Category: Internet (Page 1 of 6)

Reuse Your SSID and Wi-Fi Password

When you get a new router, I recommend you use the exact same SSID (network name) and Wi-Fi password as you did in your old equipment. Now, this may sound like a no-brainer to many of you, but please hear me out and let me qualify this simple advice.

Not everyone is savvy with setting up their Wi-Fi equipment, and plenty of people have their ISP do it for them. But if your internet equipment has to change, the ISP’s installer may do a fast job of it. S/he’ll slap that thing into place, write down a generic/default network name and password and get out the door quick like a bunny. I understand why they do this. Many of these techs are contractors, paid by the job, not by the hour.

But when they do this, it causes disruption with all of your household Wi-Fi devices. Everything in your house was set to connect to ILoveMyWiFi using the password funkybeans135, but the new router is emitting Arris-L33T_5G with a password of JohnDoe540. You’ll soon be faced with an onerous task. You’ll have to touch on every device in the house and enter in those new credentials. That can be a lot of work, if you have a printer, a thermostat, a tablet, a smartTV, a video game console, and on and on….

It’s much easier if you stick with the same old network name and Wi-Fi password. You can ask your installer or technician for this! If the new equipment is programmed with the same old ILoveMyWiFi (or whatever your old network name was) and JohnDoe540, all of your devices will likely reconnect to your Wi-Fi automagically. The installer will quit the building and everything will be working just as it was before they came.

Important Details

  • Tell your installer that you want to reuse your SSID and Wi-Fi password at the beginning of the appointment, while the old equipment is still in place. Once they decommission the old router, it may become harder for them to determine your network name and password (unless you have this written down ahead of time for them).
  • Network names and passwords must be kept exactly the same. These things are case-sensitive and even one different character will cause problems. MuellerWireless is different than Mueller Wireless is different from muellerwireless. Devices that connected to one of those will not connect automagically to the others.
  • It is possible to reuse your SSID and password when one piece of equipment replaces two. For example, let’s say you have a Comtrend DSL modem connected to a Netgear wireless router. Your ISP arrives and sets up a combo wireless modem that supplants both of your old boxes. You can ask the tech to program the new all-in-one box with NETGEAR35 and its password zestynoodle123. It doesn’t matter that the modem is a different brand; it can still broadcast a Netgear-style name.
  • It is possible that this tactic won’t work for you, if your existing router is extremely old. A 10-year-old Linksys router may be using an older type of Wi-Fi security (WEP) that doesn’t translate well to the new equipment’s security (WPA2). But most routers made in the last five years should work well with SSID and password reuse.

Think Twice About T-Mobile Home Internet

A year and a half ago, I recommended T-Mobile Home Internet Service to everyone. Regrettably, I have to rescind that recommendation. Think twice before signing up with this outfit.

TMHIS is turning out to be unreliable. Subscribers are enjoying great internet with T-MO, until their modem just stops, with an unhelpful error: “All PDN IP Connection Failure.” I’m hearing about this from folks local to me, and people further abroad.

Toms’ Hardware is a solid tech news site that has been reporting on this in detail. I recommend you check out this article and its follow-up on TMHIS troubles. But in short, it appears that T-Mobile is unable to fix these problems, unwilling to admit to it, and lying to its customers just to get them off the phone. They are not helping their affected customers; they are just hanging them out to dry.

While this is nothing new in corporate America (I once worked for a large healthcare company that engaged in these same practices), it hurts me to think that I’ve guided some of you to use TMHIS. For this, I can only apologize. I regret if T-MO has let you down. If you need recommendations for another ISP to switch to, reach out and I’ll do what I can.

This Is Not a Hearing Test

For a real hearing test, consult a doctor. For a bit of novelty and learning about how your hearing changes as you age, check out this website.

Noise Addicts has posted easily playable sounds at different frequencies on that page. Try them out to see what range of sound you can (still) hear. This “test” is most enjoyable with a roomful of people of varied ages: kids, teens, adults and grandfolk!

F.B. Purity

F.B. Purity is a one-of-a-kind browser extension that can modify Facebook to make it more of what you want. Don’t want to see sponsored posts? Like to hide posts with selfies? F. B. Purity has got you.

Free to install, F. B. Purity is an extension that lodges into your browser on any Windows, Apple or Linux computer (sorry, nothing for mobile devices yet). Once installed, F. B. Purity is fairly subtle and you’ll only see this addition at the top of your feed:

But therein lay all your options. If you click on “F.B. Purity” in that small caption, all of its options open up for you to explore and use. Frankly, the options can be a little overwhelming, but for those willing, you can go through and Hide all kinds of Facebook nonsense, like:

  • Sponsored Posts
  • Game Posts
  • Food Photos
  • Live Videos
  • Questions & Polls

And there are extra features you may want to activate. For example, if you turn on “Deleted Friend Alerts,” F. B. Purity will let you know when someone has unfriended you.

After checking off all your desired options, make sure to click the small Save and Close button!

Speed Test Websites

Are you getting the speed you’re paying for? Whether you are troubleshooting or just doing some due diligence, speed test websites are free to use and will measure your current internet connection speed. To check your speed, visit one of these sites:

Speedtest by Ookla

Fast.com by Netflix

Speakeasy Speed Test

TestMy.net

SpeedOf.Me

Xfinity Speed Test

Verizon Internet Speed Test

Speed Test by Cloudflare

Bandwidth Place

It can be useful to test your speed on a variety of sites, as some ISPs respect the results from certain sites more than others. If you can tell tech support, “I got the same speed test result on 3 different sites,” then they may take your situation more seriously.

For best results, run one speed test at a time, when no one else in your household is actively using bandwidth. And consider connecting your test computer to your modem or router with an ethernet cable. You might notice different speed test results over Wi-Fi and cabled connections.

The Facebook Internet Tracking Settlement

If you’ve received an email or news about the Facebook Internet Tracking Settlement, please know that it is legitimate & true.

You may trust in the following and take part in the proceedings, to get your piece of the settlement:

The Lawsuit

Facebook is accused of collecting user data through outside websites, and selling it to advertisers. They allegedly did this through those Facebook Like buttons that used to appear all over the web. In doing so, Facebook may have violated privacy laws and unjustly profited from all of us.

Facebook is admitting no guilt in the matter, but they are settling. In order to put this matter to bed, they are agreeing to a $90 Million settlement. It’s somewhat of a speeding ticket to a company worth $538 Billion, but so it goes…

How to Participate

You can get your share of that settlement, as long as you qualify. Consider yourself qualified if you:

  • Had a Facebook account between 4/22/2010 and 9/26/2011
  • Visited non-Facebook websites that displayed the Facebook Like button.

Don’t remember if that was the case? Those Like buttons were everywhere back then, so it is very likely you encountered them, while reading the news or checking out personal blogs or shopping online.

Here’s the website to sign up, just scroll down to the SUBMIT A CLAIM section and use the Submit Online link to get started.

Final Commentary

I notice that the Online Claim page may not load in the presence of an ad-blocker. I guess they are tracking who visits that page! If you can’t get it to load, try disabling your ad-blocker. Or, you can right-click the link and open the page in Incognito/InPrivate mode. That should bypass any adblocker woes.

And after all of that reading & signing up & waiting… you might get a dollar or two. Sorry, but the lawyers are going to take a big bite out of that $90M before it trickles down to us. There are 240 million Facebook users in the USA. It all comes down to how many people hear about this and sign up, I suppose.

The RV Giveaway Scam

No, you are not going to win a free RV! But when you see posts about this on social media, they are so tempting. Companies with names like Camping & RV World boast about “unclaimed RVs” that they have to give away for free, and the included photos show some beautiful vehicles. But this is one of those too-good-to-be-true situations. You will not win anything. And there is a lot of harm afoot, even if you click Like on the post.

Scam!

How To Spot the Scam?

This gets harder every year, as the scammers study Facebook and other platforms for ingenious ways to conceal their identities. But here are some clues:

  • When you visit a Business Page on Facebook, scroll down to find the Page Transparency section. Click “See All” to get the most details. This will tell you useful info, like the date that the Page was created, and possibly the country of origin. Scam pages often show a very recent date, while known trusted pages have older dates.
  • Regard the About section: Scam pages often have no info here, while legitimate pages will reveal a proper phone number, physical address and website. Do not trust any “tinyurl”, “bit.ly” or “google.sites” addresses!
  • Search on Facebook for the company in question. Take Camping World, for example, they show hundreds of thousands of Likes. Notice that the scammer’s page probably only has a handful of Likes.
Only 32 people? And most of them are other scammers…

The Hazards of This Scam

The first part of the scam is in the first interaction you have with it. If you click Like or Share the scam, Facebook will promote the scammy post to your friends & family, or to everyone else in your group. It will help it spread like wildfire, or a chain letter. And your endorsement will make the scam look more believable to everyone else!

Next, many of these scams steer you towards marketing websites that promise free money via CashApp. This nonsense will waste your time with survey after survey and form after form. You’ll never get the promised cash, but they will hoover up your information. And sell it to every spammer and telemarketer known to man. If you think you get a lot of spam and junk calls now, just you wait. Participating in these surveys will elevate your spam to nightmare levels!

Finally, these RV Giveaways will “select” you as a winner, and push you into Private Messaging or other non-public communication. And the scammer will prepare to deliver your winnings… but first, they want a delivery fee to be paid. Or some insurance. Maybe a “customs surcharge.” Whatever it is, they’ll make it seem like a trifle, compared with the value of the big thing you’ve just won. But if you pay that fee (through CashApp or wire xfer or gift cards), then you will never hear from them again, and you will not see any RV appear in your driveway.

What To Do

When you encounter this scam on social media,

  • Do NOT click Like. Do NOT comment on it.
  • Report it to Facebook or other social media, as a scam.
  • If posted in a Group, also report it to the admin(s), and ask them to take it down.

Don’t Post That Privacy Notice to Facebook

For ten years now, people have been posting the following notice on Facebook:

Please don’t do that. Don’t post this or Share this if you see it. It is a hoax and it is misinformation. It accomplishes nothing.

I understand if you have privacy concerns over Facebook’s treatment of your information. Mr. Zuckerberg doesn’t have a great track record of protecting and respecting our user data. But this kind of post does not protect you or change how Facebook treats you.

Please read up about this on Snopes or other websites. When you first signed up for a free Facebook account, you agreed to a lengthy contract. You agreed to so many many things, including:

Specifically, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, and worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). This means, for example, that if you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store, copy, and share it with others (again, consistent with your settings) such as service providers that support our service or other Meta Products you use. This license will end when your content is deleted from our systems.

Facebook Terms of Service

If you really want control over what Facebook does with your data, your options are few and simple enough:

  • Don’t post it in the first place.
  • Delete your info, posts or pictures from Facebook.
  • Delete your whole Facebook account!

I understand that those may not be the most helpful options, and for that, I can only apologize and sympathize. Remember: If you’re using something for free, you are probably not the customer, you are the product!

Facebook Text Delights

You’ve seen these special effects on Facebook for some time now: certain words or phrases, like Congrats or You’ve Got This, do special things in posts and comments. As you type these secret texts on a computer (doesn’t often work in their mobile apps), Facebook colors them in and anyone may click on them later to see a special animation.

These “text delights” are harmless fun, and you should be able to use in most text entry fields on Facebook. The trick may be knowing what triggers the text delights in the first place.

Facebook doesn’t offer a master list of these text delights. And they vary from one country/language to the next. Plus, when Facebook retires an old text delight or introduces a new one, they don’t always announce it. We’re still discovering these easter eggs to this day!

If you want some idea of what text delights are out there, you can simply search the web for “Facebook text delights” or check out YouTube videos about what people have discovered. And when you go to use them, you will know if what you’ve typed will work as soon as you key it in. Text delights change color as soon as you type them into Facebook, to let you know there will be a special effect.

One last thing: you don’t have to use a text delight, if you don’t want to. Let’s say you type GG or xoxo, and Facebook colors it in as a delight. As soon as the color appears, hit your Backspace key one time, and the delight-coloring should disappear. Now you have plain text, with no special effect.

Facebook Protect

Facebook is rolling out a new tool for safeguarding your account. But not everyone will see this just yet. For now, they’re pushing this feature out to high-profile accounts and business pages with significant reach. You may see this pop-up for you if you are a politician, for example, or run a Business Page with thousands of Likes on it.

Unfortunately, when Facebook does reach out to someone about their new Protect feature, it presents as a scam. The sender’s email looks fishy and the message urges to you act soon, lest you be locked out.

If you get a notification for Facebook Protect, please understand that it is probably legitimate. And if you ignore it for too long, you truly could get locked out of your Facebook account!

If you get an email or notification about this, cooperate with it if you are comfortable doing so. If you aren’t 100% sure, you can still satisfy the Facebook Protect requirement without clicking on the email:

  • Open Facebook.com in your computer’s web browser.
  • Click the triangle button in the upper-right corner, click Settings & Privacy, click Settings.
  • On the left, click Security & Login, then to the right, look for Facebook Protect and click Get Started.

You cannot sign up for Facebook Protect before you are invited, so if you can’t do this now, no worries! There’s nothing to do until you get a notice that you should activate this.

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