Biggest tech flops of 2020

If you ever wondered if we really needed technology, 2020 was the year that proved it. Between the pandemic, working and schooling from home, and the ability to stay in touch for just about everything else, there were a lot of big wins that came from the tech world. But there were also a lot of fails that happened too. Here are a few of the biggest technology “oops” we saw for both programs and practices in 2020 that we’re glad have moved on.

Quibi

A star-studded debut followed by a spectacular flop was Quibi – Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s answer to creating a new kind of social media to compete with TikTok, YouTube and most meme creators out there. Promoting Quibi as a way to create and share “quick bites that tell big stories,” Quibi used big names to promote it including Steven Spielberg and Crissy Teigen. Unfortunately, even those big names couldn’t save Quibi, and it folded a mere 6 months after its debut.

Kristy CooperBiggest tech flops of 2020
read more

The top streaming services for 2021

It feels like every week a new streaming video service pops up, and after awhile it almost feels impossible to keep track of them, let alone figure out which one is best for you. Last year a number of major players like HBO Max, Peacock and Discover+ made splashy debuts, just in time for people in quarantine desperately looking for entertainment and distraction.

Established streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube remain solid choices for streaming, but if you like the idea of adding something new to your lineup, check out our list below highlighting some of the best options we could find.

Overall streaming service

It’s hard to pick out a “best” when it comes to an overall streaming service that fits almost all your needs, but for now many consider the Disney+ bundle to be at the top. The bundle comes jam-packed with a massive catalog of originals, popular franchises like Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel, as well as National Geographic documentaries, Hulu and all its content, and ESPN+. That’s a lot, so if you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all, this might be worth looking into.

Note: If you subscribe to the Disney+ Bundle, here’s a great guide from Gizmodo for how to get the most out of your subscription.

Kristy CooperThe top streaming services for 2021
read more

Coronavirus / COVID19 scams to watch out for

There’s an old saying, “Bad guys love bad times,” and the truth of this is shown in the proliferation of covid-related scams. Criminals know that we’re stressed out and distracted, and are trying to take advantage when our guard is down. There are the usual scams via email, robocalls, and smishing (phishing via phone texts). But there are a lot more that have gotten very creative, from roadside billboards to student loans and stimulus checks.

Here’s a list of some of the top scams to watch for that might pop up on your radar here in California. Needless to say, all of these contained links or other methods of contact that should never be used.

Remember: When in doubt, don’t click.

Kristy CooperCoronavirus / COVID19 scams to watch out for
read more

How Softcom compares to other local internet service providers

You’ve got choices – why choose Softcom? We’ve laid it out here with reasons why Softcom stands out from other internet service providers for the best wireless internet service in our area.

Installation & Service

When you call other companies to set up installation and service, you often have to wait two or more weeks before you can get on their calendar. Not with Softcom. Our headquarters and base of operations is based centrally where we provide our services. No long waits – in fact, most new customer installations and on-site services are scheduled within less than a week of inquiry.

Kristy CooperHow Softcom compares to other local internet service providers
read more

Watch out for “package delivery” scams

There’s a new form of phishing spam causing trouble lately and it’s coming in the form of text messages about package deliveries. Over the holidays there was a record amount of people shopping online while adhering to pandemic stay-at-home orders. Many companies offered the option of sending updates about packages by text, while big shipping companies such as Amazon, UPS, USPS, and FedEx, also would send texts (if you opted in) to let you know the package status, even providing links to track the package progress.

Kristy CooperWatch out for “package delivery” scams
read more

What the shutdown of 3G internet means for you

When AT&T announced that they would be shutting down 3G, and Verizon followed suit soon after, a lot of customers panicked. Many people with older devices that work on 3G technology wondered if they were going to be left without access. Due to the outcry, both companies have slowed down their timetables, but 3G will still be phased out as newer and faster 4G and 5G become the standard. As Softcom customers, we wanted you to understand what this is about and how it might affect you.

What is 3G Technology?

According to national statistics, only around 5% of phone users still rely on a 3G connection. 3G, which first arrived in the early 2000s, refers to the “third generation” of wireless mobile telecommunications technologies. Much of what we recognize as the modern cell phone network was built on 3G technology.

Kristy CooperWhat the shutdown of 3G internet means for you
read more

What you need to know about new coronavirus strains

Over the past few months, new variants of the coronavirus have started to emerge from the U.K. to South Africa and Brazil. A new strain recently discovered in California might be behind why our state experienced such a dramatic surge in numbers over the holiday season. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, researchers found the new strain while looking for signs that a highly transmissible variant from the United Kingdom had established itself here. Instead, they found a new branch of the virus’ family tree with distinctive mutations that may have helped it to spread faster.

Scientists are still studying what the differences are in these mutations, and how they affect us, the general consensus is that while none of the new variants have been associated with new or different symptoms, the differences may be seen in the way they spread, making it very important to stick to protocols set up to help stop the spread.  

Kristy CooperWhat you need to know about new coronavirus strains
read more

How National Weather Service bandwidth issues might affect your phone’s weather app

If you’re used to checking your phone every morning to see what the weather is, that might change in the future due to bandwidth issues, according to the National Weather Service. In a recent statement, the NWS shared that as their data budget is hitting a ceiling, and demand for access continues to grow, they may have to consider throttling the amount of users who can access their essential forecast data.

According to their statement: “As demand for data continues to grow across NCEP websites, we are proposing to put new limits into place to safeguard our web services. The frequency of how often these websites are accessed by the public has created limitations and infrastructure constraints.”

For the past decade, the National Weather Service has been struggling to find the best and most efficient ways to disseminate critical forecast and warning information. According to an in-depth look at this problem by the Washington Post, the combination of increased data collection and demand for access from private companies and hobbyists has created a bottleneck that at times has crashed NWS websites.

Kristy CooperHow National Weather Service bandwidth issues might affect your phone’s weather app
read more

The Best of Softcom in 2020

This year was definitely one for the books. But the bottom line is that we stuck the course, stayed true to our mission of putting our customers first, and continued to provide the best service we can. So as we say goodbye to 2020, we thought we’d take a look back at the best we shared. Miss anything? Here’s your chance to catch up.

Online safety and security

We’re always looking out for our customers and community, so we often share articles that not only give you knowledge to understand what’s going on out there, but information to take action to protect your home, family and business.

Kristy CooperThe Best of Softcom in 2020
read more

How routers sold at Walmart, Amazon and Ebay might be leaving you vulnerable to hackers and fraud

We post regularly about the importance of staying up to date on security knowledge and practices for everyone in your family who uses the internet. We even have a whole section of our blog dedicated to it that you can access by clicking here. Today, we’re sharing with you recent news of how some routers sold at Walmart, Amazon and Ebay might be leaving you open for hackers and fraud.

In a collaboration between CyberNews Sr. Information Security Researcher Mantas Sasnauskas and researchers James Clee and Roni Carta, suspicious backdoors have been discovered in a Chinese-made Jetstream router, sold exclusively at Walmart as their new line of “affordable” wifi routers. This backdoor would allow an attacker the ability to remotely control not only the routers, but also any devices connected to that network.

Kristy CooperHow routers sold at Walmart, Amazon and Ebay might be leaving you vulnerable to hackers and fraud
read more