Thursday 29 September 2011

Does Worcestershire need better Broadband

I received an email from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) today about broadband in Worcestershire.  It links to a survey being carried out by Worcestershire County Council.  I would encourage local people to fill in the survey and tell WCC about their broadband experience so that we can get the system improved.
The FSB email said:

Broadband is undoubtedly a necessary tool for most businesses today. However, some areas in Worcestershire suffer from slow speeds and in a few cases are still working on dial up!

The Government is well aware of the situation and has appointed BDUK to work with local authorities across the country to find out what the current situation is and evaluate which areas are of priority.

BDUK is quite clear about the measure it will use to identify the areas which need Broadband the most – DEMAND!

Every business and domestic address in Worcestershire should register their demand so that the county becomes a high priority.

To register your demand visit the links below and complete the short survey – if you have a residence and a business premises please complete both surveys as home responses will outnumber business.

Residents' survey

Together, we can make a difference.

Yours sincerly
Judi Brazkiewicz
Chairman, FSB Worcesteshire 

Friday 15 April 2011

IIS Grabs all IP addresses

I hadn't realised until today that if you install multiple NIC's or add additional IP addresses to an existing NIC on a machines running IIS, that IIS will grab all those IP addresses.

This was causing me a problem with a media server that i wanted to run on my SBS 2008 machine.

The answer is to tell IIS to listen only on a specified address by issuing

netsh http add iplisten ipaddress=required_ip_address

from a command prompt and rebooting.  You can then tell your media server to only run on one of the other addresses and all should be well.

Monday 14 February 2011

Problems with Visio 2010 and Access 2007

Today I was asked to install Visio 2010 on to a customer's PC that already had Office 2007 Professional installed.  Knowing that there can be problems with having different versions of Office installed on the same PC, I did a custom install and put Visio 2010 in a separate Program Files folder to the rest of the Office suite.  This normally stops the various versions from fighting with each other.

Alas, in this instance it didn't work.  Once Visio 2010 was installed, Access 2007 refused to open any databases that 15 minutes earlier worked just fine.Visio 2010 on the other hand worked fine.

Running the Office 2007 diagnostics fixed the problem in Access but guess what.....

Next time Visio 2010 is opened it reconfigures itself and breaks Access 2007 again.  What joy!!

A bit of Googling led me to this article .  It turns out that installing Visio 2010 installs a newer version (V14) of the Access Database Engine.  Unfortunately Access 2007 needs V12 to work properly.  To cut a long story short, these two programs, it would appear, cannot be made to live together.  It's one or the other.  Way to go Microsoft.

The thing that surprises me is that the boffins at Microsoft don't see this as a problem and quite seriously suggested doing a repair (which can take 15 minutes) everytime you want to use Access.  I don't think so.

Anyway, I sorted it by putting Visio on a machine that had the 2010 Office suite on and all was well.  Luckily I had that option open to me.  Some offices I visit wouldn't.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Adobe CS3 on Windows 7 64bit

I have just upgraded my desktop machine from Vista 64 bit to Windows 7 64 bit - a long time overdue i hear you say but it is now done.

Anyway, I had a few issues geting Adobe Creative Suite 3 to play nicely under Windows 7 64 bit so i thought i'd post the solution here to save others having to tear their hair out.  The problem is that when you try and open any of the CS3 programs, they either take forever or don't open properly if at all.  I tried the usual 'Run as Administrator' and 'Run in compatability mode for Windows XP SP2' tricks but it made no difference - CS3 still wouldn't play.

Well a bit of digging around found the ever so simple solution.  Forget compatibility mode or 'Run as Administrator'; you don't need those.

What you do need is this file from the Adobe website.  It is a patch for the Adobe Acrobat 8 Licensing Service and once installed, will allow CS3 to run properly.  It says on the Adobe site that it is for Vista only, but it installed just fine and fixed my problem on Windows 7 64 bit.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

The Net Widens

I've just had an email from a client near Evesham who received a scam call this morning.  It follows a slightly different form than the one i reported on Friday and to save retyping, I will just 'cut and paste' the description I received. (with thanks to Karen)

"A foreign gentlemen clarified my telephone number and asked if I have a computer running windows XP (I do have one that runs this version of windows still) and he said that Nigerian hackers are targeting windows XP and causing huge problems and that his company was ringing each and every person known to have XP.... he asked me to switch on my computer straight away so that he could help me....

I had asked who he was - didn't catch his name, but he was reluctant to expand on that and I persisted in asking him 'from where' - he said 'Full PC'
Of course, I declined as I didn't really trust him and said goodbye."

So it looks as if they are targeting everywhere at the moment.  Do what my client did - just hang up - do not let them take control of your PC.

Monday 31 January 2011

Scam Update

Well I have been contacted by a few people today who were glad that I published my warning because they received the scam call over the weekend.  Forewarned was forearmed.

Remember, never let anyone you don't know take remote control of your computer.  If you do let them by mistake and then realise your error, either unplug your modem or router or just pull the computer power plug out of the wall.  That will do far less damage than the scammer.

Be careful folks!!

Friday 28 January 2011

Beware the scammers

This could apply to any area but it seems that just now, scammers are targetting unsuspecting computer users in the Tenbury, Bromyard and Ludlow areas.

Although the scam takes many guises, they all start with an unexpected phone call.  The caller will then ask you about your computer and offer to improve its performance.  They will then try and persuade you to allow them to take remote control of your PC and fix it, for a fee of course - under no account must you let them do this because they could then put all sorts of things you don't want on your PC.

In the current scam the caller will try and tell you that BT have made some changes to the broadband network and that your PC needs to be 're-optimised' (or some similar word) to take advantage of the changes BT have made.

Needless to say BT have not made any changes and your PC does not need optimising (or at least not for the reason they say).

The caller will try and convince you that they can already see your screen and the problems you are having but rest assured they are lying.  Unless you take positive action to let them in, they cannot see a thing.

Remote takeover sessions can be a useful tool - we use them with our own customers - but never allow someone you don't know to take over you PC - you could end up in a world of PC and financial pain.

Previously this scam has taken a different form in that the caller claims to be from Microsoft and that they can speed up your PC, but the end result is the same.

If you have any doubts then consult a reputable IT specialist such as Reebex . If you have let one of these scammers in to your PC, we would urge you to get help as soon as possible because your PC may have been compromised and could be sending private information such as banking details out to the scammers without you knowing.

Thursday 6 January 2011

And So It Continues for Microsoft......

Oh dear!  2011 is really getting off to a bad start for Microsoft.  Hot on the heels of the emails of 17,000 odd customers being deleted, it is now being reported that some Hotmail customers are being locked out of their accounts.

And it's not just those using the freebie accounts.  Even those who subscribe to the paid for accounts are having problems.  Microsoft are denying that there is any sort of widespread issue and are advising users to contact the Windows Live Support Site.

Whilst I have used Hotmail (and Yahoo! Mail) for many years for personal stuff,  I am being won over by Google's GMail service.  Especially the way it integrates with my Android Galaxy S phone. I don't know if it's a good or bad thing, but Google seem to have linked up with several  other services that I use so that my Google account login now gets me into all sorts of sites without having to re-register.

Whilst it makes life easier, I can't help but feel it is a security risk.  Unlike most people, I do use different usernames and passwords for the various sites I use so that if one gets compromised then I don't have to go round changing them all.

Maybe having 'one login does everything' is just too easy for our own online safety.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Tough Week for Microsoft

Well Microsoft have not had too good a start to the New Year.

First bit of bad news was that whilst doing some server maintenance last week, they managed to lose the emails of some 17,000 odd customers who subscribe to their Hotmail service.  Luckily though, Microsoft were able to restore them from backup but quite a few people were sweating for a few hours i'll bet.  Still it does serve to point out the need for good backups.  I remember losing a hard drive a few years ago with all my company data on it.  I recovered most of it but it was very hard work.  So now i have at least 2 backups of everything updated daily.  When was the last time you backed up dear reader?

Secondly, users of the brand new Windows Phone 7 have been reporting higher than expected data usage on their phones to the extent that some are using up all their monthly allowance of data well before the month is over. What appears to be happening is that although a wifi network maybe in range, the phone is continuing to use the phone company connection rather than the wifi connection to download data thus incurring unexpected charges.  It is unclear at the moment if this is a bug in the software or an intentional thing from Microsoft.  The cynical would of course say it is deliberate and a ploy by Microsoft to earn money for the companies selling their phones, but personally i think it is a bug that will be sorted fairly quickly.  After all people will just ignore Windows Phone 7 in favour of Android/iPhone/Blackberry/Symbian if they don't fix it.