Welcome to this month’s InfoBulletin. As time goes by and the internet becomes an essential part of our everyday lives, so we notice the flavour of the issues we highlight changing; increasingly we are pre-occupied with what increasingly feels like civil rights on the net. Eg- privacy, security, equality of access. There’s certainly an argument that government is too hands off in protecting e-citizens and too hands on in monitoring them!
The old proverb ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ is still true at least when it comes to backing up data. If you need to backup a single laptop or data for 100+ people, in our experience a one backup strategy is risky. People still do it but having one backup offsite - over the wire storage best and one on premise eg - to a removable disk drive, is still the most sensible thing to do. Don’t take our word for it, see -
Hurrah, Microsoft’s cloud based Server offering Azure is finally available with non profit discounts! Boo, the long term cost isn’t very clear. It looks like regardless of size any non-profit can have $3000 use of Azure free each year. In a typical scenario where an organisation might run several virtual servers its not to clear how long that might last. However this is a welcome move and using Azure to provide cloud based servers is now a serious option. If you would like to know more about Azure or see the service in action. Do mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For many gamers their Xbox account is seen as a vital utility on a par with water and electricity. Yet quite often we hear stories that people’s accounts get irreversibly locked, because of false complaints. Its an interesting area and we’d like to Ofcom take more of a pro-active role in controlling the behaviour of gaming companies as they do with ISPs. However for those of us who use IT civilly and professionally the huge underbelly eg - see xbox uservoice.com can be a disturbing place! Ps - don’t get us started talking about online Poker sites!
Microsoft, Apple and other software suppliers have used the cover of a falling pound to raise prices by up to 25%. But with the £ actually falling by around 15% many see monopolistic suppliers taking the opportunity to push up prices.
How we sometimes yearn for simpler times, where we would buy something and in some cases it might last a lifetime, a good coat, a pan, a table. Sadly in the world of IT especially at the Smartphone end you can buy an app, just get used to it (including its bugs) and then it disappears to be replaced by something ‘better’ (yeah right). Winphone users are particularly prone to this experience, this time however its mighty Google retiring online apps. Do you think someone might ever publish apps with a lifetime promise not to take them away? – could be a winner. Maybe that’s why some WindowsXP users with early versions of MsOffice are not changing the kit 20 years in!
More on Google’s retirements here - https://a.msn.com/r/2/AAm2VKY?m=en-gb&ocid=News
Apple and other major IT players have made a lot of noise about protecting their users data and privacy, with public refusal to assist law enforcement agencies by cracking passwords to give access to data held on smartphones or in the cloud. Realistically though it would be naïve to assume that any of your data is not accessible by the state or indeed perhaps even more malevolent parties and also that if push comes to shove the major IT players will buckle under government pressure. We recommend two strategies for every citizen; Firstly assume the worst, as Barack Obama said he’s always operated on the basis that every email he writes might be hacked, so live and work on that basis. Secondly lobby for the best, push back against intrusion by anyone. The state should not have an automatic right to breach your privacy and others who do should be appropriately sanctioned.
Can’t wait, won’t wait
If you’re the early bird how long are you willing to wait for a worm? According to research the average online shopper will give up on a site if it takes 3 seconds to load, at the same time page loading speeds have actually decreased due to more multimedia and links to external sites. So is it time to go back to basics to get ahead?
HP have apparently released a firmware update that prevents any ink cartridge not manufactured by HP being recognised by several ranges of printers leaving consumers angry that they are receiving error messages for devices that previously worked and are perceived as being updated with no warning. So are HP within their rights as the manufacturer to protect their interests or should customers expect if another supplier works when the device was purchased it should always work?
An airport in Tokyo has installed “Smartphone toilet paper” dispensers that provide disinfectant wipes (as well as wifi info) for your phone screen. Sound crazy? Maybe, but don’t forget that screen is going to be pressed against your face.
Microsoft have finally reacted to the rise in ransomware with an article designed to explain the concept to home users. It certainly contains some useful information and could be a useful resource for user training but the concern will remain that most users will only search for the information once they have had an infection.
If you ever needed evidence that paper and post is not yet dead, exhibit A is Googles massive traditional mailing campaign. Yes Google purveyor of all thing ‘e’ confirms what we’ve long suspected, that if you want to actually get more than a microsecond of attention or indeed any attention, post someone something.
We’ve had a web makeover. We think its pretty cool , check it out at www.coopsys.net
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