Should I Upgrade?

July 5, 2012
Just as we get used to the current version of a piece of software the vendors seem to release a new one. So do we need to upgrade, and if so when is the best time? Unfortunately the answer to this, as with many of the other questions I've posed in this blog is 'it depends'. Like many things in life I start with the premise of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it'. If you're only one or two versions out of date and it all works don't rush into an upgrade.

The main reasons why you may want to upgrade are if your current version is no longer supported, if the new release fixes a critical bug or offers new functionality you require. However even then I would take time to weigh up the pros and cons, and let some other folk be the pioneers who find any major issues in the new software.

Even if there are good reasons to upgrade there may be other reasons to delay. New versions tend to have more functionality, but require more resources to run. If your computer is getting long in the tooth performance may be too slow. Has the user interface changed so much that you need re-training? Have new document formats been introduced which may be incompatible with the people you share them with.




 

Apple or Windows PC?

June 20, 2012
I recently commented on an article questioning whether Apple is focusing on style at the cost of engineering in its' more recent products. This got me thinking about what is the best platform for a small business or consumer, Apple or Windows PC? As is often the case the short answer is it depends because we are comparing apples and oranges. Both platforms have strengths, but for some people it just comes down to personal preference. 

Apple products have a reputation for better security, altho...
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Website Passwords

June 13, 2012
It seems hardly a week goes by without a news story speculating that hackers have obtained personal details from one website or another. So just how secure is our information on the internet, and is it safe to shop or bank online? Firsly we need to put things in perspective. There are risks associated with other methods such as telephone banking, and even high street shopping. But people tend to understand the dangers better so can minimise the risks. Would you walk round with £1000 in your ...
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Getting Value from IT

June 6, 2012
IT is expensive, so it makes sense to ensure we only pay for what we need, and know how to use it properly. For every story in the press extolling the benefits of IT there is one about failure, and subsequent waste of money. So how do buyers ensure they get a fit for purpose and value for money IT solution? I know IT is both complicated and boring for most people, but that is no reason not to apply appropriate rigour to the procurement process. Cars are complicated and I don't really know how...
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Should I Use Open Source Software?

May 30, 2012
Open source software has certainly had an impact on the software industry. The assumption that it has benefited everyone is perhaps a little more difficult to quantify. I have seen arguments for reduced cost, improved security and increased innovation, but counter-arguments for all these too. But it has certainly given customers more choice and forced suppliers of proprietary software to be more flexible in their licensing terms. There are a two common misconceptions about open source softwar...
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Search Engine Optimisation Tips

May 23, 2012
Ok, you've got your shiny new website and you want to be found on Google, Bing and maybe other search engines. If you leave it to chance it can take a long time for their 'web spiders' to discover and index your site, and it is unlikely you will appear anywhere near the top of any search results. So you need to do some search engine optimisation or SEO, but how? If you know getting your website on page one of Google is absolutely critical to your sales and marketing plan you may well benefit ...
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What is Search Engine Optimisation?

May 16, 2012
When we look for content on the internet we normally use a search engine such as Google or Bing to find those web pages which meet our search criteria. Each search engine has it's own jealously guarded algorithm for deciding the order, or rank of the pages returned. Search engine optimisation or SEO refers to the process of trying to get a web page at or near the top of the rankings. It is an inexact science as the search engine authors do not publish their algorithms, and may update them wit...
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Do I Need a Website?

May 9, 2012
Most small businesses and an increasing number of individuals now have a website. In my opinion there is an element of 'following the herd' in this - my competitors have one, so must I. Websites can be an extremely valuable tools for marketing, advertising, sales and potentially customer service, however they can also be an expensive waste of resources which deliver little. In reality a basic website can be created for very little cost, so there are few organisations who won't gain some benef...
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What is Social Engineering?

May 2, 2012
Many articles have been written about the risks associated with using the internet, however often these focus on the technology. True there a many tools hackers can use in an attempt to steal our data, and many tools we can use to defend it, for example firewalls, anti-malware programs and encryption. However why go to the trouble trying to break in if someone will open the door for you? Most modern cars have an engine immobiliser fitted but that's of little use if you give someone the keys.

I...
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Does Outsourcing Work?

April 26, 2012
IT outsourcing has been around for a while in various guises, ranging from a virtual assistant service to application service provision to full blown IT service provision. But does it work? The short answer is that it depends entirely on knowing what we are trying to achieve by outsourcing, and how we manage our providers. If you have a bank account you are to some extent outsourcing your finance function, but I doubt there are many organisations who don't check their accounts. Undoubtedly so...
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Making IT Work for You


Jon Veal of U Do IT Computer Services In this blog I aim to share my thoughts on some the issues which surround computers and electronic data - such as IT productivity, effective use, the internet, backups, disaster recovery, information security and data protection.

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