Monday, October 14, 2019

Browsers -my view

If you are highly computer literate then please accept my apologies for boring the pants off you with really basic stuff, that is just my personal opinion and containing very little that is startling.

I assume by now that if you are using Windows, you are all using Windows 10, and if not Microsoft will soon force you to migrate to it by ending support for their other versions, (Windows 8 support has already ended, Windows 8.1 ends 1/10/2023 and for those of you still on Windows 7 you have only until 14/01/2020). If you continue to use unsupported versions of Windows, your PC will still work, but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Your PC will continue to start and run, but you will no longer receive software updates, including security updates from Microsoft, and anyway Windows 10 is much more secure than its predecessors. All the horror stories are hopefully now history and it has finally turned into a good operating system that is easy to use.

With that in mind we come to what I consider to be the part that lets it down, Microsoft Edge, which is the default browser in Windows 10. Sadly this project has been a failure in many ways since its inception, but Microsoft has now taken a leaf out of Google's book and has rewritten it as a Chromium browser, which now has little in common with the original version. This is in beta version as I write and works as a simple browser and is now a standalone item that is updated more regularly than Windows. Give it a try if you want but be prepared to be underwhelmed at the moment, but it gets my vote as the one with the most potential.

Luckily there are a number of great alternatives out there:-

Starting with my favourite.

Chrome. Works across Android, Windows Linux and Mac OS. Robust, full Google Account integration and obviously as it's from Google, the makers of Android, contains a great suite of reliable mobile apps and it also blocks some ads that are not industry standard. On the downside some of those pecky ads you see when using it are generated by Google itself (Ad blockers and the like will be the subject of a future blog). The bottom line is that Chrome is fast, free, light and either fully featured or pared down depending on your needs. Privacy and security controls are in plain English and tuneable to meet your needs. If you are not sure which browser to use then my advice is to start by downloading Chrome first and if you really don't like it then try Mozilla Firefox which I put as a very close second option.

Mozilla Firefox is a capable browser, with a deep catalogue of extensions and user interface customization. It's quicker and more streamlined than ever before. Grab the mobile Firefox app and you'll be able to share bookmarks between devices, but you'll have to sign up for a Firefox account. Unfortunately, managing settings across platforms isn't as seamless as it is in Chrome, however due to it having been around for ever some older apps work better on Firefox than they do on Chrome.

Opera is also a viable browser for your consideration, it shares much of Chrome's DNA, but has a few more features as standard parts of the browser (which in Chrome are add on extensions), plus it is compatible with Chrome's extensions. With the changes that are scheduled for the near future, Opera could soon turn into the browser of choice for many people.

There are a number of browsers I have not mentioned including Internet Explorer, which Microsoft have effectively dumped in favour of the Edge, Safari on the Mac which is not as fast as Chrome but adequate still. As this is my personal pick, I have to mention the Tor Browser, which is effectively a version of Firefox that attempts to mask your details by routing your traffic through a number of servers. This is not totally foolproof but if you configure it correctly and combine it with a VPN it should go a long way to allowing you to remain anonymous while surfing the web.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

4 Simple Fixes For Your PC

Another year, time for a new blog!

We have been asked to repeat our 4 Simple Fixes For Your PC again as some people missed the original post. So here it is, as always, we do not mind answering your problem / questions by email, Skype or even phone.

Has your Laptop / Desktop stopped responding correctly when you turn it on?

What can happen sometimes is that the settings in your memory can become corrupted for some reason, this is an easy fix. On a laptop, turn it off and disconnect from the power, remove the battery, press the on/off button (gently) for 20 seconds, replace the battery and turn it on. On a desktop it is as simple as disconnecting the power cable from the computer and waiting ( we suggest you go off and make a hot beverage) then reconnect the power and turn it on. If this does not solve it then give PC Harry or your local support tech. a call.

Is your computer running really slow ?

Check how full your system disk is with files, anything above 80% and you need to think about either deleting some unwanted files or programs or installing a second hard drive (Desktop) or installing a bigger disk (Laptop), anything above 85% full and you have definitely found at least part of the problem, as windows needs space to store temporary files etc.

Does your computer start up soooooo slowly?

There are two simple things you can do today to solve this problem.
1. Clean up some of your unwanted programs using the control panel uninstall programs option. Start with losing a few toolbars is a simple one, as most people seem to collect unwanted ones and then never get round to removing them again.
2. Check how many anti virus programs you have installed, one is great and you need it if you surf the web at all. Two is bad as they as often as not will just interfere with each other, slow the computer down and leave you open to infection. More than two just ain't cool and you need to get back to just on. PC Harry suggests Microsoft Security Essentials and we like to load it on all the PCs we service, as long as the owner is amenable.

Can't play DVDs, movie files or music without always having to downloading more codecs.

Well just dump all those other media players and download VLC Media Player, it does it all no fuss and no hassle, and will free up space if you get rid of all the codecs and different media players you have been downloading.

I hope this helps a little, but like your vehicle, your computer hardware needs a service every so often to keep it sweet, and you would be suprised how fast your computer will be again after a professional service carried out preferably before it starts to have problems. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Website, We are now fully open for business!

Well Autumn is now here and we have had a quiet and lazy summer organising the transition from Harry's Cybercafe to PC Harry,  doing a little work, but mainly sorting out the new business configuration and the expanded services we will now offer to the Tauranga area.

With the first of the cooler nights today, it is time to knuckle down and generate some serious work schedules and advertise what we offer to an expanded customer base, so if you are out there people, we love to talk and always offer a free advice service on all your PC and Laptop problems.

If you live in the Bay of Plenty,  come on, Ring Us, Skype us, or email us, we don't care how you do it, but we are getting fed up with each others faces and need some new people to talk to, we love PC problems the gnarlier the better.