Friday, 29 November 2013

EoFTTC - A new internet solution which bridges the gap between ADSL, EFM and leased lines

The Next Generation Network is almost here with the exciting announcement of our newest internet product, EoFTTC (ethernet over fibre to the cabinet).

EoFTTC is delivered in a similar way to FTTC as is demonstrated in the following diagram;

The product itself gives a guaranteed un-contended and synchronous speed of up to 20Mbp/s, with the option of boosting the download speed to up to 80Mbp/s where the line length supports this. It also comes with a service level agreement.

The other great news is that EoFTTC is going to be widely available with;

  • 1,500 + exchanges enabled for EoFTTC 
  • 45,000 + cabinets enabled for EoFTTC 
  • 17 million homes passed, almost 70% residential coverage 
  • Strategically will follow Openreach rollout
The costs are yet to be announced but given that this product is being pitched somewhere between FTTC and EFM, it is safe to assume that it will be more expensive than £30 per month, but less expensive than £200 per month.

EoFTTC is great news for smaller business who require much faster upload speeds but cannot justify the expense of a leased line delivered on Fibre.

EoFTTC is officially launched on Monday, 2nd December 2013 so watch this space for all the updates.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

We're on TV........

...... well, not quite..... let me explain....

About 18 months ago we were contacted by a TV production company called Left Bank Pictures. They were moving into a temporary location in Leeds and setting up a production office for series 2 of DCI Banks. As such they required some internet and telephones, but only on a temporary basis as the shoot was to last for only 3 months. Most other suppliers they had spoken to were only offering a solution on a minimum 12 months contract term.

However, we were able to provide them with what they wanted, which was an ideal solution and saved them a lot of money.

Just recently they started work on series 3 of DCI Banks and as such, contacted us to request that we reactivate their services. We were more than happy to do this and in less than an hour they were all up and running again with 10 telephones and everyone connected to the internet.

Because everything went so well and without fuss, Left Bank have been kind enough to recommend us to two other production companies who have a similar (if not the same) requirements as Left Bank, and we are now supplying them too.

So we're now supplying internet connections and VoIP telephony to the production teams of 3 new television series, all of which will air in 2014. You might even spot a certain employee from CCS Leeds on the shows if you look closely enough, as he's appearing as an extra.....

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Best Free Online Storage Services

Most areas of the UK qualify for faster Internet connections these days and things are only going to improve. Because of this, the so called 'cloud' is becoming more and more viable. Many businesses are moving their data and applications into the 'cloud' because their own Internet connections are good enough to make access possible and workable.

Keeping data in the cloud means that there is always a remote backup, and it becomes accesable no matter where you are, so long as there is a decent enough Internet connection.

However, there are now many free to use 'cloud' services which are of some benefit for home users. What this means is that people can copy their important files, pictures and documents up to these cloud based storage locations thus removing the worry of something happening to their local hard drive, and potentially losing everything. And, many of these services are free up to a point. Here are some of the most popular ones;

Microsoft SkyDrive
SkyDrive dates back to 2007 when it was then released to a limited audience when it was known as Windows Live Folders. It allows up to 7GB of online storage free of charge but additional capacity can be purchased from Microsoft for £32 per year for 100GB.

Users who sign up to the service do need to have either a Hotmail or Live mail email account but again, these are free to use services.

Data can be uploaded or accessed by either downloading some client software (availabvle for just about every platform, including smart phones) or via a web broswer, so is extremely versatile.

It is also possible to created shared and public folders as well as secure and private ones.

Apple iCloud
iCloud is Apple's online storage and backup service for those people who have an Apple device with an associated account. It boasts 5GB of storage which is included free of charge.

Devices connected will automatically upload any setting, pictures, internet favourites and even text massages to the iCloud which means that it is easy to restorte a device from a backup or transfer all of this to a newly upgraded device.

Extra storage is available for £14 per year for 15GB, £28 for 25GB or £70 for 55GB.

Google Drive
Google drive is another great way of keeping information in the cloud and is a must for those people who use Gmail.

Like iCloud, it comes with 5GB of free storage and has a client for all popular devices, operating systems and amrt phones, including Android and iPhone.

Google Drive also work in conjunction with Google Docs, which means that if you're working on a project in a shared environment, then any changes will be replicated for all users automatically.

Additional storage can be purchased and there are a number of different plans.

Dropbox has been around since 2008 and is one of the worlds most popular free online storage solutions.

It is available to anyone and does not insist on a user having a specific email account.

It boasts a friendly and easy to use uinterface, can be accessed by eithe client software or a web browser and has private and shared folder options.

A stagdard account comes with 2GB storage which is free. More can be purchased but the account does get topped up if you refer a friend.

Amazon Cloud Drive
This is the newest of the bunch and like Google Drive, it offers 5GB of free storage.

However, unlike the others, as well as the data storage, it also has a free 'Cloud Player' service. This allows for up to 250 songs to be stored which can be then played back by any number of compatiable devices which are connected to the Internet.

Again, additional storage plans can be purchased for anything from 20GB right up to 1000GB.

In summary, this is just the start. Internet connections will become faster and more reliable and storage costs will come down, resulting in more space being availbe for less cost. Who knows, at some point in the future local data storage could become  a thing of the past.

One final thought - where is the 'cloud'?

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Should Internet Service Providers filter content?

Recent news reports are suggesting that four of the UK's major ISP's are planning to introduce content filtering on their domestic home broadband services. These measures are to be put into place so as to protect our children from the ever increasing amount of pornographic material which is popping up (if you'll pardon the pun) all over the net.

But is it the responisibilty of the ISP to filter this kind of content or does the buck firmly lie with the parents?

There are many software prducts on the market which do filter out webistes which have either 'adult' or 'dubious' content. Some are even free to download, and as a parent myself, I have to say that the free one I use is very effective as it asks for a password for any site which it's not sure about.  In the last 2 years we have not had any problems at all.

Of course even if an ISP does decide to set content filtering at a network wide level, there are always ways around it. One suggestion has been to do this at DNS level, a bit of a blunt hammer, but also very easy to get around with a variety of methods. However, we're not going to discuss or condone those methods in this article.

The big question though is, if this happens, then will it open the floodgates for further sensorship and moderation? Are we just one step closer to Orwell's 1984?

As an ISP, we will not be content filtering any of our broadband ADSL services!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

What is a DDoS Attack?

In the world of computer networking, a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) or a denial-of-service attack (DoS attack) is considered to be a malicious attempt to severely affect the performance of a computer or resource on the Internet, or to stop it from working completely.

There are many varied reasons why individuals or organisations carry out these attacks and also many different methods. For example, DDoS attackers may target their competitor’s websites, especially if it is an e-commerce site, they may also wish to disrupt news, financial organisations such as banks, and even DNS servers.

One way of thinking about how these attacks take place is to imagine a Call Centre, selling products, which has (for arguments sake) 50 incoming telephone lines. If 50 people called and got through, then all of the incoming lines would be busy, this would mean that nobody else with a genuine sales enquiry would be able to get through to buy something. In simple terms this is how a DDoS attack works, but instead of telephone lines, it hogs most or all of the available Internet bandwidth available to the computer or resource. In a nutshell it is all about limiting or disabling communication.

The good news is that there are several ways of stopping such attacks from taking place. However, varying levels of protection means varying costs, meaning that the most robust form of protection can cost a small fortune.

In the UK, denial-of-service-attacks are a criminal offence and can lead to a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Unlimited Downloads on ADSL and FTTC (BT Infinty) Packages

Finally the news you have all been waiting for........

Having a superfast broadband connection is brilliant, or so you would think? Well, it's great unless you have a download limit and many ISP's either charge more for going over the limit, or severely slow down the actual speed so that it becomes virtually unusable.

With speeds of up to 80Mbp/s, it is all to easy to reach the download limits within a matter of days, if not hours, and this is the casue much frustration for many customers.

But we are now delighted to announce that we have both residential and business packages which feature uncapped and unlimited download allowanaces. This means that you need never worry about any additional costs, or having your speed compromised.

The Internet is changing, as is the way we use it. More and more people are starting to use on-line streaming services such as Netflix and the BBC iPlayer, as well as many others which seem to be springing up every other week. As such, people need to be sure that their Internet connection is not going to let them down due to unrealistic restrictions imposed on them by their ISP.

So how much does it cost I hear you ask?

Well, it's not as bad as you might think. For a residential user, the price starts at only £32.99 per month for our super fast FTTC (BT Infinity) unlimited download product (up to 80Mbp/s download and 20Mbp/s upload), and that includes VAT. We can even provide a super fast and pre-configured wireless router for only £45 plus VAT to go with the service.

The business version is £49.99 plus VAT per month and includes a pre-configured wireless router in with the cost

What if we can't get FTTC?

If you need an unlimited download package, and you don't qualify for super fast broadband, then don't worry as we can still provide this option to you on standard broadband. There are 2 further options, LLU and standard ADSL.

The residential ADSL version costs only £23.99 including VAT and for business users it would be £33.99 plus VAT.

For LLU, the unlimited package is either £30 per month with a contention of 5:1, or £60 for a truly un-contended service.

If you have any questions about this great new product then please do not hesitate to give us a call and speak to one of our sales team on 0113 2946699.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Zoom ADSL X7N 5790 Super router

ONLY £45 Plus VAT (Includes UK Delivery)

We're delighted to announce that we are now authorised to resell these fantastic and very versatile little routers. They are ideal for just about any type of internet connection, be it for domestic or business use and even has wireless built in.

What is even more unique about these units is that they can be used for either standard ADSL services, it can also be used for BT Infinity (FTTC) and cable connections, as any of the 4 standard RJ45 network ports can be used as a WAN PPOE dialer. This means that along with it's standard RJ11 port for normal ADSL connections, it becomes an extremely versatile router.

However, the router with this version of firmware is only available from a few select suppliers, and CCS Leeds are lucky enough to be one of them. If you were to purchase the standard version of this router, you would still get all of these impressive features;

  • Combines an ADSL Modem and a 4-port Wireless-N Router
  •  Provides shared high-speed Internet to:
  • - WiFi® compatible wireless n, g, and b devices including computers, phones,
  • E-readers, and tablets; and
  • - Devices with an Ethernet port, including computers and game stations 
  • Supports up to 253 devices
  • Maximum ADSL download speed is 27 Mbps and maximum upload speed is 1.2 Mbps (3 Mbps for Annex M). Speed also depends on your ADSL service and your modem’s distance from your telephone company’s ADSL equipment.
  • WiFi® compatible 300* Mbps Wireless-N router has a firewall and other network safeguards
  • Wireless Distribution System (WDS) support for use with wireless repeaters
  • Works with all popular ADSL 2/2+ services, including Annex A, L, and M**
  • Broadcom ADSL and wireless-N technology enhance performance and compatibility
  • Built-in IPsec VPN Endpoint (Hardware VPN)
  • Supports IPv6 and IPv4 for powerful, flexible network addressing
  • Setup is fast and easy using any Web browser. User-friendly graphical user interface makes it easy to set any feature you like, even from remote locations.
The version which we supply, with a slightly different firmware (thus enabling the RJ45 ports to be WAN interfaces) presents these additional features;

  • PPPoE WAN Dialout (PPPoE over an Ethernet interface) with the ability to configure the WAN ethernet interface 
  • New IPv6 / PPPoA 
  • Add the ability to open and close common services such as FTP, Telnet, Http, etc through the WAN port for IPv6 
  • Remove the ability for the user to restore factory defaults from either the web page or the reset button. The reset button will only restore the default IP and the username and password 
  • The ability to turn on/off NAT and the SPI Firewall
Please note that we have thoroughly tested this product for a number of months now, and are confident that it delivers on all counts.

We will also offer bulk discounts for those resellers who wish to order these for stock items.

Please call for more details.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Client Testimonial

Hi there, apologies for not posting for a while - have you missed us? We have been really busy completing a few projects so had to concentrate on the business side of things, rather than keeping this Blog up to date.

However, here we are back now and delighted to have received a lovely testimonial from one of our new clients, namely Kexgill Student Accommodation.

We recently provided them with a leased line and wireless network solution at their site in Bradford, which is now providing a stable and consistently reliable internet connection to all of the students who reside there. Previously they struggled to maintain a connection which resulted in a lot of frustration, not only for the students but for the management team at Kexgill. For more information on how we achieved this technically, please watch this space as I will be writing a full case study on the project.

Here's what Richard Stott from Kexgill had to say;

“CCS recently upgraded our Bradford Hall student accommodation internet and manage it for us. As a student accommodation provider it was vitally important that the comprehensive upgrade was dealt with minimising disruption. All work was carried out within stated times and budget. We have been impressed with all aspects of their service. They do what they say they will do, that is important!”

Friday, 22 February 2013

Is it time to think about increasing your speed?

As time moves on, technology improves and we all embrace new developments in the world of IT.

The way we communicate changes too, with the increase of social networking being used for not only personal relationships, but as a way of promoting your business. These are very powerful marketing tools which everyone should embrace if they want to success and stay ahead of the competition.

It is also becoming clear that the Internet is vital to the way we do business, with many software applications and storage solutions being migrated to the 'Cloud'.

People now need the ability to access their information and documents wherever they happen to be as modern day living has created a demand for this kind of flexibility.

To this end, many businesses have invested heavily in their internet connectivity, often installing super fast and reliable leased lines, and quite rightly too. But over time their speed requirements grow and many have been fearful that the cost of doing so would be prohibitive. However, having looked at a few examples it might not cost as much as you think.

Take one of our customers as an guide. They're currently paying £300 per month for a 10Mbp/s an internet leased line. This guarantees them a synchronous and uncontended service , along with an excellent service level agreement. However, due to their business growth they now require much more bandwidth so as to cope with their additional staff and new cloud based software application.

So to cut a medium story shot, we upgraded them to a full 100Mbp/s, which is 10 times faster that what they  previously had, and what was the new price I hear you ask.........?

Only £500 per month.

Yes, you read that correctly - 10 TIMES FASTER for only only £200 more per month.

So maybe now is the time to be re-evaluating your requirements and asking your ISP (or preffereably us), to quote you for upgrading the speed of your internet connections so that it can give you what you need.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Loss of Internet - How it could affect your business

“The internet connection is down again and the company is losing money as we can’t process orders and get the goods / services out, plus without email, we have ground to a halt.”

How often has this happened? It’s more common that you may think as standard ADSL Broadband connections (which includes BT Infinity / FTTC) do not have any service level agreement to speak of – what this means is that your ISP does not have any guarantees in place, or obligations to get your internet working again within a given time frame.
How much money would your company lose if the internet stopped working for a day? In one example, a firm which employs 40 staff and sells most of its products online, the answer was a staggering £32,000 per day. Don’t forget, the loss is not just lost sales, it is made up of the following;
  • Loss of sales 
  • Paying staff wages for not being able to perform their roles 
  • Electricity 
  • Time spent reporting the problem and subsequently chasing for updates 
When the internet is so important, surely it is worth considering having the most robust connection that is available? The rental for a much faster, uncontended and synchronous leased line would cost far less per annum than £32,000 per day in loss of service, plus it would come with a service level agreement (SLA) which would also guarantee that it would be fixed within a given time frame, should there ever be an outage.

The way we all work is changing, and a lot of applications are migrating to the cloud, which means that it is now more important than ever that we ensure that our connection to the Internet remains as constant as possible. We also need the flexibility to be able to increase the speed of our connections, in-line with our business growth. In this day and age, many feel that standard ADSL and FTTC products do not give us the reliability or guaranteed stability which we require, and given that the cost of renting fibre is coming down, these options are becoming far more affordable.

You can find out more about leased lines by following this link to our main website.

If this is of any interest and you would like to know more, please contact us and speak to one of our technical sales team. Please note that our sales people are highly technical and not commission based, are only interested in giving you the right advice and providing you with the right solution based on your requirements.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

When is your broadband the fastest?

According to a new survey, if you're after the best possible speed from your home broadband, then the best time to log on is 4am. Chances are, at this time you will actually achieve the speeds as advertised by your ISP.

According to the net comparison site USwitch, the average speed for home broadband is around 14.83Mbp/s download, but this drops by 28% to 10Mbp/s at 9pm, due to a higher demand for TV streaming services such as Netflix and the BBC iPlayer.

The fastest area's of the country at peak time are Middlesborough and Swansea, which average out at about 12.8Mbp/s, and the slowest area's are Swansea and Aberdeen at only 6.1Mbp/s.

However, built up area's such as city centers  tend to suffer a higher percentage drop at peak times, due to there being a much higher demand for streaming services.

Of course these facts and figures only relate to 'contended' services such as ADSL products, whereas 'uncontended' services such as leased lines and EFM (Ethernet First Mile) are never affected and never would be.

Here at CCS (leeds), we can offer the best value options for any of these technologies, so if you're in the market for a high quality, uncontended and synchronous internet connection, then please do get in touch with us.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Oric-1 - 30 Years old this week

30 years ago, home computing was in it's infancy. With the Sinclair Spectrum less than a year old and not much competition from rival companies, the playing field was wide open for competitors to eat up a share of the market, assuming they had a product which could deliver.

But not only did the product and it's performance have to be comparable, it also had to be at an affordable price for the home user.  This is where Tangerine Computer Systems stepped in, who were asked by a number of their financial backer to develop a competitor to the Spectrum, a device which would be called the Oric-1. They formed a new company called Oric Productions International Ltd to develop the product.

On paper the Oric was slightly more appealing in almost every respect. Just like the Spectrum, there were 2 models to choose from - the 16KB or the 48KB, which were priced at £129 and £169 respectively, meaning that they were very slightly cheaper than the Spectrum computers.

The performance, reliability, sounds and graphics were also consider by some, to be a slight improvement. And as with the Spectrum and most other home computers of the time, data was loaded onto it via a tape machine which would be an external device, attached by a cable.

Initially the Oric-1 was a success, although they did not sell as many units as they would have liked. Regardless, the company went on to manufacture newer models until a series of unfortunate events led the company to stop production in 1987.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Bendy Mobile Phones?

One of the hot topics in the world of technology at the moment is the news that Samsung are gearing up to produce a new generation of mobile phones which can bend, are unbreakable and even be folded up so that they fit neatly in your pockets.

If the rumours are true then we could see Samsung shipping them sometime this year.

This exciting breakthrough has been made by using organic light emitting diodes (OLED's) which are so thin that they can be put on flexible material such as metal foil or even plastic.

The prototypes were unveiled at the CES gadget show earlier this month and ran the Microsoft Windows phone operating system.

Watch this space for more updates as and when they happen as this could be a game changer.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Deleting Personal Data from Hard Drives

Most of us store and create new personal data on a daily basis. Be it an on-line purchase, the addition of a new digital photo album, a Facebook post or a bank transfer - we're constantly writing information to hard disk drives, and we're doing it a lot more than you might think.

Data, as we know, is stored on a variety of storage devices, and most of what we store is personal, private and can include passwords which enable us to access many secure websites. The thought of this information getting into the hands of others could be catastrophic. Many people assume that if they manually erase this information, then it is wiped from the storage device forever. This is untrue.

The recycling of hard drives is good for the environment and many companies do this, innocent to the fact that when they format a drive (the act of supposedly wiping all the data from it), most, if not all of the data is still present, and can be accessed using 'off the shelf' data recovery software.

This was proven recently when an on-line security firm managed to retrieve a number of sensitive documents and personal information from a 'pre-formatted, ready to use' hard drive which was purchased from eBay.

Therefore it is important to understand that standard deletion / formatting will not permanently remove your important files and information. In actual fact, there are only really two methods of doing this, the destructive and the non-destructive way.

Firstly, you could physically destroy your hard drive by taking a hammer to it, setting it on fire, hiring a JCB and driving over it etc but this would clearly make it unusable and would also be a little over dramatic.

The other option would be to use some free software which would overwrite, overwrite and then overwrite again with a string of useless data, in order to completely remove any previous information being held on the drive.

In conclusion, I hope this article has been informative and helped people understand the concepts of deleting information, so as to hopefully protect their own private data from getting into the wrong hands. Please feel free to browse this Blog as there are many other useful articles on here to.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Not Enough Children Have Access to the Internet

A recent breakdown by the Office of National Statistics has revealed that over a third of the poorest children in England do not have access to the Internet from their own homes.

Now as we all know, the Internet is more than just a social media tool - it is also a valuable source of information, especially for school children who are often asked to research project on-line and in their own time, as part of their course work. This also applies to children as young as 6 years old (speaking from personal experience).

However, many families struggle to make ends meet as it is, and the extra monthly Internet cost is simply not affordable. This is causing a 'digital divide' between the poorest families and those who can afford home Internet and indeed a computer to run the thing on in the first place.

From a social perspective, lack of Internet can also have an effect on teenagers, often leaving them shut out from their peer group and certainly disadvantaged in their studies. At such an impressionable age it is bound to have a profound effect.

It's not all bad news though as there are charitable organisations set up who will provide drop in centres, which have computer and Internet access facilities. One local to CCS Leeds is the LS14 Trust, who operate a 'digital lounge' and are passionate about the local community.

The question is, given the enormity and importance of the Internet in today's digital age - should the government be addressing this issue and investing money into providing subsidised Internet connections for those who truly can't afford it?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Climate Friendly Data Centre

It's fair to assume that any Data Centre would consume a fair amount of power, considering that there are racks and racks of co-located server hardware, not to mention air conditioning, lighting and the general power consumption of the building itself. And, as a result of the high power consumption, some may suggest that this is bad for the environment.

However, there are things we can to to reduce the effect we have on the environment by investing in the most energy efficient hardware around. In an earlier article I discussed our 'eco-friendly' cooling systems, which are state of the art and the very latest in environmentally friendly ways of keeping our customers equipment at a low temperature.

We also use similarly environmentally friendly uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, which have been listed on the Department of Energy and climate (DECC) Energy Technology List (ETL). These two bodies encourage businesses to invest in only approved energy saving technologies.

Riello UPS Ltd who manufacture the UPS devices had this to say "Products undergo rigorous energy efficiency testing before being included on the list, so the qualification is testament to our team’s hard work and echoes our commitment to being Europe’s most environmentally friendly power protection company.”

So in conclusion, if you choose to co-locate your servers at our Data Centre in Leeds, West Yorkshire, then you can be sure that we have made every effort to be a friendly to the environment as possible, whilst also providing the very best in Data Centre services.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Raspberry PI / XBMC / First Thoughts / Install Guide

I was excited as a kid at Christmas this Christmas (ha) as I had ordered the very latest Raspberry PI along with a case, power supply and 4GB SD card, and I was itching to get my hands on it.

My original intentions were to push the thing to it's limits and explore all of the many possible uses for it. I did not order my SD card with a pre-installed operating system on it as I was fully aware that I could install anything I wanted at my own leisure.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas I had been researching and reading up on the potential of this tiny credit card sized computer, and was particularly interested in it's capabilities as a home media centre. Up to press I have been an ardent supporter of Apple TV however, the second generation is only capable of playing 720p content and whilst the third generation does support full 1080p, it is very limited in what it can do.

Therefore I set about finding out which would be the best media centre software to use on my new Raspberry PI, as I had read many claims that full 1080p video playback was supported via the on-board HDMI port. After extensive research it turns out that the hugely popular XBMC was the best way to go, and the best version was a completely free version called Openelec.

The installation process could not be simpler (well it could, but then I have been doing this kind of things for years). Here is a list of items which I used;

Raspberry PI Board
4GB SD Card
Power Supply
USB Keyboard
Windows 8 Computer with SD Card reader

SD Formatter
openELEC image

The first thing I did was to download a copy of SD card formatter for Windows. I then inserted the SD card into the reader, launched the formatting software and followed the instructions, carefully ensuring that I was formatting the SD card and not some other media attached to my PC.

Next up I launched the Win32 Disk Imager software which asked me for the location of my recently downloaded openELEC image, and where to write it to (i.e. the SD card). This process took about 4 minutes, if that and once it was complete, the final step was to eject the SD card from my PC, physically slot it into the SD card slot on the Raspberry PI, and then plug it into my TV and switch the thing on.

I'm very happy to say that it worked first time and before too long, I was controlling it via an iPhone remote control app (free) and watching 1080p video content streamed from my NAS device.

Additional notes

The device can be controlled by using a bluetooth Windows Media Centre remote. I picked one up for £12.99 and it worked first time without any messing about.

One down side is that the only way to switch the device off is to unplug the power source. That said, the thing uses hardly any power anyway and is completely silent as there are no moving parts. Additionally the board does not tend to get very warm which is also very encouraging.

Another slightly annoying point is that the software does not support every single video codec. In order to install the MPEG-2 and VC-1 codecs, you need to purchase them from the Raspberry PI store at a cost of £2.40 and £1.20 respectively.

Finally, it has to be said that using the Raspberry PI board in this way makes for an excellent and inexpensive media centre (less than £40 all in), and don't even get me started on the many more things you can do with XBMC - maybe I'll save that for a future article.

Going forward we do have some interesting plans for Raspberry PI users, which will include some FREE colocation offerings. Watch this space to find out more.