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Highlights from the Flying Doctor's logbook
01865 748197
help@theflyingdoctor.biz


Welcome to the
February issue of highlights from the flights.

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The Flying Doctor specialises in fast
response to computer problems for homes, people running business from home and in small offices.

Call The Flying Doctor because we will sort out your computer, web and network issues in a businesslike, sensible way. But, if there’s no affordable cure and it’s cheaper for you to buy a new computer, we will say so.

With 30 years’ experience of fixing computers, there isn’t much that we haven’t seen before. But we’re honest too - if we can’t fix it, we’ll tell you!

Remember we offer free email and telephone support and you can read our collection of
free guides

We’re so sure that we’ll sort out your problems that we say:
if The Flying Doctor doesn’t sort your problem then you don’t pay!

Call 01865 748197
for a fast response to your computer problems.

 

This month we look at:

and also:

Internet Explorer security warning
There is a security warning about Internet Explorer. If you don't use Internet Explorer, you are OK. It should also be fixed by a patch.

The chances of you being damaged  are very, very low. But to make sure, in Windows vista or Windows 7 go to 'control panel-windows update'
and click 'check for updates' on the left hand side.

In XP,  use 'start-all programs-windows update' and click 'express'

The very, very concerned can also go here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2501696

and click 'enable', but I'm not sure of any side effects that may exist.

Buying a new mobile?

There are lots of exciting phones out there at great rates. So which do you pick?

Do you want to make phone calls, have satnav in your pocket, send emails, have a keyboard?

The choice is yours. Pay for what you want.

I used to have a plain phone, a PDA to carry data and a mobile broadband stick for broadband to my netbook. I've just upgraded my phone and am pleased by the capabilities of it. I like to be able to get the internet when I'm out and about to check the odd thing. I like the on-screen keyboard to reply to emails. If I'm stuck I can use it to get broadband to a computer.

There are three main systems for smartphones: iphone (Apple), Symbian (Nokia) and Android (Google).

Symbian was the first kid on the block many years ago. It was largely text-based, but did get the mobile to be a two-way device. Nokia has created Ovi, which is much more graphic and touch-based, to work with Symbian.

What has really made smartphones take-off is the development of windows-like interfaces and a move to touch interfaces. This was lead by Apple with the iphone. Apple was in the right place as they have a very simple interface for Macs. It has now got to version 4.0

Google then arrived on the scene and developed Android. It has frequent updates and has now got to 2.2. It is currently probably the most widespread and has very close integration to the internet. After all Google wants to sell ads on Google so they need you connected. This is especially true for navigation, which is superb but you need to be connected to the internet. This can be an issue for use abroad.

There is also Blackberry, focused on a very specific email market area, and Windows Phone. This is a late entry (it's taken till version 7) and the jury is still out.

Luckily, there are lots of applications – some free and some paid for – to extend capabilities. So you can have satnav onto your Android without needing an internet connection, Or live exchange rates. Or a business card scanner.

So which is for you?

If you get Apple, then the iPhone is for you. You probably have one anyway.

Android is the most available on the latest phones.

I'm not sure where Symbian is heading.

Keeping data secure

We all have information that we want to keep private – bank logins, customer files, etc. So how can we do that?

Now that more of us have laptops and use flash drives, we carry our information around in public it becomes less secure as we can lose it or we can be linked to remotely.Account passwords in Windows are a start to keep casual eavesdroppers out. But they aren't much protection. Your disc can easily be plugged into another computer and the data read off.

So, for secure data, you need to have more security. Now you can take a hardware approach with password-creating dongles, one time codes and stuff but that's expensive and takes management.

A better approach for individuals is – to encode the data.

High-end versions of Windows Vista and 7 have some encryption built in. Bitlocker and Encrypting File System help you to encrypt whole drives and individual files. It works but is designed for corporate use, so some IT support is needed. Another small issue is that the systems can be set to make files accessible when you logon and account passwords aren't the most secure.

An alternative is truecrypt from http://www.truecrypt.org/

This is a free alternative, where you can encypt the entire drive, create a virtual encrypted drive or even hide the encrypted drive from sneaks. I use Truecypt and like it very much. However, if you forget the password there is very little you can do to get the data back.

Whatever you do, choose a secure password. There are no end of programs that try to crack passwords by trying any words in a dictionary. So use numbers, characters, anything to make it hard to guess.

Another issue is snooping via wireless and bluetooth. When you are using wifi spots, be careful what you logon to. Remember if you are connected to them, they are connected to you. If you have a decent firewall, place the connection into the 'public' or 'untrusted' area.

With Bluetooth on your computer or phone, leave it switched off if you can (good for battery life too). If you do have it on, make sure it is set to be invisible and secure.


How much RAM do I need?

Traditionally computers have been sold on price, so the entry models are cut down to the bare minimum specification to run.

How does RAM affect the performance of your computer? If you think of RAM as a desk, you can get desks in different sizes. In order to do any work, you need to out the work on the desk. If the desk is covered, you need to put the current job back in the filing cabinet to create space for the new job. A computer is the same. If the RAM is full, then it needs to store some of it to disc in order to get the next bit out.

Now, the joy of modern computers is that you can have quite a few jobs open at the same time. But if you only have a small desk, the computer will have to keep going to the filing cabinet a lot. You can tell if this is happening when you switch windows, as the disc light is on a lot and there is a short stutter while the windows switch.

It's not helped by programs, especially those loaded when you add hardware, that automatically put themselves on the desk in case you need them when you start the computer. So already have less desk space left for you. You can stop these being 'helpful' but RAM is cheap and will make more difference if you don't have much.

I suggest these minimums:

  • XP: 512Mb
  • Vista: 2Gb
  • Windows 7: 1Gb (but 2 is worth it)

if you are into picture or video editing, at least double these.

How can you find out how much memory you have? Go to Control panel and click system. The basic information screen will tell you the installed memory. This screen will say if you have a 64-bit system. If you do, then you can put lots of memory in. If it says 32-bit or neither, then you are limited to 3Gb

If you go to buy memory, get the same type (DDR, DDR2, DDR3 for either desktop or laptop) and make sure it is at least the same speed. If you have spare memory slots, plug it in or if not replace existing sticks with bigger ones.

Sit back and enjoy your new bigger desk!

People that I'm working with
I've always said that I can draw pretty pictures for myself. Some time ago, I met Phil Strachan of Strangebrew who is making an increasing name for himself in branding.

He's got me to understand what a brand really is, developed my own brand and it's really worked. He can do this for small businesses and national corporations. Great to work with and well worth a call.

I've also been working for quite a long time with
Spice Application Systems, who have an ingenious method of applying flavours to snacks. They have a real passion for what they do and  have won lots of awards by using less energy to give more taste!
 

Franchising opportunities
The flying doctor is expanding the fleet and there are franchise opportunities across the country.

Thank you  for your support that has taken my business to a high altitude. The next stage has taken off - putting flying doctors into every town in the UK. There are still fantastic opportunities for people to join the team.

The flying doctor is  looking for enthusiastic individuals, with a  passion for computers, who  really enjoy working with people. You can help them run their own business!

If you know people who would like this opportunity then ask them to call the flying doctor on 01865 748197 or email
franchise@theflyingdoctor.biz to start on their success.





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