Mid Year Technology Update
Crikey, it's been a while since my last email newsletter, definitely time for an update, there's plenty going on with computers and information technology. So with so much to catch up, you may notice I have a lot to say below, feel free to skim the headings until you come across something of interest. I have included links to other useful websites which means a smorgasbord of information for you!
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It's tax time again, and you can get a 100% tax deduction for any business related asset purchase up to the value of $30,000, so this is an excellent time to remind you we have a range of quality desktop and laptop computers for you to choose from.
Scams, scams & more scams!
I am not kidding when I describe what we are seeing as a scam epidemic, particularly when it comes to scam phone calls where we have arrived at a point where we cannot be sure that any incoming phone call, email or web site we visit is genuine. It is a sad state of affairs where the best defence is to know that this is a thing. The scammers are mighty clever and impersonate organisations like Telstra, NBNco, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Tax Office, Facebook, PayPal your bank and even your electricity provider. If you believe the scammer you will be lead down a path which relieves you of your personal information, your email and banking details, or your money, if not the whole lot.
I have done a number of presentations on how scams work for local service clubs and as part of the excellent initiative by the Tumby Bay District Community Bank, Port Lincoln Community Bank and Cummins District Community Bank who are taking a pro-active approach and informing their customers as to how to avoid being scammed. Bendigo Bank has an excellent scam awareness page for more info.
You can download my Scam Epidemic advice which covers the major scams we are encountering on Eyre Peninsula
National Broadband Network
The NBN is a real mixture of success and disasters, if you are happy with your NBN connection (and plenty of people are) you can jump to the next topic! When the NBN first arrived on Eyre Peninsula, they were heady days, but things got off to a pretty ordinary start with a lack of capacity on all Fixed Wireless towers and low data allowances and poor speeds via the Sky Muster Satellite service. And then Fibre-to-the-Node arrived where NBNco just did not install enough nodes and they have been playing catch up ever since. The term "node lottery" entered the vernacular to describe how owners of all premises being connected were either lucky enough to be close to a node or unfortunately located so far from a node that either their speeds were poor or they could not get a connection at all. Today, work is still being done to upgrade all of the Fixed Wireless tower capacity where NBNco refuses to set a minimum acceptable speed for the retail service providers, and there are nine new nodes being installed in Port Lincoln (and one or two in Tumby) as we speak. I would really like to have a firm chat with the people who planned the rollout....
We don't sell NBN connections (we used to, but that got old real fast!) but we provide a lot of technical support around getting connected, fault finding and sharing your connection in your home or office, just give us a call.
Tablet Computers and Smartphones
We don't sell either, but we do make recommendations depending on your needs, and we provide configuration services including wi-fi setup, email configuration and photo backup and management. Tablet computers in particular have become the device of choice for local and overseas travel, the battery life is excellent, they are light and compact and they are the perfect communication device when you are on the road or in the air.
Printers and Multifunction Devices
We offer a range of devices from Epson, Canon, Brother & Hewlett Packard where we will match the brand model to your needs. If you are doing a moderate to high level of printing, the running cost will be an important consideration, even more so than the purchase cost. It is not uncommon for a full set of inks or toner to cost more than the original printer. I know what you are thinking, why not just buy a new printer every time the ink or toner runs out? Apart from the cost to the environment, the manufacturers are way ahead of us, the ink or toner included with the printer is called "starter" ink/toner and around one quarter of the capacity of the replacement cartridges.
So, when you are buying a printer device, check the running cost. You may find that the one hundred dollar more expensive printer saves you double that in the first year of operation. Don't get too attached to your printer though, they are not as durable as they were, especially ink-based printers which are not as durable as laser printers but they have a significantly lower running cost so it pays to know how many pages you are printing before you decide on which printer will suit you best.
Introduced in 2011, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is a powerful piece of legislation which protects consumers (to a fair extent) against providers of goods and services up to the value of $40,000. The trick is to know your rights, as most retailers and manufacturers will not go out of their way to alert you to your rights as a consumer beyond what warranties include. In fact, in many cases, they will push back and "gaslight" you as to your rights. Once you know what they are doing, it's much easier to assert your rights as a consumer.
The power of the ACL is that in the event of a major failure with a product or service you purchase, the choice as to whether you get a refund, replacement or repair is your decision. The law takes the view of a reasonable person, ie would you have purchased the goods or services had you know the likelihood of said major failure within that time frame? The ACL is in addition to the manufacturer warranty and generally extends the effective warranty well beyond the nominal warranty. How far it extends depends on the value of the goods or service. For example, a $2000 computer has a much longer ACL warranty than a $500 computer because that's what a reasonable person would expect. So, have a look at the Consumer Guarantees Guide in particular pages 18-23 covering dealing with problems.
Business Internet Domain Hosting
If you are in business, chances are you have an internet domain name in the form lcc.com.au which may be used for your business email service and your website. The management of your domain name is an important consideration, generally speaking your web designer will manage your domain as part of your web hosting and design package, or your email provider may manage it especially if you do not yet have a website. Either way, it is important to know who is managing your domain when your email or website stops working. It could be a technical failure, an unpaid renewal or a compromised website, you need your domain hosting provider to move quickly and get you back online. Domain hosting has become an import part of our IT services business where we are able to provide the necessary technical intervention and liaise with your web and/or email hosting provider to minimise your online downtime.
Business Email Hosting
Email and domain hosting generally go hand in hand as does email and web hosting so you might find both your web designer and your email service provider prefer to manage your domain. The good thing is you get to choose! We prefer to manage both because an email outage for a single day is often more imperative than a website outage for one day. Having said that, if you run an online shop or any sort of interactive website in real time, then you would be equally unhappy if your website is down! We are not web designers so we will often defer to your web designer if everything else is equal, and negotiations take polkace with your best interests at heart.
We recommend Google Cloud G Suite for business email hosting and Google Gmail for personal email accounts. Google is a superbe email provider offering reliability, security, cloud storage, synchronisation as well as spam and scam protection.