Latest News

April 16, 2018

New Dell XPS13 9370 is AWESOME

Had our hands on the new Dell XPS 13 last week, the 9370 model. First thing you notice they got rid of all the useful USB ports to make it thinner and lighter……. A few breaths in a paper bag later, and you find the dongle converting USB-C (new standard) to USB-A (one we are familiar with). It has the fancy name Thunderbolt 3 (thanks Apple *sighs*). They only give you the one, but they are £3.50 on Amazon so no big deal. For under 30 quid you should have adaptors on all your devices and won’t add any real weight to the cables.

Killer features on the laptop are:

  •  19 hours battery life (more realistically 7-12 hours real usage with moderate power saving on)
  •  4K touch screen
  •  Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader on power button. just rest finger on button to unlock.
  •  Windows Hello compatible webcam which removes need for typing passwords if you are facing laptop (works really well!)
  •  Thinner than previous generations of XPS13 at just 11.6 mm height at rear of laptop (thickest part)
  •  Lighter than previous generations of XPS13 at just 1.21 kg
  •  Smaller and lighter powerpack (also USB-C)
  •  Tiny bezel, screen is almost edge to edge.
  •  Incredibly strong chassis so it won’t flex when held by corners of palm rests
  •  I could go on all day. Outstanding kit.

 

 

As with all XPS 13 & 15 options, the price is firmly in the premium laptop range. Dell has typically does no offer much discount on these models as they are very sought after, though  are flexible on extending the warranty if purchased direct from account manager or phone sales. Laptop of this calibre should be warranted for 3 to 4 years minimum in our opinion, with next business day engineer and parts on site making this ideal for business use.

 

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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February 23, 2018

Saim leaving the company

We are saddened to see Saim leave the company this week. He has been with us for two and half years, helping with day to day running of the helpdesk along with occasional onsite work. Saim’s reasons for leaving are family related and require him to leave full time employment for the immediate future so he can care for them. We wish Saim and his family all the best.

Maybe one day in the future when he is able to return to work, he will consider coming back to F8.

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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November 14, 2017

Welcome Michael Hyams to the team

Michael joined us earlier this month and settling in well. Aced our rigorous interview questions and practical tests, setting himself firmly atop our interview candidates.

With an extensive background in Windows Server and desktop operating systems, he is ready to support clients right away. We will do our best to bring him out to helpdesk and maintenance visits over the next couple of months so he can get a feel for all our clients sites and meet the lovely users we support.

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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July 28, 2017

Happy Sysadmin day

Happy Syadmin day everyone. Yet another silly day to appreciate a random group of people! Our helpdesk system is powered by a company called Sysaid, who made a funny little video we can all relate to. Enjoy!

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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May 1, 2017

What a month!

Couldn’t be happier with April this year. One of our first clients has been going from strength to strength and really pleased to see them move to a new shiny office. Something really satisfying from an IT guys perspective, when a empty shell of an office turns in to a haven of productivity, with everything looking modern and running latest IT solutions.

While my attention has been focused mostly on that one client, the guys in the office have been doing a huge number of migrations and office moves themselves, resulting in an awesome month for us. Really satisfying to see us do so much work but also manage to get to everyone without delay. Well done guys!

Enjoy the pictures of our clients gorgeous new office, hopefully be us one day!

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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December 12, 2016

Amazon Go

Amazon announced a cool new way to shop for our lunches and convenience groceries. Having a test store in Seattle that has no checkout or need to pay from a self service counter, totally mad!

Amazon Go introduction

Click picture above to watch introduction video

Had a lot of fun theorising how the Amazon Go shop would work. Amazon are going from strength to strength, re-inventing how we shop, consume media, interface with our technology and now even convenience our lunch experience!

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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December 7, 2016

Netflix Offline-Mode

Really pleased to see Netflix are now offering phones and tablets the ability to select a program to watch offline. Always a challenge to find something to watch on a plane or entertain a young person without running up a huge data bill. To use, you will need an up to date Netflix subscription, the latest App on the device and click on the ‘Available for Download’ in the menu.

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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September 23, 2016

iOS Battery Saving Steps

1: Plug it in overnight

This might sound like odd advice, but one of the best things to do after updating to iOS 10 is to plug in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, let the screen turn off, and do nothing for an extended period of time. Letting it sit plugged in overnight while you sleep is perfect for this.

This can help because iOS 10 does a lot of indexing and scanning of your pictures and data in the background, for features ranging from Spotlight to new Siri abilities to the Photos sorting and searching functions. While you can certainly use your iPhone or iPad while those background tasks are taking place, the device might appear slower or might seem to have a rapidly draining battery, when in fact it’s just iOS 10 doing what it needs to do to be entirely usable. For large devices that are nearly full of photos and other stuff, the indexing and maintenance processes can take many hours, sometimes extending beyond even 12 hours. So wait a day or two and make sure it has been plugged in and not in use for a notable amount of that time.

2: Restart
A common trick that may help battery life is to restart the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You can do the typical restart of turning the device off and then back on again, or force reboot. Sometimes a simple device reboot does the trick.

3: Follow the Battery Life Advice in Battery Settings
New to iOS 10 is the ability for the device to specifically recommend battery saving suggestions to prolong battery life. Typically this means making adjustments to usage like reducing the devices screen brightness.

Go to Settings > Battery > look for “Battery Life Suggestions”
You’ll see what is offered for your device, then follow that advice. And yes, it’s good advice.

You can then tap on each item to jump directly to it in Settings. And yes really, reducing your screen brightness will have a big impact on battery life.

4: Disable Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh is a nice feature but in practice it tends to consume more battery life by allowing apps to do more activity in the background. Thus, disabling Background App Refresh tends to increase battery life, and many users don’t even notice the difference from turning it off.

* Open Settings and go to to “General”, choose “Background App Refresh” and turn the top switch to the OFF position to disable the feature

5: Use Reduce Motion
Reducing the amount of visual effects in iOS may offer a minor improvement to battery life:

* Go to Settings > Accessibility > Reduce Motion > ON

Note doing this will cause iMessage effects to not work so only adjust Motion if you don’t care about the fancy message lasers, slams, and confetti type effects.

6: Disable Location Services You Don’t Need or Use
Location services and GPS usage can hit the battery particularly hard if they are used extensively, so disabling some of the location features can help your battery last longer.

* Open Settings > Privacy > Location Services
* Adjust settings appropriate for your usage, setting to “Never” or “While Using” as needed per app and feature
This is universally good advice for prolonging battery life and doesn’t apply just to iOS 10.

Posted by Kieran Donnelly
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July 20, 2016

Nationwide Broadband Outage

The UK has been hit by a major broadband outage today (20/07/16) after reports of power issues in one of BT’s internet peering partners’ sites in London. BT Tweeted shortly after 9am:

BT Outage

F8 IT Solutions have already been inundated with calls from clients reporting the issue this morning, due to lack of connectivity to their e-mail services and other websites. The outage has caused problems with DNS (one of the systems used by websites, services and computers so that they can talk to each other). Whilst the outage has been very disruptive to businesses this morning, the good news is engineers are working on repairing the service and here at F8 we have already seen a large portion of connectivity restored. Please note that no action will be required at the clients end and functionality will be restored automatically when BT have resolved the outage.

The map below shows the severity of the outage across the UK.

map

 

Posted by Josh Hall
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