News

New
August
18

Never miss an Amazon Deal again!


There are a lot of price tracking sites out there, covering a plethora of categories, and companies. It can get pretty confusing. If you’re a keen Amazon user, however, there is a specific tool which will help you get discounts and track prices on Amazon products.

Many times, Amazon’s products are less expensive than they are elsewhere - but that's not always the case.

Available as a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome and Safari, CamelCamelCamel allows you to access the site's tracking-features without ever leaving Amazon, or you can copy and paste an Amazon link or product name directly into the CamelCamelCamel web site.

Free to sign up for, CamelCamelCamel provides information on how the price of an item has gone up or down over time, and how prices have changed. It’s extremely easy to use, and you can set email alerts so you’re notified if the price of an item drops below a certain amount, or whether it's at an all-time low and it’s a good time to buy it now!

If you hate buyer’s remorse, ensure you’re always getting the best deal on Amazon with CamelCamelCamel.

New
August
11

Sync Your Data Securely with Open Source Syncthing


If you are concerned about your online privacy, then you’ve probably already moved away from free third party cloud servers like Dropbox. If your goal is to be able to close down one machine and continue working on another of your devices on the exact same files, without too much human intervention, then Syncthing might be the tool you’re after.

While relatively new on the file synchronizing and sharing scene, Syncthing is comparable to BitTorrent Sync (now the proprietary Resilio Sync) which a lot of users will already be familiar with; except that it is completely free and open source.

The multi-platform Syncthing is very private. When sharing files between two or more devices connected to a local network or the internet, data is saved directly to a location of your choosing – a computer, server, or any other hardware you use – and since you provide the hardware for data storage, there are no third parties involved, keeping your data safe and secure at all times.

“Open, trustworthy and decentralized”, if you want more control over how you share files on a network, Syncthing is an effective and secure alternative to cloud solutions.

August
1

Adguard – more than just an adblocker


For the most part, web advertising is unobtrusively benign, existing on the periphery of your browsing experience. Some are blended so well on a webpage that it is hard to recognise them for what they actually are. However, on the flipside, many sites out there bombard you - slowing down the site loading, or getting in the way and distracting from your browsing. Google have confirmed the inclusion of a built-in solution in a new version of Chrome launching in 2018, but until then, you might need to take things into your own hands and get an ad-blocker.

Ad-blockers rank extremely highly in popularity in terms of manual browser extensions, and most don’t just block the adverts; they can also do useful things like save bandwidth and block scripts that track your browsing habits. One of the most powerful options out there currently is the Adguard extension; this add-on blocks all types of advertising on all web pages - even on social media - and has a Browsing Security module that blocks access to all fraudulent and malicious sites.

Adguard blocks advertising elements before they even start to load into the browser; those annoying embedded video ads that will suddenly start blaring at you don’t stand a chance against this ad-blocker, and it is compatible with popular desktop (including Linux) as well as Android platforms. Its application is fast and easy to setup and it offers automatic filter activation; there is very little required in the way of involvement from the user.

If you’re looking for a complete tool that is proven effective at filtering out the dross from the internet, you can’t look past Adguard.

July
20

Windows 10 Fall Update to boost protection from ransomware attacks


In the Windows 10 Fall Update, scheduled to be released in September, Microsoft has taken steps to boost protection against ransomware attacks. According to their Insider Preview blog, the Fall Update will introduce "controlled folder access" to Windows Defender Antivirus

According to the post, "We’re making it easier for you to protect valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware. To enable the feature, search for and open the Windows Defender Security Center from Start, go to the Virus & threat protection settings section, and set the switch to On. Controlled folder access monitors the changes that apps make to files in certain protected folders. If an app attempts to make a change to these files, and the app is blacklisted by the feature, you’ll get a notification about the attempt. You can complement the protected folders with additional locations, and add the apps that you want to allow access to those folders.”

You will be able to override access for apps that you know and trust but that are being blocked by the Controlled folder access feature. You will also be able to add additional folders to the list of protected folders, but you will not be able to cannot alter the default list, which includes folders such as Documents, Pictures, Movies, and Desktop.

July
14

Teach, Learn, and Create with Raspberry Pi


Originally created as an educational tool to help children learn programming, the Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer that plugs into your TV and can be used in electronics projects, and for many of the things that your desktop PC does; spreadsheets, word processing, browsing the internet, and playing games. However, this little computer is capable of much more too – it can also be used to build smart-devices – so it has also caught the eye of hobbyists, engineers and tech-tinkerers.

There are hundreds of useful things you can use the Rapberry Pi to create, like a Weather Station or a Home-Surveillance system. If you’re a gamer, then a DIY Retro Gaming Console might appeal to you, or you could take your Social Media to the next level and turn your Raspberry Pi into a photo booth.

There are a few different versions out there, with add-on modules available to increase the scope of the device, but with the Model B Starter Kit you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the potential of the Raspberry Pi!

July
10

Convert video files risk free


If you’ve ever wanted to convert a video file, but weren’t sure what to use, then Handbrake might be the programme for you.

There are a lot of “free” applications out there that claim to convert video files easily, but if they work at all, they often come packaged with annoying toolbars or worse; malware. A simple attempt to rip your favourite DVD to your hard drive might end up being something much more destructive, and costly.

Handbrake has recently released a brand new version, which has been in development for 13 years. Open source, cross-platform and without any strings attached, HandBrake takes video files you already have and makes new ones that work on your mobile phone, tablet, media player, game console, computer, or web browser – nearly anything that supports modern video formats.

Whether you want to convert files to watch on your Android device or change the formats on a current file, Handbrake is a risk free and easy to use tool.

June
30

Cryptocurrency mining craze causes AMD graphic card shortage


If you’ve been trying to get your hands on AMD's newer Radeon RX 580 or RX 570 cards recently and finding it virtually impossible, you’re not alone: and you can put the blame squarely on Ethereum.

Mirroring the worldwide shortage of AMD cards back at the end of 2013, the newly resurgent cryptocurrency mining market has driven the demand for AMD GPUs through the roof. Unfortunately, if Bitcoin continues to appreciate at the same rate (its value has already jumped to 160% this year alone) it means the shortage is likely to continue. Which isn’t great news for AMD, who insist that the gaming market remains their priority. With the overwhelming demand for the Polaris chipped mid-tier Radeon RX cards from cryptocurrency miners, it might be quite awhile until AMD’s target demographic get a look in at all – which may open the door for Nvidia.

Interestingly enough, in the past Nvidia hardware was considered inferior for the task of mining, to the point where it was mostly ignored. That's potentially no longer the case, with new crypto hashing algorithms bringing Nvidia much closer to AMD in terms of lucrativeness.

Unfortunately, this also means that 3rd parties selling the Polaris AMD cards at overinflated prices, to take advantage of the non-gaming community, is also a real issue. Unfortunately, with the current trend, the shortage is likely to last for the next few months at the very least, so for those itching to get their hands on one of the coveted cards, battling over unreasonably priced online auctions might be one of the few options left.

June
27

Credit-sized card from Intel turns your monitor into a PC


Intel's Compute Card, measuring just 9.5cm by 5.5cm (only just larger than a credit card), will transform monitors into full-blown PCs. It is designed to slot into other devices to allow them to work as a computer. LG has announced that it will make monitors that work with the Compute Card. Other manufacturers, such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo, are said to be working on similar products, but have yet to release details. The card will come in four versions, each of which will have 4GB of memory, three USB ports, Bluetooth 4.2 and .11ac wireless. Two models will have 64 GB eMMC storage, and two will have 128 GB SSD drives. The latter two models will use Intel’s 7th Gen Core i3 and i5 processors (m3-7Y30 and i5-7Y57 respectively). Intel says that the cards will be on sale in August, although no prices have yet been announced, and availability in New Zealand has yet to be confirmed.

June
20

Ready for WiFi everywhere? Say goodbye to those dead zones!


Everyone knows the frustration of seeing the dreaded “buffering” symbol pop up on screen when you’re in the middle of streaming, and most homes have a Wi-Fi No-Mans’-Land, where the network just will not reach, no matter how many boosters or extenders you have.

Luckily, the new trend of mesh-networking systems - the latest technology upgrade for home Wi-Fi solutions – promise to make that a thing of the past.

Some of the most trusted networking brands on the market today are making waves with their new solutions; like the Amplifi system from Ubiquiti Networks and the award winning Orbi series from Netgear. Both offer a set that consists of a main router and ‘satellite’ or ‘antenna’ which will provide maximum wireless performance throughout your home unlike anything else, and is not only extremely easy to set up, but also able to be controlled via an App. You can also buy the routers or boosters separately to add on to your base network as necessary.

If you’re really feeling the need for speed, the RBK50 AC3000 Orbi system from Netgear is Fibre Ready with the latest firmware, and the Amplifi system offers VLAN tagging and PPPoE termination on the WAN port, which means it can be used as a fibre termination router.

From your front door to your back deck, if you’re yearning for super strong Wi-Fi in every inch of your home, get yourself a mesh network!

June
16

New wish list feature


The latest section of our website to undergo a major overhaul is the wish list. You can now create multiple lists and sort by category or date added. By default, anything added to the wish list will go to a default list. However, you can create as many lists as you want, and any item can be assigned to more than one list. This will allow you to maintain different lists for different purposes. The lists can be viewed individually or altogether. We hope that this new feature will make it easier for you to organise items you are keeping for later or buying frequently.

June
9

Do you feel like you spend hours shopping through comparison sites but are never sure you’ve really ended up with the best deal despite your best efforts? Stop wasting your time!


If you want to know what the best USB-C notebook charger is, the best Wi-Fi hotspot or current Android phone, Wirecutter (http://thewirecutter.com) has already spent hundreds of hours doing the legwork for you. Established in 2011 as a tool aimed at “people who don’t want to take a lot of time figuring out what to get”, Wirecutter is a cross between a Consumer Report - intensively researched - and some of the more interesting gadget review sites out there.

Over numerous tech categories, Wirecutter do all the research and testing themselves, and whittle the results down to handful of items that they consider to be the "best" for the majority of the people, the majority of the time. However, they’re not only doing the research for you; they’re also intent on making sure their recommendations aren’t heavy on features that are full of hype or don't matter when it comes to real-world usage. As such, their endorsements carry a lot of weight.

In a web overrun with personal reviews and subjectivity, you can trust Wirecutter to deliver a smart, reliable buying guide – so you can be sure of getting the best deal for you, every time.

June
2

Hackers attacking media players with malicious subtitles


Check Point researchers have revealed that hackers can take control over PCs and other media players by crafting malicious subtitle files. They report that VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and Streamio are vulnerable to attack. Fixes have been released for all these media players, so if you haven't done so already, we suggest you download the patched software ASAP.

June
2

Latest website changes


Since the release of our new website a couple of weeks’ ago, we have been tweaking a few things as a result of feedback we received. Here is a list of some of the recent changes:

  • When browsing a category (ie, when you go to a category by clicking Our Products and then select a specific category), the default sort order is now by brand and category, rather than by relevance. You can always change the sort order to any other sort order you wish, but this most closely emulates the category browsing functionality of our old website – particularly if you set the view type to Compact.
  • You can now browse by a top level category (eg all Storage, Networking, PC Components, etc).
  • The checkout process has been made more robust.
  • Order quantity can now be changed during checkout.

We are continuing to make improvements and will roll these out over the next few weeks.

June
1

How much does Google REALLY know about YOU? Here's how to find out


Once, when you were unsure of a fact or had to satisfy some embarrassing curiosity, you turned to a book. Be it encyclopaedia, dictionary or something else – the answer (and your potential mortification) was privately registered and known only to you.
Now, not so much.
Everything we do on the internet is data-managed by someone, somewhere into a neatly packaged snapshot of our online life, all the better to tailor advertising to us. As such, Google knows all about you.
Luckily, because they know their users so well, they also understand the importance of being able to erase some of the more embarrassing moments you’ve had using Google services, if you need to.
This tool is called ‘My Activity’ (https://myactivity.google.com) and allows people to see the information the search engine giant has been compiling on them and ask it to forget certain things. You can find and see your searches and other types of activity that's linked to your Google account, like websites you've visited and videos you've watched. The good news is that you're in control of what's saved there, and you can delete past activity from your account from the dashboard with just an easy click. Big Brother might be watching, but now ‘My Activity’ gives you a modicum of control over what you let him see.

May
23

HP laptops and tablet PCs accidentally ship with keylogger installed


Swiss based cyber-security firm Modzero AG recently released a whitepaper highlighting that a keylogging ability is present in Conexant HD audio drivers on select HP laptops and tablet PCs sold over the last 2 years. Conexant mistakenly included code used to debug an audio issue that was never intended to be included in the commercially shipped products. HP has confirmed that any data logged on a device is erased every time a user logs off or restarts their machine. Immediately following the Modzero AG report, HP provided a fix that turned off the debug capability. It published an updated set of driver packages to extend the fix by removing the debug logging source code from all Conexant HD Audio Driver packages.

HP recommends that customers update their drivers on these select HP PCs. The list of impacted devices and the fixes are available on HP.com and more details are available in its Security Bulletin.

May
12

Welcome to our new and improved website


We know that most people don’t like change, but sometimes it is necessary in order to make real and meaningful improvements. Our new website features a fresh, modern look with new branding, but that is not what we are most excited about. Here is a short list of the major improvements:


  • Faster search

  • Easier and more powerful filtering system to narrow search results quickly

  • Two additional views for search results provide greater flexibility

  • Additional sort options for search results: relevance, popularity, age of listing, and cost per gigabyte (where relevant)

  • Revamped PC Builder for easier configuration of a PC build

  • Streamlined check out process

  • Cart can now be converted to a quote

  • Better organised compare feature

  • Better organised Your account section

  • Downloadable transaction history

  • Simplified method of submitting a track and trace request

  • Responsive design to better suit tablets and phones

  • Cleaner, less cluttered look

  • And many smaller tweaks across the site


New search and filter system

Search is now the primary focus of the website. Enter your search terms and press Enter, or browse a specific category by clicking on Our products.

If you choose to browse a category, on the listing results page the category will already be selected in the filter down the left hand side. You can select additional criteria to filter by, and this will adjust the results in real time. The attributes available for filtering will vary depending on your prior choices of attributes. For example, if you have chosen Core i5 notebooks costing less than $1,600, the only brands you will be given an option to filter by will be ones that sell products that meet the already selected criteria.

If instead of browsing to a category you enter something into the search bar and press Enter, the listing results page will have no filter criteria pre-selected. You can of course narrow the search by subsequently selecting any combination of filter criteria in the left column.

Within most attributes, selecting more than one value will mean your selection is widened. For example, selecting tablets, notebooks and hybrids in the Category attribute will display all tablets, notebooks and hybrids.

However, in the case of some attributes, selecting more than one value will mean narrowing your selection. Attributes of this type are identified by an asterisk to the right of the attribute name. For example, if you are looking for a cable that has an HDMI connector on one end and a DVI connector on the other, select HDMI and DVI in the Connection Type attribute. Only cables that have both an HDMI and a DVI connector will be displayed.

May
9

Are you getting the best broadband deal?


Ask most people who they use for their ISP and you’ll likely hear a roundup of the usual suspects – TV advertisements featuring Kim Dotcom or Internet-savvy parents hooked most of us in to contracts years ago and the majority of us probably blithely pay for our services without ever considering the present climate of ISPs available in NZ now.

We’re encouraged to rank power companies against each other; to see how they measure up against their competitors, and what they can offer us as consumers. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that with Internet service providers in NZ?

Good news – you actually can!
Broadbandcompare.co.nz, by their own admission, lets you compare 1723 broadband plans from 109 NZ internet service providers for free.

For a start: who even knew NZ had 109 ISPs?! With such exponential growth, it’s no longer necessary to be locked into a data plan that you have to conform your usage to. By using broadbandcompare.co.nz to isolate where you “spend” your data, you can view a selection of ISPs who have packages that can cater to how you want to use the internet.

Do you predominately use your data for online gaming? Streaming 4K TV and video? Or just basic web browsing and the occasional Skype with your Nan in Invercargill? Whether you’re after the best value for money, the fastest speeds or local customer service, by using the filters to outline your requirements you can quickly and easily figure out whether your current plan is really right for you, or whether it might be time to seek greener digital pastures.

May
1

Patch Cleaner – a way to clean up your Windows installer directory


What does it do?
Every time your PC is patched (windows updates, security updates etc) more space on your local disk is used up. This can often run to tens of gigabytes of effectively wasted space. As more people are now using SSD drives which are typically smaller in size than traditional disks, optimising the space on them is even more important.

How does it work?

When applications are installed and updated on the Windows Operating System a hidden directory "C:\Windows\Installer" is used to store the installer (.msi) files and the patch (.msp) files. Generally these files are important as during updating, patching or uninstalling software it will use the .msi/.msp files. If you delete all the files in this folder, you will find yourself needing to rebuild windows. Patch Cleaner redundant & orphaned files and gives you the option to delete them or move them to another drive if you prefer.

Where can I get it?
For more information about Patch Cleaner click "more"

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