Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lenovo PC on a stick launching in July.

I read this article about Lenovo's PC on a stick and I can't help feeling there probably a market for stick computers, but only time will tell.

I've been watching this segment of the market and there's a couple of players, but not any activity in retail stores so far that I've seen. There's a couple of players so with Intel and Lenovo playing their hand, so perhaps there may be more in the near future.

I can see some useful applications for the stick but I do think they need to keep the price super tight. If the price creeps up into the $200 plus range it may be better to use the money in some other way or combination.

It might be interesting to try this out when travelling. Most rooms have TVs with HDMI ports and you could connect to the hotels Wi-Fi or even your own mobile data. Turning an older TV into a Smart TV sounds like a smart idea.

Keep in mind the Intel Atom Z3735F processor in the PC stick relative to today's computers, is very slow indeed. More than capable for certain applications, but really in terms of speed, think about a five to seven year old notebook and that might give you a better idea.

I look forward to seeing if this technology reaches the market in Australia and finding out how people take advantage of these very compact computers.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 901 703 for IT support.

Pendo tablet from Dodo has 1Mobile Market and I wonder if I could access/install the Google Play Store.

When I joined Dodo (this isn't a recommendation for Dodo) I received a free 7" Pendo tablet. I thought I'd pass it on to someone in the family. However when I tested the tablet I found it was so poor in performance it was close to useless as a general tablet. It really has simply sat at the bottom of a draw.

I needed to do some Wi-Fi analysis so I thought perhaps the tablet might be usable for that purpose. I'd tested a couple of apps from the Google Play Store in the past and thought I'd see if I could find them again. The Pendo tablet only has the 1Mobile Market which is an alternate app store. Not knowing much about that app store I prefer at this point to use the Google app store.

After some research I found this information on Google's support site. "If the Google Play Store app still isn't showing up, contact your carrier or manufacturer for help. Unfortunately, if the app isn't on your device, there's no way to download it."

Well that's not the answer I wanted to read, but at least I know. Given the tablet was free it's not a big deal, and I can download some apps that may do what I want, but it does concern me when manufacturers cripple devices in this way. They're the type of device I would like to steer clear off.

It's a good idea to not assume an Android device will necessarily come with all the features you'd normally expect, or even features you don't want and would prefer removed but can't. It's a good idea to make sure the device hasn't been crippled in some way for marketing purposes. If a device has been crippled, at least you'll be able to make a more informed decision.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Office 365 now available on Android mobile phones.

I just received a marketing email from Microsoft letting me know that Office 365 is now available on Android mobile phones. My first thought is what version of the operating system and I've found Microsoft applications may not work on older devices.

At the bottom of the email is very small text in quite faded grey (puts a new meaning on fine print) stating that Office 365 requires Android Kitkat 4.4 or later.

Personally I can't see a need for running Office on my mobile phone (not currently using Android) so it will interesting to see if any of my clients find it useful, and if they do, I'm more than happy to assist them.

I thought I'd share that Office 365 is now available on Android mobile phones, in case others aren't aware and may find that information useful.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

People unwittingly buying computers with very slow processors.

Lately I've been seeing quite a few relatively new computers that run slower than an average computer from five to six years ago. The one I've assisted a client with over the last couple of days runs at half the speed of my five year old middle of the range notebook, yet the computer was only purchased a year ago.

I stood in a retailer a couple of years ago and an elderly couple were asking for advice on the computers. They ask about the processor performance. They response from the salesperson was, "don't worry about the processor, they're all about the same in computers now", or along those lines. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Another client recently replaced their Windows XP computer from around 2006 with a new computer and asked the retailer for a very fast computer. When I went to install the computer it was half the speed of typical fast computer available now and marginally faster (about 10%) than the computer they'd bought in 2006.

Yes make sure you get the amount of RAM you want, the size of the hard disk, but also check the processor performance and don't just take the retailer's word for it. I'm seeing a lot of people now with computers that will reach end-of-life far sooner than they should, and in some cases are obsolete before they're even purchased. Take the time to check and you'll get much better value from your purchase.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hacked WordPress sites are very common. Make sure you secure your WordPress site.

Firstly let me say, at this point in time I don't support WordPress sites. I do however get calls from people who have had their WordPress sites hacked. In one instance to remove the malicious code, I did go through the site to find the code that their support couldn't find. Generally I leave WordPress support to others.

What I wanted to share is an example of how a hacked WordPress site is being used. Here is a screen capture of an email I received.

I've hovered over the link so you can see the address where a person would go if they clicked on the link. If you check carefully you'll see "wp-content" in the address, which means this site is run using WordPress. Malicious code has most likely be inserted by a hacker and will be used to try to trick people into providing their PayPal credentials.

Make sure if you run a WordPress site you do your best to keep the site updated and secured.  Every day I get many scam emails and often I see the link is for a hacked WordPress site.

If you get emails like these you should delete them. If you get emails from your suppliers (or even people you know) don't click on the links. Instead open your browser and go to the site. If something doesn't feel right trust your instinct. It probably isn't.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

AVG Antivirus FREE can detect the malware, but it won't remove the malware.

A friend contacted me that they were getting a message from their anti-virus program AVG and wondered if anything was wrong. I said take a photo using their mobile phone and email it to me. From the photo you can see AVG has detected the malware.

I wrote back to them letting them know their computer was infected and suggesting they click on the Protect Me option to remove the malware.

They then wrote back that they were still getting the messages and AVG had not removed the malware. At this point I suggested to drop the computer over. I usually scan a computer with multiple anti-virus programs and the scans can take some time. However I said if the scanners can't removed the malware, sometimes there's a clue as to the malware program and that gives me enough information to remove the malware manually. As long as the malware's done no damage and all the scanners don't report an issue, there's a very high probability the malware has been removed. Rootkits that install before the operating system is loaded and thus can hide, are the type of malware where this may not work.

Since the object name in the image provided the path and filename of the malware program I suggested they manually delete the file and then do a full scan which they did. This fixed the problem. I've suggested they do further full scans using multiple anti-virus programs to triple check their computer is clean.

It appears this was a relatively simple malware infection. This approach may not have worked with some malware. I've seen malware which has had three simultaneous infections. Remove one infection and the others recreate the removed infection. Now that was a bit of fun to remove.

The lesson here is even if the anti-virus program can't remove the malware, read the screen carefully, as there may be some clues that can assist you before you need to retain the services of a computer support person.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.