Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Nexus 7

There seems to be a minor rebellion with the Lamas Devices at the moment.  A Lamas PC was giving me grief a few weeks ago and now my Nexus 7 is getting in on the act. 

While I was getting the Lamas Juniors ready for school this morning we were talking about Nocturnal animals, badgers, hedgehogs, owls and bats.  They are learning this at school.  They are both in the same year at school and therefore, are learning the same thing.  Well, you would think they are learning.  Lamas M told me that a Hedgehog is 3 times smaller than an average cat and Lamas S told me it was 3 times bigger. 

So I decided, that to settle the differing opinions of the Junior Lamas, I would turn to my constant companion, my Nexus 7, to show them who was correct.  I knew that the battery was low and had already plugged it in.  I switched it on and carried on with the usual routine.  

I came back to it a few minutes later and it had not switched on so I pressed the on button again.  It did the usual Google and then the X on the screen.  Then horror of horrors, the screen went all fuzzy and pixelated, and switched itself off again.

Oh. My. Stars.

After they were safely in school I came home to wrestle with it.  I checked the usual sources online and it did not look promising.  So I tried a factory reset. Still nothing.  But this did clear all my own data from the Nexus.  

I phoned the tech dept of the store it came from.  I had not rooted it and it was still within its warantee period. 

They asked me some basic questions - they don't know that I fix PCs.  I told them what I had done already.  

They suggested that I should just take it back to the store I got it from and once it was confirmed that there was no damage to the screen, they would replace it. 

In the store they checked it and replaced it with really very little fuss.

On returning home I entered my email address and within a short period of time there it was as always with my picture of the Junior Lamas on the home screen.

Crisis over.

Back to repairing the laptop waiting for me in the workshop!!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Computer Repairs Benfleet

Spring has arrived today in Benfleet.  The sun is out at last and I have one lone daffodill.  The rest are just all leaves.

But that is not to say tomorrow will be the same.  Dont you just love english weather.

One of the hardest parts of setting up Lamas Design, I have found is getting my name out there.

I have set up my Website www.lamasdesign.co.uk
I have put together an informative brochure.

I upgrade operating systems.
Fix PCs
Repair Laptops
Network setup 
Virus Removal
Ransomware Removal

I am going to enjoy the sunshine today I hope you have some where you are!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Malware Bitten

Been a bit quiet this week.  Had lots of admin type stuff to do.  
Sort out the bank. 
Get some advertising stuff sorted out.
Cashflow and Business plan stuff

Clean up the Lamas Desktop PC!

It seems that I got caught out by Malware!  (Hangs head in shame!)

I was looking for something that would give me an alarm after 15 or 20 minutes.  In hindsight I should have used the timer on the cooker!  But that would have meant that I had to get up and go into the kitchen.

I downloaded something from CNet and went to install it.  The firewall went crazy and the AV started jumping up and down.  It would seem that bundled in with the alarm app, was a browser toolbar or extension - which I hate, Wajam and pricepeep and ever since I have been getting pop up ads, continual google surveys and advertising. And SelectionLinks which was giving me ads on just about everything under the sun.

Just about everything I install recently has a do you want to install something else or other that you didnt ask for button.  Usually this is ticked in premature confirmation.  I installed a Flash update today.  That included an additional virus checker.  

Be vigilant when you install something and read and understand all the clicky ticky boxes.

It happens to the best of us and the most careful.  I was fortunate that the anti-virus and the firewall did their job.  There was not clicky tick box to check, this one was bundled in with the application.

I  ran Malwarebytes and it found 16 registry keys (Head is still hanging in shame!)  It is running now for the second time just to be on the safe side.

Anti-virus scan seems ok, I think it caught most of it on the way in. 

Have a good weekend!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Windows 7 Updates

On Tuesday, Microsoft posted 9 updates for Windows 7.

As it turns out, one of these conflicts with other software installed on the system and they are now advising that this update should be uninstalled.

The Windows 7 system will fail to start with everyones favourite Blue Screen with the following error
STOP: c000021a {Fatal System Error} The Session Manager Initialization system process terminated unexpectedly with a status of 0xC000003a (0x00000000 0x00000000). The system has shutdown.

It is blamed, by Microsoft, on 3rd Party software and they have withdrawn the update.

Here is a link to Sophos giving a more detailed explanation

Here is a link to the Microsoft knowledgebase article 

If you click on the + On this page it will open out and provide you with instructions for removal of this update if you have it.

If you follow the method using the control panel --> uninstall option you will need to scroll down to the section Microsoft Windows.

If you have already restarted and you have issues, you may need to find your windows 7 disk, but follow the onscreen prompts.  You should be able to access the page from a tablet or smartphone so that you can follow them.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Raspberry Pi Media Centre

The networking division of Lamas Design has been muttering about the fact that the TV in the kitchen does not allow him to connect to our film library.  The main TV has an ethernet connection and he has a playstation in his mancave, which allows him access.  So while he is cooking dinner he is limited to just the cable box offerings.  (Oh Bless!)

He was given an idea by a friend that using a Raspberry  Pi box would allow him to do this. 

We purchased the necessary kit, put it together and booted up.

The SD card that it came with, contained "Raspbian Weezey".  This appeared very much like a commonly available desktop, with web browser and so on.  Neither of us have much Linux knowledge.
We had a look around on the web and found that to use it as a media server we would be better off using either Raspbmc or Rasplex.  
Again I state that neither of us have much Linux knowledge.

I found a tutorial for installing Raspbmc, so that is the one we went with. At this point Mr Network was not interested and kept telling me "I have no idea what I am doing"  (haha he thought I did?!) And he wandered off.

Once the SD card had been updated to Raspbmc and had sorted out its installation and rebooted a few times, and was showing a screen which proclaimed :
Music                   Videos                 Photographs           Settings
my services, it seemed, were no longer needed as it was now all interesting again!!
Some time later, I was ushered into the kitchen to find that the kitchen tv was now displaying the film library and all the music and photos from the network.  

This was very simple to put together, very reasonable price, and easy to get going.  And finally, just in case the point was missed earlier, we had little Linux knowledge, but now I think that is changing.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Windows XP 2001 - 2014

I read today that support for XP ends in exactly one year.

What does this mean?

It means that if you are one of the almost 39% of computer users that currently has XP installed, in one years time on 8th April, 2014 Microsoft will not be issuing any further security updates and patches for Windows XP.  This leaves XP users vulnerable to attack in the future.

Security provider Sophos has an article

So what can you do?

Start thinking about what you need to do.  Do you just need to upgrade your Operating system or are the minimum requirements for Windows 8 higher specification than your current system?

How do you find out?

The minimum requirement for Windows 8 is 
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster and also supporting certain protocols
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
There are also a few other additional things which are detailed on the Microsoft site here

Usually, when they say minimum requirement they mean bare minimum so you will be looking at a bit higher spec in reality

To find out if your current system meets these requirements you can run the Microsoft Upgrade Assistant.  

To take the worry and the head scratching out of the equation find a local company to do this for you. 

I can do this for you if you live in South East Essex!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Ts and Cs

Lamas Design and Technology is slowly growing into a real company!

There are business cards, accounts, HMRC registration and all sorts.  The thing I am working on at the moment is Terms and Conditions and this gave me the subject for this post.


The question is, if you lost your hard drive tomorrow would you still have all your data, music, photos, videos?

Backing up your data is a very important part of using your PC, Laptop or handheld device.   There are many applications to make this easy and some of them are even free.

There are many options and ways to do this, I have listed some ideas below:

Copy all your documents, photos, videos, music and stuff 
  • to another PC on your network.
  • to optical disks, CDs or DVDs
  • to cloud storage.
  • Buy an external drive and copy all your files to it.
It shouldn't need to be a BIG ISSUE - it should just be something you do regularly, thoroughly and often.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Facebook flail

Facebook…it has many uses.  

It helps me keep in touch with friends and relatives.  I see what everyone is up to, get a heads up on birthdays,  I play scrabble with my sister and some other odd games.

However, there are a few things…

I often see posts that tell me I must urgently change my security settings so that I do not repost stuff by mistake others have posted.  flail flail!

The last one was regarding the Facebook Graph App.  It told me to change the security settings for EACH of my friends.  Yeah – NO.   

If I had changed my security settings the way suggested I would not see anything  or anyone on my feed AT ALL!!

I don’t take credit for analysing the post.  That, according to a site called Snopes.com, was done by security provider Sophos.

Article from Snopes including the text of the post

I have noticed that in the past it was emails that I was checking on Snopes, in the last few years my main enquiries to Snopes have come mostly from facebook fodder.  

I have found that selecting a part of the text, copying and pasting into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or anyother search engine that you might prefer to use will give  results.

Take for instance the graphapp post, the first line up to and including the key words Graph App.


I put this into a search.  The first site listed is Snopes followed by many other sites each giving advice on this Hoax.

So, next time, maybe take a minute before you repost some “security warning” to all of your Facebook friends.  Select some text, do a search, and just see if it is a real issue or just something someone made up for the hell of it.

Snopes.com is an intereting read.  Take a look at their articles.

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