FreedomPop have at last launched in the UK. The standard free package is 200 minutes, 200 texts and 200MB of data a month and is guaranteed to be free for life. They have plans for folks who use more airtime and they are competitively priced - especially if you sign up during their introductory trial period.
You can roll over any unsued date to the next month. At £1.49 a month, it doesn't cost a lot, but it is more than free. You can roll over up to 500MB of unused data per month, and store a total of 20GB of roll over data in all.
You can share data with friends and family, but only if they're on FreedomPop. You can sign up to receive usage alerts so that you won't incur any additional charges, and you can be assigned a virtual international phone number so people in other countries can call you for free.
https://www.freedompop.com/uk takes to to a place where you can select the type of Sim you want and buy it for about a fiver.
Claimed benfits include:
However there are things to note:
There be confusion in the shires as people receive "Password Incorrect" errors when the password has been held in the mail client (Windows Live Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, 3rd party email apps on Android devices etc.) unchanged for years. This causes folks to think their account has been hacked so they change the password; but woa - the same error message pops up again ! What's that about ?
The security minded people who run Gmail unilaterally decided that the old way of authenticating: passing your username and password in unencrypted form, is too insecure for comfort. So rather than setting an appropriate error message they chose to frighten folks with a cryptic puzzler.
This only applies with mail clients using the older 'basic' authentication methods such as those above; clients using OAuth 2.0 will not suffer so. What's to be done ? There are three possible solutions.
It's been publicly available for a month and in public beta test for several before that so all the teething troubles that are going to be found and removed probably have been. So should you upgrade ?
If you are reasonably competent with administering your computer then I suggest you should as the benefits are certainly worth having. There are, however, a few points to follow before the upgrade to save yourself a pile of pain.
Now you're ready to kick off the upgrade. Make sure the power cable is connected and if possible, provide a wired internet connection to speed things along. There are a couple of screens to go through but after 5 - 10 minutes you are ready to get on with something else and pop back in 1 to 2 hours depending on the speed of your computer and the internet connection. After the task is complete you have a few post upgrade tasks to complete.
Now you're ready to check out the new features and have some fun with them. Note that to get anything from the Windows Store - even the free apps - you will need a Microsoft account. This is also necessary to make use of the (free) 15GB OneDrive storage that can be used for sharing photos etc. You can use your existing email address to do this.
Having now installed Windows 10 several times a few gotchas and tips are ready to leave my fingertips. Things normally (anecdotally 85% of the time) go well but I have personally encountered several failed installs so it is essential to take an image of your system partition before you begin.
These are just the issues I have personally encountered. The forums are full of other problems that some people have bumped up against. However, as time goes by it is expected that Microsoft will address these issues by way of updates. It is probably wise to ensure you have a clean system before you start by following the process described in an earier blog.
A decent new printer/copier/scanner will cost about £65 currently so should you ditch the old printer at the first sign of a missed line ?
No. Although it is not worth spending too much time trying to resurrect a typical domestic printer there are a few things worth attempting before sending it to landfill.
Particularly with printers that are not used frequently, ink that is jetted through tiny holes will coalesce to form a barrier. The best way of keeping the channels open is to run a printer cleaning cycle (off the menu of the printer itself) every month when you do your normal computer housekeeping.
If you notice problems and have been through the deep clean function of the printer the next step would be to take the offending cartridge(s) out and, after carefully protecting your local environment, blow air through the hole at the top; if no ink drops out it is time to replace the cartridge.
The next step on all bar the cheapest of printers is to remove all cartridges and get access to the print head. This is often removable and is now ready to be dropped in an empty margarine tub with a little rubbing alcohol or white spirit. Woosh it around and give it a gentle polish up with cotton buds. Now take it out and dry it off with paper towels. If you have a can of compressed air squirt some of that through the orifices.
Reassemble the head and cartridges then run another cleaning cycle. If it doesn't work now, it really is time to reach for your wallet.
Windows 10 (the last such release of Windows - the '10' to be gradually dropped) is due for release at the end of this month and will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users. I have a pre-release beta test version running on a PC here in my workshop and am quite happy with it. It is the start of a programme of delivery that sees 'patch Tuesdays' [one day a month when all updates are downloaded and installed] replaced with a 'software as a service' model whereby updates arrive whenever they are rolled out.
There are quite a few changes but we are becoming increasingly accepting of change I think (or is that my Peter Pan persona talking). It has been reviewed well and tested widely but as it is to remain free for a year I am suggesting that people hold off from installing it until others have had a chance to find the inevitable teething bugs.
When the time to upgrade does arrive it is important to have an image of your system disk before any changes are made, as should any problems ensue it make reverting a whole lot easier. This is in addition to the regular backups that all right thinking people will be taking and testing frequently.
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