The Tech Guy Blog

Wire Ethernet Cables Through Your Home

If you are renovating your house, try expanding your internet capabilities by putting Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cables. Especially if are ripping your walls out, or are able to drop cables through the gaps. While wireless is often more convenient, wired will always be faster. Online gaming, HD Netflix streaming, and video conferencing all benefit from more reliable Ethernet connections. 

Place Your WiFi Router Higher Up

Routers operate with invisible waves of goodness that enable internet access wirelessly. However, they have a hard time passing through pesky human bodies. Ideally, you want to put your WiFi router high up above the floor so that the waves go over the heads of people. And in a room hopefully not too far from where you use your laptops/tablets/phones.

Raise Your Bogosity Filter When Reading Emails!

Recently, there has been a stream of phishing scams that pretend to thank you for a recent payment...usually not too pricey but just large enough to be alarming ($500 or so). This aims to get you to call the scammer and give them your credit card number in order to reverse the "payment" that you never made. In reality, the bad guys are just trying to get your card number+CVV and charge it later. This should tingle your spidey sense and trigger your "Bogo filter" if you encounter a similar email in your inbox, so be on the lookout!

Export Your Old Mailboxes on a Mac

If you want to archive an old mailbox (such as AOL mail) and own a Mac computer, you can use Apple's Mail app to easily get your email off the ancient service. Select the particular address(es) you're targeting, then choose Mailbox, then Export Mailbox into the folder of your choosing. It will show up as a .mbox file and can be reopened in the Mail app when you need to search for something.

Apple or Android Phones?

Android & Apple

Everyone has a preference with what they want their phones to do for them. Some people like to have that flexibility and choice to do what they want with their phones; others prefer to not worry about that and have their phones do the work for them. Android & Apple devices are both good in their own rights on what you can and cannot do on them. You just need to decide what you're looking to do with your phone. Keep that in mind when choosing to go with either Android or Apple for your phone of choice.

Try Out Voice Control on Your Apple TV or Roku Remote!

If you own an Apple TV or Roku for your living room entertainment, try pressing the Siri/voice control button on the remote to find a show. Mention the movie/show and it'll find the streaming service where that title is available. Apple users with a HomePod can even go hands-free with a "Hey Siri" command, while people with a Roku Voice Remote Pro can yell "Hey Roku" if the slider is pushed to 'green' on the nearby device.

Don't Use Antivirus Programs on Your Mac

If you use a Mac, you do not need an antivirus service like Norton. They burrow deep into your operating system in an effort to protect your device, but they themselves might be vulnerable if not perfectly crafted. There aren't many macOS viruses, and anti-malware updates quickly take care of the few that pop up behind the scenes. Antivirus products will probably slow your computer down, sometimes considerably, in order to operate. In fact, Apple may have even blocked applications that dig so suspiciously deep into their OS.

Learn to Code With Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds is an educational tool for the Mac and iPad. It resembles a videogame and is available for free. The app helps kids (and adults) learn to code, even if they are total newbies. It uses the programming language Swift to create challenges for students to solve in engaging ways. Users start with "Fundamentals of Swift" and eventually move on to complex code for advanced concepts.

Assign a Recovery Email or Phone Number for Your Account

For important email addresses, make sure you have a recovery email or phone number set up. Email access is important, and if you forget your password, the service is going to need to contact you somehow. Treat email with respect, because losing the ability to log in can be devastating in many ways. Phone numbers can be used to get texts with an emergency 6-digit number (or something like that), which can help begin the new password process. If you don't have multiple email accounts, set one up with Gmail or another known service.

Wait About 4 Years Before Upgrading Your Phone

While it is easy to get caught up in the hype for a new smartphone, you don't need to upgrade with each new model. Especially as these devices can get expensive. The latest iPhone announcement is a great example of updates many won't find necessary. It's probably appropriate to wait about 3-4 years before upgrading your phone. It's also better for the environment to not throw out all those old electronic parts so frequently, though there's at least a decent market for used phones these days.