What is in a Home IT/Network Health Check?

So, what is covered in a “Home IT/Network Health Check”?

In short, whatever you’ve got!  If you have contacted Ask The Earth, chances are that you have a specific problem that needs fixing, so lets get that done first.  After that, there are probably a list of items that are a concern or just a pain; dropped connections, low speeds, error messages etc.  Let’s focus on those as well and clear the list down as much as possible.

The Health Check is a survey of your network and your gear.  It is making changes as we go along to improve ease of use, speed and convenience.  Some of them are really small changes, but make difference.

In the last few weeks. these are just some of the items we have found and solved at different clients:
Moved the broadband access to the main BT point in a house which had it running faster.
Changed the annoyingly random letter-ed password on the wifi so it is easier, less annoying and faster to connect.
Used a wifi extender to push the signal to the back of a cottage.
Changed the channel the wifi used to stop it competing with neighbours, this is surprisingly effective if you have problems with mobile devices.
Computers And Laptops:
Made sure that updates were going through properly.
Checked for Malware, Antivirus etc. fixing where necessary.
Removing old software and making sure that they are really gone.
Creating Backups and checking that existing backups are working.
Phones and Tablets:
We have set up several phones on PCs and laptops so that you can take backups and transfer between new phones without relying entirely on the sometimes optimistic vendor software.
Again, removing old apps and setting up cloud backups where possible.
Ensuring that these are set up for wifi-calls and updates, saving money.
A client wanted the printer to automatically print in black and white unless told not to, saving lots of cash when her kids printed wads of useless pages from the internet.
Game Consoles and Other Equipment:
There are a hundred tweaks that can make a big difference for gamers, we have set up DMZ for an XBOX, run cabling, prioritised traffic and lots more.

These are just a few items, the health check looks at everything, fixes what can be done at the time and documents the rest.  You get a document with everything listed and links to access everything from a browser.



Acer “All In One” Computer Battery Replacement

This PC came to me with a problem, failing to start up with date errors, followed by lots of errors on the POST (the black and white text at startup) and the client needed either a fix, or the files recovered from it.

The BIOS seemed to be losing any settings it had when the system was turned off and so a replacement battery was in order.  The strip down is straighforward on these and I have batteries in stock so we went for that as a “First Time Fix”.

After some testing, the system is OK now and seems to be charging the battery as normal, we will keep an eye on it just in case but it should be fine.  The batteries tend to be a reliable bit of a PC but they do die occasionally.  As the client has a lot of documents and pictures on it that would be a shame to lose, we have also set up an external 500gig USB hard drive and Windows 10 will be taking backup copies of those as they change or add more.

Ask The Earth – Plymouth Home Computer Help & Training

I am launching Ask The Earth as a Home IT Support and Training service, offering the full range of assistance.   Having many years experience in both home and business IT gives this service the skills needed to help Plymouth based residents either make the best of what they have, or help them to repair what is not working.

We are open from 9am to 9pm and start the last appointment of the evening at 7pm.

We can:

Train home users in using their apps/software and take away a lot of frustration.
Set up systems correctly so that they work seamlessly.
Repair broken equipment (mainly at the home) and explain what went wrong.
Set up new equipment or make the current gear work properly.
Advise on new equipment and upgrades to the old.
Improve your network speed and reliability if it is running slowly.
Website Management and Building.

Get in touch on 07792170142, help@ask-the-earth.co.uk
or via Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/AskTheEarth/

The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K Dick – Book Review

So, if you have come to this page, you are looking for background information and other people’s takes on The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch.  Good luck with gaining any insight beyond what you had when you finished it!  A lot of people have posted a lot of opposing opinions, largely dependent on where they start off.  Christians seem to believe that Anne is right but fallen, Atheists tend towards Barney being the hero.  As someone who doesnt have a strong bias either way, I have to go back a step and just go with the story.

As with a lot of Philip K Dick books, it would be helpful to know where he was in his life when he wrote this.  If he was in a period where he was on a lot of mind-altering chemicals, the whole story is about being on the far side of reality and is the fevered reality of Palmer Eldritch sat on a spaceship returning from the long voyage.  If he was “straight” while writing it, its Barney and Leo navigating the after effects of a new drug replacing the old, safe one.

Both versions of this have healthy lumps of paranoia thrown in, but then which of the Philip K Dick books do not have that as a theme.  From the beginning, each character has good reason to think other characters do not have good intentions and as with other books, they don’t.

That’s it, have a look at this page for a far more detailed critique and commentary, I just read the books and say what I think.