|This month we look at:
Too much stuff to plug in?
Do you have a laptop and find you have to plug zillions of connections into your computer when you get back to the office: printer, scanner, broadband, hard drives......
In the old days, you could get expensive and machine specific docking stations. But they aren't often seen these days.
Well, use the power of USB! By using USB hubs, you can plug everything USB into the hub and just have one connection from the hub to the computer. And if you run out of slots, just plug another hub into your first hub!
Easy peasy? Well, nearly. Some devices use the USB connection for power. These don't have a mains supply and often come with a cable with what seems like a spare USB plug. Typical examples are scanners and the smaller USB drives.
For items that get their power via USB, you will need a powered USB hub – these come with a power adapter that plugs into the hub.
So save time, save wear – go hubbing!
Knowing that website is safe.
There is a danger that we are exposing ourselves to danger when we go to a webpage. How do we know that it isn't malicious? Trying to get hold of our personal information or download something we don't want?
Well, help is at hand.
To see whether a site is potentially harmful, AVG provides a free link scanner that looks at the page before it opens and sees whether it leads somewhere it shouldn't, warning you that problems may lay ahead. Even in Google it gives green ticks and red crosses to show how it feels about results. There are other suppliers of this sort of thing.
If you are sending personal information , like credit card details, across the web make sure that the link is encrypted. The address will start 'http://' rather than just 'http://' and many new browsers show a green bar by the address to indicate it is safe. Mind you, the data will be transmitted securely but you still need to be sure about the site itself. Good checks are that you either know the company and it is their site or they use Paypal (where they never see your card information)
Extend your screen space
Frustrated by having a cluttered screen? Just bought a new monitor? Well, use two monitors.
Even a laptop can support two screens and it makes a world of difference. I can have one document full-screen on one monitor and a second full-screen on the second – and the monitors don't even have to be the same size.
Personally I have my internet browser open on the second so that I can dive in for some quick research at any time. When I'm programming or building a web page, one screen has my development screen, the other lets me see what it will look like.
There are lots of ways that a second screen will change the way you work – see how it makes your life better
TV on your computer
It's hard to be without TV these days, whether it is to keep up with the news or just something to do while it rains. But you don't have to lug a portable about with you – your computer can do it.
Under £20 will buy you a digital tuner on a USB stick to let your computer capture and play live TV. So as long as you can get a digital signal, you can watch TV.
Yet what if you are abroad and addicted to Soaps? Well, the internet may be your friend. Most TV channels let you watch live TV and also recordings to keep up-to-date. There is one slight hurdle in that the TV feed may be restricted to UK-based internet addresses. In this case you need to pretend to be in the UK. How? By linking via a UK site. One free way is to use www.anonymouse.org, ,press the UK button and then enter the site you need. The trouble with any free ones is that it might not be very smooth. So there are pay-sites such as View TV Abroad and Identity Cloaker which provide a better service.
A lot of data will be sent, so make sure you are not charged by volume!
People that I'm working with
I've always got my printing from Parchment the Printers in Oxford. I've just had some leaflets and one of those pull-up banners. I was very impressed by their speed of delivery and prices.
Want to get more business? Then come to one of the networking meetings run by 4networking. In the full spirit of disclosure I run the Oxford meeting as a volunteer and you can go to any or all of 290 around the UK, with Australia just launching. Try it out for £10 - I love it.
Franchise partner opportunities
We've just released the next five territories for franchise partners to join the fleet using our proven business model to build a successful business.
The flying doctor is looking for enthusiastic individuals who enjoy working with computers. You can help them run their own business and turn their passion into profit!
If you know people who would like this opportunity then ask them to call the flying doctor on 01865 748197 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to start on their success.