How Softcom is responding to COVID-19

To our friends and customers,

First and foremost, we want to send you our wishes for the health and safety of you and your family, and our thanks for your continued patronage.  As a company, Softcom is adjusting to these unprecedented circumstances we face as a community, a nation and the world. We know that the service we provide is essential during these times, and we are committed to continuing to serve our customers in a safe and responsible manner in our offices, in your homes and businesses, and throughout our community.

As a result of shelter in place directives issued by the State of California, more people are working, learning, and entertaining themselves at home and finding their need for fast and reliable internet increasingly essential. Due to increased demand we are experiencing a dramatic number of new customer sign-ups and existing customer upgrades.

Kristy CooperHow Softcom is responding to COVID-19
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NYT Investigation Unveils Shocking Smartphone Tracking Practices

Most of us have wondered, at one time or another, if smartphone tracking is being done to us. Truth is… it probably is!

The New York Times released an interesting, in-depth investigation about who is tracked in the United States via personal smartphones and how much of that information is out there for public use. The answer? Everyone is tracked, no matter where they are. And all of that information is available to pretty much anyone who knows how to access it.

This all started when an anonymous source gave the Times a massive file showing location tracking data for more then 12 million phones from around the country that accurately showed where, when and for how long individuals visited places ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

From the Times report:

“In the cities that the data file covers, it tracks people from nearly every neighborhood and block, whether they live in mobile homes in Alexandria, Va., or luxury towers in Manhattan. One search turned up more than a dozen people visiting the Playboy Mansion, some overnight. Without much effort we spotted visitors to the estates of Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger, connecting the devices’ owners to the residences indefinitely.”

Kristy CooperNYT Investigation Unveils Shocking Smartphone Tracking Practices
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How the streaming wars will affect your viewing habits

A war started last year that may have escaped your notice. The players: Netflix, Hulu, Disney, Prime, Apple and more. The issue: A full-scale battle for your attention, in what’s being called the “streaming wars.” Options are increasing, pricing and platforms are changing, and some of your favorite shows are bouncing from one service to another. Here’s a quick overview of what’s going on and how it can affect you.

Costly, contentious, and with all the drama of the latest Kardashian scandal, the streaming wars are what you see happening as various studios, media giants and tech companies are trying to position themselves to become long-term essential streaming platforms. Low-cost subscriptions, mega-budget original programing, and non-stop jockeying for who gets licensing rights for popular shows like The Office, Seinfeld, and Friends are just a few of the moves that are being used to try to stay on top. Too many options can equal viewer fatigue, and streaming companies know that they need to rise above the crowd when households decide they want to only deal with a few at a time.

Kristy CooperHow the streaming wars will affect your viewing habits
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Home office tech fails – and how to avoid them

Working from a home office has a lot of perks, but if you don’t set up your technology correctly or follow certain safety protocols, you risk annoying, expensive, or even disastrous consequences. Here are some of the most common tech fails that occur in home offices – and what you can do to avoid them.

1.    Not backing up

Set up frequent, regularly scheduled automated backups for your data, so you don’t have to remember to do it manually. This is especially important if you run a small business or are a solo entrepreneur with no IT department to handle this issue. A crashed website, lost client files, missing financial records, etc. can harm and even destroy your reputation and possible your career. There are a wide variety of backup options available to fit every size of business and every budget out there.

Kristy CooperHome office tech fails – and how to avoid them
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How Facebook’s recent hacks affect us all

Stolen passwords, illegal hacks, election fraud – this may sound like a crime drama, but what we’re really talking about here is a short list of Facebook’s recent troubles. With more than 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users around the world, even if you’re not using Facebook it’s very likely that someone in your home or part of your family is. And the troubles that Facebook has been going through highlight the importance of protecting your information no matter what you do online.

Kristy CooperHow Facebook’s recent hacks affect us all
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Softcom mythbusters: Real truths about rural internet service

You may think you know your internet, but much of what is passed about as truth is often out of date or even pure fiction. As the premier provider of high-speed internet service for rural communities in Central California, we thought it was time for some debunking.

MYTH: With unlimited plans I get the speeds I’m promised

While other carriers offer unlimited plans and super-high speeds, there are hidden limitations that can affect what you really get. Data may be unlimited, but speeds are not guaranteed. Only a certain amount of data per month is guaranteed to be delivered at 4G LTE speeds.  As of March 1, 2017, Verizon / AT&T caps it at 22 gigabytes; T-Mobile at 28 gigabytes. After you go over your 4G LTE cap, you are eligible to be “deprioritized” for the remainder of your billing cycle and your connection reduced to “3G speeds.” We know this can be confusing, so we’ve provided the information you need in this article, “The hidden limitations of unlimited plans.”

Kristy CooperSoftcom mythbusters: Real truths about rural internet service
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How the internet can help cut down on screen time

As the days get shorter and nights get longer, you might notice an increase in your family’s screen time. While epic gaming and binging Netflix are OK now and again, too much time staring at a screen can be damaging for everything from health to mood to even relationships. Technology may seem like the culprit here, but there’s no need for a full digital detox. We’ve rounded up a few easy alternatives for using the internet that can entertain, educate and improve your life – all without staring at a screen.

Kristy CooperHow the internet can help cut down on screen time
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The Overlooked Advantages of Softcom

Our ability to provide strong and speedy internet connections is about much more than just towers and techies. We’ve got a lot going on behind the scenes that helps us stand out from the crowd. From in-person customer service with people who feel like family, to no-tricks contracts and super-speedy installation, we go the extra mile to give our customers the very best.

We invite you to take a peek behind the curtain at a few of the things that make our internet services for rural homes, businesses and communities stand out:

Super-Speedy Installation and Service: There are definitely benefits to having our headquarters and operations based centrally where we provide our services. No long waits – in fact, most new customer installations and on-site services are scheduled within a week of inquiry. Need help? Just give us a call. Software fixes and upgrades are often accomplished remotely, within minutes, and without appointments.

Kristy CooperThe Overlooked Advantages of Softcom
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How to lower your electricity bills this summer

Summer’s heat can be fun when you’re heading to the beach or out for a picnic, but not so much fun when it comes to utility bills. It makes sense that as energy use goes up during the summer, so does your bills. That’s why we’ve put together this list of easy ways to save energy while still enjoying your summer. URL

#1: Watch for energy vampires

Energy vampires are appliances or other devices that slowly drain small amounts of electricity, even when not in use, that add up over time. Things like toasters, coffee makers, and digital photo frames are a few examples. Just turning them off doesn’t do the trick. You must unplug them when not in use to stop the energy drain.

Kristy CooperHow to lower your electricity bills this summer
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How summer heat can affect your internet

Summer heat – it wilts flowers, melts ice cream, and makes your internet stop working. Two of these statements are true, but the last one not so much. While summer heatwaves can affect your internet, it’s not a common issue and usually easily addressed. Here’s how heat can affect internet connectivity, and what to do if you suspect the heat’s wilting your online connection.

One common issue during heatwaves are blackouts or brownouts from overloaded electric grids. Electricity powers the towers that provide your internet signal. Electricity also powers the routers and computers you use to receive those signals. Unexpected power outages can negatively affect all of the above. High tech operating systems are complex and in normal conditions when they are shut off will go through a standard shutdown sequence to make sure all running processes have correctly terminated before powering off. A sudden loss of electricity can interrupt important signals and connections and cause systems to experience slow restarts or even leave them in an inoperable state that requires technical support.

Kristy CooperHow summer heat can affect your internet
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