Latest IT issues and a Pi update


Each time I sit down to write an article for the Bugle, I cast my mind back to any significant technology events that occurred in the previous few months, looking for inspiration. This time there have been a few potential headlines for me to pass comment on. As always, I shall share my own food for thought and personal opinions, for what they are worth!


One of my more ‘popular’ support call topics lately has been the end of support for Windows XP. It seems that with sales of Windows 8 faltering, Microsoft resorted to spreading fear and panic amongst users of Windows XP in the hope of drumming up new sales. Personally, I feel the use of very over the top warning messages from the security software was a pretty underhand and unnecessary tactic. My current advice would be that if you were previously content to use XP then there is no reason to change.  


“Antivirus software is dead” was an interesting quote recently heard from a Vice President of Symantec (home of Norton antivirus software). What he really means of course, is that the company is no longer making enough money from the products.  It is interesting because many customers still frequently ask me which Anti-virus product I would recommend to users.  Without repeating advice given in a previous article, I will remind readers that a good chunk of my business is based on the fact that antivirus products generally don’t work when you need them to!


Also hitting the IT headlines were the recent IT security scares- Heartbleed and the Internet Explorer bug. What a load of hot air and spin! These so-called security bugs arise every day so it is interesting to ponder why these particular two were promoted to National News level.  My feeling was that well, one had a catchy name and the other was a bit of ‘told you so’ aimed at Windows XP users who didn’t heed those important security messages mentioned earlier!  Neither is likely to have directly affected many people as they each required a particular series of unlikely events to take place. Personally, I did not have a single call from customers affected by either of the issues, although many were probably persuaded to change a few website passwords.


On a positive note, a few months ago the Raspberry Pi hit the 2 million sales mark. Those of you keen enough, may remember my article of two years ago about this little £25 computer with the delicious sounding name. This little wonder, which has now become a worldwide hit, is finding a variety of uses in our household.  It has been put to good use as a bargain priced HD media streamer in our household allowing us to make a normal TV a bit smarter. Ours will also soon be put to good use as an occasional ‘cat-flap monitoring system’. If you are interested, try searching for ‘pi parent detector’ to find the excellent on-line resources. It’s not entirely straight forward to do, but that’s the point. It’s an excellent educational tool and new ideas for their use and how to achieve them are appearing all the time. Most importantly, we’ll find out if our cat really has been inviting a few mates in at night for a slap-up meal, as we suspect she has!


 © Peter Johnston, ByteSupport Ltd  2014.