Sir Humphrey on the latest technology

By | July 10, 2017
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Today, I’m taking my inspiration from Sir Humphrey.

You know, from Yes, Minister. Did you ever watch it? You should – it’s hilarious. A bit dated now, but hilarious.

(There was even an episode about the government trying to bring in a computerised database with all the worries about privacy that involved.)

Anyway, I’ve been looking at all the new equipment – new iPhones, tablets and so on that Apple, Google and the rest are planning over the next year or so. And all the updates and tweaks they’re talking about.

And it reminded me a question I get asked every so often (but I suspect nearly everyone asks themselves).

It’s this: Do I really need to keep it all up to date? Do I really need an the latest smartphone, computer or tablet? Do I need all these updates it keeps telling me about? Does it matter if I prefer an older version of Windows?

Do I – yes or no?

And here’s where I put my Sir Humphrey hat on: “If pushed to answer, I’d say yes and no”

But don’t worry, because unlike Sir Humphrey I’ll explain in plain English what I mean.

When it comes to having the latest device, you certainly don’t need to keep up to date. You can if you like, but it’ll cost you a lot more and within 6 months it won’t be the latest version any more anyway! As long as your tablet/phone/computer does what you want it to, don’t feel you need to stay bang up to date. So that’s “no, you don’t need to keep up to date”.

Then there are updates to your operating system – that’s the system that actually runs your device. Windows for most PCs or laptops, Android or iOS for most tablets or phones. These are the things that your device will normally do (or at least ask you if it can do) automatically. They fix bugs in the system, add features, make it less likely to crash and most importantly fix security problems.

And because of that last one (fixing security problems), this is really important. If you don’t have the latest updates, your device is at risk of being attacked by hackers. So in this case it is really important to stay up to date – you really do need the latest updates. The good news is you don’t have to pay for them (or to look at it a different way, they’re included in the price of buying the device) and they should happen automatically as long as you don’t decide to turn them off or tell it not to install one it asks to.

What about versions of Windows? The latest is Windows 10 – do you need to have that or are you fine using an earlier one if you’re happy with it? Well, the answer to this one is another “it depends”. If you have Windows 10, that’s fine of course. If you have Windows 8 or 7, that’s fine too for now. If you have Windows Vista or XP, that’s only a good idea if you don’t use it on the internet.

Why? Well, it’s to do with those updates I said about – the ones I said you do need to stay up to date with. Microsoft are no longer making these for Windows XP or Vista, so they’re no longer fixing security holes in them. So you shouldn’t use them on the internet.

Windows 7 is still getting security updates until January 2020 and Windows 8 until January 2023.

So there you go – there are some things you really do need to stay up to date with and some you don’t need to worry about – now you know which is which.

More tidying…
Last time I mentioned we were tidying up the warehouse as it’s got pretty full – and as a result we’re offering a clearance on a few products.

We do still have a few copies of the videos I mentioned last time “Tame Your PC” and “Tame the Internet”, though they’re going fast. (Here’s the information about them in case you missed last week’s email.)

But this week I’m offering another set of videos on clearance – again at half price until they’re all gone – and then that’ll be that and we won’t print any more.

They’re called “Get More From Your PC” and “Get More from the Internet” and they aren’t about the very basics – they assume you already know how to do things like use the mouse, click on things and start a program up – they show you how to get a bit more from your PC or laptop by doing some of the slightly fancier things.

Things like watching TV online, the “online PIN” for making shopping online safer and a “7 point PC health check” for keeping your computer running as well as possible.

Anyway, the full detail from when I first brought out the videos is here – and you can order a set there as well, if you’d like.

As before, they’re on our usual free trial, so you don’t pay until you’ve got them and are happy with them. And as they’re on clearance, they’re half price. But once they’re gone, that’s it, they’re gone.

There’s one important thing I should mention though: they’re recorded with me demonstrating things in Windows 7, not in the latest Windows 10.  Many of the things covered aren’t really about exactly how to use Windows – they’re how to do things with your computer.  So it might not bother you that I’m using Windows 7 in the video anyway but it’s only fair that you know about it before you decide whether to order.

(Of course if you have Windows 7, then it’s not an issue!)

Read more about them (and if you like, order a set) here if you’re interested or would like to know a bit more about them before deciding.

2 thoughts on “Sir Humphrey on the latest technology

  1. Tony Richardson

    Hi Tim, re the concerns over Windows XP’s ongoing vulnerability, your readers/members, still using XP, may be pleased to hear, (Webuser Magazine, June 28th – July 11th 2017), that Microsoft has decided to provide an
    Emergency Patch for XP, because of the recent problems with the, ‘WannaCry Ransomware’ hack, & others!
    It seems that this patch will require to be downloaded manually, via the Microsoft Download Centre, (maybe a tutorial on how to do this, would be appreciated!).
    This could be useful to the estimated, 200 millions users worldwide, of Windows XP! Tony R

    1. Mike – The Helpful Book Company

      Hi Tony

      Thanks so much for the comment, it’s really good that Microsoft released this update, they also released it for Windows Vista (which is also out of support).

      This was a one-off update and we strongly recommend all Windows XP and Vista users stop using those computers on the internet. XP (apart from this 1 update) hasn’t had any updates since 2014.

      For those who are interested you can read the full (very geeky) ‘Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet’ here

      Dates to be aware of are April 2017 Windows Vista support ended, January 2020 Windows 7 support ends.

      Thanks for the tip

      Mike 🙂


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