Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Computer Class, September 2016

E-Mail  
There's really very little I can do here.  Some people got caught in Frontier's purchase of Verizon a few months ago and their email got shifted to AOL from Verizon.  Very annoying.  And I know some people have had the same addresses for years.  Short of getting someone on the phone or in a chat, it's really difficult to get your email back.  I even had an AOL tech hang up on me.  I'd recommend opening a Google Mail account and trying to import as much as possible from the old email account.

Facebook  
I don't use Facebook, but I'd strongly recommend people keep track of their passwords and change them occasionally.  I'd also say to be very careful about what games you play, some of them can contain malicious software.

ISP, WIFI, The Internet  
When you sign up for an Internet Service Provider, it's the same as signing up for water, or gas, or electric service.  The company brings the service to your home and then you decide how to use it.  Plugging in lights to wall sockets, connecting up gas dryers and ranges, running hoses for your garden.  The same goes for your ISP.  They bring "the Internet" to your home.  This shows up in the form of what is called a modem (it's really a network bridge) and then your computer is connected by a cable to that device.

Now, you can buy another device that sits between the modem and your computer (if your computer has a wifi device installed) that makes the connection wireless.  This is a wireless router. (There are wired routers but we'll ignore them for now.)  The router tells what packets of information to go to which computers.  Even if you have just one computer.

To recap:  cable to your home to modem to router to computer.  (Just like cable / sat TV.)

"Wifi" is just a term for wireless internet connection.  The range for wifi is about 300 feet, better routers broadcast farther or send a stronger signal through walls.

Some ISPs are Frontier, AT&T, Charter, Comcast, HughesNet.  Some of them will provide a combination modem/router device.  Some only provide a modem, others will provide a router for a fee (try to avoid this).  If your ISP provides a modem, you can buy router for about $60.  Netgear makes some really good ones that are really easy to setup.  Buy the best you can afford for the size of house or property you want to cover.

If the directions offer you the ability to change the network name (SSID) and password, do so.  Make sure you keep track of that information too.

You can make older desktop / tower computers wireless by installing a USB wifi device.  These are pretty inexpensive now and can add flexibility in placement of your computer.  You can put your computer almost anywhere you want.  I've even had computers setup in my my backyard (inside a plastic cabinet) for streaming audio and video.  I usually just use a laptop now.

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