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Technology Tips: February 2016 Edition

Skyward IT Services

Network Infrastructure and Security Specialists

Technology Tips: February 2016 Edition


Optimal Wireless Antenna Positioning 

When setting up your wireless router, do you know how to position the antennae to maximize your reception?
Although the signal is omnidirectional (it goes in all directions), it’s a best practice to point one antenna vertically and the other horizontally. According to Alf Watt, a former Apple Wi-Fi engineer, radio reception is maximized when the antenna in your device and the antenna of the wireless router have matched polarization. If both antennae on your wireless router are vertical, a device with its antenna mounted horizontally will not have reception as good as one with the antenna mounted vertically. In addition, changing the orientation of a mobile device may affect the reception.
If a router has internal antennae, it is best to place the device on its feet. If the device has feet on two sides, then it is acceptable to position the device on either side.


Slow- or No-Charge Devices: Issues and Fixes

Do you have a device that is slow to charge or won’t charge at all? Here are some common issues and fixes:
  1. Power Strips - Plugging a device into a cheap power strip may limit its charging abilities. If the device won’t charge, try plugging it directly into the wall outlet. If that works, consider buying a new power strip.
  1. Power Adapters - All power adapters are not equal. For example, an adapter designed for a phone, even if it's the same connector type, will not supply enough current to charge a tablet. On the other hand, feeding a device too much current may fry it. Stick with the adapter designed for your device. If you lose it, buy a replacement.
  1. USB Cord - A bad power or USB cord may cause a slow charge. Try replacing the cord.
  1. Debris - Debris such as pocket lint or dirt can build up in the small adapter port on a mobile device. Use compressed air or tweezers to clear the debris from the area.
  1. USB Ports - In a pinch, plugging a device into a USB port on a computer or in
    a vehicle will give you some charge, but charging may be extremely slow. Though there’s no fix for this issue, just be aware that due to the limited current, charging may take a while.


Free Online Faxing

With many people moving away from landlines and toward cell-only lifestyles, faxing a document has become a little more difficult. So what can you do if you don’t have a landline or fax machine at home?
There is a website called MyFax which allows you to send faxes. Go to the site and fill in your recipient’s name, company, country, and fax number, as well as your name, company, and email address to confirm the fax submission. You can then upload the document and add a note in the text field. The service is secure and uses SSL encryption. There is no human interaction with your fax.
MyFax’s free service allows you to send up to two faxes in a 24-hour period. If you’d like to send more than that, MyFax also offers a paid service starting at $10 per month.


Malware of the Month

The Malware of the Month is FBI Virus. This virus completely locks down your computer and demands a $200+ payment to unlock it. It states that the user has been viewing or distributing illegal or copyrighted material from the machine, and the only way to receive access to the computer again is to pay within 48 to 72 hours. But do not fear – being infected with FBI Virus is not the end of the world, or your computer. Follow these steps to remove it:
  1. Restart the computer and hold the F8 key.
  2. Select Safe Mode with Networking.
  3. Download/update and run Malwarebytes.
  4. Remove the infections found on the computer.
  5. Restart the computer normally.
Your computer should now be free of FBI Virus.
Don’t forget to keep your antivirus software up to date and perform regular scans!

“Technology gives us power, but it does not and cannot tell us how to use that power. Thanks to technology, we can instantly communicate across the world, but it still doesn’t help us know what to say.”
– Jonathan Sacks

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