Sunday, 30 September 2018

We might be nerds, but...... tech should be simple.

People think 'techy' people are great with complicated processes and that we enjoy fixing problems. While that's pretty much 100% correct, we do prefer it when technology just does what it's supposed to. While the complicated problems do give us a challenge to overcome, on a day to day basis, when we're just trying to get work done, we prefer it when things are simple. Very simple.
Where the skills come into their own is when we're looking for the easiest way to do something.

Tomorrow I'll be working in a office which hasn't had a 'tech' visit or upgrade for a number of years. It's clearly been run on a budget, and at the time the best solution for 'sharing' might have been the Western Digital drive that they're using now. Sadly the network that they had has been decimated, and they're leaning on powerline adaptors for network access. Network access that is hampered by something electrical in the system which is causing one of the powerline adaptors to drop it's signal once every few hours, frustrating for the client who loses their work.

While only a few years back, the solution would probably have been dropbox. Through a web browser this was clunky and slow. The app wasn't amazing, and although the interface was ok, the sync software was also a bit hit n miss. As well as that, the packages were (and still are) expensive.

My suggestion for the office now is for it to transfer to wifi, which means upgrading their machines with USB wifi devices. A thrifty upgrade at a mere £10 per unit. I addition, the Western Digital drive, (which could fail and lose all of the offices shared work) should be replaced with online cloud accounts. I'm suggesting Google. Because.....
1) It's easy.
2) It's the best value for money even if they only use the free account.
3) Backup and Sync works so well and will be required for their data transfer.

I'm putting together a crib sheet so that I can clearly remember what it is I need to explain and so that they have something to refer back to after I've gone and it's this crib sheet that's caused me to write the blog.

I'm certain that there's a certain amount of trepidation in the office for this upgrade, but after putting together everything we need to cover. I'm hoping that every member of the team will be surprised at how easy it is. Fingers crossed this will be a shallow and short learning curve where everyone is able to get up to speed in the least amount of time possible and enable the office to do the great work it does every day, only with less hiccups.

Looking forward to what ought to be a great day of learning for all.


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Why your Smartphone is safer than Contactless.

Many people, myself included, were both excited and fearful of contactless payment. On the one hand buying a few spuds by simply wafting your card close to a terminal, is convenient, on the other hand, worryingly easy. Indeed it wasn't long before the media cottoned onto our fears and started feeding us stories of 'skimmers'; people with erroneous card payment devices like Square and iZettle, and people got worried. Having said that, here's the latest story (at the time of writing) from 9 hours ago. So the fear is not without justification. Companies have been selling NFC secure wallets, bags and purses, for some time so the signal won't emanate too far.
So advancing this technology into smartphones would surely be more risky? Not at all. Because the NFC chips in Android phones sit dormant until they've been enabled. They're only enabled when your phone is unlocked. So skimming isn't possible. If your phone is in your back pocket (far more likely than your credit card) Google Pay and Apple Pay will only work if the handset is unlocked first. So leaving your credit card at home and only taking your smartphone is actually more secure.
If you've steered clear of the technology because of the worry it's worth checking both apps out. When it first started it was very hit and miss, sometimes the machines recognised it, sometimes they didn't. But for the past 12 months it's been bulletproof and has got me out of tight spots a number of times (when I'd forgotten my card). It's still only good for purchases up to £30, (like contactless cards) but it's still very useful most days.
Rest assured if your phone is protected with a PIN, pattern, (or most conveniently) a fingerprint, then your money is more safe than it is on your contactless card.