Heading into the busy Christmas Period with Jesse Mulligan at RNZ

Heading into the busy Christmas Period with Jesse Mulligan at RNZ
Another Tech Tip Tuesday with Jesse Mulligan at RNZ. 

Jesse Mulligan: RNZ National, it's time for tech Tuesday. I'm joined by Daniel Watson from Vertech IT services. Hey there, Daniel.

Daniel Watson: Good afternoon, Jesse.

Jesse Mulligan: Every time you're on, we get emails as soon as you're gone. And so, I've collected a few of them here and I want to put them to you. This is people wanting your tech advice. So, actually get this one reasonably often so I'm keen to get your thoughts on it. Someone asks, "Is it worth upgrading the standard wifi router that was provided by my internet provider? Would buying one from a store give me faster speeds and a stronger signal?"

Daniel Watson: Yes, generally it will be because obviously if you're an ISP, you've got a pump out a lot of those devices and you're including in your plants, you're going to go for what's cheap. If you've got a house that's two stories or is spread out, then you're really going to benefit by going out there and getting some specific advice for what's going to be appropriate for your environment.

Daniel Watson: I know that even with, if you're in an apartment, sometimes that can be quite a noisy wireless environment, in terms that everybody around you is going to have their own wifi router blasting away and there's only a limited number of channels that don't overlap. So, sometimes you just need to get a gruntier one to pump out the signal strong enough for your devices to hear it and ignore everything else.

Jesse Mulligan: Huh. That's really interesting. What sort of money would you spend on a decent router?

Daniel Watson: Be prepared to drop, say, 300? Yeah.

Jesse Mulligan: But then you're sorted and you'll...

Daniel Watson: More if you've got multiple rooms, right?

Jesse Mulligan: Yeah. Multiple rooms. And there are more and more devices that are going to connect, right? You probably just think about your laptop, but then there are all sorts of other things that you probably don't even think about that might be using your wifi, from the TV to everyone's phones in the house, to whatever other devices that you've got going on, right?

Daniel Watson: That's right. And also, the building that you're in or the house you're in, it depends on the building material type, because certain things are more absorbent of the wifi radio signal than other things. I did a wireless fit out quite some time ago for a big place out the back of Riverhead. And we needed to put 21 access points in that house, and essentially one per room, because the walls of every were this foamed concrete called Hebel block, right, which just soaked up thew wireless signal. As soon as you left the room, you had to switch to a different access point. So, that's another thing to consider.

Jesse Mulligan: Okay, a lot of these emails look like they could have come from me, the things I think about and never act on like this one. "Can I delete the largest files in Google Photos so that I don't have to pay for so much storage?" In the beginning, Gmail was great, Daniel. It was just like, wow, it's free. I can save all my emails forever. And then they started stinging you with little storage things. And then suddenly, actually you're using quite a bit of storage. I've got a monthly fee. Is there a good... And I'm sure this applies to other Cloud services as well, a good way of going and cleaning out some of the stuff that you don't need anymore?

Daniel Watson: Say with the Google Drive, if you install the app on your computer, it by default will default to streaming mode, which means it's not going to download all those files onto your computer, so you don't have to worry about disk storage on your local machine, but it does make it easier to open up Explorer and then list by size, all right. And then you can see, right, okay, what are my largest files? Is that a kid's birthday party that I want to keep, or is that just some drunken night out recording that I quite am ashamed of and I'll purge away immediately? That's probably the easiest way to deal with those kind of things if you're... [crosstalk 00:03:41]

Jesse Mulligan: I missed the first piece of advice there, Daniel. Sorry. What was the first thing that you do?

Daniel Watson: Oh, so in your browser, if you're viewing your Google Drive or your browser, you can go up to the top and select Google Drive and then under there you can click on the option to and get back up and sync for windows. It's under the cog icon, right, and then that'll install an application on your local computer which will make it nice and easy for you to view those files and delete them. You can actually do it straight from the browser as well, but depends on what you find is easiest to shift and shuffle them.

Jesse Mulligan: Okay, thank you. That's quite easy to find actually, if anyone wants to have a go at that. Here's a question. "It's a bit of a reach for some folks, but if you're in danger of hanging amongst a tough crowd, if you use bio authentication like face scan or fingerprints as a lock, someone can use them even if you're unconscious or indisposed by scanning your face or using your fingerprint with your own phone. I am an over-worrier at times and worry that at some point over the long term, if someone gets an electronic copy of my face or fingerprints and it becomes clone-able, it's not something that I'll be able to change like you could a password. It's still safe right now, but it might be a good question for Daniel at some point, and I don't know what the answer is."

Daniel Watson: Yeah, okay. So, this is a fiddly one. Right now, there have been well publicized incidences where fingerprints have been cloned, right? I think some chap in India did 500 counts of theft using that method, right? Because it doesn't actually take... You've probably seen TV shows like Criminal Minds and that kind of stuff where they're showing people scamming their way past that. I mean, at the end of the day, if you're hanging for a tough crowd, I mean, they might just chop off your finger. You might want to rethink the crowd you're running in.

Jesse Mulligan: Thank you for that reassuring advice, Daniel. But yes, I get your point. It might be the least of your problems.

Daniel Watson: Exactly. Multifactor authentication is useful in that respect. So, there are settings and security policies in most systems where you can state things like if the device is being rebooted, you have to put on the password first before it'll accept your bio-authentication, like your face scan or fingerprints, right. Which, just helps in reduce the risk somewhat. I'd go towards that.

Daniel Watson: And from a business perspective, there are additional policies where you can do conditional access, where if they're trying to log in from an unusual place for you, then it can flag that up and block the login, even if it is absolutely 100% correct. Or least it will prompt for your original password so that it's not just a straight in.

Jesse Mulligan: Before we go, Daniel, and thank you for your help for all those listeners, by the way, Christmas is coming. I know that you're a bit of a late organizer, as I am, but for everybody else who's starting to think about the 25th of December, if they're thinking about techy presents, any advice, any general advice, and how are we looking for stocks as Christmas approaches?

Daniel Watson: Most people have probably already noticed that when they've been trying to order stuff, it's fairly variable as to when things turn up. If it's already in the country, it's sitting with the vendor, great, you're going to be fine. But if it's showing zero stock or you're actually being redirected to an Australian website, it might take two or three weeks to arrive, and it's going to get worse as the volume of demand increases in this next month.

Daniel Watson: And on top of that, we're still dealing with the fallout from the pandemic in terms of, there is just not the volume of containers getting across the seas. I've got logistics clients who are quite stressed about it. And therefore, the importers and exporters are all fairly stressed because whereas before they might been able to get a load of get an allocation of 40 containers for an import schedule, they're only getting allocated four, and then some hard decisions have to be made.

Daniel Watson: So it'll be less lines to choose from and there'll be less immediately available. So, if you haven't done that shopping now, then my recommendation is you start browsing YouTube videos on arts and crafts and figure out how to make something personal out of what you can find at the bottom of the kitchen draw.

Jesse Mulligan: It's not an iPad, but it's my version of an iPad, made out of hessian and wool.

Daniel Watson: Pipe cleaners, yeah. I mean, those are always hanging around. Who has pipes these days?

Jesse Mulligan: Good for you. Thanks for the info. Great to have you on, Daniel, and we'll catch you in a couple weeks for the next Tech Tuesday.

Daniel Watson: Great stuffs.

Jesse Mulligan: That's Daniel Watson from Vertech IT Services, and if you've got a question for him, you can send it via me, Jesse@RNZ.co.nz.

Get in touch with us at daniel@vertech.co.nz or call him on 021 2798019