Social Media is Part of the Problem When it Could be Part of the Solution.

I’m sure we have all noticed the divide between what we think is right and what others think is right, how people seem to hold completely opposite views to ourselves and there is very little common ground any more. We have seen it with Brexit, Covid-19 anti-mask/vax and the US elections to name but a few. The beliefs on both sides are so strong that you have to ask yourself how has this happened.

 The answer, it seems, largely lies with Social Media, it has created a distrust of Main Stream Media (MSM) and authority but, I hasten to add, it appears not intentionally. You see Social Media when it first entered our lives brought us a great way to connect with each other and stay in touch. Then the added bonus of being able to connect to our favourite celebrities and it quickly became a great tool.

However, in order to survive they had to make money and the model on how to do this was born. This model which is automated is what literally controls all your online experiences as they all intricately connect with each other ensuring you get what you like and find what you want. Simply put we are no longer a customer of social Media we are the product that it sells in order to make its money and boy does it make money. The bots automatically gather your data from you in every aspect of your online usage and they don’t sell that information as was first thought, they use that information to determine what you like and dislike what political persuasion you are, religion, hobbies, family friends etc and how that all connects together and it creates a profile that is unique to you and it knows through trial and error what works for you and what doesn’t. So how is this used and why does it matter? So, what’s its role and why is it important?

On an initial look the innocence can be seen, in order to give you advertisements that are targeted to you it uses the gathered information to target you with adverts that are likely to be of interest to you. You may like fishing so it gives you fishing equipment, nothing wrong with that that’s clever and creates a better experience to your online encounter, however these bots have a sole purpose and that purpose is to give you as many adverts as possible in order to make as much money as possible and it does this by keeping you engaged not in the adverts but in what it is that triggers you to keep looking at your screen with an occasional advert. The problem with this method of delivery is there is no morals to it, as in if your profile recognises you are interested in conspiracy theories then it will share more of that type of content with you rather than anything else so it seems that what you are looking at is far bigger than what it is and more importantly the bot doesn’t care if its accurate or true, its aim is to keep you looking at the screen so it can sell some chewing gum. 

So, we have misinformation and distrust spreading on a Global scale to the point where the FBI are concerned in the USA that people will take to the streets with guns to protest Trumps loss of the election. There is no balance you only see what you believe and the other side only see what they believe so the divide gets bigger as you can’t understand why the other side would reach such ludicrous conclusions, but the truth is they don’t see what you see and you don’t see what they see and the more interest you show the more it gives you so it can have another sale. A viscous circle which needs to end. The Covid-19 deniers who think there is a global conspiracy for a reset, seems such an extreme view but if that’s all your feed on Facebook Instagram or even when you Google something it only gives you what you want instead of the balance that is required in order to make an informed decision, then it’s easy to see how conclusions are made.

So where to now, how to fix this? First we have to see there is an issue, do you find yourself endlessly starring at social media? Check out your screen times and notice how many hours you are engaged. Hours slip passed unnoticed and all the time we fall deeper into its spell as it uses our own phycology against us, notice how TV is not allowed to advertise things before certain times but social media and the internet can do what it likes. There is no regulation and the companies making all the money aren’t going to want to loose there revenue so they won’t do it without being forced to and most importantly we have to want them to, we have to want a better clearer future for the next generation so that when they look for information it gives it them on what they asked rather than what the bot thinks they will like in order to sell some jeans. Morals need to be enforced onto the internet or we will all face more and more dilemma’s in the future.

Check out ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix a documentary that challenges the tech giants to look at themselves and their morals.  


EU Privacy Laws not taken seriously in the US.

In the world we live in we are forever encouraged to use clouds to store our data, but how safe is it? We are often asked to balance up between ease of use and privacy, with many people simply closing there eyes to what actually happens especially when using major suppliers in particular from the United States.

There ‘culture of surveillance’ has recently been pushed back by the EU. US cloud firms like Microsoft are already regularly shown to flaunt European privacy laws, as was shown again recently by the Dutch Government exposing dozens of GDPR violations.(see article) Yet they continue to be a go to for most people even though the US potentially has access to very sensitive information, which could and does give them an advantage in the Global market. We as users seem to not worry about this as we think realistically what could they do with that data. We should be concerned and we shouldn’t blindly sign away our rights when ever we are asked to by a web page that makes it awkward to say yes to privacy. Imagine always knowing how your competitors are doing, how much they charge, who there suppliers are? This is only a small taste of what that information could be used for. It’s time to ensure your data is safe, these major companies have made a considerable amount of money while flouting the local laws of the land. We need to return to the time when we stored and backed up our own data, although it can be slightly more expensive there is a peace of mind that comes from knowing you ‘own your own data’. Consider why they make it so cost effective for you to store your data with them.

When working with clouds we always recommend, for your protection and privacy, a cloud system where the data is yours and it is stored on your own system within the walls of your business giving you full control to only allow access to the people you want to, but although we can recommend it all to often it’s not the way some people want to go. Stay safe and consider what your data could be used for, the answer may surprise you.


Windows 10 getting slower?

Windows products are notoriously memory and processor hungry, never more so than with windows 10. In an attempt to make it ‘idiot proof’ Microsoft have added features and programs that you don’t even need, just in case you might. They are also collecting data from your system constantly for advertising and improvements and all sorts of reasons, whilst you may not mind this it takes up valuable resources especially on an older machine. They take up space in your memory and CPU and increasingly over time cause issues with things appearing to get slower and slower. That said not all issues are caused by Microsoft. Check out below, the answer may be easier than you think.

  1. Programs that run at startup that you never use. Also programs that you have run that remain running in the background unless you close them in the system tray.
Go to your task manager and look at the Startup Tab. All these programs run at startup, are they all needed? Right click and disable them from running at startup. This doesn’t mean they will never work again, it means they will only run when you want them saving valuable memory and processor speed, especially on older machines.
Look at the system tray and right click and close any programs not currently being used. They serve no purpose if you aren’t using them so close those not required.

2. Snooze time folks but Windows updates need to be done to maintain optimum performance (If there is such a thing). Anyone with Windows 10 knows that updates are the main reason for the computer being slow as they tend to run in the background if auto updates is turned on. However it’s worth knowing not all updates will perform automatically and sometimes it needs you to tell it to do them as they are larger feature updates. Don’t put these off and if you think you might have missed one you can always check. Go to Start and click Settings or the settings icon. Then go to Updates & Security/Windows Updates.

Look for feature updates and let them install and complete.

3. Keep a check on your hard drive storage space and delete unwanted files, don’t forget to empty the recycle bin as all files you delete end up in there and are taking up space. If you are sure they are finished with then empty the bin. If you are using a Hard Drive and it gets 90% full this will drastically slow down the performance of the drive and in turn the performance of your machine. If you are using an SSD then it is recommended to fill these even less than a standard Hard Drive as it will cause performance issues.

4. Windows 10 power options. These tend to be on the recommended setting which balances performance against power consumption. This is more for when you are using a laptop and you switch to battery. If you have an older Desktop or your laptop is plugged in then moving the power option setting to high performance will give you more resources but will consume a little more power.

Go to Control Panel/Hardware and Sound/Power Options/Create a power plan.

5. Uninstall unwanted applications and software. It seems an obvious thing to do but we are all guilty of not doing it and once again valuable Hard Drive space is taken up with data you never use.

Look for Control Panel/Programs/Programs and Features. You can now see what’s installed, any that you are unsure of you can search the web to find out what they are for and what they do before removing them, there will be an amount of things that you cannot remove from here as things just won’t work if you do, so a little care and searching is required to ensure you free yourself of things that you no longer want and no longer need and also most likely didn’t even know were installed.

6. Check your system for Malware and viruses. You should have a good antivirus and malware checker installed on your computer to protect you from these baddies. If you don’t have one then do invest as removing Malware and potential viruses will improve the performance and keep you safe from these type of threats. Most people don’t realise the potential of these type of threats and how easy they are to pick up through emails or rogue websites and once they’re on your system they will do what they are designed to do. You will notice a little slow down but the reality is your information is being sent back to the internet and gathered by unscrupulous individuals for what ever purpose they desire and you won’t even know, this could be banking information or invoice information the list of possibilities is endless. Security is an ever more serious issue, take heed and install a good protector. However do research on this as the ‘Well Known’ antivirus software are not always the best and they, in their own essence, take up way to much memory and processor speed. Get the balance right.

7. Upgrading your Hardware and Re-installing Windows 10. This could be adding a Solid State Drive(SSD) to hold Windows 10. This would involve installing windows 10 onto the drive and a little knowledge of the internal mechanisms of a computer as in where to plug it in and fix the drive into place. Secondly if your computer has the ability then you can add more memory, a welcome resource that will vastly improve the performance of your system, something we could assist you with. If you think your Hardware is worth saving then Upgrading the SSD and Memory and reloading windows would give an older machine a new lease of life and the cost would be marginal to that of a new machine. Getting help at this stage would help to determine if this was the correct path for your specific hardware.

Extra or bigger memory and adding a Solid State Drive with a reload of Windows 10 would improve an older setup vastly.

Covid-19

Category : Covid-19

So now we are trying to get back to a new type of normal. Who knows how this will be. Keeping our distance from each other whilst trying to work and eventually play. However we must look to the future as Covid-19 will be around for a long time yet and we have to find a way to function along side it. There are Millions of people who have already found a way and thankfully they have, yes there are risks but there are many things that are essential to our being, such as Healthcare, food, water and electricity and many many more and of course the a means to pay for these. The governments unprecedented package of support has been helpful to most people and sustained our lives but this won’t continue indefinitely so we have to make our plans, think about how we can get back to some sort of ‘normal’. The human condition of survival is what drives us forward, we will find a way. IT Tech Solutions can and will work around yourselves were possible to maintain distance and have many technical solutions to issues. There is often a solution that you hadn’t thought about.


Covid-19

Category : Covid-19

The impact of Covid-19 is now felt across the world and is undoubtedly the single most concern for everyone on the planet, and whilst we see the destruction occurring everyday to people’s families with high’s and lows of survival and death, you can never truly understand it till it happens close to you.

The only solution we have, at this stage, is to stay apart from each other, to protect each other, which goes against every grain of human nature, but we all know this is the only way and most are resolute in this which is amazing to see.

At some point the lock-down will slowly ease and a new type of normality will prevail which will still be alien to us. It must remain alien to us because the real normal must return eventually and we will need to be ready to embrace it when it does, to hold our families and friends closer than ever and take part in the normality of life, this is how we will win when things are as we remember them.

There are things we need to take from this time that must go with us into the future. The community spirit that has developed with people helping neighbours and the elderly local to them, looking out for each other and making sure people are OK, even staying in contact with family that do get put to the side sometimes as we all lead our very busy normal lives. We must not forget who turned out to be the most important to us, that is the front line workers of all aspects from the NHS to the truck Drivers without these people putting themselves at risk everyday who knows where we would be. The balance of wealth needs to be re addressed in the favour of the people that matter most to ensure they are looked after and can have a life of less financial worry whilst doing a job they love and know makes a difference.

So as we stumble along the road that has been laid out for us by Corona remember this, we will win and we will get back to our normal normality but lets make it a better normality, an inclusive normality a normality for all.


Has your Win10 Search box gone black

Has your Win10 Search box gone black? Does Search even work?
If you are experiencing issues with the search option on windows 10 there seems to be a good reason for that. Microsoft are changing things and as seems to be the norm these days we are all the testers. Read on https://www.computerworld.com/article/3519708/has-your-win10-search-box-gone-black-does-search-even-work.html


Fancy Learning To Program a Raspberry Pi?

Category : Fun Stuff

Fun Programming for Kids and Adults

Fancy learning to program a Raspberry Pi? Here is a list of Fun Raspberry Projects for Beginners from Techworld https://www.techworld.com/…/-fun-raspberry-pi-projects-for…/. The more you know the more you can achieve. These are a great introduction to programming for kids and adults alike.


GCHQ Warns Not to Use Windows 7 For Banking After Tomorrow(14th Jan 2020)

GCHQ warns not to use Windows 7 for Banking after Tomorrow(14th Jan 2020). This is when Microsoft support ends for this product and any vulnerabilities can and will be exploited. You may also want to consider using getting emails from another device. The most logical thing to do is upgrade ASAP as Hackers are waiting. See the full story here.


Microsoft Server 2008 R2

Microsoft Server 2008 R2. The 14th January sees the end of Microsoft support for Server 2008 R2. We have all seen the devastating effects recently with the end of support for Windows XP. Now with Windows 7 and Server 2008 coming to a close we all need to be ready. Hackers can and will utilise vulnerabilities in order to take over the files on your system holding you for ransom. With small businesses being there main target as being unseen for as long as possible is the key to maximising there profits. Make your plan now call IT Tech Solutions.


Don’t wait for disaster

Don’t wait for disaster. January 14th 2020 is the deadline for Windows 7. Microsoft will not support it after then, therefore it becomes vulnerable to Hackers. You may not think this is a real threat but it is, remember Windows XP see news article in the telegraph . Once the support stops its easy for hackers to pursue vulnerabilities that they know won’t ever be fixed. You may think that you are not big enough for hackers to bother you, statistics show 3/4 of attacks are on novices costing thousands to put right see BBC Report. Make your plan now, the Internet continues to be our biggest asset and yet it can give us so many problems. We can design a plan that will work around you and your business to get the upgrades and training done with minimal impact. Don’t wait for Disaster call IT Tech Solutions now.