Ask The Earth has some history behind it! It started in 1998 as a Small Business Support And Training Company in Taunton and over the next 8 years served many homes and a lot of Small Businesses in every aspect of IT. We created and ran websites for 6 or more companies on an ongoing basis and were selling Essential Oils, Jukeboxes, Farm Equipment, Beanie Babies and a lot more. We taught the teaching staff at Colleges and members of the public through “Community Education”, plus running bespoke training sessions for indiduals to cover their specific needs. We supplied PCs and Laptops, repaired broken equipment and supported the users as and when they needed help.
Mike then spent 4 years as IT Manager for a major Taunton employer with 150 users, moving over to another major employer in Devon with 400 users for another 4 years. During this time, we supported Automotive Dealerships on Social Media, IT and other support roles. The Home and Small Business Support work continued during this time, supporting existing customers and taking on new ones as they came up.
We then moved to Plymouth to join an Automotive Dealership Group in the city for (yet another) 4 years. In the last year or so, the Home and Small Business IT Support has taken off locally with people finding out about us through word-of-mouth. We have also been running an Ecommerce website for a major Performance Car Parts company, supporting a Call Centre and a local Car Dealership, plus some other contract work. You can see our recommendations here on Facebook!
Speaking of which, we have some space in the diary and have opened a Facebook Page here to let more people know we are available to help them. Please let us know what you need, we will be happy to help!
The Future? Well, these are interesting times here at Ask The Earth. Mike will be travelling a fair bit on a new contract to install monitoring equipment in hospitals both in the UK and abroad. Between these dates, we will be expanding the local work with small businesses and home users. We will also be continuing this blog with local articles, book reviews and a lot more.
Leave a comment here, like our Facebook Page, ring or sms on 07792170142, tweet to @mike___davidson or email email@example.com to book your session or to discuss your needs.
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: Broadband:
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. Printers:
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.
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.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
or via Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/AskTheEarth/