Blog | Can Do Computers, Birmingham Thu, 18 Jul 2019 19:21:01 +0100 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb 3 Nifty Tricks to Using Webmail and Website-Based Emails webmail tricks can do computersThis is something that most small businesses unfortunately under utilise, whereas the larger ones do tend to get it straight away. That’s making the most of emails related to the business’ website URL, and the ability to access these online through webmail accounts.

So take this website, for example our main contact email of It's basically just the 'info' bit added to the website name with an ‘@’ sign in the middle, something we're all used to seeing of course but assuming it's only for the big-boy businesses to use.

Well the good news is that it is easier to use than you think, and many good computer or website companies should be able to advice you on this.

In short, there's 3 aspects to this to understand:

1. Set Them Up

Yep, that simple, and most website hosting services nowadays will easily have this ability. And not usually with any great cost, as it's only the creation and management of it that can take some time afterwards.

You therefore just have to work out what actual names you'd like, often taking two forms. The first is individual people's names, often the first name and surname with a dot in the middle and aimed to be personal of course to an individual.

The second is a more generic one like accounts@ or info@ which is more for a department or area of a business in question. The great thing here is that in realty they can be just sent to certain individuals or kept as a generic department mailbox, whatever suits best behind the scences.

2. Access Through Webmail

So when you have these set up, you can access these online through a particular website link. Although these can be a completely different one to your website, it's handy to set up a divert from your website so that people can easily get there, for example /Webmail straight after the main website name.

However you get there, just type in your email and password and voila, you're in. You should now see a usual email account with inbox, sent box, and whatever folders you want set up.

And to really put the icing on the cake, you can set up unique names on the account as an auto signature and 'from' display name for when people receive an email from you.

3. Divert to Your Own Email

Okay, things get really clever now by being able to divert one of these special emails straight to your own personal one, or any other for that matter.

So a fancy looking info@ email can be pinged straight to your own bog standard say gmail account, meaning that you immediately see every email that arrives without having to log in to the Webmail account every time. Great for small businesses where you can easily see on say your mobile phone on the move.

However one down side is that when you reply to any such emails it will comes straight from your personal email which won't look so great and may cause privacy issues, but hey you can always log back into the Webmail account to send these if you wish.

Making the Most of Website Emails

So make the most of your website name and get some great looking emails that look professional on adverts rather than your own personal one.

After you've chosen the right names, get these set-up with your hosting provider and start wheels in motion. You then just need to get the right balance between Webmail use and private-email use of these.

Blog Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:28:38 +0100
Don't Panic - 5 Tips to Quickly Deal With Computer Repairs computer repairs top tipsAs part of our computer repair services in the Birmingham and West Midlands region, we deal with a whole range of issues, right from emergency reactive call outs, to more planned and proactive repairs and upgrades. Unfortunately it's only when it finally packs in that you appreciate how useful your computer is, whether a laptop or table to, desktop and PC, or Mac.
Before the panic sets in though as you realise the potential cost and hassle or arranging your computer to now be repaired, here are a few pointers to help get things in perspective and make sure the best solution is actioned for you as soon as possible.

1. Check if You're Powered Up 

So see if you can actually crank up the computer and get it going, that it's not in sleep or other mode, and that you at least have power and a visible screen to play with.
If to then you might be in luck with an easy-fix like a new power lead or battery, or new socket ad connection point.

2. Don't End Up Panicking if the Computer’s Too Slow 

In today's fast and furious world it's all too easy to get flustered when the machine, it’s not just slowed down and it appears to be having a bad hair day. Often this happens over time and it's therefore easy to spot, but if not and it suddenly does then all is not lost. 
It may take a simple re-boot or possibly re-load of software and operating system to get it as right as rain again.

3. Kill Any Viruses 

Just as you would with a common cold, you can take action to resolve any viruses and nasty things like trojans you have on your computer, whether suddenly out of the blue or from an unknown email being mistakenly opened. 
There's way to quickly track things down and resolve, as well as learn from mistakes and load spyware and antivirus software to prevent things like this happening again.

4. Dissect the Computer

So just like a surgeon taking an operation, you may need to see literally see which part of the computer is playing up and then carry out some TLC surgery and maybe even ‘operation’ to then resolve. 
It might be a simple new mouse or keyboard, or possibly a new and better quality screen, or failing this you might need to go 'under the hood' for technical bits like the motherboard and circuits

5. Get Connected Remotely

So with the help of the internet you can soon get a connection to other people based away from your computer in order to get connected and immediately begin resolving issues. It may look strange with your computer user suddenly moving around the curser on its own, but with a trusted operator behind the wheels, once they get a connection you're well on your way to victory.
Therefore if you're suddenly needing a computer repair, don't panic. Even the best computers can have issues, and with the right and quickest solution to diagnose the problem you can be soon find the solution to resolve.
Blog Sat, 06 May 2017 22:03:15 +0100
Why Upgrading Your Network is a Good Idea computer network can do computersYour network is an important aspect of your business. In some cases it may even be absolutely essential and if it “went down” your work would grind to a halt. Perhaps you have an existing network that has served you well over the years. How much thought do you ever give to upgrading it? Maybe not a lot. Or maybe you’re just looking into now, which is why you’re reading this article. 
There are several reasons you could be looking at a network upgrade. Here we will take a look at some of the reasons and the most effective tips you should put into practice to keep any threats to your network at bay. 

1. Performance

The most effective way to improve the performance of your network is by kitting it out with some updated architecture. Treat your network to a 100 Megabit switch, or a Gigabit Ethernet switch with Layer 3 and Virtual Local Area Network capability, and you’ll see how the transfer speed of your network will increase. Especially if your business uses some of the more advanced technologies that place greater demand upon the network capability. 
With the emphasis, these days, on latency and switching performance, networks are no longer as plug-and-play friendly as they once were. You need to pay attention to the switches and having a core network that can offer the necessary support items layered on the IP network. 

2. Reliability

As mentioned earlier in the article, if you think you cannot do without having your network available at all working hours and that your work would come to a stop at the slightest network outage you need to think about reliability. 
How reliable is your network at the moment? Perhaps it is fine right now but with changes in software and the increase in demands being made upon the network since you initially set it up can you rest easy without giving it a tune-up?
Make sure you have a router from a reputable and reliable manufacturer. The more advanced the router is, the more control you can have over it and tailor it to meet your exact needs. Whatever your business is, your clients deserve a top-class service. So make sure you work with a top-class network. Going for low-grade equipment may only cause problems later on. 

3. Security

Security cannot be mentioned enough when talking about your computer equipment  and I.T. networks. We know that you’re constantly being advised to change passwords etc. but it really is an important issue. So bear with us and take the following on board. 
Your Firewall is an essential component for your network and therefore it is essential to your business. With all the data you use being transferred through the same filter you need to make sure you have a dedicated Firewall that can protect your network from unwanted elements. 
Most network devices will come with their own firewall and router but it is always a good idea to have your own purpose-built firewall that works as a separate device and concentrates on its sole task: filtering the data traffic and removing any threats. 
Blog Sun, 09 Apr 2017 16:20:40 +0100
How To Plan Your Network computer network can do computersSetting up a business - no matter how small - is undeniably hard work.  Making decisions about infrastructure and equipment is part of the initial planning stages of any business so it is important to get it right from the outset. 
In this article we’ll be focussing on setting up the best network for your business and helping you to determine what information you will need to make the decision that is right for the type of work that you do. 
Your Local Area Network (LAN) or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is vital to how your business will work if you intend to use the internet or share files amongst your colleagues in your network.  Your colleagues will be using your network to send one another important documents and files and they will share software. Your network will work as your business hub, allowing users to print from anywhere and collaborate on projects, so it is essential that you get the job done right. 

Know Your Business 

It is important that you know what you need for your business and the best way to get that information is by paring things down to the basics, the bare bones of what you do. Start by asking yourself the following 8 questions. 
1. Who will be administering the network?
2. Will you be using mobile devices as well as computers on the network?
3. What types of computers or devices be used on the network?
4. How many computers or devices will be part of the network?
5. Will you be adding further computers or devices to the network?
6. What type of connection will you need to use? Wired, wireless, or both?
7. What type of documents and files will you need to share across the network?
8. If you’re working with large files you might need to think about higher capacity bandwidth. How much will you need?

Know your Router 

These days most routers on the market will offer wireless (Wi-Fi) and wired functionality so this shouldn’t be an issue. If you need the full bandwidth capacity of your network you should pay serious thought to keeping it a physical Ethernet connection (wired). Good old-fashioned Ethernet will allow you the fastest file transfer speeds which will be a good thing if you need to share large files such as video or audio.

Know Your Security Options

Security will be very important for your network - especially if it will be connected to the internet. With the number of Cyberattacks on the rise this is not an issue that you can ignore. 
You need to guard your network against the following Enemies:
Luckily you can rely on the following Friends to help keep your network safe:
An active Firewall for your router. For a Wi-Fi network be sure to choose either WPA or WPA2.
Be sure to store your router in a place that is safe from prying eyes.
If accessing the network from outside be sure to enable VPN on the computer or device you are using.
If a visitor to your establishment will be using your connection be sure to set up them up as a “guest” with limited access to your files and settings. 
Keep responsibility settings, such as authorisations, available to a limited number of persons. 
Always make sure any security and antivirus software is kept up to date. 
This may sound basic but that doesn’t make it any less true: always use complex passwords to set up data-encryption for your network. 
Blog Sat, 01 Apr 2017 17:21:08 +0100
Desktop, Tablet, or Laptop? laptop desktop can do computersIn this article we’re going to be giving you the best advice we can on what you should be looking at in order to select the best I.T. equipment and infrastructure for your business. 
One of the first things you need to do is take a good look at your daily business activities. What is it exactly that your business does? Maybe you’re the CEO of your business. Do your day to day activities require different equipment from others working for your company? These are all important questions that you need to address way before you start paying out for costly I.T. equipment that might be totally unsuitable for your work. For example, maybe the only software is for your accounting business. In that case it would be pointless to end up paying for graphics editing software because someone suggested you get business cards. 
Once you’ve analysed the situation and come to some conclusions about what you need in terms of I.T. equipment you can begin looking a little closer your options. 

The Desktop Option

If most of your work will take place at the same location you might want to look into desktop computers for you and your staff. With all the various tablets and phablets currently being the hip options you might think of it as going backwards, especially if you’re setting up your new business from the ground up. But there’s a lot to be said for going the desktop route. 
If you’re looking at running graphics hungry software a desktop computer would be your ideal option. With a significantly larger hard drive capacity, more RAM, and greater ability to handle sophisticated graphics, a good old-fashioned desktop computer will be your friend if you are running video or music editing software or 3D graphic design. 
If you need upgrading along the way the desktop will also allow you greater ability to add memory or change elements. 

The Laptop Option

If you need a little more portability but you still like a full, physical keyboard you should go for the laptop. You won’t be able to upgrade it as much as a desktop if you run out of memory or need beefier graphics. However, as far as connectivity goes the laptop option will provide you with everything that you already have on your desktop. USB ports for your flash drives and to connect to printers, HDMI to connect to monitors and TV screens, ethernet for high speed data transfer, amongst others. 
While tablets are all the rage it is difficult for a lot of people to see them as viable replacements for their trusty laptops. 

The Tablet Option

This should be your choice if you don’t need power and graphics hungry apps, or are happy to use stripped down versions of your desktop or laptop software, and need the freedom to work on-the-go. Tablets certainly are the fashionable choice and they do allow you to work and play in ways that a laptop doesn’t, however they are not always the most practical solution. For those who need all the physical ports that they enjoy on a laptop a tablet may not be the ideal option. An adaptor can help to solve some connection problems and a physical keyboard can usually be connected to a tablet if you don’t like the idea of typing on a screen. 
While tablets are very versatile they may not be the best option if you it to run more powerful software and might not be the best choice for your company.
Blog Sat, 25 Mar 2017 13:24:36 +0000
The Limitations of Facebook in the Real World facebook can do computersI thought we would share with you a couple of things that happened that made us question the power and real-life value of Facebook. 
First of all we came across an article that surprised us a little.  The article said that youngsters are using Facebook less than they have in the past. Like many people we thought that this social media platform and living online were set to take over the world.  I believed that the site was becoming more popular than ever.  Of course the article may have been the result of some research or a survey, but it caught my attention.
It makes you think that maybe Facebook has reached its saturation point and youngsters are finding new ways of socialising.  Let’s hope that it is offline instead of another social media site.  
Secondly, we knew someone who was chair for a residents meeting on a housing estate.  Formal letters had been sent out to residents and they expected around 20 people to attend the meeting.   I decided to use the residents group Facebook page and braved a status update declaring details of the meeting, I waited for any backlash that may have come my way.
The day before the meeting I had a call from one of the residents stating that news of the meeting had spread to other resident groups on Facebook 
I turned up at the meeting to find the person who was managing the location had heard on Facebook that 150 people would be stomping down to the meeting with all kinds of gripes. Yikes!
We ended up with 6 people in attendance and each pair came from the same household, so there were only 3 households represented at the meeting. 
Our conclusion for Facebook was that it had created a false world.  It was interesting to see how people had vented their concerns on Facebook, but did not take part in any offline action.
For me, it re-iterates the limitations and dangers of Facebook and other social media platforms.  They can spiral off and have little relevance to the issues at hand.
We know that social media platforms are a good way for communicating quickly and efficiently, they allow people to speak freely.  However, there is a downside to this, a false world can be created with expectation, so much so that the momentum can apply a far greater force that in can in reality.  It could be that the youngsters of today and instinctively sensing this. 
I guess the answer might be to realise the limitations and manage them correctly.
Blog Sat, 18 Mar 2017 20:21:24 +0000
Yorkshire Bank Survey Reveals SME Attitudes Towards Growth economic growth can do computersThe Yorkshire Bank has released the results of a survey that was carried out in the West Midlands. The survey showed the attitude of SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprise) towards business development and growth. SMEs are important to the economy and it was interesting to see what their plans are for development and growth.

The majority of business will accept any work that is handed to them on a plate. However, there are businesses that may refuse the work , due to the work not being part of their industry, they cannot manage the work effectively or perhaps the terms of payment are not quite right. These businesses that show integrity and they won’t accept work to do for the sake of being paid.

It gets more interesting when work is gained. Some businesses will take on the work and actively work hard to complete the job in hand. Their energy will be spent on marketing, advertising and development. They will do their utmost to get more work and ultimately put profits on the books and in the bank.
Other businesses will do no advertising, seek no work and do nothing for growth and development.

There could be many reasons for this, such as, they are happy with the work they are doing and leave it up to word of mouth to provide a slow trickle of new business, they may not want the hassle that arrives with new business, or they don’t want to waste money on advertising that doesn’t work.

This shows the different views on development and growth. Now let’s take a look at some of the stats from the Yorkshire Bank survey. They make an interesting observation about SMEs in the West Midlands.

1. Over a fifth of SMEs in the West Midlands do not want growth

It is amazing how many businesses don’t want growth, they just get on with things the way they are. They may have the luxury of not having to worry about growth or it may be that they just don’t want it. Some small family businesses are a prime example of this.

2. Two thirds of SMEs think that professional advice is important hand therefore they establish yearly at least

It is interesting to know that nearly half of these SMEs are professional businesses such as lawyers and accountants. They would want to make sure that their business was running correct and legal.

It is also interesting that when it comes to gaining new business, owners will seek advice for maintaining what they have rather than being pro-active in marketing to get new business. Sometimes this is the right approach to ensure your business is running effectively. On the other hand, depending on circumstances, a business may think about what they don’t yet have and how they can gain those things.

3. 93% of Businesses are looking to actively invest for the future

This suggests that there is a clear intention of expecting great results in the future. But, with only a fifth of businesses wanting to seek work for growth this might show that the intention of the majority is to keep what they have rather than expand.

4. Existing Support

Around 50% of businesses thought that there was enough support from the public and private sector and help support. I thought this was high, as you presume that businesses do not think that there is support around them and there is little hope of help. In fact, they do know and it might be a case of not knowing how to seek out the right advice and apply it to their business situation effectively.

In reality, we believe that most businesses want to grow, in any capacity, and there is help out there; it’s applying that help that causes nightmares.
The answer is to get advice that suits your business, good solid advice that makes sense for your business and is easy to understand.

Blog Thu, 09 Mar 2017 21:51:16 +0000
Lessons from a Christmas Card Ritual christmas card cando computersWe read an interesting article on the BBC news website about ten common dilemmas for sending Christmas cards at that time of year.  The article raises interesting points about this annual custom, including buying in bulk, sending duplicate cards to people who are bound to see them and sending a round robin letter that includes an update on how life is going.  
The informative article also talks about the cost of sending Christmas cards.  The cost of postage has risen from £1.52 in 2011 to £1.62 in 2012.  According to the article the sending and writing of Christmas cards has become outdated.
The Greeting  Card Association says that £15 million is made for charities solely on the sale of Christmas Cards. 
This large and prosperous market will attract private or business enterprise  onto the bandwagon at that time of year.
Having personal address and access to the virtual mail service can produce a dilemma.  Will an electronic greeting card delivered by email suffice?  On the other hand, will sending the customary Christmas card through the offline postal service be the card that is expected?   Or both?
It is also customary to give a Christmas card with a present.  Receiving a gift without a card just doesn’t seem right somehow.  Another dilemma appears.
Do we add a handwritten card or just the card with its own Christmas message, which is usually a standard greeting?
Finally, there is the issue of recycling.  The Greeting Card Association assures us that 90% of Christmas cards are made from sustainably farmed trees.
However, what about the other 10% and how do we recycle them.  Over 952 million non-multi pack single Christmas cards were sold in 2012. That’s many cards to be recycled. 
The article had us thinking about contacting family, friends and businesses, not just at Christmas time but also throughout the year.  Here are some pointers we produced.
1. Collecting contact information is a simple task and should be done regularly when an opportunity arises.   The information should be  an address including the correct postal code, a telephone number, mobile number, email address and website address.  These details can easily be added into a data base for future reference.
2. Using a combination of email and the postal service gives you the best of both worlds.  Cards can be sent out with a website address where information can be found: perhaps a video message or written text message for example.  Email can be used for sending information via text or a video or audio message.  
3. Adding that personal touch to your communications is a great way to give a little special something.  Hand written messages, gifts or auto -response will mean a lot more with that special added touch. 
4. Regular Newsletters are a good way of informing people about the events and activities of a business or personal life.  The modern Newsletter would include a video link and images along with useful information to benefit the reader.   
Blog Wed, 01 Mar 2017 21:45:00 +0000
Free Google Business Page for Local Business google business can do computersGoogle Places for Local Business was first launched in 2009 and it replaced the Google Local Business Centre, although now all now under Google Business. The idea for Google Places was to have a place (website) for every business in the world that would hold relevant information. Many businesses are still unaware that this free service exists.

Google Places for Local Business is a free service offering an online presence for businesses worldwide. It can link with a Google+ account that is a form of social networking; this in turn increases the visibility of the business site on the internet.

Google has collected details of business worldwide and they are listed. Your business may already be on that list, but if it isn’t you can always set up your own Google Places for Local Business website. It isn’t difficult and it doesn’t matter if you already have websites on the internet. All you need is a Google+ account.

It is possible to check and see if Google Places has already given your business a free website by doing a Google search. For example, try typing in ‘Restaurants in London just as I have typed it. When the list of restaurants appears, you will see the descriptions of them. If you see Google+ page or Google Review under the description then that means there is a Google page for that particular hairdressing business.

If you click on the Google + or Google review under the description of the restauarnts you will see information about them, this will include contact details, a map, and if there are photos you will see them too. It is worth noting that Google Places usually come to the top of the search list.
You will need a Google account before claiming your free Google Places website.

Here are five important steps you have to take to claim your free website on Google Business.

1. Search For and Existing Listing

Do a search on your business as described above and don’t forget to add ‘ ‘ to the beginning and end of your company name. If you find your free Google Places page click to open it. You will see details about your company. At the bottom right you will see text asking ‘is this your business’, if it is you can click on the manage this page.

Follow the details given by Google Places. You will need to verify your business, this can be done over the phone or Google will send a postcard to your address with a pin number on it. This part is essential so that your business can be verified as belonging to you.

2. Can’t Find Your Company on the Google List

If your company does not appear on the Google listing then you will need to create your free Google Space. Go to and follow the same procedure as step 1.

3. Once You Have Claimed Your Google Places Page

It’s time to create your business profile, this is an important part of your webpage, and it lets people know about you and your business. You can also add text, pictures and perhaps a video.

4. Keeping an Eye on your Google Places Page

Google provides a section on your Google page to show you how your free website is performing. A behind the scenes view of your website.

5. Regular Updates

It is important to keep your website updated and fresh. Adding new images, special offers and new text information can help keep visitors up to date with your business. If a website is not updated regular visitors won’t bother to look again.

Blog Sat, 25 Feb 2017 14:10:29 +0000
Twelve and a half Essential Factors for Website Design 12 half website design factors can do computersIn my experience, designing a website for a local business is different to other general websites. The basic design is the same but there will be unique changes and extras to enable the website to function properly for the particular business.

Whether you are tackling a website yourself or employing a website designer a tick list is essential to ensure that nothing is forgotten.

We have therefore created a list of twelve and a half essential factors for local businesses website design.

1. The Purpose

The purpose of your website needs to be clarified before starting any work on the design. This is important so that your website can work efficiently for your business. For example, you may want an impressive website with information about your products and services and details of your business. Will it be a website to encourage web-browsing users to pop in for something. On the other hand, will it be a website to encourage long-term and existing customers?

2. Your Website Name

The name of your business may look great in say a high street address but you may have to think about the internet address for your business. Using a genetic URL will help people locate your website easier when they search the internet. For example if your restaurant is called Food in Birmingham, you might consider a web address such as or .

3. Hosting

Hosting a website used to be an expensive experience, but nowadays the prices have become more affordable. Care is required when selecting a hosting company; you need to ensure that they provide the services you require.

4. The Main Software Ingredient

Building a website used to be a complicated procedure. A knowledge of code and using a bespoke software was necessary. However, nowadays it is much easier. The use of templates and CSS-based systems are popular and easy to use. Beware of some online web site builders, as they can be restrictive for the original design and ongoing use.

5. Colour & Design

The colour and design of your website should match the logo and design of your business. It is important to keep the website design and logo as plain and simple as possible. Let your images and text impress your visitors.

6. Pictures & Images

They say that a picture paints a thousand words and this is very true when the phrase is used in context with the internet. Real-life images of products and services, happy customers and the interior of your business will speak volumes to users who visit the website.

7. Writing & Copy

Good copy plays an important part in selling your business services to website users. Well-written text that is short and to the point can help to show off the very best of your business. The layout of the website can be adapted to include snippets of information, quotes and headings.

8. Testimonials

Having a customer testimonials displayed on your website is essential in helping to gain new customers. It’s very much like an online word-of-mouth system and new users to your website may decide to come and sample your services after reading a good testimonial. Testimonials can be shown as a short quote or full paragraph. A picture and name will help to authenticate the testimony.

9. Menu & Services

Giving website user’s access to your menu and services is a good way of showing what your business has to offer. A quick download PDF file one way that a potential customer can view your details at their leisure.

10. Regular Updates

Keeping your website fresh with new content will help to keep website users interested in your business.

11. Customer Interaction

Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are being used by most businesses to interact with their customers. Customers can leave reviews, or post pictures on these sites. A link to your website on your profile or a link as part of your daily posts is an ideal way to help promote your business.

12. Video

Promotional videos are fast becoming the trend nowadays. A personal message or a special promotion from the business owner will enhance the website for its users.

Twelve & a half -The Stats

The code for stats can be easily added to your website. Using this information allows you to see what the statistics of your website are.

Blog Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:05:45 +0000