For years I have been advising people buying a new computer to shun all off-the-shelf outlets in favour of specialist online only retailers. See
I am comforted to read support for this position in this month's edition of PC Pro magazine issue 263. They sent 'blind buy' shoppers in to PC World and John Lewes branches and were left with the following conclusions
Their conclusion is that "computing remains an immensely complicated world" ... "Stick to the specialists". "In all you get much less for your money [with a branded product]".
Occasionally an internet connection drops periodically, this is normal and usually not noticed. But sometimes it drops frequently or regularly (or both). When this happens we can often diagnose it as being external factors that the internet service provider (ISP) will get sorted out for you.
Sometimes though the ISP reports that there is no loss of connection from their end. Now we have to look closer to home and by connecting to the master socket, thereby disconnecting the internal wiring asnd other appliances, it is often possible to confirm the location of the fault.
But if there is no fault seen after the above checks, and (usually) the problem is with wireless but not wired connections, then the possibility of Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise (REIN) or Single High level Impulse Noise Event (SHINE) must be investigated.
There are very thorough descriptions of these events elsewhere (see rererences below) so here I shall limit myself to saying that interference can be caused by electrical items emitting a disruptive signal that can cause poor broadband performance. Not only dropped connections, it may be the ISP will automatically lower the speed as it prioritises stability over performance so the issue can manifest in different ways.
The solution is to make sure that your router is connected to the master socket and at least a metre away from all other electrical devices. This applies to the wires close by the router too as they can act as antenae that broadcast the interferance.
The test for this is to get a mediium wave band radio and tune it in to the frequency that causes the disruption: 612 KHz. Move the radio arond the router and you should hear the white noise much louder when close by the router and fade to nothing as you move a few inches away.
Examples of causes of REIN include:
More info from: http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/rein.htm
Just 18 days remain before anyone wanting to upgrade to Windows 10 will have to spend £100 on a license.
Should you ? Almost certainly yes. The facts are that the interface is much the same if done properly so there's nothing to be scared of in that department. The advantages are in the indefinate support, the enhanced security, and greater functionality (which is only apparent if you go looking for it).
Three things to remember though. Always take a backup before any change - ideally an image of the entire disk. Also check that printing and virus protection are intact after the upgrade: they are sometimes left in need of repair.
Make sure you leave several hours for an upgrade, perhaps two to six depending on the speed of computer and internet connection.
You can have your cake and eat it by upgrading to Windows 10 so that Microsoft records your activation. Then use the image you took in step zero to restore the computer to the previous old version, like nothing happened. Now when you are ready to move to Windows 10 you can just install it without any license cost as the key will have been recorded already and will be supplied by the central server.
Anyone using any of the Microsoft domains for email (Live, Outlook, MSN, Hotmail) will need to make a change if they are using Windows Live Mail at the end of this month. The options are to
Adblockers are software interfaces that strip out adverts from web pages. Detractors suggest that by blocking advertisements the publishers will have to turn to other less palatable methods of realising income e.g. subscriptions. Also, they are an additional layer of software to potentially fail, and they may block adverts you actually want to see. Also, they often block trackers that enable the most relevant advertisements to be placed before potential customers.
However their use is steadily rising as advertisements become more intrusive. For those on limited bandwidth blocking advertisements can double the speed with which pages load. They are mostly used by younger viewers who do not want the audio or visual interruption annoying them. By reducing the speed sapping graphics to a minimum, pages do display faster. This is probably most significant on mobiles where the data transmitted eats into a tight budget.
The biggest name in the field is Adblock-Plus which is free and available as an add-in for all main browsers. As well as blocking ads it can discourage tracking and block known malware servers. For those seeking alternatives uBlock Origin is a common choice too.
For any who succumbed to Microsoft's tempting offer of using OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) for online storage that can be linked and several devices, know that the rug is about to be pulled from your feet. On 27th July the amount of free storage that comes with OneDrive will change from 15 GB to 5 GB. They are also discontinuing the 15 GB camera roll bonus. More details on their website.
This leaves Google Drive as the clear leader in the field as they continue to offer 15GB free space that can be shared with several devices.
Windows 10 is now stable enough to enable me to suggest that most people should be upgrading their computer now. There are occasionally problems with sound and virus protection but these can be easily resolved. Nevertheless, I still recommend a validated image backup before you change anything.
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If you have a tip of your own (Windows 10 related please) just make a comment below.
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