Just a quick note to inform everyone that Jason's PC Services closed while I am on vacation from Friday the 18th to Monday the 28th of October.

Messages and email will be answered first thing on the Monday morning with appointments scheduled beginning as soon as possible afterwards.

It's been a while since I've posted an update, and since it's nearing Christmas, what better time than now.

With the recent release of Windows 8, I'm starting to get some calls from customers to help with the setup of new systems and transferring their data from their old systems to the new.

Frequent comments during this process resolve around the new Windows 8 interface which has replaced the well known Explorer and its start menu.

Currently there is no way to return to a more traditional start menu without third-party software, Microsoft have chosen to ship the new metro interface with Windows 8.

There are however several alternative user interfaces available for Windows 8, some of which I will list below.

First up I highly recommend Stardock's Start8, it costs $5 US and is very much worth every cent if you are struggling with the metro interface on a non-touch device. You can download a 30 day trial, and purchase Start8 from the Stardock website located here.

There are also free alternatives such as IObit's StartMenu8 which resembles the Windows 7 start menu, it can be downloaded here.

Also a free Open Source project called Classic Start is available for download here.

Several OEM manufacturers such as Samsung and Toshiba are also apparently working on their own start menu interfaces to ship with Windows 8 computers.

 

 

Just a quick note to inform everyone that Jason's PC Services closed while I am on vacation from Saturday the 28th of April until Monday the 7th of May.

Messages and email will be answered first thing on the Monday morning with appointments scheduled begining as soon as possible afterwards.

Last December I warned of an increase in scam telephone calls, these calls have been continuing throughout the ensuing months, in many cases the scammers have been successful and talked users into allowing remote access to their computers, and in some cases, charging for services or software provided during the scam.

Many of these scam callers pretend to be calling from, or on behalf of well known companies such as Microsoft, and attempt to play into fears of virus and spyware infections to convince their victim that they are legitimate so that they can gain access to their system and begin the process of scamming money through offers of services or software to deal with the supposed infection.

As always you need to keep firmly in mind that legitimate companies such as Microsoft will never call you unsolicited about infections or problems with your computer, not only because of internal policy, but also because they cannot know if your system is infected or suffering problems if you don't first contact them about it.

If it's too late and you've received one of these calls and allowed access to your system there's some things you should immediately do.

  • If you have entered credit card details online, or provided details to the scammer, then immediately call your bank and cancel your cards.
  • Turn your computer off, or disconnect from the Internet.
  • Contact Jason's PC Services, or your regular support technician and have your system checked for viruses, spyware, and remote connection software.
  • Once your system is clean of infection immediately change passwords/access details for services like Internet banking, Paypal, Ebay, Amazon and the like.

If you have provided details of credit card/s to the scammer, be sure to check your credit card statements for charges that should not be there and initiate a chargeback with your bank.

The past week has shown a heightened level of virus infections across the shire.

The infections have all involved what are known as fraudulant malware, a variety of malware which mimics legitimate anti-virus or anti-malware products and produces incessant reports of serious and expansive infections in an attempt to scare a user into believing the softare and following the prompts which invariably lead to "purchasing" the fraudulant program.

It is important to be very aware of exactly what security software you currently use, be it a subscription based product, or one of the free products. You should take note of what it is, what it looks like, and what its alerting systems look like. Until you make yourself recognise these things you risk accepting fake alerts while browsing the internet and clicking on them, effectivly giving your permission for these fraudulant programs to install themselves on your system.

It is also important to realise that there is no such thing as a one product fixes or catches all, these malicious programs are so prevelant because there is an immense ammount of money to be gained by the people behind these malware programs, and simple changes they can make readily and rapidly can change their malicious software enough to bypass security software once more.

I'm often asked by people who suffer an infection, especially multiple ongoing infections, which is the best security software to use. The answer is always the same, there is no such thing as best if a proactive approach is taken along with a security package. User involvement, in great part by simple awareness of what you have and how it looks is one of the most important factors in keeping your system free of infection.

It's been a fairly busy holiday season for Jason's PC Services this year.

Unlike previous Christmas periods, the Christmas/New Year week was quite busy, especially when compared to previous years in which call outs were often no more than one or two at most as everyone celebrated the season.

A sudden rise in spyware infections contributed to the higher number of requests for call out, this is in contrast to what had been a fairly quiet few months in the leadup to Christmas. So it is a good time to remind all of my customers to make sure their antivirus software of choice is the latest version, up to date, and working as intended.

A good way to test your antivirus solution is with the Eicar test file from here, various versions of the test file can be downloaded from their download page which is located here.

After the recent storm activity at the end of November it is a good time for a reminder of how easy it is for your valuable electronic equipment to be damaged beyond repair by lightning strikes.

The series of storms which hit overnigt at the end of November destroyed many people's computers, modems and other electronic equipment. In most cases, none of the equipment was disconnected from wall sockets, including phone lines to ADSL modems.

The simple act of unplugging from both power and phone sockets likely would have saved this growing list of lost hardware, and it was good to see that in most cases, computers were disconnected from power sockets. Modem's however suffered a higer loss, and mostly due to their connection to the telephone wall socket rather than power.

So it's always a good idea to unplug your modem's connection at the wall socket (or at the back of the modem). Also, while your at the task as a storm approaches, remember your television as well, both power and antenna.

While your equipment might be covered by contents insurance, its as much the inconvenience as the expense of replacing your electronic equipment.

Just a quick note to inform everyone that Jason's PC Services will be on vacation from Saturday the 13th of August until Tuesday the 23rd of August.

Messages and email will be answered on the afternoon of Monday the 22nd of August with appointments scheduled begining Tuesday the 23rd of August.

Just a quick note to inform everyone that Jason's PC Services will be unavailable for the week starting Monday 28th March.

Business will resume on Monday the 4th of April.

The following image is an excerpt from the June 2010 to November 2010 Roy Morgan Internet Satisfaction Report.

This image depicts the results of a customer satisfaction survey on Internet providers for the June to November 2010 period. These results (in red) can be compared to the previous results from the September 2009 to February 2010 survey (in grey).

Internode not only held their top position but increased their result by 2% from the previous survey. TPG, BigPond and AAPT also improved on their previous results.

You can view the full excerpt on roymorgon.com by clicking the image.

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