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Converting Word docs to PDF

I’m often asked by users of older version of Office, how they can create PDFs and which internet tools are to be avoided.  Rather than limit the functionality, or share your documents with some unknown third party, it is simple to give your computer to create PDFs from anything, in the same way that you can print anything.

Here is the body of an email that I sent to one of my customers this morning:

For writing PDFs, you need a tool called Cute PDF Writer, which can be downloaded here: http://www.cutepdf.com/download/CuteWriter.exe

It relies on a second utility called Ghostscript which should be installed automatically as part of the process, or to be sure you can install it first here: http://www.cutepdf.com/download/converter.exe

Once you have both tools there will be a new printer in your list, so you can print any documents from any application and just choose the Cute PDF Writer as the target.  You will be prompted for a location to save to.

How Safe Is Your Data?

The internet is full of scare stories about the latest viruses and ransomware that will encrypt your files, or simply delete it without trace.  These aren’t just scare stories, I have customers on my own little address list who have lost data to scammers.

You can’t underestimate the dangers of losing critical data.  Yet the complexity of managing backups for yourself can be daunting.  If you copy it to an external disk, how do you make sure the disk is safe?  What if it’s swept off the shelf by a passing tea trolley?  If it’s stolen, have you done enough to make the data unreadable to whoever gets their hands on it?  Data protection is a hot topic these days, so handing over all your customers’ names and addresses could be as much of a disaster as losing your data altogether.

Many backup processes have fallen flat because no-one checked the logs to make sure they completed successfully, or because no-one ever thought to run a test and make sure the data was usable when it was copied back off the device.

The answer nowadays is refreshingly simple.  With the increased availability of high speed internet connections (yes, I know, it’s never as quick as you’d like,but that’s beside the point), backing up to remote locations is now feasible for most businesses.

Your checkpoints:

Is my data going to be far enough away from the office if it burns down or there’s some natural disaster and an ark appears out of nowhere?  Yes.  Internet backups can have your data at the other end of the country.

Is my data going to be secure?  Yes.  Thanks to all the work that the banking sector has put into encryption, both when transmitting across the internet and when storing in a datacentre, these technologies are now available to the rest of us.

What if the datacentre suffers some catastrophic event – will my data disappear from their systems?  No.  Any datacentre provider adheres to strict regulations to make sure that there is at least one other copy of your data at least 25km away.

What about restoring all that information in the event that something goes horribly wrong?  If you’re not going to another site with super quick internet connections, you can request that your data be recovered to a conventional disk drive and couriered direct to your new location.

Is it safe?  Yes.  You will set the encryption key and you can make it as complex as you like.  The staff at the datacentre won’t know it and they won’t be storing it for any hackers to pick up.  Of course, if you want to set your encryption key to “abc123” we can’t stop you!

How do I know the job is running regularly?  You will control how often it runs, though we usually recommend overnight when your lines are quietest.  If something stops a backup from running at its scheduled time you will be free to start it again manually.  If the job repeatedly fails and you haven’t noticed, someone from the datacentre will make contact, just to make sure you’re aware.

Are you sure it will have time to backup all my data every night?  Well, the first copy will take some time, but after that the software will run “block level copies”, transmitting only the chunks of a file which have changed, not the entire thing.

Isn’t this going to cost me an arm and a leg?  No.  Prices start from £1 per GB per month for this fully managed, security compliant service that could have you sleeping at night again.

Now isn’t that the cheapest IT technician you ever hired?

For more information, please get in touch using one of the channels on our contact page.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Great Value Laptops

It’s never been easy to pick out the great deals from the huge range that’s available in store and on the internet, so if you’re looking for a new computer why not start here?

 

Here is a selection of handpicked Dell laptops at great prices.  We’re starting with the i3 Inspiron with 4GB memory, rising to the 7th generation i7 with 16GB memory and an NVidia GTX 1050Ti graphics card.  It comes at a price but we think it’s worth every penny.

Canon Printer Error 6C10

I nearly had to wave goodbye  to my trust Canon ip4700 this week.  Every time I tried to print I got an error 6C10 and every time I looked that up, printer boffs and forums told me the ink pads were saturated and they needed replacement.

Just to put that into context, a set of pads is £65, or a replacement printer (which would also upgrade me to wifi and a built in scanner) is £40.

Hmmm.

Not to be deterred, and in recognition of the literally hundreds of printable CDs, sheets of A4 photo paper and the reams of invoices and bills that come out each year when I run my accounts, I  searched again.  This time I found someone who had looked elsewhere and cleared his 6C10 by cleaning the print head.  Not only that, he cleaned it with warm water, not one of the cleaning fluids advertised on ebay.

Suffice it to say, after a trimmed down process which took all of 15 minutes, I now have a working printer again.  Long may that continue!

You can see the process in action here:

Moving Your Website Forward

There are lots of ways to move your website forward. For many small businesses it’s a question of writing short articles to let the adoring public (ok, the Googlebot) know that you’re not on an extended sabbatical in Nassau. For others it may be a facelift and for many it is a foray into social media.

If you branch out into Twitter, Facebook or Flickr, these things can be easily integrated so that what you do in one place doesn’t need replicating elsewhere.

But I digress. The reason for this article was a terrifying piece I stumbled across on Twitter. Actually I didn’t find it terrifying. As a seasoned WordPress author I loved it, but there are many out there who would sweep it away as gibberish and technobabble, but it needn’t be.

If you love the techie side of WordPress, here’s the article: WordPress Plugins

If your website has been crafted for your needs then everything you do within your comfort zone can pay dividends.  What you do may be creative, rather than technical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your digital (international) audience without leaving your comfort zone.

Everything that I’ve touched on relates to problems that I have personally dealt with recently, so if you’re feeling a little out of touch with your internet audience, do drop us a line at 11December.  There is an easier way forward with your digital shopfront and it needn’t cost you the earth.

Fujitsu Bargains

While stocks last, we’re pleased to offer the fantastic range of business class Fujitsu Siemens PCs to all of our customers.fujitsu_esprimo_e420_vfye0420p7321nl

If you know what you want to achieve with your computer, but the details of a Windows PC leave you cold, stop reading now and drop us a line on the Contact page!  We offer a full service to undercut the high street prices on the PC that is right for you and to get you back into your comfort zone asap.

The special offers for this month are the quietly confident E420 small form factor desktop and its sibling, the P420 mini tower.

Both come with a 4th generation Core i3 processor and an incredible 3 year on-site warranty.   The base models in our range, they have 4GB memory as standard and can be upgraded to 16GB to keep you working for years to come.  The storage is a modest 500GB but if you need more, please get in touch.

The price includes delivery and setup in your home or office (including a brief tour of the new look Windows), plus we have some fantastic deals on the little extras to help you settle in, including transferring your programs and data.

fujitsu_esprimo_p420

Fujitsu E420/P420 Core i3 with 3 year warranty

Just £399

Optional extras

    • Wifi adapter – £10
    • All-in-1 mini USB card reader – £5
    • Full data and software migration* – from £120

If you need a PC with more than a Core i3 processor, please get in touch and we’ll create a bespoke order to suit you.

* You will need to provide serial numbers and installation media for any software to be installed on the new computer