"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.
"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."
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?"
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.
" Here is an article describing a vulnerability found in WPA2 wireless security. After reading the article I suspect most homeowners needn't be unduly concerned. This vulnerability might be a bit more of a concern for commercial WiFi users, though." Thanks to Jim Hamm for this notification.
"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!
"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/
"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/
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.
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!
"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.)
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."
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."
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)
John Carter wants us to know about this: "Get up to one mile WiFi reception in your area with this gadget. The Super USB Wi-Fi Antenna 3 has been reviewed as having the best possible reception of any device like this."