ComTech: IT Support Stirling
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What do you mean they use computers in rural Scotland?

Rural and IT are two words that don’t really go together. One brings images of beaches, countryside and peacful tranquility while the other is broadband speeds, 3G signal and Facebook. Over the last month or so I have had the priviledge of travelling all around Scotland for work and have been to some really rural (and stunning) locations. So just how bad is the IT provison in rural locations?

I was speaking to a guy yesterday whilst doing a Cisco router install. During the conversation I mentioned I had been to Barra the previous day to which he replied “they use computers on Barra?”. “They do indeed use computers on Barra (why wouldn’t they?) and they even get broadband too” I answered. The look of disbileaf on his face was awesome!!

Broadband provision throughout most of the Highlands and Islands that I can see is pretty good. You will get slow speeds in a few places but provision in the more populated areas seems ok (I did Skype my wife from Barra and the pictrure and sound quality was pretty good). I also read an article in one of the local papers on Stornaway that gave times for fibre upgrades (2015-2016) which considering the area is actually pretty good.

There are also some areas that also have free wifi but this depends dramtically on how remote the place is. For instance all the Highlands and Islands airports have free wifi which is very handy. Some of the larger hotels do too (Castlebay Hotel on Barra is one example).

Not so good is 3G. Mobile phone signal in the Highlands and Islands ranges from ok to dreadful but it does again depend on which provider you have. My network is O2 and over the last couple of months I have had 3G in Wick and nothing at all in Barra, Dumfries and Galloway and certain parts of Orkney. Mobile working using 3G has been challenging to say the least!! I would like to think that this will improve with the rollout of 4G but personally I can’t see it coming to these parts anytime soon.

But one thing I did see time and again is yes these parts of the country are miles away from anywhere but they are not cut off. People still shop online at Amazon, do online banking and even work from home. As one local on Harris put it “just because we choose to live in the arse end of nowhere doesn’t mean we are cut off”.

Personally I would have no issues with relocating my business here (especially the Outer Hebrides) as broadband speeds are more than fast enough for video conferencing and remotely helping clients. My clients might have a different slant on that however!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

Turn your android phone into a “proper” sat nav

Anyone who has been following my posts on either LinkedIN or Twitter over the last couple of weeks will know I have been on a permanent roadtrip around Scotland for work. I have been to some amazing (and not so amazing) places and met some wonderful people but the one thing I have come across time and again is the lack of 3G signal. I have covered this in other blog posts so I will not go over old ground, however there is one issue I just had to solve and that is navigating with my phone. Google maps is great when you have 3G (or wifi) but is pretty useless when you don’t have either.  I have lost count of the amount of times I have started shouting at my phone because it lost signal and I have no idea where I am!!

Hopefully I have found a fix and it is called MapFactor Navigator which you can download and install through Google Play.  Once installed you have two choices – use it like Google Maps (ie with 3G) or even better buy and download the TomTom maps onto your phone which in effect turns your phone into a fully functional sat-nav!! I could buy a “normal” sat nav from Amazon etc but they cost a hell of a lot more so I thought I would try this out first.

Initial testing has proved to be positive and hopefully this app can prove itself over the next couple of weeks when my “Canonball Run” continues. If you travel to some remote places (for work or pleasure) I suggest you take a look.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Mobile working – urban myth or reality?

Anyone who follows my postings on either Twitter or LinkedIN will know I have been racking up the miles lately travelling all over Scotland for work.  One of the benefits of working like this is that I am still able to support my clients remotely due to the way I have set up the business.  My business can effectively be managed from either a tablet or smartphone when I am out and about so long as I have access to the internet.

Last week I had a roadtrip down to the lovely Dumfries and Galloway area to install some Cisco routers in Annan, Castle Douglas and Stranraer.  I was down in this area back in May for my holiday and remembered that the mobile signal between Castle Douglas and Stranraer is shocking and 3G is a myth in this area rather than the norm.  I was hoping that since May things might have improved a bit.  Not a chance!!

The satnav on my phone went awol at one point due to the fact that the mobile signal strength was awful.  This is not very helpful when you have no idea where the client is.  I had 4 clients ring in that day with issues and I couldn’t remote in to any of their systems due to the fact that both my myfi (T-Mobile) and my phone (O2) had 2G at best.  With no Starbucks, MacDonalds and the like in this area it was very hard to find free wifi.  Thanks to Stuart Mains from Stirling IT for bailing me out and covering my remote works which in turn kept my clients happy.

The point is though we now have all these fancy devices that allow us to work “on the go” but they are effectively useless if you need internet to work and you can’t access it.  This isn’t a problem in the big cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow where mobile signal strength is excellent (for the most part) but in places like the Highlands where it is sketchy at best this is a big problem. Unless 4G addresses this problem when it is eventually rolled out across the whole of the UK then mobile working for some people will stay as an urban myth rather than an everyday occurrence.

Do you work while “on the go” or are you stuck in the office? Let me know!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

How to tether your Blackberry Playbook to your Blackberry Phone


Today I will show you how to tether your Blackberry Playbook to your Blackberry phone.  Once completed this will allow you to use your phones 3G connection through your Playbook.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using a Blackberry Bold 9780 and a Blackberry Playbook on OS 2.0.1.358.

Ok first step is to turn on bluetooth on both devices.  Now on your Playbook go to Settings – Bluetooth and click on Add New Device.  Once the phone has been found add it.

Now go to Internet Tethering and your phone should appear on the screen under Select a Bluetooth device to tether to. Click on it.

You should be asked to select a wireless service profile for your internet connection. In the search box type in your carrier (mine is vodafone uk) and click add profile.

On the next screen you will be asked for a username and password for access to the internet.  Leave the defaults and click connect.

You will now see some information on tethering charges.  If you already have a data plan with your phone then there will be no extra charges (unless you go over your allowance).  Any data used comes off your monthly data allowance.  Have a read and then press continue.

The system will now authenticate and then you should receive a message : Your tablet is now connected to the internet.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

iPhone Error 1604


All I tried to do was update my iphone 3G to IOS4.1 with iTunes.  Couldn’t be simpler you would think.  So 24  hours later and I finally have a solution to error 1604 which allows me to restore my iphone.

First things first credit where credit is due.  I searched high and low on the web for solutions but the one which worked for me was at;

http://hubpages.com/hub/Fixing-1604-iPhone-Restore-Error–How-To-Go-About-Fixing-1604-iPhone-Restore-Error

Basically the steps I carried out were as follows:

1. Do not reinstall iTunes.  There is no need.

2. Navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>

3. At this point go to tools on the top menu bar and click show hidden files.  Once done navigate to Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates.

4. Cut and paste everything in this folder to a different location on your computer.

5. Start iTunes.  It will recognise your phone and say that it needs to be restored.  Download the software and install.  Your iPhone should now be restored.

Just some notes.  If you have previously synced your phone with iTunes then after restore you should get the option to restore all your data.  If your didn’t then you will unfortunately lose the data.

Hopefully this tutorial will be of help.  Good luck!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

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