Archive for June, 2012

How to Improve Your Wireless Connection

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

No longer are you chained to the desk to type on your computer, or need that printer stationed close enough to connect and it’s in the way. Wireless technology has given us the freedom of movement to utilize our devices wherever we want…as long as we are in range! The strength of your wireless connectivity will determine its success. There are some easy things you can do to improve your wireless connectivity.

Position Your Router Centrally

The strength of a wireless signal is limited and can have interference from walls or other large objects in the path between the device and the wireless router. Metal objects will also interfere with your router’s wireless signals. A central location is key to giving you the best range. Also, make sure your wireless router is passworded and has its own unique channel so it doesn’t get interference from others that may be in the area.

To Know About Your Antenna

The antennas provided with most routers are small and broadcast a signal in all directions, but the range is quite short. If you need to, change to a directional antenna that can improve range by focusing the signal in a specific way. It allows you to aim it where it’s needed. Another option is to use a wireless repeater to extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless router and your computer. You can get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength.

Try Changing the Channel

Did you know that wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels? In the United States the channels are 1, 6, and 11. You can get interference from other people on the same channel as yourself. If so, try changing your wireless router’s channel through your router’s configuration page. Your computer does not need any reconfiguring as it will automatically detect the new channel.

Have You Upgraded Lately?

If you feel your wireless connection is not functioning optimally check to see if there are any firmware updates. If so it can provide a performance boost and access to new features.

Tim Grier
Computer Magician
CET Computer Magic
704-677-3035

Firewire vs. Thunderbolt for Mac’s

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Connection speed and effective communication between devices  can vary depending on what you use. If you are a Mac owner the term FireWire (aka Sony i.Link or IEE 1394) may be familiar to you.  Thunderbolt is another revolutionary I/O technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port.

FireWire

The FireWire is a way to connect different pieces of equipment so they can easily and quickly share information. It has been around since 1995 and is very similar to the widely used USB (Universal Serial Bus). Some of the purposes of using FireWire include a faster transfer of data, added ability to put multiple devices on the bus and to have low implementation costs.

Did you know that if you have two Mac computers that are FireWire equipped, you can connect them so that one of them appears as an external hard disk on the other? This is called “target disk mode.” For more information on how to do this visit http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/8443.html

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is a peripheral-connection technology equipped on MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac minis. It has even faster speed, more flexibility, and is simple to use. Thunderbolt allows for high-speed connection of peripherals such as hard drives, RAID arrays, video-capture solutions, and network interfaces, and it can transmit high-definition video using the DisplayPort protocol. Each Thunderbolt port also provides up to 10 Watts of power to connected peripherals. It is a step above FireWire as it uses a single Thunderbolt port and cable to connect many peripherals. You can connect up to six devices to each Thunderbolt port by daisy-chaining them. FireWire devices can be used with it if you have the right adapter, but won’t make those devices faster. For more information visit http://www.apple.com/thunderbolt/

Tim Grier
Computer Magician
CET Computer Magic
704-677-3035

The Importance of Microsoft Updates

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

More than once I have had a customer call me with computer issues, one of the problems being they were not running their Microsoft updates and some unique challenges arose. It is important to run updates as they come out. Updates are published for a number of reasons and include required patches or updates to solve security problems in the software.  Some are optional, while others are critical updates.

If you don’t complete the required updates you are leaving your computer open to hackers. Take note that recent versions of windows (i.e. Windows 2000, ME, and XP) do have an Automatic Update feature. If you turn this feature on, the PC will check for, download and install critical updates at the scheduled time you set.  This eliminates the need for you to periodically check for updates yourself.

 

What types of Microsoft Updates are there?

  • Security Updates – Security update classifications include critical, important, moderate, low, or non-rated. Critical Security Updates will leave your computer or server extremely vulnerable to hackers and malicious code if they are ignored.

 

  • Critical Updates – The purpose of this update is to fix major Microsoft product issues that could cause software errors and other unexpected behavior. They pair with Security Updates and form the “High Priority” category of updates from Microsoft. Critical updates should be set to download and install automatically or be done manually if you prefer to initiate yourself.

 

  • Software Updates – This handles non-critical update issues such as added extended features and minor bugs.

 

  • Service Packs – Service Packs combine groups of patches to a specific date for a specific software or operating system. They also usually have additional feature changes (i.e. Windows XP Service Pack 3).

Tim Grier
Computer Magician
CET Computer Magic
704-677-3035