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How to Ditch Slow Wireless Speeds and Go Completely Wired in Your Home (and Why You Should) [Video]
Wi-Fi provides a convenient way to connect the computers in your home without dealing with the hassle of wires, but Wi-Fi is also slow and unreliable compared to a wired connection. Wireless may be the way of the future, but here are some of the best ways to go wired where it counts.
Photo by hdaniel.

We've shown you how to go completely wireless in your home, but as we mentioned recently, wireless is a good deal slower than a hard wired connection. Wi-Fi is undoubtedly useful and convenient for a lot of networking needs, but it can also cause a lot of frustration: interference, dropped connections, lag, and worst of all, slow speeds when it really counts. Browsing the internet isn't terrible over wireless (usually), but the moment you try to transfer large files, play multiplayer games online, you start to feel the hurt. While you can do a lot to increase your wireless strength, you'll see the best increases and better reliability if you switch your most mission-critical gear to a wired connection.

Why (and When) You Might Want to Go Wired
Here are a few instances where you may notice much better performance over a wired connection:

Large File Transfers: You won't notice much of a difference when you're transferring small files between computers on your local network, but as soon as you need to transfer something over 1GB or so, your wireless connection can really start to show its true colors.
Gaming: Any gamer that's tried to play multiplayer over a bad connection knows how annoying it can be. You think you're rocking only to realize your connection was lagging for 10 seconds and you've just been killed twice. A more reliable wired connection will keep that from happening.
Movies: Services like Netflix and Hulu Plus are the future of video entertainment, but a lot of Wi-Fi connections can choke on streaming HD content. Not only will your picture be less than stellar, but movies can take a while to buffer before they become watchable. A straight wired connection will get you crystal clear HD and quick streaming, so you don't ever have to worry about seeing a "buffering" message. Even if you're using something like iTunes to download a movie, it can seem like it takes an eternity over wireless, which isn't fun when you want to watch a movie right now.
Video Chat: Like streaming movies, video chat needs some pretty serious bandwidth to give you smooth, high-resolution video. Sure, you could make do with a blurry, choppy video, but you might as well be on a phone call at that point. For really good video chat sessions, you'll want to wire up.

There are even more examples of when you might want a fast connection—especially if you do a lot of work between different computers in your home—but these are some of the most common places you'll get a much better experience from a wired connection. Luckily, you don't need to call a contractor just to wire up the computers in your home. Here are some of the best ways to do it. Photo by nrkbeta.

The Basic Hardware: Routers, Switches and Hubs
Before you worry about how you're going to string wires through your house, you'll need a few things to connect them all together. Here are the pieces of hardware you'll want to pick up before you start wiring.

Routers
Assuming your main goal is to not only connect your machines to one another, but also to the internet, a router will be the glue that holds this all together. You probably already have one lying around, and it'll probably do just fine. Most wireless routers also have four ports in the back that make for a perfectly fine wired network, so there's no need to go out and buy a new wired router (in fact, you'll probably still want wireless around for laptop and iPad browsing). If you don't have a router capable of a wired network (like the Apple AirPort Express), you can go pick one up a high speed wired router for less than $100. If you want the fastest possible speeds, make sure it says 10/100/1000Mbps and not just 10/100Mbps.

Using the router is easy: just plug your modem into the "Internet" port on your router with an Ethernet cable, and then plug your computers, DVRs, video game systems, and other machines into the other four ports on the router.

Switches
This is where the other hardware comes in: it's likely that when you look at everything you need to wire up, you realize you have more devices than you thought. I myself have my desktop machine, a home theater PC, a TiVo, and an AirPort Express in my apartment, which is four devices right there—if you live in a house with other people that have their own computers, multiple DVRs, or video game systems, four ports is not going to be enough. To connect more than four devices to most consumer routers, you'll need what's called a switch.

Switches are just boxes that direct traffic from one port to many ports. Unlike routers, they can't assign IP addresses—they just direct traffic from your router to your other devices. So while a switch can't be the basis for a home network, adding it to your arsenal basically turns your 4-port router into an 8-port router for a mere $25 or so. Just plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the Uplink port on your switch, and the other end into one of the four regular ports on your router. If your switch doesn't have an Uplink port, you may need to use a Crossover cable instead of an Ethernet cable, and then you can just plug it into one of the regular ports on the switch. Many modern switches won't need a crossover cable, so you can try it out with regular Ethernet first and see if it works.

Hubs
I won't go into too much detail about hubs here, except to tell you that though they are often lumped in with (or confused for) switches, they are not the same. They look a lot alike, but unlike switches, hubs only have one lane of traffic—you can either send data from many devices to one, or one device to many. It doesn't "direct traffic" like a switch does. Thus, while they're cheaper than switches, they're only really useful for, say, servers that you're sending data to from multiple machines.

Getting Your Cables Across the House
Now that you've got a good router and some extra ports to accept all your devices, it's time to hook them up. Unfortunately, it's unlikely all your devices are in the same room—they're probably across the hall, or even on different levels of the house. Here are the two fastest ways to get them connected to your main router.

The Cheap (and Fastest) Method: Straight Ethernet Cables
This method's a bit obvious (and somewhat inconvenient), but it deserves mention because it's the fastest method you can possibly use. Nothing's faster than just stringing a device to a router with an Ethernet cable, so if you can, think about strategic ways to do this before you move on to other solutions. If your device is in an adjacent room or across the hall, maybe you can run it beneath the floor, tape it down and run it under your rug or carpet, or string it behind furniture. You could also creatively display your wires if you have a knack for crafts, though if all else fails there are a few products on the market that will help you hide your cables without ripping open your wall.

If you're lucky, you can get a few devices wired up without making your house look ridiculous, and keep those blazing fast speeds. If not, it's time to move on to the slightly slower—but still more than adequate—powerline adapter method. Photo by Andy Melton.

The Tidier (but Slower) Route: Powerline Adapters
The neatest way to wire up your devices is with powerline adapters. These handy little devices plug into your wall and actually use your home's electrical wiring to transmit data. They aren't quite as fast as a regular Ethernet cable, but most models will get you about 200Mbps, some offering up to 500Mbps. It's not as fast as pure Ethernet, but it will certainly get you enough bandwidth to comfortably play video games, stream high definition video, and transfer big files fairly quickly—and it's much more reliable than wireless. Plus, unless you currently have the latest and greatest wireless router in your home, it's still probably a good deal faster too.

Just plug one into your wall in the room with your router, connect it to your router with an Ethernet cable, and plug the other one in the wall next to your far away devices. Note that you need to plug them right into the wall; you can't plug them into a power strip or extension cord.

Now, while they're much more reliable than wireless, they can have their share of issues. Make sure whatever you buy is returnable, because depending on your house's wiring, you could experience some electrical interference, meaning you'll get slower than advertised speeds (and meaning this probably isn't the best option). Again, this isn't as common as wireless interference, but it's something you'll at least want to be aware of.

Why Not Just Use Wireless-N?
While wired connections have a lot of advantages, many Wireless-N routers advertise speeds comparable to the powerline adapters described above. However, you have a lot more things to consider with wireless, namely:

Cost: You can get a 450Mbps Wireless-N router for the same price as two 500Mbps powerline adapters, but you'll need to make sure all your devices are Wireless-N too if you want those high speeds. This can get pretty costly when you're upgrading multiple computers, game systems, and other boxes (and it's not always possible with some devices, like laptops). Sure, you may also need more than two powerline adapters, but you still only need one powerline adapter per room, whereas you'll need one Wireless-N adapter per device. Furthermore, if you need any wireless extenders, that's even more money you'll have to spend on your network. Depending on what you may or may not have already lying around, going the wireless route can get pretty pricey.

Reliability: Sadly, wireless is finicky. Yes, there are quite a few things you can do to fix that, but range, interference, and other latency issues are almost always going to come … [more]
Networking  Ethernet  Feature  Home  Home_Theater  Household  Internet  Networks  Router  Routers  Skype  Streaming  Top  video_chat  Wi-Fi  Wireless 
march 2011 by 9diov
Social Outposts – A Strategy for Introverts to Meet New People
I have a confession to make – I’m an introvert, but I like meeting new people.  That may sound contradictory, but hear me out.  Unlike extroverts, meeting lots of new people all the time is tiring for me – it doesn’t energize me the way running, playing guitar, or even writing does.  I love social contact with close friends though, and I enjoy meeting new people … in limited quantities.
Why does this matter?  I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and at one point switched apartments every 6 months for a few years.  Each move has come with it’s own cultural challenges, and in addition I’ve always lost most of my circle of friends.   As an introvert, I needed to make an effort to get out and meet new people – and it recently occurred to me that I had unknowingly stumbled across a strategy to easily meet people without realizing it. I call it using social outposts.

What Is a Social Outpost?Online, people talk about social media outposts – Facebook and Twitter for example. These are places where your online persona extends out of your blog, so other people can meet you and get to know you through different social media avenues.
Long before I knew anything about social media, I was doing the same thing with my hobbies to meet new people. I was using real life social outposts by going where people similar to me gathered, and using those meetings to showcase that aspect of my personality and form connections.  Let’s take a look at some real life examples I’ve used.
Sid’s Social OutpostsOpen Mic Nights.  I’ve performed at tons of open mic nights. I play guitar, write songs, sing – and even occasionally read my (terrible) poetry.  It doesn’t matter how good or bad I am – by putting myself out there and going to open mic nights consistently, no matter what happens I always am able to form a connection with other musicians when I move to a new city.  Some of those turn into friendships that have lasted years.  Even if I don’t perform, I can always strike up a conversation with someone who has just gotten off stage by complimenting them, commenting on their playing style or song choice.   There’s nothing sinister going on – I’m genuinely interested in music, and by putting myself in a situation that matches my interests, I can find common ground and meet people.Clubs and Meetups.  It seems so cliche that I almost didn’t include it on the list, but the fact is I use these types of meetings to meet people like myself.  My favorites include hiking meetups since we’re spending hours out in the mountains and valleys with no distractions.  If you’re into running, there are running clubs everywhere, and if you aren’t really sure what you want, you can always check out Toastmasters.Networking Events.  I’m a software engineer and love technology – so you’ll always find me at technology related networking events. I don’t know how popular this is in other professions, but for whatever reasons, software engineers love getting together to talk about their latest gadgets or websites we’ve built.  A great way for me to show part of my personality, and easily meet others with similar interests.Organized Classes.  I like playing volleyball, basketball and tennis – but I know there’s always room for me to improve.  I have previously organized basketball and tennis meetups, but when I don’t want to go through the trouble of organizing them, it’s easy to find other people to play.  I just find the local tennis courts and sign up for classes – it’s an outpost where I know I’ll meet other people to get together with for tennis.  You don’t have to sign up for sports classes – acting classes, dance classes, and cooking classes are all options.Concerts.  One of my favorite things about living in Los Angeles was going to concerts.  I spent thousands of dollars attending all kinds of concerts, from big name acts to local bands performing in coffee shops.  By connecting with people on fan forums online and then meeting up in person at the show, I formed friendships quickly with dozens of people.  Very often they would be the same age as me, have similar hobbies and similar income levels.  We’d hang out, meet up for lunch or dinner and if nothing else, would meet up a few times a year to attend different concerts together.Regular Hangouts.  A final note, if you can’t find anything in your new town related to your hobbies or interests, just get out of the house and go to a regular hang out – whether that’s a coffee shop, bar, or happy hour.  Typically my regular hang out will end up being something I wanted to do anyway – such as being a regular at an open mic night, or taking my laptop somewhere so I can work on my website somewhere I know other web developers congregate.So, that’s how as an introvert I’m able to quickly meet people whenever I move to a new city – and how I can keep growing my circle of friends. What do you think? Do you have any social outposts that you consistently use to meet people?
Sid Savara is a a lifehacking fanatic. Visit Sid's website for more information about how to get motivated and analysis driven personal development. Sign up for his newsletter and pick up a copy of his free motivational quotes book, The Little Book Of Big Motivational Quotes.
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Featured  Lifestyle  Communication  networking  relationship  tips 
june 2010 by 9diov
HearNames.com Boosts Your Pronunciation, Helps Avoid Embarrassment [Language]
People with uncommon names don't expect perfect pronunciation the first time they meet someone, but they're probably impressed when they encounter it. Get a jump on your next business meeting or speaking opportunity with HearNames.com, along with another pronunciation resource. More »
Language  Business  Business_Networking  Dictionary  Networking  Social  Speaking  Top 
april 2010 by 9diov
This One’s Free: 10 Basic Tech Tips that Make a Difference
Coaching is usually about ‘the big change’: generating significant new business strategies or leadership behaviours. But along the way there are dozens of small adjustments that make a big difference as well. Many of those are in the realm of technology.

Especially when working with small businesses and lone entrepreneurs, I suggest to a variety of tools and approaches to build capacity and pull down obstacles. Here are 10 tips that are drawn from interactions I have with clients every day.

A word on security. This article does not deal with security issues. If you are using off-site servers, Bluetooth connections, storing data on your phone, etc. there are significant security issues. Lifehack, Google, About.com, and other sites can provide important, current information on these issues. Or talk to your local technology guru. Just so you know.

That said, here we go:

1.  Learn how to share and export files

Regardless of which bookkeeping software you use, learn how to export to an Excel spreadsheet or a CSV (comma separated value) file. This allows a coach or consultant to review your financial situation easily (without charging you for re-entering the data manually!). Most financial software will have a ‘Save As…’ or ‘Export…’ item under ‘File’. Check it out.
CSV files are also a standard format to export contact information from your PIM (Personal Information Manager) like Outlook or Entourage. When you export your contact information for example, you can load it into a spreadsheet for mail merges, or upload it to services like Constant Contact to create electronic newsletter campaigns.
When you send documents (such as resumes, reports, or business plans) by email for review you want to be sure that the document arrives looking exactly the way you sent it.  You also want to protect your documents from malicious or accidental alteration. The best way of taking care of both concerns is by saving the document as a PDF (Portable Document Format). A locked PDF document arrives looking EXACTY like you sent it, and cannot be easily altered. Newer versions of most office and graphics software can save, print, or export in a PDF format. There are also a number of free- or share-ware programs that you can download which will convert almost any document or picture file into a PDF.

2.  Be systematic in using folders and files

Whether it is individual document names or whole file systems, create a name- and location- system you can repeat. You will save time and reduce errors. For example, I have a ‘New Client’ folder that has all the empty sub-folders I normally require for client documents. When a new client comes on board, I simply copy and rename the ‘New Client’ folder and I am ready to start populating the already-named sub-folders with new documents. That way I know each document I create has the same home for each client.
Ever looked for a file in a certain folder and not found it there? We are creatures of habit. As likely as not, you will look there again the next time you want that file. Unless there is a clear reason not to, when you do find the file, consider moving it into the folder you first looked for it in.
When naming files, use a standard structure so that a) the name tells you what you are looking at and b) your files sort properly when you open the folder. One tip for this is to name files ‘year-month-date-filename.doc’ for files that you have multiple versions of (e.g. 2009-07-23-newsletter.doc), and set the sort criteria for that folder to be ‘date – most recent first’. That way each time you open the folder, the files are sorted so you can see the file you worked on most recently at the top of the list.

3.  Backup
I know. Unbelievably boring. But really, if you don’t back up your stuff you are asking for trouble. And today, with the various back-up solutions available, there is no reason to have that icy cold feeling creeping up the back of your neck when you realize something really bad has just happened to your computer.

If your software has an auto-save function, use it. How long should the interval be between auto-saves? I don’t know. How much work are you OK with re-doing? 10 minutes? 20 minutes? 2 minutes?
Full-system backups. Today you can get external hard-drives, off-site network backups, and back-ups that occur while you sleep or while you work. One of my favourite backup utilities is SyncBack SE. The technology is cheap and easy to use. There is no excuse.
Smart phone as backup. Your smart phone can do a lot of cool stuff. Did you know you can use it to store your contact information and calendar? A good smartphone like a Blackberry, IPhone, or Palm will easily store all of your contact information and your calendar, and keep it up to date. These phones come with software to allow you to synchronize data with your main computer. You can ensure that both devices have the same calendar and contact information. Never a bad idea. Which brings me to the next item…

4.  Sync or sink!
Did you know that your phone can synchronize your contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, and more, with your computer? If your phone and computer have Bluetooth built in, you don’t even have to plug anything in. Increasingly through off-site servers and Bluetooth, you have the ability to store key word processing, spreadsheet, PDF and other documents on your phone as well.

By syncing your computer with your phone, not only will you keep your PIM items up to date, but you have created another form of back up!

5.  Dig a little deeper
A colleague or client will sometimes mention that they are planning to buy an expensive piece of software to solve a specific problem. Most of the time, the software they are considering is overkill. It is not that the software is no good or that it won’t solve the problems that they want it to, it is simply a question of ROI. The investment in money and training time is often not justified by the return on productivity.

The solution? Dig a little deeper into the software you already have. Have you actually watched/read any of the basic tutorials for your office suite or bookkeeping software? Most people are surprised at how much they can do with what they already have on their computers.

If a certain functionality is missing, there is a very good chance someone has plugged that hole with free software you can download or use on-line. I am experimenting with Tungle for example, an online solution that allows people to book appointments in my free slots. The online bookings are automatically synced with my Outlook calendar. And it is free.

6. Learn your sums
While spreadsheets were originally invented to handle basic bookkeeping functions, where they really shine is in modeling possibilities and options. The more sophisticated stuff is for full-time spreadsheet specialists, but there are basics that I use almost every day in making financial recommendations to clients.

Spreadsheets allow me to compare various averages and ratios, changing some numbers and seeing the different results instantly, without having to redo the calculations every time.

Knowing how to create a basic budget, including sums, averages, and ratios, in a spreadsheet can give you greater control over your finances.

7.  Calendars, tasks, & alarms
Our minds can only hold about 4 – 7 pieces of information at one time. Why take up that precious memory capacity remembering to stop at the dry cleaner when you could be thinking about how to deepen relationships with customers?

There are many tools available for your smart phone and your computer that can manage your schedules and to-do lists.  I prefer these tools to using paper. Why? For me, the big advantage of digital PIM tools over paper are:

The information can be synchronized between devices (no book to lose or forget);
They can actively remind you of things that need to be done (so you don’t to have to remember to check your book to remember what you need to do);
They can be set to schedule your repeating events and reminders, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. This saves you the time of having to write every repeat event down. When the schedule changes you don’t have to erase and rewrite.

8.  Email & SMS Text
Email is more than just a way of communicating. One of the most powerful benefits of email is that it is a great way of tracking and organizing communication.

I love face-to-face conversation, but there are times when I am glad that there is a way of tracking exactly what was said when there is a disagreement. Even little disputes like the date or time of a meeting can be confirmed in a way that is not possible otherwise.

Email is also the easiest thing to organize. Simply create folders representing the way you organize your information (see Item 2 above), and drag/move the emails in.

A lot of professionals haven’t caught on to SMS (small message service) “texting” as a communication channel. Obsessive texting about trivial things is a huge time waster, and can give the illusion that meaningful communication is taking place. Furthermore, text messages can’t easily be organized like email. All of that said, texting is a useful tool because it can be done between different kinds of phones, not just the more expensive and complex smart phones, and because it is fast and discrete. If you are trying to figure out which movie theatre someone is meeting you in front of, you may not want to send an email. Further, there are times when you want to send someone a short quick message and a phone call is not appropriate (say if they are already in the theatre). Sending a text message can handle that.

Telephone calls, email, and texting each have their strength. Like Social Networking the trick is to know when to use the right tool.

9.  Social networking
This topic is much larger than can easily be covered in a brief list like this. But every business person should be aware of it. In my experience there are four main social networking platforms that every business owner and … [more]
Featured  Productivity  business  Communication  email  networking  organization  software  time 
september 2009 by 9diov
How to Troubleshoot a Flaky Internet Connection [Home Network]
You're zooming down the information superhighway getting things done when your usually-trusty browser throws up the dreaded "Server not found" message. Argh! Now what?
Roll up your sleeves and get troubleshooting, that's what. When your internet connection goes down or starts acting up, here's what to do.
(First: save this article to your computer's hard drive. It will do you no good out on the internet when you can't get online.)
The best way to resolve ANY computer problem is to use the process of elimination. Narrow down a wide field of possible problems to come up with the right solution. There are two types of connectivity downage: when you can't get to ANY web site or online service at all, and when you can't get to a single specific site or family of sites.
To determine which situation you're in, try getting a response from a few different web sites, including one that most likely is not down, like Google.com, Yahoo.com, or Microsoft.com. At this point command line lovers skip the browser and go straight to ping, a simple tool that sends data packets to a server and receives a response back. Ping a server by typing ping google.com in your Mac's Terminal, Windows command line, or shell. You'll see immediately whether or not you're getting a response. In the screenshot here, Google is responding within 106 milliseconds or so.

(Hit Ctrl+C to stop; otherwise ping keeps pinging.) Try to ping google.com or yahoo.com, as well as a few smaller sites like Lifehacker and whatever site you were trying to reach when things went down. If you can't reach Google, Yahoo, Lifehacker, or any other site, your whole connection is borked.
If ping ain't your cup of tea, you can also use a web browser to reach a few different sites. Just make sure you try more than one browser when you do, just in case a specific browser's settings or add-ons are actually the problem. Ping is the best way to see if you can reach a given server, not your browser.
Now you know whether your connection is totally down, or if it's just one or a few specific web sites. If you've got more than one computer or device on your network, try the same process on each one to make sure the problem isn't specific to a single computer. You can even grab your Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone, hop on your network, and check to make sure that the same sites or the whole internet are unavailable as well. Is it the same type of downage on all devices and computers? Ok, let's go from there. (If the problem is specific to one computer, skip to Scenario 3.)
Scenario 1: You can't get online at all from any device or computer In a typical home wireless network, there are three main components: the computer(s) and other devices, your wireless router, and your cable or DSL modem. Of course, many more devices are involved in any network connection from your computer to a web site on the internet, but these are the ones you have control over. If you've been surfing away happily on your computer on your home network and then for no apparent reason go down, the first places to check are your modem and router.
Twitter user Jesse Glacken put it well (and geekily) when he described what he does to fix a broken connection.

In non-programmer style English: If your modem's lights are out, reboot it. If your router's lights are out, reboot it.
In short, rebooting the modem and the router will solve 90% of your home internet connectivity problems. Generally I unplug the router first, then unplug the modem. (Neither of them have power buttons, so it's a matter of pulling the power cord out of the box. Don't be fooled by the standby button on the top of your modem, that's not the power button. You have to actually pull the power cord out of the modem.) Count down to 10, then plug the modem back in and then the router. Give them both time to boot up and connect by watching the activity lights. Then try connecting to the internet again on your computer.
At this point, if all the lights are on but you still aren't getting ping responses nor able to load web pages, it's time to continue down the elimination road. Grab the cable that your ISP gave you and connect your computer directly to the modem to eliminate the router. Reboot the modem again. Try pinging or getting online. No dice? It's time to call your ISP.
If you can get online while you're connected directly to your modem, but not when you're connected to your router, the problem is somewhere on your router. Unless they've installed the router for you, most ISP's won't offer tech support for your router. Troubleshoot it by visiting its administrative page and checking whether or not it's getting a connection from your provider. This is the time you want to have your router's user guide handy. Skip down to Scenario 4 for more on the care and feeding of a troubled router.
Scenario 2: You can't get to a specific web site or set of web sites from any computer or device If it's just one web site that you can't reach, the problem most likely isn't you; it's that web site's server.
My favorite tool for checking a web site is the super-useful Down For Everyone Or Just Me tool, which tells you if the whole world can't reach that web site as well. If it's not just you, and that web site is indeed unavailable to anyone, use Notify Mee to get an email alert when that web site is back up. (Thanks, warplayer!)
If it turns out it is just you, you're in an interesting pickle. You can reach DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com and Google.com, but not this particular web site—but the rest of the world can. At this point, it's time to start thinking about DNS servers. Your ISP's DNS servers are the ones which figure out what internet domain names (like lifehacker.com) map to what IP addresses. If your ISP's DNS server doesn't have the correct address for a web site name, you're not going to the right server. To see if the problem is DNS, try switching to the free OpenDNS service.
To get more exact information about the source of the problem, skip down to the section on using traceroute.
Scenario 3: One computer can't get to certain web sites, but other computers on the same network can If you're here reading Lifehacker, chances are your computer is free and clear of viruses and other malware. If you're visiting Aunt Mitzy and Uncle Ralph, however, that might not be the case. If a specific computer can't get online but other devices can, the problem is local to that machine.
First, make sure the problem isn't browser-specific. Install Firefox (or create a fresh, extension-free Firefox profile) and check to see if you can get online with it. Try Chrome as well. (If the computer can't get online at all, use one that can to download the browser installation files, or bring along a portable version on a thumb drive.)
If all the browsers on the system can't get online, disable the anti-virus software and check the firewall. Sometimes corrupt AV software that's not entirely turned off or uninstalled can mess with the network connection. Try creating a whole new user on the system and logging in as that new user to make sure no process is running in the background that's getting in the way. If you suspect malware IS at work, scrub down the machine. In the worst case scenario of a totally crap-laden system, wipe the hard drive clean and install Windows from scratch.
Scenario 4: Your router requires constant resets or slows down connections If your wireless router seems to slow down your connection or goes on vacation often and without warning, there are a few things you can do.
For routers that become unreachable or lose connectivity often, try updating the firmware to the latest version. Search the router's manufacturer's web site for the latest and greatest and install it using your router's administrative interface. If you're feeling very adventurous and have compatible hardware, try third-party firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato.
For router slowdowns, try reducing interference or changing the wireless channel. The New York Times advises:
The base station may be getting interference from a new nearby device that was recently installed and is using the same radio frequency. This can include cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, wireless speakers, mice or keyboards. See whether the network speed improves when these devices are moved or turned off. Moving the base station itself may also help.
For apartment dwellers, having neighbors with their own wireless networks crowding the airwaves may also impair performance, especially if everyone's network is set to use the same default channel. To change the router's channel, you need to go into its configuration file (you usually need the base station's password to gain access to these settings). The steps for changing the channel will vary based on the manufacturer, but Linksys has its instructions at snipurl.com/3iibn. Apple's AirPort and AirPort Express base stations can be adjusted by using the AirPort Utility software. Experiment with Channels 1, 6 or 11, as they are far enough apart not to overlap with other channels and may provide a better network signal.
For more, see our top 10 Wi-Fi boosts, tweaks, and apps. Photo by philcampbell.
The Command Line Tool of Network Ninjas: traceroute Every good network administrator reaches for the age-old command line tool traceroute to troubleshoot broken network connections. Traceroute maps the path data packets take from your computer to a web site, and includes every single stop along the way and how long it took to get there. For broken connections, traceroute reveals at what exact point the broken connection is failing, and gives someone with a little knowledge of ping and IP addresses more information about how to resolve the problem.

To give traceroute a spin and see what its output looks like, try this online version (which obviously doesn't help if you can't get online at all).
To run it from your computer, on Windows from the command line type tracert google.com (notice the missing o, u, and e). In a Mac Terminal window, type … [more]
_Home_Network_  CLI  Command_Line  Connectivity  Feature  Networking  Ping  Smarterware  Top  Traceroute  Troubleshooting 
july 2009 by 9diov
The 80 Best Lifehacks of 2008
And so we arrive yet again at the end of another year. 2008 was at best a mixed bag – while the world was electrified by the US election and it’s promise of change, the global economy was shaken to its core as a decade of financial mismanagement and willful blindness finally caught up with us. Gas prices spiked, leading us all to ask some difficult questions about sustainability, efficiency, and consumption – and then plummeted, leaving us feeling somewhat relieved, but baffled by the unpredictability of it all.

As we roll into 2009, there is an atmosphere of suspenseful anticipation, of hope mixed with not a little uncertainty. Companies are streamlining to prepare for the worst, even as entrepreneurs look ahead to new opportunities. Overall, it seems that now is a time for shaking off the dust, clearing away the debris of the past, and looking towards the future.

Here at Lifehack, we’ve always followed a path of cautious optimism. Plan for the worst, but work for the best! 2008 has seen the arrival of a host of new contributors, as well as two new contributing editors, Thursday Bram and Joel Falconer. Together, we’ve continued to bring you the best tips, advice, and recommendations across the field of productivity, helping with everything from managing your todo list to managing your career.

Here, then, are the best posts of 2008, selected according to their popularity and the amount of discussion they generated both here on the site and across the blogosphere. Contained in these posts is a healthy dose of the wisdom, direction, and skill you need to move forward into a successful 2009!

Communication

How to Build Credibility on the Web
14 ways to make sure that your voice is the one people pay attention to among the anonymous masses on the Web. (Dustin M. Wax)
7 Little Tricks To Speak In Public With No Fear
Most people are terrified of speaking in public. With these tips, you don’t have to be. (Mohamad Zaki)
How to win Arguments - Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics
Helpful tips to come out on top when it matters. (Paul Sloane)
The Value of Writing Well
Improve your writing skills to make yourself a better thinker, a more compelling speaker, and all-around better person. (Dustin M. Wax)
Be Heard. Speak Plainly.
Tips on making yourself clear — and persuasive. (Dustin M. Wax)
How to Write in 140 Characters or Less
The future of writing is Twitter. Here’s how to make yourself understood in today’s micro-media. (Dustin M. Wax)
How to Write (in a thousand words or less)
17 tips to help make you a better writer. (Dustin M. Wax)
The Ultimate Writing Productivity Resource
Software, web apps, websites, and other essential resources every writer should know about. (Dustin M. Wax)
How to Write a Business Letter That Gets Results
Writing a business letter is more than just following the right format — though that helps, too. Here’s some advice on how to nail your business correspondence. (Dustin M. Wax)
10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
Everyone hates PowerPoint presentations, but they won’t hate yours if you follow these tips. (Dustin M. Wax)

Fitness/Health

Are You Following the Wrong Exercise Program?
Your exercise program might not be right for you and your goals. Here’s how to tune your exercise regimen to make it right for you. (Craig Harper)
Making Meals Easier: A Few Healthy Eating Ideas
Easy ideas for healthier eating from three nutritionists. (Thursday Bram)
How to Lose Weight Watching TV
Exercise ideas you can squeeze into the commercial breaks of your favorite shows. (Craig Harper)
Five Ways to Pick up the Exercise Habit Again
Get back in shape after falling off the wagon with these tips. (Aaron M. Potts)
20 Foods To Snack On For Enhanced Productivity
If you’re going to have a snack, why not have one that gives you more energy, helps you think better, or eases stress? (Kavit Haria)
15 Reasons Why You’re not Losing Weight
You’re eating healthy and still not dropping the pounds? Maybe you’re over-indulging on one of these supposedly healthy but really fattening foods. (Craig Harper)
How To Lose Belly Fat
Helpful tips on working towards a slimmer stomach. (Mark McManus)

Lifestyle

50 Ways to Make Your Home More Organized, More Attractive, and More Efficient
Tips from Lifehack readers about home organization. (Dustin M. Wax)
10 Keys to Work/Life Balance
Approaches to maintaining a healthy relationship between your work and the rest of your life. (Dustin M. Wax)
T.H.U.M.P. - 5 Ways to Deal with Irresponsible People
How to get irresponsible people out of your life — or at least make them less dangerous. (Aaron M. Potts)
5 Simple Steps To Be Happy — Finally
FIgure out what makes you happy and start doing it! (Alex Shalman)
Punctuality Counts
Being on time might not seem that important, but it portrays confidence, respect, and command. Check out the follow-up, How to Be On Time Every Time, for tips on breaking  the late habit. (Dustin M. Wax)
34 Tips for Your Younger Self
Lessons Lifehack readers wish they had known when they were younger. Required reading for young people of every age. (Joel Falconer)
10 Morning Rituals For The Healthy EntrepreneurHow you start your day can make the difference between success and failure. Start it right with these productive habits. (Kavit Haria)
11 Tips to Carve Out More Time to Think
When it feels like you don’t have time to form a complete thought, follow these tips to get things back under control. (Scott H. Young)
What’s It Going to Take to Make You Happy?
All that stands between you and happiness might well be your failure to figure out what would make you happy. (Dustin M. Wax)
80 How-To Sites Worth Bookmarking
A smorgasbord of sites to help you do just about anything. (Thursday Bram)

Productivity

50+ Personal Productivity Blogs You’ve Never Heard of Before (and about a dozen you probably have)
A bird’s-eye view of the productivity blogosphere’s lesser-known reaches. Don’t miss the follow-up, Readers Recommend: 15 More Productivity Blogs You Probably Never Heard Of, drawn from reader’s comments. (Dustin M. Wax)
6 Signs Your Lifehacks Aren’t Working
Just because something seems like a good idea doesn’t mean it’s helping. Here’s how to tell when your productivity tricks are causing you more trouble than good. (Thursday Bram)
Read This Now! Stop Procrastinating and Get Stuff Done — or Else!
Tips on breaking the hold of procrastination. Took forever to get around to writing this! (Dustin M. Wax)
How to Ruthlessly Reclaim Work Day Time
Sometimes lifehacks just aren’t enough to take control of your time. Here’s what to do when more drastic measures are called for. (Joel Falconer)
10 Hacks to Improve Your Home Office Productivity
Working at home offers plenty of conveniences, but also distractions. Here are some tips on taking charge of your home office to get more done. (Joel Falconer)
5 Ways to get out of faffing mode
Stop futzing around and get moving, already! (Steven Aitchison)
10 Steps To Working On The Road
Tips for today’s mobile professionals. (Thursday Bram)
10 Tips For Improving Your Appointment Setting Skills
Great ideas for taking charge of your schedule. (Thursday Bram)
50 Tricks to Get Things Done Faster, Better, and More Easily
Your one-stop shop for the best concepts and tricks for increasing productivity. (Dustin M. Wax)
The Ultimate Student Resource List
Free software, web apps, and websites, along with links to the best of Lifehack’s advice for students, make this post the ultimate guide to success for students. (Dustin M.Wax)
10 Productivity Myths That Hold You Back
Misguided beliefs about productivity that sap our energy and lead us down the wrong path. (Dustin M. Wax)
30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity
Great ways to recharge your creative batteries and get the ideas flowing again. (Joel Falconer)
8 Good Reasons to Be a Lousy Musician
Who says you need to be perfect at everything? Here’s some good reasons to give yourself permission to suck at something you love. (Dustin M. Wax)
The Science of Setting Goals
What goes on in our brain when we set, achieve, and fail to achieve our goals. (Dustin M. Wax)
5 Effective Ways to Improve Your Sleep
Tips and tricks to help you get a fuller, more restful nights sleep. (Joel Falconer)

Success/Achievement

8 Essential Skills They Didn’t Teach You In School
Important life skills like how to network, set goals, and negotiate. FIgure these out and you’re miles ahead the rest! (Brian Armstrong)
10 Skills You Need to Succeed at Almost Anything
No matter what field you’re in, these skills are essential to achieving success. (Dustin M. Wax)
29 Worn Out Perspectives in Need of the “Oh Really?” Factor
We all have excuses for why we don’t achieve our goals. But are they really to blame, or are we just avoiding the hard work of succeeding? (Lisa Gates)
10 HARD Ways to Make Your Life Better
In today’s quick-fix culture, there are still great rewards to be gained for people willing to work hard and pay dome dues. (Dustin M. Wax)
I Won Science Fair with A Failed Project: The Skill of Presenting Failures
Turn failure into success with these tips. (Thursday Bram)
Three Basic Steps to Get Your Desire with the Least Effort
Know what you want, how to get it, and the tools you’ll need on the way. (Donald Latumahina)
Build Your Platform: How to Show You’re the Right Person for Any Job
Convince your world you can handle anything by building a strong platform to build your case on. (Dustin M. Wax)
The George Costanza Lifehack for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety
Important life lessons from everyone’s favorite schlub, George Costanza. (Derek Ralston)

Technology

11 Free Mind Mapping Applications & Web Services
Review of 11 free applications for creating, storing, and exploring your thoughts. (Joel Falconer)
7 Email Myths That Plague the Workplace
Replace these bad email practices with more efficient habits and achieve email mastery. (Joel Falconer)
8 Web Databases for Tracking, Collecting and Recording Data
Reviews of eight … [more]
Featured  Productivity  2008  achievement  app  back-to-basics  Communication  creativity  goals  gtd  habit  iphone  networking  new_year  review  success  web 
december 2008 by 9diov

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