When is it safe to allow software updates for your tech

As technology ages, so does its software. That means to keep your computer, phone, tablet and smart devices running smoothly, their manufacturers will issue software updates. These updates are sent out for a number of reasons, including security patches, fixing known bugs, and additional functionality.

Some updates are mandatory and automatically download. Other times, though, you are presented with a choice. While generally you want to allow these updates, it’s not always a good idea to update right away every time. Here’s a quick guide to know when it’s’ safe to update – and when you should delay.

Security Updates:

IT specialists generally advise that anything marked as a security update is safe to apply as soon as possible since it has been dispatched to fix either an active or recently disclosed security vulnerability which can affect your devices.

Kristy CooperWhen is it safe to allow software updates for your tech
read more

How much screen time is good for kids today

The technology children have access to today is changing their world, giving them access to endless information and opportunities. But there’s a downside, too, that adults need to be aware of. When children are always looking at screens, it’s very easy for them to forget about other fun, healthy, or educational activities they can experience in “real life.”

This question is very timely when it comes to children: How much screen time is good? And how much is too much? First, let’s define what screen time really means.

What counts as screen time when it comes to kids?

Screen time is the amount of time a child spends using a device with a screen such as a TV, computer, gaming console, tablet, virtual reality headset, or smartphone.

Kristy CooperHow much screen time is good for kids today
read more

We’re here to stay! (our response to fake news about Softcom)

We have been made aware that another company has been reaching out to Softcom customers recently and making false statements about Softcom’s state of business. This is a blatant attempt to falsely try to scare our customers into switching service providers.

These statements include (but are not limited) to the following:

  • Softcom is going out of business
  • Softcom “wants out”
  • Softcom “is in trouble”
  • (another company) is taking over Softcom

We want to be crystal clear:  these statements are 100% false.

>> Our company is financially sound.

>> We are not going out of business; in fact, we are in the midst of a multi million-dollar equipment upgrade to our entire network to be able to offer speeds of several hundred megabits per second to most of our service area. (In fact, we’ve been posting regularly about this on our blog and social media about new cutting-edge equipment, and the realities of what other pop-up ISPs actually provide when compared to us.

Kristy CooperWe’re here to stay! (our response to fake news about Softcom)
read more

What are NFC payments and are they safe?

Curious about how people pay for things with just a tap of their phone? It’s called NFC payment technology and it’s actually easier and safer than many people think. NFC stands for “Near Field Communication.” It allows devices within close proximity (usually 2-4 inches apart) to interact and exchange information. NFC technology is used in contactless cards, mobile phones, card terminals and other payment devices.

Kristy CooperWhat are NFC payments and are they safe?
read more

President Biden’s executive order puts net neutrality back in the spotlight

On July 9, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, and in it there were several provisions relating to ISPs and net neutrality. The executive order calls on US agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to implement 72 specific provisions. The topics include restoring net neutrality provisions repealed during the prior administration and increasing scrutiny of tech monopolies.

The order also includes changes aimed at giving internet subscribers more choices and better service. It asks the FCC to require internet service providers to report prices and subscription rates, and prevent ISPs from making deals with landlords that limit tenants’ options.

Kristy CooperPresident Biden’s executive order puts net neutrality back in the spotlight
read more

How to Choose the Best Smart Watch for You

Wearables are all the rage these days. What’s a wearable? It’s any type of electronic device worn near or touching the skin that can analyze and transmit data from body signals (pulse, temperature, movement, etc.), that then provide biofeedback for the wearer and/or their caregivers and healthcare professionals.

Smart watches, one of the most popular types of wearables, are a fun and functional way to manage a variety of health aspects – weight, activity, fitness, stress, etc. – while also allowing for practical functions such as answering the phone or paying for your Starbucks. There are so many choices on the market, however, it can seem overwhelming, so we created this quick guide to help you find the best smartwatch for you.


START HERE: Compatibility

All the major smartwatches today pair with a smartphone, so you have to start by choosing one that is compatible with your operating system. If you are shopping online, or you are working with someone in retail sales in a store, start with making sure you are only looking at watches that will pair with the smartphone you have.

Kristy CooperHow to Choose the Best Smart Watch for You
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

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

Technology tips for working from home long-term

Like many others around the world, we’ve been working from home for eight months or more due to the pandemic and it doesn’t look like that will end soon. Most Americans working from home have created office spaces that provide the tools and tech they need, but without the professional IT staff on call they are used to.

Since it looks like working from home will continue for quite some time, learning how to become your own tech support will go a long way toward keeping your stress level down and your productivity up. With that in mind, here are a few tips from IT pros and experienced WFH professionals that all remote workers should know.

#1: WiFi is really, really important

If you’re working online every day, you must have internet service you can rely on. There’s nothing more frustrating, or anti-productive, as the inability to connect and communicate with your coworkers, colleagues or clients. Secure and stable access to the internet is essential for most all businesses to keep running. Here are a few tips for making sure your internet is up to speed:

Kristy CooperTechnology tips for working from home long-term
read more

How COVID-19 is affecting internet availability for work and school at home

As more people rely on their home internet for work, school, shopping, and socializing due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not surprising that internet usage rates have dramatically increased, along with the amount of data to support everyone doing, well, everything. Unfortunately, one way that many internet service providers have chosen to deal with this increased usage is to reinstate data caps for their customers.

What are data caps? It’s when an internet provider limits how much data subscribers can use each month – putting a “cap” on how much they are allowed according to their plan.

Kristy CooperHow COVID-19 is affecting internet availability for work and school at home
read more