ComTech: IT Support Stirling
TwitterFacebookGoogle

Is that “old tech” any good?

Everyone has some form of “old” tech lying around the office or house.  With tablets, smartphones, laptops etc getting better with every new model released people are upgrading their “old” machines for something new and shiny which they think will provide their computing fix better.  The reality is the old system will do 90% of the things the new one does, if not more.


Take my Blackberry Playbook as an example. It never really sold well when it was first released and only discounts started to get the stock off the shelves.  When Blackberry announced that BB10 wasn’t coming to the Playbook they effectively killed it off overnight.  Mine has been getting used less and less over the last 12 months due to the purchase of an Android tablet and HTC Desire 500 smartphone.  Between the two they allow me to work from anywhere without the need for a clunky laptop.

Well last night I dusted off the Playbook to see what it can still do and I remembered why I had got it in the first place.  I can email on it, open documents from my Dropbox account and save them back online, browse the web, connect remotely to my Linux servers and even play games!! All of this I had forgotten because I had caught the Android bug 12 months back.  Yes it has its limitations with no Teamviewer app (lack of apps in general), restricted printing options and no Skype to name a few but I can still do work on it.  I am guessing that some of that old tech you have lying around would still allow you to do the same.

There will always come a time when the tech we have no longer does what we need it to do and that is when we should upgrade not when something shiny comes along and promises us the world!!

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

 

 

 

 

The Blackberry Playbook – the forgotten tablet

Think of tablets and you should be thinking of all the “normal” choices – Android, IOS and these days even Windows.  But back in the day circa 2011 there was another choice and that was the Blackberry Playbook.


At launch pundits loved the hardware but weren’t so sure about the software.  One thing that really hampered the Playbook was its lack of native email client and coming from Blackberry (then RIM) this was unforgivable. Coupled with its perceived reliance on the Blackberry smartphone and its shocking lack of apps sales weren’t great.

I managed to pick one of these up back in 2012 and loved it however when Blackberry announced they weren’t going to update the software to BB10 I looked elsewhere for a tablet and switched to Android.  This was a mistake on my part and I recently realised this.

The mistake was not using the Playbook to its strengths.  The browser is good (it evens comes with Flash), Docs to Go allows you to edit and produce documents (I am writing this on the Playbook with a bluetooth keyboard) and watching video is fantastic.  It is also ruggedly built, feels solid when you hold it and the battery life is about 10 hours. Yes the lack of apps is annoying, especially Teamviewer, but most things are done in a browser so it doesn’t really matter.

A Blackberry Playbook makes a fantastic mobile companion and I will miss mine when it finally dies.  With prices surely going to drop I might just get a second one !!

 About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

Blackberry Playbook keyboard lagging issue

I love my Blackberry Playbook (and so do my kids!!) but recently one issue has been frustrating me more and more. That issue is the onscreen keyboard and how buggy it has become.  When you try and type it always lags behind or sometimes even stops working completely.  Enough is enough so I set out to solve the issue.


I scoured the internet for hours and it turns out that the lagging is related to the amount of memory available at that particular time.  Less memory available more laggy the keyboard becomes.  One solution that kept cropping up time and again was a full security wipe and reinstall.  That seamed a bit overkill to me so I kept looking.

I finally came across a solution which involves changing some of the settings on the Playbook.

1. Change the keyboard from Automatic to Qwerty and turn off the prediction setting.

2. Change history settings to only save history to one day.

After these little changes the keyboard is much more responsive and easier to use.

If you can think of an easier way then please let me know!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal 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 a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

Blackberry Playbook document editing finally sorted

Today is a good day.  I have finally found and app on my Blackberry Playbook that allows me to view and edit documents while still keeping the same format they were sent in.  Before I am told “but the Playbook comes with Docs To Go as standard” I shall explain further. Docs To Go is ok at editing files but I have always found it doesn’t handle formatting very well. Documents saved as .doc or .docx files always seam to look a bit odd (graphics out of place etc) so I decided to have a look in App World to see if anything else is available.  There is.


That app people is Smart Office 2.  Smart Office 2 was originally an Android app which has been ported over to Blackberry.  It isn’t free (£7.50) but in my experience so far well worth the money.
IMG_00000113

 

It allows you to open, edit and save any file in your documents along with the ability to access your Dropbox, Google Docs or Box account which is very handy.  Since all my files are stored in Dropbox the ability to access, edit and save them back to Dropbox is great.

The best part however is that the original file keeps its format so when I make up and send an invoice to a client it looks exactly as it should.

If you work on the move and are lucky enough to own a Blackberry Playbook you should seriously check this app out.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal 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 a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

 

Can the Blackberry Playbook handle my everyday work needs?

I have been looking at my work ‘toolkit’ recently to see if I have everything I need to do my job.  One of the things which stood out the most is the number of computers I use.  I have my main server, my netbook (Asus Eeepc701), Blackberry Playbook and several virtual desktops.  Now the server and virtual desktops are used to test software so I can’t really get rid of those.  Could I combine the netbook and Blackberry Playbook though?


So I did a little test to see if I could solely use the Playbook to cover all the tasks I would usually use the netbook for.

1.Blogging

I am typing this blog using the Playbook and a bluetooth keyboard.  So that is one I can tick off.

2.Configuring routers

Now this is a bit more difficult as the Playbook does not come with an ethernet adapter as standard  (I am looking though) but once you are connected to the wifi you can access the router directly and configure the settings.

3.RDP into a server (Windows based)

This is accomplished by an app called Remote Desktop which allows me to control the server in exactly the same way as you would from a local system on the network.

4.SSH into Linux servers

This is again accomplished by using various apps in App World.  Nice and simple!!

5. Social Media

This is bread and butter on the Playbook.  Using the apps for Twitter and Facebook you can be as social as you like very quickly.  There is still no LinkedIN app available yet but you can use the LinkedIN website which is no real hassle.

6.Using the internet as a knowledgebase

Searching the internet is sublime on the Playbook so looking for solutions to unknown problems becomes much easier (and quicker).

7.Remote Assistance using Teamviewer

Again there is no native app but you can use the web interface which works just as well. The lack of right click is frustrating though!!

To sum up the Blackberry Playbook can handle about 90% of the daily tasks my netbook can handle.  The lack of ethernet adapter is the most compelling reason to still use a netbook (for configuring routers only) and the lack of right click is frustrating for remote assistance but overall it does pretty well.  When a tablet finally comes with USB and ethernet ports as standard then the netboook will finally become extinct.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal 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 a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more

 

 

 

A day in the life of my Blackberry Playbook

As regular readers of this blog would know – I love my Blackberry Playbook.  Yes it has its quirks, the same as everything else, but it complements my other gadgets for getting my daily work done.  Today I will take you through a typical day and show you how it does.

General Web Browsing

Up at 7 and put the kettle on.  Then switch on Playbook to check out the BBC News website while not fully awake.  Eat cereals while generally swiping through the news.  This is the bread of butter of the Playbook experience – browsing on the Playbook is the same visually as browsing on a desktop (no mobile browser here).  It is effortless to swipe through the pages and generally a pleasure to use.

Taking notes when with clients

I used to carry a notepad and pen to jot down notes when I was with clients.  Now I take the Playbook and fire up DocsToGo and just type instead.  This allows me to store the information and then retrieve it later when back in the office and making up invoices.  Yes I could use specific note taking apps but I have never seen the need to.  Looks professional too!!


Business Networking

You are business networking with someone when they ask what exactly do you do?  After the usual spiel I then show them the website through the Playbook where they see my qualifications and testimonials (amongst other things).  Because of the 7″ size it fits in my pocket during these meetings and can be pulled out when required.

Updating my social media

Everyday I am tweeting, blogging or facebooking.  The Playbook allows me to post from anywhere (yes I could do it on a smartphone but the Playbook screen is bigger!!) so I am not restricted to the office.  I have ordered a new bluetooth keyboard (hopefully arrives soon) and coupled with the new bluetooth mouse I should now be quicker typing and therefore more productive (at the moment I am much quicker on a PC).

Accessing my blog

I have an awful memory (just ask my wife) so I write things down to remember them and this was the basis of starting my blog.  I learn something new and write down the steps in a blog which allows me to access them at a later date.  Using the Playbook I can be reading the steps from the blog in one hand while typing the commands on a clients laptop / PC using the other.  This has been an invaluable asset multiple times.  Couple this with the ability to use the internet connection form my Blackberry smartphone and I can then access my blog from anywhere using 3G.

Accessing my files

Through the Playbook I am able to access all my work files through Dropbox.  This allows me to find the customer address or telephone number that I require.  Priceless!!

Calender

Someone rings up for a quote for repairs and asks when I am available to take a look at their laptop.  One problem – my calender is on my phone.  With the Playboook I can use Blackberry Bridge which allows me to view my emails and calender, which are stored on my Blackberry smartphone, on my Playbook over bluetooth.  So I am able to check my calender on the Playbook whilst on the phone to the customer. Nice feature!!

So there you have it.  The Blackberry Playbook has become an integral part of my business and yes I could have bought an iPad but they they are bigger and more expensive.  The Playbook does just fine and for the times it can’t do the job I still have my trusty Asus Eeepc 701!!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal 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 a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

 

 

 

How to delete multiple emails on the Blackberry Playbook


Today I will continue the Blackberry Playbook theme and talk about how to delete multiple emails at the same time.  By default this is not possible with the built in Messages software (come on RIM!!!) so this tutorial will show you a workaround to solve the problem.

Open up your emails and then swipe down in the centre of the top of the screen to get the screenshot below.

Click on Select.  You will now see tick boxes appear to the left of all of your emails (shown below).

Highlight the emails you want to delete (a white tick with green background will appear) and then click Trash (bottom right).  Thats it.  All the emails you highlighted will now be deleted.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal 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 a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

How to take screenshots on the Blackberry Playbook


For all its bad press I have found the Blackberry Playbook to be a serious piece of kit.  It is very intuitive to use and comes with some great features.  One of these is the ability to take screenshots which I shall discuss today.

Taking screenshots on the Blackberry Playbook is pretty straight forward.  You press both volume control buttons simultaneously on the top of the tablet.  The screenshot is then stored in pictures and can be transferred to another computer via wifi.  This tutorial will show you how to transfer files via wifi.

Below is a screenshot of my home page on the Blackberry Playbook taken using this method.

 

 

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!!

 

How to group your bookmarks on the Blackberry Playbook

Today I shall indulge you in a little problem which has bothered me for some time – how to group your bookmarks on the Blackberry Playbook.  You see the built in browser is good, really good except for this one small issue.

I spent the weekend playing around trying to come up with a solution which I shall detail below.  I appreciate this may not be the best solution but it did work for me.

When you go to bookmark a page you get two options – Add to Bookmarks and Add to Home Screen.  If you choose Add to Home Screen this will add a link to the bookmarked website on the default home screen.  To group your bookmarks all you need to do is move them into a folder as you would all your other apps.

You can now access all your bookmarked pages without needing to open up the browser!!


Seriously though RIM should add the option to group bookmarks as standard and not let users rely on workarounds!! Rant over.

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!!

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!!

CyberChimps
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera
WP Like Button Plugin by Free WordPress Templates