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Press Start Ltd has been serving the East Anglia area since 1996, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Tip of the Week: Improving Your Wi-Fi May Have Something To Do With Your Router

Tip of the Week: Improving Your Wi-Fi May Have Something To Do With Your Router

While many may want their Internet to be faster, not many realize that their router may be contributing to the problem. For this week’s tip, we’ll discuss how to configure your router for a faster Internet connection.

Gaining Access to the Administration Console
Of course, before you can make any changes to your router, you need to access the place where those changes can be made. With your router connected to your device (either a wired or wireless connection is fine) access your web browser. In the address bar, enter your router’s IP address, which can be found in the router’s user manual. Alternatively, you can check for your router’s IP address by clicking into the Control Panel and then, under the Network and Internet category, View network status and tasks.

To make this easier, you should use the dropdown menu in the top-right corner of the window to view your options by category.

In the Network and Sharing Center, click into your current network connection. An Ethernet Status window will appear. Once you click on the Details… button, your router’s IP address will display under IPv4 Default Gateway.

Once you have the IP address of your router, enter it into your browser’s address bar. Before you can access your router, you will need to enter your username and password. This could actually be one of the factors causing your problems: if your router’s access credentials have been left to the factory defaults, anyone can access your Internet connection without your knowledge and eat up your bandwidth. This is why it is important to change your access credentials to something more secure.
Once you have secured your access to your router, you should also look for Wireless Settings or Advanced Wireless Settings. This is where the rest of the changes to help speed up your connection will be made.

Checking the Bands
Based on what gigahertz your routers use for their signal, they come in different types--also known as ‘bands.’ Today’s routers will often support multiple bands, identified by the letter at the end of the router’s protocol. Older routers will often have a ‘G’ denoted at the end, while new ones are denoted with an ‘N’ or ‘AC.’ Even newer ones might end their protocol with ‘AD.’

These bands will tell you what devices will play nice with your router, but the multi-band capabilities of many routers will allow a single router to support numerous devices with different protocols.

Selecting a Channel
A connection can also be made slower if the router is set to a channel with higher traffic. If set to the 2.4GHz frequency, for example, your router has to compete with common devices like cordless phones, Bluetooth speakers, and others. Switching to a less busy channel may improve your connection speed and overall quality.

You can check which channels are available to you with some utilities for Windows devices and applications for Android devices. After running your scan and identifying a promising channel, use your Administration Console to switch over and test for any improvements.

Optimizing the Security Settings
As referenced above, it is important that your router is secured for the sake of your network security, but even the way it is secured can influence the speed of your connection. Setting your router to WPA2 with AES should give you fast, yet secure, connection.

If this all seems like a bit much, don’t worry - the IT professionals at Press Start are ready and willing to help you with your networking. Contact us on 01638 603204.

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Google Is Increasing Security For High-Risk Users

Google Is Increasing Security For High-Risk Users

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take advantage of a built-in security feature that could lock down your Google services in the event of a potential data breach? Thanks to attacks on high-profile users, Google is now offering this service to those who are at considerable risk of having their accounts hacked. This type of advanced service, called the Advanced Protection Program, is only available to a select few, but it promises to assist in the challenge of protecting sensitive information.

Specifically, the Advanced Protection Program will be designed to help those who are most likely to experience troublesome hacking attacks, including those who work as election and campaign officials, those who are victims of domestic violence, and others who find themselves to be at risk. The service is marketed as greater security, while trading off some of the convenience that might be found with the base-level Google services.

Among the affected Google services are Gmail, Google Drive, and YouTube. Once someone has been onboarded into the Advanced Protection Program, their accounts will automatically be updated with all of the latest and greatest security solutions available for Google’s services. The implementation of this service is in light of the various high-profile hacking attacks associated with various officials during the 2016 United States presidential election. Google was forced to endure plenty of backlash in the aftermath of the John Podesta controversy in which his Gmail account was hacked via a phishing attempt. This new initiative by Google is an attempt to ensure that they don’t have to deal with this backlash again.

The tactic used by Google’s Advanced Protection Program is a security key. While a USB key is generally considered a better two-factor authentication practice, Google is also equipping users with a Bluetooth key verification process that can be used on both a smartphone or a laptop.

At the moment, Google’s Advanced Protection Program blocks access to information on your Google account by any third-party source--that is, any program that’s not developed by Google itself. Furthermore, it implements a slower account recovery process that’s more difficult for a hacker to replicate. While it takes away from some of the ease of recovery that Google users know and love, it makes for a more secure experience overall.

Would you take advantage of this new service from Google if need be? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Tip of the Week: Seven Extensions to Add to Chrome

Tip of the Week: Seven Extensions to Add to Chrome

Google Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world, and for good reason. The browser has many useful features, largely due to the user’s ability to install ‘extensions’--applications that add to the browser’s functionality or the user’s experience. Once an extension is added to the browser’s toolbar, it is ready for the user to use whenever they need.

Here are a few examples of Chrome extensions that offer a user a useful function.

Select and Speak (SpeakIt!)
By leveraging the human-quality text-to-speech abilities of iSpeech, Select and Speak (SpeakIt!) can read out any text that has been selected in the browser. The user can select a language from a considerable list and adjust the voice and speed of the program to make the best use of the reader for their needs. However, this extension is clearly annotated as being for personal use, so make sure to contact the developer to obtain a license to use it in any other fashion.

Download Select and Speak (SpeakIt!) here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/select-and-speak-text-to/gfjopfpjmkcfgjpogepmdjmcnihfpokn?hl=en

Readism
It isn’t uncommon for many jobs to require an employee to read articles online. It also isn’t uncommon for a user to suddenly realise that the article they’ve committed to reading is considerably longer than first estimated. Readism takes the guesswork out of the user’s hands by scanning a page for content and delivering an estimated reading time.

Download Readism here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/readism-article-reading-t/bmiolhceebkeljaikojgcoeefblcihje

Honey
How often do you do your shopping online? If you’re like many people, it’s fairly frequently. Honey gives you an added bonus as you shop online by providing you with coupon codes for the site you’re browsing. Honey currently supports retail sites in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and India, plus global websites--and more websites are always being added to their databases. For the avid online shopper, Honey helps keep money in your pocket and the balance on your credit card down.

Download Honey here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/honey/bmnlcjabgnpnenekpadlanbbkooimhnj?hl=en-US

Unshorten.Link
Shortened URLs can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they make it more convenient to browse the Internet, but they can also be used to hide URLs that could put you and your system at risk. This extension, as its name states, will un-shorten shortened URLs and check them for malware, giving you a clearer picture of exactly where the link will send you. This extension even removes known tracking cookies from the URL, keeping you that much safer.

Download Unshorten.Link here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/unshortenlink/gbobdaaeaihkghbokihkofcbndhmbdpd

ColorZilla
ColorZilla is a comprehensive tool for analysing the color of web content, giving you the code for the precise shade and hue you find. With a color picker, eyedropper and gradient generator included in the same tool, ColorZilla gives you a clearer view of what you’re looking at, without taking up too many of your resources.

Download ColorZilla here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/colorzilla/bhlhnicpbhignbdhedgjhgdocnmhomnp?hl=en

SessionBuddy
As a session and bookmark manager, SessionBuddy helps to avoid browser clutter and frees up your computer’s memory. By saving open tabs, this extension allows you to restore your tabs after a crash or unexpected shutdown.

Download SessionBuddy here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/session-buddy/edacconmaakjimmfgnblocblbcdcpbko?hl=en

MightyText - SMS from PC & Text from Computer
This extension effectively turns your Chrome browser into another means of sending SMS and MMS messages. Any messages and texts you send will still be transmitted using your phone, and therefore, its number. What makes this extension different is the fact that you can still use your smartphone to text as well.

Download MightyText - SMS from PC & Text from Computer here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mightytext-sms-from-pc-te/dkfhfaphfkopdgpbfkebjfcblcafcmpi?hl=en

Google Chrome is constantly improving with each new extension that is added to help its users. Which extensions do you feel are most valuable? Which ones should have made our list? Leave a comment to let us know!

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Boosting Your Security Only Takes Another Layer of Authentication

Boosting Your Security Only Takes Another Layer of Authentication

Data breaches are so common nowadays that you’re lucky not to see one in the breaking news section of any news outlet. How is your business preparing for the inevitable data breach of intellectual properly and sensitive information? You need to start considering preventative measures, like two-factor authentication, to keep your data secure.

The main issue that two-factor authentication can solve is the decreasing amount of security provided by passwords. Technology has become so advanced that even complex passwords that maximize security can be cracked under the right conditions. Users tend to use easy-to-remember passwords which come with their own set of complications, so we’ll talk about ways that your organization can use two-factor authentication to solve common password troubles.

It’s a best practice to change your password every so often, and users might scratch their heads at how to remember some of these more complex passwords. Passwords should be at least 12 characters long, and must use special characters, upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. All of this must be done in a seemingly random string of characters, but users might try to use these characters in a way which makes it easier to remember. In fact, they may just use a password for another account, or one that includes information from a social media account, like the name of their dog or first-born child.

Generally speaking, it’s best to keep information that could easily be found in public records out of your password fields. This includes the names of your children, parents, or other important individuals, as well as any information that you store on your social media accounts, like your favorite TV show or movie. Hackers have more tools than ever before to find out all sorts of information about you, so you have to be very careful about how you use this information in passwords. Plus, there’s always the chance that you’ll use this information for security questions, which doesn’t do you any favors when hackers can just find the information at their own leisure.

Although password managers do make passwords easier to remember, the primary problem with them remains the same. If a hacker can find out what that password is, they can access all of your accounts easily enough. Two-factor authentication makes things much more difficult for a hacker, requiring that they have a secondary credential to access any account associated with it. This acts as a secondary security level, and it’s one that requires the use of a mobile device, email account, or other access method. It’s a great way to take full advantage of next-level security, and since it’s easy to set up, you can do it quickly and efficiently.

Do you want to take full advantage of two-factor authentication? For more information about personal and network security, call us today on 01638 603204.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Useful Microsoft Word Features

Tip of the Week: 3 Useful Microsoft Word Features

Microsoft Office’s Word is undoubtedly one of the most popular word processing software in the world, perhaps even the most popular. Still, there are many people who use Word on a regular basis without putting the majority of its features to use. Here’s three more Word capabilities that you’ll find very handy.

Change the Case of your Text

HAVE YOU EVER ACCIDENTALLY WRITTEN SOMETHING ENTIRELY IN CAPS? It happens to everyone. However, many people don’t realize that you don’t have to delete everything and rewrite it. Microsoft Word has a handy feature that allows users to change the case of your text. You can choose from: Sentence case, lowercase, UPPERCASE, Capitalize Each Word and tOGGLE cASE.

word ib 1

Auto-Update Date & Time

Even though the majority of business correspondences are done digitally, there are still some times when you need to write a good ole’ fashioned direct mail letter. For example, many businesses like to send a welcome message/onboarding letter to new clients. These letters will probably be uniform, with some personalization for each client. Word offers some assistance in making sure the information is updated in the letter. One very handy one when working with templates is the auto-update Date & Time feature.

Under the Insert tab, click the Date & Time button and a pop-up window will appear. Click the date format you want and then be sure to click the "update automatically" box in the bottom right corner. Now the date will automatically be updated every time you open (or print) the document.

word ib 2

Get Rid of Unwanted Formatting

Most people who use Microsoft Word on a regular basis have had to deal with accidentally pasting text that held the formatting of the document you copied it from. This contagious font will even take over the rest of the document, following the formatting of what was pasted rather than your desired format.

Word has a command that you can use to Clear All Formatting. It can be found in the menu and its icon looks like the letter ‘A’ with a pink eraser. You can also use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Space

word ib 3

For more great information about the software you use every day, visit our blog regularly.

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While many may want their Internet to be faster, not many realize that their router may be contributing to the problem. For this week’s tip, we’ll discuss how to configure your router for a faster Internet connection.Gaining Access to the Administration ConsoleOf course, bef...

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Press Start Ltd launches new website!

Press Start Ltd is proud to announce the launch of our new website at www.pressstart.co.uk. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our services for prospective clients.

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