March 6, 2014

Just a quick update.

For those people and organisations who keep sending stuff, touting for business, Newtss was dissolved on 6th November 2012.
You can look this up at companies house, here:

Regarding my previous advice, for potential customers, it seems SBC services is now Clear Day Technology, although the web site wasn’t responding when I  checked just now – which is never a good sign …

anyway, thanks for reading …

Nigel (former owner of New Technology Support Services)

Newtss Ltd is closed

April 12, 2011

I guess you may have read that already, from looking at the website?
Anyway, all enquiries regarding IT support work should be directed to my good friend at SB Technical Services, Dewsbury.


Once again, thanks for all the broken computers, its been fun

newtss going dormant

February 20, 2011

So, nothing since June 2010 huh?

As we emerge from the coldest UK winter in living memory into a new spring, this company goes offline at the end of March 2011

It’s always a hard decision when running a small company, and a job offer comes up – do I expand the company to cater for this, or take the job – do I have a choice?

I was going to update you on Microsoft Office 2010  a few months back – I’ve been using it since it came out.
My verdict – you get used to it …  it’s not obviously a big improvement from Office 2007, and  I still miss a few features from Office 2003 – like the ability to scan into a document in word – thanks for taking that out guys …

But no – not a big enough improvement to justify changing everything – and I still hate the way Outlook decides to freeze up occasionally – you get a message saying “Outlook has stopped responding” – usually when you need to send an urgent email.  I think three options are offered, of which only “restart the program” actually helps.

Office 2010 comes in 64bit and 32bit flavours, and at first you think its great to pioneer and run the 64bit version, but it seems most 3rd parties who write plug-ins for Outlook are very slow to produce 64bit versions for their code, so make sure you’re not going to need one of those first, before you take the plunge.

Having said that, I don’t dislike Office 2010 enough to consider the alternatives, so think it’s business dominance will continue for some time to come.

Apparently mac owners can get a shiny new Office 2011 from Microsoft.  Goodbye entourage, hello Outlook on the mac.  Apparently, Outlook 2011 doesn’t talk to an Exchange 2003 server.  Ho-hum – so much for backwards compatibility eh?

Now in my roundabout way, coming back to the main theme of the blog – Newtss Ltd is going dormant from the end of March.
May be back in the future – who knows – we live in uncertain times.

Thanks to my 3.5 readers for paying attention to these wise words

remember, its not kicking the computer that fixes it – it’s knowing where to kick …

oh – and if in doubt, turn it off, then back on again …

Apple overtakes Microsoft, making it the worlds biggest technology company

June 2, 2010

Well, it finally happened – at the end of May 2010, Apple became a bigger company than Microsoft, in terms of value – Apple are now worth $222bn as opposed to Microsoft’s $219bn making Apple the world’s 2nd largest company after ExxonMobil who are valued at $282bn.

That’s not bad for a business that nearly went bust in the 90’s, and, at one time, sacked it’s legendary CEO Steve Jobs.

So what does that mean for us in the computer support business – most of which is Microsoft based?  In reality Microsoft still own more than 90% of the business operating system market, but Apple and others are eating away at that market share, and frankly, Apple have brought the fun factor back to computing – devices like the iPhone and the iPad are winning market share because they are a joy to use.

For us at Newtss Ltd, we have one solitary Mac Mini on the bench for those rare times when someone needs Mac support – but we hope to get our hands on an iPad as soon as we can!

The Mac mini is getting on a bit now, but still is incredibly reliable, and our web-site looks gorgeous on that platform – more so than when running in a windows browser.

So yes, our main business is windows support, but we are not going to ignore the Mac revolution, and really, it is up to Microsoft to deliver products that compete.

We are still suffering from the awful, awful experience that was Vista – some of the laptops we have seen shipped with tiny amounts of memory and Vista have been truly appalling – the stuff of nightmares!

So, if you want Mac support “Yes we can!” – but it’s early days yet – we are not mac experts, but watch this space …

Office 2010 is here …

May 10, 2010

Today I got my new office 2010 – the professional plus version no less – clearly our friends in the states haven’t heard of pro-plus – Here in the UK this version sounds like it contains something to pep up the older folks  and maybe it does!

First Impressions?

It installed on 3 computers without a glitch – Windows 7 64 bit – runs like a dream – Word opens with a snap !  Noticeably faster than the version it has replaced.  Windows Xp 32bit, no difference in the installation experience that I could see …

In Office Outlook 2010 all my accounts came up without a problem, after a pause for “optimisation”, which wasn’t too long.  For the moment I’ve dispensed with Xobni, the 3rd party add-on for Outlook, which was all the rage a few months ago.   If I find I am missing it, I will re-install it, but so far the jury is out on the search built into Outlook 2010 – although in a check I just did, I don’t think there is any need to bring Xobni back from the cold.

In the coming weeks, I will be looking at the new programs in some depth, and will share my findings here – but so far, so good – it’s looking like a very worthwhile upgrade.

By the way – I did un-install Office 2007 on all computers first, but didn’t lose any data files, so all is good.

support contracts

April 30, 2010

So …   as we go through life, “they” want us to sign on the dotted line, get out the credit card, make a commitment …  

If you are like me, you will be no fan of 18 month mobile phone contracts, the Sky contract, the BT contract that is only cheap for the first 3 months?  I hate being “locked-in” – what if you change your mind – want to move on or even worse – find something better and cheaper the week after you signed up …  Do you have a sneaking suspicion that the big energy deal’s aren’t in your favour at all – are you “confused dot com” and wanting to switch all the time for the cash incentive?

If you are in agreement, then maybe it’s time to consider WHY these contracts exist…
If someone knows you are going to be paying every month for a long time, they can start to count on the money that WILL be coming in, and give you savings and discounts – it makes it easier to plan, and they feel the security of stream of revenue for some time to come.

When each deal is a “one-off” you never know whether you will be in “feast or famine”, but if you have a number of contracts, you can work out exactly how many days / people you will need to look after them, for a given year …

So, that’s the thinking behind my support contracts – but I want to stress – I’m not interested in locking people in for a long time into something they cannot get out of, without an expensive “buy-out” –  I hate that idea, and the companies who peddle such inflexible contracts.

So what would a Newtss Ltd support contract give you?

What I offer is a menu of choices – for things that need doing every year – things that need to be remembered if you want your computer equipment to keep running smoothly, for important files to be backed up, for your security solutions to be up to date, for someone to turn to for unbiased advice when you need to make a decision which might involve a new IT purchase.

So you choose the things you think you need, and I work out what that would cost on a monthly or annual basis.  Then you decide whether you want to go ahead – simple as that.

If you want to end the contract during a covered period, just let me know, and I will work out any payments or refunds needed to end the contract.  I would like to think I stand or fall on reputation, and the quality of the service delivered.

One other thing, where I think the big companies fall down, is in the size of operation – it’s all too easy for your needs to get lost in the noise from thousands of jobs going on at any one time – for your computer to get fixed, but people forget to tell you it’s ready.

My promise to potential customers is that, if you take out a contract, you will be joining a select few – I know how many organisations and individuals I can support with the staff I have, and I don’t intend to go beyond that, without making sure the staff to support ratio is correct.

Groovy… Sharepoint Workspace – much catchier

March 9, 2010

In case you are wondering – the title of this blog entry refers to the forthcoming  change of name from Microsoft Office Groove 2007 to Microsoft Sharepoint Workspace 2010

I happen to specialise in Groove, and have done since 2003 – It’s the main part of the “collaboration” aspect of my business.

I happen to think it’s a great piece of software engineering.  I use it every day – it underpins all the work I do, and keeps all my key data up to date across several physical machines.

I’m not convinced it has fared too well since Microsoft bought the company in spring 2005.

It’s funny how few people have actually heard of Groove – five years on since the acquisition – it hasn’t become a familiar name in the software world – unlike its stable mates Word, Excel and Powerpoint – I suppose you could say the same about Infopath or OneNote for instance – other distant cousins of the big names – however, at least they are not treated like a mad relative, kept locked up in a lonely mansion somewhere far away …

So what’s the future for Groove – is it being sidelined as a Sharepoint add-on ?  One other blog I read the other day described it as “superflous”.

Does Sharepoint need a dedicated client ?

What about the people who just want to use Groove functionality, and don’t actually need the Sharepoint bit?

I’m wondering whether Groove is being consigned slowly to history, has it served it’s purpose for Ray Ozzie – just something from the past – a stepping stone ? – not what we need to focus on now.

As a Microsoft partner, I recently tried to price up a solution that would include Groove in a Microsoft Office 2007 deal.   It turned out to be very hard work, and the quotes that came back were both very expensive and very confusing.  If you can’t answer the simple question “How much does it cost” quickly and easily, then you are looking at a very hard sell.

It turned out that the best price I could get was from an on-line software discounter, for the Office 2007 ultimate version – which is now selling at a below half of it’s original price.  All the licensing programs worked out dearer.  Oh yes – and Microsoft no longer offer the entry level subscription service of $70 per annum, so that road is now closed too.

Needless to say, it was all way more than my potential customer had been expecting to pay, so that deal did not come off.

I heard today that we now have a release date for Office 2010 and Sharepoint 2010 – May 12th.

One of the very early messages I heard from the Microsoft folks was that Sharepoint Workspace (Groove) would become more accessible in this release – what I see in the press is that it is buried in the “Professional Plus” version of Office 2010 – only available to enterprise / volume license users.  The only way the average punter can get hold of a copy is to buy the stand-alone version – it is not included in any of the retail bundles, as far as I can see.  Thanks a bunch Microsoft – I hope I’m wrong about this, but I don’t think so.  If I’m right – it’s a great shame, and another kick in the teeth for the people who have stuck with Groove these past few years.

Personally, I think it’s time to start looking at other collaboration software solutions – time to move on !