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Welcome

Thanks for dropping by. There is a variety of stuff on my website mainly because my life has been a mixture of IT and Walking. Walking is the latter bit as I had been stuck in an office for 18 years and did little adventuring over the weekends. That has now changed and I get out as often as I can, there is so much to discover. This website is quite new so please pop by again soon for updates. Thanks.

Windows 11 – An introduction

Windows 10 has been with us since 2015, and at that time I’m almost certain that Microsoft announced it would be the last ‘numbered’ Windows edition and would be improved through major updates annually. These major updates in both spring and autumn were interspersed with many other, smaller monthly updates. This also heralded a change in the way updates were delivered.

Many users of Windows 10 have had a rough ride, it has got better but it’s far from perfect. Microsoft has done well over the past few years with strong growth of its cloud services and Office 365 however, Google has stolen some thunder by making excellent Chromebooks – fast laptops that get everyday tasks done at a budget price.

In response Microsoft has brought out many low-cost laptops with 32 and 64Gb capacities, the 32Gb versions being a complete disaster in my opinion with regard to storage and updates. Later offerings have 64Gb/120Gb storage and Windows S (designed to only use aps from the Microsoft Store) – this can be changed. So what comes next?

A new experience

New things are on the horizon and Microsoft have announced plans for the next version of Windows, a complete redesign, read more here. Support for Windows 10 Home and Pro versions will end on 14th October 2025. It seems current Windows 10 users will be able to upgrade for free, a little later in 2021.

The latest version of Windows 10 – 21H1 focuses on security and multi-camera support and installs more efficiently, here’s how to get it. Updating Windows 10 is an important part of staying current and secure whilst also getting the latest features.

Let’s hope that Windows 11 will be delivered as a finished, polished product that actually works well.

Best and Cheapest Internet Security

If you are looking for the cheapest and best security for your computer or Mac then you may just have found it here. Why do I personally recommend Sophos? Well I have used it for about four years now and there are, in my opinion, sound reasons for doing so.

Sophos just gets on with protecting your on line world without constantly offering you another level of protection that you didn’t know you needed and don’t understand. Once one has bought the Sophos home product there is nothing else to purchase.

Pricing is very keen and in my view excellent value with a one year subscription generally under £50 – compare that to others that are £80 a year or more. My own subscription has for 2020 and 2021 been under £40 on renewal – I have Sophos Home Premium that covers 10 computers.

So, go ahead and click the banner above for what I think is a really robust internet security product.

Email: Encrypted and not tracked

We may all be using instant messaging and texts these days but email is still important. Email is very important especially when you need to refer to something and have conversations with multiple people, without it vanishing in a conveyor belt of crap.

Two such email providers spring to mind for what I think, are the perfect solution. Fastmail and Protonmail. Protonmail offers a free account as well as paid plans. Fastmail offers only paid plans. Both, in my opinion offer a superb email experience.

Stay Safe Online

 

Read this first. If you are confronted with a website online or a pop up message telling you that your computer is infected or in danger – Do Not call the number given, it is a scam. You can try closing your web browser using the method below or just shut down your computer. Seek help.

Staying safe online and keeping your identity and money out of reach of cyber crime can seem a little daunting. Now, I’m no expert on this but I have developed a set of rules that are in place to help keep me safe, so here I will show you those same rules and strategies.

Ideally, you will need:

A second email address : A mobile phone : Two-Factor Authentication : PayPal

A second email address will serve you well simply to keep for all the important stuff and, if you are ever locked out of your regular email then that second email address will come in very handy, not only as an email address but to help you recover the one that’s locked out.

A mobile phone is almost essential for authentication and changing your password.

Your computer will need:

To be up-to-date and clean of any infections

For more information on ‘what you will need’ – please read my cyber security guide.

Also worth a read is my post on internet security software here.

Finally, passwords. Please consider using a password manager, watch this excellent video from Steve at Dotto Tech for more information.

 

 

 

A view from the Teign Valley

This was taken on 1st October 2018. I had taken a trip to Fingle Bridge with intention of getting up Wooston Hill fort as well as walking to Clifford Bridge. I never did make it to Clifford bridge because I found an old Land Rover (I think that’s was it is) in the woods off the left side of the main path, it’s well overgrown and I don’t think one would see it unless you were down there. Still, not much beats the sight of a valley of trees and the silence of nature. It was worth the climb. Bigger image here.

 

River Otter to Mutters Moor

I did this walk on 27th August 2018. During this lockdown I thought it would be something nice to see. The walk starts at South Farm Road, White bridge on the river Otter. It continues up alongside the river and up to Otterton Mill, then continuing from the other side of the bridge following the river Otter to Colaton Raleigh before heading up to Passaford Lane and Mutters Moor, this takes us to Peak Hill Sidmouth where one can walk the SW Coast path to Ladram Bay & Otterton and return to the car. 9.94 miles.Enjoy.

River Otter to Mutters Moor & Peak Hill Sidmouth

Keble’s Seat on Mutters Moor Sidmouth

Mutters Moor at Sidmouth offers stunning views over the Otter Valley and Dartmoor. It is a favourite walking spot for many as it s free car park offers a central place, an ideal location to start or finish a circular walk – and there are many to choose from. You can walk just around the moor itself or, plan something bigger to Sidmouth, Otterton and Ladram Bay or Colaton Raleigh, East Budleigh or Budleigh Salterton. There are plenty of hills and quite a few uneven footpaths, many of which get very muddy at certain times of the year. It is however, a fabulous place to walk around.

Keble's Seat Mutters Moor
Keble’s Seat on Mutters Moor

Towards the back of Mutters Moor there is a park bench where one can sit and enjoy stunning views over the Otter Valley and beyond. The sign beside the bench reads ‘Keble’s Seat’ In memory of John Keble – Anglican priest, theologian and poet. He was born April 25th 1792 and died March 29th 1866. Here are some of his poems and there is also a memorial bust commemorating him in the poets corner of Westminster Abbey In 2014 there was a tree planting ceremony in his memory at this, his favourite spot on Mutters moor – info here.

Windows 7 – The End of The Road

Windows 7 has been one of the most popular operating systems, the big brother of Windows Xp. Like all good things it has to come to an end, January 14th 2020 is the day – what are your option

The first consideration – Back-up your files!

The first thing that comes to mind is whether to upgrade or buy a new machine. If you are considering an upgrade then the following information is important, you need to make sure your computer can be upgraded. Here are the basic system requirements for Windows 10:

Processor:1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit 
Hard drive space:16 GB for 32-bit OS 32 GB for 64-bit OS
Graphics card:DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
Display:800×600

This information can be found on this Microsoft support page.

Taking into account the above figures I would encourage readers to consider the following:

These figures for RAM (aka memory), Display and Processor etc, are, minimal.

If your home Pc or laptop only just meets these requirements then I would strongly consider buying a new computer.

If your computer is more than 5 years old, it is also probably a good idea to think about a new one. There are exceptions – those computers that were top-of-the-range when bought, and whose specifications already well exceed the ‘recommended’ above, may well be OK. 

There is a comprehensive list on this Microsoft site to help you check whether or not your system and computer can be upgraded.

In my opinion, Windows 10 provides a far greater experience if it is running on a solid state drive (SSD). Providing the hard drive can be removed from your computer, it can almost certainly be replaced with a solid state drive. These types of drive are many times faster and absolutely quiet. There are also new computers now that have M2 SSD drives slotted straight into the motherboard – very fast and often worth the investment. In addition I would also recommend a memory upgrade if you have less than 4Gb. 

There is more information here about possible upgrade scenarios. I have not tested any of the tools on the last link, I cannot vouch for their performance.

These are only suggestions – having a professional assess your computer may well be the best option if you are not sure.

A word of caution. Upgrading your existing Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, SP1.

  •  Don’t expect all of your existing programs to work under Windows 10.
  • You MUST fully back up your data before an upgrade.
  • An upgrade can fail for a number of reasons.
  • Your system should be cleared of rubbish, adware and malware and consideration should be given to any older programs you still want to use.
  • Your computer’s performance could be reduced after an upgrade.
  • Be aware that you may need to upgrade to Office 365 as well.
  • Some older hardware may not be compatible – flatbed scanners etc.

There are some cases where legacy programs are still needed, as such it may be better to keep that computer for that program, have it disconnected from the internet and purchase a new computer for everything else.

If all is well and you want to upgrade, a Windows 10 licence will cost you £119.99 from Microsoft’s website

I offer a full consultation and upgrade service, only if I deem your computer suitable. There are various options of installing once a purchase has been made and you have downloaded the media creation tool. Full back ups of data are essential before upgrading.

In short, If your computer well exceeds the minimum requirements then there is usually no reason not to upgrade, providing the general health of your computer is good. There are other options, Linux – you may be surprised how good it is.

Please get in touch if you would like a visit and an assessment to consider the options. It’s not just about upgrading to Windows 10 but making sure you do it right. All consultations are charged at my normal rate of £45 per hour. An onsite consultation usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes.

Thank you.

07895 098 137