Thursday, May 08, 2014

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Just some Tech Questions

A family member sent me some technical questions.  I though the questions and answers might be useful for others with similar tech questions, so here they are…

(Question) I just got a new computer and have some questions I hope you’ll help with.  But I'm not sure of the questions I should be asking.

-- Never be afraid to ask.

I want to get a better deal on my internet if possible. I pay $30 for a variable speed. I get 3.1 mb per second to 7mb per second.

-- In most areas the phone company offers internet service, and the cable company offers internet service. 
-- In your area it looks like Verizon or Time Warner Cable. 
-- Looks like Time Warner has a $35 deal for 15mb per second.  Sounds better than $30 for 3.1mb. 
-- Note if you pay for cable TV, some of the cable / phone / internet bundles are priced better.

I notice that a lot of people use Gmail. Is Gmail connected to Google as an internet provider? Is it free?

-- Gmail is free.  It can be used from any Internet connection.  That's it's advantage, it's portable.  So I can read my email at home or work or on vacation.  I can also change internet providing companies without having to change my email address.  It also has a nice easy to use interface that most people like.  It is indeed the most popular email service / program.

What internet provider do you use? How fast is your provider? How much does it cost?

-- I use a company called Bezek, an Israeli company.  I currently have 40mb per second.  And I pay $40 per month, though that's a one year special.  I changed from another company a few months ago, where I had 12mb per second and was paying $45.

How about a wireless connection, as my computer came with wireless capability?

-- There are two types of wireless.  The first type is "wifi", which means you can get something called a wireless router, and using that place your computer anywhere in the apartment without needing to connect it to the internet connection by wire.  I have this, and it allows me and all my children to spread our computers around the house without having wires all over the place.  But we're still wirelessly connecting through the same household internet connection going through the phone company.  The range on a wifi router is around 50ft.  So it's good for 1 apartment or house.  In an office that uses wifi, they'll typically have multiple, depending on the physical size of the office.  My office has 4 wifi routers.

- The second type is "cell internet".  This means instead of connecting to a physical wire at some point (a phone company jack or a cable company cable) via a wireless router or box from the phone or cable company, the connection is actually using cell phone signals and connecting through the cell towers (meaning the computer has a tiny cell phone inside it).  This is even more portable, as your computer will connect to the Internet anywhere a cell phone will work.  BUT, cell internet is usually slower than either wired or wifi (either 7mb max per second or 20mb max per second, depending on whether it's "3G" or "4G" – though in theory 4G is supposed to be able to go as fast as 100mb per second).  AND they limit the amount of data you can receive per month. 

-- The limitation on how much data is the real limiter for using cell internet.  Such limits may run anywhere from 1gb to 10gb per month, with a typical limit of 1-3gb of total data.  That's a lot for email, but not for movies.  My son had a 3gb limit on his phone, and reaches his limit 2-3 weeks into the month, but he’s the only one in the family who does. 

-- Most people don't use cell internet for home computers unless regular internet service is not available in their area, or it's for a laptop or ipad that on the move.

-- Your new desktop computer probably has wifi built in.  It would be unusual for a desktop computer to have a cell internet ability built it, but it is sometimes built into laptops.  Unless you want to move your computer to a different part of your home, there is no reason to make any adjustment.  If you do want to move it, you can enable the wireless connectivity to connect to a router and move it.

Enjoy your new computer!

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