Category Archives: Humor

3 Reasons Cloud Gaming Will Be Awesome

3 Reasons Cloud Gaming Will Be Awesome

The promise of Cloud Gaming seemed to be a false promise. But now it appears Electronic Arts (EA) can revive that dream.

Back in June 2018, EA demonstrated they were able to stream high-quality games via a high-speed connection. The person on the other end simply needed a controller to hook up to the television, computer, or laptop, and they could play the game.

Just like Netflix brings movies and shows straight to the consumer, EA is working to launch their own game streaming service.

All players will need is a controller, a high-speed internet connection on their device, and of course, a subscription. Then they’ll have access to a huge array of games to play with.

This would have been nice if they’d come out with this technology a lot sooner.Cloud Gaming

That One Roommate

Before Cloud Gaming, before even Netflix streaming, I was a college student sharing a house with five other guys.

The house, affectionately dubbed “The Shack,” should have been condemned. There were roaches living there, not to mention the squirrels and cats too. The squirrels left us alone, but the roaches were constantly inciting a turf war.

The cats just used the place to procreate, and loudly.

Rent was cheap though.

Which was the point, I guess.

To make the situation more livable, TV’s were brought in, DVD players, huge selections of DVDs, and games.Cloud Gaming

One guy had an Xbox. Let’s call him Rick.

While I did my fair share of movie watching, Rick played video games.

Non. Stop.

I shouldn’t judge, he turned out to be a great guy.

And I did spend a few nights trying to beat Gears of War. I wasn’t totally immune.

Yet, if you were to walk in there, 99 times out of ten, it wasn’t me on the Xbox trying to level up in the hottest game to come out that year- Halo 3. It would have been Rick.

So the soundtrack of the house was a constant stream of explosions, gunfire, Rick shouting into his headset, and vulgar putdowns from other people playing the game as well.

This was college.

Since Rick played hours upon hours of Halo, he was good at the game. I wasn’t.

I would be lucky to get five kills in a multi-player match. And Rick wouldn’t hesitate to point this out to me any time I picked up a controller.

As if living in that cesspool wasn’t enough, I couldn’t prove myself in the last arena of true battle- online gaming.

I graduated college, got married, and soon found online gaming really wasn’t the measure of a true man.

But I digress.

I didn’t own a game console. Thus, I wasn’t good at gaming. In hindsight, this wasn’t a bad thing. I did, after all, get into books. And I couldn’t be happier.

Gaming, however, is going to change.Cloud Gaming

As more and more games come out that only emphasize their online gaming mode and not their story mode, the video game companies will need a better way to market their games.

Enter Cloud Gaming.

It’s not all bad.

And here are three reasons why.

No Consoles to Pay For

Part of the reason I never bought an Xbox or a PlayStation was the expensive price tag. And I was a poor college kid.

My parents were also not big into gaming. So I can’t blame them for not shelling out the cash to buy me one that one time I put it on my Christmas list.

With a streaming service, there’s no need to buy the console, or even the game itself. Just hook up the internet, plug in the controller, and away you go.

A streaming game service was attempted back at the start of the 2010’s.

Two companies, GoLive and Gaikai, each showed cloud gaming was a viable possibility.

The only problem was the technology required to make it work was expensive and not as available as it was today. There was also the widely accepted belief that one buys games and does not stream them. Streaming was for movies and wasn’t seen as a stable method for delivering a high-quality gaming experience.

EA has cracked that.

Now all they need is enough subscribers to make it profitable.

Subscriptions

With Cloud Gaming, you’ll only pay once a month, or once for the whole year.

Paying once a month and getting games cheaper is better than having to pay for the console and the games too. At least, I would think so. I’m no expert here, but I do know what I like. And I’d much rather pay a little bit at a time than a lot all at once.

It’s unclear if other game production companies will create their own subscription services like EA’s. But who am I kidding? Of course they will.

Once EA proves this will work, other companies are going to launch their own subscription services to make it happen and compete.

Soon the entertainment world will be one big subscription service, with subscription services to manage subscription services.

At least the games will be cheaper.

Availability to More Players

Rick, though a good guy, was still hogging the Xbox most of the time.Cloud Gaming

With a subscription service, this opens the door for even more people to plug in and play…so long as the internet speed is fast enough. There’s a way around that, just get the best internet bundles and you’ll be able to have multiple players, on multiple devices, all streaming their games at. The. Same. Time!

If there are not enough ports for the controllers, then pull out a laptop, computer, or just another TV with an internet connection. Players would then be able to join in the game and no one would have to wait their turn to play.

Cloud Gaming would make gaming accessible to a much wider audience.

When Is The Future?

EA’s Origin Access Premiere is still in its infancy.

There will still be some kinks to work out, but as of right now, it seems to be working well. This is good news for EA as they continue their domination of the video game industry.

For those who don’t enjoy video games, or don’t object to EA on principle, there are always books to read.

As for me, I don’t see myself getting involved with video games beyond the few apps I have on my phone. Maybe when I’m older and my life slows down just a little bit I’ll have some time to just waste on a game. But I doubt that will happen any time soon.

Rick, my old roomie, did give up gaming. I’m not sure when, but it must have been some time after he got married and started working a real job. Then he had kids.

Last I spoke with him he was getting his masters and taking care of yet another baby. How he manages kids and masters level courses, I don’t know. I barely made it through my masters’ level course with one child.

A few weeks ago I was near my alma mater and thought, just briefly, if that god-forsaken Shack was still there.

Low and behold, it was.

Some other poor sap decided they’d live with the roaches, the squirrels, and the cats, in that confined space. Hopefully, they have fast, reliable internet, and a streaming service.

5 Tech Must-Haves for Your College Dorm Room

5 Tech Must-Haves for Your College Dorm Room

Soon classes at your local college will start. Before that happens, you’ll be moving into your dorm room. If you’re lucky and live close enough to home, then you won’t have to get a dorm room. Or if you’ve found a way to score off-campus housing.

If not, then there here are fiveCollege tech must-haves for dorm living.

1.      A Good Laptop

You will be writing, period.

What kind of writing you do is up to you…or your professor.

You might write emails to friends and family, writing social media posts, or when you have time, that paper that’s due tomorrow.

A good laptop is essential these days. All room and board charges cover Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to worry about the bill.

Be it an Apple, a Dell, HP, Toshiba, or any of the other brands, make surer you find one with 8 to 16GB of RAM, as well as a good amount of storage. Low RAM means a slow computer.

I speak from experience as my college laptop was slow. This made for some frustrating nights as I tried to write.

2.      Virtual Storage

This never happened to me, but I remember a fellow college student running full on across campus to get to the computer lab. There was a paper due that was 70% of his grade and the class was in ten minutes. So he’d downloaded it onto a flash-drive and sprinted across campus.

Virtual storage wasn’t what it is today, but there were options at the time. Us poor college students couldn’t afford it though.

Get a free Gmail account and you’ll get access to Google Drive. This way you can work on papers, save a copy to Drive, and print them out anywhere you have access to your email.

Just make sure there’s a printer installed, filled with paper and ink.

Bonus

Although a little bit more expensive, get an external hard drive.

My wife, who wrote huge papers for her honors program, kept one and it saved her sanity on more than one occasion. While virtual storage is helpful, a solid backup is added peace-of-mind.

So save yourself the stress.

And that guy who bolted across campus to print out his paper? He dropped the flash-drive on his way and couldn’t find it.

Save yourself the anxiety and get virtual storage.

3.      Bluetooth Speakers

CollegeBack in my day, it was all about the stereos with multiple-disc interchanges.

I graduated before the iPod really took off, or the iPhone came out. Not by much, mind you, but yes, I went to college in a time when Discmans were still the “it” thing.

With smaller, and portable, speakers available, you have music right there with you, no matter where you go.

Create a playlist on your phone, pair with a Bluetooth speaker, and you can take this anywhere you go. Doesn’t matter if you’re studying or at a party, you’ll be your own DJ.

Check out JBL, Canz, Bose, Sony, and other Bluetooth speaker makers to find the one that works for you and your budget.

Another plus- if someone has a Bluetooth speaker in their room and you’re not digging the music, just pair your phone to it and play your own music!

4.      Noise Cancelling Headphones

Dorms will be noisy.

Doesn’t matter the time of day, someone will be making noise.

Invest in noise-canceling headphones, it’ll help save your sanity.

You just never know when two guys next door will decide to pump up their sub-woofer to watch The Punisher. Even with headphones on, I couldn’t hear my own music. Therefore, noise-canceling would have been a good idea at the time.

Bose, Plantronics, AKG, and Beats are just some of the manufacturers who make noise-canceling headphones. And they come highly rated!

You can then shut off all outside noise while you study, or just listen to something other than your loud dormmates.

5.      A Smart TV

With smart TV’s so prevalent, you can find a good deal on one with good resolution and apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

This will help cut down on all the clutter you have to take with you. Your movies and shows will be in one place, allowing you to save shelf space for…other things.

Bonus

Get a Chromecast, Roku Firestick, or Apple TV.

These will make up for any apps or streaming services that don’t come with your smart TV. Or if you can’t get a smart TV at all, then you’ll have this as a backup.

Since most dorms come with Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to stream and download that way and never miss the next episode of your favorite TV show.

Extra Bonus

The greatest thing about college is all the freedom you get to enjoy.College

The worst thing about college…is all the freedom you get to enjoy.

You don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Dorm life has been a constant for millions of people for years. Some of those people have gone on to write books about the experience.

Find these on Amazon, Half-Price Books, BN.com, or download to your favorite eBook reader.

This way you can learn from other’s mistakes so you can avoid making the same ones yourself.

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

Published in 1954, detailing the exploits of a college professor who doesn’t want the job at all. It may help you get an idea of where your professors are coming from.

Free Stuff Guide for Everyone by Peter Sander

Everything is expensive these days. When you’re in college this will be a harsh reality to contend with. Get this helpful guide so you can find the best deals, discounts, or other ways of making your dollar go farther.

Goodnight Dorm Room: All the Advice I Wish I Got Before Going to College by Samuel Kaplan and Keith Riegert

A funny and honest look at college. This book helps you understand the realities of college, as well as the real world, as well as giving you hints on how to adapt to dorm living and get ahead.

Dorm Room Essentials Cookbook by Gina Meyers

Everyone has to eat. But cafeteria food gets old really fast. And eating out for every meal is not feasible. This cookbook clues you in on how to make snacks, meals, and desserts on a budget and in your own dorm room.

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen

If there’s a lot of people living in a close, confined space, then the numbers dictate that one of them will be weird. Handling roommates and dormmates is a part of college life. Best to get ahead of the game and buy this book.

The College Humor Guide to College by Ethan Trex and Streeter Seidell

Who better to guy you into college than the people who parody college living?

By taking the humorous route, the book is more helpful than actual guidebooks.

 

There are more titles like these available. This list will get you started.

Make sure you get these books and read them before classes start. This way you’ll be even more prepared for college than any high school prep class could have made you.

Download the eBooks, audiobooks, or stream them to your device with reliable internet. To do that, check out the best cable and internet deals. This way you’ll save some money before you jet off to higher education.

Ready Player One Review

Ready Player One Review

Ready Player One earns the title of “Holy Grail of pop culture references” many times over.

The film, released back in March in theaters, and on Tuesday on blu-ray, DVD, and digital download, goes above and beyond with the references. There’s the Iron Giant, Ninja Turtles, Monty Python, Gundam, King Kong, Blade Runner, and oh-so many more.

With one-liners, and some of its own sly dialogue, the film does a good job of entertaining.

It is, however, not as good as the book.

The Movie

When I first heard that Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One was going to be turned into a movie, it seemed a natural progression for property. It was an homage to pop culture as well as cult-favorites.

The irony is those very cult classics are now getting elevated to legendary status and pulled into pop culture itself.

Another irony is Steven Spielberg got himself into the director’s chair for the film.Ready Player One

Spielberg

Spielberg’s heyday was in the eighties and he directed a lot of the films that ended up becoming pop cultures references. As his career progressed and he became a big-name director, he’s always been linked to the classics.

And then he ended up directing the movie with a lot of references to his own previous works.

I find that interesting.

The effects were on point. And how could they not?

If Spielberg was going to be involved, then good effects were a given. Without a multi-million-dollar budget behind something like this, then there would have been no way to capture the scale. At best, it would have become another niche movie to garner a cult following.

That didn’t happen, as Ernest Cline found the right connections for his book and got the story turned into a screenplay and the screenplay turned into a movie.

The Writing

Turning a book into a film requires—shall we say—delicate reimagining.

In my younger days I was a die-hard purist. This is one of the reasons I have a hard time watching any new X-Men movie that comes out. But more on that later.

Old age has softened me to the point that my blood doesn’t boil when the movie diverges significantly from the book. Part of this is the realization that writing a book and movie are two different things. There is writing involved in both. The mindset for each is entirely different.

Ernest Cline, the author of the book, had a hand in the screen writing, which is always a good thing. Author’s are protective of their work and I’m sure Cline was no exception to the rule.

His involvement is probably why the spirit of the film is close to the spirit of the book.

That may sound like semantics, but to writers, it’s important.

Therefore, key plot points were lifted from the book and put into the movie. I’m okay with this as some books have been butchered beyond recognition in the past. Cline, and his fellow screenwriter Zak Penn, should be commended for taking such a massive story and condensing it into a movie. They kept the feel of it while getting to the heart of the story.

The Book

While the movie was great, I’m still a fan of the book.

I always will be.

Within the pages of Ready Player One, the reader can truly get to know Wade Watts. This is a benefit of reading internal monologues.

The movie was filled with references, both verbal and visual, to pop culture things. The book, on the other hand, goes beyond. Ready Player One not Ready Player Oneonly drenches itself in pop culture and geekiness, it also serves a primer to those who are unfamiliar with it.

A movie can only do so much.

That’s why the book is going to remain timeless. The movie, sadly, will soon be dated.

Luckily for me, I got to see a lot of the films referenced in the book. For those who saw the movie first, they’ll have to go back and watch them. Then they’ll be able to understand the reference and see why it’s funny. For someone like me, who knew the reference already, it’s even more enjoyable to see it cleverly inserted into a book.

Though the movies climax was good, I enjoyed the book’s climax much better.

And I can’t wait for when “flick-syncs” become a real thing.

Books First, Movies Second

While Ready Player One makes good use of previous films and games, it’s still a book.

Most of the movies and games referenced within the book came from other books. And if that wasn’t the case, then the creators of said movies and games go their ideas from reading books.

As movies get bigger and bigger in their scale and budgets, they’ll need to find new material. It’s an unavoidable fact of the industry.

The first place for creators to look for new ideas is in books.

And that’s also an unavoidable fact.

Books will continue to provoke ideas and imagination.

What makes books so unique is they give you the ability to create a film in your own mind. You pick the actors, the score, the effects, and the pacing of the film.

Movies, while awe-inspiring, have a limiting quality to them- their run time.

Books don’t have that problem.

Do this; after watching Ready Player One, get on Amazon and buy the book. Make sure you have the best internet bundles before you do.

Better yet, get out of the house, go to a Barnes & Noble, and buy the book there. If there’s no Barnes & Noble, go to your library.

You’d be surprised what you learn.

 

“…and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.”

“This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere. Explain again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

5 Up and Coming Comedians that Need a Netflix Special

5 Up and Coming Comedians that Need a Netflix Special

Netflix is busy expanding. While they’ve thrown over $8 billion into creating new content, they’re going to expand past streaming video…into streaming radio.

Come January of 2019, Netflix will have their own channel on Sirius XM.

But what are they going to put on it?

Comedy.

Netflix has a vast array of comedy specials featuring some of the best comedians to ever pick up a mic. And then they also have other “good” comedians who somehow got a deal. They must have figured out that Netflix had $8 billion to spend on new content, so why not them?

Netflix will air bits from these comedians’ specials on Sirius XM. Even the not-so-funny ones who are passing themselves off as funny…sigh.

Enough on that, let’s move onto the real issue at hand—up and coming comedians.

While there’s nothing wrong with the tried and true names, they will, sadly, leave this earth one day. We’ll mourn them, no doubt, we aren’t heartless after all. When that inevitably happens, we’ll need new jokes to repeat to our friends and new catchphrases to incorporate into pop culture. It’s best to start this process early so we have the comedians waiting in the wings once the veterans finally shuffle from this mortal coil.

For this reason, I have taken on myself* to search for up and coming comedians that need a Netflix special.

Warning, there is mature language used by some of these comedians. You have been warned!

Josh Johnson (insert video above)

You’ve seen him on The Tonight Show, but did you also know he’s writing for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah?

This southern kid has a soft-spoken delivery that pulls you in. That’s the kind of comedy that works after a long day. Too often new comedians mistake the “loud and in your face” approach as the best way to get a laugh.

That comes off as annoying.

Of course, after all this research into Josh Johnson, I see this little line- “Josh’s next stand-up special will be released on Netflix in 2018.”

Moses Storm

You’ve likely seen him in The Wedding Party and on Comedy Central.

I especially love how he points out that he grew up poor yet looks like a rich white dude. It didn’t hurt that he was wearing a tux when he said this.

Cy Amundson

I made sure this guy didn’t have a Netflix special and turned out I was right.

You’d think that if someone was on Comedy Central that meant that they made it, right? Not always true. Although I first saw Cy on “This Is Not Happening,” I was surprised to learn he’d also done voice work for American Dad and Family Guy. This shows more of his range and with a Netflix Special, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him in the future.

Taylor Tomlinson

Yes, she’s already been on Netflix, but it was only one episode, so it doesn’t completely count. It was only 15 minutes, okay! She’s hilarious enough for at least an hour special.

Bret Ernst

This guy’s language is a little more mature, but it’s still hilarious. I got to see him perform at the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club in San Antonio, TX.

He was beyond funny causing my sides to hurt by the end of the night.

He was the headliner that night, so the first two comedians to come in were local guys. They were alright, but I found their humor to be uninspired and repetitive. This was during the time when San Antonio was named one of the most obese cities in the nation.

Guess what each comedian focused on?

San Antonio being obese.

By that point, I’d heard enough jokes about on the subject that I was tired of it.

Sometimes a topic gets so overplayed it becomes aggravating to hear it.

These comedians were supposed to warm up the crowd and yet, I wasn’t there. I’d laughed some but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

Bret Ernst changed that.

His storytelling style, blending in what would be heavy themes with abject irreverence, really surprised me. To take that kind of approach was, at least to me, intriguing. There are probably other comics who’ve done it, but he was the first one I saw who could pull it off.

Writing Comedy

Comedy is highly subjective, but the five comics above prove to hit the full range of humor. There’s something for everyone here.

Creating comedy, or finding the humor in a situation, takes skill. It’s not a sixth sense, per se, but it does take a keen eye to pull off. That’s not all you have to do, however. You need to work the story, hone in on the salient points, and really know your material. Knowing a punch line is one thing, being able to adapt to a crowd that ain’t feeling your humor- that’s a true skill.

In the meantime, make sure you have the best cable internet deals.

You’ll have fewer bills to pay and some extra cash.

When Netflix launches their comedy channel in January, you’ll have the extra cash to subscribe.

It’ll also put a smile on your face!

*I had to write this because I was watching Josh Johnson while I was supposed to be working and convinced my boss I was writing an article.

The 1 Way to Succeed on Twitch and YouTube

The 1 Way to Succeed on Twitch and YouTube

Monetizing a live-stream is seen as a legitimate career these days. Simply set up an account on Twitch, YouTube, or both, and just be yourself.

It’s…not that easy.

For those who assume acting is easy, simply ask any aspiring actor if they think acting can be done by anyone. Hopefully, they’re not offended and will just laugh at you.

The same with comedy. To quote the great Robin Williams’ “Of course you have to know comedy. Because if you tell a joke and they don’t laugh, then you know tragedy.”Live-stream

Streaming content is the newest version of creating entertainment. The upside is that it’s easy to get into. The downside is that this creates a saturated market.

Voices are easily lost in a market that’s brimming with people trying to get attention.

To get those coveted followers it takes a lot of time and effort.

Without a direction, however, even time and effort can be wasted.

Know Your Topic

I’ll admit, I have no skills when it comes to playing online games. The last time I touched a Halo game I barely scored one kill.

When it comes to researching, organizing, and telling a story, that’s where my real abilities lie. Thus, I’ve given up on video games and instead have focused on reading books, reading about writing, writing, talking with other writers, editing, and writing some more. The upside of all this is that I’ve now landed a job where someone pays me to do this all day.

It’s still a challenge.

Putting words on the screen every day requires hard work and discipline.

Working through horrible drafts is just part of the process of getting to the right one.

Now let’s replace writing with live-streaming. The same advice applies; keep working at it.

You’ll also learn some surprising things about yourself.

For example; my boss asked me how long it would take to complete an article consisting of 800 words. I ballparked it at four hours.

He blinked at me and said, “You’re the first person to use a number.”

And I got the job.

You don’t have to be an expert, you just need to know more than the average person.

Create Genuine Connections

This one has always proved difficult for me.

Since I’m good with writing and rewriting, and editing, and rewriting, talking to people face-to-face can be daunting. It may seem obvious, but making friends wasn’t my forte as a child.

When I worked to make people like me, I came across as a fake. And worse, desperate.

No one wants to be friends, or do business with, a desperate person. And those that do are going to take advantage of you.

Instead, working to find a personae or a particular schtick helped make it easier to interact and relate to strangers. It was subtle at first, and at times overblown. With time I honed it. It’s not as difficult as it used to be and I still work on it from time-to-time.

By being genuine you create genuine relationships.

Genuine relationships lead to a solid fan base.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve discovered what works for you, hone it, develop it, work on it.Live-stream

This means, as bad as it sounds, that you much do research.

Yes, research.

Looking for relevant information and data that are relevant to your topic takes time.

If you’re at least interested in the topic, then researching it will seem less arduous. In fact, it may even be fun.

I enjoy reading books not just for the stories, but to see how the author tells them. Soon I plan on taking Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass on writing.

If you neglect research, you run the risk of losing your audience. This links back to the “being a fake” mentioned earlier.

The best comedians still do it. Jerry Seinfeld, when his hit sitcom ended, went back to doing standup. It helped him figure out new material, find what worked for him, and as he says, get back to his roots.

Then You Can Think of Monetizing

Technology, though amazing, does lull us into this false belief that things will happen quickly. We stream movies and music instantly. Every time you tap an icon on your smartphone you get a little dopamine rush from completing a task and completing it quickly.

Getting into writing has taken me years. There were times I considered quitting. Thankfully, I’d started, and quit, a lot of things before then. I’m tired of repeating that process. I’m also a father now and constantly “searching for myself” does not work well with trying to raise a child.

It also helps that I enjoy telling and sharing stories. I’ve also been told I’m good at it. And now someone is paying me to do it. Took about three years to get here, but better late than never, right?

So if you decide that a career as a streaming personality or entertainer is for you, then go for it. Be prepared for a long road filled with tough times.

In the meantime, to ensure your connection is fast so you can stream uninterrupted, check out internet bundle deals.

 

“You can start any ‘Monty Python’ routine and people finish it for you. Everyone knows it like shorthand.” —Robin Williams

Who Killed Your Wi-Fi?

Who Killed Your Wi-Fi?

It’s Friday night and you’re simultaneously turning on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu to catch the most recent binge-worthy show. This week’s flavor is…crime dramas.

Yet, the TV is stuck on the loading screen. Someone has killed your Wi-Fi.

The screen will only show the spinning wheel that never stops. Instead of loading your show it simply taunts you.

Thanks to having watched a few police shows already, you’re confident in your detective skills to assess the evidence, round up suspects, and deliver the perpetrator to justice.

It’s the Internet Service Provider.

Plain and simple.

Cue the end credits, no need for further investigation.

Right?

Bring It Out Into the Open

Who Killed Your Wi-Fi?Your badge isn’t on the line, but admit it, you jumped straight to the conclusion that your ISP killed your Wi-Fi.

Stop and look around the room.

Locate the Wi-Fi router.

Is it tucked away in the corner? Set high up a shelf with books? Hidden behind your TV because you’re ashamed that it doesn’t fit with the overall aesthetic?

Now is the time to move it somewhere closer to the middle of your house or apartment. Wi-Fi, like a sprinkler, does its best when it’s in the middle of the space and can be seen from each corner easily.

An optimal location for it would be to install it on the ceiling. Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone. There’s also the concern of having your Wi-Fi router hanging from the ceiling like a bat.

While this option may not be feasible for most, work to locate a spot near the middle of your living space. Be it an apartment or home, there should be a spot near the center that you can use to set your router. Also, try to get it up as high as you can. Going back to the sprinkler metaphor; sprinklers cast the water out and it falls to the earth. So the higher the sprinkler, the greater the coverage of the lawn. Same with a Wi-Fi router, though the signal doesn’t fall like water, you’ll notice better reception when it is placed higher.

Appliances Are An Accomplice

Your Wi-Fi router, while sitting still and unassuming, is constantly being accosted as it tries to do its job–send and receive signals.

Some of these suspects may be surprising to you.

Home appliances

This may seem obvious. Most appliances plug into the wall and are made out of metal. All that metal and electricity interfere with a Wi-Fi signal. In a way, they create their own little signals. They don’t mean to do it as they’re just doing a job as well.

The problem can be exacerbated further with appliances now coming with their own Wi-Fi signals in an attempt to make homes “smarter.” Think of the refrigerators with touch screens and cameras inside. While these are meant to work with your personal Wi-Fi network, they can also end up taking more of the bandwidth and leaving you sitting there staring at the pinwheel of boredom.

Blinds

Some blinds are made of plastic or compressed board. And a lot are made out of metal. Again, the metal is what will affect your Wi-Fi signal. On the flipside, there may be a new market here- “Interior Design that is both stylish and won’t kill your Wi-Fi!”

Mirrors

The reflective coating that gives mirrors their…mirror-ness, also bounce Wi-Fi signals off in haphazard directions.

Reinforced Concrete

The rebar inside of reinforced concrete will affect the Wi-Fi signal, as well as the dense nature of the concrete itself. This time it’s not just the metal, but the concrete too.

Fish Tanks

Yes, there are comprised of metal too, but also a lot of water. So while Nemo is taking laps and plotting his escape, the water he’s swimming in is also making it difficult for your Wi-Fi signal to get through.

Of course, you can’t take out all the metal in your home, nor can you leave the windows uncovered and tear down any walls. There will be obstacles to your Wi-Fi, but you can eliminate or lessen them by placing your router somewhere up high and near the center of your abode. There are also ways to extend your Wi-Fi signal.

The Butler Did It!

Who Killed Your Wi-Fi?Those smart home devices mentioned earlier?

Yeah, they could be the ones who killed your Wi-Fi, or they may be taking up a lot of the bandwidth.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that these smart home devices were actually bogging down your home’s Wi-Fi signals. A bug in the system caused a lot of data to be sent at once, impeding the Wi-Fi.

Most of the kinks are being resolved right now, but don’t be surprised if your Wi-Fi is slow after you plug in your newest smart home device. There is good news; patches have been sent out in updates to fix the problem. So if you haven’t updated yet, this may be the reason. Or maybe those little boxes just got tired of you shouting at it?

Maybe.

It’s an Open and Shut Case

Thanks to buddy cop movies and police procedural shows we can solve the case of “who killed your Wi-Fi?” with confidence. But do not, and this is important, start trying to solve murder/arson/robbery cases on your own. Leave that up to the professionals!

What it all boils down to is understanding the technology you use and how its affected by items in your home. This knowledge will ensure a proper solution to these “crimes.”

The next time you see the spinning wheel of doom, take a moment to assess the room and figure out if the router just needs to be moved or if you have an appliance in the way? 


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How Dumpster Diving for Wi-Fi Routers Can Save You Money

How Dumpster Diving for Wi-Fi Routers Can Save You Money

You’ve heard the old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. So it is. Especially when that trash is a $30 Wi-Fi router that you found in a dumpster. Don’t toss it back just yet. Chances are that Wi-Fi router still works. Think about it: why would a Wi-Fi router break? You don’t carry it around with you daily. There’s no real wear-and-tear. It just sits there in your home, nice and perky.  Why, then, did someone dump it? Approximately 94% of consumers toss out their used Wi-Fi routers for no other reason than that they just upgraded to a new one. Okay fine, I made that up, but still, it might work, and if it does, then I just saved you from having to plop down thirty bucks at Best Buy. You’re welcome.

Figuring It All Out (Sans User Manual)

The way I see it, you can be real by-the-book about this whole process and search online for that particular router model. You may even find a PDF of the user manual or, even better, a YouTube tutorial on how to set it up. But, something tells me that since you were out dumpster diving in the first place, you’re not really a by-the-book kind of person, and that you’re probably just reading this article for the snarky bits. That’s okay. I personally hate user manuals. Actually, mine usually end up in the dumpster.

We will figure this out together.

First Things First – Disinfection

The first order of business is to wipe that thing down good. Use disinfectant wipes. Be thorough. I mean, you did find it in a dumpster. While you’re at it, wipe yourself down, too. Take a shower. You just went dumpster diving. After you’ve disinfected and deodorized, try plugging the router into a wall socket and see what happens. Beeps and blinking lights are both really good things. It means we are in business!

Basics of Wi-Fi Routers

Wi-Fi routers are really simple, and if you know the basics, you can figure them all out pretty much. There are three pieces of hardware. The router. The modem. And your device. The modem is where the Internet comes from. Seriously, that’s all you need to know. It’s a box with Internet inside. Your goal is to get some of that Internet into the router, and then from the router into your device. Easy peasy.

How to Set Up Your Used Wi-Fi Router

First, reset your new router to factory settings. Most routers have a little reset button on the back. Use a paperclip to press it (while the router is turned on) for about thirty seconds. Look for the lights on the front to do a funky bit of flashing. That means you’re doing something, which is good.

Now turn off the router, and turn the modem off, too. Connect the modem to the WAN or Internet port on your new router using a standard Ethernet cable. Turn the modem back on and then turn the router on. You may have to wait a bit for it to boot up.

You have to configure your wireless router, so take another Ethernet cable and connect it from the router to the computer. I know you hate following directions, Mr. or Ms. Dumpster Diver, but please don’t let your eyes glaze over with boredom; I need you to follow these next steps very carefully:

  1. Assuming you are using a Windows computer, go to the start menu and search for “CMD.”
  2. A black window will pop up. Type in: “ipconfig”.
  3. A bunch of text will appear. Look near the bottom of the list where it says “Default Gateway”. Take that series of numbers (probably starting with 192.168) and type them into your web browser. Press enter.
  4. This takes you to your router set up page. From here, you can rename the signal and change the password.

However, before you can access the set up page, you will need an admin user name and password. Yes, yes, I know, this sucks, but really you’re saving money here, so quit bitching and get to work. Sometimes the username and password will be on a sticker on the router. If you can’t find the information there, that’s not a problem. A quick Google search will usually do the trick.

Congratulations, Mr. or Mrs. Dumpster Diver!

Once you’re on the set up page, you can – surprise, surprise! – set up the wireless router. There are other configurations you can do, of course, but if you’ve come this far, you have already achieved something pretty spectacular and wireless Internet is right at your fingertips.

Some parting advice: do not re-gift your new wireless router just because it works. That’s in bad form. Also, I wouldn’t tell anyone where you got it. Mum’s the word. Just enjoy your new wireless Internet connection. Quietly, of course. No one ever has to know the truth.  It will be our little secret.

Shhh.