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What’s faster: Ethernet or Wi-Fi?

At Zentro Internet, we understand that speed matters when it comes to your online experience. You might be wondering whether Ethernet or Wi-Fi is the faster option for your connection needs. Let’s break it down for you:

Ethernet: Lightning-Fast and Reliable

Ethernet connections offer unparalleled speed and reliability. When you connect your device directly to your router using an Ethernet cable, you’re tapping into a dedicated pathway for data transmission. This means you’re getting the full power of your internet plan, delivering consistent and high-speed performance. If you’re into online gaming, large file transfers, or demanding tasks, Ethernet is your go-to choice for maximizing speed.

Wi-Fi: Convenient and Versatile

Wi-Fi offers the convenience of wireless connectivity, allowing you to connect multiple devices without the need for cables. While modern Wi-Fi standards like 802.11ac and 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) have greatly improved speeds, they might not always match the sheer speed of Ethernet. Wi-Fi speeds can vary due to factors like distance from the router, interference, and the number of connected devices. Nevertheless, for most everyday tasks like browsing, streaming, and light gaming, Wi-Fi offers ample speed and flexibility.

The Verdict: It Depends on Your Needs

Ultimately, the choice between Ethernet and Wi-Fi comes down to your specific requirements. If you’re seeking the fastest and most consistent speeds for demanding activities, Ethernet is the winner. On the other hand, if you value convenience and the ability to connect multiple devices wirelessly, Wi-Fi is a great choice.

No matter which option you choose, Zentro Internet is here to provide you with the best possible experience. Our high-speed plans ensure that you’re equipped to handle whatever your online world demands. If you have further questions or need assistance optimizing your connection, our dedicated customer support team is always ready to help.

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How do I reboot my router?

To reset your Calix U4 router, follow these steps to restore the device to its default settings. Please note that performing a reset will erase any personalized configurations you’ve made. Here’s how you can do it:

Using the Reset Button:

  • Locate the small reset button on your Calix U4 router. This button is usually labeled “Reset” and is typically found on the back or bottom of the router.
  • Gently insert a paperclip or similar thin object into the reset button’s hole and hold it for about 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Release the reset button when you notice the router’s lights blinking or flashing. This indicates that the reset process is starting.
  • The router will automatically restart and begin restoring its default settings. This process may take a few minutes.
  • Once the router completes its reboot, you can access its settings using the default login credentials. These are often displayed on a sticker attached to the router or provided by Zentro Internet.

Using the Router’s Web Interface:

  • Open a web browser and enter the router’s IP address, which is typically “192.168.1.1” or “192.168.0.1.” Press Enter.
  • Log in to the router’s web interface using your assigned username and password. If you haven’t personalized these settings, you can use the login details provided by Zentro Internet.
  • Navigate to a section labeled “System,” “Administration,” or “Reset.”
  • Within this section, locate an option that lets you “Factory Reset” or “Reset to Defaults.” Click on this option.
  • Confirm your decision to proceed with the reset when prompted.
  • The router will initiate the reset process and reboot itself. Please allow some time for this process to complete.
  • After the reset is done, you’ll need to set up your router anew. This includes configuring your network name, password, and any other customized settings.

For more precise guidance tailored to your specific Calix U4 router model, don’t hesitate to consult the router’s user manual or reach out to Zentro Internet’s dedicated customer support team. We’re here to assist you every step of the way.

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How do I change my network name/SSID and password?

Both SSID and Password can be changed via the ZentroIQ App. If for some reason, you need to change them outside of the app, follow the instructions below.

Changing Network Name (SSID):

  • Open a web browser on a device connected to your Calix U4 network.
  • In the address bar, type “http://192.168.1.1” and press Enter.
  • You will be prompted to enter your router’s username and password. If you haven’t changed these, the default should be “admin” for both. If you’ve changed them and forgotten, please let us know, and we’ll guide you through a password reset.
  • Once logged in, look for the “Wireless” or “Wi-Fi” section.
  • Locate the field displaying your current network name (SSID) and edit it to your desired new name.
  • Save the changes, and your network name will be updated.

Changing Network Password:

  • While still in the router settings, navigate to the “Wireless” or “Wi-Fi” section.
  • Find the field related to your Wi-Fi security settings.
  • Look for the “Password” or “Passphrase” field and enter your new desired password.
  • Ensure your password meets security criteria (length, complexity) to keep your network secure.
  • Save the changes, and your new password will be applied.

Once you’ve made these changes, your router will need a moment to update its settings. You’ll then need to reconnect your devices to the updated network using the new name and password.

If you encounter any issues during this process or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer support team. We’re available to help you every step of the way.

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Account Management in Zentro Portal

How and When Will I Be Billed?

At Zentro, we believe in transparency and convenience when it comes to billing. To find detailed information about your billing cycle, payment due dates, and invoice details, simply visit our dedicated customer account management page.

How Do I Update My Card on File?

Updating your payment information is hassle-free through the Zentro Portal. Whether you’ve got a new card or need to make changes to your existing one, our portal makes it easy.

Our goal is to empower you to manage your account with ease. If you have any questions or encounter any issues while using the portal, our customer support team is always ready to assist you.

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How do I cancel my service?

To cancel your service, please get in touch with our dedicated customer support team through our support hub, by email zentropros@zentrointernet.com, or by phone at 877-Zentro-1. They will guide you through the cancellation process and assist you with any related inquiries. You can reach our customer support by phone or email, and they will be more than happy to help you with your cancellation request.

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What speeds can I expect from my Wi-Fi connection?

When you choose our blazing-fast 1 Gbps internet plan, you’re unlocking a world of incredible speed potential for your online activities. With a wired connection, you’ll be able to enjoy the full 1 Gbps speed directly from our network. This means seamless streaming, lightning-fast downloads, and smooth online gaming experiences.

However, it’s important to understand that when you use Wi-Fi, the actual speed you experience can be influenced by a few factors. The Wi-Fi standard your router and devices support plays a role; the latest standards can achieve higher speeds. Additionally, factors like the number of devices connected, interference from other devices or networks, distance from the router, and even the quality of your router can impact your Wi-Fi speed.

While you might not consistently reach the full 1 Gbps over Wi-Fi due to these factors, you can still expect significantly high speeds—potentially in the hundreds of Mbps or more—when close to the router and with minimal interference. For activities requiring the highest performance, like competitive gaming or large downloads, consider connecting your device directly to the router using an Ethernet cable.

Rest assured, our goal is to provide you with the best possible experience, and we’re here to help you optimize your Wi-Fi setup for the fastest speeds available in your environment.

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How does fixed wireless internet work?

Fixed wireless internet for apartments deploys antennas for signal transfer, ensuring clear lines of sight. Signals are processed by ISP towers, providing internet access via personal Wi-Fi networks within apartments. This approach offers swift setup, scalability, and wide coverage, while considering potential signal challenges.

Antenna Setup: Fixed wireless internet in apartment buildings uses antennas on rooftops for data transmission.

Signal Transfer: Antennas transmit data-carrying radio signals between the building and ISP towers.

Line of Sight: Clear view between antennas is vital for uninterrupted signal transfer.

Data Handling: ISP towers decode received signals, integrating data into their network for internet access.

In-Building Distribution: Wireless signal enters apartments via routers, creating personal Wi-Fi networks.

Advantages: Fast deployment, reduced infrastructure, scalability, and broad coverage.

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What’s the difference between a 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz network?

2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are two different frequency bands used for wireless communication in Wi-Fi networks. Each of these frequency bands has its own advantages and disadvantages, affecting factors like range, speed, and interference. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks:

2.4 GHz Network:

Range: 2.4 GHz signals have a longer range compared to 5 GHz signals. This means they can penetrate walls and other obstacles more effectively, making them suitable for larger spaces or areas with many obstacles.

Interference: The 2.4 GHz frequency band is more crowded because many devices, such as cordless phones, microwaves, and Bluetooth devices, also operate on this band. This can lead to more interference and slower speeds in environments with many competing devices.

Speed: 2.4 GHz networks generally offer slower maximum speeds compared to 5 GHz networks due to the higher interference levels and the narrower channel width available.

Channel Overlap: There are fewer non-overlapping channels in the 2.4 GHz band, which can contribute to interference issues when multiple networks are in close proximity.

5 GHz Network:

Speed: 5 GHz networks offer higher maximum speeds compared to 2.4 GHz networks. This is because the 5 GHz band has wider channel widths available for data transmission.

Interference: The 5 GHz band is less crowded, as it has fewer devices using it compared to the 2.4 GHz band. This can lead to less interference and more consistent speeds, especially in areas with a high density of devices.

Range: 5 GHz signals have a shorter range and are more affected by obstacles like walls. This makes them more suitable for smaller spaces and areas with fewer obstacles.

Channel Availability: The 5 GHz band has more available non-overlapping channels, which can help reduce interference and provide better performance in environments with multiple networks.

In summary, the choice between a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz network depends on your specific needs and the environment in which you’re setting up the network:

Choose 2.4 GHz: If you need a network with longer range and better penetration through obstacles, and if you’re in an area with a lot of wireless interference from other devices.

Choose 5 GHz: If you prioritize higher speeds, have fewer devices in the area operating on the same band, and can accommodate the shorter range and reduced obstacle-penetration capabilities.

Many modern routers are dual-band, meaning they can operate on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, allowing you to choose the appropriate band based on your needs and the devices you’re using.

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What’s the difference between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps?

The difference between 100 Mbps (Megabits per second) and 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) lies in their data transmission speeds. These terms are commonly used to describe the speed of internet connections or data transfer rates in computer networks. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

  • Data Transfer Rate:
    • 100 Mbps (Megabits per second) refers to a speed of 100 million bits of data transmitted in one second.
    • 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) refers to a speed of 1 billion bits of data transmitted in one second.
  • Speed Comparison:
    • 1 Gbps is 10 times faster than 100 Mbps.
    • This means that with a 1 Gbps connection, you can transfer data 10 times more quickly than with a 100 Mbps connection.
  • Real-world Applications:
    • A 100 Mbps connection is suitable for basic internet usage, such as web browsing, emailing, streaming SD (Standard Definition) videos, and light online gaming.
    • A 1 Gbps connection provides a significantly faster experience and is better suited for demanding tasks like HD (High Definition) and 4K video streaming, online gaming, video conferencing, large file downloads/uploads, and multiple devices using the internet simultaneously without experiencing slowdowns.
  • Download and Upload Speeds:
    • Both 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps connections offer high-speed downloads and uploads, but the difference in upload speed might not be as noticeable for regular internet users.

In summary, a 1 Gbps connection offers significantly faster speeds, making it more suitable for bandwidth-intensive activities and scenarios where multiple devices need to be connected simultaneously. However, the choice between these two speeds also depends on your specific needs, the number of devices in use, and the applications you regularly engage in.

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Quick Start Guide: Setting up your Wi-Fi and App

Getting started with ZentroIQ App: This App allows you to manage your home or small business Wi-Fi network. You can self-install and be managing your home or business within a few minutes. Download the app and start managing your home network today!

  • Download the app; search either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for: “ZentroIQ” then install it on your mobile device. 
  • Select “SIGN UP” at the bottom of the screen. 
  • Enter your personal information. The password you enter here will be used to access the app. 
    • Note: Please wait at least 10 minutes after your BLAST System has been turned up before attempting step 4.
  • If your system is plugged in and connected, select “Yes” to continue. 
  • Tap the QR code that appears within the app. (You will be asked to allow the app to access your camera.) Point your camera at the QR Code found on the bottom of your GigaSpire BLAST System, or on the sticker that came in your box (example shown below). Select OK. After you select “Submit”, you may be asked to enter your account number. 
  • Note: If your system is already operating with Wi-Fi, tap the “Click here to skip” text. If not connected, complete the following steps to set-up your Wi-Fi network:
    • Name you network
    • Create a router name (Used throughout the app). 
    • The Network Name (SSID) is what you will see as your wireless connection name. 
    • Select a password for your wireless network, if you do not want to change it on all the devices in your home, use your existing wireless SSID and Password.
    • Click Submit and you’re all done!
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Chicago’s Top Incubators and Accelerators for Startups

In the entrepreneurial world, there’s more to business than having an idea and finding cooperative employees. Startups need mentorship, guidance, and specialized navigation to propel their economic growth. Just like with consulting firms for big corporations, startup incubators and accelerators are separate ventures that aid in a new organization’s growth and prosperity. 

In Chicago, local accelerators offer services to new startups for professional advisory and necessary resources. If you need guidance boosting your current midwestern enterprise, look no further than this list of top incubators and accelerators in the area.  

1871 

1871 is a Chicago-based incubator that directs new tech companies toward growth while finding them a functional support network. With its diverse programs and curated plans, this incubator can bolster inchoate organizations to reach their maximum potential. 

Early-stage members gain beneficial resources like weekly workshops, shareouts, and imperative business information for startup development. 1871 has live events, too, with influential business leaders and mentors for direct communication and interactive learning. 

This incubator is highly invested in community building, especially with its BLKTech Founders program. The 12-week program is specifically tailored to Black entrepreneurs embarking on their tech-startup journey. Both spring and summer semesters will include uniquely tailored resources and courses with peer-led discussions to build confidence in an inequitable market. 

Cleveland Avenue

As a short-term accelerator, Cleveland Avenue can do wonders for startups entering the food or tech industry. Its research facility in downtown Chicago has already explored the latest culinary concepts and technologies to boost your upcoming enterprise. 

Cleveland Avenue’s primary focus is the food and beverage world and how recent innovation can propel a restaurant or food service forward. The acceleration programs utilize a team of specialists to drive concept growth and streamline economic success. This accelerator completes its programs within three months, ensuring new startups find resources and profitability quickly. 

Cleveland Avenue also invests in Chicago’s west and southside communities with its $70 million initiative, allocated explicitly to Black and Latino entrepreneurs. Both company founders grew up in Chicago’s Cabrini Green neighborhood, which has informed their investment focus on marginalized areas of the city. 

mHUB

mHUB Chicago is a unique incubator focused on developing physical technologies to change the world. With its prototyping lab and nationwide partnerships, this organization is ready to aid local businesses in their innovative quest. 

mHUB’s research team is unparalleled. New startups can outsource their tech development to mHUB’s talented manufacturing group, allowing fresh entrepreneurs to focus on other necessary sectors. The team comprises more than 500 engineers and designers ready to construct your prototype. 

This company’s acceleration program lasts six months, including product development, commercialization, and industry resources. Aside from exclusive access to million-dollar equipment in its prototyping labs, mHUB offers more than 50 workshops and 18 months of follow-up support to ensure your startup receives all the necessary assistance for success. 

Nemera Insight 

For startups that combine healthcare innovation with technology, Nemera Insight is the premier incubator for scientific advancement. The group takes an outcome-based approach to developing products and guides startups through the convoluted healthcare industry.

Nemera Insight uses specific design strategies to meet your startup’s medical aspirations and goals. The organization collaborates with its clients to correctly identify user-driven opportunities while constructing concise innovation planning. Nemera also aids in conceptualizing products, allowing entrepreneurs to test their ideas through a team of experienced healthcare individuals. The incubation program will also provide peer evaluation and qualitative feedback to ensure your service or product is on the right track. 

Nemera Insight provides complete prototyping and testing for each startup venture. This organization can review your design, point out potential construction flaws, and provide qualified engineers to help conceptualize and build your state-of-the-art product. 

Final Thoughts On Chicago-Based Incubators

Finding your footing in the entrepreneurial world is a challenging feat. With countless startups and rudimentary businesses flooding the market, ensuring your company finds its niche market is troublesome without guidance or individualized resources. With these incubators and accelerators, you’ll be able to find immediate solutions to product issues and development impediments. Whether you’re looking for direct communication with an experienced, tech-savvy team or need a physical prototype from an advanced laboratory, these Chicago-based incubators will fulfill any enterprising necessity. 

 

 

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Top 7 Tips to Improve Internet Speed and Performance

Internet is imperative for working these days, but sometimes your reliable connection will cut out with no warning. Other times, dead zones in your home make checking your email or receiving a simple phone call almost impossible. If you’ve been trying to mitigate these problems, here are the top seven tips to improve internet speed and reliability

Relocating Your Router

Sometimes the simplest tricks will yield the best results. Since modems provide needed internet to your electronics, adjusting how their signal is sent out could bolster speed and accuracy. 

The first trick is to take your router off the ground. Putting your modem somewhere elevated can help the signal travel without being blocked by furniture or other obstructions. Place the router on top of a shelf or table for best, unhampered usage. 

Routers can also be obstructed by materials and substances such as metal, tile, and water. Even having something like a fish tank could hinder the efficacy of a router’s signal. Be mindful about where you place your router regarding these materials for better, faster internet. 

Buying an Extender 

If you live in a one-floor apartment, there aren’t many obstacles for a modem to overcome. A router’s signal becomes exponentially weaker once you add multiple levels to the equation. For those living in homes or wider spaces with numerous rooms, buying a WiFi extender will fix this problem easily. 

An extender for your router is a relatively cheap solution for a dampened signal. Plug in the device in one of your home’s dead zones or on a different story than your modem. The extender will multiply and redistribute internet frequencies into the space, strengthening an internet connection for hard-to-reach devices. 

Disconnect Certain Devices 

Every computer, iPad, gaming system, and phone in your home may be connected to your WiFi simultaneously. Though we live in a golden age of technology, an average modem can only connect to so many devices before its speed is inhibited. Before upgrading your internet or buying a new modem, try disconnecting devices you don’t use regularly. Though this may seem simplistic, freeing up your modem’s connectivity could greatly increase its efficacy. 

Angle Your Router Antennas 

Many routers on the market will come equipped with two separate antennas. Like an old television set, angling antennas could help improve a device’s accuracy. 

As stated above, dense materials and piping in the home can easily dampen an internet signal. Push one of your modem’s antennas directly upward and the other horizontally to better expedite its frequencies through furniture and walls. Ensuring that the modem’s signal covers all areas of an apartment and can travel through floors easily will improve your devices’ connections drastically. 

Changing WiFi Frequency 

For those who aren’t tech enthusiasts or part of the Geek Squad, one’s WiFi and various frequencies aren’t common knowledge. If you didn’t know, a basic modem has two different channels for speed, usually 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Routers instantaneously pick the optimal channel for your device, but that won’t necessarily yield the best results. 

If you’re still having trouble with WiFi speed, try manually connecting to the second GHz frequency. Alternating the connection might be your solution if many devices are plugged into one channel. 

To switch your WiFi frequency, you must access and log in to your router. You can log in through a web address or an app, depending on your router. Modems from NETGEAR will have an address provided, while Google’s modems have an app that’ll help you switch your WiFi channels.  

Buying A Router Instead of Renting
View of high speed internet router and cables

For many internet users, renting equipment from a telecommunications company is the cheapest, most efficient option. But for better control over your WiFi signal, buying your modem might alleviate bandwidth troubles.

Purchasing your own router helps owners have stronger autonomy over factors like speed and privacy. If you plan on getting a store-bought mode, you can also ensure that you recieve an up-to-date device without prior issues.   

Finding a Replacement Router

Replacing equipment is the absolute final and last resort step while having bandwidth issues. If none of the steps above have helped improve internet speed, contacting your provider to switch your modem could be the necessary solution. 

If you’re renting a modem, contact the company to see how old your model is. Sometimes, you can upgrade your equipment if newer models are on the market.

Improving internet connection doesn’t have to be an impossible feat. Luckily, there are plenty of troubleshooting ideas to help your modem out. Try any of these seven tips if you’re becoming too frustrated with your WiFi’s speed and inefficiency.  

 

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Get Organized in 2023: 6 Best To-Do List and Task Management Apps

It’s common for us to make some kind of New Year’s resolution before the year ends. If you’re attempting to accomplish your proposed goals for 2023, some remarkable apps are out there to help you achieve your dreams. Here are some of the best task management apps to achieve your resolutions this coming year. 

TickTick

For some, simply writing down goals is the easiest way to accomplish things on your to-do list. But for others, lists without deadlines can be a significant problem. TickTick is an excellent answer for those who have issues with procrastination. 

TickTick, aptly named after the sound of a ticking timer, helps attach limits and calendar dates to your proposed goals. An easy built-in timer called the Pomodoro Timer sets an automatic 25-minute session to help with immediate tasks that need urgent concentration. A habit-tracking feature also shows how you’re doing with new proposed goals like diet, exercise, or bedtime. 

TickTick is available for Androids and iPhones but also on your PC or Mac. 

OmniFocus

Do you need extra help focusing on completing goals or fulfilling assignments? OmniFocus is a great place to start for electronically managing your time. 

In the app, you’ll be able to set up projects based on how urgently you need to finish them. It’ll also aid with organizing your tasks to separate work-related and personal goals. You can sort your assignments by the due date, tags, projects, and more. For those feeling too overwhelmed to focus, OmniFocus’s superb categorization features can help anyone dealing with rampant procrastination. 

Unfortunately, OmniFocus is only available for Apple users. The app has a 14-day free trial to test out its organization tools. 

Habitica   

Some folks need a fun incentive to get their to-do list in order. Habitica pairs gaming with creating goals to create an exciting new task management application. 

Using reliable gaming features, Habitica transforms the mundanity of structuring tasks into a more rewarding excursion. Upon completing things on their to-do list, users receive in-game currency that can be utilized virtually or in the real world. You can use e-currency to buy virtual apparel like outfits, hats, swords, or tangible items like snacks. 

There are also consequences for not finishing specific tasks by their due date. You might lose currency or take “damage” within the application if you don’t complete your assignments. The gaming structure and reward system could be the perfect fit to motivate you to achieve your 2023 goals. 

Google Tasks

For those who rely on Google Calendar, Google Tasks is the next best step to getting your tasks in order. 

Google Tasks, like the rest of Google Drive’s applications, is entirely free to use, making it an excellent choice for starting a to-do list. Google Tasks is easily accessible by the sidebar of Google Calendar. Once opening the tab, you’ll be able to assign due dates, sub-tasks, or additional comments to your calendar inputs. 

Google Tasks is a no-brainer for a to-do list manager if you’re always on Gmail or using Google Spreadsheets. 

Sunsama 

Time blocking is a management tactic for people who need guidance in using their hours constructively. Sunsama is an intuitive application that specializes in creating the perfect time-blocking plan. 

In the main frame, you’ll be able to list your tasks by day. You’ll find a calendar in the app’s sidebar, where you can drag and drop your assignments to their respective dates. Upon opening the app, it’ll ask you what tasks you need to finish for the day and how long you expect them to take. With a few clicks of the keyboard, you’ll be able to construct your day perfectly.

After 14 free days, Sunsama’s package starts at $20 per month. 

HourStack

HourStack is another great time-blocking app with a slightly different layout than Sunsama. Primarily if you operate as part of a team, this app is perfect for adding multiple users to accomplish your occupational to-do list quickly. 

Like other time management sites, you’ll start by constructing your week or day with tasks and how many hours or minutes you need to spend on them. You can then start the timer by clicking the “Start” button on a specific task, with no need to set up a separate deadline feature. A “Report” feature included in the app tracks your metrics, like how long you’ve been taking to complete each assignment. 

There are numerous management and goal-oriented applications on the market today. Finding the right one depends on your work structure, procrastination level, and focus. These six apps are a great place to start for tracking your New Year’s resolution journey and finding success in 2023.

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Our Favorite New Tech Gifts for 2023

Some incredible technology was developed and released over this past year. From the iPhone 14 to SkyDrive’s flying vehicle, there are plenty of wild advancements to be excited about in 2023. For those wanting to give brand-new tech as a holiday gift, you might be looking for more economical products. Here are some of the best gifts for your tech-savvy friends and family for 2023.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) 

Headphones are a remarkable gift to give to your music-loving companions without entirely breaking the bank. Though Apple was in the spotlight last fall for the release of its latest iPhone, the announcement also came with an exciting AirPods product. 

The next generation of AirPods Pro may cost you $250, but they’re undeniably impressive for their size. Experts across the board rated the newest AirPods as some of the best headphones released in 2022. They’re completely wireless, making outdoor activities easy, but they don’t sacrifice sound quality for their accessible nature. 

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition 

Tablets have risen significantly in popularity over the last decade. Today, tech companies are fashioning portable touchscreen devices for all types of projects and intentions. The new Fire Tablet Kids Edition is perfect for a child’s entertainment and creative exploration. 

The Kids Edition tablets are ideal for small children since their miniature size makes them easy to hold. They also come with millions of accessible games, movies, songs, and books for kids of all ages to enjoy. Parents can monitor the content their children watch on Amazon’s parental dashboard. Tablets range from $60 to $120, making them an excellent gift for young kids this holiday season. 

Kindle Paperwhite  

The Kindle Paperwhite is an essential buy for big readers in your family or friend circles. Starting at $115, the new Kindle contains thousands of books in its portable design. The Kindle Paperwhite can hold up to 5,000 ebooks simultaneously, depending on page length. 

One of the best features of Kindle products is their backlight features, which help those read in bed or dimly-lit rooms. You can adjust the blue light to make reading more optimal for sleep time as well. The Kindle Paperwhite comes with the Libby App, which allows readers to check out ebooks from their local libraries. The Paperwhite is also surprisingly waterproof, ensuring that reading by the pool or in the bath will be a relaxing option instead of an anxiety-provoking one.

Wyze Plugs 

Do you want to give your new homeowner friends a practical gift without exceeding your budget? Wyze Plugs are the perfect, cost-efficient present that’ll bring simplicity and excitement to your friends and family. 

Wyze Plugs work with Alexa and Google Assistant to turn your average appliances into responsive, high-tech devices. Just attach one of the plugs to your regular outlet, then insert the prongs of a lamp or TV into it. Soon, you’ll be able to vocally command your light fixtures or tv sets to turn on and off. You can even transform a living room into a sacred space using the Wyze Plugs with a high-quality air purifier. 

A two-pack only costs about $15, so if you’re looking for a high-tech gadget on the cheaper side, these Wyze Plugs surely fit the mold. 

Phillips Hue Dimmable LED Smart Bulb 

Nowadays, a smartphone can entirely control ordinary household devices. These dimmable smart bulbs give regular light bulbs a run for their money, with instantaneous dimming power either from voice activation or a mobile phone. 

The Phillips Hue Dimmable LED Smart Bulb is relatively inexpensive and easy to operate. Download the Hue Bluetooth App on your iPhone or Android to pair the new light fixtures. You can add a voice assistant to the app settings, allowing the user to quickly dim or turn off the lights with a vocal command. Each bulb can last about 22 years or 25,000 hours, making them a great, sustainable gift for any household. 

Finding a special, unique gift is one of the most challenging goals to achieve during the holiday season. Luckily, these gadgets are some of the best cost-efficient presents to give a family member or friend to show your appreciation and love. 

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Should I Be On Telegram & Discord? What Are The Benefits of Smaller Social Networks

In this day and age, there are many different avenues to chat virtually with people. Before the age of smartphones, online forums with specific niches attracted users worldwide to connect over similar interests. Today, messaging forums can be downloaded instantaneously, ensuring everyone can talk, share, and connect. 

Over the past several years, two applications have gained popularity for their specific usage: Telegram and Discord. Both apps originated as easy instant messengers intending to get more people connected worldwide. Though Telegram and Discord serve almost identical functions, they have a few key distinctions.

What is Discord? 

Though Discord is used as a general messaging apps, its origins were based on connecting gamers. Jason Citron founded the app, who had already started a messaging forum for gamers called OpenFeint in 2009. After selling his company in 2011, he decided to focus on a new app that would continue focusing on the gaming community. 

At its core, Discord is an instant messaging user platform that people use for a myriad of social purposes. People with the app can text message, video call, voice call, and share media and files through private chats or group forums. Discord uses something called servers to facilitate chatting. These are designated chatrooms that multiple people can join through an invitation link. 

Though Discord can be used for frivolous, social communication, it’s the premier messaging app for gamers, especially PC gamers. On the app, different servers are easily identifiable through a search function. These servers host group chats discussing different games and studios and offer a safe place for fans to discuss strategy and create relationships with like-minded folks. 

Other popular Discord servers discuss topics like cryptocurrency, motivational skills, anime, and memes. Users are allowed to create servers without any qualifications, so if there isn’t a group based on an interest you’d like to discuss, you can make one promptly.  

What Makes Discord Different? 

Discord acts similarly to other free communication services, but it has some beneficial distinctions. The app is incredibly versatile, with a wide variety of chat options for users to choose from. Discord also has high-functioning voice chat availability, so gamers can chat on the application while still playing their program.   

Another factor of Discord’s popularity is its public and private servers. Creators can limit who can see certain servers, ensuring that people’s identities or conversations remain private. Within the groups, creators can assign people different roles with responsibilities like moderators or administrators. The app gives the users plenty of control to help them create the best servers for their interests. 

What is Telegram? 

Though Discord is more widely known, Telegram is another free messaging app used more commonly outside the United States. Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov created it to give privacy to users needing to discuss personal matters virtually. The app has over 550 million users worldwide, and its usership often increases when other messaging forums get caught up in privacy scandals.

At its core, Telegram works similarly to Discord and other communication apps. The app hosts group forums, private chats, video calling, and file-sharing functions. The key difference between Telegram and apps like Discord is that the former emphasizes its ability to secure user privacy. 

What Are The Benefits of Downloading Telegram? 

For those who need messaging apps with an emphasis on privacy, Telegram is the go-to software. The company uses end-to-end encryption in order to protect users when they’re communicating with each other. This practice stops outside agents like hackers from seeing what is being said in a private conversation.   

But for those who think Telegram is the most confidential social platform, there is one caveat. The app does not encrypt conversations in public chats; it only encrypts calls and its “secret chat” function. Conversations that aren’t encoded are saved to a cloud, meaning these messages and files are easily accessible from multiple devices. 

Both Telegram and Discord are excellent vehicles for connectedness, sharing, and transnational communication. For privacy concerns, people may want to explore Telegram for safer messaging, but Discord also provides a private environment for exclusively chatting, too. 

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AI Is Here: Top Cool AI-Powered Apps & Websites You Can Use Now

Artificial intelligence is now a part of our world. Self-driving cars and smart homes are being manufactured nationwide, making automated devices a reality for consumers. Alongside physical devices, AI technology has been utilized for websites, software, and applications. Here are some of the coolest, innovative apps and websites that use automated tech. 

Craiyon 

Craiyon, formally known as Dall-e Mini, is one of the most well-known AI-powered websites on the internet. When it was first released, it took social media platforms by storm, issuing the start of this year’s artificial technology takeover. 

Craiyon is a basic AI image generator. A user can type in whatever comes to mind into the search function, and new images will appear in seconds. These images are AI depictions of the user text responses, utilizing high-grade Google TRC tech. Though the pictures created aren’t always perfect, Craiyon showcases what AI technology can produce and the potential for these services to grow. 

ELSA Speak

Language-learning software has been advancing since its creation. From Rosetta Stone to Duolingo, there have been tremendous upgrades in learning languages more efficiently. Now, ELSA Speak provides an AI-supported experience to further users’ multilingualism. 

The app uses an artificial speaking coach to guide the user through various lessons. With the help of voice recognition technology, the application will be able to analyze your accent and see how well your pronunciation is. Elsa SPEAKS uses an innovative color-coded system of red, yellow, and green to show the speaker how close their pronounced words are to the correct version. ELSA Speak only offers English lessons currently but will hopefully expand its roster in the future.   

Hopper 

AI is being implemented in various industries to provide better customer support. Hopper focuses on the travel industry to estimate accurate hotel and flight costs ahead of time. 

Using artificial technology, Hopper can predict hotel and airline prices up to a year before a person’s trip. The app takes a user’s flight information and releases relevant content about travel flares, the time when costs could fluctuate during the year, and more economical flight dates. The predictive analysis that Hopper uses is unlike any travel sight, having the ability to anticipate travel cost inflation years in advance. 

Socratic   

It’s about time that AI started being used in the educational sector. Socratic is a new education app that uses artificial services to help kids with homework. 

Socratic is like having a personal, robot tutor for any kid struggling with their classes. With the app, kids can take photos of their homework and upload them to the app. Then, Socratic will generate concepts, tools, and examples of the assignment to aid the child in finding the answers. The app uses text and speech recognition to provide comprehensive help in science, math, history, geography, and more. 

Thing Translator

AI’s most useful nature in modern society is its ability to recognize and interpret images. With Thing Translator, this website can take a photo of an object, process the image, and provide the user with the object’s name in various languages. 

With Thing Translator, understanding different languages is easier than ever. Especially if you’re in a foreign country and need a quick translation, this website can take any object in your vicinity, identify the object present, and provide you with the correct linguistic interpretation. 

Thing Translator is a Google-powered experiment and works on computers and smartphones. The website can’t translate every language yet, but the most popular worldwide languages are available. 

AI is being employed in more websites and apps than people genuinely realize. With text and speech recognition in such an advanced position, companies are increasingly investing in this technology for better fast-paced, predictive services.   

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When to Update Your Aging Technology: Computer & Smart Phone

Nowadays, everyone has a smartphone or a high-tech computer. Buying new technology can feel relieving, especially if your prior device didn’t have the imperative updates. But, it’s hard to figure out when purchasing a new device is advantageous or if a tech company is simply trying to get its consumer base to buy more unnecessary products. 

Since companies like Apple and Microsoft are consistently churning out innovative tech, it’s easy to get carried away by purchasing the newest, exciting product. Here are some ways to determine if updating your smartphone or computer is the right financial move.   

Security Reasons 

Experts suggest that users upgrade their phones after two or three years. But what if your smartphone has been working consistently for over five, six, or seven years? Though it might work efficiently enough, new virtual vulnerabilities arise every year, which leaves old phones susceptible. 

Engineers at companies like Apple will update the computer and phone software monthly to ensure technical bugs are eradicated and the best possible privacy settings are available. Though updating your device can eliminate the threat of the most recent security issues, this is not always the case. If you can afford it, consider replacing your device after three years. Since newer devices have updated software and built-in privacy settings, they’ll provide a safer experience for the user.  

Slow Operation 

You’ve noticed years after purchasing your phone or laptop that it’s running less efficiently. After years of usage, your device accumulates images, data, songs, photos, and other files that pile up and slow down the software. Excessive data storage can be a significant reason for a phone’s frustrating delay. 

Another reason your tech might not be properly working may be an upgrade’s opposition to older hardware. If you’ve been consistently updating your software on your phone or laptop, the newer versions might not be compatible with old hardware. The latest upgrades are intended to be used with new phones and computers, which may be too difficult for the older tech to process. 

If the software updates aren’t helping your device operate more smoothly, then this might be time for you to get a physical upgrade. 

Reduced Battery Life 

Battery life is one of the trickiest issues with phone and computer upgrades. When your phone battery is depleting quicker than usual, there aren’t many solutions to reverse the effect. 

Most smartphones have lithium-ion batteries included in the hardware. Over time, the battery’s chemical components eventually degrade, affecting the phone’s efficiency. After 200 or 300 charges, a smartphone can lose up to a fifth of its ability to maintain a regular charge.

If this occurs in your phone, it’s the right time to ditch the old device and purchase an upgrade. 

Apps Continue to Crash 

Sometimes, opening apps will be difficult and glitchy on your phone or computer. Some troubleshooting will usually fix this problem, like a quick restart. If the downloaded apps in question are still glitchy, there may be a more significant problem. 

Apps may shut down before opening because they’re too complex for your device’s current RAM or CPU. If updating your software doesn’t help the problem, then that’s probably an indication that you’ll need to upgrade your device entirely. 

Purchasing New Devices

Buying brand-new phones and computers is a wish that’s easier said than done. With inflation at record-high rates, it’s not easy for the average individual to drop $1,000 or more on updated tech. Luckily, Black Friday is on the horizon, making this fall the perfect time to plan for what devices you’ll need to purchase. 

Every year after CES, the annual tech trade show, companies that displayed new inventions at the convention move their older models out of warehouses and into retailers. Giant retailers like Amazon and Best Buy will have these models for discounted prices. Check out these stores in the upcoming months to see if they have the device you’ll need to upgrade to. 

If you have an Apple product and don’t want to pay for a completely new device, there’s one more troubleshooting technique you can apply before giving up. iOS 16, Apple’s upcoming innovative software, will be released in mid-September. The iOS will help remove bugs and improve your old device’s privacy settings. If this helps enhance your phone or laptop’s efficiency, then you might be able to survive having an outdated device for another year or two.   

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5 Ways to Protect Your Privacy & Security Online

Privacy and security while using the internet are a high priority for most. With companies like Facebook who’ve been caught selling private user data, ensuring that your information is adequately encrypted is critical. If you want to work and shop online while protecting your identity, here are some of the best tactics to ensure your safety. 

Share Fewer Details Online 

Sharing fewer details online might seem like an easier-said-than-done tactic, but committing to share fewer personal details could lessen your chances of enduring a frightening data breach. Especially on social media platforms, being aware of how much personal information you include could keep your livelihood and data safer. 

With many online platforms, they’ll ask for optional information from you to complete data profiles. Adding your middle name or phone number might not be necessary for specific social media sites, so it’s essential to opt out when you can. Another great way to limit data breaches is to implement privacy settings on your accounts and profiles. If you share intimate, personal details or photos on sites like Instagram and Facebook, it’s best to limit who has access to that information. 

Create A Secondary Email

It’s standard for streaming services or online shopping websites to require an email to continue your transactions. But as time goes on, these sign-ups can add up, creating an influx of unwanted emails from retailers and e-commerce sites you don’t need. Creating a throw-away email can not only help separate work or important messages from junk, but it can also protect your personal information. 

A nefarious activity common on the web is third-party retailers buying email and phone number lists for targeted advertising. These lists can also end up in the wrong hands, leading to a hack or a data breach. An external email address not connected to personal online accounts could help keep your personal information private and unphased. 

Strong Passwords and Two-Step Authentication

We’ve come a long way from simply using our mother’s maiden name as a secure password. With experienced hackers accumulating daily on the internet, it’s imperative to have solid, convoluted passwords to ward off bad actors. 

A strange combination of letters, numbers, and symbols for strong passwords nowadays will help create an impressive barrier to identity theft or information breaches. Make sure you write down passwords off the internet to have a safe place to reference in case you forget. 

An additional protection measure many websites are taking is two-step verification. After putting in your password, a website might prompt you to enter a randomized code sent to your phone or email. This way, websites can ensure that you are the valid owner of the account being entered. It also helps deter hackers since they won’t have access to your phone or email quickly enough to receive the verification code.    

Delete Apps

Are there apps on your phone that you’re not using anymore? Unfortunately, many dormant phone apps could leave your personal information vulnerable. 

The best way to limit the chance of an information breach is to delete all unused apps on your iPhone or Android. Since many phone applications rely on user data, hackers often target that technology to obtain private information. It’s also important to purge your computer of unnecessary applications as well. Recently, eight different Firefox and Chrome extensions were found guilty of tracking activity outside their respective sites. This makes the need to remove all unwanted extensions and applications all the more imperative. 

Install a VPN     

Installing a secure VPN is the final step in keeping your personal information as safe as possible. A VPN obscures your IP address and encrypts your data, allowing you to move through the internet in a relatively untraceable manner. If you have to use public WiFi at a coffee shop or restaurant, installing a VPN can stop hackers from infiltrating your computer when connected to an open network. 

When using your computer, your ISP (internet service provider) records your online actions like browsing history and private information. Obscuring this information can lower the possibility of a bad actor collecting personal data through an unprotected device.  

Outlining the prevalence of data breaches shouldn’t deter you from using the internet. Instead, implement these privacy and security techniques to use caution when browsing the internet. These five strategies for online privacy can help you prevent hackers and protect your personal information. 

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5 Best Coffee Shops in Milwaukee With Free WiFi

Coffee shops are the perfect place to sit, relax, and get some work done. Artisan cafés have become quite popular over the last decade, with each individual shop attempting to one-up their competitors. 

Milwaukee is a midwestern city full of quaint cafés with tastefully roasted coffee. Here are some of the best coffee shops in the area that include free WiFi

Colectivo Coffee 

You’re probably familiar with this coffee franchise if you live in the midwest. Colectivo got its start in Milwaukee and has spread its cafés to many neighborhoods in Chicago. 

Colectivo’s Prospect location is one of the Milwaukee destinations that locals go to get their work completed. Its intimate hanging light fixtures, long, library-style tables, and cozy aesthetic is perfect for focusing on essential tasks. Formerly an auto parts store, it’s got an excellent warehouse vibe that feels open and comfortable simultaneously. 

If you’re feeling energized by the end of the day, the shop opens up to the Colectivo Back Room, transforming its former roastery into a sizeable venue. Find out more about the Colectivo Prospect location here: https://colectivocoffee.com/cafes/prospect-the-back-room 

Anodyne Coffee Company

Located in Milwaukee’s hip Bay View neighborhood, Anodyne has been operating and roasting since 1999. 

The coffee shop prides itself on making small-batch, locally roasted coffee for a delicious cup every pour. The store sells more than coffee, though. It switches to a luxurious eatery at night, selling artisan pizzas and craft beer. There’s ample room to sit and do your work at the bar or at the elongated, wooden tables in the shop’s center. 

Anodyne has an extremely midwestern aesthetic with its cabin-style design and ambiance. Stop by the store to answer your emails and enjoy excellent coffee or beer. https://anodynecoffee.com/pages/bay-view 

Valentine Coffee Roasters    

This coffee company has stores in three different locations in Milwaukee: the Historic Third Ward, Washington Heights, and Oak Creek. The newest shop in the Third Ward elevates its aesthetic by adding a modern twist, with sleek grey-and-blue tables and industrial light fixtures. 

Valentine has been a local favorite for quite some time, mainly due to the owners’ extensive restaurant experience. Robb Kashevarof and Joe Gilsdorf have more than a decade of restaurant knowledge, which is reflected in their menu’s breakfast items, soups, and salads. 

If you need a place in Milwaukee to set up shop for a while, Valentine is the perfect spot to do so. Check out more about Valentine’s background, stores, and coffee roasting here: https://www.valentinecoffeeco.com/ 

Stone Creek Coffee

Founded in 1993 by Wisconsin-born Erich Resch, Stone Creek has a familiar and cozy coffee environment and crafts exceptional drinks. 

Stone Creek’s newest addition to its cafés, the Stone Creek Factory, operates as a roastery, coffee training facility, and store all in one. There are two humungous seating areas in the shop, one near the barista station and another surrounding a lovely fireplace. The Stone Creek Factory prides itself on utilizing recycled materials for its interior, like its wide wooden tables and industrial beams. 

Stop by one of Stone Creek’s nine locations for a productive work day and a lovely cup of joe. https://www.stonecreekcoffee.com/cafes/ 

Rochambo Coffee & Tea House

Rochambo is an unconventional Milwaukee spot open for more than 25 years. Located on the city’s east side, the store focuses on sustainability and ethically sourced products. 

 If you pull up to this coffee house, you might be fooled by its residential aesthetic. But this colorful green-and-purple Victorian home is the Rochambo location, ensuring the customers get a snug, midwestern feel when entering the mid-century duplex. There’s plenty of seating to spread out and get your work started, with bartop tables near the barista counter and more available on the second floor. 

If quirky is more your style, then Rochambo is the epitome of eccentric coffee houses. Stop by this longstanding location for uninterrupted work accompanied by your favorite tea. https://www.rochambo.com/ 

Milwaukee may not be the premier midwestern city for tourists, but it’s got plenty to offer. Each neighborhood is crammed with comforting, state-of-the-art cafés for all to enjoy. If you’re looking for a delicious cup of coffee or need a spot to respond to your emails, these five cafés are a great place to start.

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5 Things to Consider When Setting Up Event WiFi

Inside your home, it’s crucial to have WiFi. But when traversing the world outside, it’s not always expected that every building you enter will have accessible high-speed internet. As more coffee shops, restaurants, and stores integrate free WiFi, it becomes more expected for business owners to provide this luxury.

Many of the general public’s feelings about restaurants and businesses providing free WiFi are the same expectation for conventions and public events. With 84 million smartphone users in the US, having available internet is a necessity for attendees. Here are some things to consider when setting up WiFi for your function.

Budget your WiFi

Hosting an event can be for ten people or it can be for ten thousand. The first thing to consider when hosting a public function is how many attendees will likely come to the function. More WiFi power will require a more expensive package, depending on how many people RSVP and how large the space is.

 

An abundance of attendees means ensuring high-speed internet reaches every cellular device without interruption. This will be more costly for planning since more funds will go to WiFi extenders and upgraded internet packages. Make sure your budget can handle a massive investment in WiFi, or you might have to charge your guests who use the event’s internet.

WiFi Usage

Though having available cellular service for event attendees is excellent, many use their smartphones for other reasons. People could log on to social media, snap a quick picture at a function, or access a data-heavy presentation. Figuring out how your attendees will use their phones during the event will help you pick out the perfect WiFi package.

If your event is for a training seminar or is interactive, attendees would be using their laptops or phones simultaneously. Everyone connected to the WiFi at the same time could dampen the connection. If your event is likely to have this kind of internet traffic, ensuring you’re purchasing a quality high-speed package is imperative.

WiFi Can Help Engagement and Advertisement

Providing free WiFi to a room of a thousand people is a high expense. Though your team might have to budget a hefty amount for the best WiFi package, the ROI, or return on investment, can be highly profitable.

If your event has anything to do with your business or your product, then having free, uninterrupted WiFi is an absolute must. With smartphone users sporting many social media apps, attendees posting about your event is instantaneous free advertising. Mainly if your function revolves around a product, it’s necessary to provide efficient WiFi. If attendees consistently post about your product on social media, your return on investment might be substantial due to the free public outreach.

Research Internet Providers

Though it may seem counterintuitive, some of the biggest names of internet providers might be the wrong fit for a significant function. Do your research online about which WiFi service could give your event the best results based on your event space and number of attendees.

Most large companies focus on working with home and apartment-style modems. These modems only need to work for one or two floors and in relatively small square footage. Another issue with large internet providers is their support policies, where technicians are penalized for fixing an issue too slowly, potentially making the technicians rush the job.

Working with smaller, local internet providers could be better if you have trouble with setting up your WiFi connection. Research the internet company to see their support policies before making a final purchase.

Pick the Perfect Bandwidth

Bandwith is something all internet users have heard but might not be able to define. Bandwidth means the maximum of data transferred with a particular internet connection. Having a lower bandwidth usually means cheaper since the internet connection cannot withstand massive data.

For most events with many guests, looking into dedicated bandwidth might be a good option. Dedicated bandwidth operates through one user instead of stretching out the internet connection to many participants through broadband. This option can help with latency issues but needs fiber optic cables in the event’s building to work correctly. If your event space does not have fiber optic cables, purchasing point-to-point antennas is your next best option.

Providing free internet is something everyone wants nowadays. Various factors play into what type of WiFi you’ll need for optimal success for an event. These tips will help anyone attempting to set up free, efficient WiFi for an event or function.

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5 Ways High Speed Internet Can Improve Your Business

Internet is a valuable, imperative part of our lives and our workspaces. Without functioning internet, most tasks would be excruciating to fulfill. With technology only advancing in our favor, rapid-speed, efficient internet is highly accessible and relatively inexpensive. Here are five ways high-speed internet can improve your life and your business

High-Speed Is More Affordable  

Because high-speed internet is marketed as better, the preconceived notion might be that it’s much more expensive. But that’s not the case; though the initial price might be steeper than a standard package, paying for quicker internet services won’t be too much of a cost jump. 

Most high-speed internet providers will have a service called VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). What this service allows you to do is to connect telephone line services to your internet provider. If you work in a business with many different phones and extensions in the workplace, combining these two services could save you exorbitant amounts of money.  

VOIP is compatible with your company’s handsets, headsets, laptops, and other communication devices. Having a two-in-one service will yield better financial results for a business that operates with many employees. 

Privacy  

In this day and age, cybersecurity is an absolute necessity. With major companies like Facebook revealing that they’ve sold users’ information for profit, protecting personal data has become urgent. Purchasing high-speed internet for your company will usually come with better, more secure data protection.    

Paying a little extra for better internet efficiency often comes with superior privacy technology. Preventing security threats is a top priority for any business, so making sure you purchase a high-speed internet package will be in everyone’s best interests. 

Slow internet could also lead to a preventable breach. Inefficient internet allows for more pauses between data transfers, which is the perfect time for a hacker to attack. Faster data transfers between employees will help prevent potential data interferences and keep your business running smoothly. 

Communication 

If you have many employees under you or just a few coworkers you interact with, uninterrupted communication is critical. High-speed internet aids in better collaboration and more productivity overall. 

Amid this pandemic, many offices transitioned to a work-from-home policy. Working remotely is now more common than ever, making fast, reliable internet essential for timely communication. Implementing high-speed internet will help keep everyone up-to-date with tasks, no matter where each collaborator is stationed. 

Stronger Signal 

For those who have returned to the office, reliable internet needs to be accessible from anywhere in the workplace. High-speed internet is more capable of spanning longer distances, ensuring that every office can access the signal they need. 

As a workspace grows, more employees will need their own spaces. Adding more cubicles or expanding the physical business can weaken a router’s signal. The farther someone is from the router, the more potential for interference. Having high-speed internet for your office will help feed stronger WiFI signals to the entire workspace. 

Reducing Stress 

Work is already stressful. Supplying efficient, reliable internet is the least an employer can do to keep everyone happy and productive. 

Everyone has experienced the moment of pure agony when the WiFi signal goes out during an important project or task. These types of situations are inevitable, but there are definite ways to diminish the possibility of office-wide internet problems. Getting high-speed internet won’t only be cost-efficient in the long run, but it will lead to a less-stressed workplace. If receiving a solid signal is no longer a worry, everyone will be able to do their work productively without added stress from the internet lagging. 

Any modern business has internet provided. But, picking out the right bundle is where many workplaces falter. Cutting costs on a standard package will often lead a company to more stressed employees, possible data breaches, and frustrating WiFi outages. High-speed internet will improve your business entirely, from more jubilant workers to clearer office communication.

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6 Best Video Conferencing Software Providers for 2022

Since the beginning of the pandemic, video conferencing has been an integral part of our lives. Whether it’s catching up with friends or discussing projects with coworkers, video-chat software has aided all of us. In 2022, here are the best video software to stay connected. 

Zoom

What video-chatting list would be complete without Zoom? The program that’s become synonymous with video conferencing altogether, Zoom rose to prominence in 2020. 

The free option is helpful for its reliability and its capacity to host many people at a time. Up to 100 people can join one Zoom session, making it the perfect software for offices and schools. Sending files, gifs, and photos is easy and at no additional price, helping everyone stay as connected as possible. 

Download Zoom on your computers here: https://zoom.us/ 

WebEx Meetings 

WebEx Meetings is a popular video conferencing software for businesses. WebEx Meetings is reliable, adaptable, and has many additional office bonuses. 

WebEx Meetings is excellent for the workplace for background noise removal, smaller virtual breakout rooms, and customizable layouts. Realtime language translations are included in the program, ensuring cross-nation communication is productive and straightforward. Automatic transcriptions, highlights, and notetaking are available for hosts and guests, allowing for more dynamic collaboration. 

More about WebEx Meetings can be found on their website: https://www.webex.com/

BlueJeans Meetings  

Another video conferencing software specific for the office is BlueJeans Meetings. Like WebEx Meetings, BlueJeans incorporates laptops, phones, and room systems into one meeting. 

Users have highly favored its extreme reliability, with almost zero delay time between callers. With many tools to collaborate, BlueJeans is one of the most successful office web conferencing software on the market. 

The standard price is $9.99 a month, with the most expensive package only $16.66 per month: https://www.bluejeans.com/products/meetings 

Google Workspace 

Google Workspace is the best software for sharing and viewing Google-related documents. Seamlessly integrating Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, and Slides, collaborating with your friends or coworkers is easier than ever.     

The user-friendly design makes it a great video conferencing program for beginners. Especially when most people have experience with Google interfaces, this software makes it a go-to for many companies. It also can incorporate Google Drive into the conferences, allowing everyone to interact and discuss documents together. 

Find out More about Google Workspace here: https://workspace.google.com/pricing.html 

GoTo Meeting

With a 99.9% uptime, GoTo Meeting also regards itself as one of the most reliable video conferencing programs. 

While most of these programs are downloadable, GoTo operates on the website. It’s easy to use since anyone can join and invite a guest as well. Video conferences can include up to 250 members, perfect for large companies. The clarity with both audio and video makes GoTo an impeccable software for socializing or corporate meetings. 

There’s a 14-day trial, with the standard plan starting at $12 a month. 

DialPad 

Used as a socializing application, this program has HD video software for vibrant,  face-to-face chatting. 

With DialPad, you can start video chats from a web browser without downloading pesky. There’s also an application for phones if you need to take video conferencing on the go. It includes in-meeting chatting, screen sharing, and unlimited calls for entirely free software. 

Get DialPad for free to experience state-of-the-art video calling software: https://www.dialpad.com/ 

In 2022, there will be many different video-chatting programs to choose from. Whether you’re in an office meeting or trying to reconnect with old colleagues, these programs are helping us connect and collaborate during an unprecedented time. With these six programs, you’ll be able to utilize top-tier video conferencing in your day-to-day life.

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5 Smart Home Trends for 2022

2022 is another year of incredible innovation and unique technology. With Elon Musk’s consistent launching of satellites to fuel-efficient cars, nothing is too complex for modern manufacturers. 

While space travel is excellent, what technologies in 2022 will improve our day-to-day life? Here are some of the best smart home trends you need to know this year.

Sensors  

Motion sensors are a definite trend in homes nationwide. Sensors like the ones from Ecobee are small and maneuverable, perfect for any surface in your home. 

Ecobee’s SmartSensors operate in a plethora of ways for optimal comfortability and safety. The product can detect when you’re in the room, triggering your thermostat to turn on the heat. In the case of a break-in, the SmartSensors is compatible with Ecobee’s Smart System to notify you of an unwanted presence. 

These tiny objects are the way of the future, and sensors are becoming more ubiquitous in the average household.

Smart Toilets 

These days, everyone wants the most out of their gadgets. But, many don’t assume that toilets would be the appliance needing an upgrade. Toto’s Wellness Toilet is undoubtedly a trend of the future, designed to provide health management advice based on your bowel movements. 

Though this specific type of toilet is not on the market, Toto has hinted at its release in the coming year. The toilet would be able to scan your body and poop to assess what changes you need in your diet. These notifications would pop up on a phone app, giving you details about your food intake while documenting your bowel improvements. 

You can check out more about Toto’s futuristic toilets here: https://www.totousa.com/ces_2021 

Ring Always Home Cam

Set to release sometime this year, Ring Always Home Cam is equipped with a drone designed to roam and protect your household. 

The Ring Always Home Cam has object-avoidant sensors, a 1080p camera, and a sleek, black finish. The drone will be able to fly around your house while avoiding valuable objects and walls. The footage it picks up with its camera will be available on the Ring app, providing homeowners with a 360-degree live stream at any time. You can also set the drone’s runtime, forcing it to return to its charging port upon completion.   

More information is available about Ring products on the website: https://ring.com/

Artificial Intelligence 

If you watch any sci-fi movie, you’ll know that robots are the most prominent indication of an advanced society. Vocal refrigerators and appliances that track your whereabouts are now standard amenities, and we can only expect home AI to become more and more complex. 

Many expect a rise in smart kitchen and bathroom products to hit the market this year. Even appliances like bathroom mirrors have changed to interact with its homeowners. 

The Eschelon Smart Mirror is an excellent example of this; this smart mirror has the power to project live workouts on its HD screen, and it’ll give you direct feedback on your performance. Who knew mirrors could act as complete, interactive TVs in 2022? 

Home Integration 

As technology excels, homeowners and renters expect elevated products and appliances. Many developers and realtors are changing what they install inside homes based on modern expectations. 

A huge trend for 2022 is having a home equipped with a smart system, like Amazon’s Alexa. With a central system, homeowners can control their space and ensure every room is taken care of. 

By installing smart systems that interact with each other, like smart sensors and water monitors, devices can take care of potential issues without a physical human present. 

In 2022, homes will be more advanced than we ever could’ve imagined. Drone surveillance, AI, and interactive mirrors are trends that will continue to elevate throughout the next few years. Smart homes are becoming less of a futuristic phenomenon and more of an expectation for families nationwide.

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Best Alternatives for Google Owned Products

In 2022, we know massively more about social media and search engines than years prior. Many are turning their backs on Google-owned products and applications. Google’s engines run on personal data collection, so deciding to part ways with the technology giant is understandable. 

Whether you have an issue with Google as a brand or not, other tech companies exist for consumers to try. Here are some of the best alternatives for technology enthusiasts wanting to branch out. 

Brave Browser

Brave Browser is a browser with a privacy focus. If you are wary of having your personal information stolen online, transferring to this browser is a great option. 

Brae Browser comes with ad-block and pop-up blockers, so no need for additional downloads. Without ads, you’re able to peruse the world wide web privately. No more will you search for cooking recipes and find targeted ads for winter coats. The engine isn’t collecting your data, so advertisers can’t interrupt your internet time.  

Find out more about Brave Browser and all its features here: https://brave.com/ 

ProtonMail 

Email is synonymous with Gmail these days. For those wanting a change in this department, ProtonMail is a fantastic alternative. 

ProtonMail is, first and foremost, a Swiss company. Switzerland is at the forefront of internet privacy law, ensuring ProtonMail’s ethos of protecting your data. The company uses end-to-end encryption, which means its engineers cannot decrypt users’ emails. 

ProtonMail comes without installing software so that you can access the site with any device. Transferring to this emailing platform is a breeze, too, with no hassle receiving emails from Gmail or other messengers. 

Starting your account is completely free, so what’s stopping you from giving ProtonMail a try? https://protonmail.com/ 

Odysee 

Like Gmail, YouTube is known for its distinctive, user-driven videos. Growing up in the rise of YouTube, many of us are clueless that other video-content platforms exist. Odysee is one non-Google platform taking the video world by storm. 

Just like Youtube, Odysee is a website that its users entirely propel. The site began as an independent force with reinvented community guidelines. Platforms owned by the same company meant more rules dictated by massive entities like Google. CEO Jeremy Koffman wanted to split from this technological dictatorship, establishing Odysee as a more free-thinking platform. 

While the website has safety guidelines, Odysee advertises user autonomy with less oversight. This independence attracted users by the millions to Odysee and changed the game for independent creators. 

Check out more about Odysee in all of its glory here:  https://odysee.com/

Waze 

There is a multitude of applications for finding directions. Google Maps is a popular one, but many might be familiar with Waze as well. 

Waze is a direction app that focuses on the fastest way to reach your destination. Visual representations of traffic appear on your screen, and updates about collisions and roadwork pop up in real-time. You can also use Waze to plan ahead, with app recommendations on leaving time and ETA. 

Waze incorporates live traffic, accidents, and pit stops into your daily routine. It’s great for every day or planning an extensive road trip, so maybe it’s time to ditch Google Maps for good. https://www.waze.com/waze 

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is another search engine that prioritizes user privacy. Either as its website or extension to chrome, DuckDuckGo is extraordinarily versatile and intuitive. Like Brave Browser, this company is putting a significant focus on private web browsing. Google’s engine holds onto people’s search history by default, making its users the perfect target for advertisers. DuckDuckGo does not track search history and can repel Google’s trackers while you use its Chrome extension. 

DuckDuckGo promises faster internet usage when switching to its search engine.  After the suspension of tracking codes, you’ll be able to browse the internet without interruption. Its easy search feature called “Bangs” allows you to use the search engine as a shortcut for other sites like Wikipedia or Youtube.

DuckDuckGo brings something innovative to the table while ensuring maximum privacy. Check out the website here: https://duckduckgo.com/?va=b&t=hc 

With information leaks and companies selling personal data, using the internet ethically and safely is more important than ever. These are the best alternatives for making a switch from Google products. YouTube and Gmail might feel indispensable, but these products sure give Google a run for its money.