ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Is Blackberry still relevant?

Is Blackberry still relevant?

I have been asked these words too many times to remember and I can still see why people ask.  As of the end of 2014 Blackberry had a market share of 0.5% and this from a company who just a couple of years ago was THE brand to have.  Times have changed and today people would rather have the new iPhone or Android phone instead of spending their hard earned on a Blackberry.  So if we just look at market share then I would say they are not relevant.

What happens though if we look at the bigger picture and not just smartphone market share?

I had the pleasure last week of having a go on a new Blackberry Passport and I will be honest I liked it. The screen is good, the keyboard is good and I can see who it is aimed at – business users. Business users will tend to edit spreadsheets and word documents, write emails etc rather than browse Facebook or watch videos. Business users are where Blackberry sees their future (going back to your roots as such) and with the Passport and the new Classic they have two phones with the traditional keyboard which business users like because they can type quicker.  If I wasn’t already immersed in the Android ecosystem I would definitely consider the Passport.

Lets not forget security as this is what Blackberry is all about.  Blackberry servers are renowned for being secure and with Blackberry Enterprise 12 they have a product which works cross platform so if a company uses iPhones instead of Blackberries that is not an issue.  In the enterprise this is a real bonus. Lets not forget Blackberry Messenger too.

So yes their market share is dismal but if Blackberry target the right users (ie business) with their new and existing products and forget about taking on Android and Apple they may well surprise a lot of people in the next couple of years.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter





What security should you have on your smartphone?

I remember growing up (boy do I feel old) when phones were the size of bricks and a PC in every house was a fantasy. Fast forward to the present and phones are now “smart” and PC’s are everywhere. Even more surprising is the amount of work we actually do on our phones but this in itself causes unforeseen problems. What happens when you lose it?

If you lose a phone today and it is not locked down (and most aren’t) you would give someone access to your contacts, emails and all your data. In a personal scenario that would be bad but in a business situation that could be devastating. With a few simple tricks though you can avoid that ever happening.

1. Use a passcode to access your phone

It is actually scary how many people don’t have this in place.  A lot of people use a swipe gesture, which is better than nothing, but compared to a passcode is easier to crack.

2. Use a passcode to access certain apps on your phone

I use Dropbox on my phone which accesses all my data (personal and work). The  Dropbox app allows me to configure security in the form of a 4 digit passcode so if anyone wants access to all my data they would have to enter the passcode. Even better is the ability to wipe the data off the phone if someone enters the passcode incorrectly 10 times.  There are numerous apps that allow this form of security in one form or another.  For example the PC Monitor app (which is great by the way) also allows a 4 digit passcode to be setup.

One thing to note is that you should configure different passcodes for individual apps rather than have the same one across all apps (and login). This way if someone does manage to break into the phone they would still have to break into individual apps to get at your data.

3. Use encryption

If you don’t store data in the cloud but on your phone then encryption is a must.  Encryption is also a must if you store other peoples information on your phone.  Encryption comes as standard on all Android phones (but is turned off by default) and also iPhones. Once turned on no one will be able to access anything on the phone without the decryption key (passcode).

4. Remote wipe

In a business environment I would strongly suggest you install an app which allows you to remotely wipe your smartphone if you ever lose it.  If you have implemented the above measures then chances are your data is secure but remotely wiping a lost phone makes sure.  Personally on my HTC Desire 500 (great phone) I use BitDefender Mobile Security which along with the usual virus scanner has Anti-Theft security built in.  This means I can go to a website and locate my phone by GPS but even better is the ability to remotely wipe it meaning all the data on the phone gets erased. If you use an iPhone a good choice would be to sign up to FindMyiPhone which allows the same thing.

One thing I would like to mention here is that although this article is aimed primarily at smartphones the same measures should also be taken with tablets. They can be just as easily lost as a smartphone with access to just as much data.

Stay safe!!

About the Author


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

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter




Microsoft’s big gamble

Ever since the iPhone was released back in 2008 people have wondered when Microsoft would port its productivity suite Microsoft Office to it.  For years Microsoft relented, that is until now.

Yesterday I came across an article on the internet stating that Microsoft was releasing a copy of Microsoft Office for the iPhone.  It is not the version of Office that most people know of (ie desktop) but instead you get Office 365, the monthly subscription version.  Basically you will have to fork out money to Microsoft every month to use it but that is they way their pricing structure has gone so no surprises there.

What is surprising is that they have ported the Office suite at all.  What I mean by this is that in the consumer market Microsoft is becoming less relevant everyday as PC sales slump and people switch to tablets and smartphones.  Microsoft entered this market late with their Windows 8 tablets but they haven’t sold well (the price hasn’t helpt).

Traditionally if you wanted Microsoft Office then you had to have a computer running Windows.  With Office 365 now available on an iPhone (when will the iPad or Android version appear I wonder?) they are giving consumers even less of a reason to purchase a machine with Windows on it, whether it be a laptop, phone, tablet or desktop PC which is going to hurt their bottom line and lose them market share in general.

In the business environment it is not so clear cut as although businesses are adopting iPads and iPhones into their infrastructure Windows is still firmly entrenched on laptops and desktops.

So what is the thinking behind all this? I am guessing (and it is only a guess) that Microsoft has decided they can increase revenue with Microsoft Office to such an extent that losing market share in the consumer space is acceptable.  Their big gamble is that if these devices start entering the business environment in large enough numbers then their market share in the business environment could start to suffer.  If this happens then Microsoft could be in real trouble but I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

So what do you think is this a big gamble for Microsoft or a really good business strategy?

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 where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!




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;–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 where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

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