Today, 15 February 2013, asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly within 17,200 miles of earth. This is lower than the communications satellites that orbit 22,000 miles above the equator. The asteroid is about the size of half a football pitch and will not hit earth, and it is not expected to hit any satellites.

The best chance to see the asteroid will be after 19:26 with binoculars or telescope but will be a challenge to spot.

Talking of asteroids reminds me of a game we used to play at school back in the mid 1980’s on a BBC Microcomputer. We were supposed to be entering code to draw shapes on the screen or code like the example below to repeat text on the screen.

10 FOR X=1 TO 10

Classic asteroid game


Pretty simple stuff, but in those days when the processor speed was 2MHz, RAM was 64KB and we had up to 8 colors we were pretty impressed. Click on the image to the right and experience the classic asteroid game, it is free and no download is required. Use your cursor keys to fly your ship and the space bar to shoot.

The lowest specced machine I sell has a 2.5GHz processor, 4.0GB of RAM and 16.7 million colours and I am giving away free labour charges to the highest scorer of this classic asteroids game if they want to buy any of the computers in my range. Not looking for a new computer at the moment? Then how about 10% off labour charges for the next year.

For a chance of winning I want you to play a version of asteroids on the following link, asteroid competition, within Google Chrome and then using Google Chrome, print your best score as a pdf and email it to me by midnight on 28 February 2013.

For rules and conditions please read

Java Vulnerabilities

Java has been in the technology news recently after vulnerabilities were found in the latest release. Vulnerabilities in software leave computers open to attack, so it is important that the software on your computer is up to date.

But what is Java and why do you need it?

Java allows programs written in the java programming language to run on your computer. It works on multiple operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS or Linux and means that the programmers only have to write a program once and not worry about whether the user has a PC or a Mac computer, or be concerned with which browser is being used.

Java runs on more than 850 million personal computers worldwide, and on billions of devices worldwide, including mobile and TV devices.

Is your version up to date?

The easiest way to check is to go to and click on the verify java version button. Follow the prompts and install the latest version if needed. Clear the checkbox if you do not want the Ask Toolbar installed during installation.


A computer health check with us at Sig-ma is £50.00, we will give your computer a thorough clean and make sure it is running at its best, this includes removing unnecessary files and programmes, installing important updates and software patches.

Rogue Security Software

Rogue security software is a form of internet fraud that tricks you into paying money for fake removal of malware.  The software reports a number of infections and lures you into paying for a service or additional software to remove or fix these problems.

Example warning screen

Example warning screen


Fake warnings

Fake warnings

In most instances these infections do not exist but the software will disable methods of its removal and leave you open to further infections.

How did it get onto my computer?

The software relies on tricking you into believing you are infected and persuading you to install the software, this could be from an official looking window claiming viruses/malware have been found on your machine and encouraging you to click to remove them.

  • You can accidentally install them yourself believing them to be legitimate tools
  • They can be installed via browser plug-ins or extensions (typically toolbars)
  • An image, screensaver or file attached to email
  • Multimedia codecs required to play certain video clips
  • Software shared on peer-to-peer networks.

Some rogue anti virus software can be installed onto your computer without any interaction from you, these exploit security vulnerabilities in web browsers, pdf viewers or email clients to do this.

How do I protect myself?

Make sure your computer software is up to date, this means your operating system and any other software that you use.  Do you have up to date antivirus and antispyware software installed on your machine and run regular scans?  Install a firewall and keep it turned on and always use caution when you click on links in emails or on social networking sites.

Superfast Broadband in Yeovil, Somerset

Superfast broadband is the common name used for fibre optic broadband. The technology uses a fibre optic cable between the exchange and your nearest street cabinet which enables much higher upload and download speeds, this is known as FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet). The line from the cabinet to your home is still copper, copper performs just as well as fibre over short distances so you don’t suffer any decline in performance.

Yeovil’s exchange rollout date is listed as 31 December 2012 but the exchange has been accepting orders for a while now.

But what does this mean for you?

Depending on where you live in Yeovil it might mean nothing at all. Use the availability checker here to see if you can get superfast broadband. Not every house will be able to get it, some of the reasons are listed below:

  • Your phone line might be connected directly to the exchange and not the street cabinet
  • You might be too far from the street cabinet to get a stable service
  • The street cabinet might not be suitable for fibre optic cables
  • Council planning permission might not be in place to do the necessary work to the cabinet yet.

If you can, then your package choices are ‘up to’ 40Mbps or ‘up to’ 80Mbps. These speeds are theoretical maximum speeds and are not guaranteed as there will be factors that prevent these speeds being attained, e.g. distance from street cabinet. Your minimum acceptable speeds should be 15Mbps or 30Mbps.

If you connect wirelessly you may be limited to a maximum of 54Mbps if you are using wireless ‘G’ technology. Upgrade to wireless ‘N’ to take better advantage of the internet speeds available.

In areas where FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) is available, speeds ‘up to’ 160Mbps are available and to take full advantage of this you will need to be connected via a Gigabit Ethernet port. If connecting via a cable is not convenient then it is especially important that you use equipment that supports the wireless ‘N’ standard.

Money for Nothing

We have all seen or heard the warning of ‘If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’ but what if it is true.

I am going to recommend two websites to you, one will pay you a cashback amount on your online purchases and the other will give money to charity, both at no cost to you.

The first is TopCashBack and the link is TopCashBack. This is actually a referral link from me and yes, if you use it, sign up and use TopCashBack I will receive a fee. This doesn’t come out of any of your potential earnings and this is not the reason for this blog entry.

So, how does it work? Simple really. Rather than ordering an item, or signing up to a service or financial product, over the phone or directly through a retailer’s website, if you go to the retailer or provider via a cashback site you’ll receive a percentage of the cost of your purchase back into your cashback website account. Over the course of a year, this could amount to hundreds of pounds. TopCashBack get a commission for purchases you make at around THREE THOUSAND major retailers and pass this all back to you as cashback. How can they do this? The site is supported by the adverts and sponsored links which are clearly labelled as ‘zero cashback’ throughout the site. If any of their members ever click a sponsored link, then that helps to support the site. Merchants, and their tracking agencies, are also prepared to pay them bonuses from time to time.

For any online purchases that will not earn you cashback I recommend using GiveAsYouLive. It works in the same way but the ‘cashback’ is paid to a charity of your choosing.

In three months I have been paid £89.46 by TopCashBack and have raised £2.06 for the Woodland Trust via GiveAsYouLive, all for services and items I was buying anyway.

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Company Info

Sig-ma is a computer repair company based in Yeovil, Somerset. 

We offer professional, affordable services to businesses and home users alike.

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