Sunday, 1 December 2013

KitKat and Flash.

I know,  the title sounds like Lamas has acquired 2 kittens, but that is not the case.  In any case Lamas Dog would not approve.  She is most definitely anti-cat!

Android 4.3 KitKat and Adobe Flash player probably should have been my title.

A good few web sites use Flash player.  There are also quite a few people that use Android devices.

There are many sites out there that will explain why these 2 technologies don't immediately play nice together and that Adobe stopped supporting Android a couple of versions ago, so if necessary, I will wait while you Google it.

Lamas Dog

There are several Android devices here at Lamas HQ.  The phones are not a problem.  However, the recent Android upgrade of the Nexus to 4.3 caused some head scratching.

But someone else has come up with a solution to make Flash work on Android, once again.

XDA developers member, Surviveland, has sorted out a solution.

The post, which explains it, is here at XDA

Great job, Surviveland!

Enjoy your Sunday.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


I have recently overhauled the security on all the Lamas devices.  There are quite a few that are used for various different tasks at Lamas HQ.

I have noticed that some of the free versions don't have "on access" scanning.  Lamas dog and I were reading a recent magazine, that I get on subscription.  It provides a download service instead of the cover DVD.

One of the offers was a 6 month sub for Panda Internet Security and another for 12 months Bitdefender AV.

The Panda software includes a module that will protect the kids online activities.

 £75 Quid's worth of software for less than the magazine cover price - as the subscription for the mag was less per issue than cover price of 5.99.

If you are interested, the mag was the January issue of PC Pro.

Windows xp ... Have you sorted it yet?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Windows XP Upgrade

"After April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. If you continue to use Windows XP, your computer might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses."  ...from the Microsoft site.

You have just 6 months to upgrade your operating system, if you are currently running XP.

XP was a successful operating system and has been in operation for about 12 years.  There have been 3 subsequent upgrades since its release, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

What does it mean "withdrawing support"?  It means that while XP will continue to run on your computer, Microsoft will no longer be issuing security updates, bug fixes or service packs leaving you vulnerable to any newly discovered weaknesses in the operating system.   

There are, however, alternatives if you dont want to or can't afford to pay out for an upgrade licence.  Here are a couple of options:

  1. Ditch the PC/Laptop and spend the money on an Android Tablet or an iPad.
  2. If you want to continue using your current hardware you could install a Linux operating system - Linux Mint for instance, with a Cinnamon interface looks, I understand, like the XP you are used to.
  3. Although Google Chrome operating system is not for heavyweight applications like Photoshop, it is cloud based and lightweight.  Maybe not intended for your primary computer, but maybe as a secondary computer for social networking or for the kids to do their homework research.
Don't think that because you are running a Microsoft product at the moment that you options are limited to a Microsoft upgrade.  As I have described above there are alternatives out there if you want. 
If you are unsure of where to go after XP, find a local IT professional that will help you.  
Type "Alternative XP upgrade" into a web browser of your choice.  Read up on your options.

Moving from XP to Windows 7 or 8 is going to involve changing operating system, layout and how you do and find things.  Using an alternative OS to Microsoft Windows will be no different.


Monday, 30 September 2013

passport renewals

It was time to renew the junior Lamas passports.  So, Lamas Network division sat down at the PC and began the laborious task of filling out the forms online.  He had their old passports, mine and his and was merrily typing away.

"How much is it?" I asked.
"Dunno it hasn't said yet.  What's IPR?"
"Wassa what who?"  I replied.  Looking over his shoulder.
I looked at the URL expecting to see a .gov address.
"What site are you actually on - passports are a .gov site," I said

" ...  " was his reply.  He was on question 9.  "I did a search".
He showed me the search.

The top Google result for passport renewal he landed on was not the renewal site for the government passport agency, but a 3rd party who Review applications on your behalf prior to submission to the government passport agency.

A similar thing happened to a friend while she was renewing the family EHIC cards, all the info was duly entered for new cards and then she got a screen requesting payment for the processing fee.  It was then she realised that she was not on the correct site.

The point of all this is be aware who you are actually giving your info to.  Make sure the site you are on is the right one.  I am not saying that these 3rd parties are trying to scam you, they are offering you a service for which you will be charged over and above any charges that you were expecting to pay.  In the case of the EHIC cards these are issued free by the NHS.

In case you were wondering the cost of a kids passport, (when dealing directly with the passport agency) is £45.00.  It will last them just 5 years.  An Adult passport is £79.00 for 10 years.

Enjoy the summer weather we seem to have (this week).  Lamas dog seems to be spending all her time laying on the grass, alternating position based on how hot she is and whether or not shade is required.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Microsoft Starter Edition Not working?

Had a phone call from one of my extremely important clients yesterday.  (My sister!).  She was working from home and could not get her laptop to play nice with Microsoft Office Starter edition.  It is a version that came with her Laptop and is enough for her, she is not interested in more that Word and Excel.

It was working ok last week she told me and could not understand why all of a sudden it did not want to work. 

As a quick "get you back up and running as I have to go out" fix I got OpenOffice up running for her.  While I was out I did a quick search on the internet to see if there was anyone else with the same apparently sudden issue.

There was.

It appears that the most recent round of Microsoft updates changed all her file associations.  The icons appearing in windows explorer were different.  It seems that it was looking for a different version of Office and was kindly offering the purchase of the full licence showing the window below - sneaky!

I was able to sort her laptop out later on so that she was able to use her Starter edition again and be more productive on her work from home day.

The website I found useful - it is much more eloquent and detailed that I could hope to be was :

Have a good day, everyone.  I am off to walk the newest addition to the Lamas team, Lamas Dog!

Friday, 19 July 2013

PC overheating in this weather?

The Junior Lamas Design Duo finish school today.  They start their new one in September.  

I went to their leavers assembly today and yes, I cried!  I cried the day they started and I cried the day they finished.  I am their mum, it is my right to do so!

The weather we are having at the moment is just fantastic.  The garden is dry, well, maybe dryer than I would like but the hosepipe is taking care of the vegetables growing in the garden.

What we do need to watch is the temperature inside.  Computers and Laptops dont like being hot, they need to be kept well ventilated.  

If you are having a sudden epidemic of PC crashes, reboots and general nonsense it may be that you are having overheating issues.

Make sure all the fans inside desktops are working.
Ensure that the vents on your laptop are clear and that air is circulating freely.

If you still have issues it may be that there is a build up of dust inside your PC which needs clearing out.

This is quite easy to do, but it is something Lamas Design and Technology can fix.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Tuition : one to one computer lessons Benfleet

I was recently asked if I offered lessons in using a computer.  I replied Maybe!

I have just given my first lesson.  It seemed to go well and I was rebooked for same time next week.

So I am adding this as a service offered  by Lamas Design.

Monday, 3 June 2013

User Account Passwords

User Accounts are a good thing. 

Forgetting the password for it is not! 

Another thing that is not good is setting a password that you cannot remember setting and not remembering what it was that you set it to!

Lamas Design "Networking Division" managed to set a password on his laptop user account yesterday
  1. without actually realising that he had done so
  2. not using one of his standard methods for making up said password
  3. not making a note of it.
So, today when he switched on his laptop, he arrived at the login screen and was unable to get any further.

It was not long before he realised that he might have an issue.  He tried various different combinations. 

The reset password link on the login screen is to be set up BEFORE crisis point.  Not after you have forgotten, mis-laid, or set it up by mistake!!

I learned something new today.  I learned how to sort this out without any tears, reinstalls or anything major!  Just another sucessful day at the office!

One thing that I also learned is, that if you only have one user account on the PC it makes it more difficult (but not impossible.) to sort out. Having a second account on your PC makes life a little bit easier!

I will be sending the Network Division an invoice for my services!! 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Raspberry Pi Media Centre (Again)

The Lamas Household is getting on well with the Raspberry Pi.

That's about the size of it!

Because of this I have decided to add an additional service to Lamas Design and Technology.

As an additional service I am going to supply and install Raspberry Pi to turn a TV into a Smart TV to stream media.

For the first 2 weeks in June I will be offering it at a discounted rate.

For Full details and prices see my website!

Lamas Design website.

I hope your first day of summer was a good one!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Raspberry Pi Media centre part 2

The Raspberry Pi Media Centre is working well!

The Networking Division is extremely happy with it.  He had a bithday this week so the Junior Lamas (Lamettes?) bought him a remote keyboard and mouse.

Its a bit bigger than a mobile phone and takes up much less space that a full keyboard and mouse.  It is wirelessly connected to the Pi via a USB dongle and has sufficient range that he can use it accross the kitchen while he is cooking my tea!

The spec according to Amazon is

2.4 GHz Mini Wireless Media Keyboard with Multi-Touch Gesture
Touchpad Mouse Remote PC HTPC for Windows XP/Vista/7.

OS Compatibility : Windows XP/ Vista / 7       (the manual includes Linux)
Dimension(L x W x H): 125 x 86 x 18 mm
Weight: 106g
Wireless Technology: RF 2.4GHz ISM band
Transfer Distance: 10 meters (depend on user environment)
Frequency Scope: 2479 MHz 

It takes 2 AAA batteries.

The manual, however, was less than comprehensive !  According to the manual it was to be installed using the handy CD enclosed,  which is fine for a laptop or PC but just not much use on the Raspberry Pi.

The Settings option in RaspBMC gave no further help.

But we found it in Programs.
Selected RaspBMC settings.
Across the top of the window is

Networking         Nightly Build       System Config       IR Remote
Config                          Config

Selecting IR Remote on the right side of the screen gives a further 3 options. 
The bottom one is GPIO IR Remote and on the right it scrolls through a list of different remotes.
We selected TTUSB remote and were good to go.

It has made the Raspberry Pi more portable as we don't have to trail the keyboard, mouse and mat around the house.

Blue Keep Bluekeep what is it?

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