here how to set-up you Personal Hot Spot on the iPhone Tap Settings, and you will see a ‘Personal Hotspot’ option (if you don’t you might need to speak to your mobile provider about getting this enabled!) On the Personal Hotspot screen, flick the switch to On, then make a note of your ‘WiFi Password’ (I’ve blurred mine out below, it’ll be automatically generated for you). You can then Search for wireless networks on your Laptop or iPad (It’ll be called something like “<name>’s iPhone”) Once it’s turned on you’ll get a bar across the top of your iPhone and tell you how many devices are connected. Always remember to turn it off when you’re not using it, and remember it’s using the data from your Mobile phone Plan. (I’ve got a 2GB allowance on my phone and never had a problem!) Top Tip Getting a 4G Dongle and/or using...

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Is this your Home?

Posted by on Oct 7, 2013 in IT Top Tips

Is this your Home?

A really simple one for you this week, but done right it’s going to make your life a whole lot easier and will be quicker to get stuff done on your computer… I’ve often get asked the question, Why does it take so long for the internet to start up?  So, naturally, the first thing I do is open up their web browser (‘the Internet’, ‘Internet Explorer’,’Google Chrome’,’FireFox’,’Safari’ – you get the picture)… and quite often what I find is they’ve got 6 or 7 Tabs set to open up straight away. Each one of those tabs takes a little time to load, and more often than not I see people close half of them straight down! So what’s the point in having them open up in the first place? So just how do you set your home page then? There are several ways to set your home page in each type of web browser, what I’ve done for you is put together a quick video of the simplest way for the top 3 browsers. My recommendation to you would be to set your home page to a very simple page (or blank), especially if you’ve got a slow internet connection. Personally I have mine set to either a blank page, or the basic Google Search Page (Cause that’s most often where I need to go first!). How to Set your Home Page in Internet Explorer How to Set your Home Page in Google Chrome How to Set your Home Page in Firefox Top Tip If you are finding your web browser takes a long time to start up, check how many pages load when you first open it up, and try setting it to a blank page, or something really simple. I have my Laptop set to a blank page, cause I never know what type of internet connection I’m going to be on and how slow it’s going to...

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