A reader wrote: “I updated my router!” Wow. I am impressed. I never think of doing that.
An old, outdated router can slow down your Wi-Fi, disrupt your connections, and leave your network vulnerable to security risks. But the setup can be a “colossal pain,” the reader said. Fortunately, he discovered that all he had to do was change the settings of the new router to match those of the old one. “A definite aha moment!” I have never paid for a new router. My ISP, AT&T, will send a new one for free if the old one has problems, which only happened once. Maybe I didn’t need it because I have “only” 11 devices connected to the Internet.
The player has more than 40 smart devices, not including phones. “I have three TiVos, a dozen TP-Link smart plugs, three cameras, nine computers, a few tablets and a few Kindles,” he said, in addition to “printers, televisions, Amazon Fire Sticks and a sad little Roku”. To get a faster Internet connection, he bought a refurbished Netgear AC3200 Nighthawk Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router for $90 from Amazon’s discount site, “Woot.” It really sped things up compared to his old ASUS, he said. He credits its “tri-band” functionality, which allows devices to talk to each other without using the internet.
I researched his Netgear model and found that it was released in 2014, two years before his old ASUS router. When I told him that, he immediately thought of returning it. But later he decided to keep it. Who cares how old a router is if it’s faster than the one you have?
According to recent reports in TheVerge, PCMag, HowtoGeek, and LifeSavvy, the best budget router is the TP-Link AX3000, for around $110 on Amazon. CNET chose the TP-Link Archer AX21, $80 at Amazon.
TRUST AMAZON REVIEWS
To determine if an Amazon review is trustworthy, copy and paste the review’s web address from ReviewMeta.com.
For example, the Yeedi robot vacuum got an overall passing grade for the quality of its reviews. One of them was designated as the most reliable: he gave the vacuum cleaner five stars. ReviewMeta also has other data. I especially appreciated the information about questionable reviews. They are the ones whose criticisms are normally dismissed.
One reader said they received a realistic email describing a $4,600 order from Amazon. “My heart skipped a beat.”
Then he got a phone call asking him about it. He hung up, but “out of curiosity, I redialed the number”. It belonged to a local woman who had nothing to do with the scam. “These scammers had my landline number and (spoofed) the lady’s mobile number to try to make it look legit,” he said. In summary: you can never be too careful.
THE NEW CHROME SIDEBAR
I love the new Google Chrome sidebar. To see it on your computer, open Chrome and click on the partially grayed-out rectangle at the top right of the screen. You will get a “Reading List” and a “Bookmarks” list.
To add a page to your Reading List, click “Reading List”, then click “Add Current Tab”. When you’re done with the webpage, click the check mark to add it to “Pages you’ve read”. Scroll down the Reading List page to see it. In the Favorites tab, you can drag your new favorites to the top of the list to find them more easily.
You get 15 gigabytes of free storage in your Google account, a combination of Google Drive, Google Photos, and Gmail. But if you’re short on space, consider using Mozilla Thunderbird to store your Gmail in folders on your computer, making them available offline.
Start by going to Thunderbird.net to download and install the free email program. Then under “local” create a new folder for mail stored on your computer. Once my first 10,000 emails were in the inbox, I selected them all and moved them to my local mail folder. They will still be on my computer now, ready to view in Thunderbird even if I delete them in Gmail. It’s funny to see emails going back to 2004.
To print something from the web, without getting all the extra links and ads, go to PrintFriendly.com and paste the website address. You can also use Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Brave or Vivaldi. These web browsers will also remove any unnecessary items for you. Firefox and Microsoft Edge will leave all of that in.
In the last column, I mentioned the free “Stack” app to organize documents, such as your vax card or driver’s license, making them easy to find. A knowledgeable reader pointed out that Stack is Android only.
Here is a workaround. Take photos of your IDs on your iPhone or iPad and store them in the Google Drive app, free to download from the App Store for iPhone or iPad. To organize your documents, do a Google search for “how to organize files in Google Drive on iPhone”. Using Google Drive is especially useful if you are running out of storage on your iPhone as well as iCloud.
EASIER ON THE EYES
Windows “Night Light” bathes the screen in a soft orange light, getting you ready for bedtime, instead of the crisp white glare. To find it, type “night light” in the Windows search bar. Click it when it appears and place it in a calendar, or accept the default setting.
Joy Schwabach can be contacted by email at [email protected]