Archive for January, 2009

Google is NOT for kids!

29 January 2009

As your child starts showing an interest in computers and typing there is a massive world out there that they may become exposed to.

This exposure really needs to be carefully monitored.

For example, I contend that Google is completely unsuitable for children. A totally innocent search like “games for boys” could lead them down a completely different alley. What can parents do about this?

First off, change the home page and search engine on your browser to something you trust. A parent recommended me which looks like a great portal for children with properly filtered searches.

It is also very important to introduce parental controls to the computer. I realise these can be a pain, but surely it is worth it rather than expose your children to all sorts of nastiness hidden on the Internet.

For a shares computer, the easiest way to implement child controls is to make new users for each person – this is done from Control Panel.

Parental controls – these can prevent certain types of website from appearing without an override code (different levels can be set by the administrator). They can also be used to set a daily and weekly limit of time allowed for browsing.

Windows Vista parental controls are free -simply click start and type “parental control” and follow on from there.

Windows XP parental controls do not exist and I recommend

Any Internet filter will need some adaptive training for what is and is not allowed to be viewed.

Here are some claims from the cyberpatrol website:
•    72% of kids don’t tell their parents what they do online
•    61% admit using the Internet unsafely or inappropriately
•    55% have given out personal information to a stranger
•    12% met in person with someone they first met online
•    Nearly 50% have been bullied online

Good luck keeping your children safe from the Internet! With the right tools, this should be simple.


Who wants a cookie?

22 January 2009

Earlier this week, I was asked what a cookie is….a “web cookie” that is and not the ones we like to munch on!

A cookie is a tiny text file generated by a website that you have visited or a weblink that you have clicked on. The cookie stores information like your username and desired settings for a webpage that you visit (e.g. for shopping), or it might store information on how you got to a webpage (this is called a tracking cookie).

Cookies are harmless – they are not spyware or viruses.

Typically cookies are used for the benefit of the computer user e.g. every time I visit my Google homepage, I can log straight into Google mail and I have a personalised Google webpage. This information is stored in a cookie.

For more information on a cookie, please visit

Entourage does not work

20 January 2009

A client called me up with errors running Entourage from the desktop.

The message that came up offered to ignore, report to Apple or re-launch.  None of the options helped.

It turns out that he accidentally dragged the file from Applications to the desktop.

The solution was simple. We dragged back to Applications where it belongs.

Free calls to mobiles abroad!

19 January 2009

Free calls from UK mobile to foreign mobiles abroad!

Up until last month, I always used to make calls to foreign mobiles using a special number.  It was annoying, sometimes costly, often poor quality requiring redials and as a result of the inconvenience I really lost touch with friends abroad.

In December I discovered an amazing mobile tariff with Orange Business called Solo 45. I would like to thank Deniz Aziz from YaketyYak for introducing me to this. Deniz can be contacted on 020 8457 3900 or 020 8202 2021.

I now make calls to mobiles and landlines abroad as if they are in the UK. The inclusive minutes are a very generous 1800 minutes a month (with roll over) and it is as easy as dialling anyone in the UK!

Here is the deal I signed up to:

1800 mins inclusive to 28 countries including Israel, France, USA, Russia, Hong Kong and China (full list below)
Carry over up to 3600 if not all minutes used
Free voicemail
Free orange care insurance (which is excellent)
200 text msgs (uk only)
Free bundle of either (a) 3000 landline mins (b) 3000 orange to orange or (c) 3000 text msgs
Free Nokia phone
4MB of data for web browsing, emails, weather or share updates
It is a two year contract (there are 18 months contract options also)
Note that the inclusive mins are only used when making calls FROM UK (not from outside the UK)

The contract is £45 per month + vat
After the third month, send the bill in and Deniz will send you a cheque for £360
So it works out to be £30+vat a month

Deniz also got me a memorable number with ease since I am using this phone as a dedicated one to call abroad and not to replace my existing number.

There are other variations of this contract, so I recommend speaking with Deniz directly.

Deniz can be contacted direct on 020 8457 3900 or main number is 020 8202 2021.

The inclusive countries in this contract are:

Hong Kong

Carbonite for Mac

18 January 2009

I am delighted to report that Carbonite have now launched their amazing value online backup service for Mac .

To quote Carbonite tech support: “There is no file size limit.  Files over 4GB have to be selected manually”.

Archiving 2008 emails

17 January 2009

First off, Happy New Year!

My first tip of the year is for those like me that use Microsoft Outlook.
The New Year is a great thing to do is to transfer all your old emails to a different location to keep your outlook file size small and healthy (this is called archiving).

Here is what to do:
1.    Create a new outlook file (known as a pst). Give it a name like “Outlook archive 2008”.

2.    Once you confirm the creation of this pst file, a new folder should appear on the left hand side.

3.    Right click on the new folder and select the option for “New Folder”. Create two new folders called “inbox archive 2008” and “sent items archive 2008”

4.    Ensure all emails in your inbox are sorted in date order.

5.    Select the three month of emails for your 2008 inbox emails. Do this by using the SHIFT key – which will select all emails in between the first email you select and the last. e.g. select first email from 1 January 2008 and then while holding shift, click on an email dated 1 March 2008.

6.    Right click on the selection of emails and drag them all to the new folder you just created called “inbox archive 2008” which will be on the left hand side. Select the move option. Note that this can take some time.

7.    Repeat this procedure for the next three months of emails and so on. You may want to leave the last three months of you 2008 emails in your inbox for ease of reference. Also do the same for 2008 sent emails.

8.    Finally it is essential to compact the original Outlook pst. In Outlook, right click on “Personal Folders” on the left hand side of the screen, then click on “properties”, then “advanced” and finally click on “compact now” (note that this could take a few hours but you can always stop and start another time).

This should keep your outlook pst file smaller in size, healthier and easier to backup!

Happy archiving!