Sunday, April 18, 2010

Webhosting

It always surprises me who small businesses buy their web & email hosting with.
In the last couple of weeks we have taken on the hosting of several small businesses, mainly because they either can't get access to the pages to get them to change them, or even just not getting your emails, because they had 1 single email address being forward to their home email address.

It is important to show a business face to customers so your emails should come from your domain name (like limbtec.com) and not from sky.com, of similar, because your emails are being forwarded in. Secondly if you have to have your emails forwarded in then at least make sure you can change this easily should you change your email address.

Likewise with your web pages, how easily can you update them?
They should be easily changed, and to be honest what you want when you get your website designed is to have a Content Management System (CMS) configured, so YOU can change your site.

This is what we have always offered customers, but for the last few months we have had a new service were we will convert your current website design to JOOMLA, we use Joomla as the CMS of Choice. This service cost from just £400, and we will even migrate your current site content into the new template. We can also design a new website template for you for a small additional charge.

All of our web hosting packages comes with POP3 email accounts, so even if you change your ISP your email will continue to work, and there is also free anti-spam on these accounts.

Surely this is how web hosting should be.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

General Bits and Bobs.

WOW, we've been so busy it is almost 2 months since I managed to post.

Lots have been happening here. We are in the process of migrating from one on-line backup provider to another. This would give you 10Gb of online storage for just £10 + VAT per month.

We have also installed our first hosted PBX, this is an addition to our range of Voice over IP (VoIP) or telephones over the Internet (Which i think for most people is a better term). This gives a full PBX functionality with out the upfront cost of the hardware to host the Phone System on.

On the Home user front we have seen another rise in the Hoax Security Software infection. If you get a pop up that is not your Anti-Virus telling you it has detected this many errors, don't click on the offer to clean it up, or purchase the product. Speak to someone, who knows.

Laptop repairs are still going strong, particularly screen replacements, we aren't the cheapest around, but all work is carried out in Plymouth, and we come and pick up your laptop and drop it back to you. This saves you tie and effort, and well worth the small amount extra we charge for the work.

Well Spring has Sprung, and the election is upon us, I am sat here now enjoying the warmth of the sun streaming through the office windows.
I'm off to drive around Plymouth all morning. Will post again shortly, and well before the 2 month period.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Data Security

Wow, at last my 100th Blog post, got here eventually.

recently a number of customers have started buying new computers, and they always want to know what they can use to make sure the data on the Hard Drive is gone for good.

We have been trying Active@ Killdisk. This is a great little tool, not too expensive, and the other tools on it allowing you to attempt to recover data are also useful. So far we have tried it on a couple of disc's and when trying to recover the data using our normal tools haven't been able to find anything. - to view their website go to http://www.killdisk.com

We are really busy with upgrades, small customers wanting to move to cloud computing, and large customers looking to migrate to new server hardware/software. However did everyone else see that BT are opening their ducting to the competition. Is this a case of if you can't beat them get your competition to use your equipment? Time will tell i guess but I am suspicious of it, but regular readers will know the issues I have had recently (and for recently read 12 months).

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Internet

Faster Internet connections is what we all want, both here in the UK, and across the globe.
We all know that we have to firstly resolve the issue of using the old cable for our connections at the moment.

Recently BT have been in negotiations to open up it ducting to allow other operators to run fibre. I believe this will be a good move, there is lots of ducts all around the country to run cable through, and those who read this and live in Plymouth will remember the night mare of the the streets being dug up to allow Eurobell (Now part of Virgin Media) to lay cables around the City. For me this didn't make sense then, and still doesn't as it means it is a very big investment to cable a city. Recently we have seen H2O looking at running a fast fibre network around Plymouth, the cost of doing this using existing ducting (Mainly the sewer) is in the region of £35M.

Maybe using the BT ducting, if this includes ducting to the premise then maybe this will allow H2O to run the fibre a little cheaper and give us all access to fast Broadband at less cost.

Related to this is Google are now turning to being an ISP and is looking to run trials of fast Broadband 1Gb read there blog post here

The reality of it all is that we need, fast reliable Broadband, and we need it now.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

BT, Broadband and SEO

BT

I didn't post a blog lat week, mainly because my Internet connection just wasn't working. I could have written it, put it on a USB stick, and sent it my carrier pigeon.

The problem is despite the fact i had no speed, and the connection dropped every minute or so there was nothing wrong with the line. Well according to BT when they eventually ran the test some 14 hours after reporting the error.

I complained some more and eventually they booked a broadband engineer to come out first thing on Monday to essentially show me nothing was wrong and charge me the fee £100 odd. Problem was the engineer came out and found a fault. Now this is were I completely lost it with BT! Broadband engineers only get 2 hours of time allotted to each job, run out of time and then it has to get booked on again.

It appears this got lost in a system and the next thing was the report from BT to say no fault found, and so it was closed. I then Email Ian Livingston The Chief Executive of the BT Group.
This means on Wednesday and after a lot of heated emails with Ian another engineer turned up.

Apparently because I was side stepping the ISP, who was doing what they had to do, but was missing some power behind them to kick BT up the backside and resolve this fault which was rapidly coming to 50 weeks old. Mr Livingston didn't like and compared it to have an issue with some food and going directly to the farmer and not back to Tesco. It isn't the same at all after all Tesco don't own the farm, but BT do own the part that is causing me a big headache.

Anyway back to our issue, the engineer came out, investigated the fault on the Wong line and investigated the fault on the right line. No problems found, then he decided if I wasn't having issues on the voice line, we could swap pairs, between the 2 lines. Which he did. OK it has been a couple of days since and things seem to be working OK, I have some of the speed back but not all of it.

The engineer was going to go back and request a test hole be dug in the likely place the fault was, but this was turned down due to the fact my moving the pairs around this has solved the issue. Problem is this also proves there was an error on that line that BT could not detect! And to frank and honest was completely ignoring the repeated issues being raised.

It also means that should this pair get damaged they have nothing to replace it with. We can only hope that H2O get on with rolling out fibre to the premises in Plymouth.

SEO

I have been playing around with some free tools to improve our Search Engine Rankings. We are already creeping up the results, and gaining new results. So it is worth while doing.

One tool is http://www.woorank.com/ well worth all business owners having a look at this tools.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

1st post of the year

Well, our first post of the year. It has been a slow start with the weather. but it has left us with some time to tie up lose ends on some new products, which we will be releasing over the next month or so.

One thing that has been in demand is for people to work remotely. A number of our customers had this in place, the problem for them was in the main it wasn't designed to work for the entire work force.

Now is the time to start to think about this and perhaps even a little bit deeper into full disaster recovery. If you are a Small business, do you use Microsoft Small Business server? if so why not use the Remote Web Workplace?
A short 60 second presentation is Available from Microsoft
Also available is a short presentation about sharing a conference call and presentation using Microsoft Office Live Meeting

Both utilise technology that helps with travel budgets, or ease of access if we get snowed in again.

New this month is our Disaster Recovery Solution, a very cost effective method of providing Disaster Recovery for small businesses details are available from our website For a small cost you can purchase seats in bundles of 6 or 12. Contact us for details.

We are starting to have discussions with a lot of our clients about how we can best improve their use of technology to help improve their business. Still carrying out IT Audits, and discussions with possible new clients, if you want to know more then drop me an email martin@limbtec.com

LAPTOPS
However you dress them up, they really don't like drinks being spilt into them, and they don't like being stood on or having things thrown at them. Basically treat them like they will break, as they will if you do any of the following.

BT
Well our BT issues keep on going on and on and on. It now appears that the shiny copper cable going from here to the street cabinet, may not be a shiny, or indeed contain much copper anymore.
You would have thought the simplest solution would be to rerun fresh copper from end to end, but apparently patching every couple of weeks or so with bits of cable is far better.

Come on BT get your act together and get this 11 month (actually 11 months and 1 day) issue resolved.

I am intending to post this blog every Friday PM, but this is subject to change!

Thanks for reading and more next week.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A review of the year

Well, just about Evonne does a review of the year, although this year most of the TV programmes are a review of the decade.

This time last year I sat down and wondered what on earth was going to happen through 2009, we had already been hit by a couple of Bad debts, and we needed to alter the way we work. The good thing for us was at the end of 2007, and moving in to 2008 we had sorted out our marketing, refreshed our log and branding. So the answer was all we could do was try our hardest, support our customers, try and reduce costs where possible, and offer to be flexible on payments should the need arise.

And so the year started, we were hit with another couple of customers going bust, but in the main our customers were surviving reasonably well. So we started looking for more customers, we have increased our Business to Business Support customer base by 25%, this has resulted in us keeping our income slightly above the previous year, as we had lost some customers and the others were not spending as much.

We saw rapid growth in our Home User market, particularly in our laptop repairs. Replacement Screens, and replacement power jacks accounting for most of the laptop repairs.

The biggest issue we have seen a rise in, for move businesses and consumers are issues with broadband. In the main and issue arising either with the router, or mainly issues with the actual connection and the ensuring battle with the ISP, but mainly due to BT.

We had a BT Install that had the filter int he wrong place, but the main issues have been with line issues, or other BT issues, I have to add most of these occurred after most of the exchanges in Plymouth were upgraded to BT's 21CN platform. We ourselves have had an ongoing fight for 10 months, other have faired better. But int he main if I had to award a technology villain of the year it would have to go to BT. Please BT in the new year will you take note that customers do have issues and mainly these issues are with your network and not their router or extension cable. And when you run one of your tests and it doesn't run due to a complete lack of bandwidth their is an issue, and the issue is with you.

Enough of that rant, the I-phone has grown in stature and with the host of apps is probably my recommendation for a smart phone for businesses.

Microsoft released Windows 7, and should have a raft of releases in 2010 scheduled. It was a pretty flat year for releases with manufacturers perhaps holding back until people have money to spend, but this has to change next year! (look for announcements by Google and Apple in January)

Looking forward, Plymouth has some major plans ahead this summer will see FIFA visit the city to select the venues for the 2018 World cup bid, I'm sure we will all blow them away. then we just have to wait til December for the announcement of who will get the World Cup. One unusual hero in technology in the city has been the chamber of commerce. Hopefully we will start to see the plans they have produced start to come true. We may well See H2O move into the city to provide fast (and i do mean fast, faster than we currently have) Broadband to the city, by laying fibre to premises using existing conduit (Mainly the sewer system). This will help move Plymouth ahead, and may help force BT to improve the plans for Fibre to the Cabinet in the City!

Well this is my last blog post of the year. Hopefully I will post even more next year, but you can follow the day to day ramblings on twitter - www.twitter.com/limbtec

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