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Issue 25 - March 2015 Newsletter

stop press

Please note our new address and telephone number - the Post Office have been doing a sterling job with our mail re-direction service, but that is coming to an end soon.

Our new contact details are:

9, Robin Walk
Brandon
Suffolk IP27 0UF

telephone: 01842 813923
mobile: 07583 294040


Welcome to Issue 25 of the Hillside Computer Services Newsletter

Wow!! Twenty five issues since Issue 1 came out in the summer of 2006. Who would have thought it?

An awful lot of water has gone under the bridge in that time and computing hasn't changed all that much. In fact the "whys and wherefores" haven't changed one bit. Actually, the first newsletter does make for a very interesting read (or re-read).
You can find the newsletter here if you fancy a peruse.

The content from that very first newsletter right up to this one has barely changed - I rattled on about viruses and Trojans and how important it was to make sure that you had anti-virus software installed and updated, and that you scan your computer regularly. This still holds true and in reality is even more important than it was 9 years ago.

I also wrote about backing up your data and how important it was to do it regularly. Surprisingly, from what I have seen of late, hardly anyone bothers to do this, even when they've lost all their contacts, photos, emails and documents they still don't bother to backup or save their new data. I'm not going to come across as all holier than thou, but even in those days one had a fair amount of data on one's computer and were fairly reliant on it. These days one can hardly exist without one the reliance is so massive.

For less than £100 typically, you can get a hard drive big enough to back up your data many times over and it is easy to do. If you need any guidance, then please do contact me.


News

Hillside Computer Services

It's Competition Time

By way of celebrating twenty five issues of these newsletters I would like to announce a competition of sorts.

Much of our work comes to us through recommendations from existing customers (that's you). It’s always great to see satisfied customers who are happy to recommend us, so we’ve created our Referral Reward Scheme to say ‘thank you’ for these referrals.

How it works

It’s simple. If you refer someone to us (a friend or neighbour etc.) and they become a Hillside Computer Services customer and they mention your name, we’ll add your name to a list. The person who makes the most positive referalls by 31st December 2015 will receive one of the following of their choice:

A 3 TB external hard disk drive to backup your data on to

or
Your choice of a £100 shopping gift card (from Debenhams or Waitrose)

Terms and conditions

  • The customer you’re referring must be completely new to Hillside Computer Services.
  • The new customer must mention your name to us.
  • There are no alternative prizes, nor cash equivalents.
  • The person who has made the most positive referrals by 31st December 2015 will be contacted by us early in 2016 and asked to choose their prize.
  • The new customer must spend at least £35.00 with us.
  • The new customer must live within 35 miles of Brandon.
Sadly we must report that the results of respondents thus far has been less than spectacular to say the least, so there is still time to take part by spreading the word.

What are you waiting for? Refer a customer today


Apple

App Store

Apple has made a fairly major change by adding a new featured category that highlights "Pay Once & Play" games in the App Store. The section includes a list of popular game titles that do not include in-app purchases.

"Pay Once & Play" offers a range of titles that are organized into the following categories: Recent Releases, Blockbuster Games, and App Store Originals. Some of the featured titles include Thomas Was Alone, Minecraft - Pocket Edition, Hero Emblems, Threes, Blek, and Goblin Sword.

Games and apps with in-app purchases have got Apple into trouble on loads of occasions over the past few years, leading to a 2011 lawsuit and a $32 million settlement with the US FTC after children racked up hundreds of dollars in purchases without their parents knowledge.

Apple has made several changes to the App Store since the original lawsuit was filed. Apps with in-app purchases are now clearly labeled, Apple obtains express permission for an in-app purchase in the form of a pop up, and it notifies users that making an in-app purchase authorizes additional in-app purchases for 15 minutes.

Most recently, Apple changed the "Free" wording on purchase / download buttons to "Get" to make it clear that apps with in-app purchases are not truly free.

This I feel is a responsible way of dealing with such a contentious issue. I have on a couple of occasions downloaded a "free" app, only to find that progress / gameplay / features are hamstrung unless one pays. This was certainly true of Candy Crush* some 12 months ago. I could have spent a small fortune on paying for in-app purchases in the game, which I got hooked on. I did succumb on a couple of occassions, but did delete the game once I found out how much various game enhancements would have cost - £2.00 here, £3.00 there and so on and so forth. It was going to add up to quite a significant amount of hard earned readies if
I wanted to complete the game - some people estimated about £300 to £400 to complete it depending of course on how good you were at playing it.

A quick Google search on 26th February revealed that Candy Crush's publishers made $997,428 per day from in-app purchases! Makes you think doesn't it.

*By the way, there are other publishers who offer in-app purchases.

Yosemite

Apple are very shortly releasing the latest update for Yosemite; OSX 10.10.3 along with their new Photos app, which will ultimately replace iPhoto and Aperture.


Microsoft

Windows 10 update

Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system will be released with a brand new web browser code-named Spartan, according to sources.

It is reported that this new browser is a departure from Internet Explorer, the Microsoft browser whose relevance and popularity has waned over the past few years. It will be a “lightweight” browser that looks and feels more like the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. But sources also indicate that Spartan will be offered alongside IE when Windows 10 debuts later this year.

With Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome grabbing so much of the desktop market and Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and Google’s Android browser dominating the mobile market, Internet Explorer is no longer the dominating force it once was. There was a time when it handled over 90 percent of all web traffic on desktop and laptop machines, but according to research its share has now dropped to 58 percent. On mobile devices, its share is only about 2 percent.

Spartan attempts to address both these marketsplaces. Windows 10 is designed to run across a wide range of devices, and by all accounts the new browser will be available on phones and tablets as well as laptops and desktops. It’s unclear at present whether Spartan will run on Android, Apple’s iOS, and other operating systems that compete with Windows, but there is a chance it will.

Under their new boss Satya Nadella, Microsoft has finally realised that in the modern world its software must run on more than just Windows. In March last year, Microsoft released a version of Microsoft Office for the Apple iPad. In November, it also released free versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for the iPhone.

This is all good news from the end users perspective as choice is a good thing, but also cross platform operability means smaller learning curves.

Watch this space for more updates from Apple and Microsoft and of course Hillside Computer Services.


Adobe

Adobe is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first release of Photoshop, the most famous and popular photo editing package ever.

Photoshop has had a long history of updates and changes. So much so that you probably wouldn't recognise the first version of the software.

The early days of Photoshop date back to when Tom Knoll (an American programmer) wanted to show grayscale images on the monochrome display of his Apple Macintosh Plus. It was suggested that he should turn this program, which he called "Display" into a fully fledged image-editing program.

The first known version of the software was released in 1988; 27 years ago. However, this version wasn't released to the public, even though it was the first known version of the software, being version 0.07.

In September 1989 Adobe bought Photoshop. At the time, the creators of Photoshop had been in talks with both Supermac and Aldus (who made Page Maker the DTP package), who were software companies. Both however turned down the deal, which eventually lead to a deal between Photoshop and Adobe. This would be huge step for both companies, launching them into success.

After a couple of other in-progress versions, Photoshop 1.0 was finally released to the public in 1990. At the time, it cost around £250 per hour for photo retouching.

Photoshop eventually became one of the first cross-platform pieces of software, with a Windows version being released in November 1992.

Another milestone came in Photoshop version 5.5, which allowed users to "Save for web." What this essentially meant was that users could export their images in a format and quality that would be appropriate for the very slow web speeds of the time.

Version 6.0 was also rather significant, adding support for vector shapes. This feature was very well received by users of Photoshop because of the fact that vector images use points and lines rather than pixels. This allows vector-based images to be much more clear when zoomed in.

Next up was version 7.0, which introduced a number of new tools in the brush palette, including the healing brush tool and the ability to create custom brushes. One of the biggest new features, however, was introduced in version 7.0.1 with the addition of Raw 1.x support. Raw photos are essentially completely uncompressed images, allowing for all the data captured by the camera to be shown. While this makes for the best image quality, it also leads to huge file sizes.

Photoshop is currently at version 15.0, known as Creative Cloud 2014. Photoshop is now a subscription-based service, allowing users to pay a monthly fee rather than the hundreds of pounds for the software outright. It was until it became subscription based a couple of years ago the most illegally copied piece of software in the world.

Photoshop continues to be the most popular image-editing program and probably the most complicated to use too, but it does keep going from strength to strength.


Hints & Tips

Microsoft

Windows 8 Start Screen

The Windows 8 Start Screen is full of nice, big, chunky tiles that represent all your apps. The tiles are easy to see in small groups, but what if you have hundreds of apps installed? Most will be hidden from view, unless you want to do a lot of scrolling. Enter the new zoom feature. If you’re using a touch display, squeeze the Start screen with two fingers to receive a bird’s eye view of your entire screen contents. And if you are using a mouse and keyboard, simply hold down the Ctrl button, and use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out.


Apple

Add widgets to Yosemite's Notification Centre

You can quickly view your calendar, reminders, stock prices, the weather and updates from your social networks in the Today view of Notification Centre on your Mac.

Just click on the three lines in the top right corner of your screen and the Notification Centre will overlay the side of your screen.

To add widgets to the Today view, click Edit at the bottom of the Notification Centre window and then click the + to add any widgets you wish.

You can edit those widgets to show the information that’s relevant to you by clicking on the i, and adding, for example, a town that you want weather forecasts for.

If you want to add to your widget collection visit the Mac App Store and search for widgets. There are quite a few there that you can install and more are likely to arrive over the next few months.


Help

If you have any questions / queries about any of the points raised in this newsletter, don't understand anything or indeed if you have any computer problems, then please do contact me - my contact details are at the bottom of this page, or you can just click here.


Jokes

My Image

A man from the toilet shouts to his wife "Darling, darling, do you hear me?". "What happened, did you run out of toilet paper?".
"No, can you restart the router, please!".


Funny facts about Google users: 50% of people use Google as a search engine. The other 50% of them use it to check if their internet is connected.


Endpiece

Well that wraps up another issue. Thank you for taking the time to read it and I hope you enjoyed it. I shall get the next edition out to you in the next three months or so.

Remember, and I know I say this every time:

  • Scan your PC for viruses / Trojans and nasties once a week.
  • Keep your software updated.
  • Do regular backups - weekly or more if needs be.
  • If you have any computer problems, call me sooner rather than later.
  • Don’t forget that back issues of these Newsletters can be found here.

For more information and details on any of the issues mentioned in this missive or any computing problems / queries, please contact me, and don’t forget to send me your email address if you’d like to be kept in touch with what’s happening in the computer world. Your details will not be passed on to any third party.

Happy and safe computing.

Stacks Image 8399
Mike Hamilton

contact

  • 9, Robin Walk
    Brandon
    Suffolk
    IP27 0UF
  • 01842 813923
  • 07583 294040
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