Practical Tips

“My printer won’t print”. 6 reasons why your printer is not working and how to fix this

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How to fix a broken printer

Interestingly, this is one of the most common questions we get asked over the phone in MicroPro and it’s something we usually are able to solve right there and then.

1. “Is it plugged in?” to quote the Chris O’Dowd’s character form the IT Crowd. It’s as simple as that and you’d be surprised how many times we’ve made this mistake ourselves, especially at the early hours of the morning. Make sure your printer is plugged in, the electricity is turned on and, if it’s a remote printer, that it’s actually turned on.

2. Check the ink cartridges. All printers are different but most of them will tell you if the ink cartridges are empty. If you have a simple printer without an LCD screen, check if there’s a little light that’s blinking above a a graphic that looks like a drop. Most of the time this indicates issues with inks: they might be empty or placed incorrectly. If this is your first time to use the printer, make sure that you have placed the inks correctly and that you have removed protective film from them.

 3. Check the paper. Did you run out? Some printers might not print if there are even a just a couple of sheets of paper or on contrary too many sheets. Fill the paper storage about a half-full capacity and you should be on the safe side.

4. Make sure nothing is stuck in the printer. Got a paper jam? Sometimes it might be caused by something being stuck in the printer. If you have a multi-function printer, you may want to lift the lid under the scanner and see if there’s anything that doesn’t seem to belong: paperclips, paper bits, food – these can sometimes fall in through the upper paper compartment. If it’s a simple printer without the scanner, take out the inks and tilt the printer forward giving it a bit of a hit. This way, whatever could possibly be stuck in it will fall out, but you will also not get printer inks all over yourself.

5. Check the error messages. Is your printer displaying an error message? That’s the easiest way to find out what’s wrong with it. Just Google the error message (most of the time it’s a code) with the name and the make of your printer and you will get a fast answer.

6. Shooting blanks. Your printer makes all the right noises but only returns blank pages? Or, the images appear smudged, uneven, wrong color, etc? Try to clean the heads of the printer. No need to take out the dusting cloth yet, this is something you tell the printer to do from the computer or the printer itself. Just look for the “Maintenance” section in the manual for your printer, or Google “how to clean the heads on [your printer name]”.

Hope this advice will help and you will find exactly what you need to fix your printer. Didn’t find a solution? Give us a call on 01 4930514

Looking for a new printer? We’ve got a special on a Epson Expression XP-225  Multifunction printer/scanner/copier – €69.99 including VAT. Come and take a look for yourself.

Stay safe online: CryptoLocker

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Have this thing just popped on your screen?

Please note: this is a virus and it can not be trusted. We have a lot of customers coming in with their computers right now complaining about this CryptoLocker thing.

CryptoLocker is a type of malware – it’s a little bugger of a malicious software that you can get by opening a wrong e-mail (for example).

First off, if you ever get an e-mail from services like your phone company, bank and so on – don’t open them. Your official services never contact you over e-mail. They send letters.

Second, never trust anything that is asking you for money out of a sudden in a pop-up. When in doubt – just give us a call on 01 493051.

OK, so you got the CryptoLocker thing on your screen anyway. How to deal with this? Here are a couple of steps:

Download the following tools first then disconnect machine from network

1. To remove the cryptolocker virus run the Sophos removal tool
It can be downloaded from below:

http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/virus-removal-tool.aspx

2. After removal tool has completed download the CryptoPrevent installer tool

Install and then click block:

http://www.foolishit.com/vb6-projects/cryptoprevent/

If you don’t know how to proceed with the above, switch off your computer and bring it to us, or just give us a call first. We’ll be able to sort you out.

Please stay safe and only open e-mails that you are waiting for and know that you can trust.

Don’t have AntiVirus on your computer? Install AVG Free http://free.avg.com/eu-en/homepage

We also recommend Malwarebytes to protect you against malware: http://www.malwarebytes.org/

Questions? Comments? Get in touch. leave a comment below.

Alex

@MicroPro Computers

TWITTER FILTERS: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW TO USE THEM

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Here’s another note on the use of Twitter. This time I will tell you a little bit about Twitter filters. If you’re using them already – great! Perhaps, you could even add to my note if you have some other tips.

If you’re not using these yet: Twitter filters are great to discover new tweets that might help you find new customers that are looking for your services.

You will need to install one of the Twitter apps I mentioned before: http://on.fb.me/15ugINP. For this post I’m going to use Tweet Deck as it’s the one I’m using most of the time.

I have created a new Twitter account for an ice cream shop to use as an example for this.

1. ADDING YOUR FILTERS

So, I started with a simple search for ice cream on Twitter. I can see what people are talking about and possibly find some interesting recipes to retweet to your followers.

I have also looked up for people who ‘want ice cream’ to see if I could send them a tweet with a recommendation to come over to my shop (or my brand). I’ve also tried ‘flavor ice cream’ to see what flavors people were discussing and also ‘dublin ice cream’ – to see if anyone was looking for ice cream in my area and what the conversation generally was about.

And you can see what tweets I found from the picture there. I have also saved these searches – so I can check them every day for new tweets.

2. GEO-TWEETS

So, if you’ve played around with the first step – let me introduce a more complicated one right away. So, you saw how I added ‘Dublin’ into my search? Well, most of the people won’t tell you where they are or what exactly they are looking for. And this is where you can use geo-location search. It involves a few steps and modifications – but I’ll try to make it simple for you.

You see the picture above? Some of these are tweets that include words ‘ice cream’ and ‘want ice cream’ within 50km radius of Dublin and also 10km radius of Rathmines (where I decided my ice cream shop is located). I can find people that want ice cream in the nearest or local area. There’s also a general ice cream talk I can join in.

So, how do you search by location on Twitter? First, find out what your geocode is. Here’s a handy link: http://www.mygeoposition.com/. So, I searched for ‘Rathmines’:

Longitude: 53.321882 Latitude: -6.265505

Now, my search code for Ratmines is 53.321882,-6.265505, (note commas)

When you found this code, decide of your radius area (I find that the code does not work properly without it) and put in the following in to the search:

want ice cream geocode:53.321882,-6.265505,10km

My key words are ‘want ice cream’, the geocode is for Rathmines and the radius is 10km. So, now I can see who wants ice cream around and close enough to Rathmines. Off course I can reduce the radius too.

Go on – have fun with some keywords and see for yourself if you can reach out to your locals.

3. OCCASION TWEETS & NOTIFICATIONS

Now that you have tried the keyword search and location tweets in your search you can see if you can tap into the trends on Twitter.

Say, it’s a hot weather in Dublin out of a sudden. I know that people would be looking for ways to cool down and they’d love to come by for ice creams and ice shakes. So, I’m going to use a combination of geo-tweets and keywords like ‘scorcher’, ‘too hot’, ‘melting’ and whatever else, that’s not as straight forward but would help my business.

You can also select your notifications in TweetDeck. So, when someone is looking for ice cream in Rathmines, I’ll have a pop up with a sound coming up on the screen. To do this, just click on the drop-down arrow of your search column where you will find ‘notifications’ and selection options.

On the note

The tweets you will find are public – which means that people have chosen to display these tweets and they realise that anyone can read them. In either way you should consider this with a bit of common sense.

You don’t have to approach the folk with the marketing pitch – be rather playful and answer their questions without directly pointing at your brand. Obviously, if someone says ‘I’d love an ice cream right now but I don’t have anything close by’ – you can point them directly to yourself.

If you’re interesting people will look into your profile anyway. So, have fun with this.

I’d love to hear your feedback – did you find this useful? Do you already use these Twitter filters? Is there something I left out or should have explained better? Comments below always welcome.

Alex
@ MicroPro Computers

A LITTLE BACKUP STORY

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A few weeks ago I started working on a series of videos for this company. The thing is that the video files from the camera I’m using take a whole lot of space, and I have to store them on a little TOSHIBA drive that’s always connected to my computer.

So, one weekend I was working away on the laptop, I reach out for a glass of water and splash… there it goes: all over my little trusty TOSH hard drive. To double my horror my boyfriend decided to ‘save the situation’ and shake the water off the hard drive. Obviously, by shaking the hard drive itself. Still connected to my laptop and spinning away.

And hey, it still worked. For the exact amount of time it took me to save the video files on the SD card I also have permanently connected to my laptop.

And the rest of my 1TB photos, videos and summer holiday memories? Safely backed up on my second hard drive. Actually, I have five of them.

You don’t necessarily have to be such a backup pedant. But, it’s good practice to backup things that you’re working on constantly. Especially if they are important.

So, here’s a bit of nitty gritty on some of the habits you can catch on to so your data doesn’t magically disappear one day.

1. CTRL + S – to save your Word/Excel/PowerPoint document constantly

When you start composing a new document, start by giving it a name and saving it as soon as you get a headline. Once you’re finished with a paragraph – click CTRL + S to save it to the document. That way you will be sure that you have the most full version of your composition in case things go haywire.

2. External Hard Drive

I love external hard drives. But that’s because I love photography and video and I have a lot of files backed up twice on all my drives. You don’t have to go to such drastic extents, but if you do have a lot of photos or you’re working with a video those come real handy

3. USB & SD

Now, if you’re working on your thesis or a small project and you have to constantly use a certain set of documents – put them on a memory stick. You can get one of those USB sticks that doesn’t even stick out of your computer, so you can have it constantly plugged in. SD card (yes, your usual photo card) is also very handy. Most of the new computers come with a SD card slot and you can also use it to back up your data and keep it in all the time without obstructing anything. Plus, your USB slots will be free too.

4. Dropbox & Google Drive
Save your information in the cloud. Say, you’re working on a thesis, and your computer suddenly switches off and doesn’t come back on. You bring it into your local repair centre and they say it’s not repairable. If you have saved your document in the cloud and worked on it while using my first suggestion you could just find another computer and proceed working on your thesis. Of course most of the students forget about those. We always can tell when the deadlines are approaching in our workshop.

5. E-mail it to yourself

Sometimes you might not have a your USB key or external hard drive handy. But most of us have e-mail and access to e-mail from any computer. So, you can just e-mail the file you’re working on to yourself and you can get it on any other computer. So easy!

A little extra…

CD & DVD

ven the above solutions sometimes fail. I once dropped my external backup hard drive and thought that all my old photos were gone forever. Until I found a box of old CDs and DVDs that I used to use before the said hard drive and they were all there. I still have that box. And although CDs and DVDs might be depreciating in time (scratched etc.) – I never actually use them. They just sit in the box under my bed in protective cases and I only used them once since. A little extra solution if you need it.

You see – backing up is easy, you can do it anywhere and it can save you a lot of frustration. So why not make it a habit today?

Let me know if you have any questions or ideas. If you need any memory sticks, hard drives or SD cards – you know where to find them.

Alex @ MicroPro Computers

Exactly how secure is your password?

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Any of them. Have you ever thought of any of your passwords? Are you using the same password for all websites and services?

I’m here once again to talk to you about the security of your information. I’ve already told you a story about the importance of backing up (http://on.fb.me/1f0sHoa). Well, this time I have even better example.

Gizmodo has a published a list of the most popular passwords for 2013 (http://bit.ly/Lvsf6l), based on the “millions of public passwords stolen through the year”. You can get a better insight of where these passwords came from from the link above, and here’s the list from the site:

1. 123456 (Up 1)
2. password (Down 1)
3. 12345678 (Unchanged)
4. qwerty (Up 1)
5. abc123 (Down 1)
6. 123456789 (New)
7. 111111 (Up 2)
8. 1234567 (Up 5)
9. iloveyou (Up 2)
10. adobe123 (New)
11. 123123 (Up 5)
12. Admin (New)
13. 1234567890 (New)
14. letmein (Down 7)
15. photoshop (New)
16. 1234 (New)
17. monkey (Down 11)
18. shadow (Unchanged)
19. sunshine (Down 5)
20. 12345 (New)
21. password1 (Up 4)
22. princess (New)
23. azerty (New)
24. trustno1 (Down 12)
25. 000000 (New)

Is one of your passwords in the list? Perhaps, it’s time to change something. Here are a few good tips on how to choose a more secure password.

1. Choose a combination of letters and numbers – it’s a mantra that every website sticks to these days, you will find this sentence under every password window when you register for one thing or another. So follow it. However, remember to also choose small & capital letters in the password to make it more secure.

2. Use a special character – some websites might not allow you to use special characters in the password, like a “£” or a “&” sign. But sure enough any website will allow you to use “!”. Yes – an exclamation mark! Be happy about your new password – an exclamation mark in your password is an excellent way to add an extra layer of security to it.

3. Use a different password for each website – it might be hard to remember all places you have registered on, but the chances are – if one of your account sis hacked on one of the websites is extremely easy to get all the rest of your profile information everywhere else. So, stay safe. Especially, when choosing a password for the likes of Ebay, PayPal, Amazon, your bank etc.

4. Choose a word that is not associated with the software you’re registering for – or the website. Say you’re choosing your WiFi password. Don’t make it “Broadband123!”. Even in this format it’s easy to hack.

5. Check how fast it would take to hack your password – here’s a link to the website to check how easy it is to hack your password http://howsecureismypassword.net/. You might be surprised.

Do not ever share your password with anyone. If you absolutely need to share you password in some circumstance or the other, and you have to do it over the email – send a picture of it rather than a text format one. Never give you password to anyone over Facebook.

Do you have a good advise on how to choose a good password? And how do you remember passwords for all the websites you have registered for?

Regards

Alex

@MicroPro Computers