What you say in the cloud… STAYS IN THE CLOUD!

Bird Tweeting on iPad into The Cloud - ©Depositphotos/arrow123
©Depositphotos/arrow123

Once you write something on the internet, anywhere on the internet, it is there for life. By this same logic, every picture, every tweet, every Facebook status update, even so far as every email we write can be considered stored in the great big void that is the internet, forever.

Many of you will know I am a big fan of social media, I use it all the time and it is entirely probable that a large portion of you met me through an avenue such as Twitter. One thing that I see so often these days, is people (and especially young people) being very careless with what they say on social media.

The pictures you see of people that suddenly go viral, the stories of people who have been fired because they vented about their boss or company on Facebook, not to mention the celebrity who posted something slightly controversial that is now in deep water. All of these things are stories that we are becoming all too familiar with.

I personally am very careful and choose what I post very specifically. Even things like retweets on Twitter, I have to stop and think, “OK that was rather funny but how could retweeting that portray me”. All these bits and bytes of data that we put up about ourselves on the internet, day in and day out, all lead to an online “persona” that can, and often does come back to bite people in the posterior when they least expect it.

With the advent of social media, cameras in smartphones, the ability for friends to tag you in photos that you never really wanted to be taken and a plethora of other factors mean that data about us is being captured at a faster rate than ever before. Something a lot of people do not think about is the consequences of putting information up about themselves that might not portray them in the best of light until it is too late.

So how do you handle your online life and youronline persona? Do you carefully monitor what you put up, say, tweet, and do online? Have you ever said or done something online that *has* come back to bite you in the bum? Let me know your thoughts below!

Look forward to hearing others thoughts.

Stuart

Addition: As though by pure luck there is just one such case on Sydney Morning Herald today regarding a Vodafone Staff Member.

When technology replaces the old – boardgames and cookbooks

Man on iPad in kitchen while cooking - ©Depositphotos/Goodluz
©Depositphotos/Goodluz

As years progress, technology including smartphones, iPads, gadgets, gizmos and a plethora of other trinkets seem to be embedding themselves in our day to day lives at an alarming rate. I for one welcome our technological overlords… wait… oh right we aren’t quite there yet.

While many of you who read my blog know my thoughts on technology and my desire to sometimes just switch off from the connected world (on *rare* occasions), you will also know that I enjoy technology to a great degree.

Being the self professed geek that I am, technology is a constant part of my daily life. However it wasn’t until recently when I gave my mother my second hand iPad 1 (after upgrading to “The New iPad”) that I saw a change that made me step back and think. “Wow, this has really changed the way we do things”.

There are two main functions that my mother uses on the iPad now that made me take this step back. The first is as a recipe book in the kitchen. Prior to handing it over, I took all my families most used recipes and put them into Paprika (a very good recipe manager for iOS and OSX). What I then realised, was that the humble recipe book which has been a part of our lives for so long was kinda dead. Sure we still have them there on a shelf but why thumb through a book when I can jump on the net and find not only a recipe, but reviews of how people found the recipe to taste, along with additional tips and tricks.

The second large change was Scrabble, which my parents love to play. The iPad has enabled them to play games of scrabble far more regularly by saving time and providing greater mobility. Not only does it do away with the board, the table space and the ritual of sitting down until the game is completed in a single sitting, it also enables the game to follow them wherever they take the iPad. The game can be picked up and stopped at any time or turns can be taken sporadically rather than requiring them to sit down to play the entire game at once.

I am not saying this is a bad thing, I am not saying that it is a good thing either. I just found it very interesting, and very eye opening, to see two such classics replaced by one device. It has certainly made me sit back and look at a lot of the other things that have changed since I was a kid, and how technology has helped (and hampered) some of the things we do day-to-day.

So what are some of the real shock moments you have had with technology. When you thought… wow I never thought I would see that replaced by a piece of tech.

Stuart

Computer errors for beginners… tips and tricks for getting help

Man pressing error button - ©Depositphotos/ra2studio
©Depositphotos/ra2studio

In the realm of computers it is definitely not uncommon to get the occasional, or sometimes annoyingly regular error. However, one thing that many people do not know is some simple steps that can be taken to make a support team’s life easier in diagnosing the issue.

First and foremost it is important for both you, and who will be supporting you to realise that it is possible that your level of knowledge surrounding the error will be lower than that of the support team. While this is not always the case, (I will happily admit I have had clients teach me a trick or two before) it is the general rule of thumb.

A good support person will gauge the level of knowledge of the person who is seeking assistance and balance their explanations to a level that can be understood. However if you find someone is talking to you on too low, or too high a technical level, never be afraid to let them know and try to get them to talk to you on your level of knowledge. By doing so you can work more effectively together and also learn things which may help you in future.

The Checklist:

The checklist is something that those of us in support use day to day. Even as a systems administrator, I collect this sort of information to pass on to vendors for support and so on. However whatever your level of knowledge of computers, or level of support you are liaising with, this list can be of great use.

So next time you have an error on your computer note down the following information, it will make support’s life easier, result in a much faster resolution for you and assist support in documenting the issue for future reference.

  1. Take a screenshot: this may sound simple but so often people don’t do it. If someone says “I got an error” and we can’t tell exactly what the error is, it makes it impossible to trace down what the problem may have been. Taking a screenshot saves the need for you to try to interpret or note down the exact error and greatly assists support teams.
  2. Note down the exact time and date of the error or issue (including any subsequent occurrences): knowing the exact time and date that the error occurred allows support teams to investigate other factors that may have been occurring at the time. They can also look at logs of related systems surrounding the time your issue occurred to gather additional information.
  3. Note down exactly what you were doing leading up to the error occurring: in some cases errors can be triggered by an exact sequence of events that occur leading up to it. Knowing what you were doing that lead to the error can help to reproduce the error.
  4. If you are using a web browser, note down the browser you are using and the browser version (usually under Help –> About), also try a different browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox, see if the same error appears, note down if it works in a different browser.
  5. If it is a website that is having problems, try a different web site as well, note down the original web site URL that was having problems, as well as any other sites you tried.
  6. Try to note down any related information to what you were doing: for example if it was an email that you sent that was never received, provide the exact subject line of the email. If it is a file on a shared drive, provide the exact name and file location to the file. The more information you can provide, the less likely that support will need to come back asking for the additional information, leading you to a faster resolution.
  7. Let support know if you are on a PC or a Mac and what version of the operating system you are using (such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Mac OSX Lion 10.7.4 etc), if you are unsure of the version at least letting them know if you are on a Mac or PC is a great start.

Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Most of all, don’t be afraid of telling support exactly what happened, we all start out somewhere and often support will come across an issue that simply needs user training, by us being able to pass knowledge on to you it is likely that you can do the same for someone else to make all our lives easier.

However if it is something that you have done wrong, often it will save support a lot of time and effort knowing exactly what has occurred, I am always of the mindset that if you do something wrong, then tell me so that I can fix it faster I will be a lot less unimpressed than if I have to find it out the hard way.

By noting down these details, whoever will be helping you out with your issue will be able to far more easily diagnose what occurred help you out. If you are having an issue with a problem you purchased on the internet, don’t be afraid to contact their support too. By providing the information above you have a great start to finding out exactly what problem may have occurred and should be able to work towards a resolution.

So whether you are a beginner in the tech world or a seasoned veteran like myself what are your thoughts. Have I missed anything out here?

Stuart