News | Bleu IT - IT Support based in Guernsey in the Channel Islands - Part 2

News

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all the staff and Directors at BLEU IT.

Merry Christmas

 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

VTech Toymaker hacked

As a parent I felt it important to use this blog to cover this recent security breach and the implications for other parents who have registered a VTECH toy online.

You may have seen articles like the one below, but if you haven’t and you do have VTech toys, then I suggest that you check it out.

Whilst we have seen many data breaches in large corporations over the last couple of years, this one is particularly important because it exposes the information of children.

Not only could a child’s name, age and gender be determined, but also they can be linked to a parent along with addresses and other information. Even worse, it would appear that the breach now also includes photographs of children as they are often encouraged upload a photo as an avatar for their account.

There are many reports on this breach, but I think that Graham Cluley’s security blog is a good place to start:

VTech toymaker hacked – millions of families have their personal info exposed

VTech say they have closed the security breach, but unfortunately they’re “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted” as the data is already out there.

Experts also say that it isn’t that easy to secure this kind of fundamental flaw, and as a result VTech have had to take the vulnerable sites offline.

If you wish to check if your account has been compromised in this or one of the other high profile breaches then you can visit HIBP website and search for your email address. (Bear in mind that whilst you may not have any VTech toys around now, if you created an account even some years ago, then it may still be in their system.)

Posted in News, Security | Leave a comment

Bleu IT Partnership status update

We’re very pleased to announce that we have retained our Microsoft Partnership of Silver Small and Mid Market Cloud Solutions.

MSP Silver & Mid Cloud logo

This achievement puts us in the top 5% of Microsoft partners worldwide.

Well done to the team for their hard work in keeping us there.

Posted in Microsoft, News | Leave a comment

Lenovo PC Stick or Intel Compute Stick and Office 365

You are looking to buy a new computer and can’t seem to find anything that is cheap or practical for you, so you started to read this post that you came across on the internet.

I have been looking at these since they were announced by their manufacturers at a keynote some time ago; it was all over the internet, now people just need to know what these things are capable of…..

They are both fully functional computers they have RAM, a Processor, some Storage and an HDMI output. They also have expansion in the form of micro SD slots and you can insert up to 128GB in it. But one of the best things about them is the fact that they can run Windows 8.1 (Ed: and no doubt Windows 10) with no problems at all and they are the size of a Nokia brick.

The things that you lose are the possibility for expansion if you need more storage, lets say you fill your SD card up, and your on-board storage. But there is a solution ….the cloud offers a lot of bang per buck, because it lets you store all of your data somewhere else and not have to worry about running out of room. You can get it for free from lots of different sites, for example with Microsoft’s OneDrive you get to have 20GB for free, and then if you upgrade and get Office 365 (Which will run on these mini computers is well), you will get 1TB of storage that I’m sure that you will never fill up. (Ed:well not in the next year anyway).

Office 365 is a cloud based service that allows you to run Word, Excel and other office apps in the cloud but also allows you to download the newest version of Office for free, (or as part of your subscription at least), as well on your devices. Being able to edit your documents online on the Office 365 website it lets you do almost everything that you would be able to do with the full version.

These little computers pack a punch, but do they cost you a arm and a leg? Well, no they don’t! They actually give you a lot of value for money.

  • The Intel Compute stick costs £109.99 and gives you a Intel Atom processor and 2gb of SDRAM that should be able to run all of the applications that you need it to do.
  • The Lenovo comes in at £94.99 and gives you the same specification, but you get the option to get a 64GB version as opposed to the restricted 32GB Intel version.

So which one will you pick? Intel or Lenovo?

Is office 365 going to be your Cloud choice? Do you think the cloud be part of your digital life? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Gadgets, Guest Posters, Microsoft | Leave a comment

So you need a new monitor what do you buy? The new LG 34 Inch Curved Widescreen monitor maybe for you!

Everybody has been in this situation, you have a computer and everything else and the only thing that you need is a monitor. People don’t normally think very hard about this, I didn’t, I went for the biggest thing I could find. But could the new LG 34 inch monitor be for you.

Its small bezels and elegant 2 arm stand look very appealing, but what’s the big deal?

Well as previously stated, the LG 34UCM95-P has an impressive 33.7 inch display (excluding the bezel) at an impressive 3440×1440 resolution. This monster screen comes with 2x HDMI ports and 1x Display port, more than adequate. But all of this comes at a loss of VGA and DVI, the two most commonly used display connectors on personal and business PC’s.

People don’t seem to pay much attention when getting a monitor but it really does depend what you are using it for and how many you are going to want to have. I think that if you need a monitor and have the money that you should buy this but some people, in fact most people would just get a cheaper solution and get two.

But what if this monitor don’t take your fancy are there alternatives??

Yes there are there are many brands out there that offer cheap and cost effective monitors without the big price tag for example AOC are quite a good budget brand but they still have the professional aspect to them. They range from about £65, They come with VGA this is one of the things that the LG don’t have which maybe you  need and you could get quite a few is well for the price.

After all this is a good monitor but is is cost effective and worth it, it my be for you but I don’t think that the price will attract you to it. But in the end it is your choice on what you should get.

Posted in Gadgets, Guest Posters | Leave a comment

3D Printing – What it is and how it works

3D printing is something that has become more and more popular in recent times. Many objects can be created by printing them out using a 3D printer from a digital file. The objects are made by printing layer by layer until the full object is finished.

3D printing works by creating a virtual design of the object or item that you wish to make. Your machine then figures out which layer to start printing first and then continues printing layer by layer until the full object is completed. The printer uses files in STL format which contain three-dimensional polygons which the printer use in order to create the desired object. Designers can use software in order to create their 3D models which they wish to print out if they have access to, or own, a 3D printer. However, people who wish to print out ready-made objects and designs can do so as the files of many objects are available to be downloaded off of the internet to be printed out locally.

There are many possibilities when it comes to 3D printing, there is an extremely wide range of things that can be created with this modern piece of technology; as the availability of different designs is ever growing because technology is always evolving. People have created a wide range of things – ranging from small figurines and fun little projects, all the way up to entire buildings and hearing aids.

In the near future we should be able to print things like prosthetic limbs, food and things for astronauts to use on the go when they are on missions in space. 3D printing will be an interesting invention in the future when creating things like these becomes possible. I think printing three-dimensional products is the way forward in technology, and am excited to see the possibilities that these machines offer in the future.

Posted in Guest Posters, News | Leave a comment

Liquid Cooling – Submerging Your PC In Mineral Oil

Conventional liquid cooling involves heat from the components of the PC being dissipated into water via a metal plate, so no water has direct contact with the components, and then being cooled in radiators to dramatically decrease temperatures of the hardware in use. However, some people cool their systems in a unique way…

Mineral oil behaves different to water that is usually used to cool PC’s. Although it looks like water, the oil does not have the free electrons necessary to conduct electricity, therefore it does not fry computer components. It is possible to completely submerge a computer system into a tank full of mineral oil, heat is transferred to the oil five times faster than air and can be dissipated through radiators just the same as water can.

The oil does not corrode any components of the PC, although parts such as the hard drive disk (HDD) cannot be submerged in the oil at all, as it is viscous and would stop the disc from spinning at its full speed and the read heads would be restricted from free motion. However, solid state drives will work perfectly fine in the oil as they contain no moving parts.

Although the oil is quite viscous, it’s not thick enough to stop fans moving at their full capacity, so some cool effects can be witnessed when fans are in motion inside the oil.

Creating a mineral oil-cooled system is a fun project to do, and it certainly is a cool alternative to standard water cooling methods which most high spec systems utilize nowadays.

Overall there are cheaper methods of liquid cooling, there are more practical ways of keeping system temps low, and there are lots of less time consuming ways of cooling your PC. But there is nothing cooler than being able to tell people you keep your PC inside of a fish tank.

Posted in Guest Posters, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Oculus Rift – VR and the possibilities of the future

The Oculus Rift is the main contender for the demand of virtual reality experiences. There are other options on the market but the Oculus is the best selling and most polished of them all, delivering impressive imagery and high levels of immersion.

The Oculus headset places the user in virtual situations, usually in the form of video games, via the two lenses which completely fill the view of the user. The head tracking feature is fluent with low input delay and high accuracy in relation to the position of the user’s head. Although Oculus haven’t released the specifications of the VR headset yet, I can say out of personal experience that the viewing experience, in terms of image quality, is very good. The resolution of the two eye lenses at the front of the headset may not be very high, but when in use it is very immersive and doesn’t look any worse than HD displays, as the lenses are so close to the user’s eyes.

There are problems with the viewing experience though, for example: the design and the build of the headset could be improved; as it is quite heavy and can be tiring on the head and neck after long periods of use. Many users have issues with experiencing motion sickness and getting headaches due to the displays being so close to the user’s eyes. Although this does not effect everyone, it has an impact on a lot of people’s opinions of the headset. I have experienced this motion sickness when I tried out the Oculus a few months ago, and the demo that I was shown was a virtual roller-coaster ride. Your body does not move in relation to what you are seeing through the headset, and because of the high level of immersion the headset offers through the lenses, motion sickness is a big issue.

Recently at the E3 convention a new version of the Oculus Rift was announced, the new model featuring a lighter frame and built-in headphones. I have not had first hand experience with the new model of Oculus Rift, but from reading reviews and articles on it I have gathered that people who used the new model still find the headset a little bit too heavy, although it has improved dramatically. The speakers are decent enough to use when gaming, but there is the option to use your own headset with the Oculus on at the same time; which is highly recommended for the full immersion experience.

Overall the Oculus Rift is a very immersive and excellent piece of technology that I am sure will become very popular in the near future, the flaws in it such as the weight are being improved over time with every new model they release. The Oculus is the future in virtual reality hardware.

Posted in Gadgets, Guest Posters, News | Leave a comment

Bleu IT website is secure…. should yours be too?

Most internet users are aware of the necessity to transact securely with websites for shopping and banking, but I’m sure that some of our more technical followers will be aware of the advantages of running a website via secure connections even when they are not for “transactions”.

Bleu IT’s website has been secure by default since December 2014, meaning that you can be sure you are accessing the official site and not a fake looking to dupe you in some way.

Securing websites is no longer an expensive process, with SSL certificates available for as little as $15, so there is little excuse for even the smallest company to avoid protecting their site visitors.

SSL certificates are available from dozens of vendors, but purchasers should still be careful as to where they buy from. SSL is notoriously difficult to deploy or renew without “taking down” a website or server for even the smallest discrepancy in the certificate information. Make sure that you pick an SSL certificate provider based on their support as well as their price. After sales support is worth its weight in gold if your businesses site is offline.

Posted in News, Security | Leave a comment

Hoverboards

October 21 2015, the day Dr Emmet Brown and his companion Marty McFly Travelled to from the year 1985 in their time machine at the beginning of the movie ‘Back to the Future 2’, an infamous scene in movie history occurred on this trip, Marty McFly escaping the hands of bullies on a hoverboard. A skateboard without wheels, hovering instead of rolling. But will it be possible for this to happen on October 21st of this year? Although it is unlikely mass production will happen by then, it is not unlikely that hoverboards will exist, and the scene could be recreated in real life.

The Hendo Hover was the world’s first working ‘hoverboard’, with the promotion by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, it showed the public that hoverboards are not sci-fi, they are definitely possible to make. But I personally do not count the Hendo Hover as a hoverboard itself due to the fact that it relies on repelling magnets to keep it  off the ground; this means that in order for the boards to work anywhere, we would have to pave the entire surface of earth with magnets to repel it away from the ground. The Hendo Hover will be amazing for skate parks designed for them, but they could not recreate the famous Back to the Future scene. Especially since you cannot dissolve the magnets into water so the board can only work on land, unlike the ones from Back the the Future.

However, the Hendo Hover is not the only real life hoverboard; there is another that we know almost nothing about, but it looks promising. The Lexus Hoverboard (currently named ‘the Slide’); all we have seen of it is this video, and leaked information from Lexus. this hoverboard also relies on magnetism, but instead of requiring magnets on the ground, this hoverboard forms its own magnets through a nitrogen cooled superconductor, meaning it will work, anywhere, even above water. However, this is not a perfect design, from what can be seen in the trailer, many people have assumed that the board is not capable of supporting the weight of a human being; which is why we doe not see any actual skating in the trailer. This is further evidenced by the half a second time period where the person has his foot on the hoverboard; the hoverboard does not seem to stay upright, but drops on the side he is stepping onto; so although the concept is perfect for the scene in Back to the Future, the board will have to be tweaked to be capable of recreating it.

Posted in Gadgets, Guest Posters, News | Leave a comment