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Home computer network wiring is problematic.  

Most of us live in older homes, condos, or apartments where the walls were long ago constructed. Opening them to string network cable is a less than desireable option. It's expensive and messy. Sure we're as good as Tim the Toolman, but honestly his rewiring projects seldom met with success.

But, hey! You just bought that new network streaming device and have it connected to your superbly beautiful 4K TV. How do you get the best network connection?

Wifi works but is slow and prone to stuttered (buffering) streaming. Even with the newest wireless modem, most streaming devices don't yet support the fastest Wifi, 802.11ac.

For me, the best choice was 'powerline' networking. netgearpowerlineadapter

What's that, you may ask?  

It's an excellent way to use your home's electrical power wiring to transmit data.  Plus, every room in your house is already wired for electricity, no tearing out the sheetrock.

I used powerline networking and had a connection from my router to my living room entertainment center in about 30 minutes.

What's the process?

Simple. Plug in one of the starter kit adapters into a power outlet near your network router. Connect a CAT5 cable from the adapter to the router. Walk into your living room and plug in the second adapter into a power receptacle near your home entertainment center. Run a CAT5 cable from the adapter to your network streaming device. You'll need to configure your network streamer for a 'wired' connection.

BadaBing BadaBoom. You've got a faster than Wifi network connection for around $100, or less.

One final word on options. If you're in a really old home with an ungrounded wiring system, you're going to be stuck at around 500 mbps.  Your adapter will have a simple two prong electrical plug. Don't try to buy the grounded three plug models because your home wiring won't support it.

If your home wiring is the newer grounded standard then you can achieve speeds nearer to 1200 mbps. Your adapter will have the familiar three prong electrical plug.

Finally, these adapters will block access to the outlet they're plugged into, unless you buy one with a pass thru adapter, like the one shown here. Of course, your mileage may vary on speed as you would expect.

This article is inspired by Malwarebytes...

10 easy steps to clean your infected computer

You log onto your computer and it takes forever to boot. When it finally does, a few unfamiliar applications litter your desktop, and your browser immediately sends you to an ad for hair loss products. Sounds like your PC has a problem with malware.

So what should you do? Before you flip out, try these simple steps to clean up your infected computer.

Computer acting suspect? Do a little digging and check for symptoms.

  • Does your web browser freeze or become unresponsive?
  • Do you get redirected to web pages other than the ones you are trying to visit?
  • Are you bombarded with pop-up messages?
  • Does your computer run slower than usual?
  • Do you see new icons on your desktop that you don’t recognize?

These are just some of the issues that are characteristic of a malware infection. Unfortunately, even if you see nothing wrong with your computer, there may be trouble brewing under the surface, sneaking around and screwing with your files undetected. So here’s what to do:

  1. Use protection: Enter safe mode.

    • Remove CDs and DVDs, and unplug USB drives from your computer. Then shut down.
    • When you restart, press the F8 key repeatedly. This should bring up the Advanced Boot Options menu.
    • Select Safe Mode with Networking and press Enter. Only the bare minimum programs and services are used in this mode. If any malware is programmed to automatically load when Windows starts, entering safe mode may block the attempt.
  2. Back up your files, including documents, photos, and videos. Note: This is an essential step. Always have a current backup! Elbowman recommends Bvckup2.

    • Do not back up program files, as those are where infections like to hide. You can always download these programs again if files are lost.
  3. Delete temporary files.

    • To speed up your virus scanning, free up disk space, and possibly even get rid of some malware, delete your temporary files using Disk Cleanup.
    • For Windows 8, select Start and search for System Tools. Then select Disk Cleanup. For Windows 7 or lower, select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then Disk Cleanup.
  4. Download an on-demand malware scanner such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Malwarebytes is the number one malware tool on the market, in Elbowman's humble opinion.

    • Follow set-up instructions and install the program.
  5. Disconnect from the Internet. Then run a scan.

    • If you truly believe you are infected, do not pass go, do not collect $100. Just go directly to the scan. If you do have an infection, your on-demand scanner should let you know that you in danger, girl. A list of scan results tells you what malware was found and removed.
  6. Restart your computer. After all, everyone deserves a second chance.

  7. Confirm the results of your anti-malware scan by running a full scan with another malware detection program. Note: always use more than one anti-malware tool, says Elbowman.

    • Restart again if the program found additional infections.
  8. Update your operating system, browser, and applications.

    • If there’s an update available on any of your software, go ahead and do it. Some of the most dangerous forms of malware are delivered by “exploits” that take advantage of out-of-date software.
  9. Reset all of your passwords.

    • Before being deleted, malware could have captured your passwords and forwarded them to hackers. Change each and every password you can think of, and make sure they’re strong. None of this 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 business. That’s the combination an idiot would use on his luggage.
  10. If, after all of these steps, you’re still having problems with a possible infection, feel free to contact Elbowman for assistance. Or, just contact Elbowman to begin with and let him handle the problem for you!

So, you're a cutting edge kind of person. You want the latest and greatest today, not tomorrow.  You went out and bought a 4K UHD-TV.  Now what?

  • How do you get 4K content to that beast? In my mind, you have two main choices.  

There's Netflix.  And, there's Amazon Instant Video. All other choices are either exclusive, proprietary, and extremely expensive. The choices of content on Netflix and Amazon are also extremely limited. But, it's early in the 4K game and that will change as more acaquire and demand the technology.

  • How do you take advantage of the improved sound capabilities?  You need to make 'sound' decisions.  

You basically have three choices when it comes to sound.  One, use the built-in TV speakers. Not the greatest solution. We all know any TV's built-in speakers are just barely OK. Two, you can buy a soundbar.  There are a number of high quality soundbars available.  You'll want to decide what your budget is, and do some research. Finally, three, you can purchase a multi-media receiver. This is what I would have called a stereo receiver, in the not too distant past, except today they provide surround sound capability and accept inputs from multiple audio and video sources, including your TV.

This last option is the choice I would recommend. If you're going to drop the money to buy state of the art television, you want the best sound you can get, too. Check out this excellent article by CNET's Geoffrey Morris. 

When you're ready contact Elbowman for assistance in setting up that home entertainment system.

marantz sr5009 receiver product photos08

Have you ever had one of those slap yourself in the forehead moments?!  I just did.

Today, is May 11th.  The day after mother's day.

Too late to get Mom a gift, right?! 

Why not give Mom (and now Dad, too, since Father's Day is approaching) the gift of Tech Support?

You could do it yourself, or you could send Elbowman to the rescue

Just contact me, at the previous link.  I'm happy to help anyone needing tech support, or any kind.

What a great gift idea!  Why didn't I think of it sooner?

I stumbled upon a great article from PCWorld's Derek Walter on how Google Search links to your Android phone, in 5 different ways.

Perhaps, one of the most useful of those 5 is to send a map to your phone for offline use, or to help a friend.  Have you ever gotten a call from someone trying to find a location and asking for your help? You can actually send directions directly to your friend's phone using Google Search.

Need to remember to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work?  Send yourself a reminder at a scheduled time (on the way home), so you can walk in the door with the milk as requested, a conquering hero!  You know you always forget.

And, I know you've never misplaced your phone, certainly I never have (cough, cough).  Google Search can help you find it.  

Thanks to Derek Walter and PCWorld for a very informative piece.  

Five ways Google search works directly with your Android phone

You can now do even more than send directions to your phone or track its location down via Google search. Google keeps adding tricks, and now there’s a total of five functions that tie Google even closer to your Android phone.

To make any of these happen, just open a new tab in Chrome or head to the Google search page in another browser. When you type the right phrase a box will appear for you to add the content, along with a menu to select which of your Android devices you want to connect with.

Be sure you’re signed in with your Google account in order to make these five options work properly. Google has a support page for linking your phone to these services if you run into issues.

1. Send a reminder

Type “set an reminder” or “remind me” (without the quotes) and then write your note in the box. Once it’s sent, you’ll get a notification on your device, which you can open with several different apps, such as EvernoteOneNote, or Google Keep. With the latter, you can pick a time or location to get your reminder.

2. Set an alarm

You can search for “set an alarm” and then select a time, or specify “set an alarm for 6:30” in the search box or Chrome address bar. The alarm will appear in the default Clock app on your device. For now, it looks like you can’t pick a third-party app for this.

3. Send a note to your phone

Type in “note to self” or “create a note” and add the details.

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Send notes and reminders right to your Android device.

Just as you’re able with the reminders, you can open it with Gmail, Keep, Evernote, OneNote, or similar apps.

4. Get directions

As we discovered recently you can send directions right to your phone or tablet. Just type “send directions” on the Google search page or in a Chrome tab and it will launch a map interface, complete with auto-suggestions for typing in where you want to go.

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Get a map and directions sent right to your Android device.

When you unlock your phone it will launch right in Google Maps, ready to guide you on your journey.

5. Find your phone

If your device has gone missing, whether in the house or back at the restaurant, you can track it down very quickly. Just type, “find my phone” and Google will pinpoint your device on a map. 

There’s a button for ringing your phone, which is helpful if you think it’s under the couch. However, you’ll need to hop over to Android Device Manager if you want to lock or wipe it because it may be stolen.


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