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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 5th Jun 2018

I was doing my daily scroll of the BBC News website the other day, when I happened upon an article that really struck a chord with me.

An American schoolteacher asked her class of seven and eight-year olds to write about an invention that they wish had never been invented.

And nearly 20% of them wrote about the same thing: mobile phones.

The reason?  All those kids felt that their parents spent too much time staring at a mobile screen, and not enough time in the real world, enjoying time with their children.

One child had this to say, “I don’t like the phone because my parents are on their phone every day.  A phone is sometimes a really bad habit”.

As is so often the case, there’s a deeper, wiser point being made by these children – mobile phones have changed our society, and articles like this make us ask the question: has it changed for the good, or the bad?

What do you think?  Do mobile phones stop you from spending quality time with your kids?  Are you ‘present’ when you’re hanging out with them, or does the temptation to scroll overcome you?

P.S. Here’s the original article

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 29th May 2018

Well would you look at that – day one of the new General Data Protection Regulation and BOOM, Google gets its first complaint.

It’s hardly surprising – we all know that Google’s been watching us for years, following us around the web and showing us targeted advertising.

For some people, it’s no big deal, and for others, it feels like a massive invasion of privacy.

Where do you stand on it?

I guess the big issue for lots of us is that Google is so ingrained into the fabric of our lives that it can be really hard to extricate ourselves from it.

I mean, where else would you find the number for your local takeaway?

Maybe you’re uncomfortable with the way Google uses your data, maybe you’re not, but if you fancy giving Google less information about you and your browsing behaviour, it’s worth pointing out that there is an alternative.

DuckDuckGo is ‘the search engine that doesn’t track you’.

They don’t believe that your data should be monetised, which is why they provide a browser plugin that:

  • Blocks advertising trackers
  • Keeps your search history private
  • Allows you to take control of your personal data

Click HERE and give it a go – you never know, you might like it.

Damien

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Thu 10th May 2018

We work with lots of different organisations; from retail outlets to sprawling office blocks.

Oh, and schools – we look after LOTS of schools.

And I was visiting one of them earlier this week, during the heatwave.

IT support doesn’t exactly lend itself to hot weather – getting under desks and hauling cables around can be hard enough work in itself, without having to contend with 20+ degree heat.

But there was a significant saving grace on my latest visit – a lot of the work I needed to do could be done within the server room.

And guess what? The server room has air conditioning!

So whilst the teachers, support staff and kids were sweating buckets, I was – literally – chilling in the server room.

Once I’d emerged and the job was complete, it was clear that I hadn’t been in the clammy, sweaty environment that everyone else had, and it got me thinking: maybe there’s a side business selling time in the server room.

What would you pay for 15 minutes?!  I bet I would have had some takers over the weekend.

In all seriousness, keeping your equipment cool is key to keeping it working, so if you’re not sure how to do that in the heat, hit reply and I’ll give you a few pointers.

Speak soon,

Damien

P.S. Lets hope the heatwave isn’t the only summer we’re getting this year!

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 1st May 2018

We signed up a new client a few weeks ago; they were frustrated about the way that their IT worked.

Or didn’t work, as the case may be.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the printer.

Offices these days are full of laptops on WiFi and wireless printers too.

They talk to each other without wires. Our new client told me that sometimes his laptop and his printer seemed to be great friends, sometimes he couldn’t get them to talk to each other for love or money.

He’d move his laptop closer to the printer. He’d turn the printer on and off again. He’d press the buttons on the printer. He’d restart his laptop. Nothing would work.

Eventually, he’d give up, and email the document to someone else to print.

I know that most offices have a similar story, with fudges and workarounds in place to get stuff done, when the tech seems to be having a bad day.

If that’s your office, then we can help.

Get in touch and you’ll never have to create a cheeky workaround again…

 

Talk soon

Damien

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 17th Apr 2018

I emailed you about hacking a few days ago, here’s another great example of the bad guys getting smarter – a client of mine had a cheeky email, that I’ve copied and pasted below:

I nеed you to аrrаnge a £9,901.00 fаster pауmеnt for thе nеw suррliеr.

Sort code: 30-62-15
Acс. number: 10798361
Payee: Lillу Ward

I will forward the paperwork onсe I'll sort out mу stuff.

Lеavе а reply whеn the oреration is сomрlеtе or in саse you gеt аny problem whilе sеtting it uр.

The email is a great example of “phishing”.

It’s disguised so it looks like an internal email, from the MD to the FD, or the sales manager to the bookkeeper.

It’s clever, and I bet it works.

Copy it, send it to your finance team, educate them about phishing.

Don’t let the worst happen.

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Sat 14th Apr 2018

The beauty of crypto currency is also its downfall.

Crypto is seen as ‘putting the people back in control’. Banks are the bad guys here, with their high fees and paltry interest rates.

That and the fact that they can disappear in a puff of smoke and take all your money with them.

Crypto puts you in the driving seat.

You’re in charge. Cut out the banks. At least, that’s the idea.

Here’s the problem:

If £5000 went missing from your bank account today, you’d call them. You’d head to your nearest branch with your angriest face on.

If £5000 goes missing from your crypto account, there’s nobody to call.

You’ve cut out the middle man. You’re in charge now.

And crypto is pretty easy to hack. Millions of pounds worth of digital currency has been stolen, because most people don’t understand how to make something secure.

Whether you’ve got a pile of Bitcoins in your digital wallet is not really the point here.

You’ve got passwords and logins for real banks on your computer, and credit card details saved, and all sorts.

Stuff that you really don’t want to get hacked.

Everyone assumes that they’re not going to get hacked, until they do. Everyone assumes that their money is in their bank, until it’s not.

I don’t want to sound alarmist, but hacking has become a lot more sophisticated in the last few years, if you haven’t had someone look at your set up in a while, don’t keep putting it off!

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 4th Apr 2018

Businesses turn to IT specialist like us to help keep their data safe and keep the business running smoothly.

When it comes to security, often the tech is the easy part!

You see, humans are TERRIBLE at choosing passwords.

We’re the worst at it. Really.

A labradoodle with a typewriter could do a better job.

At least they wouldn’t just type 123456 (that’s the world’s most popular password!)

In fairness, we have been subjected to years of terrible advice when it comes to passwords, which perhaps gives the labradoodle an advantage.

Lots of systems force people to change their passwords regularly too, when all the evidence shows that people will use weaker and weaker passwords.

Anyway, here’s the list of last year’s most popular passwords, so if you’re using any of these, it might be time to change!

1. 123456
2. Password
3. 12345678
4. qwerty
5. 12345
6. 123456789
7. letmein
8. 1234567
9. football
10. iloveyou

If you’re worried about what would happen to your business if someone got hold of your passwords, give us a call and we’ll give you some advice…

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 3rd Apr 2018

New Data Protection Regulation

We will be updating our data protection statement. We are making this change to take into account the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which takes effect in the UK from 25th May 2018.

You can request a copy of the new Data Protection Statement for you to read which replaces any existing statement you received when your account was opened.

Please contact Sally Pearson on 01675 430080.

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 2nd Apr 2018

We’ve just had a full blown argument in the office.

Flowery language. Dirty looks. The whole shebang.

All about one thing...

...Live Chat.

It’s increasingly popular on loads of websites. You’ll see it pop up in the bottom right hand corner “I’m Jack, can I help?”.

No Jack. You can’t.

I don’t like live chat. I like talking to people on the phone.

It seems I’m the only person in the office who’d choose a phone call over live chat.

Tell me I’m not the only one! What’s your view on live chat?

Send us an email and settle this debate before someone gets excluded from the tea round.

regards,
Damien

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 27th Mar 2018

I had one of those awful situations last week. I found myself doing the one thing that makes me start looking around the office for one of those promotional stress balls that people give out at exhibitions.

I was ON HOLD.

Nobody likes being on hold. It's the worst place to be.

Nothing tells you how unimportant your call/existence must be than hearing: "Thanks for waiting, your call IS important to us" for the eleventy third time.

There are a number of things that the Gods of Hold Music can decide to do with your call, only one of them is the one you've being praying for as you watch your call time tick up:

1) They can just terminate the call for no reason once you've been waiting for 15 minutes.

2) They can put you through to someone who tells you brusquely that you've come through to the wrong department and then (before you've had chance to even say anything) put you back on hold.

3) They can deliver you to someone who can solve your problem, without sending you anywhere else, or even asking to pop you back on hold.

The third option is about as likely as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un both being invited for a picnic at Downing Street.

Nobody wants to be on hold.

That's why we don't have any hold options here at Discus. When you call us, we answer the phone and solve your problem. Just like it should be.

Give us a call before 5pm and test it out on +44 (0)1675 430080.

Talk soon.

Damien

 
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