How Can Anti Virus Software Protect Your Whole Home, Contents Included?

WiFi enabled tablet in persons handsIf you’re a PC user you’d never think of going onto the internet without first installing an antivirus software package. If you’re a Mac user you’ve been spared this hassle, although some pundits suggest that Macs need protection too, it’s never been an issue that has been taken too seriously.

But it’s becoming increasingly important, as people use their broadband for services other than surfing the internet that you get not only your computer, but your whole home wifi network protected, indeed, even when you’re using a Mac.

Because there are so many devices, including lightbulbs, CCTV, ovens and fridges which use a wifi connection to communicate with one another a comprehensive solution is required. It’s simply not possible to install a suite of malware, Trojan and virus protection on the chip that turns your lightbulb on and off so it’s vital that you protect your network at source, by installing antivirus on your PC and router. Installing antivirus on your router is almost as easy as it is on your computer, it simply needs following a few additional steps. Depending on the device you use it’s most likely to mean plugging the computer into the router via an Ethernet cable (which would have come in the router’s packaging when it was bought), downloading the software from a reliable source, and saving it in the place directed by the setup wizard. Read more

How Can You Hack Your Workspace To Achieve A More Creative Environment?

Why is it hard to be creative in an open plan office?The Connected Devices and IoT revolution continues apace, significantly affecting the way we interact with our working environment. The ease at which it is possible to switch on ‘creativity’ isn’t always available to everybody though. Some people love being able to service their clients from home, they dedicate their billable hours without having had to make the commute to their desk while others hate the lack of structure. They relish having to get up, turn up and get on, they need the face to face and the absence of home distractions to be able to deliver. It’s all just different strokes for different folks. But what if upon getting to work you find your creativity pops like a balloon on the point of a pin?

With the inexorable rise of the design led vanity office, one thing we have seen is that the open plan office, rather than being a collaborative, creative space is exactly the opposite. The idea is that you can just pop your head up and instantly produce a creative dialectic with the other people on your pod. You just have to look around and see what other people are working on and get inspired yourself. Of course the reality is we put our earbuds in in order to block out the distracting hubbub of chatter coming from all corners. Our shoulders are up around our ears as colleagues and managers peep over them silently appraising what we’re doing, and then there’s the near constant rounds of tea to be made. Nobody needs that much tea, it’s just a reason for people to bunk off while pretending to be productive or a huge hassle to remember a dozen different favourite mugs when you’re trying to do something important. Read more

The Future Is Faster With Fibre

installing fibre opticVirgin Media is currently experimenting with 8Gbps, which is 22 time faster than the top speed of any current broadband provider, and more than 200 times the average speed a UK consumer receives.

If you have ultra high HD TV you could download a movie in 20 seconds instead of the hour it would take at normal download speeds. If you’re only watching in regular HD the film could be yours in five seconds instead of fifteen minutes that the average broadband customer would expect to wait.

While speed doesn’t necessarily equate to bandwidth, the fact that anything you do will be done instantly means that it will be out of the way and immediately, ready for the next task you throw at it. So those speeds will be brilliant for the connected home. As more devices are added to the network currently, if you’re only getting a standard service, things begin to lag. If you’re streaming a movie, the kids are playing an online game, someone is playing music in another room then you’re going to start to notice things take longer to happen, Alexa is slow to respond, movies freeze or start to buffer (and that always ALWAYS happens just when you’re getting to a good bit or pivotal point in the dialogue. I don’t know how it knows, but it definitely does!) Read more

There’s A Chill In The Air, And Thoughts Turn To Smart Thermostats

Woman using a digital heating control panelBaby it’s cold outside, and Smart people are using their Smart thermostats and lights to increase the efficiency of their homes.
Now, of course we’ve always had thermostats and timers to control the boiler and central heating so that it comes on and off when we want, but only if the temperature demands it, so what’s the difference that Smart thermostats make?

First of all, it’s important to bear in mind that a Smart Thermostat isn’t for everyone. If you’re habits and want are as predictable as clockwork then the timer and thermostat combination you already have in your home are more than likely to be quite sufficient to your needs. That’s not to say a Smart thermostat wouldn’t be handy in the long run, just don’t expect to see any miraculous plunges in your heating bills if you’re already in complete control of the heating. Read more

There’s A Smart Future Ahead For Architecture

The Utopia for the ultimate in home technology has always been complete voice control and automation. The idea is often mocked, as evidence by such artists and film makers as Heath Robinson and Nick Park. However, the advances in microtechnology and electronics means that many of the ideas which were the realm of science fiction and comic books are now either available today or currently in development. So how do you go about futureproofing right through from planning to building?

We’re rapidly becoming familiar with smart phones, smart TV and smart speakers, using apps and voice controls to operate heating, lighting, viewing and blinds for example, but is the technology moving faster than architects, designers and builders can keep up?

Manufacturers are busy thinking how they can make their goods connected to the internet of things, we have fridges which will tell you when food is nearing its best before, blinds which will obey your commands, work on a timer, or independently when factoring the sun’s position in the sky, and ovens which can turn themselves off when your roast reaches the optimum shade of cooked, so you don’t have to keep opening the door as the timer runs down, just to check. Read more

Increase Both Speed And Security When You Buy A New Router

Yellow ethernet cables plugged into the back of networking hardware.We’ve been concentrating on how adding new digital devices to your home network has the potential of introducing vulnerabilities into your home network, both for data security and the physical security of your property. However, it’s also worth looking at some of the older equipment that has to go from providing broadband to a couple of computers and phones to supplying data to dozens of different devices, all trying to talk to one another at the same time.

Your home router is essentially the brain and beating heart of your system, an yet it’s quite possible that you’ve not even looked at it since you last changed your internet provider. It’s true, as far as digital technology is concerned, a small box that just sits there with one or two flickering lights is hardly the most exciting piece of equipment, and it only draws attention when it stops working or you need to find it for the sticker with the wireless password printed on it. Read more

Making Your Alexa Family Friendly

If you have kids living with you you’ll no doubt want to set up your Alexa or Google Assistant to make it fun, exciting and most of all safe for children to use. From avoiding playing adult song lyrics and inappropriate content to preventing shopping for goods and services, there are a number of different security measures you can take to make your Smart home system child friendly. (We’ll be talking about Alexa, but all other Smart Home Hubs operate in a similar fashion.) 

First of all, make sure you have all your devices operating on the same account. Most of us have any number of different accounts with a variety of different service providers and it might seem like a good idea to segment your suppliers and accounts but with home automation this just makes things incredibly complicated, unnecessarily confusing and difficult to apply consistent security across all accounts. If you’re using Echo, create a dedicated Amazon account which you can use to manage and control all your apps, actions, recipes and skills. Having them all in one place will also mean that if any of your apps stop working you’ll know where to go to look for the updates and fixes. Having them all together on one Amazon account also means that all your connected devices should work together seamlessly without any need for special recipes or instructions. Read more

Home Security In The Digital Age

Google and Amazon have been pushing us to buy smart connected devices for the past year or so, and as their offering of controllable devices, apps, media subscription services increases, the viability and usefulness also increases. And, just as Moore’s Law predicts, as the processing power increases exponentially, the price of entry decreases. Indeed, in order to secure their device’s place in your home, you can find offers on Minis, Dots, hubs bundled with lights etc. for at least half of the usual retail price. Their theory is, once you adopt one device or another you’ll have no need to buy the other since they effectively do the same job. Once you’re tied in they’ve got you for life. As we see every day in tech purchasing, brand loyalty can become deeply entrenched.

Smart Home Devices are being pushed by the major high street retailers. Home entertainment, TV subscriptions, lights, sound systems are all on high rotation during the ads, online marketing is placing the ads in front of us when we’re scrolling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, making the Smart Home Option almost inevitable. We see the advertised advantages, but what are the down sides? Read more

What’s It Like To Live With Google Home Or Alexa?

Boy sitting in lounge using tv via a tablet computerDuring the run up to Christmas, you can’t have helped seeing all the ads for Alexa, Google Home Assistant, Smart Speakers and all other things ‘smart’. It’s almost as if there’s a technological revolution taking place and nobody’s told us what it’s all about!

When we thought about automated homes a few years ago it was the domain of sci-fi and horror. Movies such as the seminal Demon Seed and 2001 A Space Odyssey depicted the way an all seeing, omnipresent robot in our home would try to take over and make us mere mortals it’s slave. Or we’d perish trying to resist. It turns out Big Brother didn’t have to force us to put Telescreens into our homes, we bought them willingly from Google and Amazon! Read more

Wireless Security CCTV Systems For Your Small Business

cctv, security, security camera, Now that more and more small businesses are getting wifi routers in order to support contactless card payment technology, fulfil a customer expectation and let business owners get online more easily, it’s also much easier to install CCTV taking advantage of Smart wireless technology.

Fitting one or several CCTV cameras inside your business premises is a practical and cost-effective security and loss prevention solution. You reduce shrinkage, protect your staff and inventory and discourage vandalism, criminal damage and break-ins. Since so many stores now have wifi the barriers of entry into the Smart CCTV camera market are greatly reduced, so what should you bear in mind when looking for an electronic surveillance system for your business premises? Read more