Tuesday 1st September 2020

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Hello and welcome to this month’s newsletter.

I hope you are having a great summer. August was hot and humid here, with those horrible +26º C or more nighttime temperatures. The air con in my bedroom decided to pack in too, which was not ideal and perfectly timed. To be fair it was an air conditioner from the last century and I suspect 20 years of use it probably some sort of world record. I probably could have taken it along to Antiques Roadshow and got a few bob for it from Fiona Bruce! Anyway, having had a new unit installed I have realised that air con has moved on very significantly over the years. I almost cannot believe how silent this thing is, really whisper quiet, not to mention super-economical to use. The old one took a while to get itself going and the fan wasn’t exactly quiet, although it did it’s job of heating and cooling well, until it died. This new thing has got an app, don’t you know, and I can set up all sorts of timers and schedules, and even turn it on from my phone when I am on my way home in the car. You can’t do that from a remote control! Anyway, I’m extremely happy with this new machine, so much so that I am going to replace my other antique air con unit with one.

It’s been a mostly dismal tourist season here in Spain, although Playa San Juan hasn’t been far off normal due to the fact it is always popular with Spanish holiday makers. The schools are getting ready to reopen here although, who knows, they might not be open for that long. There is definitely as second wave of the virus going on here at the moment, although it’s almost impossible to decipher the real corona virus figures released by the Spanish authorities. For example, take a look at this. “The latest official figure* released by the Spanish Health Ministry on Friday 28 August for the number of people who have tested positive for Corona virus (Covid-19) is now 439,286. This is an overall increase of 9,779 against the figure released on Thursday – although the ministry claims that 3,829 of these infections have occurred in the past 24 hours.” What the….? The authorities also have a habit of saying things like “today’s figures don’t include data from the Madrid region, or Galicia or any other region you care to name, due to technical difficulties”. You can always access the latest published daily figures at the Spain in English website.

Moving on, this month I am offering my comprehensive system health check service at a special reduced price. It includes making sure you are safe and secure when online, you are protected and have no viruses or malware on your computer, clearing out the clutter and rubbish to help speed up your computer, and generally make sure that everything is working properly and is tickety-boo. If your computer or laptop is generally slow or a little bit precocious and doing strange things by itself, it really is worth getting it checked out. For this month only you can take advantage of a 10€ reduction because my system health check service is now just 50€.

Apple normally announce their new iPhones in September. This year the iPhone 12 may be delayed a little, thanks to the convids. There have been rumours that some of the new iPhone models won’t come with a power charger or earphones in the box, you will have to buy them separately if you want them. This isn’t for ecological reasons to reduce electrical waste and whatnot. This is because the phones are expected to have 5G and that technology is quite expensive at the moment, and even Apple has realised that they will need to cut the costs wherever they can to make the new iPhones affordable (laugh!!). They should also be announcing the new iPad Air this month.

Google will shortly be announcing their new Pixel model smartphones. End of story.

Folding phones - Samsung will be announcing their new Galaxy Z and flip phones shortly. Microsoft has launched it’s new Surface Duo dual-screen phone thing, but it’s only available in USA at the moment, and it costs $1400.

Xiaomi will be launching the successors to the massively popular Mi-9T and Mi-9T Pro sometime his month. The Mi-10T and Mi-10T Pro will be 5G handsets and have better cameras, displays, storage and processors.

If you use Facebook (using Google chrome or another web browser) this month they are switching everyone from the (old) classic look Facebook to the ‘new’ Facebook. In the past they have switched some users from the old to the new, but allowed you to switch back to the old version if you preferred that. However this time you can’t switch back and you will have to use the ‘new’ Facebook. If you use a Facebook app there is no change for you.

I normally recommend when people are buying a new laptop or computer that they look for one with an Intel processor and avoid AMD processors. This advice is now starting to change because the latest AMD Ryzen processors are really starting to outperform Intel in respect to power, performance and price. The third generation Ryzen processors (model numbers start with 3XXX) and the fourth generation Ryzen (model numbers start with 4XXX) are the ones to look for. AMD offer Ryzen processors in 3/5/7/9 ranges, which are kind-of comparable to Intel core i3/5/7/9 - the higher the number, the higher the processor power.

Talking of AMD, I am quite a fan of mini pc computers. I use one every day and I prefer them to normal desktop and tower computers because they are tiny, use much less electricity, and are a lot quieter or even silent. However, normally these mini pc’s come with Intel Atom, Celeron or Pentium processors, which are not the fastest processors on the planet. Now though, we are starting to see some new AMD Ryzen mini pc’s appearing and they are certainly worth considering if you are interested in getting a new mini pc. When you compare the AMD prices to the Intel mini pc’s you might think the AMD boxes appear to be a bit expensive, but they are three or four times the processor power of the Intel boxes (or much more compared to the Atom boxes) and generally allow you add extra memory and storage options, whereas the Intel ones generally offer you virtually zero upgrade options. With that in mind, take a look at this review of the Beelink GT-R AMD Ryzen 5 mini pc by Chris from TechTablets or just search on Google for other reviews. My next mini pc will be an AMD Ryzen for sure.

Thanks to the convids, there haven’t been many bargains around if you have been looking to buy a new computer or laptop. Indeed, a few months ago you could hardly find a new computer to buy because, well, China. Even the summer ‘sales’ have been quite rubbish. The good news is that we have a couple of big events to look forward to where you are sure to find some decent tech with big discounts. Amazon Prime day was of course delayed, but it will be in mid-October this year. After that we have Black Friday which is November 27 this year. You can expect both of these events to last for a week and phones, laptops, tablets, televisions and computers will have big discounts. So if you still have a job and any money left after the convids disaster, wait for October and November!

Well that’s it for this month. Keep well, and have a great month.


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Neal Walker Computer Services

Computer, laptop and tablet repairs - Alicante Area - Spain

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