Newsletter - November 2019

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Hello and welcome to this month’s newsletter.

Happy all saints day / day of the dead to you all. It’s a fiesta day here is Spain (of course) so everyone is on holiday today. Well, what a month October was. The latest episode of Brexit brings a December general election. Could the end of all this actually be in sight now? Germany has officially entered recession. Spain has dug up the remains of the dictator General Franco. I thought they were burning the remains in the streets of Barcelona, but I have been reliably informed that it was just rioting for Catalan independence, phew. Spain has (another) general election this month. Well, it’s only the fourth election in four years, so maybe they will get a result this time, or maybe not. Looking on the bright side, England are through to the rugby world cup final. Lewis Hamilton is odds-on to win the Formula 1 drivers title any time now. Ok, so we are a bit light on good news, but the shops are full of turron ready for Christmas. Last month’s newsletter was a bit on the short side, due to my holiday, but I have made up for it this month. Let’s crack on…

This month Microsoft will release the Windows 10 November update (otherwise known as 1909). This is the latest version of Windows 10, the second this year, and is rather different to all the previous updates we have seen. There are very little changes that you will notice, rather under the covers changes in preparation for the next update which is due in 2020. This update is being delivered as a normal Windows cumulative update, like you see on a monthly basis. It is a relatively small download which installs quite quickly, compared the huge Windows 10 upgrade process that takes hours and hours which we have seen in the past. This, I should add, is for computers that are already running the current version of Windows 10 (1903). If you are on an older version of Windows 10 then you will have to go through the full upgrade/update process, which is the customary big download and will take hours and hours. It is also worth mentioning that the versions 1703 and earlier are now unsupported and will receive no longer receive security updates etc due to each version only being supported for 2 years. You can check which version of Windows 10 you have by following these instructions. If you are running and unsupported version of Windows 10 and need help updating, don’t hesitate to contact me. A review and round up of all the important information on the Windows 10 1909 update can be found here.

November of course sees the Black Friday sales. This year it is late in the month, starting November 29, and normally runs for four days. There will be big discounts on everything from TV’s and computers, to anything and everything else you can think of. Amazon of course always has an excellent selection of Black Friday deals. If you are looking for a new computer or something, and know exactly what you want, it may be worth setting a price alert using camelcamelcamel.com so you can be alerted the moment the price drops, and you don’t miss out. It’s also worth remembering that of you are a Microsoft Office 365 user, Microsoft normally offer great Black Friday discounts on renewals. They simply add a year onto the expiry date of your current subscription, so you can buy anytime. I always get a subscription renewal every Black Friday. Just go to the Microsoft website over the Black Friday weekend for further details.

I quick word about fiber optic internet in Spain, and possibly saving yourself some money. If you live in an area covered by Movistar fiber it is worth checking out the deal available from O2 Spain (which is owned by Movistar). They are offering unlimited 300MB fiber, landline with free Spanish calls (if you want it), and mobile with 20GB data allowance and free Spanish calls (including roaming of course) for just €50 including tax - no minimum contract term. Compare that to what you are currently paying… This offer is open to everyone, subject to coverage in your area. If you are already a Movistar customer, you already have all the equipment needed and they just switch you over, including keeping your landline and mobile telephone numbers. You don’t even need a new sim card for your mobile because the Movistar sim card you already have will just work. The switching process really is easy and the whole switching process only takes a couple of days from start to finish. You can get this offer either through their website, by calling 1551, or by simply popping into your local Movistar shop. You don’t get the Movistar tv service by the way, but that probably isn’t a great loss to most non-spanish people! Check it out.

I often get asked by customers what are currently the best value android smartphones to buy under €500. This month I am going to write about Xiaomi who make some rather decent phones for the money. In particular the Mi range, which is their premium smartphone brand. They also have Redmi and Pocophone brands, but they are more budget orientated. The latest is the Mi 9 range, and there are quite a few handsets to choose from at different price points, depending on the features and performance you want. The top of the range is the Mi 9. Then there is the Mi 9 SE, Mi 9T Pro, Mi 9T, and Mi 9 lite. They have also just released the Mi 9 Pro which is basically a Mi 9 with 5G, but this is currently only available in China. These phones all run android with Xiaomi’s MIUI skin on top, which apparently is a very very similar visual experience to using an iPhone, so it’s easy to use. Xiaomi are not in the same position as Huawei, and are not subject to all of the restriction imposed by USA on Huawei. These Mi 9 handsets are shipping with Android 9 and there is a beta program of Android 10 (the latest version of android). The build quality of these phones is very good, and they are excellent value for money when you compare the prices with other similar specification phones on the market (yes, you Samsung). They do not look or feel cheap and tacky and are indeed premium build quality. The internet (particularly youtube) is full of tech reviews for Xiaomi handsets, and you should watch a few to see what real life users are saying. For example, watch this review on youtube and you will see what I mean. I am looking for a new phone myself, and after much research I have decided to go for the Mi 9T because it has everything that I need, looks good, no notch and the pop-up camera is rather cool. I’m not really sure whether people still use to word cool these days, so perhaps I should have said the pop-up camera is sick!

It is rather strange that not all models are available in all countries. For example, if you wanted to buy the Mi 9T or Mi 9 lite in the UK, you will find that they are not available there at the moment. However, these models are available in Spain. In fact every model is available in Spain, so I would suggest that if a particular model you want is not available in your country you should buy it from Amazon Spain, because they will happily ship to all EU countries. Of course it will come with an European plug, but you can easily and cheaply buy a charger for it in your own country.

Well, that’s it for this newsletter. I hope you have a great month.


Neal Walker Computer Services

Computer, laptop and tablet repairs - Alicante Area - Spain

© Neal Walker Computer Service 2019

Telephone : 663713811