Synology Drive

For those with a Synology NAS drive, such as the DS218, this is a way to access your files from anywhere.

Operating in a similar way to Google-Drive or OneDrive, the Synology-Drive app or program allows you to access your NAS files as if they were on your PC – wherever you happen to be. You just need an internet connection.

This means that you could create a file on the NAS and then read or modify it using your laptop, even if you are in a different building (or country). Once saved, then the updated file will find its way back to the NAS automatically.

Unless specified otherwise, the program will not download all of your NAS files to your device. This is good thing as the volume of NAS files tends to be more than a laptop can accommodate – and certainly more than a phone can manage!

The program uses the device’s conventional Explorer/Finder to show you files and folders mirroring those on the NAS.

Files are only downloaded when opened. A file may also be ‘pinned’ which means it will download without being opened.

Security/confidentiality can be an issue. The files will happily download to encrypted folders such as those maintained by the Windows native Bitlocker or 3rd party programs such as Descrypt. This means that should your laptop get stolen then the files will be unreadable.


Downloading and syncing are only possibly while the NAS is connected to the internet. This will usually be the case. There is no cloud copy of the files as there is on, say, Onedrive.

When working directly on the NAS, then Office (for example) will lock any file which you have open and no two people can use it at the same time. This does not apply with files accessed via Synology-Drive and there is a danger of ending up with two versions of the same file. Obviously co-ordination with ones fellow team members is essential here.

The first time you open a file or pin it then this may take a little while. Not unreasonable as it needs to upload from the NAS to the cloud then down to the device. After that it will open right away. It is also possible to unpin a file: the local file is deleted but the name remains so that it can be repinned or (re)opened.


There is no charge which is generous of Synology who must be dedicating a chunk of their network to servicing the Synology-Drive process.


The process has been proven on the following platforms. Others will be tested in due course.

Android Phone or Tablet

Works fine but many file types will need a specific reader or app to be installed. Word/Excel files are good example.

Windows 10 Laptop or PC

Works well, no problems noted.

Facebook message from a friend…

There have been a spate of these recently. A message from a Friend (and it is the actual account, not a clone) asks you to look at video (for example).

I got this twice from Friends. I experimentally followed the link with a fake account which I keep around for these situations. It craftily asks you to log into Facebook in order to see the video or whatever. Your email and password are then captured! This lets the scammer masquerade as you and get up to no good.

The Friends who apparently sent me the message had been caught by the same trick so it’s a chain reaction.

Implications go further. If you use the same password everywhere then they can get access to your email and more and get up to even more mischief.

ESET Licencing

If you’ve been running a Trial version of ESET then this how to complete the set up.


Locate the ESET icon in the tray (bottom right) and double click. ESET will load up.

Click on “Activate Full Product

(if you don’t see the Activate Full Product button then go to Help & Support then Activate Product)

Click Use a Purchased Licence Key

Enter or paste the product key and click Continue

Turning Computer Off?

A question I’m asked from time to time is whether computers should be left on all the time or turned off.

When left alone your computer should eventually go to sleep and often eventually into a state of hibernation – if it’s been set up properly.

Closing your laptop lid can have the same effect.

At these times power consumption is vastly reduced (zero in the case of hibernation).

Doing this means that your computer is quickly up and ready next time you use it instead of spending a couple of minutes going through the start up procedure.

I leave my laptop on all the time but it does hibernate overnight and during quiet periods in the day. To save energy and as a safety feature, I turn off the charger (at the mains) overnight.

Obviously if you are going away or out of the office for a few days or at the weekend – or indeed at any time when the computer is unattended for 24 hours or more – then I strongly recommend turning all equipment off both at the device and at the mains.

Also do not leave your laptop charging overnight.

Whatever you do, restart your computer at least once a week.

It will do no harm (and will save on power) to turn off monitor and printers when they are no longer needed for the day.

Free email – pitfalls

Many of us use free email addresses, common ones include,, etc.

All well and good but a problem lurks.

If you get a problem with your email then, as a non-paying customer, you will be at the back of the queue when it comes getting things fixed. You’ll also probably be denied the best access to the email provider’s support team.

I recently helped somebody whose Blueyonder email went out of service. It took 9 days to get the problem solved. During this time they could neither send nor receive nor even look at old emails.


The answer is to get a ‘proper’ domain and paid-for email service. If you are a business then this looks smarter as well.


If you don’t want to go for the paid service then you can take a periodic backup using one of Microsoft’s Outlook programs (not to be confused with the webmail). This will at least provide an email archive and allow (with a little help from A222) mail to be sent out even if it can’t be received.

Please contact us for further details.

Android storage space

There are means of releasing space on your Android phone without necessarily having to uninstall any apps. Here are some things which you can do.


This app lets you see the media stored by the Camera, Whatsapp etc. Delete anything which you no longer need (having saved to you computer first if required)


Do a ‘Clear Messages‘ on chats where you don’t need to refer to the conversation history. This does not delete your actual contact.

Having attended to these, then close all applications then go to:

Settings – Storage & USB – Internal Storage

Go to Cached Data and clear the cached data. This can release a surprising amount.

Then go to Apps. You can clear data from the following without harm. You might lose some history but logins will be retained.

Google Play Store
Photos (if you have no photos which you need)

Do NOT clear ‘Google’ as this will reset your desktop/shortcuts.



Computer Mice

I’ve been using a ‘trackball’ style mouse for over two decades.

They look odd but I know that a child could use them as my son could manage one at the age of 5.

Benefits are:-

  • Avoid or reduce RSI problems associated with normal Mouse operation. This is because ones hand is at rest instead of under constant low muscle tension as experienced with a conventional mouse.
  • About three times quicker (by my estimation)
  • Never run out of mouse-mat (you don’t actually need a mouse-mat!)
  • Ambidextrous models available.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests more durable than conventional mouse and therefore better value.

Disadvantages are:-

  • More expensive (but better value)
  • Need cleaning once in a while (just pop the ball out, dust the rollers and clean the ball-race – best done with a fingernail)
  • Ball can fall out when carrying the mouse! It suffers no damage but might roll under the sofa.

My personal choice is the Logitech TrackMan Marble but I’ve also used the Kensington Orbit Trackball which is also very good.

Prices from around £15 (used) or £22-£40 (new): Check on Ebay

Kensington Orbit

Logitech Marble




Teamviewer Operation

After installing Teamviewer for Mac or Windows, proceed as below.

Start the program.

Select Remote Control (top left) if not already selected.

Top centre you will see Your ID and Password. Give these values to the person who you want to connect to your computer.

They will then be able to connect and take over.