Apr 012016
Euan Badenoch2

Euan Badenoch says backing up was a “lifesaver”

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

An Aberdeen University student could have lost an academic year’s worth of material when his laptop crashed – but for heeding his mum’s words of wisdom and ensuring his data was backed up.

For Euan Badenoch (23) being able to retrieve data after a computer crash was a “lifesaver” that meant that he could retrieve his work on a different PC and continue where he left off.

The former pupil of Turriff Academy was nearing completion and close to deadline on a 3,000 word assignment for his Masters Degree in Environmental Science when his laptop gave up the ghost.

His mum Morag works at Clark Integrated Technologies near Turriff and one of her regular reminders to Euan after he left home to embark on his studies was the importance of backing up data in case of an accident or failure.

Euan followed her advice, backing up his work to a USB and external hard drive. It meant that when disaster struck and his laptop failed, all was not lost and he could simply pick up where he left off.

Euan admits it would have been devastating to have lost all of his work due to a computer failure.

“My laptop is old and when I went to switch it back on there was no life and I had a panic attack as I’d spent a lot of time and research on this piece of work and the deadline was just a day away,” he explains.

“Not only would I have lost that particular assignment and but the rest of my university course work since October last year.

 “Having my data backed up was a lifesaver.  It’s just something I do automatically now and have multiple saved copies so that it’s always accessible.”

Yesterday was World Back Up Day, with the message to not be an April Fool by failing to back up data.

Back up services are important for individuals and it’s essential for business too, says Clark IT’s technical lead Amar Mirashi.

Amar has many real experiences of being able to avert major problems for the businesses they support, such as in cases when files have been accidentally deleted, ransomware has struck or a laptop was lost.

One customer’s network was hit by ransomware attack through the CryptoLocker virus which encrypted network files. With hourly back-ups in place, Clark was able to restore systems to the time 15 minutes before the virus struck, allowing business to continue as normal.

Through back up, Clark  IT was able to restore an accidentally deleted document to a client which was essential evidence in a legal wrangle it was having with a supplier. The document had been part of a deleted email, but it was traced and restored through back up – and the client won the dispute.

A businessman who left his laptop on the boot of his car and drove off never saw the portable equipment again – but with cloud back up Clark IT ensured he was able to access all of his data.

Amar says:

“As a trusted adviser to clients, it is our responsibility to ensure they have the best services possible and we do that proactively and we stress to our clients the importance of having correct back up in place. At times when there may be potential for problems, we pick that up through alerts to our support desk and act and advise appropriately.

“It’s all part of the fully managed service we provide for our clients. Preventing data loss and ensuring business continuity for our customers is key.”

To find out about World Back Up Day, visit http://www.worldbackupday.com/

Clark IT has 25 years of experience in providing industry leading support and delivering business-class technology. The company’s integrated solutions provide industry leading services, productivity and cost effective IT platforms for business growth. For more information, see the firm’s website at www.clark-it.com


Feb 282013

Hall Harper looks at the phenomenon of unwanted telephone calls and offers some suggestions on how to deal with them.

I suspect there are few, if any, of us who have never had an unwanted telephone call – and I’m not talking here about ones from great uncle Charlie asking if you could see your way clear to lend him a couple of bob, unwanted as these may be.

No, I’m talking about the ones from a range of organisations who want to sell you insurance, double glazing, a new kitchen or, the current favourite, the opportunity to handle your PPI claim.

In fairness, I’m willing to accept that these come from victims of the current economic situation who have been unable to find employment other than sitting in a call centre somewhere for a pittance. 

So while I am extremely unlikely to even consider buying whatever it is they’re trying to sell I will, I hope, let them down fairly politely with a “sorry, but I’m afraid I’m not interested.”

The ones, however, that really do get to me are the scam calls – the ones from (usually) a foreign lady or gentleman who tell you that they’re ‘phoning from Windows and have had it drawn to their attention by their technical department that your computer is currently at risk.  The scenario, I understand, which is supposed to unfold is that they offer to sort the problem for you for a small charge which can be paid by advising the caller of your credit or debit card details.

Needless to say, there is no technical department, nor is there a problem with your computer.  There is, however, a problem when you provide your bank details and the folk calling you swick you out of your hard earned spondulicks.

There are, I’ve found, a number of ways to deal with these calls depending upon your mood and the time you have available.  So if you’re totally stretched for time or are just not in the mood to indulge in any sort of communication, the simplest thing to do is hang up at the point you realise it’s a scam call.

The next step up is when you’re short of time but want, at the very least, to score a minor victory by having the last word.  Again the way to achieve this is quite simple.  You simply take a well known Anglo-Saxon expletive and use it in a two word phrase ending with ‘off’ before hanging up.

The point is to see how long it takes the caller to terminate the conversation

If, however, you have a bit of time on your hands and want a bit of fun (and remember you’re not paying for the call, they are) there are a few jolly japes available, the point of which is to see how long it takes for the unwanted caller to hang up on you.

The first is the one unashamedly stolen from a television ad which is when you sweetly ask the caller to, “please hang on a moment,” lay the receiver down and go and make yourself a coffee, do the crossword, go and do the shopping if you want – they’ll give up sooner or later.  (I did this one time and kept quietly listening in from time to time to see how long they hung on.  Surprisingly it was over ten minutes.)

Then there’s the ‘one word method.’  This comprises of steeling yourself, however chatty or insistent the caller becomes, to limit yourself to only one word.  The obvious one is “yes” although I suspect a real expert at the game could come up with something a bit more adventurous.

The point is to see how long it takes the caller to terminate the conversation which, if the only response they’re getting is “yes” actually takes less time than you might imagine.

But my all time favourite is the ‘bad line method’ which, as the name I believe suggests, requires you to pretend that there is a fault on the line which renders you unable to make out what the caller is saying.  This is easily done by firstly advising the caller that, as it’s a bad line, you didn’t make out what they said and inviting them to repeat what they’ve said and, once they’ve done this twice, you then ask them to spell it.

A recent call I had went something like this:

Caller:      Good morning, my name is Daniel.  I’m calling from Windows and we have identified a problem with your computer.

Me:           I’m sorry but it’s a very bad line.  What did you say your name was?

Caller:      Daniel.

Me:           I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.  Can you repeat please?

Caller:      Daniel.

Me:           I’m sorry, I still didn’t get it.  Can you spell it please?

Caller:      D-A-N-I-E-L

Me:           Daniel?

Caller:      Yes, Daniel.

Me:           And the name of your company?

Caller:      Windows.

Me:           Sorry but it’s a REALLY bad line.  Could you spell that please?

Caller:      W-I-N-D-O-W-S.

Me:           Windows?

Caller:      Yes – Windows!

Me:           Ah, I see.  So you’re selling double glazing.

Caller:      No, it’s about your computer.

Me:           But you said you were calling about windows.  What have windows got to do with computers?

Caller:      No, I’m calling because we’ve identified that you’ve got a problem with your computer.

Me:           Sorry but it really is a very bad line.  Can you repeat that please?

Caller:      We-have-identified-that-you-have-a-problem-with-your-computer!

Me:           My computer?

Caller:      Yes, your computer.

Me:           But I don’t have a computer.

Caller hangs up.


  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Sep 072012

An exhibition of art celebrating the centenary of Alan Turing, the father of computer science, opens this week at RGU’s Georgina Scott Sutherland Library. With thanks to George Cheyne.

2012 is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing (1912 – 1954), one of the greatest minds Britain has ever produced.

From inventing the digital computer and helping to decode the German Enigma machine to founding the science of Artificial Intelligence, the world today would have been a very different place without Turing and his ideas.

This exhibition, which reflects Turing’s enduring influence on art and contemporary culture and has previously been shown at Kinetica Art Fair in London, brings together a number of important artists from digital art pioneers such as William Latham to emerging contemporaries such as Anna Dumitriu. 

Jane Kidd, curator of the RGU Arts and Heritage Collections says:

“This exhibition breaks down the artificial barriers between science and the arts.  

“RGU is at the forefront of Computing research today with the School of Computing and at the cutting edge of Art with Gray’s School of Art, so it’s great that we can bring both together in this exciting show to mark RGU’s participation in the British Science Festival.”

The exhibition is showing at the Georgina Scott Sutherland Library, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Campus, Aberdeen from Wednesday 5th September until Friday 12th October, 2012.

Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday, 10am – 8-pm
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 5pm

Apr 262012

Digital Unite’s Spring Online Week runs from 23 to 27 April, and Silver City Surfers is calling on over-55s to join them for free IT taster sessions. With thanks to Christine Dunhill, Silver City Surfers Co-ordinator.

Launched in 2002 by Digital Unite, Spring Online is an annual campaign which aims to help older people benefit from using email and the internet to keep in contact with loved ones more easily, and to use digital cameras to capture and share special memories.

An ONS report published in February claims that a significant number of Britons have never used the internet and that 67% of those are over 65.

Silver City Surfers has been running in Aberdeen for seven years and was set up by older people for older people to run free weekly information and hands-on IT sessions. Margaret Smith, Chair of Silver City Surfers is particularly keen to emphasise that tutoring is one-to-one, so that people can progress at their own pace.

Taster sessions will see volunteer experts teaching basic skills such as emailing and searching the internet.

Drop-in sessions will take place at:

  • The Citadel, 28 Castle Street, from 1100 to 1300 on Wednesday 25 April
  • Northfield Community Centre, Byron Square, from 1100 to 1300 on Thursday 26 April

These are open to everyone over 55. Especially welcome are those new to technology.

Further sessions will be held in Michie’s Coffee Shop from 1430 to 1600 on Monday 7 May and on the first Monday of each month thereafter.

Christine Dunhill remarked:

We run sessions throughout the year and are participating in Spring Online week as it’s a great way for people to see what they can achieve by connecting to the internet. Recently someone came to us after their daughter had moved abroad, having given them a computer that they couldn’t use.

“Our volunteers have shown them how to connect with their family with their computer using the internet and email and it’s opened up a whole new world for them! Our tutors are all really friendly and patient, so it’s a great place to learn to use technology, and it’s free!”

More information here:

Mar 222012

By Bob Smith.

The human race’s in the control
O buttons an technology
Young fowk canna git a jobbie
There’s bugger aa fer them ti dee

The button on the TV remote
His life become a farce?
Ti turn the TV on an aff
Nae need ti move yer arse

Buttons on the factory fleer
Mair robots on assembly line
The workforce eence in hunners
Micht noo be jist forty nine

Nae need fer sae mony bunk tellers
Fan siller ye wint ti withdraw
Jist touch a fyow wee buttons
O the machine in the hole in the wa

Press the PC start button
Info at eence ye’ll access
E’en pyein yer accoonts online
Is classed as total progress

The buttonie on a hairst combine
Leaves ae mannie noo in control
Fairm workers aa oot o wark
Nae langer oan the peyroll

A wee button ye maan punch
Afore crossin a richt busy street
The green mannie he tells ye
Faan ti stairt usin yer feet

The bricht radar screen on a trawler
Tells the skipper fan he’s near fish
Nae winner the stocks are fair drappin
It’s nae langer a hit or a miss

The purveyors o new technology
Tell us oor lives are noo gran
As lang as ye hit a wee button
Wi ae digit attached ti yer haun

Hid the Luddites the richt idea
Fin smashin up looms mechanised?
Maybe they saw inti the future
As jobs noo are fair prized

Thon mannie Albert Einstein said
In a batch o wirds fair minimal
“Technological progress is like an aix
In the haun’s o a pathological criminal”

A fyow rows o buttons I div like
Are eens on a gweed “squeeze- box”
Press its buttons aa ye like
Accordion music it fair rocks

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie”2012
Image credit:  © Phil Date | Dreamstime.com

Silver City Surfers – Opening Up A New World To Over 55s

 Aberdeen City, Articles, Charity, Community, Featured, Information  Comments Off on Silver City Surfers – Opening Up A New World To Over 55s
Feb 252011

By Suzanne Kelly.

Technology is evolving at an amazing pace; just think how many mobile phones you’ve had in the past 10 years; and how many different music players and ways to watch movies there are.

It’s daunting keeping up with these fast-paced technological developments, even for the children of the ‘Information Age’.

For the older person the idea of the World Wide Web, email, Skype, digital photographs and so on can seem out of their reach.

There are common misconceptions the computer newcomer may have – ‘it’s too complicated,’ ‘I know nothing about computers or computing,’ ‘I’m too old to learn,’ ‘why would it benefit me to be online,’ and so on.  The Internet can bring your shopping to your door, let you book tickets in advance, keep in touch with loved ones  – and once these benefits which you and I might take for granted are made clear to the first-time surfer, a whole world opens up.

Happily the Silver City Surfers are on hand to make it all accessible to those over 55 years old who want to get started.

Silver City Surfers is a registered charity that provides free one to one support for people over 55 years who have little or no experience of IT.  It currently operates from 10.00 to 13.00 hours every Wednesday and Friday in the Salvation Army Citadel.  They also run outreach services in Seaton and Torry, and more details can be found on their website, http://www.silvercitysurfers.co.uk/ .

I visited the Silver City Surfers at the Tullos Community Centre; Chris Dunhill, Coordinator, introduced me to some of the tutors and the surfers.  There were about a dozen people – some working alone, some chatting, some in training.  The training sessions are one-to-one, and after a few basics are mastered, the learner tells the tutor what they want to accomplish or learn:  the training is always delivered to the individual’s needs, and there are no forms or tests.

people are getting skills, knowledge, pleasure and socialising as a result of the Silver City Surfers

Betty was doing some creative graphics on her own; she has a mastery of Photoshop I would like to have myself.  I also spoke with Jim Thomson, who proudly detailed how he and his tutor had created impressive family tree using special software and online resources.

I spoke to Irene – a brand new Silver City Surfer – her story is quite a common one for the older computer ‘newbie’.  A relative had made her a gift of a computer, but she had no training and no real idea what to do – so she used it to play ‘Solitaire’ for nearly a year.  A friend told her about the SCS group, and she was extremely glad she came along. When I met her, she and her tutor were looking for broadband providers which would meet her budget and needs for her home computing.  She looked quite at home on her computer even though she was just getting started.

Other members were keeping in touch with relatives around the globe using email and Skype – one person explained how his daughter in California was his own personal ‘helpdesk’:  if he had a computer problem, he would contact her by Skype, and she would get remote access to his computer – either fixing the problem, or teaching him what to do.  Clearly these people are getting skills, knowledge, pleasure and socialising as a result of the Silver City Surfers.

Along with the advantages are potential pitfalls – security and safety online are crucial.  There are many sophisticated illegal schemes out there such as ‘phishing’ scams in which criminals pretend to be legitimate businesses (particularly banks), and email the unsuspecting victim, demanding passwords and personal information.

While the more experienced ‘surfer’ will be aware of such cons and know what to look for, the older person is apt to be more trusting.  By educating its clients, the Silver City Surfers give new users clear, concise help for staying safe on line.

Margaret Smith, Chairperson of the Silver City Surfers adds:

“…people are coming out to the Silver City Workshops and are enjoying themselves, then when they get back home they can use their new skills, and have a less isolated life.”

Margaret noted that more and more government/public services are contactable by email and use websites, so it is important that older people know how to do basic computer communications so they do not get left out

As I was leaving the Tullos Centre, a lady who was in her seventies remarked  she ‘…was only about 20 years old in her head.’  With an attitude like that and a computer, there is probably nothing she can’t achieve.  If you know someone who would benefit from learning about computers with other over 55s, the Silver City Surfers is the way forward.


Jan 072011

By Bob Smith.

I switched on my computer
Ae cauld December day
Fit I found on ma screen
Fair filled me wi dismay

“Yer affa low on disk space”
The bubble it me did tell
I sat an scratched ma heid
An some obscenities did yell

I tried ma best ti recover space
By deletin’ some o ma files
It didna mak muckle odds
I wis losin space in style

Gweed fowk gied me suggestions
An them I aa then used
By the time I wis feenished
I wis gettin’ mair confused

Doon an doon the GB’s wint
Till I wis near despair
I punched in iss, I punched in aat
An tuggit oot tufts o hair

The laptop it his nearly been
Fair chukkit in the bin
Bit fegs I’m an Aiberdonian
Throwin’ siller awa is a sin

So ma freens I’m noo affline
Cos I canna doonload at speed
The computer’s in for an MOT
So disk space can be freed

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2010