Online Learning and the Technology in your Home.

A few weeks ago a customer called Chris and asked him how his kids would be able to get any schoolwork done given the school districts movement towards Online Learning.  As a single parent who works in an office, he’ll have to bring his children to work. The problem with that is they won’t be able to access the corporate network to connect to the internet. Chris recommended that he get a stand alone Hot Spot from his cellular company and bring that with him to work.

Another customer called last week. He was concerned his grand-kids would have to scrounge for computer time on their mom & dad’s computers to do their school work.  He decided to order a new computer for the older grandchild and re-purpose an existing machine for the younger one. This way they’ll both be able to log into their classes individually.

Online Learning at Home

Since Boulder County has decided on 100% at home learning because of the coronavirus, many parents are struggling with how they can best provide the technology resources their children will need. (In addition to all the other issues they’re dealing with!) Many other school districts all over the US are making the same decision. Parents throughout the country will have similar struggles.

Here are some of our Online Learning Recommendations for Families:

  1. Find out if your cell phone has hot spot capability. If it doesn’t, call your cellular carrier and get it turned on. (After asking about additional costs, of course.) That way if tHot spot for Online Learninghe WiFi in your house goes out, you (or your children) can still have access to WiFi via your cell phone. (You’re generally only allowed to connect one other device to your phone via its hot spot.)
  2. Consider getting a cell phone or separate hot spot from another carrier. That way if your carrier is down, you can still get online. With an independent hot spot, you can connect multiple devices.
  3. Is the WiFi adequate in the area where you’ve set up the desk for your kid to do school work and get online? Consider moving your router for better coverage, or getting a mesh router for greater coverage. Here’s a recent article about fixing your slow WiFi, or this one – Why Doesn’t My WiFi Work?
  4. Keep your laptops plugged in as much as you can. If there’s a power outage, you’ll be glad for those extra hours of “juice”.
  5. You might also consider an Uninterruptible Power Supply. It’s essentially a spare battery that gives you an additional half hour or so of power. If you plug your router and modem directly into the UPS, you’ll have some extra WiFi time, and it’ll give you time to get stuff saved on your desktop.

How can Geek For Hire help you?

  • If you’ve decided to upgrade your Router or will be adding a  new Mesh Router, let us know if you need help setting it up. Definitely call for help if you want to add separate bands for you and other users.
  • Gail was able to connect her new Verizon Jetpack Hotspot to her phone and tablet without help from Chris. She thought it was relatively straightforward. Connecting to her laptop was another story! Let us know if you need help with that.
  • Let us know if you’re thinking of getting a new machine. Chris routinely gets 35-50% discounts with Dell, and they’ve got some that are appropriate for your children. (Or get a new one for you and give the kids your hand-me-downs.)

Good luck this semester! In case you’re interested, here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

Watch Out For Scams:

  • Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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How Do I Fix My Slow WiFi (Internet speed)?

I keep having friends ask me what they can do about their internet speed. “How do I fix my slow WiFi?” they ask, or “I’m starting a new job, and I’ll be working from home. How do I know if my internet will be sufficient?” or fill in the blank with your own questions!

First, to fix your slow WiFi, what is your actual internet speed?

Head over to SpeedTest and run some tests.

Distance from Router Date & Time Download Speed
Computer with WiFi
Computer plugged into the modem
Phone with WiFi Next to Router
Tablet or Phone with WiFi Away from Router
Phone with cell signal

Does Your Internet Speed match what you expect?

If you have slow WiFi sometimes, but the speed is fine at other times, check with other members of your family. Is someone downloading a big file? That can skew your results.internet speed

Do you know what speed you are paying for? Look at your internet bill or call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to find out.  While you are on the phone with them, also ask what the maximum speed that is available for you and what the additional cost would be to upgrade.

For example, the maximum that our ISP can provide us at our location is 12 Mbps. If your computer is connected directly to the router, you should receive the speed you are paying for. Using WiFi, the speed will be degraded somewhat. For me, using WiFi, both my computer and phone averages between 9 and 11 Mbps.

Of course, you always want it to be blazing fast, but a small decrease in measurable service of 10% or so is acceptable.

If your speed is well below 15% of the rate you are paying for, do the test numerous times. Keep track and write down your results, time of day, distance from the router, etc. If it persists, call your ISP, report your results, and ask them to get it fixed.

Remember that with more people working from home and with kids learning at home, overall connection speeds are down. Try to negotiate for a discount if your ISP can’t provide the service speed they promised last year.

What Your Results Mean:

If your WiFi speed is adequate next to the router, but not so good as you move away from it, you may need to get a new router with a wider range.  For a larger home, consider a mesh router. Keep in mind that brick, stone, and metal are not good conduits for the WiFi signal.

If your WiFi speed is bad, regardless of where you are in your house, you’ll need to call your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for help.

If your internet speed is terrible while connected directly to your modem, it’s definitely your ISP.

You can also check Downdetector to see if your ISP has run into more widespread service issues.

What to do:slow wifi is frustrating - here are some suggestions to fix it

Technology has changed a lot in the past few years, so if your router is more than 4 or 5 years old, it’s probably time to get a new one.  If you’ve determined with the activities above that the problem is with your router, it is definitely time to get a new one. (Here’s a link to Chris’ recommended routers and modems.)

If you’ve determined that it is a problem with your ISP, get them on the phone. And if the data shows that your router is fine, don’t let them blame your slow WiFi on the router! (Yes, they will try that.)

If you have an off-brand modem, your ISP will also blame any problems on that as well. Chris recommends getting the router that your ISP will sell to you. For example, our ISP is CenturyLink, and we purchased our modem from CenturyLink. This gives them one less thing to blame your WiFi speeds on.

When you call your ISP, give them the data you’ve collected. Let them know how long the problem has been going on. And be prepared to wait on hold for a while. If they do need to send someone out, be prepared to wait a week or more for your appointment.

Other Hints for slow WiFi:

Watch Out For Scams:

  • Remember to stay clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Right now there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Please follow and like us:

Facebook Hacking is on the rise! (It’s not your imagination.)

This is short and sweet – 5 steps to keep you safe from Facebook Hacking. If you want more tips, please sign up for our emails.

Chris has been getting a lot of calls recently about hacked Facebook accounts.  A lot of the Facebook hacking starts when you click on a video that a “friend” sent you via Facebook Messenger. It is most likely that your friend’s account has already been compromised, and it is the Facebook hacker sending you the video.

What to do:facebook hacking

Here are Chris’ suggestions if your Facebook account has been hacked:

  1. Change your password.
  2. Change your security question(s) and answers (in case they were reviewed by someone else).
  3. Log out of all locations where you are logged in.
  4. Confirm that your recovery email address and your mobile phone number is still yours and not set to someone else’s.
  5. Tell your friends not to open any videos or any other links that you have sent.

Doing this will help you keep your account yours after you change your password.

Facebook Hacking via Messenger:

It seems like we are all using social media more now than we did even a month ago. Try not to send any links at all via Facebook Messenger for the time being.  If you do get a video (or other links) on Facebook Messenger, don’t click on it right away. Instead, send an email to your friend confirming that they sent the video.

Facebook Hacking Service:

I also did a quick Google search to see what other advice is out there to make your account more secure. Boy, was I surprised when I saw links to a Facebook Hacking Service and an ad to Hire a Facebook Hacker!

Online Security:

Finally, we recommend ESET to keep ALL of your devices safe online.

Other Hints:

  • Also, please remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.
  • Likewise, there are a lot of scams out there. Read our article about Covid19 scams.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

INFORMATION ABOUT GEEK FOR HIRE, INC.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

Here’s a link to our Covid19 Policy.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Please follow and like us:

Coronavirus Scams

We thought we just had to worry about phishing scams! But, whenever there is lots of news and alarm about a subject, the scams are sure to follow. It’s no different with Covid19, aka Coronavirus scams. Now is the time to be extra vigilant about the emails, texts, and phone calls that you receive.

Email – Coronavirus Scams:coronavirus scams

For emails, follow our standard guidelines.

  • Never open an unexpected attachment.
  • Never reply to the email if you have any questions about its legitimacy.
  • Never call the number that is listed on the email. Call or email the company with the contact information you already have.

You can forward the email to us too if you’d like our opinion about it.

Phone Call and Text Scams:

One common coronavirus scam is someone pretending to be your insurance company.

If anyone calls or texts you about your health insurance or other financial matter and says you need to provide your credit card FOR ANY REASON, confirm:

  • what company they are calling from
  • what the person’s name is
  • how you can get back in touch with them
  • you should also make a note of the number they are calling from
  • if they hang up rather than answering your questions, give yourself a pat on the back.

Next, call the company on a number you already have for them in your contact list. Ask them if this is a real problem. If it is not, report the scam. Provide them with all the information you have obtained.

Online Link Scams:coronavirus scams

Continue to be careful with online links as well. There will be folks out there that want to take advantage of a crisis.

Remember to stay well clear of shortened links unless you know without a doubt where that link will take you. That includes most bit.ly and owl.ly links. Here’s a recent article about short links.

Need Help?

Call or email us if you want a second opinion on any emails you’ve received. You can also take a screenshot of any text messages and send that to us as well.

And, of course, you can’t wash your hands too frequently! Stay safe and healthy.

Information about Geek For Hire, Inc.

I’ve created a Free Report to protect you from “phishing” scams. Click here to receive it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free and fast shipping.  With Prime, we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30-day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Please follow and like us: