PC PAL Team

PC PAL Team

PC PAL is the UK's award winning Computer, Laptop, Mac & Smartphone support specialists, with experienced, qualified & local Computer Engineers based in your area. We are a name that local people have come to recognise and trust. Please take a moment to read our feedback from our loyal customers, or find your local PC PAL Engineer.
Newsletters 30th April 2016 1508

Welcome to the PC PAL Newsletter - April 2016

pic1This month, we are dedicating our newsletter to inform our customers (and their colleagues, friends & family of course!) about 'Five interesting uses for your Computer'. Computers are remarkable, used for all sorts of wonderful things which help us in our daily lives. It’s common for our customers to say “I don’t use 90% of the capabilities of my computer” and I suppose most people don’t really know what other tasks they could be utilizing.

Well, this month we thought we would enlighten our customers to 5 additional tasks for which you could use your computer; from searching for aliens (yes I said 'aliens') to saving you more than a few pounds when shopping.

On behalf of our entire PC PAL network, we hope you find this newsletter interesting and informative and if you would like to satisfy your need for more tech news, please look no further than our blog: www.pcpal.co.uk/blog

Five interesting uses for your computer

  1. Search for extra-terrestrial intelligent life 

extraI bet you didn’t expect to hear that, but it’s true. There is an organisation call SETI (Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) that uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so detection would provide evidence of extra-terrestrial technology. “That’s great but how does this involve my PC?” I hear you say. SETI collects an enormous amount of data. It previously used its own super-computers to process it. However, the amount of data was so huge that they needed to adopt a different approach.

In 1995, engineer David Gedye proposed creating a virtual supercomputer. This would comprise harnessing the power of large numbers of Internet-connected computers (that is computers belonging to the likes of you and me). The SETI@home project was then launched in May 1999 to explore this idea and involves 1.6 million people allowing SETI to utilise a small part of the computer's processing power when idle to carry out its data processing (in small chunks).  To learn more about the SETI project and how your computer could potentially help, please click this link: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/index.php

  1. Watch your favourite TV shows & more

tvThere is so much TV content that can only be accessed via the internet today which means you won’t be seeing certain shows on your normal TV any time soon. For example, you can now only access BBC Three's content online and, along with Netflix and Amazon Prime making their own exclusive titles, you could be really missing out if your TV isn't 'Smart'. For those of you who don’t yet own a 'Smart TV' (which is really only a fancy way of describing an internet connected TV) or a Smart TV set top box, you can still access all these TV shows via your PC, laptop or tablet by simply visiting the channel's website or downloading their respective software or app. If you then wish to view these shows on a larger screen (such as your TV), you can often connect your device to your TV with just a HDMI cable (the same leads used to connect DVD players to modern TVs).

Alternatively, for those of you who prefer not to have cables running across your lounge, then there is cable-free wireless technology that can be used to beam the shows straight to your TV over Wi-Fi (via your wireless router). There are several systems available including 'Airplay' (for Apple devices), Miracast (for Windows devices) or Chromecast (for Android). Most of the shows are 'on-demand', which means you don’t need to set the video recorder or get back home on time - you can simply click a button and watch the show anytime you feel like. A huge amount of shows are completely free (with the odd advert or two, together with holding a valid TV Licence), and include the following services:

  • BBC iPlayer
  • ITV Hub
  • All 4 (for Channel 4, E4 and More4 shows)
  • Demand 5 (for Channel 5 shows)
  • YouTube
  • Any many more….

More premium and exclusive shows can be found via online services like Netflix (prices from £5.99/month), Now TV (from £6.99/month) and Amazon Prime (£5.99/month). These services offer a huge amount content for a relatively small monthly fee. There is normally no contract so you can subscribe and cancel as much as you like. They also offer free trials so there is really nothing to lose.

  1. Keeping an eye on your home 

cctvBig Brother is watching or at least your neighbour is. When you can buy a webcam for as little as £10, it's not surprising that CCTV has come down in cost too. More and more people are choosing to install CCTV onto their homes and you can too relatively cheaply.

Your computer can be used to view and record footage from CCTV cameras. Most CCTV camera kits give you the ability to only record the footage when there is movement, saving you lots of storage space on your computer. We have also seen features that will upload video footage to a remote location in case of a break in (useful for retrieval from a different computer/ location at a later date).

The installation process of the security equipment is a bit messy, involving the drilling of holes and the running of cables. Wireless technology has improved this process somewhat, but the cameras still need power sources.

You can access these cameras remotely from work or even whilst on holiday (an internet connection is all that is needed). We have even seen customers install cameras just to keep an eye on their pets and children!

  1. Playing online computer games  

gameIt’s clear that a significant amount of our customers and their families enjoy playing video games. Games are becoming more and more popular and it’s not expensive to join in. Most modern-day computers have enough graphics power to play most games as well as some old retro games from the past, such as Sonic and Mario. Even the modern-day computers with Intel and AMD integrated graphics will play resource-heavy games like the popular Battlefield 4 (although on low quality settings).

However, if you do wish to play some of these more modern titles then we would recommend that you invest in a good graphics card and power supply for you computer. Most computers are capable of these upgrades; however please check with your local PC PAL engineer before making any purchases.

The majority of PC games can be played with a mouse and keyboard but you may wish to purchase a game pad or a joystick to enhance the experience.

Most PC gamers buy their games via online services like Steam, Origin or device specific app stores. Some of these services are known to have multiple sales throughout the year, so be sure to shop around before making any decisions!

 

  1. Using your computer to save money

hotukEverybody wants to save money, but the quickest way is to use your computer. Using a 'cashback' site is a great way to get started which will help you save money on various things like holidays, insurance, clothing, food, etc. 

One of the leading such sites is www.topcashback.co.uk. Once there, you search for the retailer you intend to shop at online, e.g. Marks and Spencer, and it will tell you how much cash back they are offering. You may then click the link (often labelled as 'get cash back now') which will take you to the retailer website. Anything purchased will be tracked by Top Cashback and a commission payment will be made to you!

You will need to open an account with them and enter bank account details or a Paypal account for the purpose of receiving your earnings. Most of the big retailers, as well as many of the smaller ones, are listed on the site so be sure to get into the habit of always 'clicking through' Top Cashback before doing your shopping as normal. Some people have saved over £200 in one year by making this small change to the way they shop.

In addition, if you are going for a big day out or simply for dinner be sure to type into Google what you are after e.g. 'Legoland vouchers' or 'Bella Italia vouchers'. You can usually find a voucher to print off and take with you, often with a significant saving such as 2 for 1. Just make sure you check the terms and conditions!

Another highly-rated website is www.hotukdeals.com. This is more  of a community website where people post deals and vouchers that they have found to try and save everyone some money. All sorts of deals are posted from household items to holidays. You can also search for voucher codes for a variety of online retailers.

 

 

PC PAL Team

PC PAL is the UK's award winning Computer, Laptop, Mac & Smartphone support specialists, with experienced, qualified & local Computer Engineers based in your area. We are a name that local people have come to recognise and trust.

Please take a moment to read our feedback from our loyal customers, or find your local PC PAL Engineer.

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