New site

Well it’s like a plumber with a dripping tap…. we’ve finally got around to updating our own web site!

It’s not quite finished yet, we need to add a few more pictures. Hope you like it!

November 2nd, 2012

How to secure your laptop

Laptop Computers are often used as ‘the’ computer for many individuals and households, but what if it were to be lost or stolen?

If the laptop is gone it might be safe to assume it’s gone forever!

All data [photo’s, documents, music…] will be gone. However, that is gone from you, not necessarily gone from the world, what if the finder [or thief] wants to delve into your personal files?

Have you got a document named “Passwords.doc” with all of your, er, passwords in one convenient place?

When on the Internet do you use the “Remember This Password” feature of the browser? Well then the thief can automatically log in to your various accounts – email, facebook, or perhaps bank!!!

OK, scare mongering over, what can you do about this?

Simple stuff:

Set up your computer so you have to log in to access windows

Press the Windows key and R. A command box should appear. Type control userpasswords2 and hit the enter key. This should display the User Accounts screen. Ensure there is a tick in the “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” box.

userpasswords2

userpasswords2

If you’ve not previously set a password the press CTRL + ALT + DEL and the ‘Change Password’. Remember: the longer and more complicated your password, the more difficult it will be to guess / hack.

Install “Prey” [http://preyproject.com/]

As the web site states:

Silent but deadly. Basically you install a tiny agent in your PC, which silently waits for a remote signal to wake up and work its magic. This signal is sent either from the Internet or through an SMS message, and allows you to gather information regarding the device’s location, hardware and network status, and optionally trigger specific actions on it.

If lost you will need to notify your Prey account that your laptop is missing.

Your laptop finder or thief will:

i.      turn on your computer

ii.      log in to a guest account [Prey will create this for you, so they can’t login to your password protected account, where all you data is]

The software will:

i.      unbeknown to them their picture will be taken by the built in webcam, this will be uploaded to the prey site

ii.      an image of the desktop will be uploaded

iii.      the software will attempt to work out it’s location using wi-fi data and upload that also!

iv.      I also recommend you log in as the new ‘guest user’ account, then open Paint, then on the blank canvas type a message like “This computer belongs to Fred Bloggs, call me on 07777 888888 and I’ll pay a reward for it’s return”, or whatever suits. Then use the menu option to save as wallpaper – stretched. Then if someone logs into your computer, on the guest account, as that’s the only one available, then they get the message.

Back up your data

This really is so important. If you can afford to lose every single bit of data on your computer, it’s not important to you, in fact why did you save it in the first place, then ignore this section…. At your perile!

Your choices include:

i.      Burn [record] your files to CD/DVD.

ii.      Install backup software to ensure all data is uploaded to ‘the cloud’ which is a term used to refer to various off site back up locations. Examples include:

  1. Windows Live Mesh 2011 [http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mesh] free – 5GB
  2. Carbonite – One year of unlimited backup: £41.95 [http://www.carbonite.co.uk/]
  3. Dell – Various prices [https://www.delldatasafe.co.uk/]
  4. and many more!

iii.      Copy to external USB drive [from under 1GB to 1TB]

  1. The fully automated, offline/cloud, system is a must. The idea of your data being backed up without any work from you, in the background, is ideal, as I type this I have about 90GB automatically backed up! With this option you need to keep an eye on your broadband data limits.
  2. If you choose either the CD/DVD or external USB device option then you MUST remember to regularly back up – as it won’t be automated.
  3. External devices / discs must be stored in a different place than the main computer – perhaps at work, or stored with a trusted family member or friend. If you store it with the laptop and there are both lost / stolen… !

Advanced stuff:

Encrypt your data.

If someone wants to access your files it’s [virtually] as simple as putting the hard drive in another computer, or USB caddy, or bypassing windows.

  1. So you need to lock down your computer. There are alternative methods of carrying out this, but I’m going to suggest just one – TrueCrypt [http://www.truecrypt.org/] this is an open source free option.
  2. The web site has a full tutorial on how to use the software, but in essence you need to create an encrypted file that is then ‘mounted’ as a new drive. However, this file/drive cannot be accessed [even the FBI failed to access such a file] without a password, and like all passwords the stronger and more obscure that password the better. This encrypted file/drive should be large enough to store all of your files.
  3. Move all of you files into the newly created drive. Don’t forget to include all of the files in your documents, pictures and so on. You will also need to include your emails, depending on the program you use, and the version of Windows you are running will depend on where the file is, but the email program help file will confirm where the data is and how to move it to the newly encrypted drive.
  4. You will also need to ensure that TrueCrypt is set up to start on Windows start-up and automatically load the new drive [the password will be required.

If you follow all of these ideas your laptop will have no data of any use or accessible to anyone else without your passwords. Furthermore if it’s stolen or lost there’s a good chance of getting it back!

November 21st, 2010

Excel – Getting Worksheet Name

In Excel if you need to show, in a cell, the name of the worksheet use this:

First get the filename:

In Cell A1 enter    =Cell(“Filename”)

The result (in a saved file) will be something like:

C:\Users\Jon\Desktop\[Book1.xls]Sheet1

To get just the worksheet:

In another cell enter     =MID(CELL(“filename”,A1),FIND(“]”,CELL(“filename”,A1))+1,32)

 

August 24th, 2010

Worried you might be infected by the Conficker virus?

Just click here:

http://www.confickerworkinggroup.org/infection_test/cfeyechart.html

April 16th, 2009

Owen Pine – new site launched

Late yesterday the new site for Owen Pine was finished. If you’re in the area why don’t you pop down and see what they have to sell. My visits to the company to sort out the site for them opened my eyes to the great range of Oak and Pine furniture they have available.

March 4th, 2009

Validate twitter code

I needed to add twitter code into some of our web site, but then they failed to validate as HTML compliant.

I changed:

<div id="twitter_div">
<h2 class="sidebar-title">Twitter Update</h2>
<ul id="twitter_update_list"></ul>
</div> 

To:

<div id="twitter_div">
<h2>Twitter Update</h2>
<ul id="twitter_update_list"><li></li></ul>
</div> 

And all is well and it validates fine now.

March 1st, 2009

Technorati Profile

October 13th, 2008

HouseRefer.com is improved

A few improvements made over the last week or so include the new version optimised for PDA’s and Mobile phones:

http://www.houserefer.com/pda/

And the new zoom in/zoom out feature on the property images – check it out!!

Feedback apreciated.

October 5th, 2008

Internet Access – away from home

I’ve recently starting using T-Mobile’s Web’n'Walk USB Stick, a fantastic device on it’s own allowing [up to] 4.5Mb/s speed [realistically slower, but still great] anywhere you can get a mobile phone signal – and in the UK that’ll be most places you want it, although speed drops depending on the data connection type [GPRS;3G or HSDPA which should, in theory, get up to 7.2 Mb/s before too long].

The other great thing about Web’n'walk is that it comes with free HotSpot access [as does BT Home Broadband if you read carefully]. To get your password just text OPEN to 9526 within the web’n'walk program and you’ll then receive your HotSpot username and password.

T-Mobile have partnered with a whole host of other companies so you can get access at McDonalds, Starbucks, airports and so on. I’m typing this from Munster Airport in Germany – as it works across Europe as well.

So if you invest in the T-Mobile web’n'walk and like me have BT Broadband at home then maybe anywhere you are with your laptop so will the Internet be!

If there’s no hotspot overseas then it’s not the end of the world as in many contries Internet access is only £1.50 per minute. I would also recommend PopPeeper as a tiny email program that will allow you to access as many mailboxes as you like, but only download a small amount of the email (5k is normally enough to see if it’s worth your pennies to download the rest of just press delete).

The other thing regarding email away from home is that you will need to ensure you have outgoing [SMTP] access. If you are connected via t-mobile web’n'walk this can be set to “smtp.t-email.co.uk”.

Don’t forget that all Compass Computing and OxheyNet provide you with web mail for use when away from home. Just go to http://webmail.[yourdomainname.co.uk] enter your username and password and it’s all there waiting for you!

Well that’s all for now.

Surfing away from home….. it’s very handy :)

Jon

September 5th, 2008

Porfolio of design updated

I thought it was about time I updated our portfolio of recent web sites.

You can view the page here.

We’ve created many more sites, but they’re not all listed!

July 20th, 2008

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