If you’re the one family members call with questions about setting up and using their smartphones and computers and smart TVs, we’ve put together some helpful tips to help your loved ones with their tech emergencies if you can’t pay them a visit (you couldn’t get there by kick off anyway).
Kristy CooperHow To Be Your (Remote) Family Tech Support Guru
Have you ever been on the phone with customer service and when they asked you for your Secure PIN, you totally blanked out? You’re not alone. While passwords take the main stage when it comes to accessing accounts and security, PINs are important too. These short and sweet codes are an important part of protecting your private information, but many people find them hard to keep track of. That’s why we’re sharing these pointers for creating and remembering effective PINs.
What is a PIN?
First, let’s discuss what is the difference between a password and a PIN. A PIN, short for Personal Identification Number, is a numerical code set up to allow you to authenticate your identity and allow access to secure accounts such as banking, credit cards, or cell phones. In this era where identity theft and computer fraud has become prevalent, many people make the mistake of creating overly complicated or random PINs when they first set up an account, causing headaches down the road when it’s time to access them later.
Kristy Cooper4 Tips for Creating and Remembering a Secure PIN
You can probably picture that image of a ghastly Mark Zuckerberg sweating bullets testifying in front of Congress in your mind’s eye, with all the pressure that’s been on the questionable behavior of internet giants like Facebook, Google, and the usual Silicon-Valley suspects. And for good reason. But according to a new report by the FTC, many broadband internet service providers have been just as terrible when it comes to consumer data privacy.
Most internet service providers will tell you they don’t sell your data, but what they don’t tell you is they still allow it to be transferred and monetized by other businesses. Any required disclosure of such practices is often hidden in fine print.
Kristy CooperDon’t Fall Prey to These Common Broadband Privacy Scams
You know you need it, so you join the gym, start the diet… all those new year, new you resolutions that will protect your health and save you heartache down the line. But what about your digital health? Almost all of us have experienced that heart stopping moment when the screen goes blank. When the device slips past our grip and shatters on the ground.
The moment when we go from thinking, “&*%# !” to “When’s the last time I made a backup?”
Why not take advantage of the lull in the holiday season and start fresh for the new year totally organized and secure? We’ll help you with this simple strategy that ensures you’ll never have to survive an unexpected digital life crisis ever again. It’s a backup strategy called the 3-2-1 method, and we put together this guide to help you get started now.
Kristy CooperThe Only Backup Strategy Guide You’ll Ever Need
The hottest gifts this year are tech related, and you don’t have to be a tech person to be a cool mom (or dad or aunt or uncle or friend). That’s right, it’s holiday shopping time. And if there’s anything the pandemic years have taught us, it’s that technology is our friend. We’ve put together a list of our top 10 most beloved and indispensable gadgets that would make great gifts, for fun or utility. From the most craved smart tech of 2021 to really cool gadgets that would make great stocking stuffers or host gifts, we’ve got you covered.
1. Roku Ultra: Netflix and Chill On The Regular
This may be the perfect gift for the binge watcher in your life. The fancy Roku “Ultra” streaming device is extremely intuitive and user friendly. No guilt necessary when you settle for a night of Netflix or Hulu or Prime… or YouTube or Twitch, etc. The remote is simple and easy to use, wand comes with headphones for focused, private listening. Ethernet cable included, so you (or your lucky tech savvy gift participant) can stream 4k/HDR content with ease.
Windows 11 officially launched in the first week of October, but you probably haven’t seen it pop up on your screen just yet. If you are a Windows user, this is a big rollout that will eventually affect you, but before you jump to upgrade, there are a few things you should know.
First, don’t be in a hurry. Windows 11 is launching in a slow phased approach – and only for eligible devices. Since this is their biggest upgrade in more than 6 years, there are bound to be some issues that might affect how you work, play or communicate via your computer. It’s not uncommon for annoying post-launch bugs to affect things like the speed of your system. So even if you are compatible and able to upgrade now, it’s advisable to wait for Microsoft to sort out the inevitable bugs before you join in.
Kristy CooperWindows 11 Is Rolling Out: What You Need to Know
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.
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
With so many options out there, deciding on which service to stream has become confusing for many. Cutting the cord and moving to streaming once sounded pretty easy, but with so many services and options available, it can get confusing very quickly. Twelve dollars here, $8 there, and suddenly – surprise! – You’re overwhelmed by streaming and your streaming bills are now more than what you spent in the old days of cable.
According to a J.D. Powers survey earlier this year, American households subscribe to an average of 4 streaming services. If you find yourself with more streaming than you want, and rising costs that are stressing your bills, here’s a quick guide to help you streamline by getting rid of overlap and still get what you want.
Check for overlap…
Overlapped and Overwhelmed by streaming? If you want to lower your streaming bills, check for overlap. You might be paying for the same service twice. For instance, check with your existing cell phone plans to see what they provide. Many companies offer access to services as part of your contract, depending on the level of service you are paying for. For example, some Verizon customers get Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for free. Some T-Mobile customers can get access to Netflix, and some AT&T customers get access to HBO Max. It’s worth it to ask, you might be paying double and not even knowing it!
Kristy CooperOverwhelmed by streaming? How to choose the right channels for you
Smart homes are nothing new, but one spot where people often forget that technology can help is the garage. Smart garages can offer improved security, help you avoid accidents, and even find those little things that always get lost. We’ve rounded up a list of 4 ways you can combine the benefits of wireless internet access and Bluetooth technology to “smart up” your garage here.
#1 Smart Garage Door Opener
Have you ever left home only to panic because you can’t remember if you closed the garage door? That’s where a smart garage door opener can save the day. Smart garage door openers are easy to install and control, and they offer benefits in both convenience and security. There are a variety of smart garage door openers that can be installed – from entire new systems to attaching something to your current opener – so check with your local company and ask for alternatives before making up your mind. One established brand is the Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener system that allows you to control the door from an app on your phone, and see the history of when the door was opened and closed recently.
Smartphone users all have one thing in common – worrying about battery life. As these devices have become integrated throughout our daily lives for home, work, school, and travel, knowing ways to extend smartphone battery life is something we can all benefit from. Today we’re sharing some tried-and-true tips for better battery life, as well as a few you might not have heard about before.
TIP #1: Reduce screen brightness: This can extend battery life significantly, especially for devices with larger screens. The only time you need your phone at 100 percent brightness is outdoors, midday, when the sun is at its brightest. Most other times, 75% or less is sufficient.
Kristy Cooper7 strategies for extending smartphone battery life
We believe that everyone deserves fast, reliable internet service no matter where they live or work. Softcom brings the experience, infrastructure, and technology to stand behind our vision. And we’re laser-focused on giving our customers the fast connections, exceptional customer service, and simple, affordable pricing they deserve.