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Highlights from the Flying Doctor's logbook

Welcome to the
March issue of highlights from my flights.


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

Call 01865 748197

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!

This month we look at:
  • My computer won't boot!
  • Wireless security
  • Making email attachments smaller

    My computer won't boot!

    Stay calm. Here are a few simple tests:

    Does anything happen? Lights or noise? If no, then check that the power cable and socket work by swapping them.

    Does the POST screen (the one that mentions BIOS and stuff) appear?. If not, take the side off the case, get rid of any static by touching a bare metal part of a radiator and reseat all the memory and cables you can find.

    If it gets to the windows screen, then have you just added some hardware? Unplug it and see what happens.

    If you hear lots of activity from the computer box but see nothing on the screen,  then see whether the monitor is connected and working.

    Wireless security

    Always amazes me just how many wireless metworks are badly secured. OK, you may say "I have nothing wiorth stealing on my computer" but people can steal bandwidth, use your network for illegal purposes and find your passwords.

    So security is important. Like all sceurity there's no point in spending more money than what you are protecting is worth, but here are a few tips:

    1. Give your network a non-standard name or 'ssid'. Why tell people who or what they are trying to hack into?
    2. Use WPA2 security. If you can't then use WPA. Never use WEP as it is not secure.
    3. Choose a password that means nothing to anyone else. Idaelly use Caps and &*% characters. Did you know that '123', 'Thomas' and 'arsenal' are among the top ten passwords in the UK?
    4. For the paranoid, use an access list based on MAC addresses. This basically means that only machines with pre-approved  serial numbers can logon to your network.

    You can set these up yourself via your web browser - just read the instruction manual that came with the router.

    Ultimately, given enough time your network can be broken into. Stay calm - it will probably be someone else and remember that we have to balance security with practicality: the only way to build a burglar-proof house is one without doors and windows, but not much use as a house is it?

    Making email attachments more compact

    We all want to share stuff with others - photos, documents, etc. However, many email systems limit the size of the file that you can attach. So what can you do when you want to send a file that is too big?

    You can:

    make the file smaller;
    find another way to send it.
    Make the file smaller

    Here we can make massive adjustments, especially on photos. If the other end will look at it on their computer, there is no point in sending your masterpiece at the full 15megapixels. Screens are set to 96dpi on the whole - so use your photo editing software to reduce the size of the photo. Secondly, you can dramatically reduce the size of a JPG by reducing the quality a bit: just going from 80% to 70% reduced a random file of mine by 30%.

    Secondly, for other files, you can compress the file by using various programs such as winzip, 7-zip and winrar. Of course the other end will need to expand it again using the same software!

    Find another way to send it

    This way, you upload your massive file to a website and email the download link you are given to your recipient. They then go to the website and download. Some sites are free, some charge. Just look for "send large files" in your search engine.

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