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Be Safe, Back Up

How much important information do you have on your computer? How many photos of the kids, holiday videos, songs you recorded with that band you were in (you’re never going to play those to anyone, we know, but stick with us) and countless hours of work you’ve saved to your home PC? We’d wager the answer to at least some of these is ‘a lot’, and these are things you should really be looking after and safeguarding from technical disasters.

Backing up your files and storing them off your computer is a smart move. If your files are all stored locally and your hard drive corrupts, or is destroyed in an accident or runs into any other kind of trouble, you risk losing your files. Storing them elsewhere means that even if the worst happens, all your work, music and treasured memories are safe. 

Here’s our favourite ways of backing up files. 

External hard drives

An external hard drive is exactly what it sounds like – the same as the hard drive inside your computer, just outside it instead. They come in a range of storage sizes – though realistically you should never need more than 1tb – and a range of prices. Shop around, find the best price, read some reviews. You’re not just buying a piece of kit, you’re buying a safe place to keep your memories. 

Once you have your hard drive, operating it is fairly straightforward. Plug it into your computer’s USB port and wait for a window to appear. In this window, you can drag all of the files you want to keep safe onto your hard drive. Set up folders on the drive to make sure it’s all organized and easy to navigate next time you need to.  Your files will still be available on your computer, but copies of them will be kept safe in duplicate. 

Once you’ve copied everything across, safely remove your drive and store it somewhere safe. You have now safely stored your important files. 

The Cloud

Don’t want to spend your cash on an external hard drive? Worried that, if you bought one, you may lose it? Well there is another option; cloud storage. 

Cloud storage essentially means you’re storing your files on completely secure servers on the internet. You select the file you want to save, transfer it to your online storage service and hey presto, your files are safe in duplicate. 

The as yet undisputed king of cloud storage is Dropbox, who offer a range of storage plans to suit any pocket (including some storage for free), however there are other options (Amazon Cloud, AVG LiveKive, Google Drive) that work just as well. 

If you have concerns about storing your files online, you really don’t need to worry. These services are designed for purpose, and security is paramount. You really can trust them with your important or treasured files. 

Backing up your files, be it online or on a physical drive, is great for piece of mind, and doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Be safe, back up!

Be Safe, Back Up

               

How much important information do you have on your computer? How many photos of the kids, holiday videos, songs you recorded with that band you were in (you’re never going to play those to anyone, we know, but stick with us) and countless hours of work you’ve saved to your home PC? We’d wager the answer to at least some of these is ‘a lot’, and these are things you should really be looking after and safeguarding from technical disasters.

Backing up your files and storing them off your computer is a smart move. If your files are all stored locally and your hard drive corrupts, or is destroyed in an accident or runs into any other kind of trouble, you risk losing your files. Storing them elsewhere means that even if the worst happens, all your work, music and treasured memories are safe. 

Here’s two of our favourite ways of backing up files. 

External hard drives

An external hard drive is exactly what it sounds like – the same as the hard drive inside your computer, just outside it instead. They come in a range of storage sizes – though realistically you should never need more than 1tb – and a range of prices. Shop around, find the best price, read some reviews. You’re not just buying a piece of kit, you’re buying a safe place to keep your memories. 

Once you have your hard drive, operating it is fairly straightforward. Plug it into your computer’s USB port and wait for a window to appear. In this window, you can drag all of the files you want to keep safe onto your hard drive. Set up folders on the drive to make sure it’s all organized and easy to navigate next time you need to.  Your files will still be available on your computer, but copies of them will be kept safe in duplicate. 

Once you’ve copied everything across, safely remove your drive and store it somewhere safe. You have now safely stored your important files. 

The Cloud

Don’t want to spend your cash on an external hard drive? Worried that, if you bought one, you may lose it? Well there is another option; cloud storage. 

Cloud storage essentially means you’re storing your files on completely secure servers on the internet. You select the file you want to save, transfer it to your online storage service and hey presto, your files are safe in duplicate. 

The as yet undisputed king of cloud storage is Dropbox, who offer a range of storage plans to suit any pocket (including some storage for free), however there are other options (Amazon Cloud, AVG LiveKive, Google Drive) that work just as well. 

If you have concerns about storing your files online, you really don’t need to worry. These services are designed for purpose, and security is paramount. You really can trust them with your important or treasured files. 

Backing up your files, be it online or on a physical drive, is great for piece of mind, and doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Be safe, back up!

Virgin Digital Help’s Weekend Briefing

Here at VDH we like to be on top of the latest technology news.  Therefore we’ve put together this weekend briefing of all the interesting things that have happened in tech over the last week. 

We hope you enjoy it, and would love to hear your feedback. 

Amazon releases Kindle Touch

The much lauded e-reader Kindle has this week seen the release of its latest iteration, the Kindle Touch.  This new version will be available from the 27th April throughout Europe, five months after it launched in the US. New features of this Kindle include a web browser, touchscreen capability and an exclusive ‘x-ray’ feature, which allows users to find passages in a book quickly and simply. The Kindle Touch will cost £109 with wifi, and £169 with wifi and 3G. 

Facebook ready to switch over to timeline

For the last month Facebook users have been able to opt in to Facebook’s new timeline format, and at 7pm GMT tonight all users will be transferred to this new design.  While commentary of the new design has been mixed, frequent users of Facebook have found it a welcome addition.  What are your thoughts - will this improve the Facebook experience? 

Google set to launch own online store for tablets

In a move that is believed to rival Apple, Google today is rumoured to be set to launch its own online store to sell Google branded tablets. With iPads still dominating the tablet market, this is a brave move by the company, and shows their desire to be real contenders in the tablet market. 

Is this the end of the BlackBerry?

Popular smartphone BlackBerry’s owner RIM has suffered reports today that it is pulling out the consumer market, giving teenagers the world over cause for concern.  One of the most popular smartphones before the release of the iPhone, BlackBerry has been consistently dogged by poor service reports and security concerns. 

Only time will tell if BlackBerry exit the consumer market completely, but we’ll be sure you’re the first to know. 

Have a great weekend!

How to call anywhere in the world – for free!

If you could call anyone in the world right now, who would it be? And, if you have their number, what’s stopping you? If the answer is your phone bill, or the price of international calling, then have no fear. There are ways to make phone calls – and even video calls – online for absolutely no cost. We’ve put together our three favourite services that allow you to do just that. Now go and put the kettle on, you might be on the phone for a while. 

Skype

Recently bought out by Microsoft, Skype is currently the unquestioned king of free voice and video calling.

Simply sign up for an account, add the person you wish to call as a  contact (they will have to have an account as well) and click ‘call’.

You can send files to each other while you’re on the line, switch to video call and instant message other Skype users during your call. The best thing is, you’re not limited to just two people on the call – you can go up to 25!

Skype is also available as an app that you can download to your smartphone. If your minutes are limited, the Skype app allows you to make calls for free. If you do this though, make sure you’re connected to Wifi. Use your mobile data allowance and you’ll find you don’t have much left at the end of the call. 

Google+ Hangout

Google+, Google’s answer to Facebook, recently passed the 100m user mark. It’s becoming a popular network, and that’s due in no small part to the Hangout feature. Hangout works in a similar way to Skype, except you don’t need to download a thing. Sign up for your free Google+ account, again making sure the recipient of your call has an account, and invite them to the Hangout. Hey presto, a free video call!

By using Google+ Hangouts, you’re joining illustrious company. Barack Obama and David Beckham both recently held Q&As using the service. 

Facetime

Facetime is possibly our least favourite of these three services. Not because it’s no good – it’s awesome – but because it’s limited to iPhones and iPads. This aside, however, Facetime works in the same way as Skype video calls.

   

It’s preloaded to iDevices with the iOS 5 operating system, and you can only call iOS 5 devices, which limits who you can speak to. It’s pretty cool, but let down by its limitations.

Virgin Digital Help: Guide to Browsers

With news that Chrome has overtaken Firefox as the most popular browser in the US, here at Virgin Digital Help we thought it was time we gave you a run down to the selection of browsers available. Since the dawn of social media, combined with online shopping, internet usage has more than tripled.  Online population statistics website ‘Internet World Stats’ estimates that while in 2000 there were only 300 million internet users worldwide that this number is now estimated at more than 1000 million, an incredible growth in such a short space of time. 

 

Many computers come packaged with a browser pre-installed, depending on the operating system, be that Windows (Internet Explorer), Mac (Safari), Linux (Firefox) and there are also a number of other standalone browsers available, including Chrome and Opera. Each of these has a different specification, and may be more suited to you and your own personal needs when browsing the internet.  There are also differences in design, with some browsers sitting more obviously within your system, and others that blend in. Therefore, and without further ado, here’s a little glance at each. 

 

Internet Explorer (also known as IE) was born in 1995, and has seen many incarnations throughout the years, leading to the most recent version we know today, IE 10. Internet Explorer is simple to understand, and therefore would be perfect if you like your browsers complication free! It does however rank slightly lower on performance speed, but this is improving with each new iteration. 

 

If you would like your internet experience to be customised more easily, perhaps Firefox is the browser for you. Firefox has a specific site for add-ons, extensions and themes for your browser, which range from the fun to the practical. There are also options for sharing on social networking sites, something which has also seen a stratospheric rise in the last few years. 

 

On the other hand, if you like things to be clean and simple then either Safari or Chrome could have what you are looking for.  Both of these browser pride themselves on being as inobtrusive as possible, whilst still offering a good level of user experience - efficiency is key. Safari is the standard internet browser for Mac, and is similar to Internet Explorer with regard to pulling in features from its respective system. It is also contentiously the fastest option available today.  Chrome relies heavily on Google search as its primary search tool, and also gives you the ability to customise the browser with apps from the Chrome Web Store. 

 

Finally, the Opera browser is most popular in some European countries, and is currently the most popular mobile web browser for mobile phones. 

 

Whichever browser you choose, we hope our mini-guide helped.  It is important that you regularly update the version to the most recent - this will keep your computer safe against unwanted viruses and malware. One of the (many) advantages of keeping your browser up to date is that both Firefox and Chrome will store your settings and add-on details, meaning you’re safe if your laptop becomes unwell unexpectedly!!