BUY RIGHT: Coronavirus is increasing sales of certain items as parents and children work from home. Picture: FILE
BUY RIGHT: Coronavirus is increasing sales of certain items as parents and children work from home. Picture: FILE

BYTE ME: The many problems of working from home

THIS week has been flat out again with more customers that either want to home school their kids or work from home themselves.

One of the common themes that we are hearing from new customers that are doing the ring around to seek IT help is that they are told by some computer repair places that there is a two-month wait on repairs. A wait of even half of this time is of little use to anyone and I can still report that our average turnaround time for repairs is currently around two days.

We did put on two extra team members at Christmas time as we were already getting busy, so this is certainly paying off now.

As far as hardware is concerned, coronavirus is taking its toll by increasing sales of certain items while simultaneously cutting supply of many of these items.

As a result we are now seeing a widespread shortage of webcams, headsets, screens and docking stations.

We saw this trainwreck unfolding early on and purchased huge quantities of laptops, desktops and screens, however we didn’t think of webcams at the time, so like everyone else we have run out of these. If you need a webcam for activities like Skype or Zoom then you will most likely have to put your name on a queue.

Another point that has come into focus is the number of different display fittings at either end of the video cable that runs from the back of a desktop to a computer screen.

The original mainstay fitting is the blue thumbscrew fitting and cable called a VGA cable. These are still getting supplied with every screen although they are becoming a rare fitting on new computers. The VGA cable needs to be avoided as it carries a non-digital video signal (an analogue) signal which lacks image quality.

Alternatively, digital cables such as DVI, HDMI and DP carry a proper digital video signal which offers a better picture and more fidelity to the original image. DVI cables offer a larger (pinned) fitting with white coloured thumbscrews at either end and can carry a video signal but no sound signal. HDMI and DP (display port) cables offer a more modern single plug type connector and carry a sound signal as well. Because HDMI and DP cables carry both video and sound they are also easily interchangeable. For people wanting to setup dual screens on a desktop or laptop we have every type of cable imaginable in lengths of one, two or three metres. If you also have a screen with built in speakers it is very convenient and tidy to have just one cable running from the back of your PC to your screen which is then carrying both the video signal and the sound signal to the screen.

Anything to get rid of extra cables and desktop clutter works for us and if you are going to be using one of the brilliant little micro PC solutions then you are further rewarded with a clean setup. When purchasing cable you also need to keep in mind that for ultra-high resolution (4k) screens need you to use cables that are also 4k capable – this will be stated on the packaging.

At the shop, we have put all the COVID-19 measures in place and are happy to be still operating and sorting / supplying PCs for existing and new customers within fast timeframes.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to bytemearticles@gmail.com and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49222400.