Mini Computer Upgrade

New Micro:Bit Mini Computer Upgrade

The new BBC micro:bit ‘mini-computer upgrade’ is given to school children, with AI and machine learning support. It was launched in 2016 as part of the BBC ‘Make it Digital’ campaign. Four years later over five million have been used by schools and children around the world. The project is no longer run by the BBC. It was taken over by the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, a non-profit group setup to make coding more accessible.

The new mini computer upgrade features include a microphone and speaker. It can help with listening out for doorbell sounds to playing back voice recordings. The device will include a touch sensor that could count how often a fly lands on a pad.

The new mini computer upgrade version of the palm-sized device is expected to be available from the middle of November. Other new sensors on the device including light, magnetism and temperature, to create a wider range of applications.

Micro Bit Educational Foundation said the changes were in response to requests from teachers around the world over the four years since it was first released.

‘The purpose of the micro:bit is to help children unlock their creative potential and learn how to shape the world around them,’ Gareth Stockdale, chief executive of the Micro Bit Educational Foundation, told BBC News.

Mini Computer Upgraded

BBC micro:bit to get its first major update since launching in 2016 including a new built-in speaker,
microphone and touch sensor and support for artificial intelligence

‘Learning coding and computational thinking can enhance their life chances in the 21st Century.’ 

The micro:bit is a similar concept to the Raspberry Pi but is much simpler and is more of an educational aid than the computer on a chip Pi. Both can be used for ‘maker’ style projects – in that you can attach sensors and other items to create real world projects. But the Pi is much more advanced, with slots to plug in monitors, keyboards and other ‘full computer’ devices.

The new micro:bit is a more powerful device combining all the same features of the original and extra features to enhance learning in the classroom, the foundation said. As well as new hardware features, the latest update includes a new technical platform adding support for AI and machine learning.  It is a palm-sized circuit board and has 25 LED lights that can be programmed to show shapes, numbers and letters. It also has a bluetooth chip for wireless connectivity.

BBC Director General Tim Davie said the micro:bit project has the same qualities that form the core of the BBC – to ‘inform, educate and entertain. Since its launch through our Make it Digital campaign, it has helped transform digital skills and learning,’ Davie said.

Five million micro:bits in use

There are more than five million micro:bits used in classrooms around the world, used to teach the basics of coding through interactive projects. It started as a way to support computational thinking in the UK, but since then the BBC micro:bit has gone on to global success. To use the device users write code on a computer, tablet or even a smart phone then transfer them to the device to make it perform tasks.

The previous version could flash messages and record movements . The new version now includes a microphone, more memory, speaker and touch sensor. The new device can do much more, including responding to sound.  It is estimated that about 25 million children have learnt computing skills on the device since 2016. The campaign is successful and is used in 60 countries.

The device is used in primary and secondary schools. As well as libraries and has even been used in universities to demonstrate coding applications.

“The [micro:bit] has a low floor and high ceiling – you can make it as advanced as you wish but it can also be very basic,” Keith Quille, a lecturer at the Technological University Dublin, told BBC News. “We teach it at primary schools and at university degree level. You don’t need lots of other tools to make it work, it’s very easy to use.”

The foundation says it transforms ‘students’ engagement with technology’. As well as building teachers’ confidence in leading digital skills and creative computing education.

Time for an upgrade

LIS clients benefit from our extensive knowledge and expertise. Clients who are on a monthly support contract receive remote support and software upgrades. As well as the latest security and access to upgrade their hardware.

Does your computer system run slow? Fed up with slow Internet speeds? Can you work from home like you do in the office? Contact the LIS Help Desk for an IT Audit. Our team will be able to recommend the most cost-effective solutions to bring your system up to speed.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#technology #computers #education #microbit

EE switch on 5G

EE switch on 5G mobile network in UK towns

Mobile operator EE (BT) has started to extend their new 5G ultrafast mobile broadband network. This now covers an additional nine towns and cities across the UK. Including locations such as Southend-on-Sea, Stirling and Weybridge. Since the EE switch on 5G project launch, Internet coverage and speed are even better for customers.

The development means that EE’s 5G network are now live across busy parts of 80 UK locations. It will take a long time to reach the same level of coverage in each areas as has already been achieved by existing 4G networks. The operator’s website lists “Stirling” under towns, although these days it is usually described as a city.

At present the operator is only able to harness a 40MHz slice of the 3.4GHz radio spectrum band for their 5G service, although more bands are due to be released by Ofcom later this year (e.g. 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz). Nevertheless, they have so far been able to deliver better speeds than rivals at Vodafone, O2 and Three UK, although it remains to be seen whether this will last.

EE Switch on 5G

According to independent 5G testing by RootMetrics, EE’s 5G network achieved the highest average download speed and highest 5G availability in London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

An increase of speeds as EE switch on 5G

The operator has previously told customers to expect an increase in speeds of around 100-150Mbps from the EE switch on 5G scheme. Even in the busiest areas and at the same time they also predicted that “some customers” may break the 1Gbps (1000Mbps+) milestone on their 5G smartphones. The fastest speed possible when EE launched 4G in 2012 was just 50Mbps. But getting 1Gbps in busy urban areas, with only 40MHz of spectrum, is likely to be quite rare.

The most recent data from Opensignal did however confirm that their customers were achieving an average 5G download speed of 149.8Mbps (Megabits per second), which is well above the typical 4G average on their network of 33.1Mbps.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said: “A year ago, we started
the UK’s 5G journey by launching the first 5G network. In just one year,
we have already seen several incredible experiences and real-life use cases
that 5G enables, both for consumers and businesses, and there is still so
much more to come. 5G technology will continue to make our customers’
lives easier, make our networks more efficient, and help launch entirely
new ideas and businesses that we haven’t yet imagined.”

3 key benefits of 5G

A better connection in busy places: Ever struggled to get online while at a music festival or in a stadium, even though you appear to have a full signal? You will know how frustrating it is when your content eventually uploads much later or sometimes not at all. This happens when too many people try to connect in one place at the same time. Networks reach their limit, and everything slows down.

The 5G network will give you a more reliable connection in the busiest places and at the busiest times. That is because 5G has a greater bandwidth than 4G and can support more devices. So, you can stream sports in a stadium, download videos at a busy train station and share photos while partying at a music festival.

Faster speeds, better quality: 5G gives you faster mobile speeds than ever before. Making everyday tasks on your 5G-ready smartphone feel super-quick.

You will be able to download films onto your phone in seconds instead of minutes. So, if you are stuck for something to watch on the way home from work you can watch the latest blockbusters and box sets. Stream in the highest resolutions and watch big sporting events in all their glory. Enjoy smoother and better overall video calls.

Instant connection: 5G gives you an almost instant internet connection. So, whether you want to play a video, load an app, or control smart devices in your home, everything feels super-quick with 5G.

The faster speeds at which the 5G network responds to your commands is important for gamers, because it responds even more quickly to your button commands. What is more, 5G opens up exciting possibilities for new augmented and virtual reality experiences. This will transform the way you play games on the move.

Faster speeds for business

LIS clients benefit from our business telecoms services. Contact the LIS Help Desk to see how we can speed up telecoms and save you money. We have it all, and they are all delivered to you with our impeccable IT support.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#5G #Telecoms #MobilePhone ~#ITSupport

Which printer should you buy?

Which printer should you buy for the office?

Inkjet or laser? Black and white or colour? To find the best printer that will deliver high-quality prints at a pleasingly low cost, read our expert guide about which printer should you buy?

The most important question to consider when buying a new printer is: inkjet or laser? Other key questions include whether you want to scan and copy as well as print? Are happy with just black and white or do you want to print in colour? And do you want wireless printing features, such as Apple AirPrint?

“Computers I can live with, but printers I hate from the bottom of my heart” says Adrian Chiles in his opinion computing column of The Guardian.

Which printer should you buy

Looking for the best printer to suit your needs? The abundance of choice is good – it means no matter what type of printer you need, you’ll be able to find one that’s perfect for you.

Which printer should you buy?

Do you need printouts fast, or is quality more important? What sort of documents will you print the most? Will you print from one computer, or lots of devices? How much do printing costs matter to you?

Printers can generally be split into two main categories, based on the ink technology they use: inkjet or laser.

They’re also referred to in terms of their features – such as wireless printers, or the tasks their best suited to – such as home office printers. Below you can find out the characteristics of the different types of printers to decide which will suit you best.

How much should I spend?

You can buy a new inkjet printer for less than £50 and you don’t need to spend much more to get a good one. For around £150, you’ll get a high-quality all-in-one, colour laser printer.

The more you spend, the more features you’ll get from your printer. But, these days, even an all-in-one printer/scanner with wi-fi and Apple AirPrint could only cost you £40. For more than £100, you’ll get home-office features such as an automatic document feeder, or automatic double-sided printing.

What is an inkjet printer?

Inkjet printers are great all-rounders. They can handle text-heavy documents such as a student’s coursework or minutes from a meeting, but they can also print photos – and do a better job of it than a laser printer. They’re quiet and unobtrusive, and they also take up less desk space than a laser.

However, inkjets are usually more expensive to run than laser printers, costing you more in ink per printed page than you would pay for laser toner. That’s not necessarily the case with a few business-focused inkjet printers, but as a rule of thumb, inkjets cost you less up front, but more in the long term.

  • Pros: Smaller and cheaper than laser printers, can produce good-quality colour prints
  • Cons: More expensive running costs, slower to print black text pages than a laser

What is a laser printer?

Laser printers shine when it comes to printing a lot of black text, and while colour models are more expensive than colour inkjets, they also produce professional-looking business graphics. They’re normally faster than inkjets when it comes to this kind of job and can handle a heavier workload if you’re planning to print a lot of pages every month.

What’s more, while the toner cartridges are expensive, each one prints a lot more pages than an inkjet cartridge, so the actual cost per black-and-white or colour page is usually much less. However, laser printers are usually bulkier and noisier than the equivalent inkjet printer and will take up more space on your desk.

While they can produce good graphs and charts, colour laser printers aren’t much good at printing photos. Stick to an inkjet if you’re likely to print off your holiday snaps.

  • Pros: Fast prints and good-value printing for black-and-white pages
  • Cons: More expensive to buy, bulkier and often noisier than inkjets.

What is an all-in-one printer?

You can buy straightforward inkjet or laser printers, but a device that scans and copies as well won’t cost you a whole lot more. Most have wi-fi connectivity so that you can print from several PCs or laptops, not to mention tablets or smartphones. Some include a fax function, too.

Some all-in-one printers have an automatic document feeder (ADF) on top, which is handy for scanning and copying multi-page reports.

  • Pros: Can scan, photocopy and fax as well as print
  • Cons: Tend to be larger models that take up more space

What is a photo printer?

The term ‘photo printer’ covers a wide range of devices. To some, it’s an A4 all-in-one that’s really good at printing photos. To others, it’s a dedicated compact photo printer that only prints small photos. Or perhaps you want an A3 specialist model with dedicated photo cartridges and high-resolution print heads for lab quality photo prints.

Photo printers usually have memory card slots and a USB connection on the front, so you can plug in your camera’s memory card or connect the camera itself and print away, with or without a PC.

  • Pros: Optimised for photo-sized prints
  • Cons: Can’t guarantee better print quality than a more flexible regular printer

What is an A3 printer?

If you want to print large office documents, posters or photos to hang on your wall, then an A3 printer is the one for you. They cost more money and take up more desk space, but they can print on larger sheets of paper than a standard A4 printer. Some have a strong photographic or design focus.

  • Pros: Ideal if you need to print at poster-size
  • Cons: Take up significant space compared to regular printers

Black-and-white or colour: Which printer should you buy?

Black-and-white inkjets are now pretty much extinct, but you can still save a little money by opting for a ‘mono’ (black-and-white) laser printer. These are cheaper to buy than colour models, and if you’re mostly printing black text on white pages, you’ll also find them nice and cheap to run.

Colour makes your printer much more versatile, however. On the off chance you ever need to print a photo or colour document, a colour printer is worth having.

Should I consider a wireless printer?

Wireless internet, or wi-fi, is an excellent feature to look for in your new printer. It enables you to connect it to the internet without needing a cable. This means you can place your printer where you like in your home.

Once you have connected your wireless printer to the internet, you can access a range of online services, such as the free mobile printing apps offered by the big printer brands – HP, Epson, Canon and Brother.

Other online features to look out for include Apple AirPrint, enabling you to print from Mac, iPhone and iPad devices more easily, and Cloud Print, enabling simpler printing from Google programs and services.

Still undecided?

Technology can be a mine field. Do you buy on price, make and model or recommendation? Which printer should you buy? Let us take the stress away from you. Contact the LIS Help Desk and speak to one of our friendly advisors. We spend time finding out about your business and requirements. We will then recommend the best option to suit your needs. When you speak to a LIS technician, you can be sure to receive, honest impartial advice.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#technology #printers #hometech #officetech #ITSupport

Cope without the Internet

Part 1: How would you cope without the Internet?

Let us look at a day in a life of a person without the Internet. Believe it or not, it is still possible to function, you just to need adapt to your surroundings. In a recent Metro article, Ike Iwuchuku reports on how he managed to cope without the Internet.

You wake up every morning and start your routine which, for most of us, includes catching up on the news. Whether this is about your friends, celebrities, sports, or current events, it usually begins on your smartphone or your tablet. Even on your commute, you have got a podcast or Internet radio station going.

Once at work, you are sending emails, video conferencing, researching and sending a few texts. Unless you have excessive website blocks at your office, you are probably also checking your social media. Finally, you head home and zone out to some Netflix and have one last browse through social media before going to sleep.

However, what would happen if the Internet vanished? We are not talking as if the Internet was never created. Imagine what life would be like without the Internet. What would really happen if we were not so connected?

Cope without the Internet

Given the amount of time people spend face down in their smartphones, swiping on their iPads
or glued to their laptops, life without the internet seems hard to imagine.

Life without the Internet

Some purists might argue that having no Internet would be the best thing to happen. They are the same people who think it is horrible and that all Millennials do is Instagram all day. They are not entirely wrong. Studies show that such incessant social media use can negatively impact our lives.

Cons of having no Internet

Of course, it is easy to discuss how life would be miserable without the Internet. It would be a lot harder to talk to your friends on a daily (or hourly) basis. But it would take away a sense of community that, for many of us, is vital. This could be anything from fantasy sports leagues or even virtual mental health groups. As a result, we may be more disconnected than ever before. You would have to go to a shop and buy a digital file in person to access new music beyond the radio. Possibly one of the biggest downsides would be the lack of dog or cat photos in our lives.

What are the benefits of no Internet?

On the other hand, being cut off from the Internet might do wonders for our personal relationships. Because we would not have a screen to distract us. We would start to live in the moment. Imagine heading out to a dinner with your friends and having a conversation. Although it still may be about gossip, it would focus on the real world. There are plenty of benefits to a life without the Internet. In particular, it is worth noting that you would get to truly interact with people. The benefits are not just about the time we spend awake. Our addiction to connected devices is ruining our sleep. It is possible in the short term to cope without the Internet.

What would change and how would you cope without the Internet?

News: The way we take in news and information has been impressively quick thanks to the internet. Without it, we would rely on TV programs, newspapers (yes, actual newspapers), and, worst of all, word of mouth. If you think politics has been strange lately, imagine it with even fewer sources of information and no way to verify their credibility. We imagine politics would take a surprising turn, although we are not really sure which direction that would be.

Health: The long-running joke is to never use the Internet for your symptoms. Otherwise you will end up thinking you have five types of cancer and the plague. However, having access to an online directory of symptoms has certainly helped millions. With such platforms, we can self-diagnose with a degree of accuracy. This saves us time and money on health-related costs. Without it, there would be a lot more and possibly unnecessary trips to the doctor. Even still, medical professionals now rely on a connected network to pass along patient data and research conditions. Having no Internet would slow this process down for sure.

Work: Working without the Internet seems like an impossible task. Whether you have an international team or simply advertise locally, the Internet has a profound effect on our productivity. Without it, we would rely a lot more on spoken word of mouth, advertising in print and on TV, and take days to complete even the smallest tasks. Additionally, global commerce would be impressively slow and tedious, if not impossible for some brands. On the whole, scaling as we do in the current market would be all but unattainable.

Commerce: Likewise, our shopping experiences would become drastically limited. In regards to fashion, trends would slow as it would take longer to spread new styles. From there, it would be very difficult for global sales and innovation would suffer. Imagine technology without crowdfunding campaigns (that is not a world we want to live in).

Finances: Having an app to show all our finances in one place is certainly something we take for granted. Without the Internet, you would be back to a standard cheque book and calling your bank to find out your balance. It also means paying bills would take much longer, as banks would also be less connected.

Social life: Hanging out with friends would go back to the methods of yesteryear. You would need to send letters to far away friends or probably get back to paying high rates for long distance calls. Want to make plans? You would better hope your friends remember the event date. However, we would rely on in-person interactions which would encourage us to get out and see each other more often.

General information: Gone would be the days of Google Maps. Researching for a school paper or a project at work would require a library card and some serious effort. Unless we archive the entire Internet and hit print, we would lose a lot of access to information, never to be seen again. Ultimately, our society would suffer from this lack of knowledge.

Law and order: The Internet has been an essential tool to help law enforcement identify and arrest suspects. It is also a powerful method to finding evidence. Having no Internet would certainly take cyber-crime off the table, but it would leave a gaping hole for all new crime. Knowing the limits of CCTV where there is no cloud or digital locks or alarm systems, criminals would be more likely to commit more crimes. At least initially, our society would experience a large spike in crime before new methods could take the place of current systems.

In conclusion

Suffice to say, the Internet has bettered our lives. We can communicate with every corner of the globe. As well as maintaining friendships that were previously impossible no matter how good of a pen pal you were. However, life is about balance. LIS can help you cope without the Internet and make sure you stay connected. We have the Internet at our disposal and have the choice to use it for just about everything. We highly recommend signing off every now and then to connect with those, and the world, around you.

Contact the LIS Help Desk about your broadband and telecoms. We can provide you with super fast broadband, that will make your business more efficient and stay connected with your team. Talk to our experienced team about your phone systems and business mobiles. As well as, saving you money with low cost phone calls.

Stayed tuned to read part 2 of this blog next week. We will take a look at how businesses would cope without no Internet. LIS will help set up a business disaster recovery plan.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#homeless #NoInternet #ITSupport #Business

Google Chrome Warning!

Be careful when updating your browser. Google Chrome Warning!

A fake Google Chrome update hit the Internet this Summer. Hackers tried to gain control over systems using an old technique. The fake update installs the banking Trojan Zeus and remote-control software. This allows hackers access to your PC, online banking and anything else that takes their fancy. TechRader  take a look at the Google Chrome warning!

Whilst peoples focus is on pandemic issues, hackers are taking advantage of their lack of attention to maximise their returns. Maybe their furlough payments are coming to an end 🙂 .

Using several different methods of attack, hackers are highly sophisticated. The initial attack examines your geographical location, computer and other factors. They then decide whether you are their victim of choice. It then tailors the next phase to any perceived weakness you may have.

Users are fooled into thinking to run the Google Chrome update. In reality they are installing a Trojan and remote-control system by the Google Chrome warning scam.

Google Chrome Warning

Google Chrome users are being warned against a convincing and dangerous new online scam. The fake “Google Chrome update” scam gives hackers total control over your device.

Hackers come up with a fake Google Chrome update

Google Chrome is undoubtedly amongst the leading browser software worldwide. Billions of people use Google Chrome making this an easy target for this sort of attack. Security conscious users know that updating apps is important to keep the bad guys at bay. Taking advantage of this, the scam uses a fake Google Chrome update page, to hook its victims.

If you click on the “Update Chrome” button, the dodgy website will download a hacked file. This then installs malware on your computer. The cyber-experts at ProofPoint, identified that one of the programmes used in this this attack is the banking Trojans Zeus. This program is designed to liberate money from the users’ accounts.

It gets worse

ProofPoint also noted similar attacks for Internet Explorer. Probably at the time of writing any other browsers you care to name. Remember, that also included in the attack is full commercial remote-control software. This opens your PC to full remote access from anywhere in the world. This will include access to online accounts, social media and good old-fashioned email.

Proofpoint’s Sherrod Degrippo in a statement explained that this technique is not new. However, it is still effective because it exploits the intended recipient’s desire to practise good security hygiene. He further mentioned that “keeping software updated is a common piece of security advice. As a result of this, hackers use that to their advantage”. Businesses have been targeted worldwide, including ProofPoint.

Security you never have to think about

You shouldn’t have to be a security expert to feel safe on the web. Chrome is easy to use and built to be secure. Contact the LIS Help Desk today to discuss your online security strategy.

LIS protects you from a range of deceptive and dangerous sites. Downloads may might steal passwords or infect your machine. We use the latest anti-spam and anti-virus software. Take advantage of our Office 365 Security package. As well as other cloud-based solutions. We’ll give you a clear understanding of your current exposure and of the impact such an attack would have on your business.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#GoogleChromeUpdate #ScamWarning #MalwareScam