How is Home AI working for you?

Everyone is making their own gadgets, streaming services and home AI. Most of them work great with about 60% of the services and devices on offer today. Services like, music streaming, films / TV, lighting and heating control etc…

Here lays the problem, to get what you want, you have to subscribe to more than one service if you want full automation;

  • Netflix – Works with all
  • Amazon Prime Media – Only works on Amazon / Android devices
  • Apple Music – Doesn’t work with Alexa or Google home
  • Phillips Hue – Works pretty much on all devices
  • Logitech Harmony – Only works on certain devices
  • Apple HomeKit – Not compatible with Logitech Harmony

Amazon music – this used to work on a standard Prime account on multiple Echo devices (Alexa), until now, you have to subscribe to Prime music otherwise it will cut your existing streams when playing on a new device.

The service IFTTT (If this then that) – made cross platform a work around for incompatibility devices like Hue, Harmony etc… and to be fair, it works very well, but nothing gets around the media streaming.

So for me, I’m in a dilemma; Will the new Apple HomePod be compatible with IFTTT? If so I’ll spend the £350 on one just for my Livingroom. I’m already on a Apple Music family plan and don’t wish to buy into Amazon Music too, It’s a sad day for me and Alexa, we may need some time apart.

Thanks for listening, comments are welcome.

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MESSAGE FROM NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY CENTRE (NCSC)

Since the global coordinated ransomware attack on thousands of private and public sector organisations across dozens of countries on Friday, there have been no sustained new attacks of that kind.  But it is important to understand that the way these attacks work means that compromises of machines and networks that have already occurred may not yet have been detected, and that existing infections from the malware can spread within networks.

This means that as a new working week begins it is likely, in the UK and elsewhere, that further cases of ransomware may come to light, possibly at a significant scale.

Our national focus must therefore be on two lines of defence.

The first is to limit the spread and impact of the attacks that have already occurred.  Due to broad government and partner efforts, a variety of tools are now publicly available to help organisations to do this.  This guidance can be found on our homepage – ncsc.gov.uk – under the title Protecting Your Organisation From Ransomware: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/ransomware-latest-ncsc-guidance

We know already that there have been attempts to attack organisations beyond the National Health Service. It is therefore absolutely imperative that any organisation that believes they may be affected, follows and implements this guidance. We have set out two pieces of guidance: one for organisations and one for private individuals and SMEs which can be applicable regardless of the age of the software in question.  It will be updated as and when further mitigations become available and we will announce when updates have been made on Twitter (@ncsc) and elsewhere.

Secondly, it is possible that a ransomware attack of this type and on this scale could recur, though we have no specific evidence that this is the case.  What is certain is that ransomware attacks are some of the most immediately damaging forms of cyber attack that affects home users, enterprises and governments equally.

It is also the case that there are a number of easy-to-implement defences against ransomware which very considerably reduce the risk of attack and the impact of successful attacks.  These simple steps to protect against ransomware are not being applied by either the public or organisations as thoroughly as they should be.

Three simple steps for companies to undertake which are also set out on our website (https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-your-organisation-ransomware) and can be summarised as follows:
Protecting your organisation from ransomware – NCSC Site
www.ncsc.gov.uk
How does ransomware infect your system? Computers are infected with ransomware via a number of routes. Sometimes users are tricked into running legitimate-looking …

1.       Keep your organisation’s security software patches up to date
2.       Use proper anti-virus software services
3.       Most importantly for ransomware, back up the data that matters to you, because you can’t be held to ransom for data you hold somewhere else.

Home users and small businesses can take the following steps to protect themselves:

1.       Run Windows Update
2.       Make sure your AntiVirus product is up to date and         run a scan – If you don’t have one install one of the free trial versions from a reputable vendor
3.       If you have not done so before, this is a good time to think about backing important data up – You can’t be held to ransom if you’ve got the data somewhere else.

In the days ahead, the NCSC, working closely with the National Crime Agency in support of their criminal investigation, and with international partners in both other governments and the commercial sector, will continue our round-the-clock effort to get ahead of this threat.  We would like to reassure the public that resources from the Government, law enforcement and public and private sector organisation are working together to manage further disruption from the current attack and to increase protection against any further attacks in the coming days. The country’s security and law enforcement agencies are working round the clock to protect the public. Private sector efforts have made a very significant contribution to mitigate the cyber attacks so far and to  prevent further disruption.

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False eSet Virus Alert – JS/Scrlnject.B

eSet virusFor all user experiencing virus alerts today on eSet; there has been a global false positive alert when browsing websites causing eSet to flag up a ‘threat found’ notification with a JS/Scrlnject.B trojan. eSet are aware of the problem and are pushing out a fix shortly.

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Microsoft Office 365 Personal £45

365 Office1  year subscription

  • The latest version of  Word – Excel – PowerPoint – Outlook – OneNote
  • 1 TB of on-line cloud storage with Microsoft OneDrive
  • Use of the office apps on your tablet
  • 1 year subscription, Single user licence for PC or MAC + use on 1 tablet or phone
  • Digital stock, licence and installer will be delivered to you by email

All for just £45

For more information or to purchase call 0161 291 1044 and ask for Steve.

 

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BT Broadband down nationwide! 2 Feb 2016

bt-logoA massive outage of BT’s Broadband has occurred today leaving the nation without internet. Reports from London all the way up to North Manchester have been recorded to have complete internet loss; one of the biggest outages known in the history of the service.

BT RequestThe BT internet webpage is also down, leaving customers clueless to what has happen to one of the UK’s biggest internet providers.

Further information will be posted as we find out more.

 

Update: 15:43 2/2/16
BT’s website appears to be back on-line but the service request page is timing out; probably due to the high demand of requests.


 

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Why have iPhone 5 screen repairs increased in price?

iphoneReplacement screens are not all manufactured by Apple, LG or Sharp even though Chinese distributors would like you to believe they are, most of them are counterfeit. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or Original are words chosen to describe parts that are near Apple’s required quality standard when in actual fact would often be rejected by the OEM.

So what’s happening in the market?

A large over-supply of poor quality screens have forced Chinese suppliers to produce and deliver higher quality parts; there has been a huge increase of returns to many sellers making repair companies look to buy higher cost screen to reduce the defect rate.

Another reason is that Apple want you to upgrade to iPhone 6, the life cycle of an iPhone was intended to last around 3 years so Apple want people to transition off the old device to a new one. Apple have been seizing fake screens along with other counterfeit goods thus having a knock on effect to the cost of replacement parts. If the price of the replacement parts go up, it could make the older phones B.E.R. (Beyond Economical Repair).

Chinese part vendors have also been known to price fix especially when goods have been seized by customs; Apple may well be aggressively working alongside customs so seize inbound parts driving the cost of repairs up in order to increase sales of new handsets.

What about iPhone 6 ?

iPhone 6 LCD’s and 6 plus are believed to be following suit in the near future.

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iPhone 6 Repairs already on the go

Before the release of the iPhone 6 later this month, many manufactures are looking at replacement parts for this amazing piece of kit. It’s not yet known if there will be any flaws but looking at the sleek design and craftsmanship, the iPhone 6 is a beautifully made masterpiece of advanced technology which is set to be a sell out much faster than the iPhone 5 5c and 5s.

Here are some sneak preview pictures of a real iPhone 6 before it’s announcement on the 9th September 2014. We look forward to hearing what features iOS 8 brings too.

iphone 6 iphone 6 repairsiphone 6 flatiphone 6 emblem iphone 6 backiphone 6 sensoriphone 6 against 5iphone 6 side

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Tel. 0161 291 1044