The Pain Free IT Blog
With Dominic Jones

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!

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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