TMS newsletter - Oct 2019

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Happy Autumn!

As the nights draw in and the weather takes a turn for the chilly side we can look forward to a few months of staying inside, in the warm, with our technology to help amuse us!
Of course my days will be spent teaching people how to get the best out of their technology and spanking all the naughty technology that refuses to do as it's told. So if your computers, iPads, iPhones, androids or any other modern complicated machines are refusing to cooperate then you know who to call!

The last few months have been busy with both regular customers and some lovely new additions to my customer list. A huge thank you to you all for keeping Technology Made Simple going!

Announcements

My prices will be going up slightly at the beginning of December, so this is your early warning. Weekday daytime sessions will be going up from £36 per hour to £39 per hour. Weekday evening sessions will now be £60 per hour and weekend sessions will be £69 per hour. Until December 1st prices will remain at their current level, even if the session you book is during December or after, so get booking!

MacOS Catalina, what's going on?

For my many Apple users, you may have already noticed an update is available on your iMacs, MacBooks, Mac mini's and other Mac computers.
The update is called Catalina, continuing the tradition of naming the new system after a place in California.

The question of course is... should I upgrade?

The answer is yes... probably... but not quite yet unless you're particularly excited.

The first release of any new big upgrade like this one tends to be riddled with little issues which can make the experience of upgrading less than perfect in certain cases. I would tend to wait a month or so to give Apple a chance to squash the largest of the pesky bugs that inevitably arise. 
So if you're not particularly excited about upgrading then wait until November at least. If you are excited about upgrading then go for it! I have updated a few machines already and have only seen minor issues, the greatest one being (sometimes) a very long installation time, overnight is probably your best bet for installing!

If you're unsure whether to be excited or not then here is a page which goes through some of the major features of the new upgrade:

https://www.apple.com/uk/macos/catalina/

Jargon Busting

There are some pieces of jargon which really need explaining if you are to make sense of the technology world. In this issue we look at some more that you might come across...

Cookies

Nope, not the eating variety...
You will regularly be told that the website you are visiting is planning on using 'cookies' but what are they and why the warning?

Many websites need to know who you are in order to operate properly. For example a shopping website needs to know which of its many customers you are. The downside of this is that having to tell every website who you are every time you visit could be a real annoyance, especially if you are a regular visitor. This is where cookies come in, if you are visiting a site that needs to identify you, it can leave one of these cookies on your computer so that it knows who you are when you next visit.

Sounds useful doesn't it? So why the warnings?
Well, some websites collect information across many websites creating 'behavioural profiles' of internet users. These profiles can then be used to decide what content and adverts to show you. Some would see this as an invasion of privacy so the warnings are really to make everyone aware that information about their browsing habits could be saved and used. 

RAM

Nope, not the animal variety
RAM stands for Random Access Memory although I'm not sure whether knowing that makes anything any clearer!

Any computer will have a certain amount of RAM in it, with modern computers usually coming with 4GB or 8GB. Generally more RAM is better, but why...

The more RAM your computer has, the more things it can do at once. Even a computer with very little RAM may go quite quickly if you are only doing one thing at a time but as soon as you start checking your emails whilst browsing the internet, editing a photo and writing a document at the same time you may begin to see your computer begin to slow down. A common misunderstanding is that more RAM makes your computer faster, actually the job of more RAM is to stop your computer from slowing down when it's given many jobs, it's a subtle difference!
 

Interesting Technology

This section is for looking at technology ideas that I think are ingenious. It's important to know however that we haven't tested any of these technologies and are not recommending them, just found them interesting! Click on the pictures to be linked to the relevant video.

Google's experiments in gesture controls

Google project Soli
Using radar technology made so small is ingenious and could change the future of how we interact with our technology.

Construction robot

Construction robot
In Japan a shrinking population is bringing the likelihood of labour shortages in the workforce - for physical jobs especially. So there are companies building robots to try and fill that gap. This video was from 2018 so expect the technology to be further along now!

Real life jet suit

Real life jet suit
Gravity industries, founded by British Richard Browning, have created a jet suit which currently allows 9 minutes of flight. Pretty amazing stuff!

See you next time

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be an infrequent event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer

Technology Made Simple

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TMS newsletter - March 2019

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Hoping you are all well!

Because I'm certainly not...
But the plus side of being stuck in bed with a bad foot is that I get to finally write you all a newsletter. Considering my plan was to write one every month you can see how busy things have got when the last one was in October!
Apologies to anyone who had sessions cancelled due to my illness. I am pleased to report that I will be back in action from Friday 15th March and will be in touch asap to rearrange your slots.

Announcements

Starting shortly I will be back to working on Thursdays again so will be delivering a full 5 days a week of Technology training and support to my lovely customers!

So if you have found it difficult to book in a session this will be a great time to do so.

Stuck in bed... What an opportunity!

So what does a technology trainer do when they're stuck with their computer and nobody to assist? Essential admin of course!

I have been running through all of my web site passwords and ensuring that they are secure and up to date. It is a long road but I'm working towards having no passwords duplicated between different web sites. And why is that important you may ask? Well... However secure your password might be, you cannot guarantee the security of the web sites which you are signing in to. If a single site falls prey to hackers and discloses your email address and password to them, the first thing the hackers will do is try out your sign in details on as many other web sites as possible. If you duplicate your passwords there is a good chance they will find their way into something. The most important password to have secure is the one for your email address, because if that gets hacked into the bad guys have the opportunity to reset your passwords for other things.

If you would like a hand spring cleaning your passwords just get in touch and I will always be happy to help!

Interesting Technology

This section is for looking at technology ideas that I think are ingenious. It's important to know however that we haven't tested any of these technologies and are not recommending them, just found them interesting! Click on the pictures to be linked to the relevant video.

Virtual reality flying simulator

This looks amazing. The 'Birdly' flight simulator lets you fly like a bird complete with wind in your hair!

IBM project debater

IBM have been working on systems that can successfully hold a reasoned debate with humans and bring a different perspective to arguments.

Digital Jewellery

I've never been particularly interested in jewellery, but if this is what the future of fashion looks like I'm suddenly slightly more intrigued!

See you next time

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer

Technology Made Simple

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TMS newsletter - Oct 2018

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The TMS Newsletter for October 2018
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Busy Busy Busy...

Well goodness me, it's been a while!

I last sent out a newsletter in February and it seems like I haven't sat down since. If you forgot that Technology Made Simple exists I would completely understand, but I can assure you that I'm still here and still helping folks out with their technology.

The life of a freelance trainer/problem solver/IT handyman is never dull but the workload does tend to fluctuate quite a bit so the newsletter has consistently taken a back seat for actual work!

I hope this particular newsletter finds you all well and thriving with your technology, but of course if the technology part is giving you problems, you know who to call.

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer, Technology Made Simple

What's been happening?

For those that haven't seen me recently it's worth knowing that I'm now working a four day week with a day of childcare on Thursdays, plus of course I'm still doing the occasional weekend and evening session.

Just to give you an idea of the variety of things I've been helping with over the last few months, here are a few examples:
  • Running Microsoft Windows on a Mac using Parallels
  • Recovering lost passwords for both computers and web sites, plus making lost passwords less of a problem by introducing password managers.
  • Connecting computers up to sewing machines for machine embroidery and sourcing patterns to stitch out.
  • Setting up backups (so important!) and helping folks recover from computer failure by bringing backups back.
  • Setting up profiles on dating websites and getting familiar with searching through potential matches.
  • Animating company logo's using Apple's 'Motion' software, ready for including in some important keynote presentations.
You can see that it's not all the regular technology training that you might expect! But of course there has been plenty of that as well.
 

Creative training


Do you know anyone with a creative side who might be interested in photography, music or filmmaking? Did you know that I teach many elements of those fields too? With Christmas fast approaching why not consider the gift of knowledge by getting them some lessons in music production, photo management and editing or film production. Get in touch if you need an overview of what I offer in those fields and see whether it could be right for you or anyone you know!

Announcements

Apple News


On the Apple front there have been some exciting announcements including new iPhones (which I'm sure you've heard about) and new major software updates on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. There are so many new features on all of these that to write about them all would take masses of time but if you want to get some information there is the Apple Keynote speech available here:

https://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2018/

Or I can give you training on any of the new products and software whenever you see fit, just make a booking and let me know what you are interested in.
 

Travel Costs


I am going to be soon increasing the amount I charge for travel. The rate has been 50p per mile between my base in Kings Heath and you but I will be raising it to 70p per mile.
Remember that if you would rather not pay for travel I do offer remote training sessions as well, which take place over the phone with screen sharing technology so we are both looking at the same computer. It's perfect for most sessions which don't need me to be physically with you.
 

Warning - Scams

I have had a fair few customers falling for scams recently. If it happens to you then don't worry, you are not the only one and help is available. Having said that it makes life easier if you are savvy to a few of the more popular methods that are out there. Here's some that I have seen recently:
  • A convincing looking receipt arrives for something that you are certain that you never bought. It has a button on it which says something like "If this purchase was not made by you click here to be refunded". Clicking the link takes you to a page which asks you to put in details such as user name and password but it is a fake page designed to steal these details.
  • An email arrives to let you know that your online account is going to be closed because you need to fulfil security checks. You may see that the accounts will be closed very soon if you don't click the link in the email. Once again, clicking the link takes you to a fake page designed to take login details from you.
  • A phone call from the Microsoft/Apple support team lets you know that your computer is having problems and could be causing issues for other users as well. They offer to connect to your machine for free, or a nominal fee, in order to sort the issue out. Once connected the machine is no longer in your control and all sorts of bad things can happen including your personal files being locked away and ransomed back to you.
  • You are browsing the internet and a window appears letting you know that your computer is infected with a virus (or maybe even two or three!). It gives you a link to click to sort your computer out or a phone number to call for support. Of course both are taking you directly to scammers.

Many of these scams are designed to encourage you to move quickly, without thinking clearly, and often involve the threat of losing something or the idea that you have already lost something but can claim it back. Take your time over these things, don't be hurried. Don't click on any links in emails even if you are convinced that the email is genuine, and if you are unsure call the company that the email claims to be from (but don't call any numbers in the email). In the case of a phone call calmly let the caller know that you suspect this could be a scam and that you will call them back. Hang up and call the company they are claiming to be from, using a number you are positive is genuine. Real customer support agents will make no effort to stop you doing this.

For a full run through of security tips and tricks book a session and let me know that you are interested to learn more.

Solar Power

Having lived with solar panels through the past summer I am happy to talk about my experience with them and can even put you in contact with one of the best companies for advice and fitting. Just let me know.

Interesting Technology

This section is for looking at technology ideas that I think are ingenious. It's important to know however that we haven't tested any of these technologies and are not recommending them, just found them interesting! Click on the pictures to be linked to the relevant video.

Wearable Chair

It's likely to be ridiculously expensive and I'm not sure it's even available in the UK but I love the idea of this "Chairless Chair"

Mini Robot helper

I've included robots with personalities in the newsletter before but this one is super cute and, unlike some, moves around. It's like a robot pet!

See you next time!

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple
If you are a user of social media, or you just want to see what We've been up to or contact us, the circular buttons below will link to many of the places that you can find us.
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TMS newsletter - Feb 2018

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The TMS Newsletter for February 2018
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Stay out of the cold!

The days are getting longer but it's still chilly out there, which gives me all the excuse I need to stay in the warm with some tech based entertainment. And it seems my customers need no excuses either, as I've been busy helping with all sorts of interesting projects that keep people out of the cold, Printing photo books, wiring up Smart TV's, sorting out e-books and audio books... I've done it all and then some!

Hopefully we'll start seeing temperatures rising soon and I can start helping you all to get your music playing outside when you get out for picnics!

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer, Technology Made Simple

Notifications

I will be mainly out of action for the next week (until Wed 28th Feb) due to school holidays but I will continue to answer emails in that time. Voicemails may take me slightly longer to get to however.

I am finding myself booked up quite well in advance at the moment but should shortly be able to work more days per week than I currently do, so I'm hoping this will be temporary. In the meantime if you do have a problem which needs attention fast just let me know and we can look into remote support options during evenings or weekends.

Announcements

I will be running in the Birmingham & Black Country Half Marathon on the 7th of July to raise money for WaterAid 

Being a generally sedentary chap this is quite a challenge for me and has me out in the cold weather regularly to get the necessary training in!

You can help me raise money by donating directly to my fundraising page on JustGiving, who send your donation straight to WaterAid and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you are a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more.

If you wanted to make a donation click the button below:
Donate

Solar Power

With sunnier weather on the way and energy bills on the rise constantly, I decided to take the plunge and get some solar panels for my roof. If anybody is interested in how they can save money on their energy bills and what my experience has been like with solar power just ask!

Free computer cupboard/desk

I have a customer in Solihull who has a computer desk she no longer needs. I offered to let everyone know about it! It's a perfect fit for a 21.5" iMac. No payment required, just collection. Let me know if you are interested and I will pass your details on.

Jargon Busting

There are some pieces of jargon which really need explaining if you are to make sense of the technology world. In this issue we look at some more that you might come across...

Meltdown & Spectre


Over the last month these two have been making headlines in the technology world and it's not good news. It turns out that virtually all computers made since 1995 have a vulnerability which mean that information previously thought to be protected could be stolen by hackers. Meltdown and Spectre are the names given to two different methods of exploiting this vulnerability. For this newsletter there is little point in going into technical detail but if you are interested you could head to https://meltdownattack.com and read a little more into it. 
The good news is that these exploits are best suited to targeted attacks rather than a widespread attack so most individual computer users are currently unlikely to be affected (hopefully). The best advice for keeping yourself safe is to update your computers software to the latest version available and keep your fingers crossed.
 

Bitcoin


Bitcoin is the first example of what is known as 'cryptocurrency'. It is a relatively new currency which can exist outside of the borders of countries and doesn't require banks. It is built on a technology known as 'blockchain' which allows every transaction made with Bitcoin to be recorded in a public ledger, making transactions secure without needing middlemen checking over them. Because of this lack of intermediaries the fees for processing Bitcoin transactions are much lower than for standard currencies. For (much) more information go to this wikipedia page or watch the short video below.
Video from bitcoin.org which does a nice job of explaining what Bitcoin is.

See you next time!

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple
If you are a user of social media, or you just want to see what We've been up to or contact us, the circular buttons below will link to many of the places that you can find us.
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Christmas email - Dec 2017

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Happy Christmas!

This is not a proper newsletter at all but just an opportunity to wish all my friends and customers a magnificent Christmas and new year as well as make you aware of the dates of my Christmas holiday.

I will be having a Christmas break from midday on Friday (the 22nd) through to Wednesday the 10th of January to allow for childcare in the school holidays. I'm afraid to say that I am almost entirely booked up for the days before that time, but I will still be answering emails during the break... just allow for slightly more time than usual!

If you are after an appointment during that time and no other date will do, then pop me an email or voicemail and I will see if we can work something out.

Here's hoping that every one of you have a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to helping you all in 2018!

Kindest regards,

Chris
Tech Wrangler at Technology Made Simple
 

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Price updates - Nov 2017

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Pricing made simple...

TMS Pricing updates

Here's the details...

The TMS pricing has changed and now stays the same per hour irrespective of whether you book one hour or more. So here it is:

Weekdays between 9am-4pm, individual sessions are £36 per hour.

Weekdays after 4pm, individual sessions are £54 per hour.

Weekends, £63 per hour.

Evening and weekend sessions still need to be by arrangement and cannot be booked through the website.
Travel costs still apply at 50p per mile.

Pre-purchase for discounts

You can also now buy blocks of training and support in advance and make savings!

Between 1-5 hours will be charged at the standard price

Between 6-10 hours will receive a 5% discount

Between 11-20 hours will receive a 10% discount

Over 20 hours will receive a 15% discount

To pre-purchase a pack of hours, just get in touch, or let me know during your next session.
Visit the Pricing Page
Anybody who has a session booked already will be charged the old pricing for that session and as always if there are any questions that you would like answered either email info@technologymadesimple.co.uk, or call Chris on 07515528608

Have a lovely November!
Chris Smith
P.S.
If anybody is desperate for an iPhone X and does not want to wait (they're in high demand and short supply) I am selling two on eBay, click the link below and click 'items for sale'.

Link to Chris's eBay page
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TMS newsletter - Sept 2017

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The TMS Newsletter for September 2017
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Tech Harvest

The conkers are falling and my smart thermostat is starting to kick into action which can only mean one thing... we're gradually moving into Autumn. But don't let the colder weather get you down because this years new technology releases look really exciting! As we run up to Christmas plenty of companies are getting their ducks in a row to bring us tempting new gizmos and gadgets to fill our stockings.

If you need help deciding which technology can best improve your life, or need to get your current equipment doing what you would like it to, don't hesitate to get in touch with TMS Chris for some friendly professional assistance!

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer, Technology Made Simple

Notifications

After going down to three days a week over the Summer Holidays I have found that, on the whole, I can happily fit all of my customers into three days with careful scheduling. Adding this fact to the increasing costs of nursery fees I have decided to try continuing with a three day week whilst looking after my son on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you have a specific need for a session on a Tuesday or Thursday just let me know in advance and we can sort something out.

Apple Announcements

The Apple special event where they announced the new iPhones as well as a new Apple Watch and Apple TV took place on the 12th of September. Click this button:
Apple Event Sept 2017 Blog post
To go to my blog post which takes the announcements and gives the pertinent timings so you can skip right to the bit which interests you. There is also a link on the blog post which goes over all of the announcements in a 15 minute video if you are just looking for an overview.

Jargon Busting

There are some pieces of jargon which really need explaining if you are to make sense of the technology world. In this issue we look at another two that you might come across...

Internet of Things


The internet of things (or IoT) refers to the proliferation of devices which talk to each other via the internet with or without human interaction. These 'smart devices' are filled with technology such as sensors and networking hardware in order to report back to their users or other devices. Examples of these connected devices would be thermostats which can be controlled via a phone app, light switches which turn on from a voice activated command, a doorbell that rings on your phone as well as inside your house, or a coffee maker which can start brewing when you activate it from your bed (what luxury).
These devices are designed to make life easier and more convenient but can (if badly designed) become ways for hackers to break into our everyday lives, so every internet connected device must be viewed as a potential security weak point... 
 

Ransomware


Ransomware is a particularly vicious strain of software that criminals can use to extort money from people. They work by taking the files and folders on a victims computer (think pictures, documents etc.) and encrypting them so that the owner cannot access them. They then attempt to extort money from their victim by holding these precious files to ransom, promising to release the files upon the payment of a certain amount of money. These malicious bits of software are much more widespread today than ever before simply because they make substantial profits for the crooks that distribute them. You can foil the criminals by having a recent backup of your files (preferably not connected permanently to your computer) and by keeping your software up to date. If you use windows you will also need to make sure your anti-virus software is all up to date too.

Interesting Technology

This section is for looking at technology ideas that I think are ingenious. It's important to know however that we haven't tested any of these technologies and are not recommending them, just found them interesting! Click on the pictures to be linked to the relevant video.

Robot Chef

The World's First Robotic Kitchen - TV Commercial
Relatively soon the worlds first robotic kitchens will become available. The idea is that professional chefs will be recorded cooking a dish and the robots play back that recording in your home to prepare it for you!

Smarter Solar

This clever design allows for a better capturing of the suns energy by following its movement across the sky.

See you next time!

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple
If you are a user of social media, or you just want to see what We've been up to or contact us, the circular buttons below will link to many of the places that you can find us.
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TMS newsletter - July 2017

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The TMS Summer Newsletter 2017
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Summer tech time!

Well, the Summer is here again and it's time for another TMS newsletter. Things have been slightly quieter than usual over the last month at TMS so I'm asking all my friends and customers to do me a small favour... If you have any friends or family who you feel would benefit from some technology training or support could you forward this email on to them as a way of spreading the word? I cover Apple computers, phones, tablets, watches and Apple TV as well as windows, android, websites, word processing, spreadsheets... the list goes on!

If you have been sent this newsletter by somebody (who must be a very good friend!) then feel free to visit my website for more information:

www.technologymadesimple.co.uk 


Now, on to the newsletter!

Notifications

A few quick updates first.

Summer Holidays
The school Summer holidays are closing in and I will be doing some more childcare over those six weeks. I will be working three days every week and will also be available for evening remote support sessions. Evening sessions are usually more expensive but over the Summer holidays I will be charging evening sessions (remote support only) at the same rate as daytime sessions, so if you need some support I will still be available! The only 'proper' holiday I will be taking is between the 16th of August and the 24th, starting back again on the 25th of August. I will still be answering emails over this time though so still partially available!

Mac Monitoring
There has been some interest in my starting up a subscription based computer monitoring service, but not enough to warrant spending money on the software required. If you would be interested in having me keep constant watch on your computer to warn you of nasty surprises let me know! (don't worry if you already expressed an interest, I have you on my list already).

Tipping
A customer suggested that I set up a way of leaving a tip, for times when people feel I have provided value above and beyond the amount they have paid. It is now an option available at: 
 

Reviews
I have found an easier way for people to leave me reviews on Google, click the blue button below if you fancy leaving a review.
Review TMS on Google

Apple Announcements

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) took place at the beginning of June and there were some exciting announcements. Click this button:
WWDC Blog post
To go to my blog post which takes the WWDC announcements and gives the pertinent timings so you can skip right to the bit which interests you. There is also a link on the blog post which goes over all of the announcements in a 7 minute video if you are just looking for an overview.

Jargon Busting

There are some pieces of jargon which really need explaining if you are to make sense of the technology world. In this issue we look at three which are gradually getting more and more public attention. Impress your friends by knowing what they all mean!

 
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
If you enjoy science fiction then Artificial Intelligence may well be something you have been fearful of for some time! We may not be at the level of AI that threatens to take over the world yet, but modern AI can do some pretty impressive things. Current AI does things like looking at our photos and identifying things in them so when you search your photos for items like 'dog', 'mountain', 'birthday' or 'camping' it may well be able to return relevant photos to you. AI can also do things like predicting what you might be searching the internet for before you actually do it. Let's imagine that you have something coming up in your calendar, like a holiday perhaps, your AI assistant may well already know where and when you are going and be able to suggest places to eat when you get there, or warn you of traffic issues on the way, all without needing you to get things started. Slightly scary perhaps but overall very convenient!
 
VR (Virtual Reality)
Virtual reality gives users a way to enter an entirely different world by using a headset which places two small screens right in front of your eyes, displaying a virtual world which may range from a virtual cookery lesson to a virtual rollercoaster. VR promises to allow people to visit places in the world they have never been, and indeed places that have never before existed. Currently VR is being used mainly for games but in the future we may see virtual classrooms with pupils all over the world getting together to learn, or virtual businesses and offices where people go to work by putting on their headset!
 
AR (Augmented Reality)
Augmented reality has similarities to VR but with one fundamental difference... You are still looking at the real world but with additional (augmented) elements. There are some good demonstrations of AR in the WWDC keynote mentioned earlier in the newsletter but imagine looking down at an empty table and having it augmented to show you a game you are playing, or an aerial view of a city. Perhaps cars will use AR to point out which direction you should be driving... instead of a little sat nav telling you where to go, you might follow a floating line which seems to appear in front of the vehicle, or perhaps even a yellow brick road! AR is likely to be everywhere in the next few years now that Apple have made it a focus, but I expect it will be a while before everyone is wearing special glasses to make AR available all the time.


Look forward to more Jargon busting in future newsletters!

Interesting Technology

This section is for looking at technology ideas that I think are ingenious. It's important to know however that we haven't tested any of these technologies and are not recommending them, just found them interesting! Click on the pictures to be linked to the relevant video.

3D Printed Houses

3D Printed House Video
Huge 3D printers that use concrete as their 'ink' can now print entire buildings on site where previously they needed to be printed in a factory and assembled later.

Automatic braking technology

This video has been around for years but I only saw it the other day so it might be new to you as well! Automatic braking on lorries can potentially save many lives.

Wheelchairs on stairs

Not the only design for a wheelchair that tackles stairs but I thought this one seemed quite an elegant solution.

That's all folks!

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple
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TMS updates - May 2017

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Quick updates from TMS

Warm and (almost) summery greeting to all out friends and customers.

Rather than a full newsletter, this email is more of a quick update, with some sad news and some interesting announcements about two new services that TMS are offering. Please let me know if these services would be of any interest to you!

A proper newsletter will be on the way in the near future and I look forward to seeing each of you in person before too long!

Chris
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple

Farewell Leigh

The wonderful Leigh Holmes, the second trainer here at TMS has moved on to pastures new. I wish him all the best as he moves to his new position. 

For any of Leigh's customers who need technology support it's worth knowing that Technology Made Simple is not going anywhere! If you need a hand just email chris@technologymadesimple.co.uk or call me on 07515 528608. I will be happy to assist and will even offer a free 30 minute consultation, even if you had one already with Leigh, as an opportunity to get to know you properly!

VHS Tape Transfer

After talking to a few customers about how I am transferring some of my old Video tapes onto DVD and digital copies I have had some interest in this becoming a regular service for all of our customers, so it is now available!

As an introductory offer I will transfer any (non copyrighted) VHS tapes to DVD for £15 per tape; which is roughly half the price of similar services available elsewhere (at least according to my Google search). As well as this I can transfer the contents of your tapes onto a memory stick for a more future-proof way of keeping those memories safe... you just pay for the memory stick or provide one of a suitable size.
When it dawns on me what a huge amount of effort it takes to digitise a pile of old VHS tapes the price may well go up, so take advantage before I come to my senses!

Mac Monitoring

For many of our customers a computer failure can mean complete disaster, with loss of productivity and profits coming top of the list of consequences. Even for those of you not using your Mac for business, a failed machine can mean a loss of precious content such as photos, videos and music.

Since TMS cannot be with you and your computer 24/7 we are hoping to offer the next best thing to our customers... Monitoring software which keeps TMS in the loop with regards to your computers health. It will warn us if it looks like your hard drive will fail, or if you have contracted some Malware/Spyware or a myriad of other issues which can cause a computer to fail or have problems.

This service is not up and running yet because of the nature of the software we would be using. It is not cost effective to use this sort of monitoring software without a minimum number of customers for the service. We would end up paying for the software and not making anything back from it!

As such I would love to know whether this service sounds like something that YOU would be interested in using. The introductory offer on this is going to be an £8 per month subscription fee and there is a limit to how many people we can cover so let us know as soon as you can if you are interested in some extra peace of mind!

That's all folks!

 

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this TMS email is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple

Our reputation depends on you!

(So tell your friends how amazing we are)
Review TMS on Yelp (You will need a Yelp account to do this)
Review TMS on the Apple Consultants Network (You will need an Apple ID to do this)
Review TMS on Google (You will need a Google account to do this)
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TMS newsletter - March 2017

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Spring is Springing and TMS is loving it!

Wow! How is it March already? We've had some amazing sessions with some of our wonderful customers over the last few months... we've been helping with mobile phones, computer repairs and upgrades, photo libraries, music recording, wifi networks, backups, emails and much much more. All in a days work for your friendly local Tech support geeks!

I have been studying hard and am glad to say that I passed an exam on the latest Mac software known as "Sierra" so the lovely folks at Apple are aware that I know my stuff now (but we all knew that anyway!)

Leigh and myself look forward to working with you all in this lovely Springtime (come on weather, make it lovely, please!)

In the meantime we hope you enjoy our Spring newsletter.

Chris
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple

Notifications

Leigh Holiday

Leigh will be on holiday for one week beginning on the 17th of March. Don't worry though, if you have any technology needs in that time Chris will still be available on 07515528608 or chris@technologymadesimple.co.uk 
 

MacKeeper

We have seen an increase in the marketing for a Mac application called "MacKeeper" and several of our customers have already succumbed to their advertising gimmicks. Just a warning that this app is useless for nearly all Mac users and should be avoided. The same is true for the majority of software which promises to clean up and speed up your machine. The Mac computers look after themselves very nicely on the whole and having a piece of software tweaking technical things in the background can cause all sorts of unwanted problems. If you need help removing MacKeeper or similar software from you machine, just drop us a line!
 

Cancellations

At TMS we are lucky to have very few last minute cancellations but, of course, they do happen. And when they happen there may well be others among you who would appreciate that session time with us, so we are going to put together a list of emails of anybody who would like a notification when we have a cancellation, so they have the opportunity to book in. If you would like to be on this list just click the button below which will create an email telling us to add you. All you need to do is press send! If it doesn't work for you just let us know in any way you can and you will be included!
I would like to be on the list please!

Video Testimonials

We are going to be updating the TMS website at www.technologymadesimple.co.uk shortly and would really love to have some videos of our customers talking about what benefits they have gained from their training and support from us. If you would like to be one of our video testimonials just let us know by clicking the button below which will create an email telling us you would be willing to help us out. Once again, if it doesn't work for you just let us know in any way you can and you will be included!
I would love to be in a video testimonial!

A day in the life

There's a bewildering array of technology available to us all in this modern age and it's sometimes hard to see how this stuff can actually make a real improvement to our lives when it seems to just want to annoy and frustrate us! So I thought I would put together a little overview of just some of the ways that technology helps me in a regular day.

Morning

The smartphone wakes me up with gentle tinkling melodies. I use the same phone to quickly check the weather, news headlines and my calendar for the day before getting out of bed.

I weigh myself with clever scales which tell me not just my weight but also a body fat percentage (damn, still far too high!). I promise myself that I will fill all of my movement rings on my Apple Watch today in an effort to get that percentage down.

Whilst making breakfast for the family I play my morning music playlist filled with upbeat music to start the day. I remote control the music with my phone and stream it to multiple speakers and televisions around the house so the happy music fills the place.

Into the car and my phone becomes the sat-nav, intelligently routing me around traffic build up. During the drive I listen to interesting Podcasts and Audio books to expand my mind during what would otherwise be a fairly boring journey.

When I get to a customer I use a database application on my iPad to keep notes on their lesson today, and can check back on previous lessons to see how we're progressing. I also use the calendar application to book them in for their next appointment. I can immediately open up my accounting app for customers who need an invoice and to register payments to tally up against the TMS bank statement. If anybody wants to pay with a card I use a bluetooth card reader which securely talks to the Worldpay card authorisation systems through my phone.

After the session I check my email and have been asked to log into a website that I haven't been on for months. No chance of remembering the password, so I open up the 1Password app, which securely remembers the passwords for me, to automatically log myself in to the site and get the job done.

Afternoon

While stopping for lunch I notice how beautiful the scenery is around me and I take an impromptu panoramic photograph on my phone camera. The picture is so nice I share it with my friends on Twitter and FaceBook so they can enjoy it too (or not as the case may be).

I use the 'my fitness pal' app to scan the barcode of the sandwich I'm eating. It automatically tells me how many calories it has and its nutritional makeup. When I'm trying to lose weight this helps keep me on track!

I see on Facebook that there is a TV programme on later that I really want to see, so I use an app to ask my TV box at home to record it for me just in case I forget.

Evening

While the kids watch some educational TV on Netflix (they don't even realise they're learning) I look at what food we have in for dinner and add a few things to my shopping list app on my phone; this list is shared between my phone and my wife's so whoever gets to the shop first has the up to date list.

I decide what to cook but I don't have a recipe for it so I go online to find a few example recipes and pick and choose elements from a couple of them to suit the ingredients we have.

After eating we have a video chat with my parents in Bristol. The kids like to keep in touch with their grandparents and video calling is a lovely way to do it, however far away people are.

When the kids are in bed we spend some time looking through our photo library on the computer and deciding on a few shots to make into a book for mums birthday.

As bedtime approaches our handheld devices automatically start to dim their screens to help us wind down for sleep. I use the headspace app for some guided meditation to help relax. If sleep doesn't come easily I have a few other sleep related apps with peaceful music and more guided relaxation techniques.


What a busy day!
You can see that technology can play a positive role in so many of our day to day activities. And this is just the tip of the iceberg! If you would like to do any of the things mentioned in this post you know who to call!

Interesting technology

This section is for looking at technology ideas that I think are ingenious. It's important to know however that we haven't tested any of these technologies and are not recommending them, just found them interesting! Click on the pictures to be linked to the relevant video.

Standing Wheelchair

TEK Robotic Mobilization Device
This standing wheelchair could offer a great deal of extra freedom to many current wheelchair users.

An interesting robot

Introducing Handle
Robot technology moves from strength to strength with each passing year!
If you like looking at interesting Robots, Boston Dynamics had a video leaked of some of their other creations. It's not very professional and its relatively long but click Here if you are interested for more!

A breakthrough for batteries!

The 94 year old inventor of the lithium-ion battery claims to have created a new type of battery which holds three times the charge of a similar-sized lithium-ion pack, charges faster, and isn’t as dangerously volatile as lithium-ion batteries. If true, it will be the biggest breakthrough in battery technology since the lithium-ion pack first came out.

Click Here for a short article about this breakthrough. 

Bill Gates says robots should be taxed

Bill Gates: the robot that takes your job should pay taxes
This idea has been widely derided in the media but however we look at it robots will be taking peoples jobs at increasing rates.

That's all folks!

 

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple

Our reputation depends on you!

(So tell your friends how amazing we are)
Review TMS on Yelp (You will need a Yelp account to do this)
Review TMS on the Apple Consultants Network (You will need an Apple ID to do this)
Review TMS on Google (You will need a Google account to do this)
If you are a user of social media, or you just want to see what We've been up to or contact us, the circular buttons below will link to many of the places that you can find us.
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TMS newsletter - Dec 2016

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Happy Christmas to all of our friends and customers!

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to help you all out with your technology over the past year and I would like to take the opportunity to wish you all the very best for the Christmas holidays and the year to come. I hope everyone gets some exciting new tech in their stockings which might mean we get the honour of seeing you all again in 2017!

Best wishes

Chris
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple

Notifications

Holidays

Christmas school holidays are starting now so Chris will be off until January the 5th having the standard family Christmas of eating and drinking too much whilst fending off the complaints of a child who doesn't have enough batteries for his new toys (there's always something missing!).

If you do need help over the holidays however fear not, because Leigh will be working most days over the next three weeks... Just don't expect a speedy reply if you call during Christmas dinner! As always you can get him on 07903 377100 or email leigh@technologymadesimple.co.uk
 

Travel costs

So it's fair to say that so far the travel costs charged by TMS have been anything but simple... and that's not what we're all about!

So starting in the new year travel costs will be simplified and standardised to make life easier for all involved. They will be charged at 50 pence per mile travelled from your trainers home. The miles will be determined on any online route checker based on the shortest route (not the fastest) and if you find a shorter route than we do we will lower the costs accordingly!

As this is a new way of doing things for us, we will review travel costs after the first few months on 2017 so if you have any comments or suggestions on this just let us know and we can factor them in to our decisions.

Bookings (online and otherwise)

We are trialling some changes to the online booking system, so if you are booking with Chris you should get a text message reminder of your session shortly before it happens. This is new however so we would be interested to know that this is working as expected for everyone... let us know if you get a text reminder or more importantly if you don't receive it! Bookings for Leigh remain the same as they have been whilst we work through the trial, but if it goes well we will upgrade his booking system too.

The reason we have online booking is to make life easier for our customers and to take the element of human error out of the booking process. I (Chris) must apologise for the couple of people who have booked sessions via text message only to find that they did not end up in my calendar, through my own absent mindedness!

I strive for perfection so this sort of thing really bothers me

We realise that online booking is not right for everyone so we will continue to take bookings via email, phone calls and text messages but be aware that if you have not received a confirmation specifically saying that you are in the calendar, you may not be in the bookings calendar.

I plan to make a tutorial video in the new year which goes through the online booking process to make it as simple as possible so that everyone can benefit from its convenience.

Interesting technology

This section is for looking at technology ideas that I think are ingenious. It's important to know however that we haven't tested any of these technologies and are not recommending them, just found them interesting! Click on the pictures to be linked to the relevant video.

Motion stabilised eating utensils

Stabilising technology can make mealtimes more independent for folks with motor skill difficulty. A lovely idea.

Robot suitcase

This one seems faintly ridiculous and I'm not sure how well it will work in real life but still... Robot suitcase!

Miscellaneous

As we enter a world where social networks gain ever more popularity the users of these networks need to realise that spreading fake news causes all sorts of problems in society. This video highlights the issue in an easily digestible short animation.
Fact checking online is more important than ever
Fact checking needs to be done by all social network users, otherwise bad stories gain traction and can spread fear and hatred in society.

So long, farewell auf wiedersehen, adieu

 

The last thing we would ever want to do is spam your email address, so this newsletter is supposed to be a monthly (been much less frequent than that recently!) event filled with content designed to inspire and educate our friends and customers, and keep you up to date with what we're working on. Of course if you would rather not receive our monthly freebie, there is a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of this email! If you have friends or family who you believe would be interested in getting this newsletter, you can sign them up on our contact page - Click here to go to the TMS contact page

Finally, if there is anything you would like to see in our newsletter then just let us know!

With best wishes to you all,

Chris Smith
Lead Trainer
Technology Made Simple

Our reputation depends on you!

(So tell your friends how amazing we are)
Review TMS on Yelp (You will need a Yelp account to do this)
Review TMS on the Apple Consultants Network (You will need an Apple ID to do this)
Review TMS on Google (You will need a Google account to do this)
If you are a user of social media, or you just want to see what We've been up to or contact us, the circular buttons below will link to many of the places that you can find us.
Website
Website
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
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Google Plus
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Email
Email