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3 Tips to stay safe online

Posted on by jordanhaines

Homeworking has become the new normal for many of us. With more and more of us working from home. I wanted to share three tips to help you be more secure when online.

Tip One: Use a Password Manager

I am sure you have heard this before. Create a strong password, Do not use the same password on many sites. The problem then becomes of having so many passwords that you can not remember which one is for which site.

To help people with this problem and to make thinking of new passwords easier. I always recommend using a password manager. Two of the most popular are 1Password or LastPass.

But why? Using a password manager keeps all your passwords in one place. You can access them on your computer or your phone. You do not even have to type in your password. It will enter the password for you if you have stored the password before.

Using a password manager will help you generate strong passwords. These passwords will have a mixture of numbers and symbols. This makes your passwords hard to crack.

Password managers tell you if your password has appeared on the open web from a data breach. It will alert you so you can change your password and update any affected website account.

All you have to do is remember your master password. This is the password you use to unlock the password manager.

The process of using a password manager is very simple and is worth the time adding all your accounts.

Tip Two: Stay Up to Date

Keeping your computer/phone/tablet is important. Bugs and security patches can be released if a bug is found.

To stop hackers or viruses from taking advantage of these old software bugs. Please keep your devices up to date.

Tip Three: Two Factor Authentication

This is the process of when you sign in to your account. A code will be sent to your phone. You then have to enter this code into the login form. This proves that it is you that is logging in to the website.

This is important because if you receive a code and you are not logging into the account. You know someone is trying their luck, so can investigate what is going on. This acts as a second line of defence to your account and data.

If someone has your password they still will not be able to login into your account. This is because they will not know the code which has been sent to you.

Please turn on two-factor authentication on all your accounts where possible.

These are my three little tips to staying a bit safer online. I hope you find them useful.

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2020 Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Geeks

Posted on by jordanhaines

2020 is here and it is that time of year again when I put a list together of gift ideas for the geek or geeks in your life.

This year has been a challenge, to say the least, but let’s hope we can all enjoy a Christmas break and see in the new year.

Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2

The Oculus Quest two by Facebook released in October. Is much improved from the previous version. What makes this VR headset compelling is that you do not need all the extra sensors to placed in your room. You also do not need a powerful PC to run it.

The Oculus Quest can run by itself if you want to or if you want to connect it to the PC you will need the extra link cable. If the geek in your life is thinking about trying with virtual reality this is a great product to buy them.

You can buy it on Amazon here

Logitech MX Master 3

MX Master 3

If the geek in your life works and plays on the computer. A mouse becomes a very important tool. The MX Master is a fantastic mouse. It allows you to customise the buttons to perform different functions. This will aid your workflow.

The mouse is also very ergonomic. This will prevent their hand from getting aches and pains in their hand from using the mouse so much.

You can buy it on Amazon here

iFixit Tech Toolkit

ifix tool kit

If the geek in your life does not have an iFixit kit already, Can they even call themselves a geek?. This tool kit has everything you need to fix all kinds of electronic devices. The geek in your life will not be disappointed.

You can buy it on Amazon here

PS5 / Xbox Series X

xbox Series X

The new gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony are here. After a long wait the geek in your life is sure to want one or even both. Go on get them both, they will love you even more!

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug 2

Smart Mug 2

Everything is becoming “Smart” nowadays, so it only makes sense that geeks have a smart mug. I know there have been many times where I have made a lovely warm cup of tea. Only to forget about it and then go to drink it and it is cold.

This little gadget solves this.

Buy from Amazon here

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How developers can help fight virus

Posted on by jordanhaines

Over the last few months, the world has been in lockdown due to COVID 19.

I have seen may other developers building cool things from website tracking infections. To resource website for parents to help with homeschooling.

I wanted to help in some way but with work being so busy I did not have the time.

I discovered Folding @ Home (https://foldingathome.org/). This is a great project in which all you do donate your spare computing power to process data. This will help them fight diseases, including COVID 19.

Folding @ Home is perfectly safe and you control how much of your CPU the programme uses and when it uses it.

All you have to do is go to the Folding @ Home website and download a little bit of software. Install it and you are good to go.

To make it fun, You can Join a team. You can try and beat other teams as you help researchers find cures of many different diseases.

I have now been folding since the lockdown began. It is my way of helping the scientists and data analysts researching cures.

I have been encouraging all developers and geeks to help out and to start folding. I would encourage you to go check out Folding @ Home.

Let’s beat these diseases.

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2019 Review

Posted on by jordanhaines

The year is nearly up and I guess it’s time for the annual year review blog post. This will be the first blog post from me in a very long time.

So let’s go back to the start of the year. Last Christmas I had to work over the holiday close down with my digital director as we had two major projects on. The project I was working on was a very big multi WordPress site for a very well paying client and I was the only developer on it. A Challenge I did not mind, but it did mean some late nights.

The other project started well but could only be described as a massive cluster fuck which saw us bin off a Freelancer that had been brought in because he kept going quiet on us. It also pushed a new developer at the time to the limit and made us realise that he probably was not as good as he had led us to believe.

That set the tone for the rest of the year in regards to work. I felt very static this year, I have had a few coding challenges this year, but it had to be said this year had been mainly sorting a lot of shit out and fixing stuff left by our now ex developer and fixing legacy systems from a time where the developers could just run free.

This year as also reinforce my belief that hiring freelancers is the worst idea going and I hate it, It grinds my gears now that we have to hire a freelancer, But hopefully 2020 I can get the changes I want. I know many people disagree with me on this, but I have yet to be convinced.

2019 was the year I started working with Leanne our new front-end developer, Someone near my age (Sorry Leanne) but also has my level of sarcasm. I found that I developed a brilliant working relationship with her and we seem to be on the same page, I look forward to working with her in 2020.

I am also hoping to find 1 or two more developers to bolster our little development team so we can rebuild from the developers that have moved on.

In my personal life, It’s been all go with the kids and helping my oldest learn how he should act in school. If I am honest this takes up most of the weekends with him and also teaching my youngest not to follow him.

We did manage to have a huge family holiday to Egypt this year, which I loved and would love to go back soon. It was my first holiday in over two years and the first plane trip for the kids, it was a very special moment.

2019 has been a very busy year, which has also meant the year has gone very quickly. I did not cross much off on my list this year. I guess I feel that this year was a bit static was because my career progressed very quickly in 2018. So this year was trying to prove myself and implement systems that I know work and also clean up the mess left over.

I am very much looking forward to 2020.

Happy new year folks.

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2018 Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Geeks

Posted on by jordanhaines

The time of good will and present buying has come around again so its time for my top 5 list of presents for the geeks in your life.

iRobot Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum Cleaner with Wi-Fi Connectivity, Works with Alexa

I robot Roomba

As geeks we do not have the time to get the vacuum cleaner out, We are far to busy programming or playing games.  The robot vacuum has improved over the year and although still not perfect it can do the job in the “Geek Den”, plus its controlled by Alexa. The massive downfall is it’s not a cheap gift at £529 from Amazon.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 76042 The SHIELD Helicarrier

Superheros Lego

There are not many geeks that are not a marvel fan. This SHIELD Helicarrier is gigantic and will make any Marvel fan feel proud to display in their home, it will also keep the geek in your life entertained for a few hours which the build process is happening.  Now again his is not cheap at £460 from Amazon, but think of the smile on your geeks face when they see this.

PlayStation Classic

Playstation Classic

The older geeks will remember the first Sony PlayStation,  With the huge success of the Nintendo Mini this is a must have for all the older geeks out there. It comes pre loaded with the classic playstation games so they can relive there child hood.  Its not expensive either at £89 from Amazon.

Logitech 5.1 Surround Sound Speaker System

Logitech Surround Sound

Perfect for the living room or geek den. This surround sound speaker system has great reviews for its sound quality at a very good price.  This one is certainly on my Christmas list from my living room, although my wife does not know it yet. This is available on Amazon for £197.

Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy

Back to the future movie

An all-time classic that will have a special place in the heart of any geek who loves science. This indelible futuristic science adventure is a geeky essential and will make a great addition to any movie collection, it available on Amazon for only £18.

Thats it from me,  I hope this gives you some ideas to help you buy for your geek.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy Christmas and hope you enjoy your time with your family.

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