Hints & Tips..

Still confused and frustrated with the Microsoft Office 2007 & 2010 Ribbon Interface?

To this day, I still get questions on a weekly basis from people who hate the Microsoft Office 2007 & 2010 “Ribbon” interface with a passion!

Like many folks, I too loved the previous Microsoft Office Menu Interface from Version 2003 and below and only upgraded to the later versions because as a support consultant, I’ve little choice but to stay up to date, so I feel your pain.

As a result of the frequent queries I keep getting, I did a little research and found the following “Free” gem provided by Microsoft which I hope you’ll get some benefit from.

 

Click Here -> Learn where Menu and Toolbar commands are in Office 2010

 

There you can find excellent Interactive tutorials, extremely simple to use, that show you how to do all the things you found so easy to do in Office 2003 using the Ribbon Interface of the latest versions of Office.

All Office modules are  covered, from Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access and so on.

So if you’re a member of the “Hate that Ribbon Interface!” Camp, give the above link a try.. I think you’ll love it.

Cautions..

The Importance of “Testing” your backups..

A recent Hard Drive Crash here could have crippled us if we did not also employ a redundant backup system.

Long story short – Every few months I burn backups to DVD Media for off-site storage. When one of our Hard Disks crashed and suffered physical damage, I reverted to those backups and quickly found an inadequacy in relying on this type of off-site storage.

Depending on the size of the data you’re backing up, it can take hours and hours to copy that data back from CD or DVD Media.  Ok, so a lot of time is wasted, but you’re covered right? – Not necessarily.

Consider what would happen if one of those CD’s / DVD’s became unreadable for some reason when you needed them most.

If you use specialised backup Software to store your backups to CD/DVD media, then one disc out of 5 or 6 gone bad can render the entire backup set useless. All that time burning and trying to restore totally wasted and you don’t even get to recover from your due diligence.

So what’s the solution? In our case, Cloud off-site storage saved the day.

Though I’m sure I’ve said it before, I think it’s worthwhile to remind all my valued clients of the following points;

  • Check your off-site backup storage on a semi regular basis.
  • Ensure your backups are readable from the media you’ve stored them on and more importantly, that what you have  burned (or via whatever means you are storing backups on) will indeed restore when you need it most by doing semi-regular test restores to a spare drive or folder which can then be deleted
  • Do consider In the Cloud backup services. So long as you use a reputable provider, no one except you can access the contents of your backups, they’re available 24/7 and the additional bonus is that your cloud backups are protected by redundant backups by your provider which also “backup your backups” in case “their” storage servers have a problem. It’s about as secure and fool proof as you can get.

Feel free to Contact Us for additional information on Cloud Backup Storage – We neither sell or provide Cloud backup services, but we can certainly recommend companies that we know are reputable, safe and above all, reliable.

Be wary about “Auto Update” Software

Lately there’s been a flood of software packages offering to automatically keep your system(s) up to date with the latest Software and Hardware Updates that you have to your computers.

I’ve tested a number of these “automatic updating” solutions and found problems with ALL of them. Unless it’s to do with patching a “Security vulnerability” , the latest version of your favourite Software package is not necessarily the best. Same goes for Hardware drivers in spades. Rather than improving your computer’s performance, they can often cause you grief, frustration and a ton of wasted time.

The old adage of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” applies here, so be wary of this type of “Automatic Keep you Up to Date” type software. Feel free to check with us if you’re using (or contemplating using) this type of solution.

Apple IPhone / IPad users take note..

Your mileage may differ, but if you have yet to upgrade your device to iOS6 version of its operating system – my advice at this point is Don’t.

At least not yet.

Whilst many people report no issues with this latest update to Apple’s operating system for mobile devices, there are reports of thousands who already regret updating, with the main complaints consisting of degrading Battery life & broken applications which have not yet been updated to work with iOS6.

Consider carefully if you really need the new bells and whistles that iOS6 provides before you go ahead and take the plunge. For my own part, I’ll be waiting until a bug fix is released before even contemplating upgrading my Apple IPhone and IPad Devices from iOS5 to iOS6.

Till the next time…

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