Enter Password Here

April 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


So many passwords…what should they be? Should I have CaPitaL letters? Numbers? Symbols? or all of the above?  Oh my!!! It’s enough to make a person scream in frustration!

Passwords are an absolute necessity. Most of the time they are required to make purchases online or access certain websites.  We also want to protect the information we provide online.  Let’s face it, we don’t want just anyone to get our personal information. On the news now, it’s not only security breaches that we hear about, but also how hackers are able to get into and access our personal emails.  It just never seems to end.

We need passwords.  We can’t get away from them.  We just need VERY strong passwords. What can we do to be proactive in this New Year to protect our personal information?

Here is a little secret…the more complex the password the better.  When you use different characters and lengthen your passwords, it becomes harder to figure them out.  Use the following example:

Hard                          H_ard                          H_a_rd                          H_a_r2d                          H_a_r2d!_2

Is this making sense?
How do we remember this?  Great question and thank you for asking!

1. Create your own pattern of letters, symbols, and numbers, etc. and create a rotation system.
2. Keep the list somewhere that is not accessible to anyone else.
3. Then when you update the passwords, update your list.  (Online hidden documents are perfect for this.)

Let’s be password superheroes, and make it harder for malicious cyber criminals to steal our information.

Cracking Web Browser Confusion

September 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 


Choosing a web browser that gives you the best browsing experience can be confusing and frustrating.  The four well-known browsers – Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari – are more or less similar.

As each company releases updates, differences among browsers become less distinct.  While one browser may load photos a bit faster, another browser may be more accessible through toolbar tabs.  Because of the similarities, your browser choice is less important than installing updates when they become available. Read more

Free Faxing? Not Really–But “Try It Free” Followed by “Low Fee”–Yes!

June 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

"Faxed" stampEven though most of us send and receive documents as email attachments, there are times   when a fax is necessary.  Unless you have a fax machine gathering dust in the corner, you might  think you’ll need to drive to the nearest office services firm.

Not so fast!  There are many online fax service options (also called email fax, internet fax, and digital fax).  Most offer a free trial followed by a reasonably low monthly fee, assuming you expect to be faxing documents somewhat regularly. Luckily there are also some review sites to help you compare features.

FaxCompare is one.  It provides an “apples to apples” comparison of six of what it deems “top providers of online fax services” for easy review, and links to reviews of almost 20 other services, providing information about standard features, costs, and services.

TopTenReviews is another. It compares eighteen online fax services, similarly comparing features, ease of use, customer service, and price and extra costs.

When comparing services, it’s important to identify your faxing needs and practices.  Do you need to receive faxes more than you need to send them?  Or vice versa?  Do you more often need to send faxes locally or long distance?  What size files do you typically expect to send or receive?  How many faxes?  Your answers to these questions will help you find the best fax services for your needs.

So, beyond a free trial period faxing might not be free, but costs are low, especially compared to a dedicated fax line or a gasoline- and time-guzzling trip to the “fax store”.

Decisions, Decisions: DSL or Cable?

April 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Millions of people worldwide connect to the Internet daily.  Most Internet users know the type of connection they have, few know the pros and cons.  How do you choose what is best for you and your family?

DSL or Digital Subscriber Line provides Internet service through telephone lines, sharing the lines with a phone company. Brought into a neighborhood by router-like access, DSL speed can vary depending on the service to which you have subscribed (the speed) and the distance the signal has to travel.  A person who lives closer to the access point, generally experiences a higher speed connection than a neighbor who lives near the outer limit of the DSL reach.

Cable broadband offers Internet access over the same cable lines that bring television to your house and does not fluctuate in speed according to distance.  Cable technology varies depending on the bandwidth assigned.  Bandwidth describes the amount of information that can be transferred at one time.  Therefore cable customers may experience a slow signal during peak times (generally evening) or on heavily trafficked sites.

Some users argue that you always get a faster speed with cable.  However, DSL has advantages with a dedicated line so you should experience a more constant and reliable Internet connection.

Bring On The Internet Speed

April 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Internet speed is a measurement of how fast information can be transferred from the Internet to your computer. Whether you can access dial up or broadband plans (cable and Digital Subscriber Lines – DSL), many factors affect speed.  Some of these factors include:

Too Many Users. Extremely high volumes of connections can affect the speed of your own Internet connection.

Malware, Spyware and Viruses.  Sometimes the files you download from the Internet can contain harmful software that can slow your Internet connection. Or, if your machine HAS a virus, this can dramatically affect internet browsing performance.  Automatic updates on spyware and virus scanning programs helps detect and remove viruses.

Placement of Modems and Routers. Modems and routers placed on top of your computer, near an electrical outlet, or next to wires (including networking, telephone line and cable lines) can sometimes cause the speed of your Internet connection to be slow.

Your Computer. Older computers that have not been updated or maintained may not provide the best experience.

Cookies. When you visit websites, your browser collects information, such as search behavior,  usernames and types of content. The information is stored on your hard drive in files known as cookies. Over time, cookies can affect your

Internet Speed. Deleting cookies, along with your browsing history, at least once a  month can help prevent this problem.

Wireless Routers. A wireless router makes life easy only when it is set up properly. Make sure it is known good brand and capable of broadcasting the the speeds you are paying for. Set up your router in a  central location. The closer you are to the router, the stronger and faster the signal will be. Setting your firewall properly will improve the speed as well.

Internet Variables. Actual Internet speeds will vary, depending on the distance the data travels coupled with how many servers it has to go through and the different speeds of each server. The amount of users transferring data in your location will also impact performance.

Amount of Memory (RAM).  With each program you open, you are using up memory, leaving less memory available to receive the data.

Processor Speed. The processor speed—or the speed at which your computer executes and transfers instructions—is the other aspect that defines the speed of the computer, as well as its Internet connection. If you have a high Internet speed, but don’t have a high enough processor speed, the computer won’t be able to execute instructions fast, resulting in a slower speed of Internet interaction.

6 Steps To Improve Internet Speed

March 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A healthy PC runs fast.  You can improve Internet speed by regularly running CCleaner, Defragler and  Spybot.  We recommend at least once a month.  Maintain at least 20 GB of free hard drive space and run virus and malware scans monthly.

When Internet speed suddenly decreases, try these steps to increase speed.

  1. Reboot your modem and router by unplugging the electric power, waiting a few seconds and then plugging them back in.
  2. Call your Internet Service Provider.  Sometimes they have outages or can detect and fix problems over the phone.
  3. Upgrade old router/firewall equipment. Outdated routers may be underpowered, and the router processor may be too weak to reach maximum speed.
  4. Check to be sure other programs are not running. To test this Click Start, Click Run. Type “cmd” (without quotes). Type “netstat -b 5 > activity.txt”. After a minute or so, hold down Ctrl and press C. This has created a file with a list of all programs using your Internet connection. Type activity.txt to open the file and view the program list.
  5. Open the task manager by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Open the process tab. Close the processes that may be using your bandwidth. There is a column with the User Name, and if that is “System”, do not close it.
  6. Check to see if somebody else is using the Internet on your home network. If somebody is watching video or downloading large files, there may not be sufficient bandwidth for other computers in the home.