Tuesday 18 September 2012

The Monday Morning Blues

Oh Mondays. I kind of feel sorry for you. It's not your fault you're the first day after the weekend and one of the singularly most maligned days of the week.

Having said that, this is an IT blog and we have heard on any number of occasions users questioning if computers can suffer on a Monday morning too, as they often appear particularly sluggish - and there's an element of truth in it...

If you're a good boy or girl and close your computer down over the weekend, some tasks start building up in the background. Windows' updates need checking, anti-virus needs to update and scan, emails need downloading, and any other scheduled tasks need to run. That entire process can take a significant amount of time, during which the computer will run slowly.

Leaving the computer on all the time isn't really a viable option, as we briefly discussed here. So either, you have to be patient, waiting for the early processes to complete, which can take a significant amount of time. Or you could try Wake-On-Lan. WOL allows a signal to be sent remotely to a machine that effectively pushes the power button. So an hour before you arrive, you could start the power-up process, with the machine being toasty-ready for you when you arrive. There a quite a few hoops to jump through before WOL works and it may not be practical for all networks, but it's certainly worth investigating.

Aside from that, you may just need that third coffee after all.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Read All About It

I hesitated to write this post, fearing it may be overly-picky. However, having just made this mistake myself, it would seem time to discuss the importance of reading.

We received a report that one computer was not running one program. Firing the program up, a message was displayed and I thought I knew what it said, so clicked 'No'. Sure enough, the program would not run any further. Trying a couple of other things didn't work and it was only when I stopped to read the message in full that I realised exactly what the issue was and could resolve it. Face meet palm.

The importance of looking at and reading what your computer is telling you cannot be overstated. If your website registration is rejected, it almost certainly isn't because they don't like you or because the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. The chances are the website will tell you exactly why it's been rejected. Password too short. Postcode needed. That kind of thing.

Thinking you know what a question is asking and hitting a response can be a dangerous pass-time if you haven't read the question properly. Some critical decisions made in some of the programs we've written require a specific word to be typed on the keyboard. So rather than just clicking 'Yes' or 'No' you have to type the word 'DELETE' for instance. There can be no excuse that you didn't know what you were saying 'Yes' to.

So read all about it. Then you'll know exactly what 'it' is.

Friday 7 September 2012

I'm Leaving, and there's nothing you can do to stop..

It's certainly an amazing thing to see the amount of packages that we can have for entertainment nowadays.

The biggest contenders are people like Sky, Virgin, BT who are all selling packages to rival each other.  It's quite an arduous task to ascertain which package gives you the best value for money.

However, you might now be happy. You've got the package you want. You're enjoying lots of TV Channels, Super fast Broadband and freephone telephone calls to talk to Auntie Maud.  Is that it?

No. I'd certainly say to consider calling them in a years time. Why ?

I was sitting on an entertainment package costing me close to £70 per month.  It was only the basic TV package, Middle Broadband Package and Free Calls.. but I walked past a trailer in the local shopping centre and they were advertising a similar package for £33!

Shocked, I walked in and explained what I was paying and they advised me (quietly and discreetly) to ring the provider up and choose the option "I am considering leaving"!

So I did.

And I was asked why I was considering leaving.  Well, I wasn't... was I? So I explained that I was a little disgusted with my monthly fee and explained what I had and what I was paying.  I couldn't have the £33 option as it would have reduced the package I had, but they struck me a deal.

They knocked it down to £45. A saving of £25 per month. Yep £300 per year back in MY bank account, not theirs.

It's certainly worth doing regularly.  As years go on, technology becomes faster, bigger, better, cheaper.. so ring up and ask for your prices to be reviewed.

Save yourself some money and don't let them have it.