Since mid-September customers' data usage increased drastically, and has remained high for extended periods. After investigating a number of cases, we have discovered that the release of the IOS10 update for Apple devices has played a minor part, but Windows 10 updates are the main data consumers.

The Windows 10 Anniversary rollout(s) has become a complete disaster, resulting in endless loops of download attempts, which happens to consume a lot of data. We have found that the rollout mechanism that Microsoft has used, is flawed in that the updates normally 'trickle' as a background download and notifies the user only once these updates are ready to install, but this time, the downloads are consuming 100% of your available bandwidth, resulting in very-slow internet access for the rest of the devices connected to your network.

In order to alleviate some of the congestion caused by this update, on the TrueWAN wireless network, we have decided to restrict the speed on the bandwidth specifically for the Windows 10 update download. This will ensure that customers' connections are not flooded, and will give customers a chance to identify abnormal use and take appropriate actions to avoid high data bills.

Windows 10 no longer offers the option to turn off Windows update downloads which have become larger (up to 7Gb each) than previous operating systems updates which go up to 7Gb each. A user may be unaware of the Windows update download in the background and once they switch their PC/notebook it might result in the update failing and having to download again. Corrupt updates can also cause the Windows operating system to crash and Windows has to be repaired or reloaded.

Here is a helpful self-help link for Windows update problems:

Bitcoin, blockchain and the (new) future of money

"The technology that will likely have the biggest impact in the next few decades has arrived. It's not social media, it’s not big data, it’s not robotics, it’s not even A.I. You'll be surprised to learn that it's the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin, called BlockChain." - Don Tapscott

Blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers across the world. The technology is still in its infancy and it opens up vast new possibilities that will (eventually) make institutions like Financial Banks irrelevant.

Conventional "fiat" currency is a currency that belongs to, and is controlled by a country, e.g. US$, Yen, Euro, ZAR, etc.

A "cryptocurrency" is a virtual, decentralized and distributed currency. BitCoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency that is gaining popularity. Many online stores are adapting by accepting BitCoins as payment.

BitCoin and other crypto currencies like Ethereum and Litecoin is built using BlockChain technology but is just one small incarnation of what BlockChain is capable of. It is a way to control any asset or do secure transfer of data, money, title deeds, club membership, anything really. It can do 'smart contracts' and many other new things that is still being developed.

BlockChain is not under any organisation's control. It is owned and controlled by all the 'miners' that do the actual work. BlockChain mining is where powerful computers spread blocks of transactions to all miners, they all crunch the numbers to verify a 'block' of data/transactions and reach a consensus (in software). Therefore to hack BitCoin itself is virtually impossible as you'll have to hack millions of computers around the world simultaneously. It will not stop hacking entirely, but once a transaction is in the blockchain, it is safe. Transactions can be approved automatically in seconds or minutes, significantly cutting costs and boosting efficiency.

Another facet is that cryptocurrencies can also be traded against other cryptocurrencies and/or fiat currencies as its value relative to other currencies fluctuates, opening up new trading opportunities.

BitCoin is not perfect, but lessons learned will produce better and better cryptocurrencies and other blockchain based technologies. I'll be watching this space...

True Technologies can assist with hardware requirements if you are interested in BlockChain mining.

Insider’s guide to choosing an honest, reliable and competent computer technician

Many consumers have been done in by fly-by-night and dishonest or incompetent individuals in the I.T. industry and have a general mistrust in computer technicians. The computer industry has its share of unethical businesses who will try to take advantage of uneducated buyers in their greed for money. Anyone who can turn a computer on can market themselves as a computer repair technician or shop. If your “computer guru” or part-time technician is not working on PCs and networks every day, they probably only know enough to be dangerous.

It is therefore critical to look at the following when choosing a computer technician or supplier

  1. Reputation: What is the proven track record and general feedback from friends and the community?
  2. Ethics: Be wary of someone who offers to lie to your insurance to claim a replacement, if they are investigated you will also be implicated and legal action will follow. Same goes for offering to install illegal or counterfeit/cracked software on your computer; apart from opening yourself up for lawsuits your system could be compromised and infected with spyware and viruses (which is common in cracked and pirated copies of software).
  3. How long have they been in business? Can they offer referrals of satisfied clients? Is it a one-man-band or do they have a team of qualified technicians with different skill-sets to resolve a variety of problems?
  4. Warranty and consumer rights: Will they be still operating in a year or two to honour warranties? Ask about return policies and lead times before purchasing from them. Know your rights as a consumer (download the pocket guide for consumer rights
  5. Rates: You get what you pay for so don’t expect quality workmanship from someone with dirt cheap rates. Professional technicians are in high demand and may charge higher rates but the ones who work for cheap are usually just starting up without the necessary experience.
  6. Qualifications: What qualifications does the technician/s have? Does the technician/s have at least an A+ CompTIA certification? How many years’ experience does he/she have?
  7. Communication: Is the company or IT professional available to talk and can he be reached when you need urgent advise? Can you get honest answers to your questions in plain English? Any cost, risk or problem should be discussed with you before continuing with the repair.

Honest, Reliable and Competent Computer Technician or IT professional

Understanding GB vs GiB

The units of measurement in IT are components of the “International system of quantities” and defined by the “International Electrotechnical Commission” (IEC).

In measuring speeds and sizes, it can be confusing. For instance, doing a speedtest to the Internet, you might get readings such as 10Mbps or 1.25MBps. Although the former might look faster, it is actually the same speed as the latter. This is because a byte (B) consists of 8 bits(b) - 1.25million Bytes per second is the same as 10million bits per second(1.25 X 8 = 10). Always check the B vs b, divide or multiply by 8 to convert between Mbps and MBps. Bytes=Bits/8; Bits=BytesX8

More confusing can be GiB vs GB.

The Gigabyte (GB) is defined as 109 bytes, i.e. 1 000 000 000 Bytes. However, the Gibibyte is defined as 10243 which translates to 1 073 741 824 Bytes.

For e.g. you might buy a hard drive that is advertised as 500GB, but viewing the size in Windows it detects as 465GB, this is because the manufacturers actually mean 500 000 000 000 Bytes (GB) (multiples of 1000), but translating it to GiB (multiples of 1024) get you a value of 465GiB. It is the same amount of Bits and Bytes! Not all software indicates GB vs GiB correctly, which can add to the confusion. Traditionally, storage space is defined as GiB (hard disk space, RAM, etc) and data transmission and speeds (Internet and network transfers) are noted as GB.




1000KB=1MB (1 000 000Bytes)

1024KiB=1MiB (1 048 576 Bytes)

1000MB=1GB (1 000 000 000Bytes)

1024MiB=1GiB (1 073 741 824 Bytes)

1000GB=1TB (1 000 000 000 000Bytes)

1024GiB=1TiB (1 099 511 627 776 Bytes)


Security threats

All computer users should be aware of the security threats that exist and take the necessary steps to prevent this. There are many threats and they vary in degree of seriousness: spam & phishing mails, viruses, spyware, malware, Trojans, Botnets and Ransomware.

Never give a stranger remote access to your computer. If you need remote assistance for IT support, make sure you use a company or person who is trust-worthy. Many have also fallen victim to the Microsoft call centre scam where the person pretends to represent Microsoft and warns users of security threats on their PC. They gain access to the PC by giving the person instructions to follow and then informs them of the cost for support. They can even access your bank and other secure sites and mail, especially if you have passwords auto-saved.

Firewalls are the first line of defence in protecting computers. A firewall filters the network traffic on the basis of certain pre-set rules, hence protecting one network from another and watches for malicious access attempts. However, there are other tools that can be used to protect the networks like antivirus software, anti-hacker tools, etc. Protecting personal computers using PC monitoring tools, file protection tools and password security tools further enhances the security of small networks. A paid for package of security software has advantages over free software as it offers more comprehensive cover and protection like anti-spyware, a firewall solution, with simple access for the user to change or modify.  The systems will update simultaneously, and automatically using the latest virus information.

Do not give out your Wi-Fi password to any visitor as your personal shared files might be exposed if you do not take steps to protect yourself. You need to set a password to your network in order to keep it hidden from a neighbour, a good password has at least 10 characters and includes numbers, letters and various symbols. Make sure the network encryption is set to WPA2 and that all your PCs and notebooks have firewall protection. When you are accessing a public Wi-Fi network, ensure your network sharing is turned off and make sure your firewall is enabled.

Banks and secure pay portals have made many changes to security features and are therefore relatively safe to use (unless there are botnet, malware or key-logging software installed on your computer). Phishing mails often lure people into filling in their bank/e-mail details and passwords which then gives the scammers access to their bank or personal details. Never reply to emails requesting bank details, usernames and passwords! Fraud for card-not-present transactions (completed over the phone or online) increased considerably over the last decade as neither a PIN nor a signature is required when customers use their cards online, so simply stealing card numbers is sufficient for this kind of fraud.



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