How to tell if an email is spam?

It’s an inevitable fact of life that spam exists and that it can sometimes become a major annoyance and sometimes really embarrassing too. There are so many email schemes going on right now and I wanted to write an article covering some of the ways to identify if the email is genuine or not.

Many spam emails have something in common; they want you to carry out an action, whether that be to click on a link, to open an attachment, to view an image, to call a number or perhaps to send a payment via Bitcoin.

If you’re in any doubt as to where the email has come from DO NOT display any embedded images, open any attachments, click on any embedded links, ring any numbers or send any online payments.

If you receive spam from what seems to be a genuine company such as Vodafone or perhaps or, the first thing to consider is do you have an account with them already? If the answer is “yes” then we can move on to the next step. If the answer is “no” then its likely that you can ignore the message and delete it if its not useful to you.

Look at the FROM address and see if it looks familiar or that the bit after the @ sign is genuine. So for example, you might get an email from If your Vodafone email comes from anyone other than a Vodafone address, then its likely going to be some kind of spam.  I say likely as some legitimate companies will use a third party to deliver their marketing email. If in doubt, delete it.

If the FROM address looks correct then look at the copy of the email and see if there are any links present. If there are, don’t click on them, but if you hover your mouse cursor over the link, in many email programs it will show you the real address that you’ll be visiting and if this looks dodgy, don’t click on it! On a mobile device its a little different as you cannot hover your mouse, but I’ve founds that if you press and hold on a link on an Android or iOS device, it will give you options such as how you wish to open the link. Its at this stage that you can look at the link before really “clicking” on it to determine if it looks legitimate or not. If it looks dodgy, close the window and delete the email.

Are there any obvious grammatical or spelling errors? If there are then this should be ringing alarm bells. Any legitimate company should be spell and grammar checking their emails before they are sent out to 100,000s of people.

Heres a good example. I recently received an email allegedly from regarding an unsuccessful tax submission. The email below itself looks quite professional, but the FROM address (marked with a red box) is not an address I’d expect this email to come from so my spidey sense is tingling. On closer inspection, when I hover (not click) on the blue text link, the address (marked in a green box at the bottom) is certainly not an address I’d expect a valid email to use.

The more astute among you will also notice some other interesting things in the image, namely that theres a bar running along the top (marked with a yellow box) mentioning “Paris”. This is displayed as I have a plugin which aims to tell me whereabouts an email has come from based on some invisible data within the email. Whilst this is not 100% accurate all the time, it does help with flagging emails that may not be genuine. This plugin is called “MailHops” for Mozilla Thunderbird, a really good email program from the same people who make the Firefox browser.

So adding all the evidence up, its incredibly likely that even if I would expect to get an email from regarding the submission of taxes, this specific email is not genuine and it can been sent to the bin.

Retro Gaming

I recall with fondness the very first time me and my sister received our first computer one Christmas Day in 1983. It was a Commodore 64 which came with one game called Cybertron Mission.

within 10 minutes we had the computer all set up on the TV and were playing the game.

When I reminisce about playing Cybertron Mission, a warm, vague mist descends and my memory tells me that the game was amazing with full colour graphics and 3 channel sound.

That feeling, more than the actual game itself is why I love retro games, after all many retro games let’s be honest are actually truly awful by today’s standards.

In the case of the Commodore 64, there was the delicious but agonising wait to save up enough pocket money to buy a new cassette from the local store. Then when you had the game in your possession it may have still taken many minutes to finally load into the computers memory. Ah the good old Commodore Datasette.

These days you can now emulate many old computer systems, such as the Commodore 64, Spectrum 48k, Amiga, Atari, even some of the more modern consoles such as the Wii and N64 can be readily emulated on modest modern computer hardware.

If the thought of retro games still gives you goosebumps, take a look at a project called retropie which uses a relatively inexpensive raspberry pi computer to emulate a whole range of old computer and gaming systems. Relive your mis-spent youth waggling your joystick to Daily Thompson’s Decathlon, or smashing the fire buttons on Galaga knowing that you’ll never need to insert an old 10p into the slot ever again.

Watch out for a future article where we will look into retropie in more depth, go through the install process and set up a retro arcade cabinet.

By admin / Hardware / / 0 Comments

What is a NAS drive?

NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. In other words some storage that is connected to your wired or WiFi network at home or in the office.

A NAS device is a dedicated mini computer consisting of one or more hard drives which are then set up so that your PCs, Apple Macs, iPhones and Android devices can see the space, save stuff to them and also pull stuff from them.

NAS devices for the home tend to be relatively small and quiet devices that sip power and are designed to run 24 hours a day, whereas large offices might have bigger devices mounted in specialist racks.

NAS devices can store any kind of file that you might store on a computer or mobile device and are ideal for use as backup devices when set up correctly, offering peace of mind if something goes wrong with your computer.

There are many makes and model size of NAS to fit all budgets. The Synology devices are some of our favourites as they tend to come with lots of additional software that you can install, much of it is free to enhance the capabilities of the NAS from a simple storage device to a complex security camera recording system for example.

There is another device type called SAN which might seem the same as a NAS at first glance, however SANs tend to be used in enterprise environments and operate in a different way.