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#FridayFive: 5 tips for the tech-free holiday

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It’s nearly Christmas time and we hope that you will get to spend it with your friends and family. And wouldn’t it be nice to give yourself and your family a bit of a technology-break too? Instead of being glued to the screen at a Christmas table, live-tweeting your Christmas gift unboxing or Instagraming every piece of food that gets on your plate, how about you forget about your phone and tablet for a couple of days and enjoy the company of real people for the change? If you can’t imagine the world where this is possible, we have a few tips to get everyone onboard with the idea.

1. Have a gadget-free dinner. Now, there’s a well-working trick that’s been circling around, and you probably know about it: get everyone at the table stack their phones in the middle and whoever reaches for the phone first pays the bill. This might not work if you’re having a meal at home, but you can come up with a different penalty for taking the phone (or tablet) out of the stack.

2. Reward the gadget-free time. Candy works well, if you have any stocking-stuffers around this might work great too. That’s probably going to work best with the kids, but they might be the ones mostly distracted by the phones or tablets.

3. If a friend texts – call them back. If you are waiting for an important text or contact – make a phone call out of it. First of all, having a verbal conversation is more personal. Secondly, sending messages back and forth might distract you for a much longer time than a quick phone call would.

4. Plan activities during dinner. Any conversation can get into a stall, and as with any other parties, Christmas get-together would also benefit from some extra entertainment. Schedule in some games or activities during your Christmas dinner. Go on a walk or a hike with your family and friend after opening your Christmas gifts.

5. Have a “Social Media break”. If your family and friends really cannot sit through a Christmas dinner without Instagraming, Facebooking or Tweeting – pencil in a break for the social media updates & check ups. Perhaps, this might result into a more thoughtful updates too.

These might be handy even after Christmas too. We hope you have a very peaceful and joyful holiday.

#FridayFive: 5 tips for sharing something on social media

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Pretty much all of us with a decent access to the Internet have some sort of a social media profile. We like sharing our happy moments, sometimes sad moments, commenting on other people’s moments or to post something to lighten up mood or express a concern. However, sometimes we tend to forget how these updates might affect our lives and relationships with other people, and in some occasions social media posts can get us into a real trouble.

So, here are 5 basic principles of sharing something on social media.

1. Pictures. Think about who you want to see your pictures. If it’s shared on Facebook, you perhaps want to make sure that you select the type of people that see your post. You can do that by selecting “Public” or “Friends Only” right next to the “Post” button. It’s a good practice to keep your posts mainly “Friends Only”. If they are “Public” anyone can see these photos by simply looking you up on Google.

2. Avoid posting anything when you’re at work. Depending on your work of course, but you would think that your boss would like to think that you are working somewhere between 9-5. Posting something often during the work hours can affect your future employment too. Modern day employers are now looking up your social media profiles and can see when you’re posting something during work hours or if you’re posting something embarrassing that could potentially cost you the job.

3. Comments. Sometimes you feel like you have something to say on the matter. In general, if you don’t have something nice to say, it’s probably not a good idea to say it. But if you’re really thinking of expressing your thought on something someone else has said, think about it: is your comment visible to public, can it get you in trouble and if you can stand your ground when someone approaches you on a subject. Whatever you do, think about your reputation and the reputation of the person you’re posting your comment to. Be nice, and don’t get people in trouble.

4. Are you oversharing? Some things are meant to be kept private. Share happy moments, or remarkable moments, moments of significance. If you’re posting 10 pictures of the cat looking out of the window, or posting 15 links to funny videos each day, perhaps you should reconsider why you’re on the social networking site in the first place. It is the place to share. But it’s also a place to socialise on. Instead of posting those 10 pictures, catch up with the friend you have not heard from for a while. Same time, more significance to you.

5. Think twice, post once. When you feel you have something to say, when you feel you have a rant brewing up, why not simply pick up a phone and call a friend and discuss it? Perhaps, the matter is simple and not as the-end-of-the-world as you have imagined. A good friend will help you get through it better than a few strangers who post on your comment on Facebook.

And most important outtake from this: think before you post. You never know who will find your posts & sometimes it’s just easier and better for yourself to talk to someone instead.

#FridayFive: 5 ways to get the use out of your tablet

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how to use your tablet

If you’re considering an option of buying a tablet instead of laptop, perhaps, these handy uses will help you make the decision for the tablet. Although, we still like laptops too, and some of these tips will show you how you can use a tablet as a secondary device.

1. Get more focused. Need to focus on one task at a time? You can only have one task open on the tablet at any one time, so you’re sure to be focused on that; as opposed to the laptop when you have multiple programs and browser windows open.

2. Read. As simple as it sounds, it’s a digital reader at your hands and it’s much easier to read off a vertical screen when you want to get a feel of a book. Besides, there are so many books available for tablets now, you can have an entire library at your fingertips.

3. Play. Use your tablet as an entertainment centre for games, movies and music and off load these things from your work computer. This, will not only free up your storage space on your work computer, but it will make sure you’re not distracted when working.

4. Take notes. Use an app like Evernote to take notes and sync them up with your computer and phone. A tablet is fast to start and applications are only a few taps away – so much easier that starting up your laptop. And for the loud typers – the screen tapping is more silent than the keyboard bashing.

5. Remote control. You can use your tablet as a remote control for your Smart TV or for your computer, just looks into your device specification and see what apps it will support.

 

So, laptop  or a tablet? You can have both with the TOSHIBA Click-Mini. Not decided? Pop by our shop and check some of the offers on both laptops and tablets this weekend.

#FridayFive: 5 halloween costume ideas you can print

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If you’re out of time to make a proper costume or just want something simple for your halloween outfit – here are some things you can easily print. And if you’re up to a challenge you can also put your hands on something more elaborate.

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1. Simple masks. We’ve found a bunch of free and simple masks for you to print over at Super Punch – in case you need something super quick and fun.

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2. Foldable masks. This will take a little bit more effort and some glue, but it’s still as simple as just printing off a mask on the printer. Get the different templates at Cut & Fold Costumes.

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3. Lightsaber. Over at Disney website they actually have quite a few fun printable ideas & this one is not only quick and easy to make but will also satisfy your inner geek without having to put a lot of effort into the costume.

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4. Steve Wintercroft masks. Want something original and a little more elaborate. These masks are guaranteed to have you noticed at any Halloween party – and we think that they look good enough even as house decorations – so, reusable.

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5. For the dedicated: Iron Man suit. This will take some top-level dedication and perceveirance but if you end up making this costume it will sure turn some heads. Get a full step-by-step here.

Don’t have a printer? Pop by on your way from work and pick up a cheap and cheerful EPSON printer from our range. It takes minutes to set it up, you don’t have to connect it to your computer & you’ll have a printer costume for your party in a matter of minutes. We’re open 9AM – 6PM Monday – Saturday.

#FridayFive: 5 reasons why the EPSON WorkForce Pro is the best office printer for you

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Choosing a good business printer is not a simple feat: it has to be efficient, economical and multifunctional. Thankfully, EPSON WorkForce offers all these and more. Here are just five reasons to choose the printer from this range over your usual laser printer.

1. Efficiency: All of the Workforce Pro range printers use up to 80% less power than competitive color lasers thanks to its no-heat technology. No ozone gas is emitted, and an improved quiet print mode and no fan noise during or after printing makes it ideal for the work environment. And there are fewer consumables and parts to replace than a comparable laser.

2. Time saver: Focused on keeping offices productive, this multifunction is faster than competitive colour lasers on typical print jobs, as there is no warm up time needed.

3. Built for business: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and Gigabit Ethernet all help to boost office productivity. PC-less scan-to functions, including Microsoft SharePoint using Epson’s Document Capture Pro software, and scan-to-email with LDAP address book compatibility, make it ideal for sharing documents. Users can also securely print using a PIN code to release confidential documents.

4. Easy to use: Easily control the main functions with its smartphone-like 8.8cm colour touch-screen. Automatic double-sided duplex printing as standard makes any job easy and means less paper is used too. Directly print from, or scan to, a USB memory stick. In addition, its front-loading ink cartridges are easy to change.

5. Running costs: For cost-conscious offices this business multifunction has significant advantages over comparable colour laser printers. Its high-yield ink cartridges help this printer to achieve an up to 50 percent lower cost per page than competitive colour laser printers. It uses Epson’s DURABrite Ultra inks, in high-capacity ink cartridges of up to 4,000 pages, which ensure efficiency and productivity.

If this is not convincing enough you can now get up to €200 cashback (inc. VAT) when you purchase a WorkForce Pro range printer. For more details you can check our previous blog post.

TOSHIBA Satellite Pro R50 – the laptop that means business

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Toshiba Satellite Pro R50-B-12P MicroPro Computers

TOSHIBA Satellite Pro R50 is a true business laptop. It doesn’t just have the business in mind – it’s designed just for it.

Starting from the black ridged surface finished that doesn’t allow for the greasy fingerprints to stay on any visible places – a must for keeping a presentable look. Its screen’s hinges are made extra stable to keep the screen just when you need it.

This laptop is made extra robust and can withstand any extra heat, pressure or being taken in and out of the bag several times during the day without lagging a bit – ideal on the move.

It’s slim and light and the screen won’t catch any sun glares if you’re working outside. Plus, all of your essential ports like HDMI, VGA or a handful of USBs are on the side and ready to use whenever you are.

R50 comes with a super quick and efficient Core i3 Intel processor that will keep all of your tasks run efficiently and smoothly. It comes with a plenty of storage too.

Here’s a more detailed specification:

Processor: 4th generation Intel® Core™ i3-4005U processor
Screen: 39.6cm (15.6”) , Toshiba HD non-reflective High Brightness display with 16 : 9 aspect ratio and LED backlighting
HDD:  500 GB
RAM: 4GB
Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 4400
Max battery life: 7h30m
Weight: 2.3kg
Dimensions: W x L x H : 379 x 258 x 23.95 mm

TOSHIBA Satellite Pro R50 is now available in MicroPro Computers at €549.99. For more specification, details or demo please contact the shop.

#FirdayFive: 5 things to know about your Facebook posts

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MicroPro Computers Facebook Posting tips

Facebook has been around for a little over 11 years (can you believe it?) and you’ve probably been on it for quite a while too. It’s hard to believe someone when they say they are not on Facebook.

It seems that the privacy policy, the way we create posts and view posts are changing every week or so and it’s hard to follow them sometimes. But there are some common practices that you should know and consider before you create your next post. Here are 5 that we could think of for now:

1. Choose your audience. We posted this in our Tuesday Tip category this Tuesday. Basically, think about who’d you like to see your next post. Some people like to post little rants to Facebook, some like to post pictures of pub shenanigans from the weekend – and are you really sure you want everyone to see these posts? If there’s something you really don’t want a particular person to see you can now exclude individuals from your posts. We’d recommend to limit your posts to “Friends Only” unless it’s something you’re not concerned to share on a public platform.

2. Be careful when you post. A lot of us are tempted to check Facebook during the working day. Some even work with Facebook and it’s totally fine if it’s constantly open on the screen. But the truth is, most of the employers like to see people working on what they’re paid to do and not wasting time on Facebook. You never know where life can take you next, and some of the employers actually check your social media to check if your stellar description of yourself compares to your social activity.

3. Filter your content. Following from the above post, it’s not only important when you post, it’s also important what you post. Do you really need a picture with all those empty shot glasses on your wall? is your little rant about your roommate going to hold up in 15 minutes? A lot of times when you want to post a rant about something on Facebook, in general, you start feeling different once you’ve posted or once the heat from being annoyed passes. So, let it sit for 30 minutes and if you still feel like posting something along these lines – post it, taking into consideration the two points above.

4. Don’t tag your friends. This also ties into above points. When you post a picture of someone or a group picture to Facebook and you tag them, this picture appears on their wall. Are you sure that your friend will like this picture being posted at that time, place and with those people? What if they’r not supposed to be where they are or they don’t like the way the look on the picture? Really want to post a picture? Do it, but ask your friends to tag themselves if they like instead.

5. Go through your settings. Ever wondered what your page looks like to strangers? Log out or use your browser’s “private” mode to see your profile when you’re not logged into Facebook. Remember – that’s the page everyone sees. If all your posts, personal, work and friend information is visible you might want to go through your Facebook settings. It might be a tedious and time-consuming venture (Facebook has a lot of setting options right now) but it’s worth it on the long run.

Perhaps, you already know all of these and perhaps you’re thinking different. Either way, the next time you want to post something to Facebook just think about who could possibly find this post and what they could possibly think about it.

#FridayFive: Back to School special

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The schools are back and we’ve decided to pick up on 5 practical computer-related tips to get you back into gears and stay productive during upcoming months.

1. Pack light. Decide on the day what you need to bring with you – do you really have to bring the laptop today? Do you need both your laptop and a tablet? You can also scan the pages you need from the textbook you’re going to use on the day and view these on your laptop in class to avoid bring all the books with you. Don’t have a laptop and need one? We have a super lightweight laptop with a keyboard dock that turns the laptop into a tablet in a single click – check this TOSHIBA Click Mini in the shop now.

2. Start clean. Is your computer ready for the new school year or is it full of summer memories cramming the Desktop? Make sure you start fresh with the new school year: clear the Desktop, clean up the files and back them up, check all programs for updates, run Anti-Virus scans & check if the fan for overheating. If you don’t know how to handle any of these things – just bring it to us and we’ll do the job.

3. Have the little things ready. You’ve got the computer sorted, little bits like pens, pencils, notebooks too. Do you have enough printer paper for printed assignments? Do you need CDs or DVDs for assignments to be submitted on these? Is there enough ink in the printer? Don’t leave these things for last minute – pop over to the shop and we’ll get you ready.

4. Backup. Backup. Backup twice. We’ll keep on repeating this until it sticks. There are still a lot of people that come to us with requests to restore the data from a computer that’s been damaged, and unfortunately it’s not always possible. So, give yourself cover from the beginning, especially if you’re making an important project – back it up as you go. Use our backup tips and check out this backup drive we have on special right now – perfect for clumsy hands or super active lifestyle.

5. It’s OK to do nothing. No, not all day everyday – just every now and then. Let yourself unwind, just listen to music, meditate or simple, do nothing. Especially, if you’re in a middle of an tough assignment it will help you clear the head up and get back into the pace fresh.

#FridayFive: 5 shortcut tips to use in Google

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Now, that you can find anything in Google is a common knowledge. But you can actually find some things much faster than you think. We put a little video together to show you some of the most common Google shortcuts we’re using ourselves and hope you also find them helpful.

Note: if you’re using Google Chrome you just need to type these into the address bar (ie you don’t even need to go to “Google” homepage).

1. Check the weather

Just type in “weather” and the location you’d like to check the weather for and you’ll get the forecast. We’ve checked several times and it’s quite accurate.

2. Convert currency

Simply type the amount in the currency you’re converting and the denominator of the currency you want to convert to and you’ll get the instant number. Alternatively, you can just type “currency converter” and choose the currency you want to convert to from the drop-down menu.

3. Convert units

Need to ml to oz or km into miles? Just type “unit conversion” or type the units you want to convert from the amount and units you want to convert to right into the address bar.

4. Quick translate

Just type in “translate” followed by the word or phrase and the language to translate to and Google will give you an instant answer.

5. Flight times

Check arrivals, departures and flight information quickly by typing in the flight number. You’ll see when the plane is landing, when it has departed and if it’s delayed or not.

 

Hope you’ll find these shortcuts useful.

Regards

MicroPro Computers Team

Tech support phone scams: things to know

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Tech Support MicroPro Computers Unsolicited calls

Have you ever received a phone call from someone claiming they’re calling you from Microsoft or any other well know company? Unfortunately, we’re seeing more and more cases of this phone scam coming through our door and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. In some cases your computer might get a virus installed on it which will then trigger it to stop working. Here are some points on how to recognise a phone scam and what to do if you receive one of these calls.

The nature of a phone scam

The most common current phone scam is for an operator to call you claiming they’re calling from Microsoft. They then proceed to tell you that your computer is infected and they need a remote access to your computer to clean it. You will then be asked for your credit card number as this service is not free. At the end of the day you will have given your computer access and a credit card number to a third party with no intention of giving you a service in return.

How to act when you get a call

If you get a call from someone claiming to call from a big company:

  • Ask for their contact details and tell them you’re going to call back. If you’re not competent to talk about computer matters ask a member of a family to check the number for you.
  • If the caller asks for your credit card number during the call, take down their number, hang up and report the number to your local authority
  • Never provide remote access or your credit credit card information to a representative calling you on the phone
  • If in any case in doubt – hang up

 What to do if you have fallen victim to the scam

  • Change all passwords: your computer, email & most importantly online banking. You might want to use another computer to do most of these
  • Scan your computer for viruses & malware
  • Check the last received call & report the number to your local Gardai

You can get more information on the nature of these calls on the Microsoft Website. If you cannot access your computer after you’ve received a scam call you can contact our workshop on 01 4930514 or pop over for us to check it out for you.

Please make sure that especially the senior members of your family are aware of this. As we’ve said before – this problem is on the rise and we get to talk about it several times during the day.