Now the clocks have gone forward it must be spring! And there’s something primal about the urge to spring clean and carry out home maintenance. You’ve had all winter to think about those jobs you want to do, but you know you need a few days of good weather to really get to grips with them. You might be itching to throw open the windows and get right into giving the carpet a good shampoo, or you might have been obsessing over the state of the paint around your windows, and you’re dreaming of the day you can peel it back, repair the putty, fill any holes and give it a thorough lick of weatherproof paint. (Hands up, I’m guilty of both of those! But a damp carpet AND paint fumes at the same time? I think I’ll be spreading those jobs out…)
This year spring cleaning, probably more than any in living memory for most of us, will be an almost visceral event. After a year of being mostly stuck indoors and worrying we’ll finally be able to get fresh air into the house, scrub the woodwork, dust all the nooks and crannies and clear our heads too. We call it ‘Spring Cleaning’ but there’s a lot of DIY maintenance and household DIY which you’ll want to get up to your elbows in as well. Read more
With lockdown coming to an end in a few weeks many of us are itching to get back into the office. A lot of people are pointing out that coronavirus has shown how easy it is for many of us to work from home, but then there are plenty of other people who need the structure, free of distractions, that working in an office alongside their colleagues brings. We like networking, seeing other people’s ideas, discussing our own ideas with experts, and not the cat or our partners or children. We need spontaneous interaction which doesn’t involve someone you made a part of your bubble weeks or even months ago popping around and chatting to you for hours when you’re actually on the clock and trying to get some work done!
This is the quiet before the storm for many workplaces. As we get back to normal, or adjust to the new normal depending on how much your workplace has been affected there is a brief window currently available to get a great deal of infrastructure work done. A lot of businesses didn’t take advantage of the furlough over the last summer to get routine maintenance and planned improvements done. I have personal experience of managers who were frustrated by their higher-ups because they didn’t use the time which was available to them to make the necessary improvements which had been discussed long before Covid even became a ‘thing’. Instead they adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach which meant that when people were able to briefly return to work in the late summer & autumn they were met with the same problems they had been facing previously, rather than enjoying souped up, improved, and effective improvements. Read more
Data breaches sound like something you only have to worry about if you’re in charge of a bank or looking after the details of high value, high security information that you don’t want business competitors or foreign governments to find out about. Unfortunately information security is far more mundane and something that all of us who are shopping online and ordering deliveries during lockdown need to think about.
Millions of usernames and passwords are currently for sale on the dark web. Cheap ones haven’t been verified or tested so the buyer takes pot luck, but expensive high quality data is available to fraudsters, and sometime it even comes with money back guarantees if you, as a scammer, aren’t completely satisfied.
Because it’s quick and easy to order from Deliveroo, McDonalds or JustEat, and the orders are low value not much thought has gone into security, either on their part or by the people making the order. A recipe for disaster. Read more
I was looking through Facebook and a question arose in one of the groups we follow here at Briant Communications: “So, does CCTV deter burglars, or just make them think you must have expensive stuff?” but because it’s a sensible, helpful group and not full of sarcastic, unhelpful know-it-alls, many of the answers were quite enlightening.
A lot of people have taken up the use of CCTV to protect their property and businesses from intruders and thieves and have first hand experience of the benefits that can be had from simply keeping a 24 hour eye on your home.
Naturally there are some who elaborate upon apocryphal, anecdotal stories of gangs of burglars breaking into garages with angle grinders and look-outs armed with baseball bats guarding the thieves and keeping the homeowners at bay as they steal high performance motorcycles from the property. However, many commenters make remarkably salient points. Read more
This past year has come as a revelation to most of us. We’ve become so used to science and technology being a reliable source of solutions to all of our problems that when something completely new and unpredictable comes along it turns out we’re as defenceless as newborn babes. Most of us have been forced to cope because there was simply no choice. We found that our networks of friends and family were easier to reach than ever before thanks to social media, video conferencing and instant messaging, and we found that many of our jobs could be done from home, even if the distraction of being at home and not “at work” was baffling, frustrating and frankly annoying!
It seems like networking has never been so important, from our connections with friends and family, to our local communities, to work and colleagues, and to sources of news and current affairs, being able to gather and absorb information quickly, in a way that’s easy to achieve has become part of our everyday lives. Even for people who are naturally technology resistant, the last year has meant that they have embraced that which they would normally ignore. Necessity has driven that for some: if they can’t shop online & they’re considered to be vulnerable it can be difficult to get shopping done, especially if they don’t have young, fit, active people in their Bubble. Read more
I like to think of myself as an intelligent guy who can spot phishing and fraudulent attempts to scam me into handing over my personal information, and for the most part I’m successful. I get so many calls from scammers using private numbers or from places with area codes I’m not familiar with that I know what’s going to happen as soon as I pick up: either the line goes dead or I’m told by a robot that my Amazon Prime account is going to be renewed, that I was involved in a car accident which wasn’t my fault, or that BT Internet has discovered my neighbours are stealing my data and I need take action immediately to stop them.
Just for fun, since it costs me nothing and I’m interested to see how the scam works I go along with it. The scams are so incredibly obvious it’s astonishing they can work, yet some poor, overly trusting marks must fall for it, else they wouldn’t keep using the same old methods.
The Amazon fraud works by telling you that you’re going to be charged for something you don’t want. So naturally you talk to the ‘customer service representative’ and press 1 to fix it. They tell you to go to a website which is hosted on Wix, a perfectly respectable web hosting business which is in no way connected to the scam. The problem with the fraud is that the scammers are too cheap to even pay for hosting so the website they use has a .wix suffix and has adverts for their other premium services popping up during your visit. Not something you’d expect from a multi-billion dollar company such as Amazon. The rep tells you to click on a link, except the link is a download for software which is sure to damage your computer and give up your details. I don’t know what is supposed to happen next as I gave up my pretence of credulity and told them off for having such a pathetically obvious scam, and that I would be ashamed if I was to try anything so amateurish. Read more
Did you have a good Christmas? What was your best present? Did you get lots of Smart Tech and digital gadgets? Good for you!
The market for Smart devices and high definition television keeps on growing. Smart speakers are now on to their fourth generation, and with 5g technology becoming available throughout the country their usefulness is becoming amplified.
What’s 5g got to do with your Smart Speaker or Home Automation system?
Smart devices connect to one another wirelessly, that’s true, but they don’t juts perform one operation or have one conversation with another smart device at a time. Smart devices are always on, looking out for updates, listening out for each other as well as your voice in order to perform their role properly. If they didn’t there would be no point having them. There’s no point yelling “Alexa! Turn the kettle on!” in the lounge if nothing in the kitchen is connected. Read more
Christmas 2020 won’t be much like any others we’ve ever known before. In some ways that’s a sad thing, and in others, a clear benefit. You may doubt it right now, but I’ll explain: You may not be able to jet off to sunnier climes since social distancing, two lockdowns and a general concern with being in a tin can breathing recycled air would put anyone off air travel. You may not be able to go skiing for much the same reason, and the thought of putting extra stress on local hospitals if you break a limb when they’re busy dealing with people who are sick because of Covid seems unfair. But a year of social distancing and lockdowns has taught us to be resilient, to rely on our common sense, and to embrace technology as our friend instead of an inconvenience which must be overcome. Broadband internet is here to save Christmas!
Perhaps I’m preaching to the wrong people, and it’s technophobes and traditionalists who really need to get the message, but there seem to be fewer and fewer of them around since connecting with digital communications, and therefore each other is becoming increasingly easy.
With a virus with no cure as yet affecting almost everywhere on Earth it’s important that you keep yourself and your loved ones safe from Coronavirus infection and contamination. Our customers’ safety and health is naturally one of our primary concerns, as is that of our staff, including protecting our staff of engineers and our office staff from COVID 19 too.
In order to carry out our work while protecting ourselves and you we ensure that we undertake all the hygiene and social distancing protocols that the government and SAGE recommend. Current COVID advice, even under the current lockdown conditions is that maintenance and installation can take place provided PPE is worn and people take all reasonable precautions when a tradesman is visiting your home.
Fortunately for us, much of the work we undertake takes place exclusively outdoors so there is no need to worry about coming into contact with coronavirus unnecessarily. If, as happens on occasion, the engineer does have to come inside the property, then you can rest assured that they have been properly trained and advised about how to carry out their work safely, minimising the risks to themselves and you.
All of our engineers have a stock of facemasks and disposable gloves on their vehicles which they use whenever they come into your property. They have a plentiful supply of hand sanitiser and surface cleaning wipes which they use to clean their hands whenever they touch anything and to clean the van in order to minimise the risk of transporting contamination from one place to another.The good news is that there appears to be a vaccine which is 90% effective and safe for use according to the government public media speaker from shakespearecomms.com.
Working and learning from home, Zooming, Skyping, and all forms of social media have shown us that fast, reliable, unlimited data isn’t a luxury or something that only a certain group of people use, it’s become important for everyone to be able to get on line for work, for school, and for health, both mental and physical., however the bad new is that it may not be available for everyone until spring of next year, so in the meantime there’s still an onus on us all to protect ourselves and follow the latest SAGE advice: Hands, Face, Space. That means that Christmas and the New Year are going to be like no others, but that doesn’t stop the wind from blowing, or the rain and the snow from falling. Keeping the family entertained while it’s not possible to go on traditional Christmas treats, treats as simple as visiting Santa at the shopping centre or going to the Christmas market, and being stuck indoors instead make it all the more important to have distractions and boredom busters on demand. Read more
Satellite television is becoming ever more popular. The range of choice is better than any Freeview service, and if you subscribe to a specific satellite television broadcaster, such as Sky, your options are phenomenal. No wonder then that every home needs a satellite dish. However, unlike standard analogue and digital television receivers, satellite dishes are large and won’t work if you put them in the attic. They need to be on the outside of the building, Which is fine if you’re a regular sized family living in a detached house, all watching the same thing at the same time. But what if you’re not?
Travel around any city and you’ll see houses of multiple occupancy, houses which have been converted into flats, apartment blocks and high rises. Each one of these homes has an individual or entire family all with unique television watching habits. In some instances you’ll see that there are still multiple satellite dishes and aerials clinging to the outside, usually rusty and uncared for. Read more