Zagg Bluetooth Keyboard

        "If there's any 'iPaders' in our azapple group, the following comments are for you," says Jim Hamm.  He continues, " I've owned an iPad for a long time, but had never used a separate keyboard with it previously. Then my wife got a Zagg bluetooth keyboard for her iPad, and really liked it. So, not to be left behind, I bought one from Amazon for my iPad. What a difference this keyboard makes. Really nice.

        "If you've already moved to a  bluetooth keyboard for your iPad, read no further. For the rest of you, I recommend you try one." 
        Jim explains, "I didn't realize how much easier, and nicer, it is to type on a keyboard instead of tapping on the screen with my finger. And the best thing I like about it is no more -- to correct a mistake -- a finger on the screen, with the bubble, trying to move the cursor around. Now I just use the up/down/back/forward arrows on the keyboard to move the cursor and correct a misspelling. I like this.
        "We're presently on an RV caravan tour and I haven't even used my MacBook Air once since we left. I find it so convenient and handy just to use my iPad with the Zagg keyboard. Plus, since I've got a cellular data package for my iPad, I don't have to worry if we don't have wifi in the campground. Like right now -- no wifi but a good LTE signal.
        "There are other brands of keyboards available for the iPad, but the Zagg is the only one I've tried. There were over a thousand reviews on Amazon for the Zagg keyboard for my particular iPad, with most of them favorable."
        And Jim concludes, "I'm not pushing Zagg -- only the use of a bluetooth keyboard for your iPad.  Just a thought for your consideration."

What Will the FCC Allow?

       "Here is an interesting article wherein the FCC is considering allowing carriers to use their cellular network and Wi-Fi frequencies together. Does this seem like a traffic jam just waiting to happen?" asks Jim Hamm.  He goes on to challenge us to get informed.  
        "I'm sure that I don't understand all of the ramifications of this idea, or whether it's a good or a bad idea. It will be interesting, though, to see how this develops with the FCC." 

Gigabyte Data Usage

       "If you purchase a data plan from a carrier with, say, a 2-Gigabyte data plan, how much can you use your smart phone or tablet before consuming all your data?" asks Jim Hamm.  He goes on with some useful info.  " This link gives some estimates, which you may find helpful.
        "If you like to listen to music while you're checking the internet (while using your cellular plan), this article gives you a good idea of how much data streaming music consumes."
        Keep reading; Jim sends us that good word FREE.  "If I'm using a cellular connection I usually don't listen to streaming music so I don't consume all my data. But if I did, I'd listen to Pandora (which I do when I'm connected to wifi) and I find it uses a maximum of 64kbps, which is fairly low quality, but adequate (at least for my ears). Of course, Pandora provides a free service, so I'm not complaining."   

How Would Apple Streaming TV Work?

        OK, bright and knowledgeable PMUG members and friends:  how would this work?    David Passell writes, "On the recent evening news there was the statement that Apple's proposed streaming TV that included local channels (except NBC) would let you 'cut the cable' and free you from those expenses (by implication that exploit you). 
        He explains, "I have Cable One that brings in my internet and has my email server. I also maintain my 'northlink' email addresses via a nominal monthly charge. I also have a magic jack that provides me with unlimited national phone service. Here I could 'cut the cable' to my landline phone number, or I could let the landline bring in my internet via DSL and eliminate Cable One.  
        "BUT: How would I 'cut the cable' and use the touted Apple Streaming without the above internet interface that my router provides (from cable or DSL) in my home environment? In a big city where there are WiFi hot spots, that might work. (e.g. if i lived near the library or downtown).
        "Besides, Apple would also have a monthly fee not quite as high."
        So, here's the biggie:  "Can somebody explain the magic?"

Privacy! VPN

        What about privacy using your computer when you're not home?  Jim Hamm has something to say about that.  "Although I don't need a VPN (virtual Private Network)  all the time, we do travel frequently and use public wifi in places such as RV parks, restaurants, motels, airports, libraries, etc.          
        "For the added security, occasionally a VPN would be handy when I'm on a public wifi network. To that end, I recently purchased, installed and am using a VPN called VPN Unlimited. For a short period of time a lifetime subscription is available for just $39. Look here
         "This VPN comes from a company called Simplex Solutions. Look here
        "After doing some research, in theory I've got the following with my VPN: a lifetime license (the app says 100 years when I open it...(grin); unlimited data -- no cap; no throttling of internet speed (I haven't experienced any slowdown); adequate servers around the world (the one I'm using now is in California); available on 5 devices (one can be deleted if a new one is to be added); the program is available for OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android; and, best of all, so far it works...(grin).
        "Now, I'm not a poster child for VPN Unlimited, nor a commissioned salesperson. Since the $39 deal is a limited time offer (at least I think so), I just wanted to pass this on in case you might have an interest in trying this VPN."  So, give Jim a grin when you see him.  He's sharing lots of good info with PMUG. 

Routers, Switches, Network Hardware

        What is a router and what does it do? What difference is there in the WiFi speeds?  Why are network hubs no longer needed? 
        Well, Jim Hamm found this article to explain these to the person with a need to know.  "Here's an article explaining how a home network functions," he says.  

Apple Files New Patents for iPen

        "What?" exclaims John Carter.  "A stylus for the iOS device? Unheard of. Well, not entirely. I have purchased several stylii over the past year only to either lose them in the wash or ignore them altogether—because they just don’t work as well as my finger!

        "But, let’s take a look at Apple’s idea for a stylus. 
        "First, it will be expandable. Add a camera or a laser pointer. Or turn it into a power source. 
        "Second, it will be Wi-Fi linked via Bluetooth. I think Apple’s ideas are a bit on the fantastic side, but as a toy, it will sell. As a tool for designers, it will sell. As a tool for businessmen, it will sell. 
        "But for us minions? What will it do for us?"
        And here's John's opinion:   "I think you’ll have to read the news release from minyanville here and then wait and see. After all, the iPhone was big hit, the iPod was a big hit, the iPad was a big hit, and Apple Fanboys everywhere are probably sitting on the edge of their seat breathlessly awaiting the big event of the iPen.
        "The next thing we’ll be saying is, “i-What?” What will Apple think of next?"

Wi-Fi for Hotel Room Internet

         "If you travel,"  is how Jim Hamm begins.  And he does travel!  He goes on,  "and would like to share a connection to the Internet in your hotel room, here is an article on how to go about setting it up." How to Share a Hotel Room’s Internet Connection Over Wi-Fi http://mac.tutsplus.com/tutorials/networking/how-to-share-a-hotel-rooms-internet-connection-over-wi-fi/

Hacker Conference Coming

        "Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks -- "  is how the title begins.  The story is to appear in the August 12, 2013 issue of Forbes.  See the article posted here http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/07/24/hackers-reveal-nasty-new-car-attacks-with-me-behind-the-wheel-video/

        Using the car’s "OnStar-like cellular connection, Bluetooth bugs, a rogue Android app that synched with the car’s network from the driver’s smartphone or even a malicious audio file on a CD in the car’s stereo system" a lot of real trouble is possible.  Read what's up as the Defcon hacker conference is coming in Las Vegas next month. 

Public Wi-Fi Precautions

        Stay safe when you're using public Wi-Fi.  Jim Hamm points out several important precautions to take.  
1. Don't make online purchases or access your bank account.
2.  Switch your passwords.  Use a different password for each of your online accounts. 
3. Look for the locked padlock in the address bar.  That means the info submitted to that site is encrypted.  But still be cautious.
4. Turn off file sharing on your computer.  

More About Library Access to the Internet

        John's found out more about accessing the Internet at the Prescott Public Library.  His complete report has now been posted to the PMUG website.  Take a look at the details he explains under Benefits > Tips 'N Tricks.  You'll also find there his slide presentation to the PMUG/PC meeting a few weeks ago.  A big thanks to John Carter! 

Lessons Learned? OK!

        "This is sort of related to 'Learning about the Mac'" begins Allen Laudenslager.  (Who?  when? you ask. Yes, Allen, a PMUG's Previous Prez, and his wife are back. And here's the latest lesson learned.) 

        "After Jeff Ian's great presentation on printers, I rushed right over to Best Buy and picked up that $59.95 Brother all in one printer before the sale ended. In attempting to connect it to my home Wifi network I had the following problems.
       "First, I was able to set it up with my home network from the printer panel front with no problems, second I was able to connect my Macbook to the printer with no problems. I kind of expected that cause the Mac is great! The problems started when I tried to connect my wife's Windows 7 laptop to the printer.
        "The instructions 'presume'  that you are connecting the printer for the first time and there was no reference that I could find in the set up guide to attaching the printer to a second computer. Like the dummy I am, I followed the instructions and the Windows laptop wouldn't print. No big surprise there, the big surprise was that my Macbook stopped printing too!
        "Tried to contact Brother and it seems that they only support the product during regular business hours Monday through Friday. I guess most of their customers don't try to install their products on the weekends or evenings. I did try their email support but gave up after receiving a set of Windows setup instructions to fix the 'can't print from a OS X 10 Macbook' help request.
        "Finally gave up after three hours Saturday and just waited till business hours Monday to call the Brother help desk.
        "First thing was that the Windows instructions told me to use a static IP address, and I should have used the dynamic IP address setting. Once I reset that to the factory default my Macbook started printing again. The Windows 7 problem was a 'printer busy' error and turned out to be a really unusually issue.
        "First a little background — we are staying in a friend's guest house till we find a permanent place following our return from Denver two weeks ago. Second, our hosts have another Wifi network for their computers. When I set up mine, I just connected to their DSL modem router and went back to work.
        "My wife came back earlier than I did and had logged her laptop into our host's network and didn't change the log in to our network after I set it up here!
        "Logged into the correct Wifi network with her laptop, and lo and behold, I could find the printer and get it to work correctly."
         Here Allen explains with a smile, "Lesson learned. A little embarrassing to share with all the computer experts in PMUG, but I finally decided that I'd rather spread the word and put up with the pointing and laughing."

On the Road? Keep Connected

       Maybe you'll be traveling this summer?  Jim Hamm sends some useful info.  "Here's another way of staying connected to the internet when traveling: purchase a prepaid 3G plan using the Sprint cellular service. I'm not sure how widespread Sprint cell service is, but it can be checked out prior to purchasing a plan. If WiFi might not be available where you'll be traveling, but you want access to the internet, at least this is a reasonable option without a recurring monthly fee." 

Need to Use an Unsecured Wifi Hotspot?

        Traveling and need to use an unsecured wifi hotspot?  Jim Hamm passes along the info he's found, "Say, for example, you're at an unsecured wifi hotspot and have a need to send your credit card number to a company to buy something, reserve a hotel room, etc. over this network. Not a good idea to do this as hackers may be around to steal your card number. What to do? Here's an article that offers a possible solution using a program called 'Cloak.'
        "Here's the link to the website. The use of this free service is limited to 2 hours per month, but one would only use it infrequently for transmitting sensitive information. Additional hours are available on a fee basis.
     Jim will let us know more soon, "I've not used this service yet, but plan to look further into trying it."

Connecting to Wifi When You're Traveling

Almost time for a vacation?  Jim Hamm wants us to know about connecting to wifi and SNR (signal to noise ratio).  He informs us, "When traveling, I'm trying to connect to wifi access points in RV parks and motels with my computer, often with poor success. I may show a good RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) but yet have a poor connection to the net. In other words, a strong wifi signal, but perhaps unable to connect to the internet. The problem may be too much 'noise' interfering with the signal. To determine this, you need to calculate the signal to noise ratio (SNR)." Jim goes on to explain, "In the RV park I'm presently in I have a very good SNR. The signal strength is -49 dBm and the noise level is -95 dBm -- a spread of 46, which is good. The minimum spread show be at least 20 dB. I'm using a wifi booster, the Engenius EOC 1650, which gives a lot of detail about all the various wifi signals that show up in the park. Even with this, the download speed is slow (that's all the vendor provides), but I can connect and use the internet okay. "Here is a review of the Engenius EOC 1650. It's available on Amazon. "There are other similar wifi boosters available, and some plug directly into a USB port on your computer. The Engenius booster requires electricity and plugs into your computer via an ethernet cable. "Following is an article explaining more about this. At the end are some links you might look at to help you get the SNR ratio,".Jim suggests. When performing a radio frequency (RF) site survey, it's important to define the range boundary of an access point based on signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio, which is the signal level (in dBm) minus the noise level (in dBm). For example, a signal level of -53dBm measured near an access point and typical noise level of -90dBm yields a SNR of 37dB, a healthy value for wireless LANs. Don't let the unit "dB" throw you -- it merely represents a difference in two logarithmic values, such as dBm. SNR Variance Impacts Performance The SNR of an access point signal, measured at the user device, decreases as range to the user increases because the applicable free space loss between the user and the access point reduces signal level. An increase in RF interference from microwave ovens and cordless phones, which increases the noise level, also decreases SNR. SNR directly impacts the performance of a wireless LAN connection. A higher SNR value means that the signal strength is stronger in relation to the noise levels, which allows higher data rates and fewer retransmissions -- all of which offers better throughput. Of course the opposite is also true. A lower SNR requires wireless LAN devices to operate at lower data rates, which decreases throughput. I recently ran user-oriented tests to determine the impacts of SNR values on the ability for a user to associate with an 802.11b/g access point and load a particular webpage. For various SNRs, here's what I found for the signal strength (found in the Windows radio status), association status, and performance when loading the  http://wireless-nets.com/staff.htm webpage from a wireless laptop. To ensure accurate comparisons, I cleared the laptop's cache before reloading the page: 40dB SNR = Excellent signal (5 bars); always associated; lightening fast. 25dB to 40dB SNR = Very good signal (3 - 4 bars); always associated; very fast. 15dB to 25dB SNR = Low signal (2 bars); always associated; usually fast. 10dB - 15dB SNR = very low signal (1 bar); mostly associated; mostly slow. 5dB to 10dB SNR = no signal; not associated; no go. These values seem consistent with testing I've done in the past, as well as what some of the vendors publish. SNR Recommendations Based on this testing, I recommend using around 20dB as the minimum SNR for defining the range boundary of each access point. That ensures a constant association with fairly good performance. Keep in mind that the corresponding level of performance only occurs at the boundary of each access point. Users associating with access points at closer range will have higher SNR and better performance. When measuring SNRs, be sure to use the same radio card and antenna as the users will have if possible. A variance in antenna gain between the survey equipment and user device will likely result in users having different SNR (and performance) than what you measured during the survey. Changes made in the facility, such as the addition of walls and movement of large boxes, will affect SNR too. Thus, it's generally a good idea to recheck the SNR from time-to-time, even after the network is operational. http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider/ http://istumbler.net/ (for Mac) http://www.softpedia.com/get/Network-Tools/Network-Monitoring/NetStumbler.shtml  (for PC)