CTS Mcr ~ Team Arnott ~ Do Tough Mudder

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Team Arnott agreed to do Tough Mudder over 6 months ago. Under the influence of alcohol. It was for our favourite charity “The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour” Charity and it would mean we had to ‘get fit’!

As the day got closer Gill did employ a personal trainer at Lifestyle Fitness in Whitefield. Jasmin was more than happy to help get stamina and fitness levels up and went out of her way to watch the Tough Mudder videos on-line. It’s a shame that Gill’s dedication was not quite as committed as per personal trainer! gill & eric TM pic

As the morning arrived Gill prepared by shaving her legs! A chance of a hospital visit with hairy legs was not an option! Eric had a shower! So, on a sunny September morning at 7 a.m. we set off for Cheshire to meet Paul and Adam Smith from 1 Power in Bury. Great guys much younger and fitter than us! Where did they finish? We’ve still yet to find out. We did catch up at an early wall challenge and they stopped to help us over. So thank you guys.

The layout of the TM village, registration, warm-up and the initial ‘power-talk’ is all run with complete professionalism. Thousands of people (some who camped over-night ~ did they do it Saturday & Sunday?) and those who arrived fresh faced and confident (like us) from their snug beds.

So we set off! Up a small hill and there was a small wall to climb (easy-peasy) only it wasn’t the start! This led you into another area for the power-talk!

28 obstacles, some of which did completely phase us, and others we quite liked (a lie)! The monkey bars. With no upper body strength we ended up in chest height muddy water after bar two.   The piggy back share! A 100 metre path with deep mud and a swap spot half way. Bless Eric he did manage to carry me almost half-way. I did get Eric on my back but as we sank deeper into the mud and my back screamed in agony we followed a few others and walked the rest of the way.

The people who take part help get you round. Helping to lift you up and over high walls, encourage you with banter as you energy levels drop and you falter round the course. Even the group of lads with Barry (a pink blow up flamingo) did make us laugh. No sorry! That was Eric threatening to find Barry a new nest (where the sun definitely didn’t shine)!

At about half way they have a sign saying “you missed the 5km fun run”.   Arghhhhh

So the worst parts for me … ‘Arctic Enema’, the ice water. Brain freeze that was so painful, and seemed to last forever! Then the peg wall. Unfortunately this came at around 9 miles and my calf cramp and cut hand meant I had to walk round it. I tried but a 5 metre fall was not on my wish-list.   It only made me more determined to get over the Everest Wall at the end (and I did).

For Eric the worst part was me! He stayed with me the whole way. Helped, dragged, pushed and pulled when and where he could. He was patient, kind and above all encouraging.

Would we do it again? NO absolutely not. Never. Not a chance!   We completed in just over 4 hours. Exact times difficult as they don’t encourage people to go for course times. They encourage people to help and watch out for each other, and on the whole they do.

Did I mention we’ve booked for Tough Mudder 2016!   Yes we have. Tickets to prove it.   The question is just how dumb and stupid are #TeamArnott …

With love and a massive heartfelt thank you to everyone who sponsored us. It really does mean the world.

Love

Gill & Eric

Team Arnott

 

 

PC slow? Check out these “Top 10 Tips”

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When your PC is running slow it can be extremely frustrating. We’re always on hand to help and resolve issues for you but here are some steps you can take before calling in the experts.

A couple of things before we start …..

  • If your computer is getting on in life (5 years +) then this is most likely the issue. New software you download isn’t always compatible with older machines ~ due to the continually changing advances in technology.
  • Check to see you have at least 10% of free hard drive space. You may just need a memory upgrade. We recommend that computers have a minimum of 4GB of memory (RAM) for 32-bit system and 8GB for a 64-bit system.
  1. Reboot first before doing anything else. Most people let their PC’s go into sleep mode and rarely reboot.
  2. Uninstall any unnecessary programmes, in particular any start-up programmes that automatically start when you reboot your PC. Tip: If you have Windows 7 or above, open Task Manager and run Resource Monitor, which will allow you to see what programmes are running in the background and the memory and CPU they are using.
  3. Run a clean-up tool, such as ‘ccleaner’, including registry clean-up. In ccleaner go into tools and start-up; disable any programmes you don’t need running (see above).
  4. Make sure anti-virus definitions are up-to-date and make sure it is not scanning your computer in the background. When scans are in progress they can decrease the speed of your PC.   Then run a full anti-virus scan.
  5. Run anti-malware scans and programmes, such as Malwarebytes anti-malware, Spybot search & destroy, super anti-spyware.  stethoscope on a laptop
  6. Run check-disk (or equivalent) to verify there is nothing physically wrong with the computer’s hard drive.
  7. Check for updates for Windows, Adobe, Java and any other third party programmes. You can also make sure all browser plugins are up-to-date, or try disabling browser plug-ins to see if one of them is causing the speed issue.
  8. Defragment hard drive ~ this will ensure that the data is arranged in the most efficient order.
  9. Make sure your computer and processor are not overheating. Excessive heat can cause a significant decrease in computer performance because most processors automatically reduce the speed of the processor to help compensate for heat-related issues.Tip : Dust, dirt, and hair can also constrict proper airflow inside your computer, which can cause a computer to overheat. Make sure your computer case is clean and fans are not obstructed.
  10. Check that you have the latest drivers for your computer hardware. In particular the latest video drivers. Out-of-date drivers can cause various issues, including speed. Note: only relevant for PC’s / Laptops running slow.

And finally;  If you have completed the above steps but your computer is still running slow then try rebooting the computer again. If still no improvement give us a ring … . 0161 798 4336.

Some Further Points ~

  • Hard drive upgrade.  It is also possible that your PC has hardware related issues, such as failing components. Examples of this could be hard drive, CPU, RAM, motherboard etc.
  • Hardware issues.  A big bottleneck of a computer is the hard disk drive. If your PC is running slow, or you are just looking for the best component to upgrade, then you may want to consider a Solid State Drive (SSD), which can significantly improve the performance.

 

Are you PCI DSS Compliant?

ARE YOU PCI DSS COMPLIANT?  PCI logo

We can offer a full support solution to help you obtain compliance in a timely and hassle free manner. Solutions for PCI DSS levels 1 – 4.

If you take credit card payments as part of your day-to-day business transactions then you are probably aware of the worldwide standard ‘Payment Card Industry’ (PCI) data security standard (DSS) requirement.

PCI compliance is a way of reassuring your clients that you are keeping their most valuable and personal information secure. As a business you are liable for your customer’s data, regardless of the person who actually processes it as part of their role with you.

PCI was set up to help businesses process card payments securely for their clients, reducing credit card payment fraud. The process takes each company through a stringent set of controls within the parameters of the storage, transmission and processing of their cardholder data.   security-pic-web

There are a number of high level security requirements which are set to ensure the maximum level of security for you and your client.

If you’re not sure or confident about setting up and maintaining a secure network and firewall configuration; using encryption to store data; how to restrict access to data; or simply you just don’t have the time to put the necessary infra-structure in place ~ then let CT Business Solutions arrange the compliance and formalities for you.

As an IT company we have the means and experience necessary to implement procedures so that you pass the PCI compliance without the stress and hassle it can cause.

Do you know what level of compliance you require? Understanding the levels of PCI can be confusing. We can take you through each step with confidence.

If you DON’T become PCI compliant and you suffer a data breach you may be liable for losses incurred, along with card scheme fines, operational costs and the loss of clients.

Passing the compliance is not just an annual occurrence, you are also liable to run quarterly compliance scans to ensure everything is still under compliance guidelines. The procedures we put in place will ensure that you are covered and comply throughout the year.

Contact us to get further information and pricing structure.  www.ctsmanchester.co.uk     Tel : 0161 798 4336.   Email : info@ctsmanchester.co.uk

Windows 10 Launch Date

So at last Microsoft have given the launch date for the FREE windows 10 update. Any PC or laptop owner in over 190 markets worldwide, running Windows 7 and Windows 8, will be able to choose to get Windows 10. It is a completely free upgrade but consumers will have only 1 year to take advantage !

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Microsoft offer to continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – again free of charge. If you want to be first in line for the free upgrade you can reserve a free copy in the next few weeks. Watch this space.

Microsoft executives state that Windows 10 is built from the ground up for a world in which mobile and cloud computing are key. Microsoft also commit to making Windows 10 friendly for the enterprise, ideal for keyboard and mouse users, but also optimised for touch. Windows 10 will put the same interface on devices with displays ranging in size from 4in to 80in. ‘One product family, one platform, one store,’ says Microsoft. It is expected from here on in you’ll see fewer big feature changes and more tuning, tweaking, stabilizing and polishing.

Windows 8 has not been a universal success, and in many eyes it has been seen as a ‘dud’. Not exactly well executed and its attempt to marry together desktop and mobile has been seen as too radical to encourage new users.

Windows 10 will also include phones and the X-box One – in an app form. Together with Cortana and a new web browser, currently known as ‘Spartan’. Spartan is to spell the end of internet explorer, but it will take time to completely disappear. At Build 2015 Microsoft confirmed it will be called ‘Edge’ and will be available for use in Firefox and Chrome extensions.  Technology-Pic-3png

It is expected that this build will be a bit more stable and polished than the last one, which is to be expected as Microsoft begin to stabilize for the public release this summer. From here on out you will see fewer big feature changes from build to build, and more tuning, tweaking, stabilizing, and polishing,”

See also: Windows 10 review and Windows 10 for phones preview.

Managed IT Support

CT Business Solutions offer a Proactive Managed IT Support & Solutions package for you and your business.   Our BEST (Business Enhanced Support Technology) is an exceptional and affordable way to manage your business IT.  What really happens when technology lets you down?  How much staff time is wasted dealing with slow computers or system crashes? Do you have backups in place?  Check out our ten reasons to consider our plan and get in touch.BEST logo

  1. On-going support
  2. Preventative maintenance
  3. Proactive system monitoring
  4. Remote access
  5. Backup monitoring
  6. Security management
  7. NOC support
  8. User help and support
  9. On-site support
  10. IT business planning and consulting.

remote-support-photo   Support is available from £25.00 + VAT per month.

Give us a call to discuss how CT Business Solutions can help you keep your IT department running smoothly.

Tel : 0161 798 4336

 


 

Our need for the Internet

Virtually all businesses in today’s world of technology need to be connected to the internet. It is considered a critical life-force of the business infrastructure. Internet orders, emails, information search, and the social media daily fix (whether for personal or marketing purposes) need to be instantly available, exactly when we need them and provide exactly the right level of speed and versatility we need. Technology in general drives each business and without it things can grind to a halt. It’s unlikely anything earth shattering would happen if you lose your internet connection for a few hours, or even for a day but your profits would be affected. Whichever way you look at it, that’s not good business.    internet 1

 

There are many causes for internet disruption. So what are they and how do you get round it ?

 

Congestion. Mainly linked to high volume public areas such as hotels, libraries, football stadiums. However this can also occur in a busy office environment. Prevention is the answer using bandwidth control.   You can increase the level of bandwidth you get from your provider, and pay for the privilege. Putting in a managed bandwidth allocator will minimise this. Restricting certain web-sites is also a good option. Sometimes we need to remove the lure of certain media web-sites to employees. How do you control what your employees are streaming or downloading ?

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Failed link to provider; Faults happen. There is no fail-safe internet provider. Various unforeseeable and unpreventable issues can arise, such as thunderstorms, high winds, power surges, building work to name but a few. It is always a good idea to source internet service from multiple providers.

Internet speed fluctuations; not all DS lines are equal. Ensure you have the correct cabling in place. Ensure whoever provides your internet service fully explains what they are putting in place and how they will provide it.

Equipment failure; The main cause of equipment failure is power surges, which out routers and switches. Put UPS protection in place on all equipment. Routers and switches will fail. It may be prudent to have a spare in-house. When things go wrong it can be a quick and easy way to rule out the cause.

Operator error mistake; Check that wires are plugged in correctly, firewalls are connected and in order.

If you want assistance with your internet supply and support give us a call.  0161 798 4336.


 

The BIG Bury Expo

Bury Expo Pic 5CT Business Solutions (N Mcr) exhibited recently at The BIG Bury Business Expo at Village Hotel, Bury. It was organised by the fabulous team at thebestofbury; Debi, Phil, Kathryn and Holly work extremely hard to get the voices of Bury businesses heard – “bringing trusted businesses and the community together”.

Bury really is a place to reckon with these days.  Around 50 local businesses exhibited, attracting well over 300 visitors.  For an exhibition running from 7.00pm – 9.30pm, it was extremely well attended. We had a great time and met some amazing people who we are looking forward to getting to know and work with over the coming weeks, months and even years.

 

Having been part of the Bury networking scene for almost 12 months, we have found it an invaluable resource for ourselves, our customers and in building our own business.

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A lot of people have asked if we felt that the exhibition was useful and successful. That has to be a big, emphatic, YES. We met some amazing people and businesses throughout Bury who are striving to succeed, working hard, networking and doing as much as possible to work locally with other similar minded local businesses.   Getting involved with people of this mind-set is fantastic. We all strive to be the best we can. We strive to be successful. We strive to grow and mature our businesses. But best of all, locally we are working via a myriad of networking events and joining forces to put Bury well and truly on the map.

On a final note, we demonstrated our HD CCTV solution at the exhibition and gave one lucky winner a free camera; congratulations to Graham Croston of GJ Plastics.

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HD CCTV with CT Business Solutions

Home and Office HD CCTV with CT Business Solutions

CT Business Solutions are now able to offer you even more security for your business / home in the form of HD CCTV. We have linked with WatchBot and are now able to market and promote this amazing home and small office security system.   With its cost effectiveness and incredible features it’s going to become an invaluable part of your security procedures. But it also offers so much more!

These devices are portable and easy to install, use and maintain. Watch live video stream of your home or office from your PC, Mac, Laptop or Mobile Device.

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               Value for Money

In the past CCTV security has been expensive to purchase and implement; with high installation costs and monthly on-going running costs for maintenance and monitoring. WatchBot offers a multitude of features to allow you the peace of mind with home HD CCTV monitoring for a fraction of the cost, and no on-going fees.

Home/Business Security

Unfortunately crime rates are continually on the rise. It is becoming increasingly necessary for effective security for your home or business. The WatchBot allows you to keep the security of your Home/Business literally in the palm of your hands! Have live streaming direct to your PC, Mac, laptop or mobile device. Video can be recorded either on your PC/Mac, through the onboard SD card (not supplied) or using WatchBot’s own cloud-based recording service (subscription required).

Convenience

You have the peace of mind and convenience of being able to tap in to your home / office environment, whenever you need to, from wherever you are!

Easy Installation

WatchBot comes with step-by-step instructions. Installation and set-up is simple. No hard-wiring. As simple as plug and play.

Multitude of Features …   This is where WatchBot gets interesting …

The WatchBot is not just a monitoring camera. It comes with motion detectors and two-way audio so you can communicate. It also has night vision (infra-red) cameras so you can keep a watch even if the office is in darkness.

High quality picture and sound

Excellent video quality with VGA resolution at full 30 frames-per-second. It can be supported by wireless or wired connections, with no loss of sound or video on either connection model.

Up to 32 WatchBot cameras can be connected together to provide a total security surveillance solution package !  The user interface can display 9 monitors in a grid format.

So you want to watch your baby sleep, tease your pet or just be able to tap into the office to make sure all is well !  WatchBot does all this and more.

On another note, add-on features are currently under development to increase the features available. Who could resist being able to release a pet-treat at the click of a button !

Contact CT Business Solutions to discuss and for full written quotation. Tel : 0161 798 4336.    Watchbot logo

Tough Guy Challenge for Super Josh

TOUGH GUY CHALLENGE ….  So at 4.45 a.m. on a Freezing Sunday morning some amazing people roused themselves from their beds, hopped in a mini-bus to Wolverhampton to take part in the Tough Guy Challenge to raise money for the Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity …  a 15 km assault course, with freezing waters, hills, electric shocks, hurdles and general torture the 11 man ‘Super Josh’ team finished and headed back to the Village Hotel in Bury for a well-deserved meat and potato pie and a few beers.

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Computer Troubleshooters M.D. Eric Arnott took part and as the oldest team member to participate was glad when the 4 hour ordeal was over.   Eric has completed triathlon’s, run half a marathon and done a 100 mile bike ride (to name but a few) but this was his nemesis and to quote “I won’t being doing that ever again”.    I don’t think Heather will mind but I think the photo of her badly bruised legs says it all !   OUCH

The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity is a Bury-based charitable organisation that offers hope, advice, support and financial solutions to children with brain tumours and post-surgery disabilities. I think knowing what a superb charity it is helped people dig deep and find the strength to get round the course.  5,000 people took part with over 27 countries represented.  This is definitely not an event for the faint hearted.

So for competing we want to say a massive congratulations to :

Eric Arnott,  John Bakewell,  Emma Cordock, Heather Loynd, Carl Cordock, Andy Bakewell, Simon Green, Natalie Owens, Danny Gee and to Dawn Fidler (Josh’s mum) Gill Cooper and Collette Debono who travelled down to support the team and take pictures and generally raise the spirts.

And for sponsoring we thank …

Computer Troubleshooters,   Time Saving Heroes,  GDT Driving School,  AFG Law, The Village Hotel Bury, Fusion Fostering, Bakewell Carpets, Cheetham Jackson, Host Mama,  4serve and Kaleidoscope

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Changing the way you work with Soonr

Changing the Way You Work – With Computer Troubleshooters and Soonr Workplace.

As an SME making sure your technology is in order and giving you the power to work ‘anytime, anywhere’ is becoming a priority, if not a necessity.   Not all Cloud Services are alike.   With Cyber Security breaches becoming more prominent it is imperative that SME’s have a Cloud service that is protected and offers them the security of knowing that their data is stored within the European Union and falls within data-protection laws. Soonr workplace offers data-encryption in transit and at rest, offering additional security for you and your company. When the data is at rest Soonr Workplace geo-redundant data centres ensure that all saved data is consistently protected.

security-pic-webWorryingly the average business user is not concerned about protecting the security of their business’ information. This is a clear indicator that corporate data may very well be at risk. Data breaches can cause havoc and could cost you your business.

File sharing and collaboration is becoming increasingly important to the business owner. Soonr workplace has been purpose-built for business and is focused on mobile collaboration and security. Its purpose is to empower mobile individuals, teams and businesses to have immediate access to documents, from any device and from anywhere.

Along with necessary security protection Soonr workplace place offers ease of use and gives business users control over shared file projects, folders and files. It syncs automatically, ensuring document consistency across multiple devices.

Technology-Pic-5pngComputer Troubleshooters (N Mcr) Ltd want to help you change the way you do business. Cloud Services are making solutions available to small business owners that were once only available to large corporations. These solutions are helping small businesses be more flexible and efficient while saving time and money.

  1. Do you know where your employees are saving your company’s private information? Soonr will allow you to track all that data, knowing it’s secure.
  2. Do you need file sharing across the whole business but need ‘private’ storage for management information and accounts ? Soonr offer a wide spectrum of business solutions so that you can limit employee access to certain company data.

Advantages

Cloud services bring solutions like hosted email, industry applications and software, virtual servers and document management to your fingertips. If you are unsure of how your business can take advantage of cloud services, don’t worry Computer Troubleshooters (N Mcr) Ltd can help you learn and understand what services you should implement in your business to gain an advantage over your competition.

Our applications and infra-structure will mean you are able to easily implement new technology solutions and upgraded software packages to increase employee efficiency and productivity. Technology will no longer hold your business back.