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Windows 8, The Final Word

Posted on: August 16th, 2012 by Ashley No Comments


Windows 8 is heralded as the next operating system from Microsoft but with major changes to the user interface how will businesses take it.

First off, we need to look at the key difference in the operating system, as Microsoft look towards the future they see trends of people picking up tablet devices and mobile phones, not sitting at desktops and typing for hours. This has lead to the development of the new ‘Modern U.I.’ (Previously known as ‘Metro U.I.’), a radically different user interface than what our users know today. This ‘Modern U.I.’ replaces the Windows 7 Start menu with a full screen, bright and bold interface comprised of tiles rather than standard shortcut links. These tiles are able to show live information from sources such as weather and social media sites.

This unfortunately for businesses means that users have a large amount of scrolling to do to before they see that normal programs, Programs are arranged in an ad-hoc way rather than the standard alphabetical list users are used to. With customisation users can arrange the icons to display up to 24 tiles on the first screen, normally enough for most users. However in my experience, most users wont do this, Windows XP, Vista and 7 all had features available to “Pin to Start” since 2002 yet I still see a significant number of users relying on the ‘recently opened programs list’ and getting very confused when an application disappears.

As a side note, When looking at the New ‘Modern U.I.’ take a look back at Windows 3.1 Program manager (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Program_Manager) and let me know if you see anything familiar, Have we really moved forward?

Next we look at the ‘Modern U.I.’ Apps themselves, designed for a world of touch screen devices they seem to include larger bold interfaces, and few features the business workforce will find this slow and bulky from general workstations.

The one saving grace we have is the option to run these items in the normal Windows 7 style desktop environment, but it does mean just another couple of clicks every time we want to start a program. By default Windows 8 include no way to open internet explorer directly on the desktop, the user must first open the ‘modern U.I.’ App and then switch to the desktop mode using the spanner icon at the bottom of the screen.

As you may have noticed, the windows in the above preview do not have traditional close buttons and there is not task bar at the bottom of the screen to allow switching between apps, instead everything must be found by learning a series of gestures that are designed for a hand not a mouse and never seem to work first time you try them. To close a Modern UI app the user must grab an imaginary handle somewhere at the top of the windows and drag the app down to the bottom of the screen out the way. To switch between applications the user must move the mouse to the top left hand corner, until the task switching icon appears, once this has appeared the user needs to swipe the mouse down the side of the screen without moving too far from the edge. and if done correctly the user should see a task bar appear similar to below.

However you wont be able to switch directly into most programs, instead you must first load the desktop, then switch to the programs you want in the normal windows 7 methods by using the bottom task bar. These modification make the user experience feel like you are running two completely different operating systems, firstly the windows 7 that we are all familiar with, and secondly an operating system designed beautifully to work for touch screen tablets and phones but with no regard to the workforce who generally make up the largest proportion of an operating systems sales. While both interfaces work well for their purpose, Microsoft seems to have attempted to bolt the two together and have created something that totally fails to form a practical operating system for the corporate marketplace.

 

Anti-Virus – Which is The Best?

Posted on: June 13th, 2012 by admin No Comments


One of the main things to consider when using a computer is which Anti-Virus to purchase.

Tetrabyte Business IT Best Anti-Virus Product

There are both free versions and paid versions – generally the paid versions have more features, such as Anti-Spam, Identity Theft Protection and Parental Controls, but do you really need these features from your Anti-Virus suite?

E-Mails – most people use providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and similar online providers which already have this built-in.

Parental Controls – Do you have kids? If so this may be a good idea to have, but there are numerous free options to this such as OpenDNS.

Identity Theft Protection – To be honest, this doesn’t mean much. It may flag up phishing websites here and there but your Anti-Spam will block these from your E-Mails, and Internet Browsers such as FireFox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome do this automatically based on large open-source databases.

The best free Anti-Virus software I would recommend is Microsoft Security Essentials. It doesn’t take up much of your computer resources and isn’t intrusive – it will only pop-up if it detects a virus, and with real-time scanning in the background you’re generally pretty safe.

If you’re interested in Tetrabyte Managed Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware, then click here – let us manage the security of your network to allow you to carry on without interruption or the stress of stolen information.

LinkedIn Password Database Exploited

Posted on: June 7th, 2012 by admin No Comments


LinkedIn has reportedly been hacked by users of an online Russian forum – the database of passwords (encrypted and salted) has been forcibly exported from the site, along with the details along with the associated user accounts.

Tetrabyte Managed I.T. recommends that you login to LinkedIn and changed your password – ensure that you include capital letters and punctuation within your password so that it can’t be guessed as easily.

We would also recommend that you change your password on any other websites that use the same E-Mail address and password.

Whilst the passwords are encrypted in such a fashion that would be difficult to crack, the Russian forum community has invited users to attempt to crack these passwords.

Can’t send Emails from outlook via Orange Broadband? – Solved

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012 by admin No Comments


Orange and Sky Blocks Email SMTP
Trouble sending Email from your Desktop Email Client?

After receiving a ton of calls from clients that were not able to send Emails via Orange Broadband from their Desktop Email Client, we decided to investigate the problem further.

If you are currently using Orange Broadband for sending emails from a Desktop Email Client such as Microsoft’s Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows mail, Incredimail, Mozilla Thunderbird or any other Desktop Email Client that uses SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), you may have been restricted from sending outgoing emails by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

 

Cause: Your ISP, Orange Broadband have Blocked Outgoing Email and SMTP Traffic.

To put it simply, Orange have blocked outgoing emails from SMTP. In an supposed effort to “Prevent spam” they have decided that the best practice is to restrict traffic of any and all email NOT being sent through Orange’s own Servers. This is certainly okay if you use the email address provided by your ISP, but if you are like many other people, then you have chosen your own email address with a separate provider.

This problem isn’t effecting web based email clients such as Gmail or Hotmail, but if you are using a Desktop Email Client with any address that wasn’t provide by your ISP, then this is obviously a serious problem. Meaning you will not be able to send any further outgoing emails.

 

Fix: Outgoing email service for Orange Broadband users, Hosted Exchange or Tetrabyte Business Broadband.

You could of course simply leave Orange and choose a different ISP, but that could be a costly drama if you’re tied into a contract, and that many other large ISP’s are choosing a similar solution to “Prevent Spam“. So what’s the solution and how can we help?  Tetrabyte can offer you a solution; we have specially configured our email servers with a work around solution that allows us to bypass the restrictions Orange have set up on your behalf.

Other solutions we offer include Email Hosting on one of our Managed Exchange Servers or our own reliable and effective Business Broadband Solution, which not only bypasses the restrictions Orange has put in place, but also adds and extra level of Security and Flexibility to your Internet Connection and Email Services.

If you are interested in any of these services you can contact us here or fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

 

Other Important Information:

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and Mobile Devices:

We asked Orange directly about the problem and if they had their own solution, They said in some cases that they would allow certain servers to accept your outgoing email from a separate email provider by forwarding emails from their own system, unfortunately this can cause several other problems.

 

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) – Sender Policy Framework is a simple and effect solution to help protect email addresses against being “spoofed” (Disguised as coming from a server it doesn’t belong to) i.e. A tactic used by Phishing Scams that claim they come from your bank or postal service etc. But by manually configuring a file on your DNS (Domain Name Server), you can specify which email servers are allowed to send emails as coming from your domain. Although this system isn’t perfect it is VERY effect and useful at protecting against unauthorised use of your domains email address.

The reason this causes a problem with Orange forwarding your email through their own service, is because you would have to manually configure your SPF file to allow for any and all servers that Orange would be sending your email through, not only would this be hassle to set up, but worst of all, this leaves a massive security hole in the SPF system. Potentially anyone on Orange broadband would be able to spoof emails from your domain. This means that potentially millions of people have the ability to disguise their own email address in your name. Rendering the SPF system almost completely useless!

 

Mobile Devices and Laptops – If like many other computer users who have a Mobile Device, or Laptop with an Internet Connection you send email through. Orange’s email forwarding service causes even more problems. Because of the way they have configured their solution, Every time you change your location (i.e. connect to a different router or wireless network) you would have to manually reconfigure your Desktop Email Client to allow for emails to be sent from that location/network, which you can imagine, would be very time consuming.

 

By using one of Tetrabyte’s configured Email Servers, using our Hosted Managed Exchange Email Sever or Signing Up for our Business Broadband Service we can easily and effective solves these issues for you, making sure that all of your emails continue to be sent and received as normal.

If you are interested in Tetrabyte providing you with one of our Exclusive Solutions for Orange Broadband Email Restrictions, then please get in touch via our Contacts Page. Or by filling out the contact form below.

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