Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
0800 880 3360
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 17th May 2011

  Business IT Support (4 hour response)
Server Support £166.00 + VAT per month
Workstation Support £20.00 + VAT per month
Cloud Service Support £66.00 + VAT per month
On-site Technican £680.00 + VAT per day

Please call 0800 880 3360 (01675430080) for more information or email u2us@discus.co.uk

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The Discus Diviner

May 2011 


Welcome to the May edition of The Discus Diviner. This month, we take a closer look at a couple of hosted services.


The IT Support Guy finds himself down and dirty  on the farm.


Damien offers some tips if you are having difficulty installing a new hard drive.



The IT Support Guy



As  Victor pulls up  at Howling Wind  Farm, rain pelting down, he finds  the farmer, Harry Bellweather, leaning on the five bar gate, waiting for him.

Harry doesn't look pleased.


The call came in first thing that morning, Harry venting a string of expletives into poor Magda's ear, until he stopped, breathless.

'I cleaner,' she said. 'No fix computer.'

Of course, Victor should have been there to take the call - after all, he is on earlies. But a pair of Nike Air Max 90 Premiums took his fancy the previous weekend and, even at ninety-five quid, he couldn't wait to have them. Besides, Touchwood is only a couple of miles out of his way. It wouldn't take more than ten minutes.

If only the shop wasn't crammed for the sales . . .

'Forget desk duty,' said his boss. 'You can go and sort Mr Bellweather's little problem. He gave me an earful this morning.'

'What's the matter?'

'Problem with internet connectivity. I wanted to run some questions by him but I didn't get the chance, the air was that blue.'


'About bloody time, son. I'm losing money hand over fist, thanks to you. C'mon, follow me.'

Harry swings open the gate with a meaty hand, then storms off across the yard in the direction of the byre. Victor looks down at the ground, a mush of mud and cowpats, and curses. Why did he leave the Nikes on?  Now he'll have to spend hours  picking out the unmentionable  from between the treads with a matchstick.

Inside the byre, Harry is holding a netbook in his hand. 'Here, have this before I take a hammer to it.'

Victor takes the netbook (he's never seen a pink one before), balances it on top of a bale of hay and fires it up.

Perfect. Almost.

Except it can't find a wireless network.

'Well?' The farmer's face is inches from Victor's. His breath smells of fried egg mixed with whisky.

'Where do you keep the router?'

'The what?'

'The router. It's like a box with aerials. Connects to your telephone socket.'

'If that's an excuse to flog me something, you can beggar off right now.' He clenches his fists. The vein in his neck is standing out like a rope.

'No, no . . you can't access the internet without a router. Didn't they tell you that when you bought the netbook?'

'They never mentioned anything at IT IS US. I said I wanted a cheap laptop and they said this fitted the bill. Look,' he points at a label Wireless Enabled. 'That means it connects to the internet, doesn't it?' 


NEXT MONTH: Victor goes back to school




Dains stays with Discus


After an extensive evaluation of the marketplace, Dains, a leading Midlands firm of accountants & business advisers has again selected Discus for its IT support.

'Dains and Discus have a longstanding relationship,' says Terry Biddulph, Discus Systems' MD, 'but we have never taken their business for granted. In the current economic climate we have listened to them and taken their needs into account. Money is important, but at the end of the day we believe they renewed with us on the grounds of the excellent and timely service we have provided over the years of our relationship. They trust us to do a good job.'




A look at hosted services: IP Telephony  


In-depth, sector-wide market research has revealed that the SME voice communications industry is worth £2.3billion, with 240,000 organisations needing efficient solutions for up to 1,000 users.


IP telephony refers to communications services - voice, fax, SMS, and/or voice-messaging applications-that are transported via the Internet, rather than the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Voice over IP is extremely flexible, and there are several combinations of ways to deploy the technology. An IP based PBX can be combined with a normal telephone PBX, so that your telephones are IP based internally, then connect to the normal phone network. This is commonly much cheaper than deploying a standard PBX system, and can offer a range of extra features.


Recent years have witnessed amazing advances in IP telephony. IP telephones work in a similar way to normal telephones, but instead of connecting over the public phone network, they connect using the Internet.


If your company has an existing connection to the Internet, this can be used to route telephone calls.


IP telephony works extremely well if  you need to connect two or more offices - with IP telephony, it is possible to connect calls between the two offices over your existing Internet links. This results in one fixed cost per location, rather than having to pay a fixed cost and then the cost of calls on top. Home or external workers can connect over the Internet to your VoIP PBX, meaning that they can be a part of your internal phone network, no matter where they are. Your staff can dial the same extension number, and that person's phone will ring, regardless of whether they are working from home, in the office, or on a mobile


Calls can be listed on your Intranet, with staff's call management and statistics linked to their intranet login. Call records can be automatically logged and kept, and statistics can be automatically generated in real time. All of the usual PBX functions are available.


Even greater savings can be made by having your IP telephony hosted.  This avoids the need  to procure an IP based  PBX.

According to David York of Natterbox, in his experience, 'a saving of 15% is common, 30% is achievable.'   


Special Offer for May! Take advantage now of a free, no obligation trial.


By utilising Discus System's hosted IP telephony  you can save up to 30% of your annual costs. Yes, thats' right. Up to 30%. And we guarantee to save you 15% on call charges alone.

  • 100% guaranteed call quality - no loss of speech
  • 30 day contract- no 'tie-in'  

For further information email u2us@discus.co.uk  or for an informal discussion contact Terry or Martyn on 0800 880 3360





A look at hosted services: Microsoft Exchange


Ready access to communications services is starting to have a major impact on the way small to medium-sized businesses operate. SMBs have always prized flexibility and agility to compete with rivals that generally have more resources available to them. As such, they are often among the first to embrace any new technology that could give them a competitive edge provided it is reasonably accessible to them. Unfortunately, until recently they generally had limited access to communications services beyond what they could get from telecommunications companies.

With the rise of cloud computing, we're now seeing more providers of communications services that are specifically being designed for SMB customers. These providers are taking enterprise-class communications technologies, and making them available as a service to SMB customers.

Email, now a vital business commodity, is a prime example, and for many SMB that means Microsoft Exchange.

As an email hosted service is deployed over the Internet, there is no need for SMBs to modify their existing e-mail infrastructure, install and maintain any new hardware or specialized software, or invest in training for IT staff or end users. They can begin using Microsoft Exchange right away.

Hosted services also provides online tools to help SMB's  protect themselves from spam and malware, satisfy retention requirements for e-discovery and compliance, and encrypt data to preserve confidentiality.

For further information email u2us@discus.co.uk or for an informal discussion contact Terry or Martyn on 0800 880 3360 






Now that calving is over, peace and tranquility have returned to the office. Once again, we can take your calls without closing our ears to the sound of mothers giving birth.


But wait . . . what's that I hear? Twittering? (Not to be confused with Tweeting.)


Wendy, my PA, rolls her eyes and looks at me. ''The swallows are back, Terry.'


So, the next time you call . . .







Thank you for reading May's issue of The Discus Diviner.


Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any comments or criticisms.







Terry Biddulph

Managing Director

Discus Systems plc 

In This Issue

The IT Support Guy

Dains stays with Discus

A look at hosted services: IP Telephony

A look at hosted services: Microsoft Exchange

Damien's Tips 'n Tricks

The Hampton Joker




Quick Links


Back Issues:





Damien's Tips 'n Tricks 

Hard Drive not Recognized/Found/ Detected/Accessible?

 If you install a new hard drive and install an Operating System on it and it suddenly acts like it is not there, it may be a loose connection.

If a bootable CD, such a s Knoppix, is not able to read your hard drive, it can have several causes. The list of possibilities below can also be used for troubleshooting hard drives, floppy drives, and CD/DVD drives.

CAUTION: Make sure the power is off and that the PC is disconnected from power. Also be sure to avoid static electricity, or you will need a new PC. Do not force any thing. All parts should easily fit together if they are properly aligned. Sometimes you may have to push or pull harder than you think. Just be careful to make sure any levers or buttons that hold it in place are not overlooked.

* Least likely is that a new hard drive has failed. Try the other options before assuming it is the new hard drive. If all of the below do not work, and it is a new hard drive, contact the manufacturer. New hard drives should include very good instructions for installation and troubleshooting. When in doubt read the instructions.

* Open the case and make sure that all the connections are correct.

* Unplug the power supply connection, make sure there are no bent pins, and plug it in securely.

* Repeat the procedure with the connection to the motherboard, make sure no pins are bent.

* If you have multiple drives, try hooking up just one drive to make sure you can read it.

* Make sure that the power supply, and other components are working correctly. It is possible that another component of the PC has failed.

* If you have another PC available, try connecting it to the other PC. This could point to failure of the power and/or motherboard cables in the original PC.

* If none of the above works, call in professional help!



The Hampton Joker 


Tech Support: "OK, sir, let's press the control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager."

The Joker: "I don't have a 'P'."

Tech Support: "On your keyboard, sir."

The Joker: "What do you mean?"

Tech Support: "'P' on your keyboard, sir."

The Joker: "I'm not going to do that!"




The Joker: "Your sound card is defective and I want a new one."

Tech Support: "What seems to be the problem?"

The Joker: "The balance is backwards. The left channel is coming out of the right speaker and the right channel is coming out the left. It's defective."

 Tech Support: "You can solve the problem by moving the left speaker to the right side of the machine and vice versa."




Tech Support: "What seems to be the problem?"

The Joker: "I have a huge problem. A friend has put a screen saver on my
computer, but every time I move the mouse, it disappears!"




Discus Systems -  solving computer problems throughout the West Midlands,

covering Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth,

Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch.






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