Top IT Tips

anythingThere are now literally hundereds of new Internet Domain names available. This web site is using one of them, .kiwi rather than the more familiar .com or .co.nz

The new names relate to trades, regions, special interest groups, professions and so forth. 

What does this mean for you? Basically you can have a web site and an email address that reflects your identity as as being is short and memorable. The days of being something @xtra.co.nz should be long gone.

Sound hard? Not really, there are lots of good registrars who will help you and if that sounds too hard go to the big daddy, Google.

The company reponsible for the Internet names, ICANN, has a web page on the subject here.

keyI've recently had my credit card compromised (annoyingly I was overseas at the time) and I see the Linkedin have managed to lose 6.5 million passwords into the hands of hackers.

If you, like most, use one password (or simple variations of it) for amost everything then you must expect hackers to access your email, bank account, investments, work related material, personal secrets, whatever and you will be hard pressed to get your identity back.

Read more: Passwords

ipad2There are a few of shortcomings that make me say yes and no.

It depends on what you are looking for.

Read more: IPad 2 – Is it for you?

photocopier_glassThis should put fear in your heart! it seems that "Nearly every digital photocopier sold since 2002 stores images of whatever it copies on an internal hard drive".

Check it out here or here.

My thanks to Peter Taylor for drawing this to my attention

v6actnow_logoIf so there is a question you need to ask but first some background.

You may have heard that the Internet is running out of addresses. This is rather like the telephone company running out of phone numbers and just as serious. Twenty years ago nobody would have anticipated that this could happen and it is a tribute to the success of the Internet and its pervasiveness.

Read more: Have you got a web site?

linksys wrt54glOur house has dead spots which have been difficult to sort out and I have tried various techniques to get good access. Running cables around is difficult due to the two story construction and herself's, not unreasonable, objection to wires running in visible locations.

Read more: Extending WiFi Networks - Wirelessly

What a great service this is. We have been using Google Apps for the past year with virtually no hiccoughs. Compared with products like Microsoft Outlook where the email is held on your computer the flexibility of having access to all your email 'on the move' is fantastic.

The user interface is fast, friendly and the search engine simply awesome (as you might expect).

Read more: Google Apps

trango recieverSlow and pricy Internet access is a fact of life for many. Some areas are very lucky to have local enthusiasts delivering high speed access in all sorts of ways.

Read more: Waiheke - First Rate Internet in Paradise

sony readerI've been a bit dubious about the book readers like Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader but decided it was time to take a look having seen the latter in use at London's Science Museum.

Read more: The Sony eBook Reader

iphoneI've talked about smart phones before but been a little suspicious of the hype about Apple's iPhone. When the third incarnation came around, the iPhone 3GS, I decided to take another look.

Read more: The iPhone

gmailFor years I used Microsoft Outlook before I moved to Thunderbird to manage my email. The big drawback was that I needed to be at my computer to refer to old mail and searching through it was at best difficult and slow.

Read more: Move to the Cloud

opendnsEver been scamed or conned into giving away your password? Lots of people have.

A simple step to help avoid this is to start using OpenDNS. It seems a little intimidating but it's simple enough. You need to set up an account and specify the protection level you need. You can block the phishing (the odd name for these scams) and, if you want to, adult-related sites, illegal activity, social networking sites, video sharing sites, and general time-wasters.

Read more: Avoid the Scammers

Sadly New Zealand is trailing in the rural broadband stakes. NZ Telecom have been slow and reluctant investors and still don't really get it.

This leaves many of us struggling to get any kind of decent service. We used the IHug Ultra satellite service for several years but they sold this to Bordernet who, for reasons that are hard to understand, changed the underpinning technology. Once this had happened it never really worked so well and there were many complaints.

Anyway last year we took the plunge and moved to a full on satellite system, ipstar.

Read more: Broadband in the boondocks

Wait just a moment. There's some new technology about at Sonos.

Many of you will have gone digital with an iPod's or the like which probably means iTunes or some other music library on your computer? Well why not play music directly from the computer? The problem would be wires all around the house and is just too much to bear right?

Well Sonos have really figured this out and have a series of wireless units that link together and back to the music library on your computer. Same music in several rooms? No problem. Different music in different rooms? No problem either.

Read more: Buying a new stereo?

img_4381Like others with holiday homes, workshops and the like, I've been somewhat resentful of paying full clip for a second Telecom phone line service which, in my case, is both poor quality and hardly used most of the year.

Now there's an alternative and you keep your existing number.

Vodafone have a Home Line Plus service for $25pm or $40pm if you want national calls included.

Read more: Lose the Telecom phone?

Google seem set to completely dominate the online world with their great software. This is the best way I've seen to keep track of the useage of your web site and it's completely free.

Read more: Google Analytics

Seems like everything you buy these days has a USB cable to fit your computer. What this meant for me was I needed more USB ports.

Anyway I had huge trouble installing a new USB card,  "blue screen of death" and all sorts. In the end I got stuck with a "function driver not specified" and searched high and low for a solution. Finally I found it here

JoomlaYou can pay a lot of money for a website or you can have one built that you can maintain for a surprisingly low cost.. This site was built with a free system called Joomla and you can find lots of developers who will do this for you. Purple Planet did the ones for the Enterprise Franklin Development Trust

The most important thing is to keep the web site relevant and up to date, usually the hardest part.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the target of a huge number of virus and other attacks. Migrate to Firefox

There is also Thunderbird, an email programme with an excellent spam detection filter. With these two programmes the chances of a virus are considerably reduced.

GetFirefox!

Nokia Flip PhoneYou can use your cellphone as a diary and for email. It's a little messy to set up but once you have you'll wonder how you did without. Nokia 60 series phones are just one of those that can do this. Take a look at this review of my Nokia 6260

Domain Name CommissionerThere's just no point in being This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Get your own domain name like This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and use whichever ISP you like.

Register Direct have a package with 10 email addresses for $60 per year.

Synology DatastoreYour PC is full of stuff you'd want to keep. Think about your digital photos, no negatives, no prints, what if you lost them?

What about your email, anything in there tat you might want to keep?

Depending on your computer and exact configuration there are different chouces. If you use a Mac then Time machine and Time Capsule are the obvious choices.

On Windows I used to use a Synology server which is a low cost file server. With a simple network connection you can have the last few versions of every document stored ready for instant retrieval. Compucon are the New Zealand agents and would be happy to tell you where to get one.

Couple this with an Acronis True Image backup and you've got it covered.