The Pain Free IT Blog
With Dominic Jones

Guess Who I Met…

I recently attended the National Entrepreneurs Convention up in Birmingham and one speaker really stood out for me. Yes, thats right, Steve Wozinak (or Woz to his good friends ahem!) the millionaire co-founder of Apple Computer was speaking about what drove him to build the first personal computer back in the late 70’s.

It’s Woz and Steve Jobs that brought computers to the masses and ultimately why I started my business!  

I’ve got a lot to be grateful for to Woz and his insights into his practical jokes and the myths promoted by the movies were great to hear on stage.

I managed to grab a photo with him and tell him all about the projects we’ve got lined up here at Barton HQ. He was genuinely interested (or very good at feigning interest) and had a sparkle in his eye when he talked about ‘building things’.

In my opinion he was one of the nicest nerds I’ve ever met and his few words of wisdom on how Apple grew into the largest computer manufacturer in the world will forever ring in my ears.

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Don’t forget if you are looking for assistance integrating Apple products into your business network, drop my team a quick call for help. We might even be able to call my new best friend for tech support!

P.S. He hasn’t received his iPhone 6 yet either. Maybe I’ll get mine before him?

Disaster Strikes….Nearly

dda5242f4216c0641b021999191ff3e0_Nickturn-768-572-cI travelled up to Wales on the weekend to take part in fly boarding and I live to tell the tale.….

Fly boarding is where they strap water jets to your feet and it feels like you are flying on top of the water – very strange experience!

You have 30 minutes on the water, it takes quite a while to get the hang of it and by the end I was getting on pretty well. You are attached to a jet ski which powers the jets so it’s quite close by. So there I am flying above the water and I notice I am getting closer and closer to the jet ski, within a second the jets stop and I go smack down in the water narrowly missing the jet ski – could have turned it to a disaster!

Luckily I was all ok, my 30 minutes was up anyway so I got back in the boat and headed off for dry land! I would recommend fly boarding but for the moment I think I will hang up my jets!

This got me thinking have you ever had a total disaster? Maybe it has happened at work? Working within IT I come across a lot of office disasters.

A Disaster recovery plan is process or set of procedures to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. This could be a fire or a theft or even a power outage. The main thing for you is having a plan in place for if you ever encounter something like this.

What’s the plan then? If you had a fire in your business do you know how long it would take you to get back on your feet?

It is a frightening situation to be in but if you are organised then it doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Below I have given you a few ideas on what you need to think about if a disaster does happen:

  1. People – Make sure that when you have a great backup plan that your staff and the people within the business know about it!
  1. Physical facilities – Where else can you work? What other buildings are around that you can temporarily use until your back on your feet?
  1. Technology – You’ll need to consider access to IT equipment. The space you will need in an alternative building. Will you have enough electrical power? The distance of the alternate technology area from the primary site.
  1. Data – That’s a big one! Insuring timely backup of critical data to a secure storage area. Availability of technical support, having a reliable support provider.
  1. Suppliers – You’ll need to identify and contract with primary and alternate suppliers for all critical systems and processes, and even the sourcing of people.

That’s just a few snippets of procedures you will have to think about when getting together a faultless Disaster recovery plan.

Plan ahead and a disaster will nothing more than a hiccup. It is imperative to any business to have a Disaster recovery strategy.

We provide a first class Disaster recovery plan that is adaptable to your needs. If you would like to find out more about this then email sales@barttech.co.uk

Don’t wait until it’s too late!

We Have Been Nominated!!

I must say there is a really good buzz in the office, we are over joyed by the news that Barton have been nominated for 3 amazing awards!

We have been nominated for Best Business Enabler, Best Customer Service & Entrepreneur of the year.

I really would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has nominated us for these awards. All the team here try and always give 110% and we are so pleased that it shows as so many people put us forward.

We’ll find out if we have won at the end of the month so please all keep your fingers and toes crossed!

Thank you once again to everyone! If you are not a Barton Technology customer then maybe it’s time to change that! :)

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Celeb iCloud Hack…

Have you read in the news this week about all those celebs that had their iCloud accounts hacked? Lots of naked pictures of the celebs have been leaked – as you can probably guess they are not happy!

Apparently there is one specific hacker who has been accumulating these naked photos since 2011! It doesn’t look good for Apple, they have issued no statement on how many accounts on its iCloud service were broken into.

One of the celebs who was hacked was the Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton. The hacker has said that there could be more than 100 celebrities in total who they have hacked – Watch out!!

It’s not just the celebs that are getting hacked it’s happening to everyone so make sure you stay alert if you use iCloud. I know Apple have been locking everyone out their iCloud accounts and asking you to verify your account before you can get access.

My best advice is to use the two-step verification. Apple’s iCloud is just one of many services where you can set your account so that it asks you two personalized questions before you can access it. This makes it so much harder for hackers to get where you don’t want them. Also, maybe think twice before uploading those nude photos?

If you want any help with staying safe online then give us a call and we can help you secure your network! Call us now on 020 8262 4432 or email sales@barttech.co.ukScreen Shot 2014-09-08 at 10.40.33

Ice Bucket Challenge

Now I’m sure you have heard of the ice bucket challenge? It’s is where someone nominates you to have a bucket of ice cold water thrown over you and then you donate money to the Macmillan cancer charity and the best part is that you can nominate who you would like to get soaked next! :)

Of course we got on the bandwagon with this! Last Friday the Barton Team took part in the ice bucket challenge! When I first mentioned it to the team there were some mixed responses but the rules state that if I nominate you for the challenge then you must take part! (or pay a fine)

We all filled up our buckets with ice and water and left it a while to get extra cold! (why not). It really was a great experience and was nice that we were able to support the Macmillan charity! – I haven’t seen an entire company do the challenge yet either!

I must admit it was freezing! Luckily we did it right at the end of the day so didn’t have to sit in our wet clothes for too long!

Have a look of the video below of us getting drenched….also see if we nominated you for the ice bucket challenge…!

We have donated over £200 to the Macmillan charity, if you would like to donate then click here.

Enjoy watching us get soaked!!


The End Is Near…Windows Server 2003

You may already be aware that Windows Server 2003 will be end of life as of 14th July 2015.

What does this mean? This means that as of July 2015 Windows Server 2003 will soon be vulnerable and out-of-date system.

Microsoft and third-party security software will no longer offer automatic security updates. This means no new security patches, virus definition updates, exploit reports, and security warnings. Servers running Windows 2003 will be defenseless against malware and other attacks. – The hackers will be having a field day with this!

You will need to consider a few points as Windows Server 2003 approaches end of life:

  1. How many machines in your operations are running Windows 2003?
  2. Do you have a plan to remediate the risk of WS2003 EOL?
  3. How are you going to upgrade or move to a more modern operating environment?

It may seem like a long time away for you but it’s an issue that does need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

If you need any support on this then please get in contact with us today on 020 3301 0003 10-things-to-consider-as-you-move-away-from-windows-server-2003

Excel Super Gems

Now don’t you hate it when you’re at work and your boss says you ‘can you put it in a spreadsheet’? You could be a Excel whizz and love doing spreadsheets but if you are anything like me then you will agree that excel just isn’t your friend!

One day while I was typing away I heard a loud grunting noise coming from downstairs…I wondered what it could be, turns out was our head of sales – Joe sitting there with his head in his hands practically banging his head against the screen!

He was getting in a right huff trying to use excel when all he really needed was a few helpful secrets to help him on his way…

Even though it’s not my favourite tool I hope you find these top 3 nuggets helpful…

 

1. How To Put Text On Several Lines

If you’re typing text or multiple lines of data into a cell and you want the text to appear on several lines, then instead of entering the text in another cell just simply press

ALT+ENTER

And you’ll start a new line while you’re typing or editing data.

 

2. What’s That Sum?

Excel is brilliant for calculating sums, I found a great little tool to help you calculate your numbers quicker! If you have a row of numbers you want adding together then highlight them and click the sum tool and it does it for you!

excel 1

 

3. Freeze Panes – Making It Easier On The Eye

If you have a heading you would like to view while you scroll down on the excel sheet all you need to do is hit the row under where you want to view and click window freeze panes

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These 3 little gems have been extremely useful for me so far and I hope they will be for you!

If you need any more advice then give us a call on 020 3301 0003.

Security Breakdown…

Like every good story it started out in the pub up in Norfolk…

I had the Friday off work to go and visit some family in Norfolk. It was a gloomy day and we all decided to go to the pub for a spot of lunch. While we were in the pub I saw a guy frantically hitting his laptop pad – he looked like he was going to break the thing!

As always I was the good citizen and helped him out by fixing his issue which resulted in him saying I was his hero!! We got on the subject of Internet security and I mentioned to him about the 3 main types of protection. I said to him that if he didn’t have security software on his machine then there is a high chance that his laptop will catch a nasty infection!

This is when I explained about the different types of security. Here’s what I told him…

The best way to protect your computer from malware, spyware and viruses is to have three types of security software installed on your computer. Now if you don’t know what any of that means then don’t fear, I will tell you….

  • A Firewall – This acts as a gatekeeper to protect your computer from incoming attacks from the internet, by monitoring and filtering data traffic leaving and arriving on your computer.
  • Antivirus Software – This helps to protect against viruses, trojans and other security threats by scanning and stopping viruses being installed on your computer. If you do get a virus installed on your PC, anti-virus software will be able to remove it.
  • Antispyware Software – Spyware is malicious software that secretly downloads to your computer. Once installed, it can monitor your activity, collect information about you and send it out onto the internet, and even take over your web browser (called ‘hijacking’). Anti-spyware software scans your computer to cyber-defences-security-370x229detect this, and removes any spyware it finds. By keeping anti-spyware software running, it can prevent spyware from being installed in the first place.

So not only was he clued up on what security software is, you are too! The next step is finding a really good one!

If you need some help choosing then we have some great managed security software available on our website, click here if you would like to find out more.

I also recommend you don’t download any free security software from the internet…it wont be any good or even worse it could be a virus in disguise…

Boost Your Mobile Energy

Do you need a bit more energy? Feel a bit sluggish? Well your smartphone needs a bit of a boost because it’s a bit run down, then we have the answer for you!

Here’s some helpful nuggets to get your phone back to life!

Too bright!

Most phones have a useful battery life saving tool that will be found in your settings or display settings. Have a look for it and switch it on!

Snap them apps

When you lock your phone make sure that you close down all them apps. You can download a free app called battery doctor, which tells you which app is guzzling the most juice!

Don’t push that button!

In your phone settings you can choose whether you want your emails to be updated automatically, this is called the push button! In this case don’t push that button and set it so it updates your emails every hour or even day!

Be invisible mobiles

Turn off your location settings and leave a bit of mystery to where you are! You can find this in your privacy settings. This will also help on saving the fuel!

Don’t hog it! 

When you are out of range for Wi-Fi, you have the option to connect to 3G or 4G but if you already have limited battery life and you need your phone, then best not to connect as choosing these options will drain that battery!

Bluetooth turnoff! 

This is great when you’re in the car and using your Bluetooth for hands free but make sure when you get out the car you switch it off.

On the go

Might be worth getting a travel charger for when you are on the run! These come in handy for them times when you need that juice!

With these helpful treats your phone should never go hungry again!

Let us know how you get on with this! We would love to hear your feedback… info@barttech.co.uk

Is Your Outlook Bright?

Like many of us do you use Windows Outlook? It is mind blowing some of the stuff it is capable of! There is a lot to learn about Outlook! I wanted to give you some of my top nuggets when using outlook that you might find help you in your day to day using of outlook.

Here it goes…

1. Get a signature set up

If you regularly have to send out the same generic responses, which may be in customer enquiries, you can save a lot of time by setting up signatures that contain all of your regularly used passages of text. You want to make your signature look as though it is meant to be there so it flows with the other text around it. When you receive one of these emails that requires a generic reply, just hit reply and select your pre-set signature to reply in seconds. This could save you a lot of time over the long term.

Untitled2. Use Quick Parts

Quick Parts are blocks of content you can include in messages, I found this saved me a lot of time! They’re a lot like Auto Text, but can include links and pictures, as well as text messages. To create a new Quick Part, start an email message and enter the content you want to include.

Select it and choose ‘Insert | Quick Parts | Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery’. Now provide a name, category and description, and click ‘OK’. Whenever you want to use this block of content, choose ‘Insert | Quick Parts’ and select it from the list. You’ll see a small preview window for each Quick Part you have stored.

3. Shortcuts

We all need a few tips now and then to save us some precious time in the day. Outlook have some great time saving keyboard shortcuts, here are my favourite:

  • Ctrl+R: reply to email
  • Alt+R: reply to all in email or switch to the work week calendar view
  • Alt+W: forward email or switch to the weekly calendar view
  • Ctrl+M: F9 to Send/Receive all
  • Alt+S: Send email
  • Ctrl+G: open the “Go to date” dialog to jump to any date in the calendar

4. Group your messages

If you receive a high volume of email, tracking down relevant messages can be such a hassle. Outlook can group emails into conversations, so that a single click shows all related messages together yay!

You can set this on a global or per-mailbox basis by going to the View tab and ticking “Show as Conversations”. Click the “Arrange By:” bar at the top of the message list and select “View Settings…” from the dropdown menu to configure additional grouping options.

5. Organising your inbox

There is a very handy tool in outlook where you can set up rules for Outlook to do things with emails as they arrive. You can move emails from a specific person or domain and containing a certain keyword, to a specific folder. You can even choose to have different sounds played depending on the email’s sender or content, or do something different when you are not the main recipient of the email, but are cc’d into it.

To do this you will need to create a rule in outlook which is really simple. Just click on tools and then click rules and from there you can customise your inbox.

6. Creating folders

I have lots of folders set up in my inbox as I like to stay organised and have access to my emails quickly. Not only will you be able to find things easier, but any potential data loss or corruption is likely to be more limited.

  1. Make a rough sketch of your folder structure. A nested structure tends to work better than lots of “flat” folders.
  2. Start creating your subfolders in Outlook. Right-click on the folder that you want to create the sub-folder in and select “New Folder…”
  3. You can then rename the new folder to your requirements by typing and pressing the enter key when finished.

There is so much I could tell you about outlook that has saved me time but I don’t want to overload you just yet! See how you get on with my advice for outlook and if you found it helped you then I would love to know!

Happy Computing!