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Genisyst's HITs

This is some space where Genisyst's team willl blog about HITs (Helpful IT Tips)

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Recent blog posts

Posted by on in Simple IT Thoughts
When it comes to word processing and common computing tasks, keyboard shortcuts can be invaluable. They make life a lot easier and save us a lot of time. Below is a list of the 15 most useful keyboard shortcuts. 1. Control + Z – Undo 2. Control + K – Insert hyperlink 3. Control + Escape – Access start menu 4. Alt + Enter – Properties task bar 5. Alt+F4 – Close 6. Alt+ Plus key – Brings up a range of symbols such as degrees, ticks, plus and minus, copyright etc 7. F2 – Change filename in Win X 8. Control + O – Open 9. Windows Key + D – Access desktop 10. Control + Mouse Wheel – Zoom 11. Control + Shift + T – Re-open previous tab 12. Alt + Back arrow – Return to previous location 13. F6 – Select the address bar in the browser...
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Posted by on in Tech tips and thoughts
In this day and age, we are surrounded by passwords. Passwords are a security necessity in the digital age we live in. Email accounts, bank accounts and electronic tax lodging are just a few examples of services you'll need a password for. Now let's introduce the concept of... passwords to access passwords - Password Managers. This may seem like an odd idea at first, but in this post I will touch on what a Password Manager is, and why you should consider using one. What is a Password Manager? A password manager is a program designed to store all of your passwords in a database. This database will of course have its own password so that it can be accessed. The database will also be encrypted with this password, so that it is secure. The password manager I'll touch on in this article is KeePass. Why use a Password Manager? In...
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The malware/spyware/virus/adware landscape is constantly changing, and it is safe to say that there is no single all-singing, all-dancing product that is going to successfully detect every threat traversing across the internet at any given moment. Undesirable software is constantly being spread around, whether this is via spam emails, questionable websites, or bundled into (often legitimate and harmless) software via an optional tickbox that less savvy users will breeze past without a second thought. It is certainly not enough to simply rely on your anti-virus software to catch all of these nasties. Sufficient knowledge in regards to prevention is very highly recommended, however that is a topic that deserves an entire post of its own. What I will cover here are some steps you can try if you believe your PC may be infected with malicious software - which your currently installed anti-virus suite does not appear to be detecting or...
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Securing your USB drive data using Truecrypt. USB drives can be a great portable data storage solution. Small enough to go onto a key-ring, or even inside a wallet. They grant the ability to access particular files or applications, wherever you happen to be, without having to put your data into someone else’s possession or storing it “in the cloud”. As handy as USB drives are, they also tend to have a knack for being fairly easy to lose (Or perhaps even stolen). Let’s say you happen to have important and/or sensitive data stored on yours. This could be any variety of data you wouldn't want falling into the wrong hands – financial documents, travel itineraries, projects/assignments you’re working on, private personally identifiable information, the list is endless. You might be thinking this scenario could easily be prevented by not storing such data on a USB drive. Sure, that’s true, however...
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Posted by on in Tech tips and thoughts
Cloud computing is a term that has taken the IT world by storm, particularly on the marketing and advertising side. Every major software provider is offering some form of cloud computing experience. But what exactly is cloud computing? In its simplest form, cloud computing is using a combination of resources from an external source over the internet to supplement or completely replace your IT infrastructure. This ranges from software services to physical hardware and can be utilised by both businesses and home users. You can essentially bundle cloud computing into three major categories, which can be viewed as the 'layers' that form the majority of cloud computing. 1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) At the 'base' you have Infrastructure as a service, or the physical resources, including servers, data storage and interfaces. This has some huge advantages over conventional infrastructure such as easy, fast scaling to use exactly how much is...
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We've all been there, searching high and low for that assignment that is due tomorrow, or looking for some photos you captured, only to find they've been deleted, accidentally moved to the recycle bin somehow, and emptied. Fret not! Just because you've emptied the recycle bin in Windows, or because a memory card appears to have no files on it, does not mean the files are actually completely gone. This depends on a few factors, such as how long ago the file was "deleted", and how much data has been written to that drive or device since that point. Recuva is a free application for Windows, designed for file recovery, or to "undelete" files. Recuva is very simple to use, with a wizard to guide you through the recovery process. It's as simple as choosing the drive/device you wish to recover data from, and the specific file types you're looking for...
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Thanks to pop culture, it is well known that one of the best steps when trying to solve a computer problem is ‘turn it off and on again’. But what about when there is a problem with the web? Unfortunately for the sufferer, but fortunately for everyone else, there is no restart button for the internet. So what is the quick problem solving step for web pages that aren’t loading the way they should? SHIFT + REFRESH To understand this, we need a basic idea of what web caching is and what it does. Web caching takes data from a web site the first time it is accessed and stores it locally on your computer. Your browser does this automatically for data that would not be changing on the web page, like the files that dictate the pages style and files that detail what happens when a button is pressed, etc....
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"God Mode" is a nice trick that can be used in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. (Issues have been reported when trying this on Vista 64-bit) "God Mode" essentially creates a folder where you can access a ton of useful system controls in the one spot - From creating and formatting hard-disk partitions, to changing the mouse pointer speed. To access this feature, simply create a new folder with the following name GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} You'll notice that the folder's icon will change. Open it, and you're there! Problem Steps Recorder is a handy tool that has been available since Windows 7. It is a basic tool that will record all of the steps you're performing on your computer, including descriptions of where you have clicked, as well as screenshots. When you're finished recording, a zip file is created, which contains your recording presented in HTML format. This tool can be...
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After covering what makes for a good password in my previous post, it is important for developers to understand the equal importance of storing passwords securely. Whether you have designed an email service, web application or even operating system, it is essential that you store your passwords securely and specifically NOT AS PLAIN TEXT!! It is not enough to simply rely on your website security either, so any passwords in your database need to be encrypted somehow. The problem with plain text: No matter how much protection you have on the storage of your databases, there are always ways to obtain the data they hold, including social engineering and even a disgruntled employee as well as more complicated 'hacking' methods. You may think this is fine for your Mongolian throat singing appreciation website, which only has 3 members, where the most damage that could be done is an obscene post on...
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Firstly, what is HTTPS? When you are performing general internet browsing, you're usually going to be using HTTP. "http://www.google.com" for example. HTTP is not secure, as all data is sent in plain text. This makes eavesdropping and "man-in-the-middle" attacks a piece of cake. HTTPS is a secure alternative to HTTP (Yes, the S stands for Secure). You've probably noticed when logging into services such as internet banking, the link in the address bar tends to start with "https://". If you happen to use free/public WiFi hotspots, HTTPS usage is something you should be concerned about, as without it, all of your data such as usernames, passwords, search terms etc, are being sent out in plain text. A piece of info that you may not know, is that lots of websites do actually support HTTPS as an option, but your browser will not use HTTPS by default. This is where HTTPS Everywhere...
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It is likely that at some stage you've encountered the problem of email attachment size limits. Perhaps you wanted to send a very large home video to a relative, or a large collection of uncompressed photos from your last trip? Let's say your file is well over 500MB in size, at which point your email provider as well as the recipient's is unlikely to let the email through. There are exceptions - If you use Gmail, files up to 10GB in size are stored on their Google Drive service, and the download link is sent to your recipient. It's not quite an "attachment", but rather a download link included in the email. So, what if you're not using Gmail? Well, you can essentially perform the same task by signing up to any number of free services such as Mediafire.com, however this blog post is to plug a nicer and easier method...
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It is safe to say that technology plays an integral part in our lives today, from socialising to shopping, business to banking. As such, we all have a huge number of password protected accounts. Due to the sensitivity of information protected by these passwords, it is necessary that they are well chosen to provide the most security. To best demonstrate what constitutes a 'strong' password I will use a series of examples in ascending order of strength. DO NOT USE - E.g. 'password', '12345', 'qwerty' or 'secret' A password like the ones above should NEVER be used as the are easy to both GUESS or CRACK. Very Weak - Your name, any dictionary word - E.g 'computer' These passwords, while better than the previous level of security, are still both easy to GUESS and CRACK. Not only because the passwords are simple, but using personal information makes it much easier to...
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Posted by on in IT History
IT has changed quite a bit since 1971. We had 250kB 8" floppy disks and 56kB of main memory......
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Recently, I've been trying to assist my eldest child (11 years old) with studying for upcoming exams. Even though I had put forward a monetary reward for good results achieved, boy was there still a large amount of whinging that went on. One of the subjects was music theory, and when reading about it in books or watching a teacher scribble about it on a board, I grant you it is really quite hard to wrap your head around the various concepts. You really need to hear and play these ideas out on a keyboard, for example to explain a major chord (a chord having a root, a major third, and a perfect fifth) is all great but it means nothing to a child, but if they can see the notes highlighted on a keyboard so that they can see the pattern and count the number of tones between notes played...
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