The Pain Free IT Blog
With Dominic Jones

Christmas Jumper Day

Last Friday some of the Barton team took part in Christmas jumper day for Save the Children charity! There happened to be a few holiday requests and meetings booked that day but the stragglers left in the office joined in. We all had our woolly’s on for the cause.

When I first mentioned it none of the guys even owned Christmas jumpers but they all put in the effort and went out especially to buy them :)

Who’s woolly do you think is best? I must admit I was impressed with Dom’s & Ray’s jumpers, they went all out with the 3d effect :)

We had a fab day and I felt very cozy in my jumper – It was for a great cause and if you would like to make a small donation of £2 to the charity you can text TEAMBARTON to 70050.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Christmas Wishes….

Seasons greetings from all the team. I just wanted to let you know our opening times during the Christmas period, to ensure that you know we are on hand should you happen to be working over the Christmas break.

Please pass on this message to any members of your team who may need us during the festivities.

Times are as follows:

Christmas Eve – 09:00 to 13:00

Christmas Day – Closed
Boxing Day – Closed
29th December – Normal operations
30th December – Normal operations
New Years Eve – 09:00 to 13:00
New Years Day – Closed
2nd January – Normal operationsIMG_1377

Jackie has persuaded all the Barton team to take part in Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 12th December. We are raising money for Save the Children charity. If you would like to donate then you can simply text this code TEAMBARTON to 70050 to donate £2. – There will be pictures of us to follow in our Christmas jumpers :)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for using Barton Technology during 2014. All the team here wish you all a very Merry Christmas and an extremely prosperous New Year.

Dominic and the team.

What The Hack…

Did you see in the news last week about Sony Pictures being hacked? Apparently the security breach took down all computers studio-wide. The hackers posted a message into their network, which stated, “We already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met. We’ve obtained all of your internal data including your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release the data shown below to the world.” Looks like the hackers have already carried out their threat as at least 5 movies have been leaked already!

Message that the Hackers sent to Sony Pictures

Message that the Hackers sent to Sony Pictures

It’s not only Sony Pictures who have been compromised, we have found that lately there has been a BIG issue from people having their websites hacked. You may find its something obvious like your home page has been defaced or all your content has been changed and a virus has been uploaded :( – (I thought it was the season to be jolly?)

Whatever it is, it’s not good and we really wish all these hackers would just go away. If you have had your website hacked then you know it can really impact your business. Firstly its embarrassing and often leads to loss of sales or emails or even worse your whole website being shut-down.

A lot of people think that once you have your website built that it’ll look after itself. Unfortunately times have changed, that may have been true 15 years ago but with modern websites you must keep them maintained and up to date with the latest security.  

We don’t create websites at Barton HQ but we do host many thousands of them. We tend to find that hackers to try and claw their way into them but luckily we have a secure network so they can’t get in.

We also backup your website so if a hacker does decide to play about on your homepage we can always get it back to its original state.

To ensure your website is safe, you must check these key points below:

  • Do you have a recent backup of your website? Your Hosting Provider or your Web Developer should be able to help with this, check with them. Ideally you want nightly and/or weekly backups, or as often as your website changes…
  • Is your website secured with the latest security updates? Make sure you have the right security in place so no hackers can get in. Also consider your WordPress site and plugins if relevant. Your web developer should be able to help you with this.
  • Check your webhosting use Anti-Hack & Anti- Malware protection This will protect your site from common attacks. We offer this service, which we call ‘Stop The Hacker’.

If you want the hackers to just go away then our security team on 020 8262 4432 or email sales@barttech.co.uk

Make sure your site is safe online and secure over the Christmas holidays.

cached.imagescaler.hbpl.co.uk

 

Save Time With This Wheelie Good Trick….

I was happily typing away in the office one day when I heard Andrei on the phone to a customer saying ‘you need to use the wheelie’…I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. I thought Andrei was telling the customer how to do some wheelie tricks on a bike or something…

Turns out Andrei was simply trying to explain to someone how to use the scroll function on a mouse. It all got quite confusing but the customer understood what Andrei meant and it all worked out well in the end.

This got me thinking, there are many wonderful things you can do with a mouse…Here are some great tricks that can help you speed up your day.

The Shift key and mouse click – Most programs allow you to highlight text using the shift key and the mouse. For example, if you click at the beginning of a text in the below text box, hold down the Shift key, scroll to the bottom, and click at the end of the text to highlight all of the text.

UntitledBonus: Holding down the Alt key while dragging and highlighting text allows you to highlight text.

Take full advantage of the wheelie (scroll wheel) – Now you may think everyone knows how to use the scroll wheel but this is not always the case. This wheel can do so much more then just scroll;

  • The wheelie can also be used as a button. Pressing down on the wheel will act like a third mouse button. This can be used to open a web page in a tab by clicking the wheel on any link and can also be used to close a tab by clicking the wheel on any open tab.
  • Zoom in and Out on a web page, word document, excel spread sheet, etc. by holding down the Ctrl key and scrolling up to zoom in and down to zoom out.
  • Holding down the Shift key while scrolling up or down in most Internet browsers to go back and forward between web pages.
  • Some mouse wheels can be pushed left or right to also move back and forward on a web page.

Activate Mouse ClickLock – This feature relieves you from keeping the mouse button pressed for performing activities like text selection and moving files of folders. It can be really useful for laptop users when their touchpad is not functioning.

mouseHold Alt to Select Columnar Text – Now this is a smart one. Have you ever felt the need to select text vertically on a Word document? And did you end up doing that one by one, wasting lot of time?

All you need to do is hold down the ALT key, then drag the mouse down the text, release the ALT key before you let go of the mouse.

Triple Clicking – You may not realise that triple clicking is another handy tool you can use with the mouse. In many word processing applications, you can triple-click on a paragraph to automatically select the entire paragraph.

I hope you enjoy using your wheelie! You may find it can speed up your day.

If you need any other help then please contact Andrei today at Sales@barttech.co.uk

mouse Barton

The Big Battle…

Have you always been a PC user or do you prefer a Mac?

Recently I have switched to using a Mac, I must admit it’s a change from using a PC, but personally I do prefer using a Mac now.

Have you ever thought about switching to a Mac? They do say once you go Mac you never go back! Over the years there has been a battle between choosing a PC or a Mac, there are thousands or articles for Mac and for PC but which is better?

Apple has a huge following. Fans idolise the likes of Steve Jobs and the products his company makes. Apple is expensive though and a lot of people say that the cost is too high for what you actually get on a Mac. It’s true that a PC does have access to a lot more software.

One of the main arguments about the two is that macs have fewer viruses and require less maintenance. Sadly this statement is no longer true. Far fewer viruses exist for Mac and most Mac users get by just fine without any antivirus protection, however this wont be the case for too much longer as in the last few years we have seen more Macs being infected with nasty bugs.

Windows is still the leader in the computer market and is often cheaper. However, Apple products are catching up fast and more people are seeing the benefits of using alternative operating systems.

There was an article that I found where two groups tested both operating systems and here is what they said about them..

Macs were recommended for the reasons below;

  • Macs offer a more straightforward approach to computing with fewer maintenance tasks
  • Macs software, on average, focuses more on its user interface and making your experience enjoyable than Windows software does
  • Macs have always come with plenty of ways to enable accessibility for users with special requirements.
  • When you get your shiny new machine home the first thing you want to do is use it. With a PC this will take a little time as out-of-the-box Windows 8 has hardly any useful, quality apps.

Windows was recommended for the reasons below;

  • Windows PCs provide lots of flexibility and customization (with both hardware and software)
  • Windows has more software available than any other platform
  • Windows provides a great gaming experience thanks to great hardware support and lots of games
  • Windows offers great backwards-compatibility

You can discuss the pros and cons of Macs versus Windows PCs in great detail but in the end it all comes down to personal preference.

If you are thinking of changing operating system then get in touch. We can help you decide the best solution for your business.

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It’s time to say the C word….

It’s official, Christmas it right around the corner. Halloween and bonfire night are out of the way and I think now is an acceptable time to mention Christmas. I must admit it’s a bit much when card shops start putting out cards in August!

Last week I was driving to work and I heard the first Christmas song of the year (fairytale of New York) – imerry-christmas-hd-images copyt’s a classic and cheered me right up. Then John Lewis has released their Christmas advert this year with Monty the penguin. If you haven’t seen it yet then I suggest YouTube it now as I guarantee it will get you in the Christmas mood.

Anyway all this Christmas cheer got me thinking, while you are sitting at home eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine you want to make sure your data is safe. You have probably heard of the term firewall? If like me you are aware of a firewall but not exactly sure what it is then I have put together some helpful information to give you a bit more knowledge on firewalls….

Why do you need one?

A firewall is an essential part of your business’ security system. Without it, your network is open to threats. A firewall keeps destructive and disruptive forces out, and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on security parameters that you can control and refine.

What does it do?

Firewalls are software programs or hardware devices that filter the traffic that flows into you PC or your network through a internet connection. They sift through the data flow & block that which they deem (based on how & for what you have tuned the firewall) harmful to your network or computer system.

When connected to the internet, even a standalone PC or a network of interconnected computers make easy targets for malicious software & unscrupulous hackers. A firewall can offer the security that makes you less vulnerable and also protect your data from being compromised or your computers being taken hostage.

What does it protect you against?

  • Remote Login – Unauthorised connections from users on the internet can allow them to remotely login and control the computer, stealing information or installing unwanted programs and spyware.
  • Email session hijacking – Unauthorised access can result in hijacking of your SMTP server, which means that spam could be sent to your contacts, via your email server – making the true source of the spam difficult to trace, and damaging your reputation and relationships.
  • Application and Operating System backdoor vulnerabilities – Certain programs have remote access features or bugs that allow hidden access, giving some level of control of the program.
  • Denial of Service – This is a disruptive attack on a server, where the server receives a request to connect. When the server attempts to respond, it can’t find the system that made the request. Repeatedly hitting servers with these types of connections slows them down massively and causes them to crash.
  • Email Bombs – Similar to the above, an email bomb is the same message sent to an address on a server so many times that it crashes the server.
  • Malicious Macros – A macro is a script you can create that is run by an application. Hackers can create macros that tell your applications to do things that you don’t want them to do, such as delete data or crash the computer.
  • Viruses – Viruses are well known and well documented. They can spread very quickly through networks and emails, and often carry out unwanted activity on your computer such as monitoring your activity, slowing your computer down considerably, deleting data, locking the device completely, or crashing the computer.

Internet securityHopefully this has given you a better understanding of a firewall so that this Christmas you can sit back, relax and enjoy your turkey while your data is all secure.

If you need anymore information on this then give us a call today on 020 3301 0003 or email Andrei on sales@barttech.co.uk

P.S Did you know it’s only 44 days until Christmas?

Christmas_tree

Shortcuts…

I always find there are never enough hours in the day to get through everything that needs to be done.

While I was frantically working my way through a pile of work that needed to be done I stumbled across some amazing quick tips that helped me speed up my day.

I wanted to share them with you, as I know sometimes we all need a trick or two to help us get through the day. Whether you are a PC user or Mac user I wanted to give you an advantage to save you some precious time.

PC Shortcuts

Alt + F File menu options in current program.
Alt + E Edit options in current program
Alt + Tab Switch between open programs
Ctrl + C Copy selected item.
Ctrl + V Paste
Ctrl + S Save current document file.

 

Mac Shortcuts

Cmd + W               How to close the active window

Cmd + T                How to open a new tab

Cmd + C                Copy selected item.      

Cmd + V                Paste

Cmd + F                Find function

Cmd + Z                Undo    

I hope you find these nuggets useful. If you need any further help then please don’t hesitate to contact us today email sales@barttech.co.uk

How To Blow Up Your Laptop…

Don’t you just hate it when you are on your laptop and your battery constantly dies? I have spoken to many people about this and they say the exact same thing and how frustrating it is!

Recently a colleague at work came to me and said “Dom, I think I have an issue with my company laptop, the power dies on me all the time and I leave it overnight to charge almost all the time” Strange one don’t you think? Well unfortunately for her she didn’t realise that she was doing more harm then good by over charging the laptop!

Yes sounds stupid doesn’t it? Many people think that by leaving their laptop constantly plugged in then they’re saving the battery life and this will mean they get more use out of their laptop in the long run! – Spoiler Alert! This isn’t true! The less you use the battery the less effective it will become.

The advice I gave my colleague was NOT to charge the laptop the whole time as it will decrease the battery life in the long run. Once the laptop is fully charged then switch the charger off. Only use your charger when you need to use it.

A laptop nowadays should usually last a minimum of 4 hours and if you look after the battery life correctly then it should last you for about 3 years! – Yes please :)

Another little story that I must mention is when someone I knew (I wont mention any names) actually managed to blow up their laptop! Let me paint a picture for you….Have you ever been in a situation where you have lost your laptop charger? Sometimes you don’t want to pay out a fortune to get a new one from the manufacturer so you can buy a cheaper one from another source…..which is exactly what this person did…

So with the new laptop charger in hand it was plugged in to the laptop and boom! The laptop exploded! It didn’t burst into flames or anything like that but have a look at the below….

laptop blow

My top advice for anyone would be this;

  1. Don’t over charge your laptop, only charge it when it needs it.
  2. Always by the right laptop charger for your laptop.
  3. Try not to blow up your laptop – although I know sometimes we all would like to.

Hope this helps you with your laptop productivity!

Want To Be A Winner?

I’m proudly announcing the launch of our brand new referral scheme :)

All our customers are fantastic and we love having them part of the Barton family, that’s why we are really excited to tell you about our referral program.

The Barton team have been creating a plan to give everyone who refers someone an incredible prize. To be honest they’re all really jealous of the prizes we’re giving away – I must say I wouldn’t mind winning one myself!

So how does it work? It’s so simple…all you need to do is tell another company about how great Barton are and then enter their details on this site below:

www.barttech.co.uk/referral/

(Don’t forget to enter your details so we know who to give the prize to)

 Once you have entered your referral you will then be entered into our exciting tombola packed full with amazing prizes!

ps tombola

We’re giving away Kindles, MacBook’s, holidays, virgin experience days and plenty more. Make sure you get your thinking hats on because you don’t want to miss out.

We will be announcing this month winners on the Wednesday 29th October so make sure you get your referrals in before that date for your chance to win.

Once the draw happens we will be filming it live and sending you a link so you can check out what amazing prize you have won.

The best part is that you will win a prize every time you enter a referral. PLUS you can refer multiple people, which means multiple prizes!

Rack your brains and have a think about who you want to receive great IT Support. Click this link to enter your referral and win big prizes.

Happy Referring :)

prizes

It’s A Secret….

Last weekend I was having some problems with my mobile, I couldn’t get the blasted thing to do anything so I decided to give my provider a quick buzz….

I had to go through the whole process of answering my security questions when one question stumped me….they asked me what was my secret password? I didn’t have a clue I even had a password for my mobile account. I told them I have never created one…but they were adamant I did. In the end it took me 45 minutes to convince them I didn’t have a password and tell them to change it!

passwordsI have so many passwords, one to log into your email account, then my computer another for my bank! Passwords are a fact of life.

Do you have a strong password? Are you confident that your password is safe enough? With passwords comes opportunists, people are always trying to get into your accounts to access your valuable data but, if you pick the right password then you don’t have to worry….

You need to make sure that you have a tough, safe and secure password so you don’t get any unwanted visitors!

I have put some simple steps together to give you the upper hand when it comes to choosing a password:

  • The password must be at least eight characters long
  • It shouldn’t contain your user name, real name, or company name
  • Does not contain a complete word
  • Is significantly different from previous passwords

Contains characters from each of the following four categories:

  • Updercase Letters
  • Lowecase Letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols found on the keyboard

I hope this has been useful to you and if you need any more help then you can contact us on 020 3301 0003.

Keep Safe and protect yourself!