Monthly Archives: May 2014

Now its getting hotter, It will be time to empty your Vacuum cleaner!

We keep seeing computers with an extra domestic fan stuffed up the back.  

Well you really need to empty your vacuum cleaner at least once in it’s lifetime.
Most people expect an IT specialist to be always in a suit and its a clean office based job, well I have news for you, we are often scrabbling around on the floor and dealing with dirt and filth.
Imagine you have a box on the ground, it is on all day and maybe night, whenever the office is open, it sucks in the air (Dust and everything). Your cleaner comes in with the vac and stirs the ground a bit more.
Five years have passed, open the box and what do expect to see? something like this?
Its what we see every day when we open up a machine that has sat on the ground for a couple of years. Apart from being less reliable as there are mechanics inside every computer its a fire risk and unless a machine is cleaned each year this is what can happen
The picture on the left is what a two year old heatsink looks like and the photo on the right is what it should look like. A processor gets hot, like a 100w bulb and you wouldn’t want to handle one of them without gloves
If we get hot we perspire, a dog pants and a cat sweats through its paws, what about a computer? Well the heart is a CPU and it runs hot, so hot it will burn you. A heatsink is added and then a fan, it doesn’t work by evaporation, which is how perspiration works, it works be exchanging heat from a hotter surface to a cooler airflow. That’s why Heatsinks have fans attached and we don’t.

The heatsink takes the heat away and the fan puts cool air on it and the temperature goes down. If the heatsink is clogged then all the fan is doing is “stroking the fur”. The device gets hotter. If its an Intel based computer the first you will know is that it has stopped. If its an AMD it will stop before it overheat and its hot enough to start a fire, and whats in the machine? Loads of flammable fluff.

This is a comparison of a few years ago, Intel computers slow then stop. as opposed to the smoking AMD. One reasons we don’t like AMD, there are loads more reasons but that will do for now. 

So remember when you empty your vac maybe you should get your computer emptied too? It takes us around an hour to do the job properly and apply new thermal paste.

Move over Road rage, Its desk rage thats all the rage now.

Desk rage: angry and violent outbursts at work
Move over Road rage, Its now “Desk Rage”.
New survey from welfare charity The Brooke has found more British workers than ever before are suffering from ‘desk rage’. What is causing the anger epidemic?
Office niggles start off innocently enough. We’d prefer it if our colleague didn’t do that, or wouldn’t it be great if they did do that? Time passes and, with it, niggles turn to gripes, gripes to bugbears and, before we know it, bugbears morph into full blown ‘desk rage’.
Indeed, according to a new survey, the British workplace is rife with enraged employees. More than half of the 2,000 people polled by welfare charity The Brooke complained about their office life. Printers crashing, being called at one minute to five and colleagues suffering from halitosis, were some of the top irritations. Inspired, we realise that this does not apply to anyone at CMX as we are perfect, happy well adjusted people, but we go in an awful lot of offices where we can quietly listen in and make our own judgements. So here is the CMX A-Z observed list of office annoyances of everyone else, ok we have slipped some of ours in too but I’m not telling which.
  • Answering other peoples’ mobiles. The landline, OK. But leave the colleagues mobile alone.
  • Back-handed compliment. “You have been looking nice recently.” What? Did I look terrible before? What’s wrong with a simple ‘You look nice.”
  • Colleagues chatting loudly when there is a deadline.
  • Diets. “Really, you’ve only had a piece of cucumber all day? My goodness that’s fascinating.” Don’t bring your diet to the desk. No one cares. Fainting from hunger isn’t going to get the work done, is it?
  • Emails. Was any of that content useful for me? Did any of that content concern me? No. So stop cc’ing me. It clogs up my inbox and wastes my time.
  • Fakeness. “I’m so happy for you about the promotion! Seriously, it’s so well-deserved.” No you’re not – Just say “Well done”, the fakeness is awkward.
  • Gossiping. You’re the other side of the desk, not in another room. we can hear that whispering and it makes me feel paranoid.
  • Holidays. I get x-days holiday a year in my contract – don’t make me feel guilty for taking them.
  • Illness. If you’re ill don’t come in and splutter all over the desk. I don’t want that cold over the weekend, thank you very much.
  • Jolly. Yes, it’s nice to be in a good mood. But when you’re all smiles 24/7, constantly chirpy and positive, it’s annoying.
  • Keep saying you’re right. I know, you know, we all know that you’re wrong. Just admit you’ve made a mistake and move on. It has happened to us all.
  • Love. “Hi Love/ Darling / Chum / Mate, how are you?” I don’t know who you are and you don’t care how I am. Please don’t address me like that – it’s unprofessional and creepy.
  • Meetings. Spending an hour in a meeting – when you really need to be at your desk – going over a 10-point plan, and then being emailed exactly the same plan the next day. Did we really need the meeting? I could have picked up all I needed to know from the email.
  • Nattering. If you want to talk incessantly about nothing to each other, do it away from the desk. It’s distracting.
  • Odour. Please, please, please, just buy some deodorant. I like you, but the smell, it’s too much.
  • Pens. If you are going to borrow my pen, fine, but give it back.
  • Questions. Being repeatedly asked the same question. I told you five-minutes ago, and five-minutes before that, they haven’t come back to me yet. If the situation changes, I’ll tell you!
  • Reading over your shoulder. Is this email addressed to you? No, I didn’t think so. So stop reading!
  • Slamming the phone down. I’m sorry your day isn’t going well, but there is no need to distract the rest of us. And, is breaking the phone really going to help the situation?
  • Tears at the desk. If you’re going to cry, do it away from the desk. I’ve got work to do and don’t want to feel obliged to look after you.
  • Understanding. Lack thereof. I’ve never arrived late before, this is the first time and I have a genuine excuse, so stop raising your eyebrows.
  • Volume. We know that you’re on the phone, but does the whole office need to know? We’re not deaf, seriously calm down the decibels.
  • Work load. When suddenly more and more things become your responsibility but your salary remains the same.
  • Xxxxs. There’s a time and a place for kisses – and it’s not on the end of a work email.
  • You look well. Don’t say that to me: we all know that means I’ve put on a few pounds.
  • Zombie. You’ve had an all-nighter and come into the office with no sleep. Go out at the weekend, not mid-week. You look awful, you smell awful and you’re not going to get anything done.


Top 10 tech mistakes Small Business Owners (SBOs) make – and how to avoid them.

As a small business owner, you know that small things can add up quickly. e-mail’s go unanswered longer than you’d like, and administrative tasks take longer than expected – leaving little time to tackle other tasks. It’s no wonder then that thousands of small business owners tend to overlook or avoid the often complicated burden of keeping technology in line with business needs. And yet, one slight technology mishap can lead to critical data loss, hardware failure, or security breaches.

Why learn the hard way? If you’re equipped with the right information to avoid these common pitfalls, you can protect your business and prevent catastrophic events.

Mistake 1: Leaving back-up on the back-burner
An astounding 70 percent of small firms that experience a severe data loss go out of business within one year. That’s not to say that data loss alone can bring your business down, but the point is that data loss is expensive – and recovery can be excruciatingly time-consuming. To put it in perspective, it can take 19 days and

£17,000 to recreate just 20 MB of lost sales and accounting data, and 42 days and £98,000 to enter in engineering data that’s been lost. That’s not even counting lost productivity and revenue, along with damage to a company’s reputation when it can’t meet deadlines or fulfil obligations.

Mistake 2: Skimping on security
“The web has become the attack vector of choice,” says a chief research officer of a leading security software development company. Unprotected PCs can become infected within eight seconds of being connected to the Internet, according to one BBC report.

Clearly, the costs of an exposed PC extend far beyond the initial recovery expense. You face locking down infected PCs to erase every last thread of the virus, while also checking out the PCs that don’t appear to be contaminated. All of that leads to crippling downtime for your entire organisation.

What if the data – like sensitive client information – becomes compromised? According to one study, 30% of the companies surveyed said that a major security breach had the potential to put them out of business entirely. To make matters worse, you can also be held liable for any information that leaks out – even if you’re not directly responsible.

Mistake 3: Losing sight of what you own
Can you name how many software licences or PCs you have in your organisation? If you’re like most small business owners, the answer is likely ‘no.’ And that can lead to serious problems, such as the inability to qualify for a loan and other financing (most small business loans are secured by business assets), or simply not being able to accurately estimate costs or plan an operating system upgrade at the right time.

For many service-based businesses, such as those working in the financial, legal, or health care industries, increasing regulatory measures may require that business owners monitor assets like network infrastructure more closely than ever before. As Jane Disbrow, an analyst for Gartner, says, “If you don’t know where all your laptops and software are located, how can you tell regulatory bodies that customer information is being kept private?”

Asset management is a critical small business task. Depending on your size, there is a range of approaches, from simply using a spreadsheet to track assets, to investing in a software program that allows you to easily aggregate, sort, and update your business-critical inventory.

Mistake 4: Failing to tailor technology
Choosing the right technology for your business isn’t always simple, but spending the time to ensure what you buy and use will pay off. It begins with having a fundamental understanding of what you and your employees need to complete tasks as quickly and effectively as possible. How much processing power do you really need? What are the most important features in the laptops you’re buying for your sales people? Will a touch screen help employees get work done faster and therefore save time and money?

As Brian Roach, president and CEO of Evolve Technologies suggests, “Buying equipment is just like buying a house.” That’s because technology purchases are an important investment – which require careful consideration of not just the costs, but also how the benefits will help you maximise productivity. For example, graphic designers may find that more processing power, high-end graphics and even touch screens are worth the ticket price, while a financial services firm might choose processing power and a bigger hard drive but skip the graphics and touch screen.

You can leverage online forums and tools to help understand what options are available so you can make an informed decision.

Mistake 5: Wasting time with inefficient training
Having the right technology for your business is important, but if your staff doesn’t have the proper training on how to perform routine tasks, productivity can suffer and customers might not receive the kind of support and service they need.

Because training takes time, it can become a lower priority. According to one Tech Republic article, “It’s estimated that office staff understand less than 20% of the available features in the software applications they use. That means 80% of the features, timesaving capabilities, and cost-reducing functions remain unused.”

When bringing on a new employee, this issue can be magnified as there’s a lot to teach in a short amount of time.

Mistake 6: Having a ‘set it & forget it’ mentality
You probably take your car in for regular oil changes and tune-ups, but do you treat your technology to the same kind of routine maintenance? Even the most powerful technologies need ongoing care to ensure optimal performance – and it only takes a few minutes of maintenance to keep your systems running smoothly.
To avoid inevitable system lags that occur as a result of overlooking or avoiding computer updates, it’s best to run weekly system and anti virus updates. It’s also a good idea to clear your browser cache, delete old e-mail messages, and run Disk Defragmenter and Disk Cleanup every month to increase the performance of your PC

Mistake 7: Hesitating to call for help
There are a lot of IT issues that you can solve on your own fairly quickly. But some situations, such as optimising major technology purchases or repairing faulty equipment, might require more time – and energy – than you anticipate. So how can you determine the right time to tap professional IT support?

When it appears that fixing IT issues will take longer than you would like – or if you simply want to ensure that you’re setting up or repairing systems the right way from the beginning – it’s a good time to call for help. Eradicating viruses and spyware from infected PCs, for example, might be a task best left to the pros.

If you’re facing a complex technology challenge, a professional consultant can help you save minutes, hours, or even days. That’s because a qualified IT professional is adept at identifying and resolving complex issues quickly, can determine the appropriate hardware and software investments for your organisation, and put proactive monitoring and maintenance services in place to minimise or eliminate downtime.

Mistake 8: Using multiple vendors and OS
According to International Data Corp. (IDC), 36 percent of businesses surveyed rely on two or more operating systems – which requires multiple efforts to manage them. The research firm indicates that those who standardise not only operating systems but also hardware and software programs have “the highest levels of Return On investment” and lower costs associated with training, deploying updates, and managing systems.

This is partly due to the fact that troubleshooting and resolving issues on disparate systems requires more investigation into each problem. And if you need to replace hardware components, you have to track down purchasing records to determine which parts each system needs – and that, of course, takes time that could be better spent running your business.

This doesn’t mean you need to update all of your hardware and software systems at once, but when you do upgrade your PCs, “make sure you purchase only business class computers, and always get the same model,” says IT support guru Michael Cooch. It’s also wise to use the same operating system and application suites on all of your PCs so every employee has the same set of tools at their fingertips. That way, if any issue ever comes up, you can solve it once.

Mistake 9: Delaying hardware replacement
Technology, like everything else, has a set life cycle. And that’s why, as one report indicates, “Accountants typically amortise computers after three or four years.” After that, hardware is prone to failure — and putting off hardware replacements can actually end up costing more than purchasing new equipment.

Darin Stahl, Info-Tech Research group analyst suggests that holding off on technology upgrades may seem like the prudent choice, but that “really it’s costing you.” Consider the research conducted by Tech Aisle, which indicates that the cost of maintaining newer PCs can be as much as 150 percent lower than maintaining older ones – yet 40 percent of PCs in small businesses are more than three years old.

With newer hardware running the latest software, you’ll benefit from improved processing speeds and a smoother overall operation – which results in more time, flexibility, and productivity for your organisation.

Mistake 10: Lacking an emergency plan
What would happen to your business if your accounts receivable files were lost, or contact lists destroyed? Would a technology mishap put you permanently out of business?

Lack of planning is cited as one of the top reasons small business fail, according to the SBA and SCORE. And that includes both preparing for disaster – and also planning for recovery and growth. That’s why it’s important to know which kinds of losses would be most damaging to your operation, because understanding where you’re vulnerable can help you prepare for unexpected – and potentially devastating – events. This includes not just backing up files and using anti-malware systems

How to perfect your body language of on-line presentations

10 powerful presentation tips

As mobile work styles become increasingly popular, odds are you’re going to wind up hosting a video conference or webinar sometime in the near future. With a limited amount of screen real estate to work with and varying device screen sizes that your audience will be using, it’s more important than ever that you make a great first impression. So, are you ready for your close up?

It is crucial for you as the speaker to be able to establish confidence and credibility with your audience in order to hold their attention, especially on a video conference. Think about it—they don’t even have to worry about looking rude if they want to leave; if they don’t like you, they can just turn off their device. Luckily we’ve compiled 10 tips for simple and powerful body language improvement that you can follow to help build trust nonverbally with your audience.

Tip 1: Check your body language (before you wreck your body language).Are you sitting slouched over? Are your arms crossed? Do you appear approachable? Those are all questions that your audience asks themselves when they see you for the first time. They are looking for subtle physical cues to inform how they are going to listen to you or interact with you. If you open up your posture and appear relaxed and friendly, your audience will subconsciously mirror that behavior and be more accepting of what you’re going to say.

Tip 2: Create positive eye contact, not the creepy kind.
We all know that there’s a clear distinction between “creepy” eye contact and positive eye contact. Your audience is going to be staring directly at your face for an extended period of time, so make sure that your expression isn’t too intense and try to smile with your eyes, or just relax your face and pretend like you’re talking with a friend. This will put your audience at ease, and they will find themselves smiling back at their screens. Like yawning, it’s contagious.

Tip 3: Use microexpressions to add animation.No need to maintain a blank poker face when talking on a video conference or webinar. In fact, your audience will probably appreciate you having animation as it shows them that you are passionate about your topic or empathetic to their problem.That being said, before you turn on your webcam to hundreds of (hopefully) intent listeners, take a few minutes and preview yourself in the video viewer. Do you raise your eyebrows when you’re surprised? Do you furrow your brows when you’re confused? Being aware of these microexpressions can help you shape your audience’s initial impressions of you while projecting self-confidence on camera.

Tip 4: Decide what to wear and what not to wear.It’s difficult to listen to someone or even take them seriously when they are wearing a sloppily tied bow tie or ridiculously tight clothes. You find yourself distracted and focusing on the person’s appearance instead of their message. The same goes for your audience. Make sure you have selected an outfit that is culturally appropriate for the audience you are addressing. Try wearing form fitting, professional clothes that make you feel good and colors that you know will compliment your overall appearance on camera. (Red is the hardest color to produce on video.) That small level of self-comfort will translate on screen in a big way to your audience. The more at ease you look, the more confident you will appear to people—and that goes a long way towards building credibility.

Tip 5: Know your frame game.
A typical phrase used in television is to ask “What’s my frame?” It’s a way for an actor or director to understand how the camera is going to be framing up their shot. As you are your own active cameraman, you’re going to have to take the responsibility to ask “What’s my frame?” before your audience even sees you. Are you in a professional setting where you feel relaxed and ready to talk? Is your chair at the optimum height for your audience to see you? Is your webcam pointed directly at you? Is the lighting around you unflattering? These are all small things that you can adjust so that you feel ready and don’t have any last-minute scrambling, which your audience might interpret as you not being ready or not caring about their time.

Tip 6: Keep your gestures within view.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who liked to talk with their hands? While it can be a fun way to illustrate your point (or a not-so-fun way to put out an eye), it can also be a giant distraction for your audience. In a video conference, you don’t have a lot of space for gestures, and wild or large hand movements that may work in live environments might make you look erratic or completely detract from what you are trying to say. Keep your movements controlled and on-camera at all times. Be assertive with your movements without being harsh and try to keep the movement as natural as possible. Looking crazy or nervous on a video conference using fast or unnatural gestures could be interpreted by your audience as bring unprepared.

Tip 7: Sit up straight, like you’ve always been told.Do you ever find yourself hunching over to look in to your camera? Well, your audience sees that too, only it looks like extreme slouching to them. Good posture is a subtle nonverbal cue that your audience will pick up on as an indication of poise. The more open and erect your posture on camera, the more confidence you are going to project to those watching you. If you look assured of yourself and your presence on camera, your audience will trust that you know what you’re talking about.

Tip 8: Know your stuff.This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating if it will help you build credibility and lead to a stellar first impression with your audience. Have you rehearsed your presentation? Do you know your topic inside and out? Do you know who you are talking to? Are there any cultural nuances that you should be aware of with your audience?
Asking yourself these types of questions beforehand can help you avoid embarrassing pitfalls which could annoy or even offend your audience. Knowing your subject matter will also allow you keep your head up instead of buried in notes. That will give the impression of self-assuredness and intelligence—two very good things when trying to build trust and make connections with new people on a video conference.

Tip 9: Vary your vocal pitch (but not too much).The inflection of your voice, even before you get into the meat of your presentation, has the power to influence the way others will see you. Before you start your video conference, allow your voice to relax into its optimal pitch. Do some vocal warms ups, practice how you are going to say hello or even just practice the first few lines of your pitch. This will help you maintain a more even and relaxed tone when meeting your audience for the first time. Try to keep your vocal inflection varied but not all over the place. It will keep your tone interesting. Sounding confident and prepared will help establish you as a thought leader in your audience’s eyes.

Tip 10: Get familiar with your good side.
It sounds funny, but do you know your “good side?” Being aware of your strengths will go a long way to establishing credibility with an audience who are going to be making a snap judgment of you based on what they see on a webcam. The  audience is literally taking you at face value when they first meet you on a video conference. Understanding how you look on camera and what angles work for you is an easy way to show your audience that you know what you’re doing and that they should listen to you.

Lights, camera, your turn!
Closing that big deal or presenting to an executive board can be stressful, but using these simple yet effective tips can help you to exude self-confidence and build credibility with your audience.

First published by

How to win at rock paper scissors

A group of scientists in China showed that while the strategy of players looks random, it actually consists of predictable patterns that an opponent could exploit to gain a vital edge

Study reveals there is a winning strategy to the simple playground game

A study into the popular game rock-paper-scissors has discovered the best strategy to win the game

A group of mathematicians in China showed that while the strategy of players looks random, it actually consists of predictable patterns that an opponent could exploit to gain a vital edge.
Dr Zhijian Wang recruited 360 students from Zhejiang University who were divided into 60 groups of six players. The players played 300 rounds of rock-paper-scissors against each other and their actions were recorded.
On average, the players in all the groups initially chose each action about a third of the time, which is what would be expected if their choices were random.
However Zhijian’s results showed that players who won the first round of the game tended to stick with the same action while those who lost would switch actions in a “clockwise direction” where rock changes to paper, paper to scissors, scissors to rock.
It was previously thought that players chose each of the three options of rock, paper or scissors equally over time.

Dr Zhijian says that this could be because previous experiments have all been done on a much smaller scale.

He says that it is not clear whether the human response to the game is “built in” to the brain, but that the conclusion that people use a predictable strategy when playing rock-paper-scissors means that the weakness could be exploited:

“Our theoretical calculations reveal that this new strategy may offer higher payoffs to individual players” he said.

Study shows only half of the UK IT decision makers are aware of impending EU data laws


Only half of UK IT decision makers are aware of the coming EU Data Protection Regulation, compared with 87% in Germany, a survey has revealed.

The proposed regulation is a set of legislation that aims to bring comprehensive reform to data protection, strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe’s digital economy.

If the regulations are broken, fines could be as high as €100m or 5% of global revenue.
While 95% of German respondents were aware there would be fines, almost a quarter of UK respondents were unaware of the proposed fines.
The survey by security firm Trend Micro polled 850 senior IT decision makers across Europe.

Of the 250 UK respondents, just 10% said they fully understood what steps their organisation needs to take to achieve compliance.

More than eight in 10 UK respondents believe their organisation faces significant challenges to comply with the data protection regulation, with a quarter saying that adhering to it is unrealistic.

Lack of employee awareness (44%) and restricted resources (31%) were highlighted as the biggest barriers.

Nearly half of UK businesses said two to four years was a more realistic timeframe for them to comply.

“With ratification expected in 2014, it is alarming to see how little is known about such key privacy regulations,” said Rik Ferguson, vice-president security research at Trend Micro.
“This affects every organisation, regardless of size. If a company processes data then it needs to be aware,” he said.

According to Ferguson, data privacy should be a board-level discussion as companies look to gain maximum value from a new generation of big data projects.
“This is not just an IT issue. Duty to comply falls to everyone from the receptionist right up to the chief executive officer,” he said.

The survey revealed that even UK businesses aware of the regulations are confused over to whom it will apply and who will be responsible for compliance.

Almost a quarter of respondents either did not think the regulation would apply to their organisation or did not know.

Nearly four in five of UK respondents believe some responsibility for ensuring compliance with the proposed regulation lies with the organisation as a whole.

More than a quarter (28%) place responsibility for this with a data protection officer and around a tenth with the government or a business insurance provider.
Half UK IT decision makers unaware of coming EU data laws, study shows

Nearly two thirds of respondents believe the proposed regulation will apply to EU-registered companies and over a third think it will apply to companies in business with EU companies.

Less than half of respondents correctly identified that the proposed legislation will apply to any company that deals with EU resident data, even if that company does not have a legal entity within any EU state.

More than eight in 10 UK respondents said their organisation will need to take steps to become compliant.

To achieve this, most plan to increase employee training on data protection (57%), half plan to increase investment in IT security, and just over a quarter plan to increase their data breach insurance cover.

“These findings need to serve as a wake-up call, both to businesses and governments that these changes are coming and we all need to prepare,” said Ferguson. “If they don’t take action there is the very real chance that they might wake up with a nasty fine on their hands that could potentially have a major impact on their business,” he said.

According to Ferguson, every business should start the process of compliance with a health check or assessment of where the organisation is right now in terms of what data is stored, how it is processed and what policies currently govern it.

“This will put organisations in a position to know where the holes are in their data policy and what needs addressing,” he said