North East Blog Directory

November 24, 2015

Community IT Academy

Windows 10 set to automatically install on Windows 7 and 8 PCs

Windows 10 set to automatically install on Windows 7 and 8 PCs

You may find that your computer updates to Windows 10 even if you don't really want it to.

Microsoft is keen to increase the adoption of it's latest operating system. It has announced that Windows 10 will become a 'recommended update' next year. This means that it will be installed on any Windows 7 or 8 computer with automatic updates turned on (which is the default for most users). Windows 10 will be automatically downloaded and you will then be prompted to install it.

If you don't want to install Windows 10 you do have the option to say 'No' but you will have to look out for this. It is very easy to click 'Yes' to a prompt without properly reading what it says and as a result unwittingly start the installation of Windows 10.

In fact the Windows 10 installation files may have downloaded to your computer without you realising it. It has emerged that Microsoft has set machines to download these files in the background without the user being aware. This has annoyed some users as the downloaded files are between 3-6GB in size. This can take a large chunk out of your broadband allowance and also use up a large chunk of your hard drive (check for a hidden folder called '$Windows.~BT' in your C: drive). Microsoft has since said that this was a mistake and has changed the settings. If you want to reclaim valuable hard drive space it is possible to remove these files by following these instructions.

To prevent the install of Windows 10 you could turn off Windows Update altogether. However this is a bad idea as it means you won't download any security updates which will leave your computer vulnerable to security flaws. We don't recommend that you do this but there are other options.

If you want to know whether it's worth upgrading to Windows 10 read our review: Should you upgrade to Windows 10?

See also Lewis's personal experience of upgrading to Windows 10.

by (William Mortada) at November 24, 2015 04:35 PM

November 15, 2015

Richard Powell - UX and Web Design in Newcastle

Saving time with grunt scaffold

One of the neat tools we have at Server Density is grunt scaffold.  Taking it’s inspiration from...

November 15, 2015 11:36 AM

November 11, 2015

Community IT Academy

Explore the radical history of Tyneside

Explore the radical history of Tyneside

Revisit Tyneside's rich history of radicalism and activism through a new online archive.

The Histories of Activism Research Group at Northumbria University is launching a new website called 'Mapping Radical Tyneside'. Visitors to the site can search through an archive of radical activity via era or theme. Search results are shown on an interactive map allowing you to explore the history of different areas of Tyneside and see what happened when.

The archive contains events dating back to the 1700s on a range of themes including: 'political representation and reform', 'co-operation and socialism' and 'public disturbances'. The website aims to create a space where academics, researchers and local communities can work together to build a permanent memorial to the region’s tradition of radicalism and activism. Visitors can get involved by submitting new events to the growing archive of content.

CITA staff were excited to be able to work on such an interesting and innovative project. We have worked hard to ensure that the website is easy for both visitors and site administrators to use. It has a responsive design, which means that the website displays well on smartphones and tablets. This makes it possible to explore the website whilst visiting the different locations on the map.

The website is being launched at an event at the Mining Institute on Friday 20 November as part of the Being Human festival: Tyneside Radicalism in Story & Song

You can explore Tyneside's radical history yourself at: Mapping Radical Tyneside

by (William Mortada) at November 11, 2015 03:35 PM

Microsoft ends support for older versions of Internet Explorer

Microsoft ends support for older versions of Internet Explorer

From 12 January 2016 Microsoft has said that it will only support the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer 11 is the current (and last) version of Microsoft's web browser. It is supported on Windows 7, 8 and 10. Internet Explorer 10 and older will no longer be supported after 12 January 2016 and Microsoft recommends that users upgrade.

Microsoft says that it is ending support for older browsers to improve security and support for modern web technologies.

Windows 10 comes with a new browser, Edge, which is set to replace Internet Explorer. However, Edge is still in development and you may find it a little 'rough around the edges'. While Edge is being developed many users are opting to stay with Internet Explorer 11 or moving to Chrome or Firefox.

At one time Internet Explorer was the most popular browser on the planet with a usage share of around 95% in 2003. However this has declined steadily over recent years and Google's Chrome is now in the top spot. StatCounter suggests that Chrome currently has a 44% usage share, Safari 13% Internet Explorer 12%, Firefox10% and the Android browser 6%.

What does this mean for my website?

Web browsers have changed rapidly over the past few years. It is important to ensure that your website keeps up to date with these changes and looks good in a range of browsers. Increasingly people are browsing the web on smartphones and tablets. To make your website easy to use on the smaller screens of mobile devices we recommend a responsive website design.

If you would like to discuss improvements to your website please call Lewis Atkinson on 07958 482 509 for an informal chat.

by (William Mortada) at November 11, 2015 02:56 PM

Effective social media to engage the public and volunteers

Effective social media to engage the public and volunteers

We were very pleased to be asked to attend the lively and well-attended 'Fruit on the Tyne' conference organised by the WEA North East Green Group.  The conference, which was held at Bede's World on Saturday 7 November 2015, looked at the growing interest and benefits of community growing projects in the North East. 

As part of the conference we ran two workshops on 'Effective social media to engage the public and volunteers'. In the workshops we discuss the potential benefits of using social media as a communication tool. We looked at successful examples from other organisations and participants shared their own experiences of using social media.

There was a good discussion in the workshops, which touched on the following key points:

  • have a clear target audience in mind and use this to select an appropriate social media platform (or platforms)
  • social media should be seen as part of an overall communications strategy
  • don't ignore those that aren't on social media (or the internet)
  • the importance of using photos and video to increase engagement
  • using paid advertising to 'boost' posts
  • funders look at an organisation's social media presence when evaluating funding applications.

Here are the slides from the workshop:

Effective social media to engage the public and volunteers (PDF 3MB)

If you have any question about how your organisation could use social media to promote your organisation or raise funds please get in touch.

You may also be interested in attending one of the regular social media surgeries in Newcastle and Gateshead.

by (William Mortada) at November 11, 2015 11:34 AM

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