MSI Dominator GT72 6th Gen Notebook Review

MSI GT72 DominatorMSI are out of the gate with their Sixth Generation gaming notebooks, the GT72 Gen 6 Dominator range.  This review examines the features and performance of the new GT72 and compares against a premium gaming notebook from ASUS.

MSI built their reputation as a manufacturer of system components, such as mainboards and video cards.  In recent years they have expanded with a range of consumer focused products, and have found particular success with their gaming notebooks, consistently winning design and innovation awards over the past few years.  Read more

Microsoft Rolls Out Office 2016

MS Office 2016

Microsoft released the 17th major version of Office today, Office 2016.  It is 25 years since Office came from nowhere to dominate against the incomparable Wordperfect 5.1 and Lotus 1-2-3.  Office adoption was rapid and near universal, exploding alongside Windows and becoming so strongly associated with Windows that many believed they were part of the same product.

Over those 25 years, each new version of office included major improvements and new features.  Each release was a big deal, though on average less so as Office matured.  Office 2016 again offers significant improvements over 2013, though with evolutionary improvements rather than a radical overhaul.
Read more

Guide to Personal and Small Business Backups – Conceptual Framework

ScreamToo often I see our techs consoling a despondent customer, in tears, having irretrievably lost precious files.  Family photos.  Business records.  Blog articles (!). All gone.  Yet some of those people have been “Backing up”.

A simple definition of “Backing Up” is a process that makes a copy of data onto a second device that can be used to restore that data if your primary copy is deleted or damaged.  A broader definition is any process that reduces your risk of losing data (files) or your system state (windows, settings).  I prefer to use a more global term, Backup System, a collection of backup processes or other elements working together to reduce risk of data loss and related harm. Read more

The Blog

CA_entrance_angleOver the years, we receive the same questions from customers, and sometimes its difficult to communicate a complete answer in shop.  We decided to start this blog to help provide in depth answers to those questions.

What sort of computer do I need?

How should I backup?  

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

How can I protect myself against viruses? 

Do we really need a $1000 video card so Little Johnny can do his homework? (err, good one Little Johnny.  No.) 

We will add new articles answering these questions, and more.  If there are any particular guides or questions you would like us to address, please leave us a note on Facebook or as comments in this post and I’ll see what we can do!

Exploring Windows 10

I am pleased to report Windows 10 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive!

Windows10_boxedCustomers tell us that Windows 10 feels natural and intuitive on desktops, notebooks, and tablets.  Many new features and updates have been mentioned as “Quality of Life” improvements, making it easier to get things done and reducing frustration.  Ideas implemented in Windows 8 that didn’t work have been transformed or reverted.  The core stability, speed, and compatibility of the operating system is exceptional.  Given the relatively few issues reported, and substantial improvements, Windows 10 is the most compelling OS upgrade since XP. Read more

GST to be Charged on Overseas Purchases from 2017

GSTAn agreement between all state and federal governments to remove a GST exclusion will see GST apply to all overseas purchases by mid 2017.

Today, purchases of up to $1000 from overseas retailers do not incur GST, meaning the same item can be discounted by up to $100 if sold through an overseas store, an unfair advantage that benefits overseas business relative to local stores.

Rather than open every box moving through customs, the proposal is based around charging GST at sale time with agreement from major international retailers to collect the tax.  It will be interesting to see how this will be enforced with smaller retailers.

I personally have no problem with international competition where that competition forces down local prices kept artificially high by international manufacturers (the “Australia Tax”).  In terms of most computer hardware, that issue is uncommon, with local prices quite competitive when adjusted for exchange rates and tax.

IT retail tends to be very competitive with markups often under 10%, so the lack of GST can artificially result in overseas purchases coming in cheaper than the same item from local stores.  This change will help keep local IT retail companies viable.

Why are you logging in as God?

God_ComputerOK, not God, but the computer equivalent, the almighty Administrator.
Home computer users start up their computer and do stuff.  If you want to run a program, you can.  If you want to install a program, you can.  If you want to change some setting, you can.  Because this is how it has always been for most users, we think nothing of it and assume it’s normal.

We want to get things done so why would you restrict what can be done by the all powerful User.

It turns out there are good reasons.

Read more

Fake Windows 10 Upgrade Email Installs Ransomware

We have noted a particularly nasty piece of Malware making the rounds.

An email, apparently from Microsoft, asks the user to open an attached executable, which will promptly encrypt your files.  The malware then tries to ransom the files.

For anyone without current and offline backups, take this warning as a reminder to review you backups, and ensure one set of backups offline. Malware like this can potentially see any attached backups such as on a external HDD, and encrypt those as well!

If you are not familiar with Ransomware, you may want to check out our article:

When your Digital Life is Held to Ransom


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