The Dangers Of “We Will Fix It” Software

Have you seen this type of message? It’s really an advert designed to snare you using alarmist warning messages. It can appear in a webpage you’re viewing or even as a pop up, pretending to be a system message.

The inference is that your computer will suffer some unknown consequences if you don’t ensure all of your ‘drivers’ are up to date, but what is a driver?

Drivers are programs designed to connect the core of your PC to internal and external devices, including your printer, mouse, keyboard, webcam, monitor (video card) etc. They rarely need updating and important updates should be delivered by the Windows Update mechanism. Continue reading

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Banging head againgst wall

I receive a fair bit of spam but for the most part it’s advertising related. Every few days something arrives that could be quite nasty for the unwary recipient. Continue reading

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Photos of Harwich Festival of the Arts

Harwich Festival of the Arts 2014

All the photos below are © Paul Turvey and are not to be used without permission.

Continue reading

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Princess Anne in Harwich

IMG_4516My photos for Princess Anne’s visit to Harwich are on Demotix

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Redundant PC? Recycle it!

Recycle Symbol (Colorful on White Background Version 1)Some laptops or desktop computers seem to be destined for the household recycling centre when perhaps they are still usable?

What decisions lead to an ‘End of Life’ determination for computers? The most common answer is that a newer model has been bought, making the existing pc redundant. Of course, it’s probably running slow or doesn’t have enough memory or good enough graphics for whatever software is running.

There’s the added issue at the moment in that Microsoft Windows XP® is itself End of Life (EoL) and will not receive any vital security updates in the future. Often the choice between paying for a Windows 7 or 8 installation DVD (assuming the PC is adequate) is little less than the cost of a new Windows 8 laptop.

Whatever the reasoning, that means there’s a redundant PC that needn’t be thrown away. Always consider recycling.

Firstly, there are schemes to help donate unwanted equipment to charities. As ever, exercise caution here and ensure that the hard-disc is wiped of all personal data (once you’ve copied it). If necessary seek professional advice.

Secondly, is there someone in your family who needs a PC?

Ah, but it’s no good giving a useless PC to someone? Is it?

There are free alternatives to Microsoft Windows that will run quite happily on an old laptop or desktop, giving you the standard suite of programs for browsing, email, graphics, multimedia and office programs. Having ‘only’ 1Gb of memory and a tiny hard-drive is not necessarily a handicap.

I’m currently working on a 2001 vintage Compaq laptop that used to have Windows 98 (!) on it. The hard-drive is a tiny 15Gb and there’s no wifi built in. There’s a CD player but no DVD player. The wifi issue is handled using a tiny USB dongle and I’m installing a flavour of Linux that will give it all the afore-mentioned software plus a Windows-like desktop.

The lack of a DVD is similarly handled (if you need a DVD player) using an external drive.

This is the type of laptop, rugged in construction, that could be left safely with young children or anyone who’s sole aim is to browse the web. It can do plenty more, of course.

One ongoing issue with older laptops is that the battery is usually pretty bad, so it’s primary use would require a mains supply.

If you have a redundant PC and would like some advice, please contact me.


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Updated: Harwich street lighting

IMG_4263bUpdate 17th June 2014:

I have today received a reply from MP Bernard Jenkin’s constituency assistant:




Dear Mr Turvey

Thank you for your email regarding the switching off of the lights in Essex by the County Council. I can confirm Mr Jenkin has written to both the Chief Constable and the Chief Fire Officer asking that they provide him with statistics on crime and incident figures since the lights were switched off, as well as their own views on the impact this has had on Harwich. Once Mr Jenkin receives responses to his request he will be contacting everyone directly who has contacted him about this issue.

Kind regards


Thomas Fairweather Constituency Assistant to Bernard Jenkin MP House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA


My original email (dated 9th June 2014) to Harwich MP Bernard Jenkin:


Mr Jenkin,

I am concerned about the recent decision by Essex County Council to switch off most street lighting between midnight and 5am. I understand that this decision was taken without appropriate consultation with disability groups or the wider community.

Regardless of how the decision was taken, the result for Harwich is a recorded increase in crime, a reluctance for honest residents to be out late, particularly at weekends, and major discourse. I was at a protest on Friday night at the top of Dovercourt’s High Street next to Brooklyn Road, the scene of vehicle fires a few weeks ago. We have had the farce whereby the street lighting next to Tendring DC CCTV cameras has been off, rendering the cameras useless. A haven for criminals? The crime stats certainly concur in April and I will be looking at the May stats with interest. The nett effect of the cost-saving exercise by Essex CC would be higher insurance premiums for your constituents.

Would you please review the crime stats, speak to Tendring about their concerns and lobby Essex CC to review their decision?

Yours sincerely

Paul Turvey

Feel free to copy this email text. His parliamentary secretary’s email is (Cathy Perry)


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gold_coins_in_a_stack_jo_01BBC News today reports of a computer virus (malware) that retrieves financial & personal information before encrypting your files and demanding a ransom, via Bitcoins, for the unlocking key.


The malware is named “Gameover Zeus” and is currently under investigation by the FBI, UK National Crime Agency and others, who have jointly issued an alert. It’s believed that all the servers used to control and distribute the malware are under control of the relevant authorities but this cannot be guaranteed.

Have I been infected?

If you’ve received a ransom demand, then most likely yes. It is, however, possible that rogue/fake ransoms may appear on websites or in emails.

I would however recommend that you update your anti-virus software to the latest version. Then run a FULL SCAN. This might occupy your PC for a few hours but that is better than any alternative.

Prevention is better than a cure

Keep your anti-virus software up to date, as well as the following:

  • Java
  • Flash/Shockwave Player
  • Internet Explorer/Firefox/Chrome/other browser
  • All Windows updates

These are regularly updated to repair vulnerabilities that could otherwise allow malware to infect your PC.

Run a backup of your documents/photos/music/videos on a weekly (preferably) or monthly basis and don’t leave the backup device (memory stick/external drive) plugged into the PC unless needed.

How many use the PC? Do they all need Administrator access? Admin access allows users to install programs (or websites to install programs using that user’s authority). No Admin access reduces the risk of malware being installed by removing that permission.

These measures will reduce the risk considerably, but not remove it completely. For that, disconnect the PC from the internet and leave it in a room with no human access.

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Favourite photo of the week – so far

I took this pic earlier today and loved it immediately.

Harwich Beach on a misty day

Harwich Beach on a misty day

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