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Welcome to the MadTech monthly newsletter.

So, we skipped February? It’s not that nothing happened in our world, it’s more to do with time constraints and Telkom issues. Yes, we’re all at the mercy of Telkom at the end of the day.

Windows XP at it’s end.

XP Dead

We’ve known this for some time now. XP seems to be like a hundred years old already and Microsoft gave us ample warning about it’s imminent demise. We shared some good news after the announcement regarding online banking security by using alternative browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, but now we’re in the grip of progress.

SARS will not accept anything less than Windows 7. The issue here is that Windows 7 uses Internet Explorer 9 or higher with Windows XP still on IE 8 (or 6 if you haven’t upgraded). Internet Explorer is an integral part of the operating system even though you might choose not to use the browser itself. XP is thus stuck in the middle ages with very little security protection in our modern world. As we know the banks are also getting finnicky regarding the version of Windows we’re using for online banking.

From a computer hardware perspective there is no longer support from component manufacturers for Windows XP. Even though we might be able to install XP on a brand new computer, specific hardware components will not work the way they were designed to. For instance the onboard sound will not work, your new graphics card for your old XP computer will not work properly as there are no drivers available from the manufacturer.

If you are still on Windows XP the time will come that you will be forced to change, if not because of pressure from online institutions but also once your hardware fails. Which route to go then? Well, Windows 7 was very stable and not that much different from XP but that version has also been discontinued. Though we can still source WIndows 7, it has become expensive.

Our recommendation would be to take the leap to WIndows 8.1. We have various resources to make this change as painless as possible and with a valid license you will qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 10 later this year. Obviously Microsoft is pushing us with very little choice, but there is also the Linux alternative.

Linux is old and well established as a server operating system. In recent years this OS has grown very fond of the desktop with open source and free to use bonusses. And more games are becoming available on this platform as well. Definitely something to consider for basic needs on your desktop computer.

Laptops – pros and cons

We’re moving into the portable age faster than we can imagine. More and more people prefer laptops / notebooks as an alternative to the big desktop computer. And for good reason.

Here are the pros :

  • Portable – Easy to carry, store and travel with.
  • Cheaper than a desktop – it has a screen, keyboard and mouse. It also has a pre-installed OS.

And the cons :

  • Limited upgradibility – what you buy is what you’ll have for the life of the machine. RAM and hard drive can be upgraded.
  • Easily damaged – portability has it’s downside. Screens are flimsy and keyboards can’t be cleaned as with desktops. Dropping it.
  • Easily stolen – after all, we’re in South Africa. Easy to hide once stolen – again the downside of being portable.
  • Limited life – battery life approximately 3 years and expensive to replace. Technology maximum 3 years before it’s totally outdated.
  • Insurance – compared to a similar desktop it’s more expensive.

Pricing comparison at this stage is such for similar technical specs –

  • Desktop R 3 500.00 for the box and no OS. No screen, no keyboard and no mouse.
  • Laptop R 4 200.00 which is complete but excludes application software (Office).

Tablets are another way to go but with limited functionality will never really threaten the laptop or desktop user.

Latest Spam,

Hoaxes and

Virus news

These are samples of e-mails I’ve received :

A lot of cash loans e-mails as well as “get rich quick” schemes. A lot of these are for gambling sites.

Freebees, winning insurance policy, lottery pay-outs and glamour products (such as sunglasses, cosmetics and perfumes).

Support with a Ticket ID number – watch out for these! And be very wary of any attachments.

Then there’s a Facebook page claiming to give away iPhones.

And on the subject of Facebook there is another age-old scam which pops it’s ugly head out from time to time : Know who viewed your profile. Watch it for this one. Typically, the messages claim that you need to click a link and then install a Facebook app to access a list of people who have viewed your profile.

After you have installed the rogue app – which will spam all of your friends with more scam messages – you will be told that you must complete a survey before you can see the list.

Another one is : ‘Pornographic Movies Posted On Our Behalf‘ – Bogus Facebook Virus Warning. Don’t waste your own and your friends time with this.

Be careful out there!

Fun, strange and useful things

Interesting : Quick facts about the Bible (interesting)

Software : Online typing tutor (educational) or software (free).

Video : Tech can be funny (YouTube)

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