Tag Archives: Holiday Tips

Shop Safe on Cyber Monday

This Monday is set to be the busiest day of the year for online shopping as Brits spend their November pay cheques on Christmas presents for friends and family.  But, if you’re planning a shopping spree to stuff your stockings, make sure you practice safe shopping!

 

Last year, the Metropolitan Police shut down 2,000 fraudulent websites in an operation to protect people from Cyber Monday scams, which can include counterfeit goods, the spread of computer viruses and simple theft.

 

At the same time, worldwide, $1,25bn was spent online in a single day, meaning that the stakes are high with millions of us handing over personal details and uploading and downloading content.

 

With personalised gifts becoming more and more popular, many of us will be uploading photos and downloading templates to fill in with our information, often using sites that we’ve never encountered before.  But festive good cheer can quickly turn into misery if you find your credit card cloned, your fake gifts falling apart or a virus wiping all the information from your computer.

 

So, if you’re looking for bargain this Cyber Monday, help to protect yourself by following these simple tips:

 

  • Make sure that you know whom you’re dealing with – use trusted sites or research any new sites and vendors thoroughly
  • Don’t click the links in unsolicited emails offering great Christmas deals
  • Be suspicious if something is significantly cheaper than on other sites – if a deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t
  • Check that the payment pages are secure – look for:
    • A padlock symbol in the browser window frame
    • A URL that starts https://
    • A green address bar
    • Paying by credit card can offer more protection than paying with a bank card if the site is fraudulent
  • Make sure you have effective anti-virus software running and that it’s up to date
  • Back up your computer before you go online to make sure your data is protected

 

 

Five tips for keeping your laptop safe in the sun

Top tips for backup in the sun

If you’ve been living in an air-conditioned, hermetically-sealed bunker this week you may have missed the news that not only have we had record temperatures for Wimbledon week, we’ve also got a Brit through to the men’s quarter finals.

For those people who are genuinely working from home this week (and watching the tennis with one eye whilst checking your Blackberry with the other doesn’t count), the thought has probably crossed your mind to make the most of the weather and decamp to the alfresco office that is the back garden.

However, whilst we may love the sun, our computers don’t necessarily agree (by and large, they really would prefer to be in an air-conditioned, hermetically-sealed bunker).  So, before trailing the extension lead out to the lawn and setting up a deck-chair desk, here are Mozy’s top five tips for keeping your laptop happy in the sun.

1)      Shade is your friend

Most office-issued laptops come in a black case, which is just perfect for absorbing the sun’s rays.  Batteries will lose life forever if overheated and hard drives that expand in the warmth will be prone to head crashes.  Keep your laptop under 35 degrees Centigrade to keep your computer safe.

2)      Time is a great healer

Carrying a working laptop from blazing heat to the cool of your home, or vice versa, encourages sudden expansion or contraction of the parts whilst still in operation.  Shutting down your computer before you move in and out, and giving it time to acclimatise before rebooting, will help to protect your device.

3)      A watched computer never boils

Leaving your computer unattended in the sun is never a good idea.  That rings true if it’s in the garden or in your car.  If it’s too hot to leave a pet or a child, it’s too hot to leave your laptop.

4)      Don’t sweat it

High humidity can lead to condensation in the circuits of your computer so, if you’re feeling sweaty, the chances are that your computer is too …only the computer issues can’t be fixed by a wipe with a towel.  If the humidity outside is over 80 per cent, it’s advisable to keep your computer indoors.

5)      Back up

The whole point of a laptop is that it’s portable so you shouldn’t be afraid of taking it where you want to use it.  If you have an online backup of your files, should the worst happen and your hard drive stops working, you’ll always have a copy of them in the cloud.

So, enjoy some fun in the sun and remember to protect your computer and protect yourself – slip, slap, slop people!

Travel Insurance

Murphy’s law states that, “if anything can go wrong, it will.” In most cases, you can extend that to say, “…at the worst possible time.”

Or so it can seem when you’re getting ready to leave for your holiday and go to print out all of your travel documents. If you’ve gone online to get the best deals, there’s probably a lot of paper work for you take with you – an eTicket for the plane, an online reservation form for the hotel, a travel insurance policy, a car-hire agreement and any manner of other things that you might have arranged in advance.

So, having just checked in online, and scrolling through your documents to choose what to print out, this is quite possibly the worst time for your computer’s hard drive to fail. And that’s when Murphy’s law steps in and sends your computer into meltdown.

How are you going to get the documents you need in time to make your flight?

Shouting very loudly at the computer is usually the first thing to try, accompanied by banging the desk. Following that, begging the computer to start up again, questioning the legitimacy of its parenthood, and prayer seem like good options. Once these avenues have been fully explored, you’ll probably move on to more practical solutions.

If you’re lucky, your suppliers will have emailed some of the documents you’ve lost to an account you can access over the web. If you’re organised, you’ll have an online backup service that will allow you to get everything back that you need.

An automatic online backup service will quietly log all of your holiday documents as you received them, recognise they are new and copy them to a secure data centre in the Cloud. Without you even noticing, you’ll have saved your bacon.

A quick stop at the internet café at the airport and you can use your backup provider’s web portal to access all of your files and, though you may have to pay the coffee shop 10p a sheet to print out your documents, it feels like a small price to pay to get your hands on your stuff.

Recovering everything else you might have lost can be simply done when you return from your holiday. And, after a week in the sun, you might just have relaxed and calmed down enough to face your computer again.

Top Tech Tips For Your Summer Holidays

If you’re counting down to your holiday, why not pass the time by checking off one of our “tech to-dos” each day this week.

Monday

Spend your holiday in the sun and not a hospital bed by making sure you’ve had all the right jabs.  You can check out the NHS website to find out which injections you need or download an app to your iPhone, like Healix to work it out for you.

Tuesday

Just because you’re away, doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye on your home. Whether you’re looking out for burglars or simply seeing what the neighbours are doing when they come round to water the plants, you can watch your home through your smartphone with apps from provdiers such as alarm.com, domus or Platinum.

Wednesday

Don’t lose track of your favourite shows whilst you’re away, even if you forgot to set the programmer before you leave.  Download an app like TV Plus or Tioti TV to simply schedule Sky+ recording remotely.

Thursday

Waste not, want not and visit LoveFoodHateWaste to download bespoke recipes to use up everything in your fridge before you go away.

Friday

Make sure you know whether to pack water wings or wellies by visiting the BBC weather site or downloading a free weather app like WeatherBug.

Saturday

Don’t forget your toothbrush, or anything else for that matter by getting organised and creating a spreadsheet of everything you need to take with you.  Failing that, let someone else get organised for you by downloading a packing app like PackingPro.

Sunday

Using your laptop as a DVD player on the plane may seem like a good idea when it keeps the kids quiet on your flight out but you won’t feel the same way if it gets stolen and you lose all the pictures, files and music on it.  Use an online backup service like Mozy to back up all your files before you go away and make sure you’re hardware is covered on your travel insurance, that way, whatever happens, you’re protected.

Footnote: Mozy has not tested, is not associated with, nor recommends any of the sites or services listed here, other than www.mozy.co.uk.  Readers should make their own assessment of any service before engaging with it.